Old Like Me
I don't have much of a clue what to write today. Earlier this evening a friend sent me a link to Africa Journal at Voice of America News. I listened to the program with interest because I'd met one of the panelists through my friend. The topic was the long war in northern Uganda.
The problem of what to write isn't having too few ideas, at least so far as can be measured by the list of links I've collected, rather it's making any sense of them. I was pleased to find the photo at flickr using the "northern Uganda" for a tag search. This photographer is really great, he must be professional because he seems to have photos taken around the globe. Certainly his photo abulm is worth a look. He's also apparently a young dude, because these dudes in the photo look to be about my age.
Among the many blogs I read is Dave Pollard's very remarkable How to Save the World. Pollard amazes me that he publishes long, deep and highly creative posts very regularly, while at the same time leading a very busy creative life--obvious by the content of his posts. Where does he find the time?
In a recent post he did three brief reviews of books he's read recently. One of them was Noam Chomsky's Imperial Ambitions. The book is a question and answer session with Chomsky being interviewed by David Barsamian. This question and answer stood out:
Q: At talks with American audiences, you are often asked the question "What should I do?"That exchange makes me a little red in the face as I ask myself: What am I doing?
A: Only by American audiences. I'm never asked this in the third world. When you go to Turkey or Colombia or Brazil, they don't ask you "What should I do?" They tell you what they're doing... It's only in highly privileged countries like ours that people ask this question. We have every option open to us, and have none of the problems that are faced by intellectuals in Turkey or the campasinos in Brazil. We can do anything. But people here are trained to believe that there are easy answers, and it doesn't work that way. If you want to do something you have to be dedicated and committed to it day after day. Education programs, organizing, activism. That's the way things change.
In the time between I first went to Pollard's blog and when I went back to copy that exchange Pollard had posted again, Nobody Cares About The Creative Class. Like all his posts it's smart and nuanced. I consider my readers members of the creative class; even if we do live in the city that chased Richard Florida away. For all the praises about Pollard, I don't usually laugh out loud when I read his posts. I laughed at this:
So as a result, most jobs in large organizations are jobs:
* selling crap
* making crap
* fixing crap
* blocking customers who complain about crap from getting their money back or getting through to management
* finding people and outsourcers who will do the above crap jobs cheaper
* lobbying politicians to prevent people who are creative from competing with them, and to prevent people from suing them for their crap
It's a vicious cycle, and expecting large corporations to be enlightened and altruistic enough to get us out of it is sheer folly.
I laughed, but it isn't funny in the least. Pollard's proposed solution is to encourage true entrepreneurship. My reaction to that is about the same as my whiny reaction to Chomsky: Wah, that's so hard!
I am bewildered why it's so hard to see the many options available to us. But the viciousness of the visious circle Pollard describes is one good reason options are so hard to see.
Did you see the news today? Thanksgiving shoping mayhem at WalMarts across the country. Day After Thanksgiving sales have never been a part of my holiday tradition; but surely it can't be as bad as they say? Fisticuffs and trampling: O Holy Night! How come stories like this are broadly cast in the good news category?
I keep a window open to with a page to save links for blog posts. These pages last a day or two then I start a new page. I need to save away the one I've got open now and start again, there are just too many links on it which I haven't managed to fit into recent posts. There is one more link I want to share before I do. firedoglake is one of my favorite political blogs. ReddHedd and Jane Hamsher have great insights, especially for those interested in the Wilson affair. They also manage to find really wonderful pictures to post.
Recently a post by Jane Hamsher Why I Blog used a photo of an African mother with AIDS holding her emaciated child. It's not the sort of photograph normally used, so I took notice. Hamsher wrote:
When I think of all the suffering of so many that could be eased just by education and a few condoms being denied them by a passel of snake handlers and thieves who thrive by perpetuating fear and deceit I just want to scream.Can you hear me screaming now? I often weep. Still, old as I am, Chomsky and Pollard point in the right direction. The real idea of Bazungu Bucks: Create Something Good.