Ian Svenonius has led an incredible string of bands over the years — Nation of Ulysses, the Make-Up, Chain and the Gang — but the D.C. punk frontman’s bibliography is slowly catching up with his discography.
If you’re smart enough to have made room for his work on your shelves, Svenonius might consider you an ally in the fight against Apple’s cloud-based “anti-stuff” ideology. As he writes in his latest book, “The hit TV show ‘Hoarders’ (A&E) identifies people with things as socially malignant, grotesque, primitive, dirty, bizarre. In a word: poor. Apple has turned the world upside down in making possessions a symbol of poverty and having nothing as a signifier of wealth and power.”
That kind of anti-authoritarian, half-winking intelligence fills every page of “Censorship Now!!,” Svenonius’s newest collection of essays. To answer your first question, yes, he really argues for censorship in hopes that it will “stop the radio from spewing its vomit” and prevent the mainstream media from creating “a fantasy version of world events and the intellectual framework for mass murder.” And to answer your second question, yes, he is serious — but also maybe not, in that Svenonius’s writing always has blended academic bluster and conspiracy theory into a sophisticated and singular brand of satire that ultimately points toward the truth.
And while putting a copy of this book on your nightstand would be a sign of good taste, who cares about good taste? Are you willing to be seen reading a book titled “Censorship Now!!” in public? If so, your skin might burn with funny glances from squares, scolds and looky-loos. But on the inside, you’ll feel your brain throbbing as it swells to accommodate some hilarious, absurd and radical new strategies on how to live in our ridiculous world.
Ian Svenonius will discuss “Censorship Now!!” on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St. NW. 202-387-7638. www.busboysandpoets.com. Free.