Murder in the Age of Rome: American Heroes and American Mass-Murders

Superbowl Sunday I should no doubt have a post on the Superbowl like the rest of America.

However other things grab my interest. Other things that perhaps transcend caring what group of modern gladiators, beat another group of modern gladiators.

This weekend, according to the AP, Chris Kyle, ex-Navy Seal Sniper and author of the 2012 best-selling AMERICAN SNIPER was killed along with another veteran Chad Littlefield in a shooting at the gun range at Rough Creek Lodge and Resort in Glen Rose, Texas. Killed by another former veteran.

The details and the reasons are still sketchy, but aren’t they always. What is known is this is the latest in what is seemingly an endless parade of American mass-murders.

Why?

Why?

And reading the coverage of this latest violence, something of interest struck me in the coverage.

The CNN coverage states:

“[Chris] Kyle learned to shoot on hunting trips with his father, then went on to serve four combat tours in Iraq with the SEALS, though his official biography notes he also worked with Army and Marine units. He received two Silver Stars and other commendations before leaving the Navy in 2009 — claiming that, in his years as a sniper, he’d killed more than 150 people, which he called a record for an American.”

and

“The first time, you’re not even sure you can do it,” he [Chris Kyle] said in the interview. “But I’m not over there looking at these people as people. I’m not wondering if he has a family. I’m just trying to keep my guys safe. Every time I kill someone, he can’t plant an (improvised explosive device). You don’t think twice about it.”

and

“In a statement, the [Fitco Cares]foundation described Kyle as an “American hero” and pledged to carry on his mission.”

And maybe it’s that simple.

Maybe from Sergeant York to Audie Murphy to today’s efficient killers, maybe it has become the American pastime to define as hero the indiscriminate taking of lives. While we live in a world where the pursuit of life, is often dependent on those adept at death, perhaps what is increasingly lost in the American mindset today… is the sense of that act as an evil, perhaps a necessary evil, but an evil none the less.

Perhaps the American media’s glorification of men of war at the expense of men of peace, seeps into the American zeitgeist, the American Soul if you will, and America’s export of indiscriminate horror and blood abroad, returns to us at home.

From Columbine to Aurora to Sandy Hook, perhaps these uniquely American Massacres are part and parcel of the increasing unrepentant and murderous definition of American Heroes.

We glorify the wrong things in our Soldiers, and by so doing glorify the wrong things in ourselves. They are heroes because they are willing to sacrifice, not because they are willing to kill. They and we are victims, when we have to kill. When the killing is all we have left. And worse when the act of that killing ceases to have meaning.

Chickens coming home to roost. By its fruit will you know a tree.

A soldier and a warrior died this weekend and that is a tragedy. But it is only a tragedy if the loss of the 150 lives he took, is also a tragedy.

Like any soldier, like every soldier; either every life has value or no life has value. That is the lesson of America and the world in the 21st century. The more easily we justify killing the other, the more valueless we make their lives, the more valueless we make our own.

That’s the lesson I learned today, while all of Rome was watching the Gladiators in the Coliseum,

Somehow I think… a lesson of value.

WORD OF THE DAY: ANTINOMIAN

Antinomian- The mad idea that a religion (typically Christian) is exempt from moral law, by virtue of being that particular religion/God’s grace, and therefore can undertake any and all actions without respect to morality or moral law.

I’m relatively well read, but I must admit to never having come across this Latin derived word with its roots in 16th century Germany.

Historical examples would be Slavery and Manifest Destiny under Christianity in the Americas, and the Holocaust under Nazi ruled Germany.

Modern examples of this theology in practice would be the continuing apartheid in Palestine under Zionism/Judaism, or the modern day crusades that a ‘Christian/Roman’ America is embroiled in throughout the world.

Religion should elevate humanity not debase it. Raise our morals, not lessen them. Keep us from murder, not push us to revel in it.

Antinomian.

A word.

We must be vigilant against such words.


“Nobody’s fault but mine
Nobody’s fault but mine
I had a mother who could sing
I had a mother who could sing
If I die and my soul be lost
nobody’s fault but mine”
—Nina Simone

The Very Best Of Nina Simone, 1967-1972 : Sugar In My Bowl

The News Thing, a boat of lost souls, and the cross

This is me, ranting. Bat crazy ranting. Those who want to avoid Bat Crazy ranting, avoid this one, come back tomorrow and hear about super-heroes punching each other in their under-wear. :)

I don’t really do… the news thing.

I mean the major stuff I keep abreast of, if the president and congress are trying to sell first borns to big business, etc. But the 24 hour, FOX/CNN/SS constant “thought police, be afraid, believe, color coded terror, be afraid”… not really my bag.

You tell me something one time a day, that’s news. You tell me something 72 times a day, the same thing, 3 times an hour, that is not about news, that is about programming. That is about conditioning. That is about terror.

That is about you, the media, in ways deep and dreadful and not at all healthy, trying to touch me.

I watch people, sit in front their tv god… constantly just soaking up and regurgitating another man’s hate.

Older women in my family, god love women, but they are like sponges for the dreams of madmen, raised on serialized entertainment, on soap operas, so news and talk shows are just more soap operas to them. Idiocy is just more entertainment to them. And they will open up their mouths and parrot out of their mouths whatever is on television… without questioning.

“Oh isn’t it good we’re invading Libya” one recently said to me, when this nation (under God?) was committing yet another coup in a sovereign nation.

“Why?” I asked her.

“Cause of all the bad things the leader has done to his people.”

“Do you mean Gaddafi, who was supporting the civil rights movement in this country, and Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, when the American government wouldn’t let great quantities of the population drink out of faucets or use a bathroom, and was siccing dogs on marchers, and bombing churches and lynching Black children? That Gaddafi?”

Needless to say I’m really popular at family reunions.

It’s just amazing to me, how few people in America, think. Not Black people, or White people, or Brown people, or Yellow people, but any people… think, beyond what the idiot box tells them.

Oh it is to be wept at, how all you victims of Rome, so gleefully are turned into victimizers.

Here’s the thing with me. You have to earn the moral high ground.

YOU HAVE TO EARN the moral high ground.

Be you a man, or a nation, you have to earn the moral high ground.

America is forever taking the moral high ground. And no country, in the history of this world, is less suited to walk that walk. America began as a terrorist nation, and America grew fat through fostering a level of inhumanity and terror, that no Iraq or Iran or Cuba or Korea or Russia or Libya, has ever come close to.

And the thing about America, is her present shows no sign of having repented of her past.

America has never stopped being a terrorist nation. It’s her one, last great product.

So yeah when the military industrial complex, pulls the strings for the 24hour propaganda show we call CNN or Fox, etc… I’m not really big, on goose stepping along.

I guess because I have a long memory, and I potentially can forgive, but I will never forget and I will never cheer you into a position to do it again. To anyone.

Now you, the tides of war, can come through me, or you can try to walk over me, but you’ll never reach your goal with me.

It’s the same reason I’ll never be a Christian as practiced in America. I have no particular issue with Christianity, I think the ideology is grand, however in practice especially in America it has been an abomination in the eyes of God.

That’s not a dig, and it’s not an insult, it is however a fact.

From the Witch trials on. The odious form of Slavery that took place in this nation, the most depraved the world has ever seen, happened not despite Christianity. It reached it’s peak of evil BECAUSE of how Christianity was practiced in this country.

Slavery, in the vile form practiced in the US flourished… because of Christianity.

That’s a hell of a thing for anyone to say, I know it… and I take no pleasure in the saying.

More hell still, because it’s the truest thing you’ll ever hear anybody tell you.

I have seen the torture devices. I have seen your abominations. I have seen ships with names like HOPE, and CHARITY, and GRACE (all we need is one named OPERATION FREEDOM), loaded down with tortured men, women, and children. I have seen the machinations of righteous men and women. Shielding their abominations under the name of Christ and god.

And I have seen one more thing, that we are our fathers even onto the 7th generation, and crimes not grappled with, not resolved… are repeated: there or there or there.

Christianity as practiced in this country, has more of Rome in it, than of Christ, and this country has the crucifixions to prove it. The cross itself, having nothing to do with a Christ, being a Roman symbol long before any such messianic birth or death, a roman symbol of power, and dominance, and torture. The devil going up and down, and to and fro.

How does a person wear a cross and not know that? Not think one minute, of one hour, of one day, of the millions upon millions who died screaming their guts out on that most sacred torture device of Rome… on the cross.

That cross.

Think about it, logically for a second. Who would carry around an idol, a symbol of a lynched man except the lyncher. Much the way lynchers in America would cut trophies from the bodies of their victims to wear around their neck.

Such… Christian people. Such, righteous people. God forbid you accuse anyone else in this world of terror.

So to, who would wear a symbol of a crucifixion around their neck, except the crucifier? For one second, think, actually think, about the dogma, the ritual that Christians do, that has nothing of Christianity in it… but everything of Rome, even onto the forsaking of the Sabbath.

I honestly don’t care what people believe.

But I do care that your choice of good or evil be informed. Whatever you choose to believe, make it an informed choice.

It’s not evil men that worry me.

It’s the masses that cheer them as they go marching by, too busy to make a choice not handed to them. The careless masses are the engine without which, the dreams of evil men… could not fly.

Try an examined choice.

I’ve done that, and I’ve found I can’t wear lynched or crucified men or the symbols of their suffering around my neck, I can’t bend my knee to bloody priests, and I can’t follow a nation of terror.

But I’m wacky that way, your examined choice may be different.

That’s been my news for today.

Cheery son of a gun, aren’t I?

But it’s past now, my mad fit of absinthe and peyote, it comes only rarely, when the spirit moves.

Perhaps even when the spirit needs,

For a man, supposedly shorn of faith, I do believe in fate.

I needed to speak.

Perhaps becomes someone needed to listen.

Who knows.

Wild is the world, and occasionally wonderful.

But the mad compulsion has left me, until the next blue moon.

Which is fitting, because I find the truth you don’t have to repeat as often as lies. If a lie, it will touch you not, without a constant barrage, and you will be unmoved by my mad ramblings.

But if the truth, it lived in you long before you read these words, and my words simply, like a stone waiting for a sculptor… revealed it.

If the truth you will know it. And if a lie you will know it.

And how you make of that news, something new…. well, who knows, the world is wild and wonderful… his miracles to perform. :)

SPACE 1999 vs MISSION IMPOSSIBLE! and Crop Rotation?!!

Okay I don’t mean to make this the SPACE 1999 hour, but I’m listening to the Gerry Anderson commentary on the first episode BREAKAWAY, and it spurs me to some comments of my own. First it’s not really a commentary, it’s maybe 15 minutes of comments by Mr. Anderson sprinkled throughout the hour long episode.

But the comments he does offer are riveting. He discusses just the immense pressures and issues getting this series made. From trying to acquire American leads, to problems with the first director, to set issues, to basically ITC America telling them what stories they definitely couldn’t do.

Even problems with having stars Landau and Bain stand near each other in a two shot. It seems that Martin Landau wanted to show off his California tan, and Barbara Bain wanted to appear as white as possible, so when the two were in a shot together, grading the film became nearly impossible, as the color film stock lacked the range of the Black and White film stock. Martin Landau would either end up looking Black, or Barbara Bain would end up looking transparent. So they had to compromise a bit, with Landau toning down his tan, and Bain adding some color.

It’s little anecdotes like that that make commentaries fun. Of course today in the age of digital, film grading is not an issue, but in 1975 technological limitations ruled. Yet another reason the show looks better on Blu-ray today than it ever did.

It’s a fun bit of behind the scenes business. And it highlights why the people that move any medium forward be it radio or tv or movies or music, are generally under 30.

Whether it’s Paul Robeson redefining the theater in the 1920s while in his 20s (after also breaking barriers in both academics and sports), or Orson Welles redefining theater, radio and film in the 30s (while in his 20s), or if it’s Steven Spielberg and George Lucas defining the modern blockbuster with their one two punch of JAWS and STAR WARS, while they were 29 and 33 respectively (given Lucas a pass here), changing the face of the world in small ways and large… is generally a job for the young.

Even to this generations JJ Abrams, who started in his 20s changing the face of television and now cinema.

The movers and shakers all start young, because impossible has not yet become part of their vocabulary. It’s young people with hunger and vision and boundless energy, that have to get these visionary shows made around and through and despite the objections or qualms or head shaking of the gate-keepers. The old people, who hold the purse strings, and want to keep attracting/appealing to a new audience but are generally afraid of the new.

And Gerry Anderson, who started producing shows at 28, talks a bit on the psuedo-commentary about the hurdles involved in creating the show.

This isn’t to say only young people change their respective mediums, there are tons of people late in life who decided to change the world… and have.

George Washington Carver comes immediately to mind, who in addition to finding hundreds of uses for food byproducts including dyes, oils, charcoal, conditioner, glue, bio-diesel fuel, etc., pretty much single-handedly saved the economy and agriculture of the south. It was his creation and tireless implementation of a program of crop rotation, that kept the Southern United States from destroying its soil and looking like what Haiti has become [a country that can't grow its own food due to soil depletion].

But geniuses like Mr. Carver aside, as a general rule it’s the young who blaze the trail into the new. Be it science or architecture or… tv/cinema.

You see what I did there? Like how I brought it back on track? Yeah I though it was nifty too. :)

All this to say. it’s a fun commentary. Go pick it up and give a listen. :)

Oh and a few words on the stars:

Martin Landau, who it’s worth mention at 84 is still going strong, has 5 films in production! Wow! In addition to SPACE 1999, he’s known for Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST, ED WOOD his 4 year run on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, the recent stints on EVIDENCE, ENTOURAGE, and WITHOUT A TRACE, and memorable guest spots on shows as diverse as OUTER LIMITS, GUNSMOKE and SIMPSONS.

Barbara Bain- The lovely Ms. Bain who is also going strong, and like Landau, has forged an amazing career. From the film AMERICAN GUN to PANIC to Zack Horton’s POLITICAL DISASTERS to GIDEON to ANIMALS WITH THE TOLLKEEPER to SAVAGE(also stars Landau and directed by Steve Spielberg) to GOODNIGHT MY LOVE (doesn’t appear to be on DVD yet, but has great reviews) to the RICHARD DIAMOND television series to her 4 years on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, and mountains of shows and movies between and since. CSI, DIAGNOSIS MURDER, the list goes on.

You can see why the studio pushed hard to get the two of them together in SPACE 1999. They wanted to capitalize on the two actors previously starring together in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. Instant marketability.

However that said I have to agree with Sylvia Anderson the co-creator and producer, who didn’t feel Martin Landau or Barbara Bain were right for the show. I think the show worked in-spite of the leads, particularly Martin Landau, not because of them. There are some shows you look at the cast, and say ‘Well I can’t see anyone else doing those roles. That’s perfect casting!” You can say that of the first STAR TREK series (even in light of the movies etc, that first crew is perfect, seminal casting) and FARSCAPE, etc. You can’t say that of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, I think numerous actors could have done the role of Commander Koenig to equal or better effect.

Particularly when you hear Sylvia Anderson’s interview (which is available on the Blu-Ray) and Gerry Anderson’s commentary and the concessions they made to get Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, and the problems they had, it makes you question whether the roles would have been better served inhabited by unknown actors, etc.

Well those are questions beyond the answering. What is known is that with the departure of Sylvia Anderson, at the end of season one, the show lost its rudder and its way.

Sylvia Anderson fought hard in the first season for script conferences and to give some sense of weight and seriousness and cohesiveness, a heart if you will to an admittedly fantastic show. But I think she understood that the more fantastic the show, the more important it is that the little things, the connections and reactions of people ring true and be grounded and relatable. And with her out as producer, the show also lost its voice of reason in front of the camera… Barry Morse, and ultimately the show succumbed to dumbed-downed storytelling and pandering to audiences with spectacle and rubber monsters… rather than craft and story.

And that difference is clearly seen in the first episode of season 2, METAMORPH (kindly included on the Season 1 Blu-ray’s special features). Devoid of Sylvia Anderson and Barry Morse, and anyone to fight the cliched ideas coming from the American office of ITV, the show increasingly looked like a poor man’s Buck Rogers.

But hindsight is always 20/20. Hurdles and politics and all, the 1st season of SPACE 1999 was pulled off, and flaws accepted, it’s ambitious television, it is television that tries to say something. And that is television to be proud of.

And since I’m talking about the show thirty five years after its cancellation, it seems that it is also television… that endures.

That’s all for now. Come back later for more reviews!

Space: 1999: The Complete Season One [Blu-ray] – Buy it here!

Bin Laden, Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow and Some Kind of Madness

I’m one of the people who didn’t care for Kathryn Bigelow’s HURT LOCKER. It was okay, but not really anything more than that, and people were praising it like it was the 2nd coming. It was a small, dry film about a bomb disposal unit, and about flawed, bored, fragmented people. I found it almost immediately forgettable.

So the news she’s doing a film about Bin Laden and the US Seals left me equally uninterested. Bigelow is becoming the darling for the Fox minded idiots of the American spectrum, seemingly.

What it did make me think about… was a line said exactly the same way across radio, tv, newspapers, different commentators, different markets. It was a line said when the news of Bin Laden’s death was announced.

“There were spontaneous celebrations”

Those words, over and over again. “Spontaneous celebrations”, similar to the “refugee” line that made the rounds during Katrina.

Our news, may possess many different faces, but they are all reading from the same script. And all lapping from the same trough.

Celebrating someone’s death.

Why?

I am not a Utopian zealot. I understand there are bad people, and I understand that at times to preserve a greater good, those people must be stopped.

Now there is some question about who qualifies for such… extreme action. It’s not a choice that I think any one person should have to make.

But once made, such action is NEVER a thing to celebrate. Be that person Hitler, or Idi Amin, or Simon Legree… it is if necessary, always something of a failure when life is lost or must be taken. It’s a failure for us, for a world not yet perfect enough… to do without murder and slaughter and barbarism. A world unable to find… common ground.

“Spontaneous Celebrations”

If you were celebrating anyone’s death, and anyone’s murder then you are a godless sob, who deserves to, and will, in the fullness of time… reap what you sow.

“Spontaneous Celebrations”

The difference between good and bad must lie not in our views, but our values. And while death is an inevitability, and murder and war unfortunate constants, we must never lose sight of the truth that every war demonizes the ‘enemy’, be it the Germans, the Japanese, the Russians, the British, the Libyans…and every war lies.

We know that after the fact, when it is no longer required for us to hate them, that our enemies are just people. For once let’s try and learn that during the hostilities, that the Taliban may have a valid argument, that the Libyans may have a valid argument, that the Haitians have a valid argument, and blowing people up and invading them is perhaps not the best way to resolve arguments or engender anything but future hostilities.

That the people we call enemy at one politician’s urging we will call friend in the fullness of time, when that political movement has been paid off (Because what is the call to war other than a massive grab for resources and money not your own).

I’m saying it is a folly to think you can define your friends or your foes, by the propaganda of a corrupt media and a corrupt time. I am saying the only people you should get that invested in loving or hating are those that you know, and those that are affecting your life for the worse.

And there’s enough people in America, betraying America, that qualify for your derision… unfortunately most of them own the networks that are bringing you the…’truth’ of who to love and who to hate.

Was Bin Laden a bad man? A Good man? I don’t know. I never met the man.

There’s evidence that says he meant harm to America, and I have no reason to contradict that evidence. Though given the “since proven false” evidence whipped up in to justify the invasion of Iraq, I have no particular reason to give validity to the info on Bin Laden. Ultimately I don’t know the man, so I have no reason to mourn his death, or celebrate his death.

I just accept it as a fact.

Do you understand?

We are none of us as vile as others paints us, nor as noble as we aspire. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. The best of us and the worst… are more alike, then we are different. And our differences perhaps more solvable and open to negotiation, then those who hope to profit off of war and mass murder… would like us to see.

If you take away nothing else, take away this… To be so ruled by the media, that you can hate on command, by long distance, someone you have never met, and will never meet is… some kind of madness.

I think in the 21st century, they call it… Americanism.

Here Endeth the Lesson.

On Libya, America, bombings, apathy, and… the rock cried out no hiding place!

“And I woke up this morning, and all I loved was gone”
— from Father of the Blues, Robert Johnson

Somewhere, my tax dollars are paying to drop bombs on people.

Mostly people of color.

To destabilize regions.

Libya, Egypt, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Rwanda, The Congo; names upon names. Since 2000 it’s been like a bloody game of dominoes.

To kill indiscriminately men, women, children, flora and fauna.

For breathing room for the new Nazi Germany, the new Rome.

To drop fire out of the skies on people.

To destabilize regions.

These supposed civil wars are American money and American CIA, doing what we’ve been doing since World War II, keeping the reigns of power tight.

And I could almost understand it if these actions were for some national Allegiance. Toward some greater good.

But they are not.

We destroy other countries to allow corporations to make money, that’s inarguable fact, but let us look at the effect of that fact on the standard of living in America.

We are sliding down with that global economic policy, because the policy applied abroad in extreme forms, is also, as corporations get away with more and more, is being applied ever more heavily domestically.

I’m saying that the bombs that are falling in all those distant lands, in the name of Shell or Monsanto or Hanes, have real and drastic echoes here. The slave wages, and horrendous standard of living we allow companies to institute once we overthrow a country, translates directly into a slower, but no less certain process of instituting a landowner/serf nation here. The middle class has been eviscerated in the last few decades. America is heading toward the same template we’ve foisted on so many other nations, of the absolute rich, or the absolute poor, and very little in-between.

Do you really think America is fighting terrorism and tyranny? No my friends. America is being used by corporate oligarchies to fight for those things. Because like any good bully, we’d rather steal someone else’s lunch money, than worry about earning our own.

Somewhere my tax dollars are being used to destabilize nations that fought for civil liberties for people of color in this country, when, not so long ago, not so long ago at all, this government was setting dogs and hoses on people of color.

I know, and have stated for a long time that Obama is a puppet. Placed into this position to be the cover, for a ramping up of a policy of empire building, and nation toppling, not seen since the first crusades.

I know that.

But I still don’t understand how some people sleep at night.

To betray everything you are, everything countless people have fought and bled and died for…

for what? Money? Green paper that has only as much value as your master gives it? For status? For scraps from a table from people that, even though you sell whole nations out for them, will denigrate you past your dying day?

I don’t know how some people sleep at night.

With all that blood, crying out, crying out, to see past your CNN and FOX lies, past your PS3s and Netflix and Youtube and Google, past your Comcast and your AT&T, past all the tea-idiots, and reprobates, and demagogues, past all the tv drugs they feed you to stay numb…. I don’t know how, with all that reckoning that will assuredly come to you, some people sleep at night.

And they use my tax dollars to kill people of color.

To exterminate people.

I have a problem with that.

I have a real, real problem with that.

They are blowing up the idea of sanctuary and difference and choice and self rule, not just for some distant them, but for us. How many people are you going to let them kill, before you realize the liberties you are sacrificing are ultimately… your own

To ‘them’ the constant foolish them, who play their fathers’ stupid games, of divide and conquer, of Manifest Destiny, I just want to say this to you:

It is on the wind, your demise, and the demise of all your works. And the harder you try to stop it, the faster you’ll bring it on.

A reckoning is coming, in the name of all those places you’ve fed to the dogs, in order to squeeze more tribute and control out of your huddled masses, yearning to go unnoticed.

I saw the signs, coming from the east, taking root in the west.

Reckoning and Liberty.

True Liberty.

And your folly shall be its foothold.

“And the rock cried out… ‘No hiding place!'”

2011 Upcoming Movies! Pt 2 of 3! THREE MUSKETEERS and Alexandre Dumas and Gordon Parks

October 2011, at this point is looking pretty bleak for films. The most interesting things?

Well something that could have been interesting: Paul W.S. Anderson is making yet another remake of Alexandre Dumas’ THE THREE MUSKETEERS.

A brief aside.

Alexandre Dumas, was the son of Thomas Alexandre Dumas, of Haitian birth, he was the Colin Powell of his age (only like, popular :) ), he was Napoleon’s greatest and most feared general. nicknamed The Black Devil and alternately the Black Giant, Unequaled in combat and strategy, he was worshiped by his soldiers and the French people, and feared and hated for his popularity, even by Napoleon. This led to well known machinations against, what could be argued was, the true power behind Napoleon, Thomas Alexandre Dumas, which led to the Black Giant’s arrest and incarceration.

So Alexandre Dumas, a mix of his father’s darkness and his mother’s light, grew up on his fathers exploits, and all his works are about his father’s courage, his father’s honor, and the wrongs done to his father. All Alexandre’s works were praises to his beloved father, The Black Giant, and castigations of the monarchy that betrayed and brought low, the nation’s greatest warrior and its truest son. And if the father was the nation’s greatest warrior, the son was the nation’s greatest writer, its greatest Renaissance man.

I say all this to say, it would be great if one effing day the three Musketeers were played, appropriately, by Moors, Black actors.

The closest cinema has come to acknowledging this, is Gerard Depardieu darkening his skin and curling his hair, to play the young Mulatto Alexandre Dumas in the 2010 French film L’Autre Dumas. A film that of course has not received any US release. It’s chuckle inducing, that here in the 21st century, we still have White actors doing Black face, AT BEST, or at worst simply refusing to acknowledge the fact that many of the men who defined the culture of a young Europe and a young World… were Moors.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming Depardieu, he is one of the world’s greatest actors, I adore his CYRANO and his attachment to the L’Autre Dumas film guarantees it an exposure, it would perhaps otherwise lack. Still, I hope we can get actors of color, playing historical characters of color. And maybe Depardieu’s film, for at least going through the steps of trying to show an ethnic pedigree to France’s greatest writer, is a step, a poor, wobbly one, in the right direction.

At least it’s better than films like THE THREE MUSKETEERS that historically have given no indication of a France, peopled with Moors.

So yeah, I have very little interest in yet another whitewashed production of the THREE MUSKETEERS.

I hold out, because of this presentiment I have, for the director (a new generation Gordon Parks perhaps, the departed Parks… himself a Renaissance man, perhaps the last one- Cowboy, Photographer, Writer, Musician, Filmmaker… Parks’ film THOMASINE & BUSHROD showing his skill at period work) who will do a THREE MUSKETEERS film, that will finally do both the father and the son… the honor they have earned.

Ishmael Reed’s MUMBO JUMBO

“Look, LaBas, Herman. I believe that you two have something. Something that is basic, something that has been tested and something that all of our people have, it lies submerged in their talk and their music and you are trying to bring it back, but you will fail.

It’s the 1920s, not 8000 B.C. These are modern times. These are the last days of your roots and your conjure and your gris-gris and your healing potions and love powder.

I am building something that people will understand. This county is eclectic. The architecture, the people, the music, the writing. The thing that works here will have a little bit of jive talk and a little bit of North Africa, a fez-wearing mulatto in a pinstriped suit.

A man who can say ‘give me some skin’ as well as ‘Asalamilakum’.

Haven’t you heard? This is the country wheresomething is successful in direct proportion to how it’s put over; how it’s gamed.”

—Excerpt from Ishmael Reed’s satiric, staggering, and significant MUMBO JUMBO. If you haven’t read it or listened to the brilliant audio adaptation, you’re missing really one of the most important, informed, and strangely prophetic works written about both the dream and the nightmare of America.

It comes with highest recommendation. Go seek it out.

And still she rises… Haiti and the 1st and 2nd occupations… And the turning of the world

My blood boils.

Mostly because beyond the bullshit in the media, it is the stupid things people say to me about Haiti.

“This Earthquake could be a good thing for Haiti because it will let America come in and set her up, and organize her.”

Here’s the thing.

The world isn’t a mess because bad people make bad choices.

The world is a mess because good people, accept bad choices and bad reasoning as gospel, accept lies as truths without examining them. And then pat themselves on the back for being openminded, and liberal, and helping the less fortunate.

When the truth is, everything about your life has led Haiti to her crucifixion.

Haiti doesn’t need your pity.

Haiti needs for you to read a book.

And know what the heck you’re talking about before you fall pro or against on an argument.

America and the UN, the West, has been “in” Haiti’s business since that lone island state changed the face of the western hemisphere in 1804, by giving a black eye to slavery.

Haiti has been repaid for that temerity of standing up, by bloody American occupations, to make Nazi Germany flinch, 1915-1934. Followed by period of UN economic “help” that left the most fertile land in the western hemisphere an arid desert through destructive farming procedures that raped the land. So now a country that prior to UN intervention could raise it’s own food, had to import food in order to keep its population alive.

And that leads into Papa Doc regimes, funded by US dollars, and crushing loans by the World Bank designed to keep poor countries poor, and years of nightmare dictatorships, which finally, finally after generations with the 2000 elections and a candidate, Aristide, poised to get them off the disastrous US/UN foreign “aide” that has kept the nation crippled, a candidate who is overwhelmingly voted in by over 90% of the population, when US elections can barely get over 50%, and what does America do, do we applaud this show of true democracy?

No.

It’s a non-US candidate.

We Invade.

We INVADE!

Where were all the ads to help Haiti then?

Hmmm.

Where was Dell? Where was the RED CROSS? Where were the marines? I can tell you where the marines were, the marines were in Haiti killing Haitians. And they’ve been there ever since.

They ousted a duly elected government, and they repeated the bloody occupation of 1915.

And like the war of 1915, no one said a word of it on mass media.

So the war didn’t exist.

Here’s the thing.

Nothing is forgotten.

Nothing is ever forgotten.

The occupation/holocaust of 1915 to 1934 happened, and the occupation/holocaust of 2001 is continuing to happen.

So no, I will not buy America as the cowboy on the white hat riding in to do Haiti any good. All America is riding in to do, is to finally after 200+ years make the island that first spoke to the western hemisphere of being free, give up… even the hope of freedom.

And that, my dear liberal, my dear conservative, my dear hypocrite… is a defeat for true democracy, and more… it’s a defeat for humanity.

And… it will not stand.

The spirit of Haiti will rise again, even if she must do so in the sons and daughters of her tormentors. Haiti will rise, through occupation, through holocaust, through mass murder, through acts of man and science, Haiti will rise. Be it in a year, be it in scores of years… Haiti will rise.

Just as surely as the turning of the world.

MUMBO JUMBO by Ishmael Reed Book Review: A novel about Haiti and America and Ragtime 90 Years Ago

“It’s a way we had over here for living with ourselves. We cut ‘em in half with a machine gun and give ‘em a Band-Aid. It was a lie. And the more I saw them, the more I hated lies.”– Apocalypse Now


I just finished Ishmael Reed’s 1971 Novel MUMBO JUMBO, a biting, absurdist, fantastic satire, that also happens to be, like the best of satires, a cutting and revealing and true depiction of our ids and our angsts. It is for a work of fiction, far more true than are so-called “history”. It is such a rich and deep and sprawling and compelling and… brilliant novel.

I consider myself a pretty informed reader, and this 4 decade old novel had insights into not just our history but our humanity, that i had never even considered.

Example?

How it defined Museums as store-houses for Pirated/Stolen goods.

I’ve been in and out of museums all my life, and it never even occurred to me to consider them in the context of Robber-Baron’s basically raping and destroying civilizations and bringing home to the west their trophies. Their stolen goods.

And this was like a throw away line in the novel, and it blew my mind. That I who consider myself relatively afro-centric that it did not even occur to me to question the origin and rightness of Museums. And the whole novel is like this, one smashing revelation after another.

And yes it’s a work of sensational fiction, but what makes it even more sensational are the parts of it… that ring true, are true. And speak even today… of true things.

From the hidden Haitian War and Holocaust of the early 20th century, which oddly mirrors the conflicts in Haiti today, even to the search for a talking Android to lead the people astray, which without too much of a jump can be compared to today’s President Obama…. it is almost a prophetic work. Or perhaps it just illustrates how history not learned from, is repeated.

This is the type of book that school curriculums that teach children of color… should cover. Must cover. It’s the kind of book… written with brilliance, and that inspires, ignites a real fire… for more brilliance, and more questions and answers.

It’s the kind of book that inspires… real learning.

It is a challenging read, but stick with it as it does all come together. And I highly recommend hunting down the griot audio book version which is FANTASTIC! It is an essential read, and in light of recent issues in Haiti, I think a surprisingly timely and insightful one. A satire that hints at much that is true, about Haiti’s tumultuous and troubled relationship with Western Powers.

It is an essential purchase. B+/A-

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