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Monday, August 22, 2011


sons of the confederacy

Dropping sexual assault charges...Syrian security forces...Human Rights Council...rebels defeated by forces loyal to Khadafi...gunfire in the background. This is serious business. The News of the day. Before the news came on I was hearing about women with AIDS in Africa. Demonstrators killed in Syria. Russia hasn't been in the news for awhile. Seems they're due a bomb in a subway or a political scandal. What's weird is to be in Europe or anyplace in the world and watch the Evening News, in whatever language. To see how USA is represented would make militarists proud. I had to stop myself from knocking a man backward off his bar stool in a London pub some years ago for talking about the South, cued by my Southern accent, like he knew all about it, and he was talking television--slavery, all the cliches. It would have been so easy. I had to pull myself together and walk away, not wanting to spend the rest of my life as the American in an English prison. He made me plum hostile with just a tone of voice. I was told afterward, "He's just an asshole, don't let it bother you." Don't let it bother me! He was talking about my Mama!

The South really is peculiar, and nobody from outside the South knows the half of it. The South has a history quite different from the history of the rest of the country. It is the only part of the USA that has had war fought on its land since the Revolution. It is the only part of the USA to have been defeated by a much bigger force, and once defeated, driven into the dirt by Sherman burning the major cities of the South. The South shut completely down. And no help to get back up. USA is an unforgiving victor. The culture in the South since the Depression after the war lasted on into the 1960s when the New South began to emerge. The South has evolved its own culture over 150 years in poverty. All Southerners had a common enemy, Yankees. My memory may have it wrong, but I think it was Charlie Daniels sang the South is gonna do it again. I hear Yankees saying, "But the War is over." The Southern boys were defeated in the battles, but it hardened them as Southerners. The South still has a ways to go to get over the trauma of that war. Indians on reservations have a ways yet to go, too, to get over their culture's trauma. To tell a Southerner the Civil War is over is the very same as to tell an Indian the Indian Wars are over.

In the time of television kids grow up all over the country dressing in the same styles, and now in the time of facebook et al the style-conscious youth are doing the same trends around the globe. The young coming up on communications media, step by step as it comes along new, there is not much connection with the South or anywhere historically. From television on has been a culture vacuum. The idea was to have one homogeneous American culture, and what have we got? Guys sitting in recliners watching sports with beer and potato chips. Driving cars with 140+ on the speedometer and speedlimit 55, 70 max. We make and buy cars like the world is a racetrack. What I'm getting at, is we're out of proportion with the world we live in, don't even know it is a world we live in. The roads run through it. You have to go through it to get from one place to another. If it's not on a video screen, it's not real. That's where reality has shifted to: the tube. Now about everybody I know is carrying a telephone that is also a computer and a camera. They interact with it regularly. It calls with every kind of auditory possibility from the Tarzan ape call to Prince singing Why The Doves Cry.

I find it amazing what this rush of new communications gadgets is doing to us all around the globe. I don't mean doing to the bad, just doing. It's changing everything in a high speed train sort of way--a straight line full speed ahead. The whole 20th Century was about breaking down traditions all over the world, all traditions, everywhere. It's time to start all over. What that means I don't know, but what we're seeing is certainly the nature of it. I don't see it as something to like or dislike, worry about, or think I can control in any way. It's where we are together in a collective raising of consciousness since Prometheus was unbound and brought us hairless apes the gift of electricity. All that went before has to fall away, get out of the way, because over the course of a couple centuries everything in the world changes utterly. By the time we run out of oil, maybe we'll be advanced enough in electrical technology we won't need oil anymore. Just remember, whether you believe in God or not, God loves us.


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