Friday, February 9, 2001
@ Ruta Maya smokeshop 2153 hrs
Been a while since an update, but I’ve gotten enough requests and a few demands to post another entry, so I will.
Earlier tonight I fought Austin rush-hour traffic (What’s the hurry? You’re already in Austin) down to Trudy’s south on Ben White for a meeting of Austin online journallers. Everyone was already heavily inebriated by the time I arrived so it was a bit like entering into the harshest winds of a trendy hurricane. Stayed until everyone was leaving and left Michelle to get to know our waiter (who’d joined the party after his shift before I’d gotten there) around town. I didn’t tag along, aren’t you proud?
Came to Ruta Maya and talked to Erin, my new girlfriend, on the cell. She was helping out at her church’s Sweetheart Banquet for senior citizens. (I know, I know, none of you can believe I’m dating a practicing Christian. Maybe I’ll elaborate in the next entry.)
The cafe area was packed for a Chiapas Benefit (or something) so I grabbed a chair in the calmer smokeshop. So far we’ve been discussing the differences between formal English and street English with the Cuban-born owner who arrived in the States in 1994, when she was 25. Interesting enough. Reminds me of a quote–“America and Britain: Two countries separated by a common language.” Also my thoughts on Australia–where I plan to attend school soon. Their language seems so much more colorful than American English. Sort of like the way lower classes of almost all countries develop their own lingo, or even professional jargon. Even the military, which everyone knows is the Land of the Acronym. Those nuances have always interested me.
They also touched on the varying reportage of the news among countries. Something else that immensely interests me. I’m curious as to the amount to which corporate and government entities censor the Fourth Estate. I’m rather certain there’s quite a lot of the former and no small amount of the latter in the mainstream outlets. I mean, just look at the crap we are given as “news” on Fox News Channel. I’m sorry, Clinton’s leaving office with some furniture and pranks is no comparison to other things going on. Even if we’re discussing government waste, a few knickknacks and a $700,000 a month office are nothing compared to the $70 billion dollar giveaway of the broadcast spectrum to the corporations.1 Lets talk about government waste, but lets start with the big things.
I have a lot to say about American politics, and I’ll probably start writing more about them here.
Earlier, Michelle and her new friend, Todd the Waiter, bitched at me for giving the office to Bush by voting for Nader (aside from the fact that Texas never would have gone Gore and he even lost his own state, which I doubt had many Nader voters in it). They were basically repeating the inverted Voltairean cliche that the New York Times fell into during the election: “We don’t particularly disagree with what Ralph Nader says, but we violently disagree with his right to say it.”2
For the last time, don’t blame a small third party for the failings of a hugely-funded, well-entrenched head of the two-headed one party system.
I urge all of you when in the voting booth or helping make any large decision to remember the Native American’s Seventh Generation Fund.3 A tradition by which the tribes never made a large decision without first considering how the seventh generation from them might be affected. Rather than making decisions based on immediate gains and losses, think about future gains and losses. I think that would aid us in refraining from getting ourselves into predicaments like the one we’re in now.
A new friend of mine, Walt, said he thought the best thing that could happen to our world right now would be some mad biologist create and unleash a virus that would kill nearly everyone’s reproductive systems. Maybe 1 in 10 people would be able to have children. It’d make us all take care of our children better, make us all think of what we’re doing a bit more, make us all remember that there’s a 0% chance of us getting out of here alive, therefore we’d better think of the future. Sometimes the only way to make a person look that far ahead is to present them with the reality that there may be no future.
It’s up to us to take responsibility and make the changes. Fuck this “that’s just the way it is” crap. The only reason “that’s just the way it is” is because people go around saying and believing and convincing others that “that’s just the way it is.” It doesn’t have to be the way it is. Screw the status quo (which always quickly slides into devolution).
Solidarity, brothers and sisters.
Honestly, I haven’t been depressed enough to write updates. I’m much more self-analytical and self-deprecating and self-mutilating when I feel horrible. I’ve found the best way to keep myself from that black pit is to focus my mind on other interests–for me, politics and getting to Australia. A therapist would call this “avoidance,” I call it the best damn anti-depressant I know. It’ll probably come around to kill me later, though.
I try not to focus too hard on myself or my relationships (even with Erin, although it’s going very well right now). Mostly I’ve been concentrating on writing real letters (and sending them, sooner or later) in between my reading, working, and dating. So, anyone who wants a letter, drop me a line with your postal address. I won’t guarantee the quality, though.
1 Tuesday, February 6, 2001 episode of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. Guests included Ralph Nader and Michael Moore.
2 John Donatich, Russell Jacoby, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Stephen Carter, Herbert Gans, Steven Johnson, Christopher Hitchens 2001, “The Future of the Public Intellectual: A Forum,” The Nation., vol. 272, num. 6, pg. 34
3 Anthony Giddens 1994, ‘Generative Politics and Positive Welfare,’ in Beyond Left and Right: The Future of Radical Politics, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, pg. 159.