Monday, February 11, 2008


I appreciated him before, but now that I've seen the spectacle that is Mika, all I can say is "Go!" This kid has "it." In a big way. And from the minute he sang his first note, he had the audience at the Wiltern eating out of his hand. Seriously, they were mad for the boy...And he, his musicians, backup singers, dancers and whoever designed the stage, the sound and the lighting deserved every bit of that madness.

As he introduced "Billy Brown" a gay bio-anthem of sorts, he explained "So I wrote this song and I turned it into my record label, and they sent back word that this song (and his voice lowers to a growl) "wasn't appropriate for the U.S. market and we recommend you not release it."" He skips a beat. The crowd roars. And in his normal voice, he barks "Not bloody likely!" And launches into the song as the audience roars its approval.

And I think "Thank God I live in L.A. where (most) people are past the kind of petty, inconsequential nonsense that our media geniuses and our employees in Congress contend preoccupies us to distraction, especially out there in "The Heartland." But my gratitude is marred as I realize that my country has now become a place that foreign Marketing Execs feel behooved to second-guess our level of provinciality and prudishness.

...Like American music execs would if they were trying to market say, Mariah Carey to Saudi Arabia...

Yep, this is what my country has become; the Saudia Arabia of The New World. Rich and stupid, with a mean oligarchy in moral hock up to its eyeteeth to a bunch of religious nuts whose spiritual practice is so brittle, so easily distracted, that Job 1 is to subjugate the entire world so that they won't be led astray by the sound of music, the sight of a bare ankle or the thought that there is more than one path to God, and some really good people aren't interested in any of them

Back in January of 2003, just as we were getting ready to invade Iraq, Time Magazine ran an essay by Brian Eno in which he posed the question "How can a country that has produced some much economic and cultural wealth act so dumb?" In it, he compared the America of 2003 with the America he had lived in from 1978 to 1983 and found the new America almost unrecognizable. You'll never see this essay, though, unless you Google it, and the reason for that is that it never ran in the American edition of Time. It only ran in the International Edition. And what Eno was decrying was a death of the American Spirit, which he characterized as one of enthusiasm and openness, and its replacement with this sorry, chronic self-righteous arrogance, self-pity and disinterest in the rest of the world.

Doubtless, that story never ran here because it was probably reasoned that Americans were probably far too brittle still from 9/11 to be able to withstand even the gentlest criticism from someone who counts himself a fan. And doubtless nobody wanted to take the heat, or be called a traitor. Because real friends, we know, will wave pompoms and tell you you're really great even after you've done something really shitty. Like drive drunk or abandon an unstable country you've just invaded which remains in desperate need of support so you can invade another country based on nothing more than the desire to.

And the role of the news media, we now know is to make us feel good, and reporting the actual news is a downer. We can be fed continuous images of a poor, panti-less Britney Spears strapped into a gurney as she wrestles with whatever psychiatric storm vexes her mind, but we're not asked to take a hard look at the remains of our children returning home in coffins. We can put off the consequences of the psychic and physical maiming that war has inflicted on our children who are lucky enough to make it home in one piece, more, or less - though their families are not always so lucky. And unlike the rest of the world - even that part of it served by our own news agencies - we don't have to waste our beautiful minds on the truth of what we're doing to the men, women and children of Iraq.

And there's no need for a report on just how insane most of the developed world thinks we are at the moment - they're just jealous, anyway. Of our freedom, or something.

No one is jealous of us. They all think we've lost our minds. Oh yeah, I can hear you, and yes, people are still sneaking across our borders daily. But who are they? They're people who have nothing except a desire to get enough money to get a proper roof over the head and some decent food on the table. I'm not faulting them, but their desire to get into this country by hook or by crook doesn't exactly stand as a ringing endorsement of how great things are here, it just means our version of shitty is a little less shitty than what constitutes "shitty" where they came from.

That doesn't work for me. I want my country back. I want the country I grew up in back. That country was, we were told, the greatest country in the world, and even though it was far from perfect even then, I knew it was a special blessing to be an American. We knew we enjoyed a level of comfort and security the rest of the world could only dream of. But more than that, we were taught we could always be better: more comfortable, more secure, but also more generous, more just, more humane, more educated, more magnanimous.

I want that country back. I'm tired of this country - this cynical, mean-spirited, selfish, frightened, self-righteous nation led by arrogant, whiny gasbags who care only for more power and more money - to no discernible end but more power and still more money.

I'm tired of 9/11 being used to excuse our complete abandonment of the principles which made this country what it was. Face it, kids. "The terrorists" are never going to go away. And why would they? Given our extended response to 9/11, it's fairly clear that all they need is a sledgehammer or a screw driver and a few well-shouted "Death to the American Satans!" or "God Hates Fags!" or whatever's the beef of the week and we'll run screaming into the streets, happy to surrender everything that made this country the most progressive place on Earth in return for a "security" that doesn't exist in a Free Society, or any society for that matter.

Yes, we could beef up security on our borders and at the ports (we haven't) we could realize that the condition of our infrastructure - our roads, rail lines, our airspace, and our medical infrastructure are all security issues (not gonna happen) and still, we are going to have terrorism. And the reason we are going to have terrorism is that we have demonstrated that we don't really care about the American ideals we claim to cherish. We have demonstrated that we will gladly let go of any and all of them if someone tells us we need to. And even the leaders we have who know better won't say a peep because keeping their job in Washington is more important than keeping their integrity.

I'm not even nearly done yet....cont. tommorrow

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read this installment and people wonder why...(comment cut for Nat'l Security reasons.) - Subject of next installment.