Join 3,436 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


sowing seeds of love
August 9, 2012 6:55 PM   Subscribe

Arno Michaels used to be the worst kind of asshole. Now he's working to help others not be that kind of asshole.

He has a website called Life After Hate.
posted by vrakatar (26 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
"As a teenager I got into the punk rock scene which for a while was the ultimate outlet for my aggression. But, like any other addiction, my thrill seeking needed constant cranking up, so when I encountered racist skinheads I knew I’d found something far more effective."

Punk rock is not a gateway drug to white power.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:00 PM on August 9, 2012 [37 favorites]


That said: This looks like a really cool project. There's this sentiment in contemporary culture that we should be hitting people with bigger sticks, and that there's no chance for redemption. This site speaks volumes against that idea.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:03 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]



"Nazi Punks Fuck Off"

Punk ain't no religious cult
Punk means thinking for yourself
You ain't hardcore cos you spike your hair
When a jock still lives inside your head

Nazi punks
Nazi punks
Nazi punks-Fuck Off!

Nazi punks
Nazi punks
Nazi punks-Fuck Off!

If you've come to fight, get outa here
You ain't no better than the bouncers
We ain't trying to be police
When you ape the cops it ain't anarchy

[Repeat chorus]

Ten guys jump one, what a man
You fight each other, the police state wins
Stab your backs when you trash our halls
Trash a bank if you've got real balls

You still think swastikas look cool
The real nazis run your schools
They're coaches, businessmen and cops
In a real fourth reich you'll be the first to go

[Repeat chorus]

You'll be the first to go
You'll be the first to go
You'll be the first to go
Unless you think
posted by Huck500 at 7:04 PM on August 9, 2012 [23 favorites]


So is the subject of the thread now to be how punk rock doesn't make you racist because of one poorly written line? Because that seems like a less interesting subject than the actual subject of the FPP.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:14 PM on August 9, 2012 [20 favorites]


High time we made a stand and shook up the views of the common man
And the lovetrain rides from coast to coast
D.j.s the man we love the most
Could you be, could you be squeaky clean
And smash any hope of democracry?
As the headline says you're free to choose
There's egg on your face and mud on your shoes
One of these days they're gonna call it the blues

And anything is possible when you're sowing the seeds of love
Anything is possible - sowing the seeds of love

I spy tears in thier eyes
They look to the skies for some kind of divine intervention
Food goes to waste!
So nice to eat, so nice to taste
Politician grannie with your high ideals
Have you no idea how the majority feels?
So without love and a promise land
Were fools to the rules of a goverment plan
Kick out the style ! bring back the jam!

Anything...
Sowing the seeds
The birds and the bees
My girlfriend and me in love

Feel the pain
Talk about it
If you're a worried man - then shout about it
Open hearts - feel about it
Open minds - think about it
Everyone - read about it
Everyone - scream about it !
Everyone
Everyone - read about it, read about it
Read in the books in the crannies and the nooks there are books to read
Chorus!

(mr. england sowing the seeds of love)

Time to eat all your words
Swallow your pride
Open your eyes

High time we made a stand and shook up the views of the common man
And the lovetrain rides from coast to coast
Every minute of every hour - I love a sunflower
And I believe in lovepower, love power, lovepower!!!

Sowing the seeds
An end to need
And the politics of greed
With love

posted by hippybear at 7:17 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


In 2001 I was asked to write a book about my experience. Going public terrified me but I knew I had to do it to help others who were traumatised by the guilt of causing a death. The book was a great success and the letters started flooding in. The first person to contact me was a woman whose young daughter had been killed as she stepped out onto the road, and her mother wrote, “every day for the last ten years I’ve worried about the driver." - Kelly Connor
posted by salvia at 7:23 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I listened to this on CBC the other day... Powerful stuff.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:33 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


So many other powerful stories. This is a great website. Thanks.
posted by salvia at 7:41 PM on August 9, 2012


KokuRyu, was that the Metamorphosis episode?

(Non-Canadians, can you actually listen to the show through the Listen link on that page?)
posted by maudlin at 7:49 PM on August 9, 2012


Yes, Listen on that page works for me (in WA state, US). I'll check it out in its entirety later this evening.
posted by hippybear at 7:53 PM on August 9, 2012


Amazing story and amazing website.
posted by schroedinger at 8:08 PM on August 9, 2012


There's this sentiment in contemporary culture that we should be hitting people with bigger sticks

Funnily enough, this appears to be rooted in some fear that the non-contemporary culture offshoots will be hitting the contemporary root in some new and major revolutionary way.

And if the beatings continue, yeah, I can totally see the rather disorganized yet generally non-violent fringes doing that.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:19 PM on August 9, 2012


They could try a Trojan t-shirt...
posted by feistycakes at 8:41 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, all of these stories are powerful in their own way. Thanks for posting.
posted by not_on_display at 10:00 PM on August 9, 2012


Heard him on Diane Rehm's show on Wednesday. Crappy phone connection during the interview, so I'm glad to get to read some of the things he was trying to articulate...
posted by rollbiz at 10:18 PM on August 9, 2012


vrakatar: "Arno Michaels used to be the worst kind of asshole."

The worst kind? Are you sure? There are so many kinds... *clicks* ...Oh, well, yeah, pretty much.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:37 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


another ex-nazi
posted by telstar at 2:32 AM on August 10, 2012


So all it took to turn him was his mother telling him he's 16th Indian? He didn't have to believe her.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:09 AM on August 10, 2012


Punk rock is not a gateway drug to white power.

I completely agree. I don't think that's what this guy was saying.

This kid wasn't looking for punk rock. He went to punk rock thinking it would be an outlet for his confused, aggressive energy. He went to punk rock because he thought it was about anger and vandalism*, which he was already wading in.

Punk was a misguided and unenlightened stop on a shitty journey to a white power trip, not a gateway.

Check out this clip (relevant at 1:40).
R.A. -- a white rapper, first signed in 1992, getting hate mail from racist eminem fans for working with _black_ rappers and "looking like a jew".

Fucked up people are fucked up.

To quote the great punk Joe Strummer:
And every gimmick hungry yob digging gold from rock 'n' roll
Grabs the mic to tell us he'll die before he's sold
But I believe in this -- and it's been tested by research
He who fucks nuns will later join the church 
Punks had the number on Arno Michaels before he was even born.

In 10 years, I wouldn't be surprised hearing about a group of neo-nazi dubstep fans, trying to "preserve heritage".

Or a "Brony Disciples of Odin".

Hate is hate, and it sucks when the message corrupts the medium.

There should be a corollary to rule 34: For any piece of pop culture you love, there are hateful bigoted assholes who will also love it and try to claim it as their own, and have the gift of infinite rationalization.
This will make that thing you love look shitty to other people, and just generally sucks.

This guy is at least working to make amends for being one of those assholes.

I wish him luck, and hope that some of his 20,000 former fans take a breath of fresh air instead of listening to some different asshole who says the same stupid things.



* "I met a critic, made her shit her drawers, she told me hip-hop was only guns and alcohol, I said 'aw hell, no; But yeah its that too!'" -- Andre Benjamin, "Humble Mumble"

posted by lkc at 5:33 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Saved by ... PLUR?
posted by mkb at 5:36 AM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think anybody really believes that all of punk rock is about white supremacy. But there is a strong Nazi punk subculture within the punk subculture. I don't think all of the U.S. military special forces are white supremacists, either, but again, there is strong subculture of white supremacy within special forces.

Denying these facts aren't going to make them go away.
posted by Athene at 6:47 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or Brony Disciples of Odin

Well, there's already My Little Nationalist Pony, a person or group of people who believe My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic depicts a white supremacist utopia. So yeah.
posted by titus n. owl at 6:49 AM on August 10, 2012


You know who else is an ex-Nazi?
posted by gilrain at 7:58 AM on August 10, 2012


mkb: "Saved by ... PLUR?"

Ecstasy is one hell of a drug.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:59 AM on August 10, 2012


Wernher Von Braun?
posted by bzbb at 3:11 PM on August 10, 2012


This is punk.
posted by vrakatar at 6:31 PM on August 10, 2012


« Older Where the fuck should I go to eat?...  |  We are so steeped in the tradi... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments