Thoughts


This is a good talking points synopsis of what the economic justice movement is about.
Here’s a video of protester Anthony Adams doing a impromptu teach-in:

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Here’s some thoughts about how to improve the experience of life.
(Please add your ideas in comments!)

1. Exploring the joys of simplicity. Less is sometimes more. Less talk, less noise, less hurrying. Fewer possessions. Stepping away from shared resources of space, water, energy.

2. Courageously expressing yourself. The wisdom you’ve gleaned is important and will feel great to share. Release those talents and gifts. Enjoy your body, stand tall, celebrate you.

3. Exploring the new. Pursue novelty, strangeness, and step out into ‘first time experiences.’ Surprise yourself!

4. Seeing yourself in the larger picture. See your life in the context of a huge world history and the legacy you’ll leave behind. Larger views of humanity and history will ease temptations towards victim-mentality and self pity.

5. Being gentle to yourself and to others. We all fail. We all are conflicted, dynamic, paradoxical, and are doing the best we can. Make space for humanity. Allow yourself and others to ‘move at the speed of bodies.’

6. Remain inquiring. Expose yourself to new ideas, keep asking questions. Challenge authority. Inspect biases and uproot prejudices.

7. Accepting responsibility. Apologize, learn, move on.

8. Making choices. Be actional, decide. Put your personal stamp on each day.

9. Getting to the heard of life. Return to life, love, family, trust, creativity, art.

yesterday I walked into a labyrinth
it was daylight and there weren’t any walls
so I could see where I was going

some Christians (or some pagans they’d contracted)
had painted the serpentine lines in the shadows
of brownstones and stained glass

I stumbled, imbroglio bunions breaking loose
from their meditative lap track
if my concentration was NASCAR I’d have made the highlights

where I was and the ‘was’ where I’d been and the where
I was to be going churned into fairground funnelcake:
adrift and threadless

event horizon/center met
sacred heart and Ground
alchemical chemistry set
the whole and hole
forgotten goal
this too shall pass
all void regret
round and round
the widening gyre
everything alight
in unconsuming fire

and then I went home and slept

Dude.
Poison Ivy.
What is this plant’s fucking problem man?

Its like this plant takes it personal!
This plant does not play. 

I mean, damn!
This plant is cold hearted.

I can understand–like, this plant don’t want you chopping it down…
or pullin’ on its roots and shit–but seriously: this is ridiculous.

Like I can understand if I kicked this plant and got all up in its leaves and just like
got on a lawnmower and made a Chef Salad outta its ass but dude!
I just like walked by it for like a second! On tippy toe.
Like I’m tip toeing by this goddammed plant like its Baby Jesus Hisself straight up whisperin’
Shhhh! Don’t wake Baby!” I mean, c’mon plant! Damn.

You can’t even abide by me gettin’ within arm’s reach?
Even Venus Fly Traps let a fly chill out for a hot minute up in its sticky ass mouth!
But you all bad and stuff. You all Hot Shit up in this woods huh?
Mister Big Stuff.

I can understand if you just said: “Nuh uh. You gently touched me and now I’m gonna make you pay
for five hours. Make you remember my ass.”
I could at least see where you’re coming from.

But damn! Three and a half weeks of kickin’ my nature-lovin’ ass cuz you Mister Hot Shit Poison Ivy?

This don’t even make evolutionary sense.
I can see like seven thousand years ago you being like: “Okay, no more messin’ with poison ivy, bitches!”
and being like a tenth of the potency and callin’ it a mutha fuckin’ day.
But no.
You just hadda go nuclear on this planet’s ass.
What animal was still gettin’ up in the poison ivy seven thousand years ago that necessitated it to go from “I will make you want to die” to “I will make you want to die for three and a half weeks”?

Sheeit. Evolution don’t work that way nowhere else!
Even sharks stopped with razor sharp teeth!
You don’t see no shark with horns, wings, venom and cannons outta they ass!  

C’mon plant!
I mean…Damn.

Erica “Ricky” Sherover-Marcuse (1938-88) was a powerful activist for labor rights, feminism, and is perhaps most well known for her work in racial justice work. Sherover-Marcuse created and facilitated workshops and curricula called “Unlearning Racism” and was a brilliant Doctor of Philosophy whose lifework centered around the structures of social oppressions. Sherover-Marcuse wrote a greatly helpful piece called “Working Assumptions for White Activists on Eliminating Racism: Guidelines for Recruiting Other Whites as Allies” and I share it with you below: 

 

  1. Assume that all human beings desire warm, close relationships with each other. This is also true of you and of all other white people. 

  2. Assume that you are a regular white person (not an exceptional white person) and that all whites are good people, caring, intelligent, compassionate, and hard-working. 

  3. Recognize that we have much to celebrate about our histories and our diversities; we have rich traditions of music and dance, and proud histories of struggle. 

  4. Assume that all white people have undergone some variety of systematic conditioning or ‘training’ to take on the ‘oppressor role’ in relation to people of color. Sometimes this training has been to participate in acts of violence, or to join in racial slurs or jokes; sometimes this training has been to keep silent in the face of injustice. Sometimes this training has been to be ‘extra nice’ towards people of color … 

  5. Assume that no human being would have ever agreed to take on any aspect of an oppressor role if they had not first been mistreated or oppressed themselves- originally as young people, and in a variety of other ways. 

  6. Assume that no white person ever chose to acquire any of the conditioning or training and that every one of us attempted to resist taking on any aspect of the oppressor role. 

  7. Assume that the history of our own acts of resistance has been obscured and hidden from us and that many of us feel no pride in our own heritages and traditions. 

  8. Recognize that most whites in the United States and Canada have a history of immigrant oppression in which their own ethnic group has been the target of mistreatment at the hands of other white ethnic groups who were in a position of relative social power. 

  9. Recognize that all people need the acknowledgement that their liberation issues are legitimate. 

  10. Assume that in spite of the material rewards and preferential treatment that our society gives to white people, these ‘advantages’ do not offset the real costs of racism to us as human beings. 

  11. Assume that the conditioning which white people have undergone has been hurtful to us as human beings: it has betrayed our sense of ourselves, robbed us of close and trusting relationships with our families, given us a false picture of reality, isolated us from the majority of the world’s peoples, blunted our imagination, limited our vision, enforced a sense of powerlessness, hampered our ability to love. 

  12. Assume that at some level, all white people know this. Accordingly the task of the white activist is not to persuade or convince other whites of this truth, but to make their own buried awareness accessible to them. 

  13. Assume that the elimination of racism is in the real self-interest of all people. 

  14. Assume that all white people are eager to join in the project of eliminating racism and that appearances to the contrary are the result of feelings of despair and powerlessness caused by the individual’s own experiences of oppression and mistreatment. 

  15. Recognize how the temptation to classify other whites into ‘good whites’ and ‘bad whites’ is often a mechanism for perpetuating other forms of oppression such as classism and regional oppression. 

  16. Recognize that engaging in anti-racist activity commits us to the building of real connections with all people and functioning as allies for them. 

  17. Assume that white people (like all other human beings) will change their minds and let go of deeply ingrained attitudes and behavior patterns when1) they feel acknowledged and appreciated as individuals;

    2) they are listened to with complete respect on their own grievances and liberation concerns;

    3) they trust the person presenting the new perspective;

    4) the new perspective makes sense to them;

    5) they are not blamed for their prior conditioning or behavior.

  18. Recognize that recruiting other whites to join us is also an opportunity to learn from them, and that they have much to teach us.

 

Read More of Ricky Sherover-Marcuse’s Writings Here:
http://unlearningracism.org/writings.htm

As I was watching the ‘Twilight’ trilogy recently in a back-to-back marathon, I was struck by something
Ella said about vampires never aging…always appearing the same…

And it came to me that the actress Kristen Stewart could be describing herself on film.
Stewart’s Bella Swan is immortal. She will not age or change.

So I was wondering what ageless or death defying monster might best summarize the medium of cinema.

Is it ‘zombie’…? No, I think video games are zombie. Eating our brains, turning us onto their agenda of complete focus….


Or is cinema in fact vampire?…Alluring, sexy, enticing, beautiful. Staying in the ‘dark places’ of theatres?

Well, this post’s title may be a red herring because I think cinema is Frankenstein.
Cut and pasted, derived from past ideas and ‘bodies’ of work, cinema comes alive and can become the target of the mob’s projected fears.

More on the ‘cut and paste’ hodgepodge film medium at this great site:
http://www.EverythingIsARemix.info

In the Halloween spirit, I recently watched Predators and Twilight.
And I got to thinking about villians.
To me, a true villian is one who operates in a different but consistent moral frame than the mainstream.
A good villian is as three dimensional of an antagonist as the story’s protagonist.
To me, an important part of a good villian in film is their choices, yes–and also how they come to those choices.

In Predators and Twilight, we get ‘villians’ who I would suggest operate more as “forces of nature”.
And forces of nature are interesting, and their stories are important, but I got to wondering:
which is more scary? a force of nature or a villian? or are they just ‘different types of scary’?

Let me explain how I see forces of nature by citing some examples: Aliens, Jaws, Moby Dick, Zombies, Terminator, some Vampires.

So to Twilight. It is a horrible film. Why can’t anyone make eye contact? Why is the camera swinging around people in some vain effort of ‘gravitas’? It is a mumbling dreary Chilean mineshaft where unlike reality, no viewer comes out alive. Anywho…
We’re set up to believe that Bella is like the prime rib of humanity. She “smells good” to the point of being some panty sniffer’s Golden Calf. And that’s all we really know about Bella in the film other than she mopes, shakes her head and shoulders to convey every emotion, and has only her dim wits in a drearily witted school and ‘new kid on the block’ cred to keep her socially afloat. (I digress)
But James the Big Bad in the film is primarily attracted to her scent. It is only by the tacked on motivation of “upsetting Edward” (a fellow James presumably just met) that James is going to enjoy mowing down on some tasty Bella vittles.
He is a force of nature. He is a vampire, he wants blood, he wants the tastiest blood around. 
Do bears poop in the woods and ride tricycles at whip cracks? Naturally.

Predators is a movie again where the Big Bads are just an alien species who likes to hunt. 
You can almost imagine them thinking, “Sorry, ol’ chap. But I just got to admire your skull upon a stake.”
Predators are to skulls as Ash Ketchum is to Pokemon.

Are these folks no different than Jaws? Just folks out doing what they do…and it just so happens that what they do is munch on you. Does that make them more scary, less scary, or just different scary?  

And what is the characteristic that is missing from a ‘force of nature’ antagonist? Maybe that they cannot be reasoned with. By that measure, was Jack in The Shining a force of nature?

NPR carried a story recently about cinema’s function of creating and reflecting our fears:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130437185

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