Yeah, but…

I get good advice from friends all the time.  Quite often, I respond with “Yeah, but…” followed by an excuse or rationalization for not following their advice.  It never serves me well.  At the best of times, I eventually take their advice.  At worst, I miss a valuable opportunity.  I am resistant to advice, for whatever reason, so the latter, rather than the former, is the rule.  I even say “Yeah, but…” to myself.  For example, I have been debating the deletion of my Facebook account for some time now.  Every time I thought about it, I would think, yeah, but I will lose contact with my friends, or yeah, but I will lose exposure for my art, or yeah, but my Guatemala project is on there.  The thing is, none of those things were good reasons for not deleting my account.  Most contact on Facebook is shallow.  The benefit to an artist of Facebook algorithms is negligible, and I can, as I have done, start a new account just to maintain the project and share this blog. (Scrabble might have played a part as well).  My point is, all my “Yeah but…”s did not serve me.  They never do.

Senators McCain, Flake, and Corker all went on the record this past week with strong criticisms of the man who gets an extra scoop of ice cream in the White House.

Almost immediately pundits and others on the left began saying “Yeah, but…”  Yeah, but they created him by pushing divisive rhetoric for years.  Yeah, but they supported him in the election.  Yeah, but they still vote for his policies (not really true, as he has no policies.  They vote for the Republican agenda).  Yeah, but they are retiring.

My response?  Yeah, but what they all said this week was important, it was true, and it needed to be said by people from the right.  Yes, they created the environment which spawned Trump, but those are the very people who need to acknowledge that in order to convince his followers.  Yes, they supported him in the election, but they regret that now, and why would you not want them to say so?  Yes, they still support the Republican agenda, but they have also resisted attempts to push it even farther into extremity.  Yes, they are retiring, but what they are saying is still the truth, and needs to be heard.

Saying “Yeah, but…” only diminishes the power of what they are saying.  Why would you want to do that?



The Eve Of The Eve Of The Eve Of Destruction, Maybe.

Barry McGuire wrote this song in 1965, when I was 7.  Young men were dying by the thousands in Vietnam,when they weren’t massacring villages of Vietnamese peasants.  We watched it on TV every night for the next 8 years, and students rioted in the streets only to be shot down by the National Guard on their school campuses.  I made plans to run to Canada rather than sign up for the draft.  The war ended when I was 15 in 1973.

10 years later, Ronald Wilson Reagan was president, and threatening to put nuclear weapons in Europe, so close that The Soviet Union would not have time to verify an early warning, and would thus have to retaliate instantly.  That was probably the most terrifying time of my life.  I had dreams of nuclear war, missiles flying in to Tucson.

20 years after that, George W. Bush, previously the dumbest president ever, took us on a war for profit in Iraq, making Dick Cheney and Erik Prince filthy rich.  I was on my way to a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon on that Eve Of Destruction.  Some hippies in a school bus at the gas station told us the world was going to end.  My reaction was to say I’d be in the Canyon and happy when it happened.

Now, Trumpiwise The Clown is pushing all of Kim Jong Dumb’s buttons and antagonizing Iran, staring at his dwindling approval ratings and wondering if tossing that nuclear football for a Hail Mary will get him another term as Tweeter In Chief.

I have to say I am not nearly as frightened as I was in 1983.  As bad as it is, the likelihood of complete annihilation is not high.  Then again, would it be worse to go out in a blinding flash with everyone else, or to survive and witness the aftermath of a presidential temper tantrum?


Journey Down Memory Lane

Back in the very early 80’s, when I was a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, bought nickle bags of pot from Rastas at a corner store, marched with a million people against nuclear power and the weapons which at that time were actually threatening to destroy life as we knew it, and spent two years walking the streets of New York barefoot, there was a sea change in the music world.  Overnight, a sound which was dubbed New Wave appeared on the scene, combining the edginess of Punk with the danceability of Disco, and, naturally, stealing from African traditional music too.

That isn’t what I came to write about, though.  The cafe I frequent had a 70’s classic rock station playing this morning.  The playlist was full of Toto, Journey, and the like.  It reminded me of WLIR radio from Long Island, which I listened to back in my art student days.  Sometime around 1981 or 82, WLIR announced that they would only play new music (read New Wave), and ran a promotion in support of the change.  Anyone could call in and give the name of their most hated 70’s band, and the DJ would destroy it on the air, scratching the needle across the record and smashing it.

Now, I am sitting here enjoying a Jackson Browne song that I likely delighted in the destruction of  35 years ago.  It strikes me that Donald Trump, our Rancid Mango Tweeter King, is doing to our Nation what WLIR did to 70’s music.  He is smashing all the hits to pieces to the delight of his fed up and jaded audience.  The difference is, WLIR didn’t smash the master discs, or even all the copies of any record, and we can still listen to them any time we want.  They also had a new, exciting, and wonderful replacement for the music they were getting rid of.

It’s not surprising that WLIR’s ratings went up, while Trumps are plummeting.  He isn’t New Wave, he is the garbled noise you hear when you get put on hold.