Saturday, December 30, 2006

Are we having fun yet?

So they hung Sadaam. So are we happy? Yes of course he fucking deserved it, and it was by the laws of his country (yes he got a shitty trial, but probably better than most people there are getting now, if they get one). But does it makes us feel good? Sure, there are some bug-eyed right wingers all twitching and agog with excitement and jizz now. But aside from them, do we feel good? I mean, we shouldn't. The first precept of Buddhism is "do no harm." So we should never feel GOOD about killing someone else. It may be warranted, it may be necessary, it may even bring relief, but we should never enjoy it. And personally, I feel shame and disgust took part in such an obviously unnecessary and staged bloodletting.

This will be a low point in history. Sadly, I don't think it will be the lowest.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I can't get up no more

Unlike Roy, whose great post on James Brown I will not try to emulate, I don't have any personal connection with the Man in a Man's World (aside from interviewing brother-of-Maceo Kellis Parker, who played with him). I do think I was at the same show at the Lone Star in 1978 Roy was at, with that tiny-ass little stage so tight the musicians had to clear off so JB could do the splits, and although impressive, the show didn't change mylife. What did was playing James' 17 minute live version of Sex Machine ten (or maybe fourteen, we lost count) times in a row drunk at a party, and once the funk was in your bones, it wouldn't leave. At a later party, after JB had shot up that car and was doin' time, we would play Sex Machine and chant "Free James Brown" until the Almighty himself could hear our cries.

James' funeral was of a piece with his life. JB was sincerely loved by his community, which was all the African-American community of a certain age, and they showed it, unlike the parallel ceremony of a deceased President for all of 2.5 years, which will be stately and reverant, but seriously, who really LOVED Gerald Ford? They loved James despite the intensely public mess he made of his life. In fact, they may have loved him more because of that - since doing time in the white man's system is so much a part of the black experience, it only made them bond more closely.

I am treading on very thin ice (I don't care, no one reads my blog anyhow) but I am always amazed how the black community is much more willing than the white community to embrace their heroes despite sometimes quite egregious offenses (Mike Tyson, Marion Berry, Don King, the list goes on). One could posit all kinds of reasons for this (e.g., my half-assed attempt above), but it is remarkable. When Rev. Al goes, I suspect his mourners will be no less adulatory (perhaps less numerous) and little things like Tawanna Brawley will cloud the affection being put forth. Book the horse drawn carriage now!