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Death, Taxes and Empathy (Part 1)

by NCN

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NCN Intro 02:04
Soup Du Jour 04:18
NCN Outro 00:09


Ever wish that there were some agency or service that would wade in to the 'din' of the media environment at large, hunt down and research all those underground DIY cut-up collage remix projects that people all over the world are doing on their own, for fun, the kind that pop up in your social media feed now and again, finding the best ones so that you don't have to, and then weave all of them into a coherent, meaningful and sonically pleasing psychedelic long-playing, topically consistent program you can then sit back, relax, listen to and enjoy at your leisure?

Well, that is where The National Cynical Network comes in.

And we do it for you for free.

Why? Because we like to.

Our associate and colleague, Dave Emory, the long-time, veteran 'anti-Fascist researcher' and broadcaster at our old stomping grounds, historic college radio station KFJC, once said in an interview that he considers himself to be a 'journalistic, step-up transformer'. Said Emory, "I take information that is on the public record already... and make it more widely known". Our project, The National Cynical Network, or NCN, finds itself doing much the same thing, but acting more as a 'sonic step-up transformer', (often, like Emory, in opposition of Fascism), thus creating time-capsule programs, sort of like collaged 'photo albums' made up of 'snapshots' taken from around the media landscape at any given time.

One such time, is the historic period that we are living through now, when this program 'Death, Taxes and Empathy', which has been months in the making, is being released: roughly one week before the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election between candidates Joe Biden and the sitting President, Donald J. Trump. In this work, we seek to capture the zeitgeist of this time as best we can both journalistically, as well as artistically and humorously.

The goals of the NCN project has largely been threefold: to entertain, to document, and to creatively express. The fact that our logo is a psychedelic remixed sendup of the CNN logo is not altogether an accident. We are in part journalists (also, like Emory) though often reporting ON the news and the media itself from our perspective outside of 'the din'. We present our meta-journalistic and artistic offerings twice a week on our live stream, with the distilled 'best of the best' winding up here or on our podcast.

Though our perspective is subjective and psychedelic, the subject matter we gravitate toward tends to be universal and topics we can all relate to. So, you get the best of both worlds at the same time with NCN. The big world we all share, and the small world of Phinny's unique if not slightly disturbed, view of it all. And if you're not at least a TEENSY bit disturbed by what all's going on in the world today, there's probably something wrong with you.

Since March of 2020, we have been doing quite a lot of shows about the coronavirus or the covid-19 virus, because, well, it's about as universal a topic as you can get. Only those indigenous group of people living on that remote island who are thought to have had no contact with the rest of the human race for thousands of generations, and who kill anyone from the outside world who tries to approach them, THEY are the only ones on the planet who are totally unaffected by covid-19. But the rest of us have to deal. And we also often have to deal with incompetent, self-serving, corrupt, and just downright insane governments and politicians who are supposed to keep the public at large healthy and safe.

Enter one Donald J. Trump. Tax cheat, New York State real estate grifter, con man, former reality TV show host, and, at the time of this writing, also The President of the United States. Since even before the Presidential election of 2016 when he was elected, we have been collecting and presenting DIY examples of cut-ups, collages, remixes, sendups, parodies, take-offs, put-ons, and put-downs of Trump that you just won't find in the regular mainstream media. Many can be thought of as post-modern protest songs. And certainly there is a lot from the mainstream in our mixes too. Let's face it, his Presidential public life, front to back, has been a boon for the late night talk show comedy circuit alone. He just, on a daily, if not hourly, basis gives them so much to work with. The man is a veritable LULZcow of unintentional humor which requires daily milking. Personally though, we at NCN would give up all the LULZ just to get our country out of the hands of insane idiots. Until that happens though, let's just say it is what it is.

We have been collecting material for 'Death, Taxes and Empathy' since March of 2020 with the bulk of the work, material and inspiration coming together in the last couple of months before the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. It focuses early on in the program upon some notable gaffes, insanities and distractions made by Trump during the crisis, proceeds to analyzing the depth and breadth of Trump's tax troubles, and spends about an hour digitally de-constructing the first of the official debates between Joe Biden and Trump.

Part Two of the program gets into the violent nature of The Proud Boys organization, voter intimidation in the upcoming election, the dangers of Fascism and Totalitarianism, a long Melania Trump set, as well as other surprises notably culminating in our dramatic treatment of the event of Trump contracting covid-19, himself and beyond.

Much of our mainstream representation of current events, as of late, is shown through clips from the efforts of 'late night' comedy shows which combine jokes and skits with news and information and thus might be the only way to keep up with what's going on nowadays which DOESN'T lead to chronic insomnia, a nasty vodka habit, and a much-needed prescription for Xanax. We are particularly enamored of the smart AF, snarky, acerbic wit and consistently impeccable delivery of 'A Closer Look' on Seth Meyers' 'Late Night' show (heard throughout the program almost as a Greek Chorus) which not only delivers hilarious comic relief in its take on painfully dismal headlines, but also provides biting, thought-provoking and incisive commentary on what is being reported on that you might not get through traditional 'serious' TV news sources.

The Youtube channel for Late Night with Seth Meyers is here and we recommend subscribing to it:


Another deep debt of gratitude goes to the incredibly talented Randy Rainbow (yes, actually his real name) who is now a gay cultural icon in his own right on the Internet and beyond what with his upcoming memoir, his live stage show, and of course his self-produced and exquisitely rendered song parody videos that quite often have Trump in their crosshairs and almost always gloriously and satisfyingly hit the target spot on. Most of Rainbow's songs literally make us weep with happiness to listen to them not only because they achieve such a high level of note-perfect technical proficiency (this lady can SING!) as well as a delightfully barbed Tom Lehrer-esque economy of language and sophistication in their lyrics, but also because he is almost always simultaneously able to hit the artistic 'trifecta' of beauty, truth and GOODNESS in his songs that is truly moving, remarkable and breathtaking. Somehow, the man not only does all of this, but he's able to somehow make them fucking hilarious as well. I mean, is it okay to say that Randy has achieved DIVA status?? Attempts at reaching Randy to get permission to put his songs in our programs were unsuccessful. He may have been too busy to respond, or may have been a bit put off by us publicly declaring our love for him (in the words of SCTV's Lola Heather we want to 'BEAR HIS CHILDREN!'). Maybe we should have said we love his 'work'. *Ahem* But is the joy of our lives to share it with you and with those who may never have heard it. We do not consider it a piracy but rather a proselytization. But if he does find out about his inclusion in this project, we hope he will respond with a 'sure, whatever girl'.

The Youtube channel for Randy Rainbow is here and we recommend subscribing to it:


But whether you are Seth Meyers, or Randy Rainbow, or Vic Berger, or any of the other artists we've included in our sonic photo album for the ages, we hope that you will get a kick out of our program. We are attempting to capture a cultural conversation here, and preserve it, such as it is, for the ages. We are saying of all the voices herein that these are all interesting, worthwhile and important parts of that conversation. That conversation is meaningful to us. And so this program is the result of our effort in expressing that meaning to others. We hope that you will find it meaningful as well.


We recommend...

1. Not listening to it online. At least, not the tracked version on Bandcamp. Download the whole thing (you don't need to pay anything, but any contribution toward the work and expense of putting it together is appreciated) and listen to it, parts one and two, on a player such as Winamp or VLC, from first track to the last, but make sure that you listen to the tracks SEQUENTIALLY, not at random. Also, make sure that your playlist is playing the tracks GAPLESS with no pause between the tracks whether playing it on a CD-player or on a PC. Take breaks at the station ID's. 6 hours is a long time to listen.

2. Listening to it with headphones. Don't listen to it on speakers especially if you are at work because there's a whole NSFW 'WAP' thing early on that might get you in trouble. Also, Trevor Noah says the N-word at one point. Use Listener discretion. For the best listening experience choose a lossless format for the files (either .flac or the larger .wav format) which deliver superior sound quality. Some of the source files we've used are lossless so this makes a difference in some spots.

3. A good sativa.

If you are burning this 3-hour program (Part 1) to CD-R's we recommend the following scheme:

CD 1: Tracks #1-7
CD 2: Tracks #8-13
CD 3: Tracks #14-20

The National Cynical Network, in association with The Church of the SubGenius, produces shows that are creative DJ mixes about topical and universal subjects in a subjectively psychedelic, experimental and stream-of-consciousness format. We usually webcast Thursdays and Sundays 10pm-1am EASTERN through nationalcynical.com/webcast and are relayed on DFM out of Amsterdam for the Sunday Night show at dfm.nu.

More programs of our's such as this are available at our Mixcloud page at mixcloud.com/pnarco or by taking the 'Archives' link at nationalcynical.com or by subscribing to our podcast through that archives link or at Apple podcasts at podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/national-cynical-network-archives/id390046328. Many are available for download in several formats including lossless at our archive.org page at archive.org/details/@phineas_narco?sort=-date.

Our Facebook Page: facebook.com/nationalcynical

Our Twitter: twitter.com/nationalcynical

Note: This program is meant to be listened to, and taken, as a whole work, artistic in nature. Subsequently, more derivative tracks are not available separately. All derived and referenced material used herein is meticulously accredited and/or fragmented / transformed / re-contextualized, and/or remixed from its original form, and is used fairly as a cultural reference in the subtext, and creative narrative, of this unique 'syntopical' arrangement. Any proceeds are not intended for profit and are considered donations to express appreciation for, and to help support, the expense and work that goes into the creative project this program is a part of, and are not a prerequisite fee in exchange for content.

If you value this programming and would like to see it continue, you may support the work and expense behind it by making a donation at nationalcynical.com/donate or by becoming a patron for as little as $1 per month at patreon.com/nationalcynical. Thank you for your support.


released October 28, 2020

In order of initial appearance: Meri Amber; They Might Be Giants; Jonathan Coulton; Richard Cheese; Cardi B; Pink Buddah; Maestro Ziikos; Donald Trump; Eclectic Method; Editator; Post Malone; Mad Reindeer;Chris Tucker; Randy Rainbow; Talking Heads; CBS Los Angeles; Seth Meyers; Jimmy Kimmel; WTFBrahh; Founders Sing; The Kinks; Vic Berger; Don Caron; Such Is Life Videos; Jonathan Mann; Seven Bowie; à-bas-le-ciel; The Gregory Brothers; Kill Mr. DJ; Rage Against The Machine; Beyoncé; Pharrell; Raphael Bertazi; The Beatles; Stephen Colbert; Fallon; Counting Crows; Taylor Swift; Lonely Tylenol; American Tea Party Idiots; VICE News; Trevor Noah; YT Pewp; Robert Reich; The Lincoln Project; Beau of the Fifth Column; Ivan Stang




The National Cynical Network San Jose, California

The National Cynical Network (NCN) is a long-running, SF Bay Area alternate programming media remix project. It originally consisted of a trio of SF Bay-Area based radio collage artists: Phineas Narco, Ronald Redball and Alexander T. Newport. NCN seeks to play *with* music , using sound, and video media samples in the process of media collage or 'mediage'. ... more

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