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Wednesday, April 8, 2015


diego rivera

I'm having a drink of half Canada Dry, half Jumex mango nectar and a squirt of lemon juice. The mango nectar is a bit flat; the Canada Dry spritzes it with carbonation, the nectar flavors the ginger ale, and the lemon juice adds a zip. Good drink. I'm glad we have a Mexican aisle in the grocery store. I like black beans and everything else along the aisle. I like seeing Mexicans in the grocery store and around town. I grew up with Mexicans and found them to be as good a people as the Anglo kids. Only the Mexicans did not have in them the arrogance of whiteness; thus, I preferred them. We were segregated then. Anglo kids were afraid of the Mexicans and the Mexicans were afraid of the Anglos. It was commonly understood the Anglo kids were superior in numbers, if no other way. I think I identified with the oppressed races because I was oppressed at home by white man. I knew that the white world would be willing to give me a chance for my whiteness, and if I, the same person, were in Mexican skin, it would not be the same. I did not feel right with the privilege that went with white skin. Never have. By this time in the life, a lifetime of experience seeing how arrogant white people automatically present themselves to black or tan people, I'm embarrassed in the company of someone black or tan. I want to say, "I'm not like that," but know how empty it sounds before saying it. And am not so sure I'm not like that. I only know it from my mind, not from my behavior as seen by someone black or tan. If I'm really not like that, let it show in my actions, the only place it counts.    

diego rivera

I am so tired of racial tension after a lifetime of living with it, in it, aware of it, not in denial, it's become one more of the reasons I left "the world" and came here to Air Bellows Mountain where racial tensions don't apply. Nor does any other sort of tension, except drama for the sake of drama. Plenty of that goes around. I prefer not to think so, but plenty of drama for drama sake goes on inside my head. It's what gossip is about. Even continuous drama on television does not supplant gossip. It seems like gossip is a way of making celebrity of the familiar. I'm recalling my first years in the mountains, listening to old man Tom Pruitt talk about different people, who, in our way of seeing, are just ordinary people, talk about them the same way people who watch movies and television talk about the stars, the celebrities. It struck me curious why, when he talked about a preacher who once lied about something Tom said, his reason he left his church, he talked like he expected me to know who he was talking about. He lost respect. He spoke of the preacher the same way people like Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher talk about lying Republicans. Louie Gohmert said, Joni Ernst said, Ted Cruz said. A celebrity said. Tom's brother, Millard, too, when he talked about the people of his life, I had the same feeling of listening to a celebrity talk about a celebrity I never heard of, but should have. The only television Tom watched was baseball and the news. He didn't get a tv until he was seventy, given to him by a neighbor from Away who believed everybody must have at least one. It's a sight how many used tvs I've been offered, even told in no uncertain terms to take.

It wasn't right, no tv in the house. I need to be connected to what is popularly called the real world, the world I turned my back to as too unreal to sustain life. A human without a tv was unexpected and weird as a rock on a fence post. It's even more now, but I have good camouflage. I bought a tv to watch movies with when so many movies became available on VCR. Netflix sends three movies a week of my choice from a selection of almost everything. One of my major sacrifices coming to the mountain was giving up movies. Had to drive seventy miles for an America movie, a hundred miles to see a foreign film. Now I can have film festivals from almost any country. The tv is not connected to cable, antenna or satellite. The people that freaked out because I don't have a tv in the house are ok about it now. He conformed at least a little bit. He's toeing in. He's slow, but he'll get there. When they put him in a nursing home, he will have no choice but to watch tv, like when he's in a hospital. I suspect the reason I noted how the old people of the old ways talked about each other, is taking it for granted I knew who they were talking about, the way Dick Cheney is mentioned on the evening news, assuming the name needs no introduction. Evidently, before television, people talked about each other the way we talk about celebrities now. We talk about each other and we're talking about people who don't figure as celebrities, what they call on the news, ordinary people. All who are not celebrities, whose names it is taken for granted we do not know, are the ordinary people. We used to be the common people. Now we're the ordinary.

diego rivera

Becoming aware that the people pre-television talked of each other as stars everyone knows, I began to take exception to we who live in the world of non-celebrities, nearly everybody, being reduced to a non-person, a statistic, the viewing audience, ordinary, finding it socially troubling. I watch the people of the world I live in accepting themselves as the ordinary to the point of not even noticing. And I withdraw to home, reminding self I'm not here to change anybody, only self. I want to flow with the living flow of the world I live in. Without wanting to be of it, I have no choice but to be in it. Since I'm in it, I live best flowing with it. My world is three-quarters right-wing statistically. but it doesn't mean a wall is between me and the rest of them. Everyone I know thinks different from how I think. All have opinions different from mine, and very few intersect with my opinions. I don't care, because I assess opinions the same as nothing. Some of my best friends want to bomb Iran and say Obama is a monkey. I don't care. It only tells me what they think about one subject neither of us knows anything about, but what we get from different propaganda sources. No matter where I live in America, I live among people with no interest in art, reading, poetry or foreign films. I talk with people of similar interests, and we never agree where opinions are concerned. One may say Picasso is the great artist of the 20th century, while another says Duchamp. Both for valid reasons. I'm uncomfortable with this time wherein we are expected to be in full check-list agreement with somebody or they don't like you, you get labelled. Whenever I hear somebody describe themselves, very liberal, it puts me on alert to watch everything I say.

diego rivera himself



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