Before Meeting Mike Farrell, The Man

SPECIAL NOTE: I got up about 3:30am… the day after attending Mike Farrell’s appearance (which I was anticipating in the piece below)… regretting how I approached Mike and the audience during Q&A. As I spoke, I should not have harbored any delusions about Mr. (”Human Rights”) Farrell joining hands with me over the death penalty issue in California… or anywhere else. That made me hold back, I believe. I should have spoken to him as if I were speaking to Obama himself… making it much more difficult for him to maintain the notion that Obama is NOT a war criminal, NOT a perpetuater of torture… and worse. A proper presentation of the facts would have given the Obama supporters there a better opportunity to question their allegiance. Delineating his most egregious human rights violations more carefully. As it was, I think I simply ended up enabling Mike… to solidify his grating persona, his — with Obama’s — compounding of ignorance with ignorance. Fail. Fail again. Fail again better. At one point Mike mentioned that he had read a Thomas Friedman article. Oh my goodness, I should have screamed something out at the top of my lungs, and stormed out if necessary. At another point he spoke of Obama’s guy Richard Holbrooke… as if he had some hope invested in him. I should have memorized and spouted out Edward Herman’s characterization as per I should have memorized and shouted out every word of, and forced the Capitola Book Cafe to drag me away under police escort. Or, at the very least, have interrupted Mike’s dismissive response (”I don’t always agree with Chomsky, and I’m not going to debate a proxy.”), and let the audience know that I had definitive documentation concerning Obama’s ongoing torture available for interested parties. Why didn’t I immediately cite Paul Street, William Blum et al.? Mike kept urging people to push Obama, but how can one push someone down the right Human Rights road who has given his imprimatur to our use of cluster bombs, depleted uranium and predator drones? I failed, but, alas, I’m afraid that I’m… a different kind of flower. Not meant to bloom in the way I wanted. [Pause.] On one of the saddest notes of the night, I realized that not a soul from Death Penalty in Focus — and I had attempted contact with many members of Mike’s baby — chose to contact me regarding my claim to have created a new paradigm for abolishing capital punishment in California. As I write, it’s hard not to think of that group as the “human rights’ equivalent of Nature Conservancy, an environmentally conscious organization — supposedly — which is quite disingenuous, to say the least. [Pause.] Oh, this world.
Before Meeting Mike Farrell, The Man

Lambs that learn to walk in snow
When their bleating clouds the air
Meet a vast unwelcome, know
Nothing but a sunless glare.
Newly stumbling to and fro
All they find, outside the fold,
Is a wretched width of cold.

As they wait beside the ewe,
Her fleeces wetly caked, there lies
Hidden round them, waiting too,
Earth’s immeasureable surprise.
They could not grasp it if they knew,
What so soon will wake and grow
Utterly unlike the snow.
— Philip Larkin’s First Sight

“The greatest crimes are caused by surfeit, not by
want. Men do not become tyrants in order that
they may not suffer cold.”
— Aristotle

Tonight at the Capitola Book Cafe, the L.A. Times “Person of the Year” actor Mike Farrell (MASH, Providence, etc.) will be talking about his new book (Of Mule and Man). I will be there with a couple of angels I just met… trying to lure Mike into my TOSCA plan (Taking Over the State of California as per Either prior to his speaking or during the obligatory Q&A.

I pray that I won’t screw up. The TOSCA idea deserves a proper presentation. I will NOT be satisfied with Beckett’s “Fail. Fail again. Fail again better” mantra. No, tonight I must be spot-on. This is a matter of life and death for too many, for far too much. It is time. [Pause.] If I am right… this will come to pass.

Mike Farrell, Mike Davis, Derrick Jensen, Wallace J. Nichols, Lierre Keith, Angela Davis, Harvey Wasserman, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong or his wife Adrienne et al. Maybe they are the people who can form the first coalition to serve — collectively — as Governor of California. If not, there are others. Of all colors, all genders… but of one heart. Non-politicians, citizens not corrupted overly much by career considerations.

They will change the world, starting in California. With abolition of the death penalty.

That corner in the activist realm is Mike’s meat, or zucchini as the case may be.

As I approach him… I know that I’ll be partly frozen by the fact that his colleagues at Death Penalty in Focus — for far too long — have not responded to my inquiries. That related groups which their site provides links for… have dropped the ball on that count too. But I will warm up. I will not do a disservice to… the TOSCA proposal.

Also, I pray that Mike won’t turn out to be one of those individuals who is attached to the idea of the Prius (”Mike Farrell drove himiself across the country with a rental Prius nicknamed Mule as his only companion, on a book tour and campaign for social justice.”). Technology will not save us. Only an insight which makes us recoil in horror at the unnecessary taking of life will.

‘Look! The Rocky Mountain Institute has a car that can get 100 miles to the gallon!’ Yeah? So fucking what? Where will the steel and plastic come from? What about the asphalt? And the main problem is that if we’re building for cars — or truck factories and so on — we can’t build for human and other biotic communities: cars require the exact opposite.” — from What We Leave Behind

Forgive my use of language, but you see… to abolish the death penalty we’re going to have to not only deal with obviously related issues like our War Machine, but with not so commonly addressed connections… such as the myths of technology. Simultaneously.

Oh my goodness. [Pause.] He won’t be one of those people hypnotized by Obama, will he? Obama… who supported the death penalty in speeches prior to his election. He won’t be of a mind that he can finesse such contradictions, will he? If he were part of our group, or actually the figurehead for the “Governor of California” coalition, he would help the public to self-educate… repeatedly, forcefully and creatively — wouldn’t he? — inform them that corporate crime must be a far greater focus of our concern than petty theft, yes? [Pause.] Oh, there are so many necessary sinews, ripples…. So many questions, so many angles. Such serendipity demanded.

That’s asking a lot. That’s doing Don Quixote quite a turn. But they are essential connections to be made, and the stakes could not be higher. And we must play. This is the moment which will not come again.

I pray Mike is not The Man. I pray he is The Man.

Blessings in solidarity,
Richard Martin Oxman
A community is infinitely more brutalized by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime.” — Oscar Wilde (who was not a Man on Automatic Pilot, a man who loved The Child in all of us.)