SEE NO EVIL (REVISITING CHARLOTTESVILLE AS METAPHOR)

The statues you’re defending are of men who erased my history. –Kevin S. Aldridge, opinion editor, Cincinnati Enquirer

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Rick Borden said of his son, Daniel Borden, who (along with others) beat up an unarmed black man, “I absolutely don’t think my son did anything wrong.” Daniel’s mother called reports of her son’s actions “fake news” (sound familiar?). The beating victim was left with a concussion, eight staples in his head, a broken wrist, and other injuries. And we wonder why the son of such a father and mother grows up with moral blinders.

That beating wasn’t the only violent act committed in Charlottesville, Virginia, during that white supremacist rally in August 2017. An avowed neo-Nazi deliberately drove his car into rally-protesters, injuring dozens and killing 32-year old protester Heather Heyer. Her offense: actively opposing the alt-right’s racism. In her last Facebook post before her death, she had said of her activism: If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

Last month, Heyer’s killer was sentenced to life in prison. As for Daniel Borden, he was sentenced last week. The particulars? In the words of the old idiom, “Read ’em and weep”:

https://www.c-ville.com/daniel-borden-2/

Around the time of the Charlottesville madness, the opinion editor (a black man) who was quoted at the beginning of this post, wrote an editorial titled YOUR HERITAGE BEING ERASED? WELCOME TO THE CLUB. It included these words:

“There’s been a lot of consternation among some folks about this growing movement to take down Confederate statues and monuments across the United States. Even President Trump has joined the chorus of laments that removing these monuments is an attempt to erase or rewrite history and rob certain people of their Southern culture and heritage.”
“But here’s the thing that some people don’t seem to get or want to acknowledge: These monuments pay tribute to individuals who took away and erased the history of Africans through slavery, through the killing and slaughtering of innocents, through the destruction of black families by way of rape and separation  – all in the name of cruelty, white supremacy, exploitation and greed.”
“How would I like my history taken away?”
“Been there and done that, sir.”
“Most African-Americans in this country will never know the true history of our ancestors. Much of our heritage was lost when our forefathers were densely packed into slave ships and transported across the Atlantic to be sold like common goods. Many of them died and their individual histories along with them. And those who survived….had their native, ancestral names stripped from them and replaced with the ones slave masters wanted them to have.”
“Much of our African heritage has been irretrievably lost to the ravages and ruthlessness of callous individuals and traitors to this nation, such as General Lee, who fought to maintain the deplorable and murderous system of slavery. Now there are some who want to romanticize, revere and commemorate them as heroes.”
“Well, excuse me if I’m not willing to buy that brand. Forgive me if I don’t shed a tear for your loss. Sorry if it ruins some quaint childhood memory.”
“All I can say is, welcome to the club.”

Are YOU paying attention?

 

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HORSE FLIES

It has come to my attention that a flying horse has been spotted by the landed gentry in, of all places, the South Lennox neighborhood of La La land:

It was reported that the winged steed is called Pegasus, although the origin of that mythical name is Greek to me. What is clear is that that spotted bag of hay is very white, and South Lennox is very black, so we can only speculate that Pegasus is either very brazen, or has no more horse sense than a horsefly in a Raid commercial. What we cannot entertain is the notion that mistermuse is a racist pig for suggesting that a white horse is ASKING for trouble in a black ‘hood. After all, we’re talking about a flying horse, not a talking horse (as opposed to a stalking horse, which of course IS asking for trouble).

Unfortunately, the trouble with trouble is that you don’t have to ask for trouble in order to find yourself in it….even in Paradise:

Therefore, friends, my advice to you is don’t ‘nag;’ tighten your shin chaps, pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, and 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH AND ALL THAT JAZZ

March being Women’s History Month, and mistermuse being a classic jazz enthusiast, I’d be remiss to let this conjunction of constellations pass without honoring women’s place in jazz history. Though I can’t expound on these subjects at length in one post, I’ll highlight my favorite period in jazz history — the 1920s, 30s and 40s — and the all-girl bands of that time, as opposed to female jazz vocalists of the period, because the latter are much better known (Billie Holiday, for example) than the former, and their legacy has far better survived that era’s male-dominated world of jazz and popular music.

Starting with the 1920’s, here is one of the first and foremost all-girl bands of the period:

Moving on to the 1930s & 40s….

As the latter clip demonstrates, African-American female musicians faced not only gender, but racial, discrimination — not so much from white musicians as from the powers behind the scenes and the general public….and not just in the South. The were exceptions, but the best jazz musicians didn’t sweat skin color — if you could play, you should play.

There is much more that could be said along the lines of this post; perhaps I’ll do so in a future post.

 

LONG TIME, KNOW, SEE….

[To] someone with a longer perspective, someone looking at us, we’d look like a bunch of ants on a log, running around. And every hundred years, it’s like somebody flushes the toilet and the entire planet is changed. –Woody Allen

I have lived, not a hundred years, but almost as long as the 78 year old Woody Allen —  long enough to appreciate where he’s coming from. It’s a different world from the one I grew up in the years preceding, during and after World War II, with a culture so completely changed that if I’d fallen asleep in that generation and awakened in this one, I might think that either I or the world had lost its marbles. Indeed, it’s like somebody flushed the toilet, and the marble in space we call earth became a different planet.

Now, I’m nostalgic about a lot of things, but I’m not one of those antedeluvians with rose-colored glasses about the past. There have been changes for the better and for the worse, and as much as I mourn the loss of what was (or seemed) wonderful then, it wasn’t all wonderful by a long shot. Those who “want their America back” want an America that never was whole or without shortcomings.

I would love to get that America back where drugs were a relative anomaly.

I would hate to get that America back where racism was as normal as everyday life.

I would love to get that America back where mean-spirited discourse wasn’t fuckin’ de rigueur (if you’ll pardon my French).

I would hate to get that America back where censorship trumped artistic freedom.

I would love to get that America back where the good things in life were more intrinsic than superficial.

I would hate to get that America back where the likes of McCarthyism fanned jingoist fears and ruined careers.

I would love to get that America back where popular music knew the meaning of sophisticaton.

I would hate to get that America back where the average lifespan for men in the year I was born was 56 1/2 years. By all rights, if I’d fallen asleep in that generation, I should’ve died before I woke up in the present generation. Talk about exceptionalism! Is this a great country, or what?