CAN, Mamma Bear, and Punk Rock

Wow. I wrote the title with out having much of an idea of how the details of this blog would actually pan out. The title will at least serve as a little reminder at the top of my screen to STAY ON TRACK I guess. A lot has been circling around my mind the last few weeks, not the least of which was, “I think its time I better give my offering to the blog gods before they strike me down in my steps.” There has been a lot of talk recently….again…about anger, approachability, and how to best engage in discussion amongst practitioners. Digging back through the old blog posts…actually, searching with the key word “anger”, I found what I was looking for(and laughed that 9 pages of search results came back!). This little sparkly rock. Oh and this one too. I’ll be the first to admit my feelings on the whole recent happenings go all across the board depending on my mood at any given moment. I’m a cancer in the western zodiac, and a 4 enneagram if that tells you anything. At times its makes a lot of sense to me to find better ways in which we can reach out to other acupuncturists, prospective acupuncturists, and even the national organizations as a way to bring more of them in to the world of community acupuncture, or to at least find a place in which CA can stake a claim and have a say in the way that our profession moves in the future. It can sometimes feel too much like becoming a proselytizing missionary which aside from being draining and endlessly hopeless more often than not, is mostly just offensive in my opinion. Other times I’m honestly too tired to really care. And if you catch me at just the right time, usually high noon on a dusty street corner, I might say, “In every revolution someone has to be up against the wall!”. But my point is that I think that Lisa’s blog posts really get to the heart of something that is often too subtle or even forgotten in the fray, but should always be obvious. It’s that the anger is actually really not about any particular individual. There’s a lot in the acupuncture world to be angry about and because the institutions which make
up our profession are composed of individual people, I see why it’s
easy for the individual to feel personally attacked or caught up in the anger. I can relate to feeling challenged for decisions I have made in my life or things that I have said that were quite frankly, fucked up. Its part of being human. I also know that you have to also be willing to look at this stuff within yourself and to honestly pick it apart for what it is and challenge these internal institutions. But again, the anger is not about you or I as an individual, and things NEED to change. Its not always easy, it often hurts like hell to change, but things NEED to change. And they are. In a lot of ways I think the anger is also an acceptance that we all take some responsibility in allowing the mess that is our profession to become a reality….or at the very least an acceptance that we must personally do something about it. Mess being quite the forgiving word in this case. By deconstructing the hierarchical structures of power and questioning the intentions and necessity of the current bureaucratic and self-serving organizations  that lay claim to our profession and by extension our communities who can greatly benefit by receiving acupuncture, we are fulfilling our ultimate responsibility to transform this mess in to something usable, just, and that fully serves the communities of which we are a part of. A big order indeed, but a welcomed and empowering one.

The above for me begs the question, can one express anger and still be loving and compassionate? Are the two mutually exclusive? I was also reminded this week of a story I heard from the author Derrick Jensen in reference to anger. He was speaking about a newspaper article he read titled, “Mother Bear Charges Trains”. Trains had killed her two sons, and so this mother grizzly began charging train after train after train that came by. Wow. Given that a bear could speak English, or that we could understand bear language, what do you think she would say about her sense of anger over the loss of her two sons? What about her sense of love for them? Would we even need to talk about it, or are her actions not loud and clear enough?

Speaking of anger….punk rock music. It changed my life, and specifically a band called Crass. Crass could best be described much more accurately as collective rather than a band. Composed of a handful or so of individuals organized loosely around the banner of being a rock and roll band, they stretched the definition of what that meant in to many varied and interesting directions. In fact they often said that the whole purpose of forming a band in the first place was only as a means of providing a platform for their message. From music and writing, to art, video, social action, each member contributed his or her varied interests and skills to the bigger goals of Crass as a whole. Sounds a lot like CAN, eh? Their work always tied in most importantly to contributing to a message of mutual aid, freedom, economic and social justice, and the support of anti-war efforts for which most of their gigs were benefits for. They also had a very clever and well timed sense of humor. But being that they directly challenged those whom held positions of power and the power structures themselves also meant that they were accused of naeive rebellion, written off, and as their popularity grew, directly harassed and threatened on a regular basis as many political activists and movements have been through out time. This was also a sign that they were effective in their efforts. Crass’ message often was one of anger and hurt and their music could easily be described as “angry” music. It also spoke and still speaks to a place that exists in many people who feel angry and hurt. Not because they are hateful, but because they know how much more love this world contains and that real obstacles stand in the way of the free expression of that love. However, the challenging nature of their words became a focal point for criticism and the banning of Crass from recording or performing by the English government. It was also later used in an attempt to prosecute the band members on grounds of obscenity. Well, why are they so angry, obscene, and challenging one might ask? Which brings me to the point of mentioning Crass in the first place. This line from the song, ‘Yes Sir, I Will’. It still gives me chills each time i hear it:

‘In attempts to moderate they ask why we don’t write love songs.
What is it that we sing then?
Our love of life is total, everything we do is an expression of that,
Everything that we write is a love song.’

underneath all the cacophonous noise, love.

Author: chaitime

Born down in a deadman's town. The city of sin itself. I was self raised on a steady diet of punk rock, social activism, and fantasies of disappearing in to the deserts of the southwest never to return again. I now find myself somewhere in between them all, slingin' needles at Tucson Acupuncture Co-op in Tucson, AZ.

Related Articles

Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. “underneath all the cacophonous noise, love.”

    Tears are sprouting with this one. 

    I also appreciated your big questions: “can one express anger and still be loving and compassionate? Are the two mutually exclusive?”  and then the tie-in to the mama bear story. 

    I think that an open heart feels everything: the anger, the fear, the sadness, the joy, the peace…and in feeling *everything,* we open to love.

    Thank you for bringing this sparkly rock to the blogs, Chai.

  2. love this

     thanks so much for this today, josh! great blog


    Good health is not a measure of adapting to a sick society.

    When the power of love outshines the love of power, the world will know peace.

  3. I love this too–a couple of

    I love this too–a couple of days ago I was trying to explain CA to my very awesome designer friend who is helping me put my website together, and I said in conclusion, “Think of it as punk rock acupuncture” because really, that’s what it feels like to me. Thanks for a wonderful and thought-provoking post.

  4. Thank you!

    I just love your post.  As a grown up punk kid, who is an acupunk now I
    totally feel this.  I have never felt so loved and understood as I have
    at punk shows where people were seemingly angry and aggressive.  Yeah,
    the lyrics to the songs were angry and mean sounding, but the intention
    was that if all that anger was let out then there could be a mass
    catharsis and ultimately healing and awareness. (Yeah, I know for some
    it is just about being angry and smashing skulls.  Not my style.) Being
    pissed, getting it all out, being heard, and then getting big
    hugs from everyone afterward is what community is.  And you know what?  I
    really feel like that is CAN, too. I feel at home here.  Thanks for the
    big punk show, guys.

    Now I am gonna be teary about the Momma Bear.  That is so damn sad and
    so damn wonderful. Thanks again, chaitime. Big Hugs to you!

  5. nice post!

    I once saw an explanation of the difference between radical and liberal politics.  One of the characteristics of radical politics was seeing issues as structural, wheras liberals tend to see things as personal.  Thanks for pointing that out here.

    Also thanks for bringing up Derrick Jensen.  Both his writing and his wonderful character have been huge inspirations to me.  His “20 premises,” ( in particular, sum up a lot of insight into our culture.  This recent shit storm in the blog comments reminded me a bit of this one:

    “Premise Four: Civilization is based on a clearly
    defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy.
    Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower
    is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed,
    it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the
    hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur
    is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims. 

  6. I forgot to mention

    how much I love this blog.  I wish I could say something smart about it, but I just love it.