“In the United States we think we have at our disposal virtually everything– and I emphasize the word ‘think.’ We have big houses and cars, good medical treatment, jets, trains and monorails; we have computers, good communications, many comforts and conveniences. But where have they gotten us? We have an abundance of material things, but a successful society produces happy people, and I think we produce more miserable people than almost anyplace on earth. I’ve traveled all over the world, and I’ve never seen people who are quite as unhappy as they are in the United States. We have plenty, but we have nothing, and we always want more. In the pursuit of material success as our culture measures it, we have given up everything. We have lost the capacity to produce people who are joyful. The pursuit of the material has become our reason for living, not enjoyment of living itself.” ~Marlon Brando
“Grief is just love with no place to go.” ~ Jamie Anderson
To me, this sounds like a 1960s version of REM. I love it.
“I think twice about who really deserves my energy these days” ~from the blog Vibe Different
The appeal of Don Quixote eludes me. It’s the story of a mentally ill man and his mentally ill enabler who travel the countryside upsetting people and getting the hell beat out of them. I’m not charmed.
But without the book we wouldn’t have the musical, and without the musical we wouldn’t have one of the world’s great songs, so there’s that.
Full lyrics HERE.
Don Quixote is in the public domain and may be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg, HERE.
Whenever I hear someone do a double thank-you– “Thank you, thank you very much”– I think of Elvis Presley.
I don’t know if he actually said it that way, but every Elvis impersonator over the last forty years has.
“Some of the greatest poetry is revealing to the reader the beauty in something that was so simple you had taken it for granted.” ~Neil Degrasse Tyson
Coming into Cuzco
by Naomi Shihab Nye
“Being born is going blind and bowing down a thousand times.” ~Townes Van Zandt
We woke early and found the streets already crowded
with taxis, travelers, Indians loading yams.
At the airport we waited for the plane that would lift us
out of those mountains and I was a broken jug,
nothing could fill me. I wandered among the Europeans
in their new alpaca sweaters, thinking, everyone has a sweater,
this is Peru. You stood with hands sunk in your pockets,
your brown hat tipped back on your head.
How easily you joined the ticket line, how easily you mentioned coffee,
but I was watching a funeral, black-cloaked Indians
comforting an old man with white hair
who had just stepped off the plane followed by a casket.
I was listening to the herd of them wailing on the runway,
thinking this man in the center was the same shape as my father,
thinking, this is Peru, this is more than Peru.
I could not speak it. That morning my mouth was a buried spoon.
I wanted to throw my life down in front of me
and rear up straight like an animal before he gallops into the woods.
But the plane rose and we were riding it.
They gave us sugar candies because we were so high, so high.
I looked down on that land I was beginning to recognize
and wondered at all the grief I have not yet experienced,
how it would be to be riding next to the body of the one you have loved
on the day it no longer carries a breath, and I said to myself,
you know nothing, you are your own dead weight.
When we landed I was still dragging the sack of stones,
unable to joke or focus on the guidebook.
“Finding Your Way,” it said, and I thought,
this will take more than a map.
We were riding a bus into the city.
A baby pressed among the passengers shouted Vamos! every time the bus paused.
Suddenly a laugh, a stranger, was sliding into my throat.
I thought how far we had come and finally we were coming into Cuzco.
A young girl pushed forward toward the door.
I saw the bright nosegay of flowers she guarded carefully.
Vamos! And she handed me one perfect pink rose,
because we had noticed each other, and that was all.
One rose coming into Cuzco and I was thinking
it should not be so difficult to be happy in this world.
The largest peaceful protests in American history were against the Bush family’s Middle East Wars. Protesters applied for permits, assembled peacefully, and picked up after themselves when they were through. Local merchants loved them: they stayed in motels, bought t-shirts, ate in restaurants. The economy boomed.
Not surprisingly, they were completely ineffective.
Lately we’ve had protests against racism and fascism that turned violent.
Those haven’t worked, either.
The sad fact is that the government simply doesn’t care about violence. Neither Richard Nixon in the 60s nor Donald Trump today ever said, “Americans should not fight other Americans.” What they said was “My goons can beat up your goons,” then watched approvingly from behind the barricades.
But there is a kind of protest that works.
When Rosa Parks led a protracted boycott against the bus companies in 1955, businesses lost money. They didn’t want to desegregate their buses, and used every legal, moral, and biblical argument they could muster to support their position, but in the end the deciding factor was their profit margin.
And that was how she won. That’s the secret.
There are no morals or integrity in government or business, only profits and losses. They will support the things that make them money, and oppose the things that don’t.
So don’t waste your time with logic, reason, or moral arguments– go straight for their wallets.
“It is simple enough to apply reason to what is reasonable, but it is much more difficult to argue logically about the illogical.” ~John Napier, in Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality ©1972