Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pinko's Problems, Naked Hippies and Yelling Fire

I've been missing my bear since he left to drive a taxi in Reno last week, and he's been missing me.  I suspect he misses me more because he started having troubles as soon as preparations for his departure began - specifically, the power in the basement of our building went off while our clothes were in the dryer, so that a simple task that usually takes about 90 minutes took all damn weekend.  Meanwhile, he spilled something onto his laptop keyboard and effectively killed his computer.  Then his phone went on the fritz and now he's had an attack of gout. He's even experienced some administrative hassles and garden variety mishaps at work, so he hasn't been able to drive which is probably just as well since he ate himself into a gout attack again and with that kind of pain in your toe, it's not safe to drive anyway.

I have every sympathy for him, I really do - but I can't help thinking that while he's laid up in a recliner in Reno, with little company accept the remote control, he might take a moment to consider that working for some boring lawyers in Brooklyn wouldn't have been so bad.

He resisted sending his resume to a small law firm in Brooklyn after somebody posted in the Burning Man Facebook group posted that the office where he worked was looking for part-time office clerks.  I'll admit it was a long commute for a part-time job, and the work itself was mind numbing and there was a chance that the lawyers were assholes.  But those lawyers might have been tolerable and, regardless, their money is as green as anyone else's.  Actually, Pinko resisted putting his resume together for months allegedly because the whole process offended his sensibilities. Personally, I think it's much more likely that the whole process reminds him that he's an old, overweight man who has been unemployed for over two years, not counting the taxi driving, and in his mind that means nobody will ever hire him.  To me, he looks like a mature, reliable, intelligent worker who anyone would be glad to have working in their office.

It's depressing to be unemployed for a couple of years, and it's also depressing to see that the industry where you've been highly successful has changed so much over the last decade that nobody in the business these days remotely understands what you do.  Where nightclubs used to do their own programming and promotion, now freelance promoters pimp freelance DJs and everyone gets a cut of the bar instead of getting a legitimate paycheck.  It's kind of like how newspapers laid off all the staff writers so they didn't have to pay salary and benefits then paid the very same writers to write by the piece.  The whole thing is depressing.

It's not as depressing as the situation in Gaza or the rush to war in Ukraine, however.  I'm pretty sure that everyone - especially those of us who grew up with Henry Kissinger in the White House - knows very well that the US funds genocide whenever it suits corporate interests, but the way Congress supported Israel this week was still nauseating.  The only thing that's made me smile in the news this week was this snippet from an article on Common Dreams:
Are we supposed to believe – and perhaps more relevant, do the Washington Post writers actually believe – that the U.S. government with the world’s premier intelligence services can’t track three lumbering trucks each carrying large mid-range missiles?
What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.
The source said CIA analysts were still not ruling out the possibility that the troops were actually eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers. There also was the suggestion that the soldiers involved were undisciplined and possibly drunk, since the imagery showed what looked like beer bottles scattered around the site, the source said (July 20).
Given that the US and NATO are funding the neo-nazis who burned these "rebels" alive in Odessa back in May (Greg Butterfield, IACenter), it's no surprise that there is a rush to blame the same rebels for shooting down the Malaysian airliner last week.  But still, it's depressing.

In the face of all the atrocities our government has been supporting - and that includes shutting off water  in Detroit in the latest attempt to commodify and privatize human needs - I'm glad that Pinko has been proactive, vigorous and determined about his own activism.  I still wish he had gotten a part-time job in New York, but one person can only focus on so many things.  Pinko focused on social justice, which led him to the International Action Center where he met a brilliant fellow he'd only known from the internet named Caleb Maupin.  Caleb alerted Pinko to the teach-in on revolutionary theory at the WWP over 4th of July weekend.

As a side note, Velvet is working at Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp again, teaching outdoor living and wilderness skills to over 100 boys aged 9 - 14 years.  The camp doesn't celebrate 4th of July. They celebrate Interdependence Day.  I always enjoyed that little twist of language to emphasize our connection to each other and the earth.

Here's a video about the camp made when Velvet was still a camper himself.  He's even in this video, with his little glasses on looking a bit like Harry Potter in an orange shirt.



Anyone can see that the camp is very white, but they can't help that being in Vermont where they practically have to import black people. They have to import Muslims, too, which is one of the reasons the camp eliminated the Fifth Freedom, which essentially was the right to skinny dip or run naked through the woods. In any case, despite the struggle to balance their old values with their need for grant money from foundations that often frown on naked hippies in the woods, the camp is still one of the bright spots in a land called America where it appears that majority of people are committed to endless war and ecocide. Maybe Americans don't support the government outright, but from a practical standpoint, Silence means Consensus. Silence doesn't really mean consensus - ask anyone who has been date raped or otherwise molested - but now that I think about it, I believe that casting the US Government in the role of a rapist is appropriate.

So even though I still wish Pinko would have gotten a job in New York - and certainly he wouldn't be hanging out in Casino parking lots, hoping someone who is too drunk to drive home has the sense to take a cab right now if he had a job in New York - it's a good thing he had the time and energy to hang out with dedicated radicals. It can get intense sometimes, like when we marched on the News Corp building (where Rupert Murdoch keeps his stable of outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Fox) calling for accurate news coverage as well as an end to US funding to Israel (Answer Coalition, July 10).  I've been in demonstrations before, but I never stood beside people whose families were being bombed or had already been killed by the US and/or our allies.

photo from Thomson Reuters Foundation
It was a good place to be.  Marching on Fox News or CNN won't change US foreign policy.  It won't get the news outlets to cover the marches even when their own office is surrounded by demonstrators.  But I feel better knowing the women I walked with could look over and see a boojie white woman standing with them instead of standing in line at Starbucks. I also was reminded to be grateful that my happy little world remains my happy little world.

I may fret over Pinko's job search skills or worry about stretching one paycheck all the way to Burning Man, but there is so much love between us that we can share it with all kinds of others, and our neighborhood is at peace.  He hasn't done The Pinko the Bear Show from Reno since his computer is in the shop, but for some reason, his theme song has been in my head when I've woken up every morning since he left.





4 comments:

Susan Partlan said...

My heart goes out to Pinko trying to find decent employment. It sucks.

"Anyone can see that the camp is very white, but they can't help that being in Vermont where they practically have to import black people." You are such a funny writer :). Miss you! xoxo

Gail said...

HEY TEXAS - sorry to hear of Pinko's employment woes. Skipp was out of work a few years back for almost two years - he saw himself much the same oas your man does. He did get a job and it is all good, well not good really but it works cuz I need him home more due to my challenges and plus he likes to be with me and me with him, thank goodness huh? :-) now he is working 3 days a week, tue, wed., thur 4 to 10. just enough.
I wanted to let yoy know that Dolan's book is coming out on August 28th "THATS WHEN THE KNIVES COME DOWN"....there is a book release event on thursday August 28th @7:00 at The Word book store on Franklin sT. IN BROOKLYN. Skipp and I are going, would love to see you -meet you there. The book is available on Amazon to pre-order if you want :-) I/we are so excited for him.
Anywho, how long will Pinko be in Reno? Tough to be apart I am sure.
Love you girl
Gail
peace.......

PENolan said...

Golly - I would love to see you, Gail, but I'll be at Burning Man that week.
Great news about Dolan's book. I know he's worked hard, and so have you and Skipp these last couple of years.

Glad to see you Susan!

mac said...

It's good that you can see how not working can have terribly negative effects on a fella.
Your Bear is lucky to have such an understanding partner :-).

The camp video was smile inducing. I grew up in the hills of southern Ohio, so I learned a lot of that through osmosis.

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