Dumb, Discussion

March 31, 2011

Inspired by my friends Catherine Lugg (see her recent comments about the Obama Administration and their ignoring of the unemployed) and James Lee via Facebook (running a one-man crusade on our government’s daily hypocrisy), and my Twitter folk, the video above is for all of you. It is my montage to the past thirty years of obfuscation, dissembling, exaggeration, plausible deniability, and spittle-laden spin that is our everyday news and politics. Or, as the post-grunge band Live would say in their “White, Discussion,” (1994) the “decibels of this disenchanting discourse continue to dampen the day/the coin flips again and again and again and again, as our sanity walks away.”

So I put six minutes of video together from President Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech (1983), a YouTube video “A Tour of Detroit’s Ghetto” from camosilver, and a couple of pictures I took from the Rally to Restore Sanity here in DC back in October. Along with clips from:

  • The Daily Show (with Jon Stewart eviscerating Bernie Goldberg and FOX News via “gospel,” April 20, ’10)
  • Real Time with Bill Maher (one with Keith Olbermann from last year, the other from a couple of weeks ago calling Rep. Ellison’s religion [Islam] one “filled with hate”)
  • Glenn Beck’s insanity on FOX News
  • The O’Reilly Factor
  • Sarah Palin being interviewed by Chris Wallace on FOX News last year
  • ITN’s coverage of the tsunami in northeast Japan earlier this month
  • Protests in Egypt after January 25 (Russian TV)
  • The protests in Madison, Wisconsin at the end of February (Russian TV)
  • Rachel Maddow’s “Home of the Whopper” segment from the Fall ’10 election cycle (MSNBC)
  • The infamous Jerry Falwell-Pat Robertson clip accusing all left-of-center folk of causing 9/11 (CBN)
  • President Obama’s Libya speech from Monday evening, March 28 (PBS).

Now I’ve given credit where credit is due and claim fair use under US copyright laws. But if our American public discourse doesn’t look dumb after watching it with Live’s “White, Discussion” playing in the background, I’d dare say that you’ll need to see an optometrist as soon as possible. In fact, I think we all need to get our brains, ears and eyes checked after three decades of being dummied down.

P.S. Also meant to give credit to NBA and Derrick Rose for a clip of his dunk against the Phoenix Suns last year.

A Musical Mirror in Time

November 13, 2010

My iPod, November 13, 2010. Donald Earl Collins

A side benefit to working on Boy @ The Window has been walking down memory lane in describing the music of those times. The music I listened to for inspiration, out of love, rage or goofiness. Or music that provided my means of escape from the drudgery of poverty at 616, the organized chaos that was Humanities and Mount Vernon public schools. Music that I stumbled upon, or deliberately discovered or discounted.

I’ve wondered off and on what the tunes in my ear and head would’ve been like if all the music that I’ve been exposed to since the end of the ’80s had all been at my fingertips in ’81 and ’82. I know one thing for sure. Had I the ability to send my eleven or twelve-year-old self my iPod from ’10, weird or not, Hebrew-Israelite or not, I’d been one of the coolest kids in school. Assuming that I wouldn’t have had to defend my improbable toy against bullies and muggers, that is.

So, now that I have access to music from any time and any year up to 2010, what would I’ve listened to

My iPod, Sting's "Desert Rose", November 13, 2010. Donald Earl Collins

during the Boy @ The Window years? Thinking about Crush #1, the music I had available in mind and in ear was Stevie Wonder’s “As” and “That Girl,” and The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” between March and June ’82.

Fully acknowledging that I was in some sort of love then, gee, what would’ve fit my mood? What would’ve been appropriate to the chaos in the rest of my life? U2’s “Beautiful Day” — where “you’ve been all over, and it’s been all over you?” Or Coldplay’s “Clocks,” Sting’s “Desert Rose,” Tevin Campbell’s “Can We Talk,” and Celine Dion’s “That’s The Way It Is,” all songs of shyness and unrequited love? Talk about framing a mood!

Well, what about Crush #2, my obsession with her, and the pain she helped cause? What could complement music like Richard Marx’s “Should’ve Known Better,” Paul Carrack’s “Don’t Shed A Tear,” or Geto Boys’ “My Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me”? Going back to January ’88, Live’s “White, Discussion” would’ve been a place to start. White male angst about race and possibly love — “Look what all this talking got us, baby” screamed at maximum lung-ness by lead singer Ed Kowalczyk — could’ve just as easily been my sarcastic and rage-laced refrain regarding Crush #2.

Other, more goofy and less epic tunes to lay out my anger and disappointment — or to get over it — hmm. Probably something like Michael Bolton’s “Time, Love & Tenderness,” Mariah Carey’s “Can’t Let Go,” or Annie Lennox’s “Walking On Broken Glass.” Music from the ’90s. So much better for coping with crushes and trifling people.

On a more serious tip, what from my present would’ve soothed my constantly worried mind back in the days when mp3 would’ve been thought of as a kind of motor oil? My faves of the ’80s were Mr. Mister’s “Kyrie” and “Broken Wings,” because the songs met me where I was, a teenager struggling to find his true self, to succeed in school, to survive life at 616. Other than some social justice-lite songs like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On,” Sting’s “They Dance Alone,” or Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up,” there wasn’t much of a message in most of the music from the mid- to late-80s — at least related to my life.

My iPod, Nickelback's "If Today Was Your Last Day," November 13, 2010. Donald Earl Collins.

But bringing music back from the future would’ve helped. Like Anthony Hamilton’s “Comin’ From Where I’m From,” Creed’s “Higher,” Sounds of Blackness’ “Optimistic,” even Nickelback’s “If Today Was Your Last Day.” The line of lines — “Against the grain should be a way of life” — has been when I’ve gotten the most out of myself, my God and my life.

I can only imagine what life would’ve been like with a piece of second-decade, twenty-first century

My iPod w/ U2, November 13, 2010. Donald Earl Collins

technology in the early ’80s. It made have made most of my embarrassing, disheartening and sorrowful moments easier to bear. But without those moments, I certainly wouldn’t have as full an appreciation of the music I listen to now and the blessings that have occurred in my life in the three decades since. As Anthony Hamilton would say, “Sometimes you gotta walk alone,” although with music, not completely alone.


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