Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Values and Issues, 2004
Callan Bentley

In conjunction with (a lot) of recent thought about America's political situation, I've been thinking about what my values are. In discussions with a Republican relative, I realized that I don't really care much for Bush or Kerry, as both seem to be too susceptible to corporate influence. Of course, Mr. Bush is by far the worse of the two evils. Mr. Kerry's election would be merely a step in the right direction, but not a solution.

Stewardship of the environment has been my main political issue for many years, but now I'm increasingly concerned about several other things: (1) corporate control of the nation's democratic institutions, (2) the Orwellian direction that the current administration has chosen for maintaining national security -- i.e. the infringements on individual citizen's right to privacy and the sequestering of jailed suspects away from lawyers and relatives -- and (3) the lack of diversity in our polical sector (only 2 parties? what kind of choice is that, especially when the Democrats seem intent on copying the Republicans?), and (4) the lack of diversity in our media, the means by which we citizens inform ourselves of happenings in the world (10 corporations control most of the world's media: an excellent overview is found here).

So I outlined the following list of what I believe in; it's a mix of values and policy agenda items. And I included a special checklist at the end for what I consider to be a President's three most important characteristics (Mr. Bush, incidentally, meets none of them).

Justice for all, irrespective of:
ï wealth
ï race
ï gender
ï orientation
ï politics
ï species

Accountability of:
ï elected officials
ï bureaucrats
ï teachers
ï media and journalists

Environmental issues:
ï those of a local nature (e.g. SuperFund sites, toxic dumps, oil spills, watershed pollution, pesticide use, endemic species endangerment)
ï those of a global nature (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, loss of biodiversity, loss of habitat, a forum for international discussion and cooperation)

Agricultural issues:
ï more support for organic farmers
ï greater emphasis on local foods
ï consumer rights: dietary information, ìgreenî labeling
ï less support for either animal monocultures (factory farms) or plant monocultures
ï abolition of obsolete subsidies, in agriculture and elsewhere
ï less packaging of foodstuffs

Less corporate influence over
ï our political process
ï our media
ï our telecommunications

Political reform:
ï greater nurturing of political parties other than Republicans and Democrats
ï abolition of corporate-funded political action committees (PACs)

Freedom from government invasion of citizen privacy, in the form of:
ï urban video surveillance
ï investigation of library records without a warrant
ï investigation of internet records without a warrant

Greater diversity in:
ï media
ï biological species (or at least the same, just not less)
ï corporate competition (steps away from monopolization, not towards)
ï energy sources available to consumers

Greater investment in:
ï consumer protection
ï public radio
ï public television
ï local police forces
ï primary school
ï secondary school
ï colleges and universities
ï educating parents how to raise healthy children
ï international dialogue

Energy and transportation issues:
ï too great a reliance on interstate trucking for the transport of goods
ï making railroads and trains cost less
ï too few public transportation options
ï fuel efficiency of vehicles both public and private
ï tax breaks for hybrid automobile owners
ï no new roads built, especially in our national forests and parks
ï maintenance of existing roads
ï maintenance of existing bike paths
ï construction of comprehensive bike path systems interconnecting the nationís urban areas
ï diversification of energy providersí sources
ï investment in alternate sources of energy

Overpopulation and unemployment:
ï tax breaks for those who adopt children
ï tax penalties for those who have more than three children
ï rigorous enforcement of welfare rules ñ no one gets to live on the dole forever
ï implementation of a national workforce program (like the CCC) to employ otherwise unemployed citizens on useful public projects

Health care:
ï everyone gets health insurance
ï prescription drug prices being as low as possible, with the option of buying drugs in Canada and importing them being perfectly legal
ï massive tobacco taxes; crop transition programs for tobacco farmers

Freedoms and rights:
ï the right to free speech
ï freedom of the press
ï freedom of assembly
ï the right to bear arms
ï the repeal of the embargo against US travel to Cuba

My ideal President is:
ï smarter than me
ï a gifted communicator
ï a workaholic
Gotta Move
by Skald

So here I sit in the Coffee Shop-- another day of the same old routine.... that vague itch getting worse. Restless stirrings getting stronger.

Time for a road trip? A long weekend at the beach perhaps? Or hop a bus to a random destination? Or maybe something larger and grander?

The nomadic urge is upon me again. I feel the need to leave this place and head to new lands, new people, new surprises. Surprises are the essence of life and liveliness.... gotta open up space for those magic synchronicities. Right now? No space... just day after day of study and movies. Not being surprised by anything or anyone anymore. The thick sludge of routine covers my every action. Its not unpleasant really. Im not miserable. But routine of any sort isn't for me.... I'm a nomad... a Skald.... and I'm built to ramble. I've moved since I was 7 years old and that urge just keeps getting stronger. South America calls to me. Japan calls. Eastern Europe calls. France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal call. Africa calls. Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica call. The world calls.

My feet itch. My legs bounce nervously. I long to be on the move. How I love it! I love the thrill and hum of the airport. I love the smell of the planes. I love the rush of touts at the arrival gate. I love the look and feel of strange currency. I love the exhaustion at the end of the day. I love the bewilderment of a new city-- the unexpected encounters--- the weird strangers--- the unknown surprises lurking at the end of every unexplored alley. I love the whiff of new foods... the sight of bright clothing.... the Alice-In-Wonderland feeling as I wander aimlessly. Moving is a form of meditation: Sacred Drift.

Moving keeps the world, and the mind, fresh and new.... brilliant and unveiled. I love to awake with no idea about what the day will bring.... and to put my head on a new bed every night! For those of us who are hooked, nothing can replace the magic of the open road.
Fahrenheit 9/11
by Callan Bentley

Yesterday afternoon, I waited for an hour in a line that stretched out
of
the theater and into the parking lot for a sold-out showing of the new
film
"Fahrenheit 9/11." The show before was sold out as well, and the one
after.
The film has already broken the previous box office records for
documentary
films. Its opening-weekend revenues are projected to surpass the TOTAL
revenue from director Michael Moore's previous film, the Academy Award
winning "Bowling for Columbine." No documentary has ever gotten this
sort of
attention, and after seeing it, I can see why. When it ended, there was
stunned silence for about five seconds, and then the entire theatre
erupted
in applause, which was sustained for about a minute. I haven't ever
seen
people applaud a movie before.

Here's a review from a Republican who saw the film:

"I am a Republican and I came to see this film with my wife so that I
would
have some intelligent criticism to level at the Michael Moore fans I
work
with. I was expecting a sloppy, fuzzy, highly manipulated treatment.
Instead, Bush Administration damns itself through its own actions, its
own
words, its own lies...all documented for prosperity. Is the film
biased?
Hell, yes. But I can't see how any reasonable person would call this
propaganda. It is documentary fact told by a man with a specific agenda
in
telling it. But there it is on the screen. Fact. It can't be explained
away.
And as for criticism that the film is disrespectful to President Bush;
well,
after what we did to Clinton I would expect W. to take the heat like a
man.
The only problem is that the Clinton issue was nothing to the moral
breach
of this administration. Every Republican should see it before he casts
his
vote this November. It changed my vote."

So: people who are 'on the fence' before seeing it may be persuaded to
vote
against Bush in the fall election. But me? Moore's preaching to the
choir. I
didn't learn anything new in this film -- it's all facts that have been
well
documented in the media in the past four years. And being of an indignant
liberal frame of mind, I've spent much of my time reading books and
media
articles about these topics during that period, and so learned about
the
same facts Moore displays in the film. However, some of the people I
went to
see the movie with did not know about the Bush family connection to the
Saudi royal family, Bush's connection (via James R. Bath) to Osama bin
Laden's half-brother, and Cheney's company's profits from the Iraq war.
In
some of its most chilling scenes, the film also documents the
incredible
level of carnage that the Iraq War has wrought on both the people of
that
country and on our own soldiers fighting there. So the film does a good
job
bringing out the facts for those of us who haven't delved into the
topic
already. And, amazingly, it does it in an entertaining way. For those
who
don't have the time or inclination to read "House of Bush, House of
Saud,"
"Gas War," "Against All Enemies," or "Dude, Where's My Country?", this
movie
puts the facts in a line, and you can absorb it all in two hours while
you're scarfing a jumbo bucket of popcorn.

So -- while I didn't need any conversion, the film definitely got me
riled
up. I will be working hard to de-seat Bush in November. I am motivated
to do
everything in my power to get Mr. Bush voted out of the White House,
and
thereby begin the process of undoing the damage he has inflicted on the
U.S.'s international reputation.

Regardless of your political persuasion, I'd urge you to seek out the
truth
about our nation's current political situation, and engage in
respectful
dialogue with your neighbors. One way to get some of the facts is to
see
this film. This film is an opinion piece -- but the facts that support
that
opinion are irrefutable. As the Republican viewer above noted, "the
Administration damns itself through its own actions, its own words..."

If there is any Republican out there who wants to arrange a "trade"
with me
(e.g. I'll listen to Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity for two hours if you
see
"Fahrenheit 9/11"), then I will be willing to do so -- and then we can
talk
afterwards. If there are any Republicans (or Independents, or whoever)
who
either cannot afford to see the film, or who do not want to pay their
money
to Michael Moore, I will buy your ticket. In exchange, the deal is that
we
would need to have a conversation about the movie afterwards.

I will also be happy to take any questions about the movie, or after
you've
seen it, about the facts of our government's actions. You can e-mail me
or
call me. Let's talk about what's going on.

Referring to the responsibilities of citizens under a corrupt regime,
the
Declaration of Independence states, "...when a long train of abuses and
usurpations... evinces a design to reduce them under absolute
Despotism, it
is [the citizens'] right, it is their duty, to throw off such
Government,
and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Such is our duty in the months ahead.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Crisis of Meaning
by Hakim Bey

The author was in NYC from Sept. 9th to Sept. 15th and this piece was written in the week after the attack.

A few days after the events of 9/11, the New York Times ran an interesting article on the advertising "industry" and its crisis. Not only zillions of dollars a day etc. etc., but a weird effect: suddenly it seems impossible to have advertising at all. It seems massively "inappropriate" to move product as per usual with shrieking & insinuating, mocking & sneering, prurience & peeping; with hate & envy masked as fashion, with greed thinly disguised as freedom of choice.

Death and tragedy occur every day, every minute, not only in the former Third World, even in New York, even in America. Why hasn't advertising ever seemed shameful to anyone ever before? The media - which cannot utter a sound without puking up a clichÈ - speaks now of the waking of a sleeping giant (meaning that we will no longer evade terrorism etc.) - but what was this sleep? And what does it mean to wake into a feeling of shame?
In the past, it seems we were willing to admit that our highest social values could be expressed in price codes (the "mark of the Beast" as the cranks say, the "prophets of doom"). Now we feel shame. In a Times interview a fashion designer expressed doubt that her work had any significance and wondered if she could go with it.

The fashion industry is also ashamed; Hollywood is ashamed; even the news media expressed some fleeting longing for decorum & dignity & decency.

Are we supposed to feel this shame over our triviality, our meanspiritedness, our PoMo irony, our consumer frenzy, our hatred of the body and of all nature, our obsession with gadgetry & "information", our degraded pop culture, our vapid or morbid art & lit, & so on & so on? - or should we defend all this as "freedom" and our "way of life"?

Our leaders tell us to return to normal routines (after a decent period of mourning) in the assurance that they will assign significance to the event, they will embody our hate & desire for revenge, they will mediate for us with the forces of "evil". But what exactly is this normal life to consist of? Why do we feel this shame?
Schoolchildren (again according to the Times) ask their teachers what it means that the terrorists were willing to die, to kill themselves; and their teachers evade the question, saying that "we don't understand." And the ad execs, they don't understand either - they're bewildered. Awake but confused by a crisis of meaning. Last week all meanings could be expressed in terms of money. Why should 5000 murders change the meaning of meaning?

A hyper-fashionable Italian clothing company uses death to sell its products. Photographs - even huge billboards - showing people dying of AIDS or waiting to be executed - designed to sell woolly jumpers. Is this life normal? Should we return to it?

For a few days no music was heard in the streets. No thumping bass speakers rattled the air, no chants of hate for women & queers, no "Madison Avenue Choirs" hymning the celestial delites of commodities or vacations in the midst of other peoples' misery.

For a few hours or days there appeared no official spin on the event, no slogan/logo in the media, no interpretation, no meaning. We watched the cloud drift around the city, first to the East over Brooklyn then up the west side of Manhattan, finally over the east side as well. With the smell and the poisonous haze around the moon came a nightmare about the occult significance of the cloud: - angry bewildered ghosts in a vast white cloud. And we breathed that cloud into us. We'll never get it out of our lungs. What the cloud wanted was an explanation, a meaning.

But next day the spin was in, the media had found or been given its a answer - "Attack On America", our freedom, our values, our way of life, carried out by "cowards" who were nevertheless not "physical cowards" (as some official explained in the Times). Perhaps they were moral cowards? He didn't explain and couldn't say.

Why do they hate us? A few people have asked but received no coherent answer. Do "they" hate "us" because we use 75% of the world's resources even though we only constitute 20% of its population? because we bomb Baghdad & Belgrade without risking even one American life? because we export a vapid sneering meanspirited culture to the world, video games about death, movies about death, TV shows about death, commodities that are dead, music that kills the spirit? because we've made advertising copy our highest artform? because we define "freedom" as our freedom to rule & be ruled by money?

The politicians have told us that "they" envy us and our way of life and therefore wish to destroy it. Envy - yes, why not? The whole system of global capital is based on envy. It has to be. No envy, no desire. No desire, no reason to spend. No reason to spend, implosion of global capital, q.e.d. But then why should the ad execs & fashion designers & sports teams & entertainers feel this strange unaccountable shame?

And why should the terrorists have been willing to die just because they envy our wealth & our way of life & our freedom to buy, and spend, and waste? What does it mean?

After the Holocaust (or Hiroshima, or the Gulag) certain philosophers said that there could be no more art or poetry. But they were wrong apparently. We have poetry again. It may not mean the same thing it meant before. It may not mean anything. But we have it. And who could have dreamed at the gate of Buchenwald or Treblinka that one day we would have - Nike ads or sitcoms about lawyers?

Is any meaning going to emerge from the 9/11 event? Without meaning tragedy ends not in catharsis but simply depression, endless sorrow. Our leaders "seek closure" - perhaps by killing many Afghan children - perhaps by a new Crusade against the Saracens - and of course by a return to normal. We'll show "them" - by refusing meaning. We will sleep because it is our right not to awake to confusion & shame.

Our sleep will be troubled. We'll have to "sacrifice a few freedoms" to protect Freedom. We'll have to fear & hate. But within a few weeks or months we will have buried even the fear & hate, rather we will have transformed all that emotion to the Image, to the Evil Eye of the media, our externalized unconscious. We'll have sitcoms again and gangster rap and arguments about our right to download it all for free into our home computers. We'll get those airplanes flying, once again polluting "our" skies with noise & carcinogens. We'll overcome our shame. And that will constitute our revenge. That will be our meaning. Our morality.
Tribe and Village
by Hakim Bey

The traditional tribe had room for everybody. So if you are an intellectual then you become a shaman, if you are an artist you might become a maker of spoons or painter of the outside of the tent or whatever. If you are a violent son of a bitch you get to be the war-chief, when there is a war. And if there is not a war everyone make sure - keep that guy out of trouble. There is room for every kind of marginal person in the tribe. It's not true that the tribe is restrictive to the individual.

But the point is, it's true for the modern world where the village or the tribe is in fact under attack by the center. The little village in east Tyrol or wherever - if any intellectual was born in one of those villages of course he would move to Vienna - no question about it. Because this village is under attack from Vienna. Vienna sucks out all its energy, takes all the taxmoney. I mean I assume this is true, because it's true in every other country I have ever been in. So I am simply using Vienna as an example. I say that Iran is an example. Teheran just sucks all the money and energy and all the artists, intellectuals. And anyone got to be nineteen years old and had two ounces of brains - went to Teheran.

So the village is a bad place to be now, because the village is under attack. On the other hand there is of course a reaction against this. People are leaving the city and not wanting to go to the suburbs, because the suburbs that's a failure, a historical failure, and so they go to the village. As someone also pointed out, with the net you don't have to be so isolated in the village. It's not the same as having a brilliant coffeehouse where you can go and meet all the people and really interact in the real world. But it's something anyway. I know people in Wisconsin, Wyoming or places like that who have gone back to the village but they are on the net - a sort of "satisfactory balance" between what the village is good for and the village is not good for.

Consider the Zapatistas as a tribe doing something very postmodern and also the Winnebagos in Wisconsin (that I happen to have some knowledge about).... Or a tribe of Indians who have a casino and make a lot of money so instead of spending a lot on booze they got organized and they have a 100% employment in their tribe and they are using the net - Their language has never been a written language so they are using the net to become literate in their own language. So they are leaping over the whole imperialist alphabetical stage of literacy and jumping - maybe, I don't know - over the whole industrial age into the postindustrial age in some strange way. So the net can be very good for tribal activists.

And these Zapatistas are also very much represented on the net. They don't put it up themselves, because they don't have the machines,but people in Mexico City will do it and translate all their stuff into English - instantly the same day that it came out -and put it on the net. So the North American press wasn't doing shit , wasn't covering the story at all. If you wanted to know the story you had to go into the net. That was interesting. The situation is going on in Mexico. I don't know what's happening with the net. I mean now the books are coming out, some serious assassment of what is going on, but for a few weeks the net was the only source, in North America. On my radio show I was putting as much as I could on the air.
Introduction to the Sufi Path
by Peter Lamborn Wilson

Of all the strands of thought, tradition, and belief that make up the Islamic universe, Sufism in its doctrinal aspect stands out as the most intact, the most purely Islamic: the central strand. Opponents of Sufism often charge it with having originated outside Islam, but a close study of the various schools of philosophy and theology, and a comparison with "primordial" Islam as revealed in the Koran and hadith (authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), will vindicate the Sufis' claim of
centrality, of strict adherence to the original purity of the Revelation.

In the context of the history of thought, in fact, Sufism - always insisting on a return to the sources of the Tradition - can be seen to have functioned at times as a positive and healthy reaction to the
overly rational activity of the philosophers and theologians. For the Sufis, the road to spiritual knowledge - to Certainty - could never be confined to the process of rational or purely intellectual activity, without sapiential knowledge (zawq, "taste") and the direct, immediate experience of the Heart. Truth, they believed, can be sought and found only with one's entire being; nor were they satisfied merely to know this Truth. They insisted on a total identification with it: a "passing away" of the knower in the Known, of subject in the Object of knowledge. Thus, when the fourth/tenth century Sufi Hallaj proclaimed "I am the Truth" (and was martyred for it by the exoteric authorities), he was not violating the "First Pillar" of Islam, the belief in Unity (tawhid), but simply stating the truth from the mouth of the Truth. So the Sufis believe.

This insistence of total involvement in "mystical" realisation, and on a participative understanding of religious doctrine, sharply distinguished Sufism from other Islamic schools of thought. In fact, considering themselves the true core of Islam, Sufis appeared as outsiders not only to the philosophers and theologians, but even to "ordinary" Muslims. Their peculiarity, their distinctness, manifested itself in every aspect of their lives: their daily activities, their worship, social relations,
and even style or means of expression. Like mystics in all Traditions, they tended to remake language and form for their own purposes, and as in all Traditional civilisations, the potency and directness of their expression tended to flow out and permeate other areas not directly
related to mysticism in the narrow sense: literature, the arts and crafts, etc.

Leaving This World Behind
Buddha founded his Path on the human fact of suffering. Islam gives the basic situation in which we find ourselves a slightly different interpretation: man in his ordinary state of consciousness is literally
asleep ("and when he dies he wakes," as Mohammad said). He lives in a dream, whether of enjoyment or suffering - a phenomenal, illusory existence. Only his lower self is awake, his "carnal soul." Whether he feels so or not, he is miserable. But potentially the situation can be changed, for ultimately man is not identical with his lower self. (The Prince of Balkh, Ibrahim Adham, lost in the desert while hunting, chased a magic stag, which turned on him and asked, "Were you born for this?") Man's authentic existence is in the Divine; he has a higher Self, which is true; he can attain felicity, even before death ("Die before you die," said the Prophet). The call comes: to flight, migration, a journey beyond the limitations of world and self.

Awakening
Imprisoned in the cage of the world (the world in its negative, "worldly" sense, not in the positive sense of the world-as-icon or Divine Manifestation), man is exiled and forgetful of his true home. To
keep his part of the Covenant, to be faithful to his promise, he must set out on the Path from sleep to awakening. It is only the blessed few for whom this Path lasts no longer than a single step, although in theory all that is needed is to "turn around" or "inside out" and be what one is. For most seekers the Path is long; one Sufi speaks of "a thousand and one" different stages.

"Everything perishes save His Face"; the first step on the Path is to begin to contemplate the futility of the world of dust, the world in which one's lower self is doomed. The seeker must renounce it all,
including his own self, and seek that which is Everlasting. He must travel from things to Nothing, from existence to Nonexistence.

How does one get lost on purpose? Our present state is one of forgetfulness toward the Divine - the true Self - and remembrance of worldly affairs and the lower self. The cure for this is a reversal:
remembrance of the true Self, the Divine within, and forgetfulness toward everything else.

In Sufism the basic technique for this is invocation or "remembrance" (zekr) of the Divine Name, which is mysteriously identical with the Divine Being. Through this discipline the fragments of our directionless minds are regathered, our outward impulse turned inward and concentrated. This is the act of a lover who thinks of nothing but his beloved.
Passivity
by Alan Watts

From a superficial point of view I would suggest that a certain amount of passivity would be an excellent corrective for our kind of culture, because we are always causing trouble by doing good to other people. We wage wars for other peopleís benefit and attempt to help those living in ìunderdevelopedî countries, not realizing that in the process we may destroy their way of life. Economies and cultures that have co-existed in ecological balance for thousands of years have been disrupted all around the world, with often disastrous results.


Quantification
by Alan Watts

When we say of something ìIt is immaterialî, ìIt doesnít matterî, that means it has no quantitative measure. It doesnít amount to anything; it doesnít add up to anything. It is unquantified. But what we need in life is not so much quantity as quality. Mere quantity is absolutely abstract. Itís the quality, the essential taste, the flavor of life, the meaning of it, that is the important thing.
Video Review
by Skald

A long dry spell.... a hiatus from writing for Hobopoet. I needed a break... too much academic writing-- that blessed and accursed Masters degree!! As a break from written words, Iíve been finding amusement in the visual realm: with the shared purchase of a video camera. And so Three Amigos productions recently rolled out its first video: ìA Typical Day in Bangkokî..... a video postcard for friends and family back home....

This stunning cinematic success follows our heroes through their ìtypical dayî (thus the brilliant title) as they wake up, go to school, eat, and do other incredibly exciting things.

Of course, the process of making the video was alot more fascinating and interesting than watching it.... which is the point after all. I have Luddite tendencies at times but some aspects of new technology are quite engaging. For example, the fact that it is now possible for a group of friends to buy a video camera and laptop and produce their own videos and documentaries.... for a very cheap price....I find that exciting. Film-making..... especially budget documentary film-making... is now firmly in reach of almost anyone (almost anyone in N.America & Europe at least).

For now the three amigos are focusing on video postcards and the like while we teach ourselves the ins and outs of shooting and editing.... but the skyís the limit and this is a whole lot more fun than sitting in front of the goddam boob-tube like fucking lobotomized zombies. What weíve embarked upon is the joyful process of a collaborative/creative project.... what Hakim Bey calls an ìimmediatist projectî--- a creative group undertaking whose primary goal is the process of shared imagination and camaraderie (and not the end ìproductî).

Video, of course, is an ideal medium for this sort of thing as a great many talents can be involved in the areas of writing, storyline, lighting, sound, on-camera performance, directing, interviewing, editing, music selection, etc... But video isnít the only immediatist possibility. There are many media that suit the needs of an immediatist project-- anything from making a movie, to playing a role-playing game, to collaborating on a painting, to forming a band, to hosting a costume or dinner party, to making a quilt...... all are prime candidates for shared imagination.

Iím all for moments of lonely solitude--- writing haiku in silent reverie--- meditating atop an isolated mountain, etc..... but we humans are also social creatures and Mr. Bey is right: itís time to break the grip of bitter loneliness and alienation that characterizes so many lives. Must we spend all of our time at work and recovering from it (vegetating in front of the tube, working at recreation)? Must our social lives necessarily wither away after we pass 30? Must we abandon shared play, shared imagination, shared creativity,...... genuine (not work related or consumption related) camaraderie? Is it truly necessary to become sensible, reasonable, and dreadfully boring when we become 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90.....? I donít think so.

So this is a call for shared play and social creation... whatever form it takes. This is a call for active engagement instead of lonely and passive consuming--- letís play games together, letís act and role play together, letís paint and draw and sew and make movies together. Sitting alone, night after night, eyes stuck to the corporate blue-screen--- that is the way of degradation and death. Reach out. Connect. Play. Imagine.

Create together.

Pep Talk
by Skald

Letís go.... hit the road and see the world..... a cornucopia of possibilities awaits us. Just imagine the opportunities. For the rest of my life I can travel the world- live abroad--- even work decent jobs when I need to: teaching in universities, or private lessons, or set up my own programs. I can continue learning new languages. I can travel with my friends. I can see the world

Im on the right track... straight towards my dreams of freedom, travel, lifelong learning and exploration. Right now is a brief, boring time of academic papers, class observations, and the like... but not an indefinite one. Iíll be done at the end of the year and free!! Maybe Iíll all work in Thailand and keep learning the language and make more friends and explore the region and SCUBA dive... and save money......

And from here.... with a wad of cash! ...... anywhere..... to Spain to study and live and maybe even work. To Ecuador. to South America.... to Mexico.....to Eastern Europe. To Turkey. My friends and I on a wild ride around the world. We can alternate working with travel.... spend time learning languages and drifting around. See Italy and France and Greece. Visit Morocco. Go to Brazil..... Paraguay.... Argentina..... Venezuela,..... Mexico,..... Guatemala!!!! Should we need a big infusion of Cash there is always Japan, Taiwan, Korea, & Saudi Arabia.

We can save and buy motorcycles and tour around Europe. We can drift around Peru & Chile and climb mountains and explore jungles and paddle around swamps and dive coral reefs and munch on mushrooms.

Learn Thai. Learn Spanish. Learn Japanese. Learn French. Learn Italian. If Im fortunate Iíve got another 36-65 years of my life. Why not spend it seeing the world-- live in a new country every 2-5 years..... learn a new language and meet new people and make new friends and go with my friends--- my nomadic tribe.

Patience man, patience. These last few months are a short blip. Good things are happening. Ive got contacts at Thammasat university now. Iíve got 500 hours of Thai at AUA. Iím almost 2/3rds of the way through a TESOL Masters. Im a certified SCUBA diver. I am VERY confident about teaching now... have several effective techniques to draw from,.... have a sound theoretical foundation to my teaching methods..... have clear ideas about teaching all different levels..... have a set of guiding principles and ideas. All in all, once I get some practice with these techniques.... my teaching effectiveness will make an exponential leap.

So Banzai!!! Just need to remember why Im doing what Im doing.... what it will enable me to do in the future and what it is enabling me to do now. I imagine last year in Gainesville.... lonely and miserable and among the super-cool redneck Republicans of that foul shit-hole. Impoverished for months-- living off free food, free coffee, and Taco Bell. Bored, depressed and friendless. Shackled to an evil job at DFACS for two weeks. Mind and creativity utterly drained by the bland conformity of that place. Now THAT was misery! Patience patience. Things are evolving more slowly and subtlety than I prefer (what's new!!), but evolving they are. Here I am, after all, living and studying in Bangkok Thailand.

So patience and persistence are the order of the day. Ive got a travelogue video to shoot. Ive got a clan to build. Ive got a language to learn ( And goddam it, Im gonna learn it!). This is a time of tremendous potential and change but much is happening under the surface that I don't usually realize.... Another year or two here and very deep changes will settle in--- the nomadic international life finally takes hold. Then its on to South America or Europe or Japan or wherever. Fuck America and fuck Americans and their arrogance and wilful ignorance.... but most of all fuck the cowardice and boredom and bland sterility of that awful place. No more fucking strip malls for me. No more obsession with safety and cleanliness. America is the fucking Godhead of boredom. No more America.