Photo: Dave Tompkins
The Trump sign stood offscreen in the scrub, appointed to an unfinished home on Tingler Avenue in Marathon, Florida. No roof, just scudding clouds framed by crossbeams. It was as if the stake had been pounded into the lot before the slab had even been poured. First things first: get it on cheap paperboard. On the beach nearby, four men talked over one another about the electability of real estate. They’re deep in their tans and cups, buzzing about their candidate’s ground game. It was only February but the heat pressed for summer. Down by the water, the landscape itself screamed: faces in the oolitic rock that had been there all along, terrified by history. You didn’t have to look too hard—see one and the others join its hysteria. Their features are produced by erosion and rock-boring sponges, “solution holes” that form eyes and mouths. Inside the mouths, armored chitons read the sky with eyes of stone, their shells composed of hundreds of crystalline aragonite lenses, hundreds of views, each perspective also eroding. In the beach chairs, the conversation grew more animated, accumulating property. The water gurgled. Bubbles popped. You hear what you want to hear, or you try to drown it out with something else.
Two days and several worlds later, I’m in Miami, home of the empty home of Steve Bannon, where he was illegally registered to vote for his future employer. Also home to 2016’s best film Moonlight, which stands for what Trump’s chief counselor wishes to silence. As Samuel R. Delany once wrote, “There are times when all the yellin’ and the hellin’ can’t fill the lack.”
The scream is digitally transferable, from master tapes to a computer in a small studio owned by Andrew “Le Spam” Yeomanson. Recorded in 1993, by Palm Beach County’s Splack Pack, the scream is a stem, a part of a song disbanded into its constituents. Alone, it’s merely trying to tear the room in half. Or maybe it’s just trying to holler at Ozzy (circa “Crazy Train”) and a man from Broward County identified as Sir Knight Slime Nasty. Using indoor voices, this could be a simple “hi.” Then it sits on a thumbtack. Throw in some congas getting their hide tanned and a massive pressure wave of tropically warm feelings. It sounds so good that you almost forget what you’re not hearing: the other stems that made “Scrub Da Ground” a hit in the clubs, where women could reclaim themselves from the title’s kitchen-floor grind, owning dance floor and the song. Recalled one YouTube viewer, “I remember letting it be known this WAS my song. And refused to dance with anyone because I needed this one ALONE.” Read More