“Texans invent their own metaphors and similes, often of a scatological nature, which is kind of fun. As a group, they tell good stories well. The reason they’re good at stories is because this is what anthropologists call an oral culture. That means people here don’t read or write much. Neither would you if all you had to read was the Dallas Morning News.” Molly Ivins
“The Clinton campaign has struggled to win support among young voters of every description, including traditional Democratic Party voters: women, African-Americans, people of Latinamerican or Hispanic origin, etc. … The AOL Email login-screen ad bought by her campaign is either an act of monumental cluelessness about how to reach those young voters, or (more likely), it’s an indication that the campaign feels the need to double-down on the older voters who constitute the bulk of Hillary Clinton supporters.” Cory Doctrow
“Advice, as it always gives a temporary appearance of superiority, can never be very grateful, even when it is most necessary or most judicious. But for the same reason everyone is eager to instruct his neighbors. To be wise or to be virtuous is to buy dignity and importance at a high price; but when nothing is necessary to elevation but detection of the follies or faults of others, no man is so insensible to the voice of fame as to linger on the ground.” Dr. Johnson
Going around the dial last weekend I came upon an episode of the old George Reeves Superman show. It opened with the local crime boss busily occupying himself with a yo-yo. The phone rings and he hands the yo-yo to an underling and says, “Keep that going for me, will ya?”
That when I realized I needed to pick the loose bits and pieces from last week’s post.
Originally the second part of last week’s missive was to make the point that those born on the front end of the Baby Boom have no idea that those of us born on the back half have no interest in listening to their tales of protest.
When I started high school the Paris Accord was signed and Saigon fell just as we were being fitted for caps and gowns. Between those two points – and certainly thereafter – we had nothing to protest. There was no war, no draft, and cultural mores had been loosened sufficiently that whatever we did could not be seen as rebellion. I used to joke that the only protest Boomers like Mom ’n me knew about was Disco Demolition Night.
To clarify – the owner of the team’s last name rhymes with “wreck.”
But you knew that.
The closest I ever came to real protest involved our ongoing efforts in what The POTUS would call “dishonstism.” As some of you know, now and then I’m called upon to be a photodishonestist. Several years ago it came down to me to take pictures of the Occupy’s port protest. Phase one was to follow the local Peace Grannies who were marching as a group that day to stand in front of a stub of the Port of Seattle which had been designated as Ground Zero by the local Occupy organizers. About half the grannies had shown up by the time I got there. Arriving hot on my heels were the anarchist kids from Black Diamond, WA/ Eugene, OR,/Fort Bragg, CA. (circle all that apply) They immediately started handing out pints of milk, instructions on how to use the milk to get the pepper spray out of your eyes, and skull-face bandanas intended to hide faces from police and media cameras. One produced a Sharpie marker and took the arm of one of the grannies, the kid then shouted, “I’M WRITING THE PHONE NUMBER FOR THE BAIL BONDSMAN ON YOUR LEFT ARM AND THE PHONE NUMBER OF OUR LAWYER ON OUT RIGHT ARM!”
One took my arm and I said simply, “Media.”
She lowered my arm and replied, “FUCK YOU!”
Then she spit at me.
I then asked her if anyone thought the police would go ballistic on a group of 80 year-old women.
“FUCK YOU, YOU COMPLICIT PIG!”
And that’s where I came in on this movie.
By now the Grannies, Viola, Dottie, Margaret, and Ingrid were huddled up refusing to get anything written on their arms. Out of the corner of my eye I saw more anarchists on bicycles shooting by so I took that as my cue to wander up the street. As I got to the police line you could see the teenager march that was headed for the other side of the port entrance. Kids from high schools al over Seattle marched from downtown to be part of the rally. Looking at the front of the crowd I said to myself, “Gee, there’s a mess of these kids who dress just like my kid.” Pulling out the long telephoto lens it became clear that there was one kid who dressed like my kid because he was my kid.
There front and center was Alaska Wolf Joe.
I walked up to the police captain in charge of the line and said I just needed through for a picture or two. Two officers opened up to let me through. Quickly I took both pictures and my child and got to the other side of the line. I told AWJ there was going to be trouble and we were going upwind – now- to get get away from the pepper spray and tear gas the police brought not to mention awful smelling smoke bombs the anarchists brought to create a cover for their rock throwing.
Fatherly advice comes upon you at the most awkward of times.
A steady breeze out of the south meant the bus shelter to the west of all this was the best place to be. Thanks to the miracle knows as the 150-600mm lens I got what I needed while AWJ got to watch it all unfold.
So what became of all that? What’s going on now since most of those protester/anarchists are creeping every closer to the age of 40?
Since Alaska Wolf Joe subscribes to all the FB groups for card-carriers, dupes, pinkos, fellow travelers, and useful idiots I asked him what the average protester looks like today. He says the kids these days are all about th’ Mao.
Here’s all I can say about what I know about Trotskyites: you probably smell like patchouli, have “white person dreads”, and are handing out a newspaper at a rally which no one will read. This is the stereotype as I have garnered it from mediocre young radicals, who are no doubt soured Alinski-ites hell bent on destroying the Christian fabric of this nation with their cold hands covered in the residuum of sin.
Also, with an emphasis on recent thoughts regarding intersectionality and decolonization (which are not exclusively Marxist, more re: bell hooks and Frantz Fanon, among no doubt countless others, though no one is really cited), the dirty word “imperialism” creeps in. Any Western narrative against movements esp. in East Asia or the third world is construed as an imperialist narrative, so most people revise Mao to be a sanitary theoretician fighting the imperialist West as opposed to an absurd dictator trying to destroy culture for his own means. I’d say this stems largely from a focus currently towards PoC or WoC led movements, where to look for figures who went for radically Marxist approaches and had success on a widespread culture means looking generally outside of the West. Also the kids really love materialism now because it isn’t that stuffy thing that ivory tower elitist liberals shove down your throat with the list of Great Books.
Everybody on the same page now?
As far a future protests go I’ll probably only go those that require me to throw a saddle on ol’ Nikon and ride off.
Moving along –
Good news came along this week.
Somebody wants Mom ’n me to run out a PPT on the current state of the media!
OK it’s for a senior center enrichment group, but it’s the first time anybody wanted to hear what we have to say in a long, long time. Never mind that the only time these folks experienced fake news it was Orson Welles going on and on about martians in New Jersey.
To recap – for several years the Internet’s young hip good looking set always wanted to meet with us. The scuttlebutt said Mom was a regular digital spitfire while I was the Bloggitysphere’s answer to that daring 19th Century man-of-action, Russian Count Vladimir Klappon-Klappov. Then we’d catch up with them and they’d see we were these perpetually rumpled people with wrinkles and gray hair who were about as sexy as the average IKEA showroom. Once that shock wore off they backed away from us, but not before treating us like some old gray muzzled mutt who does little more than sleep and fart all day. They’d smile and they always said the same thing, “Gee Pops, you’re not a puppy anymore are you? Nozzums not, Nozzums not! Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy?”
Then they’d scratch me behind the ears.
God, how I always hated that.
Oh – before I go and in case you were wondering – The Peace Grannies lived to see another day. In fact, a few years later they managed to shut down an entire Port meeting using what Joe Bob Briggs would call sit-in/hootenanny-fu using little more than the Pete Seeger songbook.
As always we end with music. What follows is what Alaska Wolf Joe said has “All the artistic panache of someone cosplaying as Karl Marx at an anime convention.” while Mom ’n me say it more as a death-by-a-thousand-cuts moment as we had to sit through a three-minute AARP ad before it would roll.