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The often repeated phrase “Nature Red in Tooth and Claw” FOR PAST AND FUTURE ISSUES...
originated in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s grand, lengthy poem “In Memorium”. THINKINGCAPFANZINE.BLOGSPOT.COM
Who trusted God was love indeed THIS IS A FREE PUBLICATION

And love Creation’s final law DUPLICATION IS ENCOURANGED
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed
Tennyson’s poem is one of the highlights of 19th century literature. Written as a kind of eulogy for Tennyson’s deceased friend Arthur Henry Hallum, “In
Memorium” provides critical documentation of the crisis of faith that came to plague many of the greatest Victorian minds. Though finished ten years before the pub-
lication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, Tennyson’s poem addresses the apparent conflict between our evolutionary origins and the view that we are the products of an
omnipotent, omnibenevolent deity.
There were numerous speculative evolutionary theories floating around in the 19th century British zeitgeist. While some of these theories reserved a place
for God as fashioner of the system or the controller of evolutionary laws, all of them are were at odds with a literalist reading of Genesis. Essentially, the science of
Tennyson’s day began to suggest that the earth was very old and that the creatures on it emerged via a violent struggle for survival. This introduced a challenging
new version of the problem of evil (the question of why a wholly good, wholly powerful being would allow evil to exist).
Earlier generations of Christians were able to answer this formulation of the problem of evil by appealing to original sin to explain the violence and misery NOOSE DEMO- LYRICS EXPLAINED
that typify the animal kingdom. Man, endowed with free will, chose to eat the forbidden fruit and is thusly responsible for all the depravity in the world. Hence all of
the seemingly “natural evil” we encounter is due to man’s failure rather than to God’s; God allowed for the possibility of evil by giving us free will and we, of course,
abused this gift. Freedom of the will, however, is such a great good that giving it to us justifies the resulting evil and seemingly gets God off the hook.
It is easy to see the problem that arises when the literal reading of Genesis is rejected. If Adam was not the actual first man and the garden was not an actual place
then there is no original sin and thus no clear way to explain, from within the bounds of a Christian worldview, all of the violence that is seemingly “built in” to the
laws of our world. Tennyson’s generation was one of the first to clearly see this conflict and it is on this basis that their crisis of faith emerged. If “love is creation’s
final law”, then why is the world so inherently violent? If it’s not our fault, then it must be God’s fault. But why would God create such a world? Regardless of one’s
theological views, it seems clear enough that violence is part of the natural order.
The question that emerges for, us- as free beings endowed with a moral sense and able to make choices- is whether the “naturalness” of this violence
provides any basis for perpetuating it. The song “Nature Red in Tooth and Claw” is written as a response to those that would defend the practice of meat eating (and
other varieties of animal abused) by claiming that it is “natural”. Vegans hear this argument all the time, in various different guises. No matter what kind of language
is employed, all of these arguments are specious. That we are naturally predisposed towards some practice doesn’t provide any sort of moral grounding for it. The
idea that a practice is justifiably on the grounds that it is or has been accepted by the majority is bollocks. What we have done or are doing right now is in no sense
equivalent with what we should do, at present or in the future.
The way the world is ain’t always they way it ought to be…hence the line about a “defect in design”. This brings us to the David Hume reference. Hume,
a incredibly important 18th century British empiricist, is famous for championing the view that normative propositions (“ought” claims) cannot be deduced from
descriptive propositions (“is” claims). Every argument that employs a claim about the “natural-ness” of meat eating as a premise commits the fallacy of deriving an
“ought” from an “is”. Anyone who doubts that this kind of moral reasoning is fallacious need only reflect on rape and slavery to see the erroneousness of the appeal
to nature. Both practices were at one time or other common to most societies and are perhaps based in our natural predispositions. So what? What’s natural is no
guide to what’s right. I also snuck in a Kant reference in the line “Cruelty leads to hardness of heart.” Read the Lectures on Ethics and see if you can figure it out.

“Hang” is pretty self-explanatory. It’s inspired by the people I have known, specifically older people, who have quit the straight edge because of unhappi-
ness with their station in life. Do they really think drinking will improve things for them?
Lots of people dabble in the hardcore scene as kids; usually they go through a straight edge phase. Invariably, most SE kids move on. As I’ve mentioned above,
while I believe that SE is the best way to live I recognize that it can be demanding and socially isolating. I understand why lots of people succumb to the pressure to
drink. It’s absolutely pervasive. Why cut yourself off from the world over a matter you don’t take to be all that important?
Nevertheless, I’ve been seeing a lot of 25 to 35 year old dudes decide to start drinking after years and years on the edge. I know too many people who’ve dedicated
their youths to hardcore and then found, upon reaching adulthood, that there’s nothing there for them. Now, it’s certainly true that if the only thing on your resume
is touring and record collecting you’re probably going to be stuck with a service industry job. You’ll probably have a hard time meeting members of the opposite sex R.M. “BUCKY” FARLEY of
who’ll actually date you. You’ll probably be broke and have little to gloat about at your high school reunion. But so what? If you’ve
spent the better part of your life living by your own set of standards it just makes it that much more pathetic when you break down
and try to join normal society.
Newsflash: while your tattoos may convince a few drunken 21 year olds that you’re a fuck-worthy rebel… you’ll
always be an outsider. Drinking won’t make you happier and it won’t really help you to fit in. The time for fitting in is long past;
you missed the train of normalcy and there’s no way to board later down the
line. Think about it…when your co-workers talk about prom you’re still going
to be the guy who skipped it to go skateboarding. When the conversation
turns to college you’re still going to be the guy who dropped out to tour.
When the folks at the hipster bar start talking music you’ll still know, deep
within your soul, that anyone who hasn’t heard the Antidote 7” has no right
to speak. Whatever drew you to hardcore and SE in the first place kept
you there for ten or fifteen or twenty odd years; a few drinks won’t undo a
lifetime of marching out of step. Seeing a 30-something drunk for the first
time is just sad. There’s nothing to gain; if you hate your life so much that
you’ve begun to consider drinking, think about the real changes you could Starting, perhaps, with Duchamp’s “Fountain” the Western art world has gradually purged itself of any clearly articulable standards
make to better yourself. If you already feel like you’re in the gutter, why of evaluation. In the 21st century it seems anything can be considered “art” as long as it’s displayed in the right setting or expounded in the
would you turn to the very substance the puts most people there in the first right context. Alas, this dissolution of aesthetic standards has bled into the moral realm. The fashionable nihilism of the contemporary art world
place? Alcohol will wash what’s left of you right down the drain. reached its zenith with Guillermo Vargas’ 2007 work “Exposición N° 1” a piece of “conceptual art” displayed in the Códice Gallery, Nicaragua.
One aspect of the piece involved tying an emaciated stray dog to the gallery wall so as to make a display of its suffering. This incident created in-
ternational headlines after it was reported that the dog starved to death while tied to the gallery wall. The precise details surrounding the “exhibi-
tion”, the artist’s purpose, and the fate of the dog are vague. Conflicting reports make it impossible to say what really happened to the dog. What

is clear, however, is that Vargas used this vulnerable creature in an obviously inappropriate way; no animal should be treated as a mere object
under any circumstance. Yet, the agents and patrons of the Códice Gallery stood by and let this happen.
The song “Fuck Art” is inspired by Vargas’ depravity. Its basic message, however, can and should be generalized to include any
is: EV WIVELL & instance where the mistreatment of animals is supported by an appeal to artistic or aesthetic ends. This particular instance of cruelty is essen-
STEPHEN ST. GERMAIN tially underwritten by the aforementioned annihilation of artistic standards. It seems that we live in a culture where nearly anything is permissible
under the guise of “artistic license”.
Consider: How many times have we had to listen to some pretentious Unfortunately, no matter how nice I am or how hard I try, when I leave
gastronome talk about the “artistic quality” of foie gras? How many hardcore’s safe cocoon and enter the real world my personal choice to
times have we heard some half-retarded fashion designer attempt to abstain from alcohol leads others to view me with disdain, disgust, and
justify the use of fur by appealing to its “exquisiteness”? How many distrust. Alcohol plays such a central role in our social rituals that many
times have we had to listen some idiotic cultural critic defend violence people are simply unable to fathom how I could live without it. I hate
by citing its essential place in some aesthetically esteemed social prac- that attitude. I hate the incredulous stare that my abstention induces.
tice (i.e. bullfighting)? There is no justification for any activity wherein I hate that I can’t just be a non-drinker without people assuming I’m a
animals are killed to make pretty things or delight the senses. former alcoholic, a religious zealot, or a fun-hating stick in the mud. I
Some would look upon evil and call it sublime. But even if the products thought once I made it to adulthood people would view my choice as
of suffering have aesthetic value, the idea that this kind of value could irrelevant or, at worst, innocuously eccentric. Boy…was I wrong.
serve to override our obligation to prevent suffering is intellectually Part of the impetus behind Noose was a series of dates I went on in
bankrupt. To that end: Fuck art, Fuck culture, and Fuck the nihilistic at- early 2010. Each one went roughly the same way: I meet an attractive
titude that turns thinking, feeling creatures into objects. Save the dogs, vegan girl from outside the hardcore scene (a norm, if you will)…we
burn the Louvre. hang out…and she seems into me. Eventually it comes out that I don’t
drink, at which point she tells me that she isn’t feeling a spark or that

“NO RESPECT” our lifestyles are just too different or whatever obfuscatory line she can
come up with to say, essentially, that she’s too self-conscious to ever
have sober intercourse.
Vegans are constantly bombarded with the following Now, I may not be as fetching as Tom Sellack or as clever Kurt
refrain: “I respect your choice to be vegan but I would never give up Gödel, but within the small world of educated, respectable, well-
[insert animal product]”. The people who say this expect me to un- socialized, well-groomed, nice-smelling vegans I’m about the
derstand and accept their choice. They expect me to nod my head best any woman could hope to find. That something as ultimately
and tell them about how I’m not one of those “fanatical” vegans insignificant as SE is a “red flag” for otherwise nice vegan girls
who thinks we should all move to the forest and live off of nuts and is symptomatic of a broad social sickness. Seeing how deep the
berries. This is America, ain’t it? Respect is a two-way street, right? infection goes only strengths my stance against alcohol.
Fuck that.
Veganism is not a mere dietary preference. Veganism is
not a weight loss strategy. Veganism is not about “being green” “NOUS”
or “saving the planet”. Veganism is not one acceptable choice I developed the concept for Noose while attending a Raw Nerve
among many. A vegan diet is a necessary component of a morally show in February 2010. The show was in some wretched trust
responsible life. The choice to consume animal products warrants fund art student loft. The whole place was teeming with drinkers,
antipathy rather than respect. Innocent beings are made to suffer smokers, druggers, and lechers...you know the type…knob gob-
and die unnecessarily. Those that create the demand for flesh are blers that pose hard in their lady gaga Black Flag shirts but can’t
directly responsible for this crime. And they think that I owe them name a single Cro-Mags or YOT song.
respect? A punch in the face maybe…but respect? Never! Having long recognized that the beer and the joint are like a
Furthermore, the liberal media perpetuates a viciously gun at your head, it occurred to me, given my surroundings, that the
false dichotomy in which vegans come in only two varieties: gun might as well be a piece of rope. I mean, it’s probably only a mat-
friendly, non-threatening accomodationists (the sort who’d say ter of time before hipsters start actually turning to suicide as means
“Personally I don’t eat meat, but I don’t care if you do”) or anti- of “transgression” (or whatever other sordid sort of one-upmanship
civilization anarchists bent on destruction. Thus, when people Vice magazine comes to endorse). Thus Noose was born. The im-
find out I’m actually serious about animal liberation they tend to age of a noose is stark, striking, and conversation stopping. It’s a
look at me like I’m one step away from filling out my Al Qaeda symbol of violent justice that tells people exactly where we stand
membership card. Fuck that noise! We can be abolitionists when it comes to alcohol and meat.
without being anti-civilization. We can take a hard line against With that said, what fully convinced me to adopt the
cruelty and still maintain a certain level of decorum. We can name was the realization that it was homophonous with the
support direct action without ending up like Weatherman Greek word “nous”. “Nous” is a technical term used by the
and lapsing into ignorant anti-American sentiment. ancients to refer to the mind, in particular the faculty of the
Don’t let the meat eaters frame the discussion mind (reason, the intellect, etc) that provides us with a priori
and don’t fucking adjust your views to accommodate epistemic justification. The homophonous relation between
their prejudices. Standing up for what’s right isn’t always “Noose” and “Nous” sort of captures what the approach I
easy. Unfortunately, being a vegan in this society can take to writing lyrics: I try to blend a bit of erudition with
make life awkward and make interactions with others straight forward indignation. I’m pissed about lots of
frustrating. Nevertheless, if you don’t think there’s a the same old things, but I don’t want our lyrics to be a
problem with other people eating meat, if you’re will- re-hash. What we’re saying has been said before but (I
ing to tolerate it, if you’re willing to cook it, if you’re hope) we’re doing it in a somewhat novel way.
willing to lick off the lips of your lover…you’re not To that end, the song “Nous” employs philo-
really vegan in the first place. Don’t compromise. sophical terminology (in a kind of tongue in cheek way)
to make a pretty simple point. Everyone is in a position to

“ACCUSED” see that drugs and alcohol are destructive. Nevertheless,

many people choose to ignore this obvious, lumines-
cent truth. The more they indulge, the more difficult it
I have been Straight Edge for 15+ years.
becomes to regain the clear perspective they started out
Although I take an unremitting stance against
with. They start to tell themselves that they can hold their
intoxication, I’ve never been the type to push this
liquor with ease, that they can drive drunk without incident,
view on others. While I hate to see my friends drunk
and so forth. Once a self-destructive practice becomes part
or high, it’s their choice and I don’t resent them for it. In
of your routine, part of everyday life, it’s that much harder to
most cases they’re only hurting themselves. Folks in the
see it for what it is. One drink won’t kill you, but it increases the
hardcore scene, whether SE or not, understand where I’m
likelihood that you’ll have another…and another… and another. We
coming from; therein, alcohol has never stood in the way of a
know where it leads…so why even start the process?