Thursday, September 08, 2005
It wasn't the moving images (one out of hundreds) that brought us back. Nor was it the insightful and passionate posts by the folks at Americablog, dailykos, or c&l. It wasn't the sounds of a nation slipping quietly into that good night. It wasn't the arrogance or incompetence or even the disgusting lack of common sense or compassion. It wasn't the desperate pleas or the raw emotion. Shit, it wasn't even the lies.
It was a dream.
I don't mean like "I have a dream" dream. I mean a sleep-deprived, coffee induced, watching MSM coverage 48 hours straight, fitful surreal dream where if I were on drugs, I would be able to go "whoa" and that would be the end of it. But I wasn't. And it didn't. It stuck with me all day, like the bitter taste of chewing aspirin.
I met a man lounging outside a building and he was holding a simple can of beans. He held it up for me to view and said, "I'm not buying these beans from that corporation anymore. This is a protest. This is a boycott."
Yeah, ok, I replied.
"But, the thing is I love these beans and really want to eat them, ya know? I heard there might be a recipe out there on the net that can get the taste of these beans without me having to buy them from that damn corporation."
Yeah, ok, I replied. You know this is a dream, cause in real life I would have kicked him in the nuts by now. Instead he makes to his feet and we stalk upstairs to the computer. In front of the computer is a mound of black ash. The closer we get, I realize it is not just a mound, it's a pile of bones, flesh, a twisted semblance of a person. And then I see it. It's a person who had burned himself alive in protest of something. The Buddhist setting himself on fire.
I'm coming back to this forum to add my voice again because I don't know what else to do.
That's not quite true. I am volunteering at the red cross, fundraising, and planning a Habitat for Humanity trip. But.... let me back up.
I am coming back because brain treppanning is not an option.
I was speaking with someone today who said writing is crap. No one reads anymore. There is so much noise, so much bullshit, so much static and propaganda that people just tune it out and it's time to get in people's faces again. It's time to make things personal and voice these things so people can't ignore them.
I am in Ohio and work at a state university. For the past 8 days the headlines have gushed "hypnotist coming to campus" and highlighted in depth stories about the "cigarette tax". Today the first story on Katrina was in the opinion pages. The opinion pages! The worst natural disaster to ever hit the country and this university paper implicitly says that the most important story for students include a guy who fuckin' gets other 18 year olds to act like chickens on stage? It's disgusting.
And the university itself was just as bad. For days I emailed my boss, the faculty list proc., the faculty senate, the provost's office, begging for information on how we as a community were going to respond. I offered my help in planning or implementation, and the only response I got for 7 days (7 GD DAYS) was "we might have a table at our campus picnic, hold tight". WTF? I started a collection on my own. On the 8th day I received an email with some "plans" that had been developed. That was it. Nothing for me to do. Hold tight. Sit on your hands. The bureaucracy was alive and well and would handle things.
Then my 7 year old daughter, who was born in Baton Rouge, asked what she could do; we urged her to explore a way to help in her school (Catholic, by the way) or with friends. She found an old pretzel jar and had the idea of collecting donations at school. She included six dollars of her own. Their response? Thanks but no thanks. She was told her class couldn't collect money for the Katrina victims because it would be too hard for the teacher to count the funds and the school and church wants their people to react "in their own way". They told her "we'll write cards and letters to the victims". Mydaughterr, to her credit, said "they need food and water" and they told her, "oh no, they have food and water now."
Who can I hit over the head with newspaper headlines? How dare they lie to her? How dare they lie to her. And to add insult to injury, they handed her $6 donation back to her. She could only understand this as a rejection of her help.
What's up with these fucking people? I don't get it.
So now I'm drinking red-eyes and watching the news and reading the blogs and going crazy wondering why the hell isn't every-fucking-person and organization in this country talking about and doing something; discussing and analyzing what is going on in my beloved country; examining what the fuck is not going on down south and why? I want to see Emerill fucking making crepes and drinking Community Coffee and telling his big-butt frapicino drinking viewers that shit is going on down there and lay it out for them. I want to see the schools talking about it, businesses and organizations sending out updates and ways to get involved, leaders of all types urging their people to get wake up and look at the utter devastation.
Chef has been reborn -- I'm now Rum and I plan on burning a little on the way down.
But first the question must be asked: Can we get back to big brother, man? Shit, can we please get back to playing Halo? Please?
Where the hell are the matches?