I have no doubt everything this man says is true.
From Sexuality to Race, power and money and the art of music, some of the most incisive comments I’ve heard about any of these things come as a conversation from an observer.
Born outside the corridors of power Quincy Jones “Q” as he’s been known has an insight into all of the above that takes no in-between-the-lines interpretation to unpack.
This is what online journalism does so well, what Rolling Stone used to do but gave up to chase false rape accusations and hand the alt-right a new narrative.
Read this, it will change the way you see music, sexuality, America and life.
It all comes down to money, doesn’t it?
Money coupled with power. Power over people via “ideas” that have more in common with emotional revulsion than logic. This is what we are now.
Steve Bannon was at the left hand of the seat of power; he was the co-pilot of the administration, arguably the primary architect of the Trump victory. You’d have to be utterly blind, delusional, Stockholm Syndrome-addled or just uncaring not to see this. The nearly transparent lie that there was no collusion on the part of Bannon’s appeals to race resentment and the violence that often erupted at Trump rallies doesn’t need calling out, it is there, in plain sight, for all to see.
Nor does the connections to the Alt-Right, real Nazis, and other assorted white supremacists, they too, are plain. Through the denials (what common criminal ever said, “Yeah, I did it, that was me” when being cornered by the cops?) the obstrufications and every logical event to the contrary, Bannon, Breitbart and its network of ideologues and hangers-on continue to play a role in the conversation or at least continue to keep the discussion about them, bolstering the profiles of both the wave riders and the hard idealogues.
There is no such thing as bad press.
So why are we still playing this game?
Why are we still under the delusion that we are living under anything but a proto-fascist state, a state that combines the worst elements of our cold war and second world war enemies. We now represent the things we have purportedly fought against for most of the 20th century. It’s no longer about left and right ideologies because both would be crushed under the weight of the oligarchy. When there isn’t freedom for anyone, ideology is moot.
It is a cold hard fact that for all of the history of the United States we have been awash in white supremacy. Its taken many forms as the idea of whiteness have been adopted by various Europeans and those of European descent. It isn’t unique to this nation, but the brand of white superiority and supremacy is. We are unique in the fact that we’ve inhabited a Janus-like guise, out of one face we say we are pluralistic and generous, the huddled masses are welcome to come and add their uniqueness to our own and to our collective culture, on the other we are xenophobic, racist and fearful of difference although demonstrably, once we know each other personally those elements diminish.
We also claim to value our collective contributions to our society. We claim to not see race or sex and that the value we place on our fair values is absolute. Even on our political left, there is this illusion, the corridors of power in our entertainment are littered with the desiccated bodies of the women who know better. Liberal Hollywood is awash in its form of hypocrisy. Weinstein, Cosby, and Baldwin, either get a pass or use their considerable power as men to create false personas that defy their goodness while hiding their toxic badness.
At the risk of sounding SWJish, White Male Superiority in general. Yes, even Cosby.
Masculinity is at least a convening force in all this. I’ve spoken before about how this mirror universe came to pass, how the power structure that was had been challenged by an educated, non-white man, and then an educated (albeit universally unlikeable) white woman and the resulting pushback gave us a starring role in the Truman shitshow we live in now. How the years of ingrained, assumed norms of power and who was inherently qualified to wield it, unraveled while Rural White Male America slept soundly in their beds, secure in the fact that their hegemony wouldn’t be undone by a one-term Nigger president.
See how that happened?
We didn’t elect a white knight, we chose the anti-Nigger, the crass boldness embodiment of everything we would have lynched Obama for, and some things lesser, that we tried to. Trump’s money, his conspicuous consumptive nature on full display in House Horrific gold inlay pimp my penthouse bling, his pussy grabbing dullard braggadocio, his obviously ignorant grasp of policy and its implications, all of it punishable by death for any nonwhite who isn’t signed to Bad Boy or in the NBA. Trump is gangsta personified.
Must be the money…
The more I grow and the older I get the more I realize that happiness is not only relative but may be something unrelated to joy. Joy is the exuberance that follows a positive discovery of the world. The discovery of a new thing or a long forgotten emotion, the discovery of a long-lost feeling or a new vista, all are the fuel of joy.
Happiness is not joy. It’s not contentment, nor is it complacency, It isn’t hope or wonder, though it is a product of them all. Not alone. It is the product of the tension between opposites, the right balance between optimism and fear, a melding and repelling of opposites.
Happiness is what happens where our hope and our fear collide in equal measure. It is the point of homeostasis that occurs when love and hate exist in equal amounts. It is the in-between space where all hope meets all hope is lost. Happiness is the place where our greatest aspirations and our greatest doubts cancel each other out and create a space for us to live in the moment, unhindered by either.
Happiness isn’t a state for any short span of time, it is a long-term way of being that occurs in the moment and across time. It is transcendent yet it steadies us in place. It gives us glimpses of the 5th-dimensional beings perspective of the movies I mentioned in the last post. It removes us from the moment and secures us to it and because our perceptions are so limited we can only really feel it in retrospect.
Happiness is tension. Happiness moves us forward by being the swift, ever-present and ethereal force, the wind that we can’t see but feel when we pay enough attention or when it is strong enough to move us on its own. Happiness is where hot and cold air meet.
Happiness gives us an understanding of time and space that is not linear, not one point to another and not directly linked to our appointment calendars or datebooks. It expands our understanding of what the universe has to offer us, and what we contribute back to it. It connects us to the eternal and in brief glimpses gives us the shape of the face of “God.” Abstract like a psychedelic trip taken in millisecond doses spread throughout the average 28000 days or 672000 hours in an average lifetime, happiness exists in the eternity between moments.
I’m finding myself fearful and more hopeful lately, and therefore so much happier because I can feel both, fully, just this side of insanity. To me, that is happiness.
Genesis, one of those bands with a smattering of songs I rank among my favorites. The Phil Collins era ones ride the line between pop accessibility and Peter Gabriel era weirdness, and this song exemplifies that.
The way songs make you feel regardless of lyrical content and sometimes because of it, is the immediate catch for me. This one transfers a longing and desperation. It recalls the feeling of being an adolescent in a fully grown man’s body and obsessing about the woman you love and going a little mad in the process.
Plus the music is just great.
Genesis, “Turn It On Again”:
10,000 Maniacs was one of those few 80’s groups that artfully combined alt-rock and folk.
Released in 1987, the year after I graduated high school, and the year I met one of my best, longest running friends (who also introduced me to REM), it not only reminds me of him and our various low-key adventures (driving to upstate new York one night with a group of friends on a whim, just to go, and totally falling asleep on Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors, in retrospect, a forgivable sin) but of a time of near-innocence and its eventual shattering.
This song was a song on the soundtrack of my life from the time the CD came out. Its dreamy and contrarily carnavalistic keyboards contrasting with the realization of hunger, homelessness and drear that Ms. Merchant must have felt coming from a small upstate New York town and arriving in LA for the first time.
To me it was just another musical dream whose lyrics coincided with my own political and social awakening to the fact that all was not well in the richest country on earth.
10,000 Maniacs, City of Angels:
Edited on 4/11 @ 12:10pm because of a missing “c.”
Clockwork Angels came out in 2012, the same year of the American election. It was Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney and personally, the stakes never felt higher. Even in retrospect, post Trump, this election was consequential in an exceptional way. Our first American president of African descent, our first multiracial president and our first potential two term Democratic president since Clinton.
I argue that Obama’s legacy was more at stake then than it is now. A two term president can ostensibly claim a real mandate, where a one term president’s legacy can be easily erased if the opposing party comes into power four years in.
But I digress….
The Anarchist felt like the soundtrack of the apocalypse to me then. There was so much uncertainty about the future, so much building anger and resentment from a segment of the population who had a tremendous run and now was being eclipsed by number and power, by browner and more estrogen rich carbon based bipeds.
The wont to blow up the world and everything in it, the desire and the seething anger behind it to destroy everything associated with the other while simultaneously blowing up what benefits you resonated strongly. The texture of the song, the choral progression to a droning finale, doom turned to music.
First song, for the first day: The Anarchist, by Rush.