Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chapter 40: In Which I Discuss New Developments

So, the assassination attempt in Arizona. The "liberal media" has been trying to turn this tragedy into an attack on conservatives and their, let's say, less than stellar political discourse. The Rush Limbaughs and Sarah Palins of the world have fired back, defending their right to spew hate speech, not even acknowledging that six people died. They're the victims here, in other words. I feel two ways about this:

1. Blaming this on conservative radio blowhards is strawman politics and complete BS. Individual responsibilty is huge and nobody made that asshole kill anyone but himself.

2. I'm glad somebody finally called them on their bullshit.

People like Glenn Beck and the other white millionares who stir hatrted are what we call "puppetmasters." Same as the rich planter aristocracy who supported the KKK from the 1860s until the 1980s. The whole point of their anti-immigrant, anti-people of color, hyper-militant bile is to stir up their base through fear. Its an old game: the rich manipulate the poor in order to protect their wealth. That's how you get stuff like poor white people bursting into town hall meetings, yelling and screaming and bullying and defending their right to not have healthcare. Fifty years from now, people are going to look at this period in time and laugh at the fact that that ever happened.

Again, this idiot is responsible for his own actions. However, your average conservative millionaire wouldn't mind if some whacko took a shot at Obama, just like they're completely nonplussed about the people who got killed and maimed in Arizona. I always find myself of two minds about things. Blaming others for anyone's individual decision is stupid. Still, it's good that somebody is finally on the warpath against these people. The only folks I can recall standing up to Limbaugh in recent history were, of all people, pampered NFL stars. He wanted to buy a football team, and the players actually said "No, we will not work for this racist." Please keep it coming. Please. The wealthy control the media and use it to target real people (Muslims and Latinos, as recent examples). I always like seeing a counter-strike.

The Jack Daniels Sessions EP

is on its way. I want a good look at it before posting it on Amazon, but we're looking at getting the copies within the next five days. By the next time you hear from me, the book will be in my hands.

Pittsburgh/The 60s

I am back home in Pittsburgh, taking care of some business. It's great. Seeing the hills and valleys all covered in snow still takes my breath away. I've been using this time to do research for three writing projects, all of which take place in the Steel City. One is a novella tentatively called "Queens of the Emerald Palace." Another is my upcoming podcast project, "Fort Liberty." The third is the dos-a-dos project I'm working on, for which I've been perusing circa-1970 yearbooks and newspaper clippings from Carnegie Mellon University, trying to educate myself about the college during this period.

One thing is certain: I have to write a series about the 1960s. One of my longterm goals is to do a trilogy centered around the '60s called the American Fairy Tales Trilogy. The '60s are an intriguing time in U.S. history that nobody seems to actually understand, and these yearbooks enforce that for me. Social upheaval was on everybody's minds. Everybody was talking about the Vietnam War. Everybody was talking about the rights of black people. CMU students were busy debating the worth of college in general, and the spectre of war is hanging over everything, with so many young men knowing their lottery number could be called. These newspaper articles are rife with fear and anger and uncertainty.

Dick Gregory wrote an essay around 1970 (by the way, an awesome one) about how the student is the "new nigger," with universities as plantations and profs as slave masters. The editors of The Tartan engaged in real dialect with this essay. Several issues featured editorials about it, and the word "nigger" was used a lot. And casually. This speaks to a time when the questioning of the status quo was so widespread that Dick Gregroy's article could affect many college students on a personal level. Nowadays, not a lot of people would care about it. I had to laugh when reading these editorials, because, when I was in college, The Tartan used the nigger-word in a comic strip and got in a lot of trouble. There was an outcry and the newspaper shut down for the rest of the year. Times change. The 2004 Tartan's use of nigger was in a post-modern, hipster racism bullshit kind of way with, like, a cartoon duck saying it for shock value or something. In 1970, not only could you bandy that word around casually in a college paper but *gasp* you could use it to actually have a dialogue about the world around you. Again, this time period is fascinating.

Also, I find the spectre of Vietnam intriguing. Ten years in, CMU students were pissed off about the war, and you can really feel their resentment. Baby boomers get a lot of flack for being a generation of selfish and narcissistic people. I don't know what makes them so inferior to, say, the American generation that enslaved black people or the one that was killing each other over poker games in Dodge City. Stir the pot of American history and you'll see plenty of excrement rise to the surface. Yes, the boomers dropped the ball, particularly in their dedication to social movements. However, people forget that this was a generation of men who were enslaved as disposable cannon fodder by their own parents. My generation doesn't even have to think about Iraq and Afghanistan, and the majority of us don't. That's some war on the other side of the world, fought by guys we never meet. My father's generation had a draft. They had to fight or go to prison. I wonder how they processed that level of disrespect and disregard. It had to have been hard. Having your life used so cheaply might make you become a drug addict. It might interest you in cheap and disposable sex. It might make you selfish. It might make you say fuck it, snort a bunch of coke in the 80s and buy a minivan, because you made it through America's War on Youth so hell yeah you're going to get your's when the time comes. These people were a slave army. Anybody born after that time cannot comprehend such a thing.

I'm going to write about it.

Anyways, I'm enjoying Pittsburgh. It's always good to be home.

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