Democracy Now! (7am), for August 1, 2011 - 7:00am
More from this show: About the Show | Archives of this Show | Playlists from this Show
I enjoy Billy Bragg immensely...his voice and rhythm is not great, but he is an amazing observer, thoughtful intuitive analyst and a lyricist. He is every bit a modern Guthrie...but unlike Guthrie who was purely local, Bragg is international. He speaks about global poverty, forced migration, history of Western and the rich people's exploitation of the non-Western and poor people of the world. And he holds men in his own community, ethnicity and country accountable through his songs.
I don't believe in everybody being implicit in Whinehouse's death. This woman had far more than most...but never went beyond entertainment to connect music to social service. If she had then she would have done Bragg did. I also believe some of Winhouse's problem is the problem of women in the highly competative macho male music world that creates difficult different emotional conflicts. People like Joan Biaz survived because of feminism...while younger women pretend feminism is no longer necessary - incluidng you Amy! :))
Bragg's analysis that Oslo shooting is an attempt at killing (literally) and diabling the Left and even the Liberals (Social Democrats) is very telling! Have you seen the media bringing this perspective to the forefront? They keep referring to this as "one mad man" or "one crazy". If you read Breivik's manifesto it is far from rambling - it is very shrewd, intelligent and reasoned. It is the idiots who never listened, who reject and individualize everything (without understanding systemic issues) who are shallow, narrow and clueless about what is happening on the ground and elsewhere.
In my travels I see a lot of young people - lonely, disenfranchised, lost, affected by too much drugs and hard alcohol, unable to integrate feelings with the head, unable to see the bigger picture - beyond their narrow lives, and only looking at the silly media optimism and lies, or the dark pessimisstic reality on the ground - without balance, without accepting change while being proactive in their social and political actions. But there are many among the young who are being proactive - in their mental change about the world, false boundaries, false demarcations and will accept me or Amy as their leader. But they are 4% of the population! :))
Can we look at how socialism and communisim is being perceived in the US? Lets have real communists, not socialists (who are coming out of the closet), come out and talk about "their struggles in the US"!
Too much silence, too much invisibility and too much censorship on and of American Left.
I'm about to download audio to listen, as streaming is not as effective. But I appreciate your comments, MS. Allow me to retort (even though I haven't heard the broadcast yet).
MS wrote: "I don't believe in everybody being implicit in Whinehouse's death. This woman had far more than most...but never went beyond entertainment to connect music to social service. If she had then she would have done Bragg did."
Firstly, the name is Winehouse. Typo or ad hominem attack, the result is the same, avoidance of deeper thinking. Amy Winehouse did, in fact, connect music to social service by maintaining a level of artistic integrity absent in most other artists of her level of reach and mass appeal. Winehouse didn't compromise her political convictions for mass appeal. Moreover, Winehouse didn't have to write overtly political lyrics to be political. But check the lyrics to "Addicted," "F*#!@ Me Pumps," and even "Rehab" for a dose of her take on subversion, femininity, and rebellion. Yet, had Winehouse been more overtly political she might never had achieved the reach she did. The same goes for an artist like Kurt Cobain or Layne Staley. But artists like Winehouse, Cobain, and Staley spoke their truths without reservation, which had resonance and that's why we love them as much as we do.
The beauty is when the truly tortured artist is able to survive the initial rise to mass appeal, fame, and global stature, as a John Lennon did and mature to the point where they can articulate a more mature and developed world-view. Even more beautiful is when the world shows unconditional love before a tragedy.
Had Amy Winehouse been able to do what Billy Bragg did, or Bob Dylan, or John Lennon, or Bob Marley, you name it, well, she wouldn't have been Amy Winehouse. The trick is to survive the initial phase.
In this regard of surviving the initial phase of tortured obscurity to global stature and pressures, we are all complicit to the extent we were not supportive. My brother and I were looking forward to seeing Amy Winehouse in concert in the SF Bay Area a year or two ago. But then due to legal issues she was denied international travel and was barred from coming to the U.S. Then she was left to her own devices of escapism in St. Lucia. Had she been allowed to travel, work, and perform perhaps she may have survived her difficulties. We'll never know. Instead, we criminalise addictions and dismiss escapist behavior as completely self-imposed. Perhaps, had my brother and I and all her fans written supportive letters of love and encouragement to Amy, we may have been able to send her enough strength to live through this. Instead, upon the news of Amy's death, my brother joked, perhaps cheekily, that he felt cheated. I bet he wasn't alone in entertaining such selfish sentiments. Equally selfish is the will toward lamentation after Amy died. Where was all this love and compassion when she was alive and battling her demons? Did all those same fans write to her and express love when it mattered the most? It seems we have a responsibility to those we love, in the private or public eye, to express love when they're with us.
MS wrote: "I also believe some of Winhouse's problem is the problem of women in the highly competative macho male music world that creates difficult different emotional conflicts. People like Joan Biaz survived because of feminism...while younger women pretend feminism is no longer necessary - incluidng you Amy! :))"
Yes, the problem is patriarchy. But in order for women to effectively challenge patriarchy and sexism, women need to find common ground. If the 20th century language of "feminism" doesn't speak to Amy Winehouse or Courtney Love or Beth Gibbons or you-name-it, it's because it doesn't. Women must update the language, issues, and context. And, yes, men must raise their level of consciousness, too. But comparing Joan Baez to Amy Winehouse is apples and oranges, a false analogy. The point is, for women to blame men is too obvious and would be like for activists and progressives to blame the Republican Party when we know their primary enemy is the Democrat Party for usurping otherwise useful political energy and squandering it. In other words, "barbarism begins at home" (to quote Morrissey). First, we have to get our own houses in order. It seems, women would first need to deal with regressive female figures like Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Michele Bachmann before trying to deal with the even worse patriarchs of the male gender. Similarly, progressives need to deal with the fake progressiveness of the Democratic Party and its leadership, which often acts more regressive than the Republican Party. Yet, too often we fall for the Obamas and Clintons of the world.
I, too, appreciate Billy Bragg's ability to articulate the pathos of our times. It's admirable Bragg holds those of his ilk accountable. I hope he also takes Democrats and Obama to task, too. I'll listen to the archive and find out. Kudos to DN! for airing Bragg, Willie Nelson, et al. Yet, I always wonder why DN! never invites the equally articulate, such as Radiohead or Rage Against the Machine (not just Morello) or Dead Prez, et al.
I agree, the Oslo assassin is part and parcel of persistent White supremacist ideologies pervasive in "Western" culture. It's the fear of a Brown planet, of the erasure of recessive-genetics.
As for drug and alcohol abuse, why blame the victim when we know these are symptoms of alienation and lack of genuine social movements and debate in sociopolitical struggles? Just as COINTEL-PRO eradicated political groups and replaced them with street gangs and record companies repressed conscious hip-hop and promoted unconscious bling-bling hip-hop, suburban youth are left disaffected and alienated in an empty world.
Communism or socialism, whatever the name, as Nietzsche urged, the question becomes: to what extent is it life-affirming, life-advancing?
Yes, MS. There's too much censorship on the so-called "Left," including DN! where during elections they scarcely cover alternative parties and candidates. They cover their behinds to some extent by airing some of it, but not nearly as much as they redirect us to the two corporate parties time and again.
Thank you, MS, KPFA, and its listeners. Without you all there is no debate.
(64K stereo mp3)
KPFA 94.1 FM (24k mp3)
KPFB 89.3 FM (16k mp3)
Comcast Digital Cable 967
iPhone: Public Radio App
Android: TuneIn Radio App
WebOS: Public Radio App
KPFA Live Stream Channel
Click Here For Help Listening