Sunday, November 12, 2006

You gotta' stay loose, limber and prepared

You know it never has been easy
Whether you do or you do not resign
Whether you travel the breadth of extremities
Or stick to some straighter line

-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, off the album of the same name

The illustration above came about when we took a trip upcoast to visit a friend of C.I.'s. Noting the boxing area on the sand, the sky behind it, the trees around it, Ty demanded we look close and said this was an image we should remember when we pulled out the paints this weekend.

To please Ty, we made this the second illustration we painted (the first was Chalabi). We had various ideas for what to do with the illustration and one of them, a poem, runs in the print edition.

Ty wanted something more and as we've attempted to finish this edition by getting things posted (not any easier this weekend despite switching the site to Beta mode on Thursday), we've all looked at the illustration and made several comments.

What is capturing is two men. One is boxing. They aren't sparring. It's a boxer and a trainer. The boxer's got gloves, the coach has punch mitts. (If you don't know that term, most of us didn't. We had to ask.)

You gotta' stay loose, you gotta' stay limber, you gotta' be prepared.

That's what we were told.

And we think it's true.

For every day life.

Especially if you "do not resign."

Last week, we heard a light weight, amatuer gas bag who wants so badly to go pro on the radio. Gas baggy has pontificated in the past about those mean, nasty bloggers who just attack the mainstream media. Don't they know that it could go under, don't they grasp that they are doing the right-wing's work for them?

Gas baggy appears to be trying to set up their own end with the mainstream.

The reality is the mainstream press does some strong work at times and does some lousy work very often. That's true in any time period, sorry to shock Gas baggy.

Online latter day Dylan all but sings "The day the press died" day after day, week after week, year after year and pinpoints it as when Bill Clinton emerged as a contender for president. That is the breaking point!

Of course, Robert Parry can tell you all about working for AP and Newsweek before and during Iran-Contra which kind of blows latter day's theory out of the water. And the hit job LA Times and Newsweek did on Jean Seberg is forgotten only by the dumb and stupid.

Danny Schechter, who has a longer range view, was on KPFA Friday talking about how his film was crucified in the San Francisco Chronicle. We all missed that. We were in the car listening and when we got back, the paper had already been tossed out. We weren't interested in reading it to fact check Schechter, we believed him. We agree with him that there are some films, such as his documentary In Debt We Trust, that too many finanical institutions have an interest in dismissing lest people catch on. We're all aware of the trained monkeys who did the work of nuclear industry in smearing The China Syndrome (hey, Georgie Will, we do not forget you) when it was released as pure fantasy, not possible, dangerous lies, etc. Of course, reality fact checked the liars when, a few weeks after that film opened, Three Mile Island occurred. (Georgie, we're still waiting for your correction.) We're also aware, from two movie critics, that they were instructed to slam a non-political film in 2005 due to one of the people onscreen. They slaughtered it. They're embarrassed by that. But they had their bosses.

So Gas babby should shop the theatrics somewhere else. We ain't buying.

In the week that we were all supposed to be overjoyed with the Democrats and bask in their success, we're aware that only Voices of the Middle East (on KPFA) bothered to take a moment and note what was done to Cynthia McKinney by that 'brave' party this year. How her own party turned on her (again). The hit wasn't surprising. (McKinney herself noted that.) Especially when you consider that Nancy Pelosi, remember she'll be the new Speaker of the House in January and is just so brave -- we were told all last week -- refused to restore McKinney's senority after she was re-elected in 2004.

So you can be soggy like Gas baggy and wait around for someone to save you (insert Michelle Pfeiffer line from Batman Returns here) or you can focus on saving yourself. "Save my soul, save myself," Tracy Chapman once sang and we thank it's good advice. Much stronger than a Gas babby fretting over what might happen to big media if the criticism doesn't go away?

What might happen? It might go under, it might get better. We doubt either. That's not our concern or interest. Our interest is in doing our part to make people question, to make them be something more than input receivers. Long before there was a Murdoch, there was a Hurst. Long before there was a Coulter, there was a Booth Luce.

Possibly the criticism took out Cokie Roberts? If so, we've noted that quite a few new Cokies have sprung out -- many who once, and sometimes still, claimed to be independent voices. Possibly the criticism took out Judith Miller? Dexter Filkins remains 'respected' by far too many.

As Art Carney's Ira tells Lily Tomlin's Margo in The Late Show, "Back in the Forties, this town was crawlin' with dollies like you. Good-lookin' cokeheads tryin' their damnedest to act tough as hell. I got news for you: they did it better back then. This town doesn't change -- they just push the names around. Same dames... screwin' up their lives just the same way."

In this instance, substitute "press" for "dames." Add in Gas baggy.

Us? We'll keep telling our truths. We'll keep speaking our peace.

You've got to shake your fists at lighning now
You've got to roar like forest fire
You've got to spread your lightl like blazes
All across the sky
They're going to aim the hoses on you
Show them you won't expire
Not till you burn up every passion
Not even when you die
Come on now
You've got to try
If you're feeling contempt
Well then you tell it
If you're tired of the silent night
Jesus, well then you yell it
Condemned to wires and hammers
Strike every chord that you feel
That broken trees
And elephant ivories

-- "Judgement Of The Moon And Stars," written by Joni Mitchell, off her CD For The Roses.
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