Thursday, May 26, 2016

"Create your Reality"

I thought this toxic meme had finally faded out, but it popped up again on my Facebook today.  This bullshit "gets my red up" every time. Of course, it comes to us courtesy of the "new age" movement.  Ever notice how the so-called new age, alternative-spirituality community is almost exclusively white and wealthy?  Of course it is.  Who else would gravitate to a system that justifies and validates class and racial privilege while scapegoating victims of systemic oppression?

Does the rape victim create her rape? Does the kid born in a third world garbage dump create his poverty? Does the slave create her bondage? Obviously not. Victims of injustice do not create the injustice that victimizes them. The opposite is also true: the great majority of those who live in privilege did not create their privilege. That's a terrifying thought for those of us who are lucky enough to live in our first world bubble. We want to believe that we earned our privilege, that we created and deserve it, but 99% of the time, our privilege is wholly attributable to dumb luck and genetics.  The greatest predictor of wealth is not our intelligence, talent or perseverance, it is our parents' wealth.  There is even a term for this:  the "birth lottery."

Shit happens. Sometimes we create it, sometimes it is beyond our control. The one thing we can control is how we react to that shit, how we choose to let shit change and shape us. 

Sorry for the harangue, but it's one of my pet peeves. I once got into a war of words on this subject with a woman who was doing "communication training" at OSF. I get hot under the collar when some highly paid, Ivy League-educated consultant tells underpaid, working class employees that their oppression is their own fault because they "create their own reality." 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Disco Did Not Suck

Advertisements have started popping up for a big, last-gasp rock festival scheduled later this year. Three nights of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, Neil Young, Roger Waters, the last of the rock gods. Decades beyond any hint of relevance, these old,white multi-millionaires, one-percenters all, charge nostalgic boomers hundreds of dollars per ticket to play their forty year old hits at half speed. It's like a gathering of dinosaurs before the final mass extinction event; at least, I hope so.

I was talking to a friend today, a woman who sings with some local bands, and I went off on a bit of a rant about a certain class of local musicians I call the “classic rock guys.”  We don’t have big stars out here in the sticks, but a few of these guys had respectable careers as touring or session musicians. Most are just hometown heroes, rock stars in their own minds. They pound out the anthems and the power ballads with their Flying V Stratocasters and oversized amps.   The singer and I were talking about how you almost never see them play with women musicians.  They occasionally allow a woman to sing a few songs, but only if she looks good in a short skirt.  They might have a couple of gals singing back up, but playing an instrument? Almost never.

God bless you Chryssie Hynde, I don't know how you survived. Sister Rosetta Tharp is turning over in her grave.

Rock and roll holds almost no appeal to me anymore. I had a great time going to rock shows back in the day, I loved to dance to the hits as much as anyone. But, looking back, I see the scene for what it was: deeply sexist and racist. The “classic rock” of the 60s and 70s was overwhelmingly white and male. These offensively over-privileged white men with their mansions and their classic cars and their private jets, treating women like interchangeable sex toys.  Don’t get me wrong, being a sex toy can be big fun in the right circumstances.  I have absolutely no objection to fun and games between equals, but no-one wants to be interchangeable. That’s what was fucked up about it: the power dynamic.  It was all about the rock god, his low slung pants hanging off his hipbones, shaking his dick at the girls in the front row. Later, they crowd around the backstage door, lined up like virgins at the foot of a volcano, hoping that they will be adjudged worthy to enter. Fuck that.

I read something recently about the embedded racism of the “Disco Sucks” movement, remember that?  White deejays denigrating and destroying disco music that was created primarily by African American artists and celebrating the sausage rock of white artists.  And, don't even get me started about the deep, dark, rock closet.  Poor Freddie Mercury never had a chance. It’s all so repellent to me now.