I had written up a long essay focusing on society's tendancy to absolutely ignore the problems regarding globalization to the point where the denial can only be considered a psychiatric issue. Instead of posting it I decided to just cover a couple of points that were in it and save the rest for another day.
Within the past few months a major hurricane nearly wiped out an American city. Now that the scenes of carnage are no longer extreme and the sound bits about poor people being used to living in horrible conditions have past so has the public's attention. Just as a car bomb in Jordan or Egypt or Iraq is just another car bomb, just as a school shooting is now just another school shooting, just as another chunk of ice the size of Delaware slipping into the ocean is just another chunk of ice... Where are we going?
In Pakistan an earthquake of epic perportions flattened town after town. There's a good article in Rolling Stone about where the poor people of that nation are. One short passage of the article states "The world watched the corpses pulled out of the rubble, sent a check (maybe) and said its prayers, and mistakenly assumed the worst was past."
Most of that magazine is full of ads, some even interactive, prompting you to purchase a music player through pop-up style promptions. The article after that was in regards to extras on the Star Wars DVD. Even the internet article has ads for a Garth Brooks CD and new video game releases. In that article there is a story about a woman needing transportation to a hospital. The fifty dollars worth of their currency needed to get there was far beyond what she could even imagine obtaining. Another man needed an operation and was given the luxery of Tylonol. He was sure to die and by now has been buried in a mass grave for sure.
The hundreds and hundreds of dollars on the average shopping list (hell, even thousands for some people), money spent on plastic crap for people who will enjoy it for the moment then toss it out or add it into their pack-rat style of possession collection... that money could save many many lives.
I went to Wal-Mart on Buy Nothing Day. The crowd was intense. The way people moved, the way people talked, the speed at which the system was pounding pushed the adrenaline through my veins, and I was only there to watch. I couldn't imagine being one of the people waking up at 4 am to go out on the battlefield of aisles and full parking lots, the muzac interrupted by announcements on how many minutes are left on the next level of sale. Right before I left there was an announcement that one of those major sales was being extended an hour. All the cashiers cheered in an obviously planned gimmick to get more stuff in the carts. It's a drug.
I bought something on Buy Nothing Day later on while at a discount store down the street. I'm letting you know this so you don't think I'm preaching from some high alter saying "Shame on you! You should burn in hell!" I needed a hammer. And while I got the hammer for a house project I saw chocolates in the impulse buy section by the cash register. I bought the chocolates as well. And there was a coffee cup warmer. When I read a book I'll forget about my coffee and it'll often get cold far before I even get a quarter of the way into it.
I rationalize just like the person who says "I need my Hummer" and like the person who says "It's my right to buy tons of plastic crap from Wal-Mart!" This is something we have to work through. An addiction we all have. Buy Nothing Day has come and gone, but you can have your own any day you like. Mine is today, and I might have another tomorrow.
Detox yourself. Spend a dollar to help your less fortunate neighbor, whether he's dying in Pakistan this winter or if he's got no place to go for Christmas dinner.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
-Clay for the ACIN
When Andre Agassi was the hottest tennis player to exist back in the 1990s, he made a Nike commerical. One of the slogans that became sort of a motto for him at the time was: Image is everything. I think that became the company's self-fulfilling prophecy, because these days in the entertainment industry, image is truly everything, especially when it comes to the music.
Why do I choose to focus on the musicians or lack there of good singers and songwriters? Because I'm sorry to say, but it's in baaaaad shape.
I've got a couple artists as my myspace friends that I really like because they write great songs and they have a great ear for music:
The music industry will and is following this same path. It's just a matter of time until we hear more established speakers speak out, and better songwriters come into gear.
(Untitled) by John Henry
Lately I have been looking at the power a social movement can wield, and power can be a scary thing. It can be good or bad. Actually, at one stage or another in the lifespan of said movement; it is both. Labor Unions were an absolute necessity back in Samuel Gompers day, [Look him up] and the concept of organized labor groups is still needed at times, but when said group becomes so powerful it forces change to benefit only its membership, and the hell with the rest of mankind, then it is time to start looking for the expiration date. All of us can think of businesses we would like to see unionized. I won’t start naming names or this article will become way too long. I am not in the mood to wander off on Soapbox Ruminations anyway. We can also see unions that need to go away.
Social Movements are not that different from unions.
Social Movements are born out of need, just as unions usually are. However is it right for that movement’s agenda to inhibit the right’s and needs of others just for its own good? Green Peace has done many good things for those of us living on this planet. Of that I will agree. There are many things they have done of which I do not.
Case in point. Several years ago I was posted at a naval station in the Pacific Northwest that came under fire by the above mentioned special interest group. They had discovered we were about to integrate the use of dolphins in our routine operations, and the proverbial shit-hit-the-fan. It didn’t matter we were using them in a peaceful fashion, as had been done for several decades. No, in their opinion, we were horribly mistreating them. We could not divulge to the public as to what the dolphins were being used for, but let me pose this to you, the reader. Do any of you have a pet that is also your protector? Do you not love and care for said pet? If injured or sick, do you leave it to hopefully heal itself? Do you neglect its nutrition? I think not. We ended up having to discontinue the program after we received international exposure. I personally preferred the company of the dolphin to many humans. Far more interesting, far more fun.
Are you starting to see the picture?
They fired up their zealotic engines with a fervor that was unreal to see, let alone experience. They tried to block entry to the naval base. No big deal. They followed us when we left the base. A bigger deal. They were starting to invade my privacy, not knowing what I did for a living, just assuming that I was one of the Evil Ones. There was more, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when my children came home upset and crying because the parents of their classmates had told them to ignore my children because their daddy was a bad man. Some teachers even treated my children scornfully. They were using children as a form of Moralistic Terrorism.
That type of action is wrong, wrong, wrong! Even today I feel myself getting steamed. I also saw the result of Green Peace activists hammering spikes into trees. Their aim was to keep loggers from encroaching on the habitat of the Spotted Owl. Their result was to damage the trees and cause injury to the unfourtunate logger who had the razor sharp chain come flying toward a body part as a result of hitting the spike.
I guess murder and mayhem is condonable. The logger had no right to make a living, and feed his family, even if his employer was involved in reforestation.
We here at ACIN are a social movement in its infancy, and I personally think this is a good thing, but if we are to become a viable voice, then both sides of the coin must be analyzed.
McDuff, hold me back because I’m taking off the gloves!
One of the cancers eating up our way of life, here in America, is the two party systems. We will not be able to survive unless this changes. The Republicans and Democrats fight one another for power, and we all become losers as a result. I listen to Air America, which is a largely Democrat oriented broadcast, but I do not listen to it exclusively. I listen to other venues as well. I even listen to Limbaugh until I become so nauseated I have to find some classical music to calm me down. I don’t personally care for McDonald’s, but they contribute millions each year to support something I passionately care about; Children’s Hospitals. I still can’t find anything good to say about EXXON, but I will keep looking. I don’t care for war, and there are aspects of what is going on in Iraq, but I will not hesitate to take up arms against anyone who threatens the safety of my friends and loved ones.
Power is a giant see-saw, one side goes up; one side goes down. Power is a coin. It has two sides. We need the pros and cons. We need evil so we will know what good is.
I am not a Republican, nor am I a Democrat. I never voted straight ticket in my life. I am a meat eater, I always will be. I don’t knock those who don’t eat meat.
It is all about individual rights and freedoms. Thinking can bring about action and action can bring about change. How that change affects others is the most important thing. Are you willing to go through life looking at only one side of the coin? Are your beliefs the only ones that are correct? Are you in such a hurry to get up on your soapbox that you ignore how it will affect the rights and freedoms of others?
I don’t expect, nor do I desire everyone to see things as I do. I personally love a pastoral view of life far more than the attraction of huge steel and glass towers; however I do enjoy the cultural advantages found in visiting the city.
I hope I shall always be able to look at both sides of the coin. It shows me the path to the center, to harmony.
Again, happy holidays from everyone here at the ACIN.