Shot Of Rhythm

[ Thursday, May 13, 2004 ]


Going to the end of the line

Back in the old hometown, hanging around.

Not really anything else to report, except for the fact that - within the next month - the final two members of the foursome that represents my tightest-knit group of friends from my pre-college life will graduate from college. I'm already there, beaten to the punch last year by Eric, and, when Mike and Chuck graduate from UW-Green Bay and Princeton, respectively, we'll have all somehow made it through this particular patch of wilderness. I'm not one to get tremendously nostalgic, and it's not like this is really the end (or beginning, for that matter) of anything particularly monumental, but it does represent a symbolic landmark in our lives - and in the life of our friendship - that really shouldn't be ignored. Other friendships have gotten as close, but these cats were there first and have stayed longest, in many ways. I hope to toast to our success soon, and that many more toasts to many further successes will follow.

On the box right now: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, BEST. It's probably not good to, this late at night, be listening to the beautiful, creepy Gothic song-poems from the baritone bard of bad luck and trouble. But, between "Red Right Hand," "The Mercy Seat" and "Into My Arms," I can't help myself. Just like the Four Tops...


Dove With Claws [8:17 PM]

[ Sunday, May 09, 2004 ]


The horror, the horror

Last night, I spent the night at Madison's Orpheum Theatre at the Progressive Magazine's 95th birthday party. The unquestioned highlight, and my main reason for going, was the performance by Steve Earle. Now, most of the people who frequent this blog - and most of the people who know me - don't need to hear me say anything about what a treasure I think Steve Earle is, but I'll just mention that, if Woody Guthrie's spirit infected anyone in our current America, Earle would probably be the recipient. (You could make cases for Springsteen, Ani DiFranco and Chuck D, but I'll take Steve.) It was a great acoustic set, complete with relative surprises ("Baby Let Me Follow You Down," "You Know The Rest," "Valentine's Day") and a couple of his best showstoppers ("Ellis Unit One," "Christmas In Washington"). It was a great night, capped off by an evening of eating barbecued chicken and singing Gram Parsons songs around some friends' piano.

Then I woke up this morning, still at my friends' house, and watched the Sunday news shows. Now, we all knew what they'd be talking about, and it was actually cause for us to make sure we caught some of the shows. I don't know about y'all, but Republicans fighting with each other is the kind of thing that makes me smile, and there has been little good news for the G.O.P. in the past few months, either in general or particularly with this whole Abu Ghraib/Rumsfeld/torture mess.

They showed some new pictures, and released some new details. This is a level of brutality, inhumanity and socio-political suicide the likes of which have been seen only rarely in human history. The pictures look like something from the Holocaust...actually, fuck that, they look like what Middle Passage must've looked like. The new shot released today, of attack dogs being sicced on a naked Iraqi prisoner (a CIVILIAN, from what I now understand), literally made my stomach turn. If we are to continue living in the world, and if we are to be human beings of the highest nature possible, we simply cannot tolerate this level of disgusting, dangerous atrocity.

The facts I find most interesting thus far:
-Many of the people involved in the torture were either military intelligence personnel, or private contractors hired by the U.S. government to engage in "interrogations."
-A few of the soldiers to be charged thus far had PREVIOUSLY WORKED AS GUARDS IN THE AMERICAN PRISON SYSTEM.
-There are over 30 investigations that have not yet been publicized that are currently under way, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.
-We haven't even begun to talk about the women's prison, and journalist Seymour Hersh - who has really broken most of the story - says that we have not yet seen the true horror of this mess.
-The Bush Administration knew about this since January, and not one investigation was launched until the release of the pictures.
-There are literally thousands of pictures, and a videotape, of further atrocities.

As a man of words, who likes to think that I can come up with decent ways to express my feelings and ideas, I can only say one thing:


(By the way, to Mr. C, if there's any way you can include those pictures and the issues around them in your class discussions, you have to find it. I understand your concerns, and I'll understand if you decide to take a pass, but my God this is a hard lessons.)

On the box right now: Sweet Honey In The Rock, THE WOMEN GATHER. If there's any morning when I've needed the soul-affirming strengh of Sweet Honey, it's this one. I'll let them soothe my soul. We shall overcome.


Dove With Claws [11:03 AM]