Archive for September, 2005

Zinn Sin


> “So you take requests? How ’bout an article on Howard Zinn, ginseng and the challenges of climate change and continual carnage?” — The author’s neighbor

One doesn’t come across titles like this in leftish circles for much of the same reason one doesn’t come across titles like “Bush Bullshit” in rightish ones. There’s too much hawking what’s hallowed ground in both cases.

Well, I venerate Howard Zinn as much as the next activist guy or gal. Truly. But one diff might be that I’m not a stiff about icons. HZ’s fair game for criticism…just like anyone else should be. And I neither think that the Left World will fall apart if attacks are made (on *anyone* in its circles), nor do I believe we can advance much unless we do seek improvement in *sacred quarters*.

Fact is, I’m sure the Zinn Meister would welcome what I have to say, encourage having the controversial blah blah that follows on the table.

In that spirit, I ask the reader to peruse the recent Tomdispatch interview with Zinn below, making special note of my boldfaced/capitalized comments. I trust that readers won’t think I’m *shouting* with the caps, as my form is for convenience only. Following the interview, I add a few addtional points.

The Arts, not Old Farts


> “If tomorrow we were to bring about that ‘One World’ which our benighted politicians dread so much, my choice of the leader to guide it would be Picasso. I would vote for him even if he were in his dotage. Certainly, at his worst Picasso could not make more of a mess of it than the humbugs who today regard themselves as the leaders of the world. Thus far we have never had an artist at the helm. Until we do, this sad and weary world of ours will never be anything more than the ass-hole of creation, Plato to the contrary.” — Henry Miller, 1966

When my long electro-shocked mother babbled on about “old farts,” criticizing the local politicians, PTA and putzes nationwide, I saw past her limitations…and absorbed the clarity of her very troubled mind.

All The King’s Fen


*Definition of fen: low land covered wholly or partly with water unless artificially drained*.

It’s also a monetary unit which some dopes drop on occasion with their walk or talk. Something I can pick up on.

Not laughin’ all the way to the bank (or in front of it), but sittin’ back –quite a distance from the building, quite quietly– with no reason to enter…unless I’m gonna steal somethin’ from there.

I’m not gonna *work* for the goddamn bank. These days I fancy I might kill first.

The Dark Party & The New Orleans Jazz Funeral


> “The end of a perfect death.” — Jelly Roll Morton

> “A party that in every real and figurative sense refuses to shelter the poor in a hurricane is unlikely to mobilize the moral passion necessary to overthrow George Bush, the most hated man on earth.” — Mike Davis

Mikey was talkin’ ’bout the Democrats, but he might as well have been talkin’ ’bout every other party in existence too. For what it would take to truly *shelter* the poor from the slings and arrows…they are all built to shirk.

So I give you The Dark Party.

Blondes need not apply. Blonde as in flaxen-minded. [1]

“Black Jackson waxed the linoleum
Spread out the frills
For all the Chromium
People who came to the Vanderbilt Mansion to dine.”

Orleans’ Saint Louis Cemetery II: Landmark Lesion Lesson


elysian fields

>”They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at — Elysian Fields.” — Blanche Dubois from *A Streetcar Named Desire*

Prior to Katrina the juxtaposition of life and death in New Orleans was nowhere more apparent than in the contrast between Saint Louis Cemetery II and the Claiborne Avenue Overpass. The graveyard’s dead silence was constantly interrupted by the hum, rumble and screech of 21st century traffic. Now something else has been interrupted.

And business as usual must be interfered with more in the coming days. If not, the catastrophe will be co-opted like 9/11 was, and/or American Alzheimer’s will take over.

I’ll give you directions.

The Afrodome Drone


Mau Mau

Psst! You gotta come in here, this way. Shhh. Yah, this is the backdoor, but we’re all brothers. Lights out, Elmwood.

This here’s Ismail. Just came in by boat — a perfect time, ey? — from Haiti. Ain’t the only one either, if you catch my drift. Yah, no one’s gonna be pushin’ for no documentation. “Used to live on Main Streeet,” you say…”everythin’ got washed away.”

See, we’re glad you’re here, hope you’ll recruit some other of your nat’chral kind ’cause all that shit’s in, on the scorecard. What? The nuclear shit. All that about how they didn’t know what was gonna come down, couldn’t predict the scenario. They’re gonna be sayin’ the same thing after all these other places are made uninhabitable. Truly uninhabitable.

From Astrodome Refugee Interviews: One Black Note


At 8400 Kirby Drive in Houston the Astos no longer play…but the scorecard just came in with the busloads from New Orleans. No mere bleating this time.

The arrivals are almost all dark-skinned, hoary and hoarse with the endless pains. Very plain issues. But the single biggest buzz among our newest wetbacks (blacks) is that the Bush administration diverted repair $$$ from the Dead City’s levee improvement kitty, making the avoidable inevitable. For Iraq funding…and “security.”

The Big Queasy


Let’s ease into a new kind of Labor Day.

But before the Gumbo Aftermath is Secondary News, you should use the math before you. Do the math regarding this nauseating, hazardous, full of doubt dilemma, destruction.

Instruction won’t help. Neither will false solidarity, hope, numbers which don’t exist.

Whilst Norman Solomon urges us to write to authorities protesting the presence of the LA and MS National Guard in Iraq,and Amy Goodman outlines ad nauseum the environmental racism which Katrina has exposed, the Cindy Sheehanites prepare to put the lights out in DC.

Really? A rising up? Do the math. And not afterwards.