Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron RIP

"The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary."

I love that "hog maws". He's following in the footsteps of Allen Ginsburg and the Beat poets but driving to a different rhythm of funk instead of jazz.
I think I could learn a few things by listening to this man recite poetry. He was a modern day Herman Melville with some seriously violent vocabulary.

The phrase, "The revolution will not be televised" is a poetic way to say, "When the paradigm shifts, it will shift completely." Then and now, the paradigm is an America glued to a screen where images dance for our amusement. I don't know if Gil was the first person to use this phrase but his poem definitely reinforces this perspective in textbook form and his sideways criticism of the media definitely predates the consolidation of media as a defining influence in America. He was a pioneer and a damn good poet and musician.

Lately, it's hard to believe that anything will not be televised. About half the people on the street are videoing or snapping pictures of the other half and the beginning of fully cataloged picture albums are already starting. And if the accelerated media eruption is any indication of where it will go in a few years everything will be documented and filed on the internet. So, it's safe to say that the revolution will definitely be televised...and it will probably be sponsored...with a theme song...and accessories from China.

I can't predict what form the revolution will take. Political/financial control and media manipulation has reached a saturation point that makes it almost impossible to retain hope for a better day for all. Right now people are asking if man-produced CO2 is causing a tornado factory in the Midwest. That will quickly be answered in the affirmative and as soon as people realize adopting solar energy now is like siphoning The Titanic with a basement sump pump the next plan of action will be to build tornado proof buildings... if you can afford it...which will mean we don't need to quit producing CO2 until all the oil is gone or all the poor people are dead and there's no one to work in the oil fields. That's Oggy's cheery prediction. The environmental holocaust that America is sponsoring is so well hidden/justified that no movement in America will rebel against it. But what other nation will take us on? And that wouldn't be a revolution at all but an act of war which would easily be repelled by jingoistic country songs and teen recruitment from Marines...not to mention our gigantic arsenal of drone fighters piloted from couches in air conditioned comfort. But the disparity in income and living conditions has grown totally out of control, beyond any tolerable level since the French uprising in the 18th century. Gil wrote about revolution in 1973. That's a joke now. An average income was above poverty back then. Today, there are more working poor than any other income bracket. 5% of the rich own 75% of everything. The revolution happened but it wasn't by the people for the people. It will take a worker's rebellion to change things but the successful smear campaign on worker's rights (communism) worked so well that a slave with a bucket to piss in has been trained to thank his boss for the bucket. Like they say, it's easy to teach a dog to roll over on cue. But if you can teach a dog to roll over on his own, then you've done something. Credit Post WWII Eisenhower propaganda campaigns for that mind fuck.

By design, Capitalism doesn't accommodate everyone and by design Christianity doesn't accommodate population control. So, when you have a Christian Capitalist Kingdom then you have the most fucked up situation since the Roman church decided to invade the land of the Jews. Add to that situation a demand for oil, copper, food, water and air that far exceeds any reasonable global request then you have a recipe for disaster. But the disaster is hard to picture right now because the slaves are content, Gil Scott-Heron is dead. Hip hop artists don't want revolution because the money is in promotion and merchandise. Social change has been replaced by the term "Computer Application" The revolution is being fundamentally derailed by technological gadgetry. It's beautiful, really, because while the media was calling the social change in Lybia a "Social Media Revolution" the message was that if you aren't plugged in then you aren't going to be a part of the revolution. So, naturally, everyone wants to be plugged in. But, SINCE COPPER WIRE DOESN'T COME FROM KEEBLER ELVES LIVING IN THE FOREST, the revolution will necessitate the destruction of habitat and the plundering of the bowels of the earth by another generation of wage slaves who lost their lands to the copper company and then were offered subsistence wages working underground to pay the rent on the shack leased to them by the copper company. (But don't worry, until copper is discovered under your fat ass you'll be safe.) I don't think this is a coincidence but I do think that a digital revolution isn't revolutionary at all. It's still oppressing one people to improve the lives of another small group of people and that's a story as old as time. In the words of Gil, when the revolution comes, "Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville Junction will no longer be so damned relevant."

Weenie Bum

4 random events of this late spring that don't involve wolves...

1) Stuck at a stop for road construction I see three kids marching home from Jr. High School like quintessential 13 year old boys with blood on knees and elbows, the big one in front is singing about some one's mother being a whore and the two little ones behind him are swarming like parasite fish trying to get attention all buck toothed and smiling. The big one's shoes are untied. He turns and swings a ham hock at one of the little ones who puts his bony elbows up in defense and the big kid's fist punches the elbow that is as sharp as exposed rebar on a non-existent Nicaraguan third story. The two little ones laugh as the big one howls and hops around in pain and then he chases, lumbering with papa bear steps and pushes one of the little kids into a hedge. Books go flying and then they start laughing. the bulldozer passes and the cops wave us through so I move toward home.

2) Standing outside on the deck overlooking the street-lit neighborhood, I hear a girl's voice singing, "Ding dong, the witch is dead." She's probably 7 years old and her voice carries over the trees with the scent of bbq corn and hot dogs and pasta salad. "Lalalalal, " she vocalizes the words she doesn't remember but the melody is pretty close. I open the screen door and go inside.

3) Two kids around the age of 8 bicycle down the street with no training wheels. Helmets on. The little one follows a bigger one, perhaps his brother. "Weenie, bum weenie bum." they chant. "Weenie!" I'm in my van organizing my belongings in secrecy. "Weenie bum." Soon a half dozen 7-10 year old kids are on the curb behind my van. What the hell? There are no parents around. I'm trapped, so I listen.
The boy says, "He's a weenie."
A girl says, "I'm telling dad that you said that."
"What did I say?"
"If you tell him then I'll tell him you said it too."
"But I didn't."
"Did too. Just now."
"That's not the same."
"Is too, weenie bum."

If I get out now I'll probably scare them all to death and encourage the pedophile patrol to descend on Elwyn and Lincoln. I stay put and escape when the ice cream truck appears.

4) The big kid from the first scene struts his lumbering strut near two girls about his age, half escorting them home. They are all in the middle of the Elwyn Ave. I can't hear what he's saying but he's making up some story about his father being a jet pilot or how he's going to be a Navy Seal when he grows up and loses 50 pounds. The girls scoff with their neat hair and decorated backpacks and nimble fingers texting while carrying on two conversations. To prove his mettle, the big kid kicks his right shoe off and like a soccer ball it flies high near my van and plops down near the tires of an oncoming car. The girls get out of the way as the boy rescues his shoe by shoving his foot into it and walking away with a hopping gait. The car slowly creeps by and the girls by way of a wave apologize for the delay. The boy grabs his crotch to show the nonplussed driver he'll do what he pleases. The girls make faces but laugh. The boy's shoes remain untied as he shuffles along as an escort.

I struggle to fit all of these vignettes into my "The world is ending" theory but fail so terribly that I almost feel a sprout of hope in my Grinch-inhabited heart. Is it possible that the Great Jigsaw Puzzle can not be solved since new pieces keep getting made that don't fit the puzzle you are working on? Eventually, you will get sandwiched between layers of new pieces in an attempt to finish a puzzle that no one will ever see.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.