Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Well, Well, Well

My parents listened to Peter, Paul & Mary all the time when I was a little kid.  This song must have lodged in my memory because it bubbled up the other day and has been stuck in my head ever since.

I'm not sure if it has anything to do with that kid shooting all those people in Arizona or not, but I've been bumming out about that incident.  Hard to believe it was only a little over a week ago. I was up in Connecticut with VeryMissMary at the time and she doesn't have a TV at that house, but I read about it on the internet.  I like the internet better anyway because TV news is noisy and full of shit.

That was a hard weekend all the way around because the traffic jam from a terrible accident turned a two and a half hour drive into a nine hour nightmare on account of the snow storm.  One thing I didn't learn in Texas was how to drive in a snow storm.  Hurricanes?  No problem - but driving in snow storms still scares me, especially after dark when you can't tell the difference between pavement and black ice.  You have to operate as if you're in danger every moment because, in fact, you are.

There's all kinds of scary weather and earthquakes and stuff happening around the world lately kind of like this verse:
World's not waitin' for the Lord's command,
Buildin' a fire that'll sweep the land.
Thunder out of heaven, comin' Gabriel's call;
And the sea's gonna boil and the sky's gonna fall.
Looks like we really might be reaping what we've sewed.

You really have to wonder about a country where people Go Postal with enough regularity that there's a colloquial expression like Going Postal.  Maybe this country is filled with lone, crazy people and occasionally one of them gets a wild hair and starts shooting like at Virginia Tech, or Columbine or Ft. Hood.  Sometimes youngsters get into the act and shoot up their elementary schools

Who knows why Jared decided to shoot all those people - but the fact that he had a cartridge with 31 bullets in the gun he bought legally shows a lot of collective effort went into killing those people at Safeway on a Saturday morning.  There's a lot of collective effort behind all the military suicides, too, if you ask me.  But as noxious as political rhetoric has been lately - especially from Teabagging Republicans - Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of them simply give voice to the worst aspects of our society.  The thoughts they express are already wide spread or they wouldn't find an audience.  They didn't have any more to do with that shooting than Marilyn Mason had with Columbine.

I'd like to think there's a Silent Majority out there who won't speak up for all the reasons John Stewart outlined at the rally - but it's just as likely that nobody speaks up because they are too tired from working 16 hour days or too deeply in despair from not working at all.   Even if a person's life circumstances are okay, being bombarded by sound bites from pundits and politicians is enough to drive you nuts.  Plutocrats have a vested interest in keeping us divided and despairing.  A Spanish sociologist named Pablo Ouziel describes our isolation.
Serious events and acts are taking place everyday which merit serious social debate, yet because of the fact that our societies are deeply fragmented, broken and clashing between each other, we are unable to grant ourselves the necessary pause, required for conciliation and unity.
Because of this, we are easy to control as a mass of isolated individuals, which is held together by norms and regulations, bureaucracies, military and police, and concepts such as the nation state, the church and the corporation.
If we are to stay in this model of society, I fear we will live in perpetual war until we destroy ourselves by not paying attention to the fact that something is drastically wrong. (
Our alienation from each other prevents us from working collaboratively with our friends and neighbors so that our voices have as much influence as Sarah Palin or her BFF Glenn Beck.

On the airplane home from Texas, Velvet and I had to sit next to some skinny, bleached blonde cunt who had a deck of BP playing cards.  Any thinking person would realize that BP is an offensive affront to this entire planet and everyone on it - but not that bitch.  She carries BP in her handbag.  Something is drastically wrong, indeed.  The same society that enabled the Deepwater Disaster enabled Jared Loughner of Arizona.  It's not Sarah Palin's fault, or Rush's or Glenn Beck's either.  It's the fault of a society that pays them to speak in the first place.  

I joined a group today called RootsAction.   It's an independent organization supported by Daniel Ellsberg, Cornell West, Jim Hightower, Naomi Klein and other progressives.  The introductory page reads:
The 2010 election showed that you can’t beat heartless Republicans with spineless Democrats.We need a fresh approach to defend the public interest. Our country faces a far-right Republican Party that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of corporate America, and a Democratic Party whose leadership is enmeshed with corporate power.  
RootsAction is a new online initiative dedicated to galvanizing millions of Americans who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights, civil liberties, environmental protection -- and defunding endless wars.
I'll drink to that.


MRMacrum said...

Hey don't sweat it. George Lucas is positive we are outta here in 2012. And George, well, he's a smart man. He's from Hollywood.

PENolan said...

Times like these call for Neil Young: Don't let it bring you down; it's only castles burning/find someone who's turning/and you will come around.

My mother might choose Tom Lehrer

Gail said...


I am a HUGE Peter Paul and Mary fan, for years and years - I have some of their original albums, like Album 1700 for example. :-) And I must say - "Well, Well, Well" is vaguely familiar. Thanks for posting it. Good one for sure.
Ya, the Tuscon tragedy is heart wrenching. I feel deeply.
Love to you

p.s. I read a list of 'new words' now recognized by 'Webster's". AND "Buzzkill" is now a real word, cool huh, I thought of you right away when I saw that as one of the new words, also 'stacation, frenemy, tweet, to name a few - there were 50, I believe.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

How does RootsAction compare to

Susan Tiner said...

I don't really think we're isolated so much as we avoid engaging in civilized debate with people we disagree with. I'm basically a liberal, but more conservative than some of my liberal friends. I can tell you from my experience that debate is not possible with even this slight of a shade of difference in opinion. They are righteous in their position, so we just can't talk.

For example, I thought this was an excellent example of a debate:
in which Brooks challenges the extreme conservative position, but I couldn't get any of my left-leaning liberal friends interested. Check out a couple conservatives? No way.

In my latest post, I tried to humorously challenge a a negative knee jerk response to WASP elites I've been encountering among mostly middle class liberals for some time and most of the people I know of who read the piece -- not commentors -- told me basically ha ha but really there's no such thing as reverse snobbery. Again, righteousness.

We take cover in our own isolated camps. At least that's how I see it, at the level of individual experience.

PENolan said...

Gail, the worst thing I can imagine right now is a Staycation with Buzz Kill - he's been over here daily lately because he and Velvet are painting the apartment. Gotta get ready to sell . . .

V.V. I don't know yet. I haven't participated in Move On much in the last year or so, and RootAction only started this week. Since I'm crushing on Daniel Ellsberg and Chris Hedges these days, I couldn't resist.

Susan - I hear you about the reverse snobbery aspect, and I agree that's not isolation like I was talking about. That's the kind of polarization that feeds the fighting, making solutions impossible. Frankly, I don't see who it benefits but somebody must be making money off of it or there wouldn't be so much effort in the media to keep everybody stirred up.

I've started reading I and Thou because I'm interested in this perpetual Us vs Them conflict. It seems to me that there's a lot of common ground out there - especially when you see Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul standing together.

Thanks for the link. I've also been curious about economics lately. Totally neglected that aspect of my education so when people are talking about the economy I feel utterly lost. There's a lot to be said for a conservative approach to your money.

Susan Tiner said...

I read I and Thou years ago, but don't recall any details. I look forward to your thoughts. The silent majority consists of mostly center Americans who are sick to death of the screaming and want effective government. Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul standing together is a perfect example of what we need more of.

Makropoulos said...

Wow, what a refreshing blog entry, with some really smart remarks in response. I agree - the average American is highly isolate, sitting in front of their televisions, thinking they can dance, or fantasizing about being the next American idol. More frightening still may be the ones fantasizing being the next one to shoot up a shopping mall, and I do fear they're out there too. Reality is far too skewed. Thanks for the thoughtfulness and suggestions. . . .

Beach Bum said...

...skinny, bleached blonde cunt who had a deck of BP playing cards.

That BP saw fit to produce playing cards is both funny and supremely sick at the same time.

Jaliya said...

"War and peace begin and end with I and Thou," I keep telling myself ...

Sometimes I wonder if we're losing our ability to simply relate with other humans, one at a time and intimately ... All this name-calling by Us, clumping other people into masses of Them ... it erodes and ruins our ability and willingness to view other people as nuanced, complex individuals ... I am so tired of it ... I've done a lot of inner work over the years to shift my perspectives on everyone from my mother to groups of humans I learned very young to hate and insult for no good reason ... and then there I was this afternoon, a passenger in a friend's car; we were nearly hit by a blindingly blonde woman who ran a red in a massive black SUV. I am probably at my nastiest when another person does something stupid and dangerous while driving ... so I let spew and my friend, who's known me for about 23 years, shot me a glance that said "WTF?!"

Maybe that blindingly blonde woman could have been your BP-card-playing seatmate on the flight home from Texas ... Maybe that woman could have been me, had I taken my life in a vastly different direction. We're all angels *and* assholes, as someone wise once said ... I sure swung in the "asshole" direction this afternoon ... We all have our trigger points, eh? My friend of 23 years was surprised at my outburst -- She'd never seen me behave that way -- so I explained myself: "That *fucking bitch* threatened our lives!" ... and then I went on to say that bottom line, when the shit hits the fan, out comes the territorial animal that coils in us all. We're threatened; we react. You should have seen me during the first, devastating days of my divorce ...!


verymissmary said...

I and Thou is a great book not just about trees: about trying to see things in a different way, and what happens when one does...(plus that DU in German, when it was translated to THOU, means YOU, more intimate/familiar, not formal at all). Not surprised to know you're reading spiritual prose/Judaica, and though it does transcend all that, I wonder if his sensibility was formed by his Torah studies...his idea of the glimpse of Hashem in YOU...gotta be, right? Thinkin' out loud...

Lisa said...

After hearing the hatred of adults coming from the mouths of babes this weekend, I'm rethinking the things I say in front of my kids. Oh, I don't mean curse words, but the content. Do I say hate-filled things? How many times have I said that Republicans are idiots? Too many to count.

Online I've gone politically quiet since the shooting in Arizona. I think I'm becoming part of the silent majority because the noise has gotten to be too much.

mac said...

It is sad that we are all becoming so polarized these days. Liberal is a slur from a conservative. But, liberals aren't much better.
I have found myself cussing conservative talking heads, on the rare occasionn I see them.

There is no humor in this situation. But, I am reminded of the Chris Rock routine on gun control here.

PENolan said...

mac, that Chris Rock bit is spot on. Some comedians have a gift of shocking laughter out of us with the solid Truth.

I've been questioning my own rhetoric as well especially since my fondest fantasy involves dragging a miniature guillotine around Wall Street. I don't really want to kill people - but I wonder if the fantasy springs from a need to see some genuine accountability in this country. The government should be prosecuting Banksters and other criminals - and at this very moment, the image in my mind is Tom Delay's polyester clad ass shaking on Dancing with the Stars. Yes, he got convicted - but that's not going to undo all the trouble he caused with Redistricting in Texas which was partisan bullshit from the get-go. BP has just made a new deal to drill in the Arctic.

Somehow, I just don't think we need to be nice about all this shit - but we need to find ways to make positive contributions to social justice besides "Be The Change."

Makropoulos - I'm impressed with all these smart comments too. We must all be reflecting this winter.

Beach - exactly, but I was fuming at the time.

Jaliya - After spending a week with Buzz Kill in my home daily, all I can say is I hear you loud and clear on the divorce related fury. But if you have to direct it somewhere, a bleached blonde in a big black SUV who nearly killed you with her inattention is an excellent alternative. To me, those gas guzzling monstrosities are narcissist-mobiles belching thoughtless entitlement from Dominionists.

VMM, I'll let you know if I ever get passed the first few pages - but it seems like I'm completely attracted to the idea of the divinity in each of us these days (even though that means bleached blondes in SUVs have divinity inside them, too). Ester Hicks says it's got something to do with Allowing, but Velvet wouldn't listen to The Vortex when he was sleeping in the car last weekend - ergo: I haven't gotten to the next chapter . . .

Lisa - after reading about your birthday party experience, I remembered that I learned to be a socially conscious liberal from my parents. You keep shouting down the hate speech in your own home, and the ripples will reach all across Georgia. You wait and see - you gloriously righteous role model, you.

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