Truth to Power

Damn it!  I thought I was going to be clever and upload a bunch of
tunage to my poorly maintained web site:

But either I’m out of space and/or AOL just sucks.  That means
that I have to find space where I can put big files for
downloading.  That way I can throw a whole bunch of junk up
there.  More content, less quality.  How’s that for a segue
to this … I’m working on another song that I like so far.  i
just don’t have any idea where to go from here.  It’s got a
structure, acoustic bass, drum part in place, Rhodes track.  Got a
nice little groove to it but now what??  I need to listen to some
music to get some inspiration.

Something made me think of how historical events affect the personality
and psychology of an entire society.  I watched two Hiyao Masaki
movies this weekend.  “Castle in the Sky” and “Naussica of the
Valley of the Wind”.  If you’ve watched much anime you’ll
recognize a few themes.  It’s fatalistic.  Something is
always being destroyed even if there’s a happy ending.  There’s a
poignant loss and a loss of innocence.

The Masaki movies, I realized, recall the bombings of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki.  That’s what a good portion of that country’s psyche is
about.  I’ve often wondered — forgive me for being ignorant and
offensive (a bad combination) — how a people could go from the brutal
nobility of the fuedal age of the samurai warrior to “Hello Kitty”,
online suicide clubs, tamagachi, repression mixed with perversion, self
hatred, and shame, all while continuing a rigorous sense of discipline and
honor.  And I say say self hatred because of what I see in
Japanese animation — the obsession with European features.  After
WWII there was a political leader whose name I can’t remember that
promised if people voted for him and worked hard they would become
tall, blond and blue-eyed.

And in these films you see the psychology of catastrophic
destruction.  The hero is always rising from the ashes, literally
and figuratively.  Demons, ghosts, ghouls, dark sexual
imagery.  As if to say that destruction can come to you instantly
and you will battle with the dark things in this world.  Sometimes
you’ll win and sometimes you won’t.

I would say that slavery still has an effect on African
Americans.  Sure, it was officially ended in 1865, but it led
directly to the continuance of racial terrorism and segregation and the
Jim Crow era, which ended in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  They are not
separate events.  Jim Crow was just the ubiquitous, defanged (but
still clawed) version of slavery.  It was illegal to teach Black
people to read.  The crushing poverty of slavery was passed on
generationally.  And we were kept in our proverbial place through
the law of the land, despite great advancements by some.

Militaristic, wealthy, religious … slavers.  Christian,
socio-economic … apartheid.  Decades later, how does that affect
the psyche of the United States of America?  Who are we today?


Today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, which was yesterday
and will be celebrated today around the country.  Not here at my
work venue, though.  Da gubment gives the day off but not this

So what can I say that I haven’t said ad nauseum?  Did you see
“The Boondocks” last night?  The episode was a “what if”
episode.  What if MLK woke from a coma after decades to modern
culture?  It was sad but poignant, culminated with Dr. King
yelling, “Would you ignorant niggas please shut the hell up!”

My favorite line from the show, “And I may not get there with you.  I’m going to Canada.”

I would like to request from everyone here that you not pay attention
to the mass media version of Dr. King.  It’s such a white-washed,
meaningless parody of a deep and complex man.  It makes me sick to
hear the “I have a dream speech” played every single year, time after
time.  An idyllic vision of peace and harmony isn’t what got him
killed.  It was when he said that it’s not about civil rights or
African American rights, it’s about human rights.  The rights of
all the poor and overlooked and the blight of economic injustice. 
And that we need a revolutionary change in society.  And that the
Vietnam War was an immoral war.

I don’t know if you’ve had the chance to read his “Letters from a
Birmingham Jail” in which he chastises the church for standing by
during all the racial injustice.

But imagine if King had lived and had done for economic equality what
the Civil Rights movement had done for racial equality, such as it
is.  Employment, education, health care, living wages.  That,
in my opinion, is what got him killed.  It threatens the notion
that the power brokers of this country have that democracy and
capitalism require a plutocratic, oligarchic hand.  The founding
fathers believed that the masses were too ignorant to truly participate
in managing the republic.  Sounds familiar to me.

So for every time you hear someone pander with the now hollow-ringing
“I have a dream” clip — the visionary rendered powerless and turned
cliche — please find someone or some outlet that makes an effort to
challenge and to educate.  To not forget, in other words.

And if you happen to be on a street named after Martin Luther King …
keep ya head up.  And watch out for stray projectiles.  The
dream has been deferred.

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