Friday, September 16, 2005



I'm getting really bored writing about Bush. He's the worst president in history and everything he touches turns to shit. Not only is he arrogant and ignorant-- a terrible combination-- he's also terribly unlucky. When people tell me they wish he would die I want to discuss why so many of our fellow citizens voted for him. Sometimes that's as depressing as watching cable news' reporting on Hurricane Katrina (although I notice they're trying to make the story-line more upbeat this week). Roland tells me this blog has become a Bush bashing machine-- and the hate mail has picked up a lot lately, which usually invigorates me but is just getting kind of beyond boring now. So I'm gonna take some time off... until I boil over again. Not time off from writing; time off from writing about Bush. Besides, there's something else I want to get out that's been in my head for a few weeks.

I'm from NY originally (although I left when I was like 21). But I learned to drive in NY. Ever hear the term "NY driver?" The dictionary definition could have my photo next to it. And it gets worse. When I left NY, I went straight to Weisbaden in Germany. There was only one thing there-- the VW plant. I bought a VW van and drove all over Europe, down to Morocco and then across Asia to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. And if you think there's something wrong with NY drivers, wait til you drive in Paris or
Rome or Lisbon... or Tehran or Calcutta. Anyway, that was a long roundabout way of saying I'm a wild take-no-prisoners kind of driver. My horn works and I curse people driving slow in the right lane. But if some slowpoke is blocking traffic and I'm wishing I had a machine-gun mounted on my hood and then I see a Kerry/Edwards bumpersticker or some kind of progressive sign on their car, I calm right down. Being a fellow patriot trumps bad driving habits. Does that tell you how important that stuff is to me? Hold it in your mind while I take another tangent.

When I first moved to L.A. I met people in The Biz. Here that means the entertainment industry-- and not just the relatively sane music business I was in, but also the Movie Biz. OMG! It was hate-at-first-sight. Some big-shot (almost-household-name) producer wanted to use some music from one of my bands for the blockbuster (or overpriced stiff) he was making and I wound up hanging out at the film studio. The guy was a first class jerk. He donates generously and regularly to Democrats and progressives but he-- like SO MANY in his field-- seemed to believe that the universe outside of his little film project comes to a HALT in light of his... crusade. There is nothing important but-- and no one important not connected to-- the making of the film, NOTHING... and no one. I got the idea if he was late for a shoot and he ran over an old woman in a cross walk he would rationalize it pretty fast as he sped away (even faster) while she bled to death. Not nice. I avoided that scene for the next 15 years. I have found so many film folks who have the same progressive politics that I have be complete dickheads that it made me understand how easy it is for right-wing demagogues and propagandists to caricaturize Hollywood so effectively and so devastatingly. I mean most of these movies just suck anyway and lose money, so why get so overwrought and psycho and... you know, be so mean and fucked up to people?

And then I discovered something even worse. Politicians-- sometimes better at hiding it-- are the same way. Their little Inside-the-Beltway aerie world, in their minds, trumps all else. You want to talk about self-important egomaniacs? It's more than just Hollywood or Wall Street. I mean, maybe a doctor in the middle of discovering a cure for cancer can be forgiven for being a jackass to everyone around him. But a pol? A public servant? A partisan manipulator? Uh... no.

Sure, I'd expect that kind of behavior from someone like Tom DeLay or George Bush or, frankly, from anyone who made a conscious decision to run for office as a Republican. I mean it's the party of Selfishmess, Greed, Hatred, Bigotry and all that, but I don't find people I feel an ideological kinship with to be any better than the fascists. Really. And shouldn't they be? That's what I mean sometimes when I write that these career politicians in Washington have more in common with each other, regardless of party, than they do with the folks who vote them into office. It's like with the movie biz guys: the world stops, nothing else exists compared to their "earth-shaking" preoccupations. And there's no respect for people in the real world-- the people who are, ostensibly, their bosses-- and no empathy whatsoever. I can see how societies developed bogus "religions" or belief systems that called for human sacrifices.

Last night I was thinking about something I read a couple weeks ago flying back from seeing Cindy Sheehan in Crawford. I had been reading THE SINS OF SCRIPTURE by Bishop John Shelby Spong-- which I highly recommend-- on the plane and I came across a passage I underlined. It might not be as powerful outside the context of the book-- it's on page 290-- but last night it made me think about the film guys and the politicians and everyone else who gets so grand and self-absorbed that he loses his place in Humanity. "Are males superior to females," asks Spong, "free people superior to slaves, parents superior to children, heterosexuals superior to homosexuals, white people superior to people of color?" (The whole premise of his book is that there are primitive and sometimes misinterpreted-- and sometimes tragically fallible-- places in the Bible which have engendered these ideas deep within us and they are WRONG.) "That is the wisdom of a world dedicated to survival and driving all things into power relationships. BUT HUMANITY IS ALWAYS IMPAIRED WHEN IT BUILDS ITS SENSE OF WORTH BY DENIGRATING THE WORTH OF ANOTHER. (Emphasis is mine-- for you.) What the Jesus experience showed was a vision of a new humanity and in that vision no one is diminished." Amen, Bishop, amen. Tell it to the film guys and tell it to the politicians. (His brother was a U.S. Senator from Virginia.)

There are some people who I want to tell it to as well, people imbued with a crucial sense of mission, who want to save our country from the clutches of fascism and authoritarianism, people who spend their days working their asses off to make our country a better place for those in the worst position to defend themselves from the encroachments of unbridled power. Sometimes there's a darker side to... selflessness. Sometimes it seems to grant a certain kind of permission to overlook a sense of personal decency and a sense of relating to Humanity. People on our side can be as awful and thoughtless as the people whose reactionary values they think they're fighting. Sometimes it's pretty important to just take a step back and get in touch with our basic values and principles and look
at why we're progressives and not reactionaries and see what that means in the way we relate to the people around us. Jesus, that sounded as sappy as what some kooky senator was babbling about today when he was talking about people with hard hearts and bleeding hearts at the Roberts coronation.


At 7:41 PM, Blogger 333 said...

You know, it sure is funny to me.

Jeb Bush doesn't want to talk about private matters and seems TERRIBLY frustrated with the fact that " News media" programs are asking him why his son was resisting arrest and getting hammered in public in Austin, Texas.

They also want to know why his daughter, in 2002, was caught trying to get legal drugs by falsifying a Doctor's prescription and passing it on a pharmacy in Fort Lauderdale.

I can understand Bush's frustration. You preach good Christian values and morals, you push the Focus on the Family Agenda and tell people that he is the best one to consult on how to raise good children in decent homes, then your son and daughter take you to the woodshed and beat you silly by getting arrested for some pretty heinous crimes.

Way to go Jeb, remind me how I should raise my children in a good moral home again? You've done such a good job I can't help but be intrigued.

In God, We Trust.



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