Why I’m Not Pledging

The local public radio station here – in concert with all the other public radio stations across this blessed land of ours – is having their fall pledge drive this week. And I am defiantly not pledging to support. I am willfully and maliciously denying them my dollars and support, in spite of all their blandishments and incessant, unrelenting guilt trips. This, in spite of the fact that I worked part-time for the classical music side of that enterprise some decades past, before all the part-time announcers were let go. I thought for weeks that it was only me, that my announcing work was unsat. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if that was the reason, as I had gone very rote and mechanical over announcing the name of the piece of music up next, the composer and performing orchestra or soloist, and throwing in a bit of relevant information about the piece. No, it wasn’t me, as I later found out; they left all the other part-time shift announcers go – the girl who worked during the week at an animal shelter, the woman who was a mainstay of the local little theater group, the guy who was a full-time writer for various little local publications. All of us were served notice; a kind of Friday Night employment massacre.

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Aristos a la Lanterne!

When the rage of downtrodden French peasants, living-on-the-edge city dwellers and frustrated bourgeois towards the ruling nobles and royalty final exploded into a kind of civic wildfire, there was no appeasing their collective anger. A handful of wary and fleet-footed aristocrats, or those who had made a good living out of serving the royals and the nobility fled from France in all directions. The slow and unwary made a humiliating appointment with Madame Guillotine before a contemptuous and jeering crowd, if they had not already run afoul of a mob with pikes and knives, and ropes at the foot of civic lampposts. (The fury of the French Revolution flamed so furiously that it that eventually it burned a good few leading revolutionaries themselves. As the Royalist pamphleteer Jacques Mallet Du Pan remarked pithily, “Like Saturn, the Revolution devours its children.) For a long time, my sympathies as regards parties in the French Revolution tended to be with those who fell out with it, sympathies formed by popular literature and music: The Scarlett Pimpernel, A Tale of Two Cities, Dialogues of the Carmelites, and other tales which basically tut-tutted the madness which overcame all reason and discretion, and championed those who had the brunt of it fall on them, either justly or not. How fortunate that our own very dear revolution had been able to escape such conflagrations: Loyalists in the colonies might have suffered being tarred and feathered and ridden out of town or having to leave in an undignified rush when Yankee Doodle went to town and made their independence stick. But the jailhouse regrets of those who called up and inflamed that conflagration, even inadvertently is not my concern here.

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The Proper Frame for the Narrative

I am watching matters develop with regards to the trucker strike, with appreciative interest, seeing that is really another variant of a grass-roots spontaneous civic spontaneity, much like the Tea Party was, some years ago. The Canadian trucker protest has that in common with the Tea Party protesters – but the difference might be that the independent trucker community is a smaller, a more cohesive and even more media-savvy and self-disciplined party. The various Tea Party protests were more general, cut across class lines (at least the urban-focused one that I was involved in was, no matter what the establishment national media might insist) and focused more upon voting in various political races then upcoming, and protesting the general monetary incompetence of the Obama Administration.

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Wagging the Dog

I actually do recollect seeing the movie of that name – and a mildly amusing venture it was, into speculative political fiction; a whole war generated out of thin air by an unholy cabal of scheming bureaucrats, a conniving segment of the entertainment industry and a tame media, eager to be spoon-fed an appealing story if it would goose ratings by a point or so … and all in the cause of burying a political scandal involving a US president by setting up a war, with a hero and a theme song and cheering crowds and all. The movie was based on a book by Larry Beinart – weirdly enough, I also have a copy of it on my shelves. The book is much, much darker than the movie, but the premise is just as improbable; the national news media and the Industrial Entertainment complex going all in to generate and publicize a war with the aim of re-electing a Republican president at the bidding of and through dark money provided by a Republican eminence grise? Talk about the suspension of belief necessary to find that concept credible; not even with a bucket truck and one of those enormous construction cranes used for high-rise projects …

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American Gulag and Stasi, Inc

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the protest at the Capitol, in Washington, DC. A good many of those who attended felt they had a perfect right to walk into the Capitol Building, which is after all, the structure that we pay for and support our so-called political representatives with our votes. So why didn’t we have the right to walk into it, especially when allowed by the Capitol Police gatekeepers? There certainly were enough loud progressive protesters at the Kavanaugh hearings, setting the example for conservatives to follow an established principle. Or so they thought … mistakenly, as it has turned out. A number of questions about that event still remain. 

(Historically, well-wishers thronged the White House, upon the election of Andrew Jackson, and pretty much destroyed carpets and upholsteries, with the passage of their dirty boots and subsequent rowdy and presumably drunken celebration of a man of the people, a genuine frontiersman, to the highest office in the land. Again – the halls of government are rightfully, our halls – not the exclusive property of temporary lords and ladies. Or so we had assumed. But Jackson was a Democrat, of course, so all was forgiven.)

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