"Up to the platform of surrender
I was brought,
But I was kind -"
Human. The Killers. 2008.
As I'm finally roused to change, from slumber, the singer on the radio confides that sometimes he gets nervous when he sees an open door. Before urging:
"Close your eyes. Clear your heart...and cut the cord."
CAREFREE AS THEY TWIRLED THE WORLD, INTO AN AGE THEIR OWN.
(I'm Not Angry Anymore ;-)
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Three years ago, upon my return to Africa - a past-time intimate friend, to whom I owe many of my shrinks and most of my busted bones - told me about this guy who's book she thought I'd like. The author's name was Barack Obama, and the book was titled 'Dreams From My Father'. My ADD-addled mind - as with most books - did not have the patience to read it in full. However, I did manage to get through the PREFACE, and I was impressed by the author's humility in admitting that he wasn't the world's greatest writer, apologizing if some of his ideas and recollections came across as scatter-shot or naive. He'd refused to polish this new edition as he felt it would be disingenuous to hide the way he felt and thought at the time of original writing. It'd be unfair to redefine for prettiness' sake that part of his life, whiten those corners of his soul.
A few months later, my youngest brother too returned from England and, being a family of hyper-political junkies, we spoke of politics, partly to avoid confrontation over the shennanigans which had occurred in Old Europe. On Baker Street. It was around the time of the Congressional elections in America, and - after six years of being cheated, bullied and bludgeoned red, white and blue - the Democrats were finally getting their acts together. I, like many of my generation, continued to bemoan the lack of a Bill Clinton in active politics. The usual bitterness about Bubba having to drop his pants in order for the entire nation to be able to confirm that, yes - bi-partisan efforts notwithstanding - Clinton did indeed swing left. Florida 2000, Al, if only...etc., etc.
That's when my brother asked me if I'd watched Barack Obama's speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention.
I must confess that I slept through this now epochal oration. REWIND.
"Prophets get only the whores or the chick buys it like Trinity!" Ah, an honest woman. It'd been awhile. The future - this new millennium of ours - arrived for us in London, the early hours of late December, 2003. Afformentioned past-time intimate friend was XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.CLASSIFIED. For
Interests Of PERSONAL SECURITY. I didn't know who, though I was kinda suspect of future Barack-supporter young bro's stylish Middle-Eastern kids in the riot p*ssy(?) posse. So we're both drunk and we both know that I now, as she falls, twisting her pretty ankle. Middle finger still raised.
Limping, we stepped out from the Odeon and onto Kensington High Street. The world was at war, bright shiny gun-metal. Neo had been sacrificed, forever stuckinaMatrix. Under energy-efficient lights and street surveillence cameras, the bendy-bus approaching, WE realized that the screen had been realized. The future was now. Shitty editing 'n all.
The city you're living in has bombs going off in the subways you take to work. Your lil'brother and his crew are 'rebelling' against a world gone mad with the vengeance of a high speed broadband connection. Playing on-line war games and enlisting in the army or serially downloading hardcore porn and shtupping your other brother(an early Mitt Romney booster)'s girlfriend and your own fiancee. Who're in turn ending up in loony bins and having on-the-go abortions.
People who look like all of you are being disappeared or having their heads blown off by trigger happy cops peeing in plastic coffee cups during rush hour traffic. Oops, we did it again: Brazillian? The dead kid, not the coffee. Move on, there's nothing to see here, ladies and gentlemen...
You looked around at the world those days and, baby, it was dark fears made real.
Frances Farmer won a hundred bucks seventy-five years ago for an essay that was called 'God Dies':
'No one ever came to me and said, "You're a fool. There isn't such a thing as God. Somebody's been stuffing you." It wasn't a murder. I think God just died of old age. And when I realized that he wasn't any more, it didn't shock me. It seemed natural and right...'
They wouldn't tell to protect you and they'd call you crazy if you ever found out. Sister ;-) You tried to salvage what you could. Intimacy. That last, soft place you fell. Would you ever forget her?
I fiddled with the gadget in my hand. Switched to camera. Pointed. Spun the picture with my finger. Focused on the gangbang ahead. WIDESCREEN.
PART THREE : SENTENCED TO DEATH BY THE BLESSED. THE DUMBEST GENERATIONS OF MY LIFETIME.
Are Dubya's and my twenty-five year-old brother's. Dumb's maybe an unfair generalisation, so let's add the word sociopathic to the mix and we'll call it evens, Stephens.
"Tell 'em to look this way, or I'll blow sh*t up or show 'em my p*ssy to get their attention."
Dubya was ruling and the kids I'm talking about were signing up for his wars and his credit cards. These were the two most important demographics of our times. After the 60's, we got Nixon and, er...polyester? After the 90's, we got Bush and Britney. The spawn that emerges from the carcasses of dead counter-cultures has a certain stench to it. iLike Zombie movies. Kurt's dead. Biggie's dead. Our Favourite Prez. A splooge on some fat chick's party dress. Bobby. Dead. Malcolm. Dead. MLK. Dead. JFK. Dead. John Lennon. Dead. Tupac: DEAD. Hunter S. Thompson. Brains Blasted Off Into Cosmic Fairy Dust. An not totally illogical solution, given the times. The rest of us were just hiding out at the mall, man.
Welcome to the big, bad naughts. Zeroes. NOTHING. Doubled till the final year. 2010 better makes things better here, man.
"The Mail & Guardian newspaper, based in Johannesburg, reported that a Fifa delegate had said that Athlone, which is surrounded by low-cost houses, was not appropriate because 'a billion television viewers don't want to see shacks and poverty on this scale'." - From the Observer Sport Monthly, Sunday June 3, 2007.
More disturbingly, many of you are right now wondering what the f*ck's the problem, anyway? We have our Facebooks.
STATUS UPDATE: JJ Gainz (and Barack Hussein Obama) are.....just like YOU!
GIVE MY REGARDS TO SOUL AND ROMANCE, THEY ALWAYS DID THE BEST THEY COULD...
So I slept through most of the 2004 U.S. electoral campaign, (needless to say) the entire Republican Party convention, waking only briefly to soothing strains of Southern-fried inspiration from Bubba, rallying John Kerry's nervous delegates with some sanguine words about America setting sail on a beautiful new course if it voted for the ocean blue again.
Before I woke, though, I had a dream.
It involved an interview with George Clooney for some glossy magazine set in some upmarket London hotel, I think. The kind of place where our women worked and cleaned and smiled and swayed their hips while carrying stuff. Anyway, Clooney was grumbling about the same things many others were: Oh, Bubba! Electoral corruption, the dumbing down of America. Also spending more time in Europe. 'Xcept in his case: LAKE COMO.
The hopemonger addresses his crowd:
It could be argued that those who've suffered great loss, experienced the shattering of maybe even soul,
Would have a pretty intimate knowledge of this human nature of ours.
And therefore, it can be deduced that our terrible past and this confusing, often brutal present we've been living has hardened us. Perhaps.
Yet knowing what we've experienced, surely it must as well inspire within us the compassion and smarts of a people guided by CONSCIENCE. Learned, earned and achieved...
FAIR AND BALANCED : IF HILLARY WAS A REPUBLICAN.
REAGAN made America cool for most white folks. The CLINTONS made it that way for the rest of us.
If Hillary was a Republican Rush Limbaugh would be like: " Gosh, jolly, Rude, don'tcha just think that Hillary's a wonderful, wonderful woman? I mean her dedication to her country and her public service. My friends, as you well know, I can never sing Hillary Rodham Clinton's praises loudly enough. She's just such a fine, fine role model for our young women today..."
RUDY GIULIANI: " ...and let me add, Rush - many of our young boys. (sighs). I can see you tearing up there, big guy, and as a true patriot I am proud to say I understand why. Bill's lovely Hill and my own beautiful fourth wife play nine holes at least twice a week. These are formidable ladies no doubt, Rush, lemme tell ya."
RUSH wipes away the tears: "Rudy, you're crying too..."
RUDY, chokin' it back: "Don't even let me get started on that loveable lil' Negro they've got running against me..."
[HOWARD STERN listens in from up in the atmosphere: "Goddammit, these bitches are really blubbing!"]
Rush hands Rudy a white handkerchief. Loud blow of snot. RUSH: "I mean he's just so incredibly....civilized. Who'd have thunk it?"
RUDY: "And smart, too, Rush. So smart..."
A TAILORED DARK SUIT, TWO iPHONES AND A CRISP WHITE SHIRT. TIELESS, THE EVOLUTION OF AN OBAMMABE
The speaker finally bites the bullet:
You know (PAUSE FOR EFFECT), as I've travelled this great country of ours, I've come to meet citizens of such vision...such compassion...such
enterprise...such soul. But then I see the rapes, the murders, the white-collar looting... and it becomes clear to me why we as a PEOPLE continuously appear to fall short. As a NATION.
ZIMBABWEAN LEADERS SIT ON A STAGE AND DO A DEAL:
ROBERT MUGABE, voice quivering: Son, now that I understand you fully, so too, can I embrace wholly as an eldest son to be proud of.
MORGAN TSVINGIRAI, also emotional: Father. Now that we have finally caught up after all these years, I can say, at last, and without contempt: To truly know you is to truly love you. (NERVOUSLY MOPS BROW) But Daddy, the beatings will be hard to forget...
WHO HOLDS THE ANSWERS?
Not virulent racists who would shame you into surrendering your heritage, your identity, in order to conform to their imposed ways of life.
Neither dogmatic idealogues, who in their zeal to indoctrinate and control, would make home so unbearable that you have no choice but to leave.
Nor the carpetbaggers, forever circling like vultures, awaiting The Fall. Who believe in absolutely nothing. But profit at all costs. And who'd attempt to brand a dollar sign into your very being.
FOUND A LITTLE PIECE OF YOU IN SOMEONE ELSE'S EYES. TAKE WHAT I FIND I DON'T ASK FOR REASONS.
Clooney bores of political frustration and looks the writer straight in the eye.
THROUGH A DIAMOND LENS:
"Someday..." he breathes, "A guy's gonna come along and be like, 'Y'know what? Yeah, I did inhale.'" George bangs the table lightly. "And just lay it all out there and tell it honestly and intelligently and like it is."
Sinatra-approved wry smile: "Who knows...perhaps this guy'll even do it with a bit of soul..."