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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

NEWS JUNKIE BY CHOICE

     robert motherwell
 


Keeping abreast of current events I'm finding leans me toward a rotten mood. An attitude develops that is in line with learning everything is wrong, nothing aint right. I see that when a slightly left leaning (leaning toward moderation) group of young people put on a demonstration, they get battered by cop "batons" that are very hard sticks for cracking skulls, and arrested, even when they're sitting down. It's irritating that right wing demonstrations where white men carry guns and make an uproar about taking out the government, the police look on in satisfaction that these guys are doing the right thing. Of course. Police like people who want police state. If you're opposed to police state, police hit you in the head with a very hard stick or beat the shit out of you with it. It's like "football hooligans" in the UK cut loose with bronze badges and black sticks. I'm just pointing out one source of irritation for me. The attitude that characterizes the state of mind brought on by listening to news regularly: "You know what burns my ass!" The teabaggers are people who listen to fiction on the Faux channel presented like drama and get themselves all worked up so when they speak, no matter what they say, it comes out with the same attitude of saying, You know what burns my ass! Constantly on a mission to vent about them no-good liberals (others) who like the Bill of Rights and have concerns beyond worrying about guns (penis size).

A few times at the coffee shop when the guys in a small group I'm engaged in conversation with start getting wound up and using this tone of voice that is way too involved in something with too little information, to break the spell I'll say, "You know what burns my ass?" They look at me with suspicion. I hold my hand about waist-high above the floor and say, "A flame about this high." It's light-hearted and makes the point---y'all are getting a little too involved over too little. It breaks the spell. The main reason I like to stop that too-much-engaged talk is it starts sounding like blustery genital insecurity. We all learn how to sound like we know what we're talking about when we're growing up. Everybody has their own style of sounding authentic. I don't like to get going with the attitude that I've got the last word on whatever it is, the hands-on-hips attitude. That comes when I reach the point where I won't be pushed any further. In the first year of the coffee shop an occasional teabagger would get going on a rant. Rant doesn't work in there. The ones partial to rant stop going in after they find nobody else wants to rant and nobody cares to listen to rant. This is one of the aspects of the coffee shop regulars I like. Nobody rants. And it's not all liberals. Rant is a cover up for not knowing what you're talking about.

The odd part is that so many of us are so close to the verge of rant --- the ones of us who pay attention to current events, a better word than news. News we associate with misrepresentation. Current events has as sense of photographable event in time and space. Like somebody drove their car off a pier by mistake and barely made it out alive. Or a certain number of people were killed by a drone strike. They don't tell on the news anymore about drone strikes. Early in the use of drones they told the body counts with pride. Killed so-and-so Taliban top dog sunbathing on the roof with his family. Took out the whole family. Shouldn't have been sunbathing with a known terrorist. The frequency of it started looking bad, the collateral damage (body count) added up to figures that became embarrassing. Now we hear nothing about drone hits, though we know they're going on every day. Paying attention to current events / the news puts this kind of crap in my head. There is so much of it that the interior of my head is an infinite collage of information from the dark side of humanity. We call it what's going on in the world. What's really going on in the world is people working every day at whatever they do, people doing the best they can to get by, people treating each other with decency and respect, people getting along with each other.

A lot of music is going on; radio is full of music. Everybody has their own personal music collection. I'm talking to myself about paying more attention to music than the news. Instead of turning on the news, put on a good cd by Mazzy Star and hear Faith Sandoval sing Fade Into You. It is so much better than the republican assault on democracy to fill my head with. Five Finger Death Punch would be better to listen to than any politician, including POTUS. When I think about it, I regard politicians the lowest form of humanity, yet I focus attention on them every day paying attention to current events. I'd be better off hearing what Carlos Santana had to say with his guitar than the young teabagger, Rand Paul, has to say with his lying tongue. But who do I spend my time hearing? Not Santana. I have several Santana cds. Why am I not putting them in the player? I hear them talk about rape and abortion and vaginas and viagra and every kind of thing between the legs, but never anything from an intelligent mind. So why don't I leave it off and read a biography of Federico Fellini or some Harold Rosenberg essays on abstract expressionism or some Louise Gluck poems? Instead of listening to how a fire killed several people and destroyed property, why don't I put on an album by Patti Smith or Burning Spear or Taj Mahal or Ole Belle Reed? I can pick up a book of poems by Constantin Cavafy that is within reach, or a book of poems by Nelly Sachs, also within reach.

And what do I do? I listen to mostly BBC radio news, American edition, and NPR, hearing about politicians, economy, teabaggers, Sarah Palin, Kansas preachers, Syrian army killing children, Israelis v Palestinians. The Israel lobby shut down journalist Helen Thomas over saying publicly that Israel is occupying Palestine. She was out and gone. I listen to the stories of screwed up white guys killing children. News of the random shootings by white guys in crowds of white people has superseded black gangstas killing black gangstas. Rape is the big news again this week. In place of a tv show called COPS about black guys getting arrested for anything, how about a show of white guys getting arrested for rape and call it KULE DOODZ, soundtrack by the Beastie Boys. Two CNN women reporters waxed all gooey about the two poor teenage boys who had so much promise until convicted of rape. Isn't it a shame those nice boys got such a bum deal. That is the laugh of the week. No mention of the girl. It's a good thing. They'd have probably called her out on being a slut. Admit it, byatch, you liked it. Both women acted like they couldn't imagine a girl not wanting to get poked by every guy at three frat parties. This is the stuff I allow into my head on a daily basis when I have a choice. I could have Murray Perahia playing Goldberg Variations in my own home in a minute, or Steve Reich's Music For Eighteen Musicians. I could be looking at a book of paintings by Robert Motherwell or Kurt Schwitters. What do I do? I listen to the news to hear what's the latest, what's happening, a cold blast of unreality inserted into my own personal reality telling me my world is not real; only the world of deception and money is real.


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