The Future Is Unstoppable – Death Throes Are Ugly & Scary

light-tunnel“I see the light at the end of the tunnel now…

Someone please tell me it’s not a train.”

~from “I See The Light” by Cracker

For the past six months or so, I’ve spent most of my writing time online using my Twitter account: @FishAndBicycles.

Now, some writers would argue that calling this “writing” is being generous, and there are times when I question it as well. And yet, ultimately I really do believe that there is a value to regularly writing these short, formerly 140 and now 280-character, compositions; forced, as you are, to trim the fat and think creatively about how to say a lot with a little.

BUT, there is one significant drawback of spending so much time on Twitter: the daily barrage of bad news can wear down even the most enthusiastic optimist.

Today started out as one of those days, it was really getting to me, the despair threatening to drag me down. I thought about reposting a post that I wrote back in October 2017 about reaching a saturation point and the impulse to hide one’s head in the sand.

But then, a thought — one I’ve had before and have hoped to explore in writing at some point — changed my direction. A thought that, on my best days, I can actually believe:

The Future Is Unstoppable

…and, the future, despite any appearances to the contrary, will be much, much better.

There’s plenty to complain about when it comes to Hollywood, but one indisputable fact is that movies and TV shows are steadily and increasingly presenting images of a diverse world populated by people of color, powerful women, and non-binary gender identities.

In other words, Hollywood is more reflective of the world we actually live in than it has ever been before, and it’s having a very positive, normalizing effect. Young people who are not brainwashed by bigoted families and communities see diversity and equality as the normal, positive state of things, they are more likely to stand up for and with people of color, to see women as fully equal to men, and increasingly LGBTQ young people are feeling safer and safer coming out and claiming the right to be their genuine selves.

This is the future.

Demographic trends prove it is unstoppable.

Death Throes Are Ugly

At the same time, those who believe in white patriarchal supremacy are trying to fight off the unstoppable, and they are resorting to increasingly brash and violent measures, pushing the boundaries of legal behavior or embracing outright lawlessness and authoritarianism.

But make no mistake. These are death throes. They are ugly, but they are futile.

On My Best Days

Anyway, as I said, that’s what I believe on my best days, and there are other days when these ideas are no solace at all.

“I see the light at the end of the tunnel now…

Someone please tell me it’s not a train.”

 

Self Hate: GOP-Style

R.I.P., David Bowie: A Delayed Reaction

david-bowieOk, folks. This post really IS about the death of David Bowie, but I hope you’ll indulge my taking a scenic, time machine route to his obituary.

On a hot Los Angeles, California summer night, July 10, 1989, having just read the New York Times obituary for the famous voice of Bugs Bunny and other Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, I emerged from my room in the 3-bedroom apartment I shared with my two longest-standing friends from back in New Jersey, slowly walked down the hallway, through the living room, and into the dining area, where my friends Mike & Keith were seated, and the following, two-line exchange happened:

Me: I can’t believe Mel Blanc is gone.

Keith: I can’t believe he was here.

Ever since, for over 25 years, whenever someone dies who inspired, influenced, entertained, or was otherwise meaningful to us, either by email or text one of us sends the first line of that dialogue, and it’s a race to see who will first respond with the second line.

And while it may seem strange to crack a joke upon the loss of someone meaningful to us, it was never a reflection of a lack of caring. We’re from New Jersey. It’s how we deal with loss.

So, what does this have to do David Bowie?

Well, of all the people we have eulogized in this manner, Bowie comes the closest to someone who I really can’t believe was ever here, hence my delayed reaction.

Employing another anecdote, recently a Facebook friend posted this:

OK, been a while since I’ve done one of my random musical questions. This time I want to hear something that you think of as just utterly unique and off the beaten track … stuff where you hear it and just think, “What just happened?”

To me, THAT was David Bowie.

I had that reaction the first time I heard Space Oddity, Fame, or Heroes, or the entire The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars album, and if it wasn’t the entire song, it was specific lyrics:

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

A small Jean Genie snuck off to the city
Strung out on lasers and slash-back blazers
Ate all your razors while pulling the waiters
Talking ’bout Monroe and walking on Snow White
New York’s a go-go, and everything tastes right

You’ve torn your dress, your face is a mess
You can’t get enough, but enough ain’t the test
You’ve got your transmission and your live wire
You got your cue line and a handful of ludes
You wanna be there when they count up the dudes

… or it was his constantly shifting appearance:

Bowie-gif

So yeah, to paraphrase my friend, What the fuck just happened?! This doesn’t sound or look like anything I’ve heard, read, or seen before!

David Bowie was the ultimate artist-musician. I might not have liked everything he did, but I never doubted that he was constantly evolving and striking out for new ground, and his massive success and critical acclaim speak for themselves.

That Bowie accomplished all that while boldly and unapologetically challenging deeply embedded, narrow, and rigid gender identities is nothing short of heroic. He made millions of people feel less alone for not fitting neatly into one of two prevailing and accepted gender stereotypes. An incredible gift.

So, thank you David Bowie, for all of the music and courage. Rest in peace.

 

 

 

Video Fridays: Marriage Equality Edition

marriage-equalityThe news this morning, that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states can no longer deny same-sex couples the right to marry is a major breakthrough for justice and civil rights.

We still have VERY far to go, so many areas where inequality — racial, gender, age, ability, economic, etc. — remains, here in the U.S. and around the globe, and yet today’s victory feels particularly poignant.

After all, as one of the catch phrases of the marriage equality movement points out:

Love is Love

I’m still one of those dreamers, though not the only one, who truly believes that All You Need Is Love, and we need LOTS more love to overcome the remaining inequality challenges, to end violence and war, to save the planet from global climate change.

Let all people love each other and make lifelong commitments to each other and tell me how that can have any other effect than to heal the world?!

Happy Weekend, everyone!