Friday, March 25, 2011

Voter's Guide 2000

Right after I voted in 2000 (for Gore) I wrote down some notes on my sense of being cheated by the election process. I thought they weren't anything I could use until a few days later when I looked at them again while the fiasco in Florida was underway. The notes had taken on new meanings, especially after the Republicans on the Supreme Court settled the matter. The original meanings in the notes are still alive, though, and I wonder what we have to do to really get change we can believe in.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Calculating the Costs to my Comfort of the War
March 2003

How many dead are too many dead?
What number is an acceptable number of casualties?
I am comfortable with 500 dead.
More that 1,000 dead would cause me discomfort. On the other had, if 1500 died all at once in a battle that won the war, I would be comfortable. But 1500 dying over a period of several years of unresolved conflict would make me uncomfortable.
88 confirmed dad so far keeps me comfortable. Is it 88 or 86? Of course, even one dead is too many. 2 or 3 are too many, too tragic. A sad waste of lives.
Still, I’m surprised how few have died and I think the war is going well. Most of those who died were probably killed by friendly fire or by accident.
More soldiers die each year, probably, than will die in this conflict. It makes a difference if you see the faces. I don’t want to see bodies on video. Out of sight, out of mind. I am not comfortable with pictures of American dead, dead Americans, although a couple of representative pictures of Iraqi dead are OK. I am comfortable with almost any number of dead civilians as long as I can’t see them. Collateral damage is acceptable to the degree it is invisible. Out of sight, out of mind. Its impossible to say exactly how many civilians are dead and ridiculous to speculate.
100? 500? 1000? 2800 or so? Its indeterminate, indefinite, uncountable and I can’t see them.

An eleven year old girl is tied to a hospital bed with American shrapnel in her stomach. They give her drugs and she vomits them up and she won’t stop screaming. Its tragic, of course, but to be expected. We have to be tough and one eleven year old girl screaming is acceptable. I am comfortable with, say, 50 screaming eleven year old girls as long as the war has clear goals and a sound battle plan.
As long as I can’t see them or hear them I’m comfortable. 50, 70, 100 -- that’s not even a massacre unless they’re all in one place. Maybe its an atrocity. Is it an atrocity? At least its not genocide. A massacre is more acceptable than genocide and an atrocity is more acceptable than a massacre.
I’m comfortable with a few atrocities here and there.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Your Rights Expire part 2

Giulliani Time

Your Rights Expire part 1

Amadou Diallo 1975 - 1999
Patrick Dorismond 1974 - 2000

Amadou Diallo was unarmed when he was shot 41 times in the Bronx by four plain-clothed NYPD officers on February 4, 1999. The officers were acquitted of charges of second degree murder and reckless endangerment on February 25 the following year. Three weeks later, Patrick Dorismond was shot to death by an undercover cop. Dorismond was also unarmed and, like Diallo, had not committed any crime. Claiming that Dorismond "was no altar boy" Giuliani released Dorismond's sealed juvenile records to show he had been arrested when he was thirteen. When he was criticized for violating Dorismond's privacy, the mayor argued that your rights to privacy expire when you do.
Abner Louima is referred to in this booklet. He was beaten by NYPD officers and sodomized with a toilet plunger in 1997 while in custody.

This is my favorite booklet in the series.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Souvenir of September 11, part two

A jack-in-the-box takes control of his life
I gotta pull myself together, man,
gotta get connected.
Find a place to plug in -
I’m leaking all over the place, spilled in the void.
I lose my senses, I come to my senses.
I sort through slippery pieces of Mind, like sorting through
pieces of a smashed kaleidoscope.

But I’m a happy, happy guy!
Things could not be better.
I am having the TIME of my LIFE.
I have no complaints.
Most of the panic has worn off.

A jack-in-a-box tries to take control of his life. (Once I get out of this damn box)
I listen to radio, I read the paper, I watch TV, and I forget most of the news I consume - it passes right through me like a greasy lunch. Or just gives me a stomachache.
Even what I remember, I don’t believe.
Even what I believe, I don’t know what it means,
If I know what it means, it freaks me out.

Its all falling apart, I think.
But all the facts have been shredded and the experts are jumping off buildings and 95% of americans think that God is also an American.
So open wide the doors to Christ -
Jesus has left the building.

Most of the panic has worn off and we’ve returned to the ordinary life and death situation and its not so hard to forget -
the empire is ruined,
our rulers are naked,
and they lost the real war,

and the TERROR is below the skin

and the ITCH will be scratched.

Souvenir of September 11, part one

In the Zero Decade my art consisted mostly of spoken word performance and recording with the Audio Artists and making little xerox books of graphic poetry that I would mostly give away. My paintings at the time pretty much sucked. This is a booklet I made on the occasion of a performance we did in 2002 and which focused on the war on Bush's terror and other symptoms of post-apocalyptic stress.