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Friday, August 22, 2008

Anger and Anonymity

Well folks, the last couple of blogs have really ignited some passion - much of it my own! What pleasure to know that the words I write, the music I play, and the drawings and paintings I make can inspire sure-enough righteousness! Give me joy, my friends! I'm officially an artist!

However, I've also had some issues (my own, pretty much) with the anonymous comments I've been getting. I stand up for what I believe, and I speak my mind openly and as honestly as I can. For better or worse, I am a "public figure" and should I push some insane person's buttons the wrong way, it would be no trouble for them to find me and inflict real damage.

I find that I have no trouble with the opinions of my readers - no matter how divergent from my own - if said reader stands up for what they think by "signing" their comments and revealing who they are. The anonymous commenters on the other hand not only tend to be far more petty and immature, but my last post actually provoked an anonymous comment that directly addressed my "anger," was borderline slanderous, and walked a very fine line of accusing me of threatening others. Whether real or imagined, behavior like this boils down to fear, and fearful people do stupid things. I'll save some of you the trouble and embarassment:

Anonymous comments will no longer be allowed on this blog.

I cannot stress how much I believe in the democratic principle of free speech, even anonymous free speech, but this blog is my sacred ground. You wanna have a rapport with me? Fine. Introduce yourself, and let fly. I'm a big boy, and I can take it, and you have nothing to fear from me should I disagree with you. Otherwise, don't bother, or get your own damn blog.

As for my "anger," let's talk a little about that. There's a bumper sticker going around that says "If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Attention." Well, here's some of the crap I have to be angry about:

Demented, sociopathic frat-boys (that I didn't vote for!) and their goose-stepping cronies are illegally running this country. Wrapped in my flag and carrying a cross, their actions continually lead to the deaths of millions of innocent people- both foreign and domestic - in my name. Yep, I'm pretty pissed.

Those same frat-boys and their corporate friends are getting rich - richer than most of us can ever imagine - by this same homicidal plunder. Unconscionable. Yep, I'm pretty pissed.

Not only are the frat-boys getting rich by homicidal plunder, they're also getting rich by the systematic neglect of the citizenry of this country in favor of corporate financial interests. We have no universal health care. Our schools are falling down, and if not physically in shambles, our children are not being educated with the knowledge they need. Our roadways are crumbling. There are many more examples.... Remember New Orleans? Criminal, embarrassing, and worth being angry about.

The folks in this government that I DID vote for, who are supposed to speak for me in Washington's hallowed halls, are rolling over like pussies and not holding these criminals accountable for their actions. Some of them are even getting rich as by-products of their silence. Yep, I'm pretty pissed.

The election process that will hopefully replace the demented frat-boys is transparently corrupt, and no matter who is elected to run our country in November, and no matter how enthusiatic I am about them, they will probably, at some level, be morally compromised. Pretty sad, and worth being angry about.

Our prisons are full of people who take drugs or look at "dirty pictures," and our drug-rehab clinics and counselling centers are chronically underfunded and slandered. NOTHING that doesn't hurt the person or property of a non-consenting other should be illegal. Period. Meanwhile, real criminals (political and otherwise) walk the streets brazenly, knowing they'll never be brought to justice, because "that's the way it is... nothing you can do about it. The way of the world." Worth being pissed about.

On the other hand, I am bombarded by the toxic spume of coal-fired power plants, the seepage of methyl mercury in my groundwater, the radiation of cell-phone towers, the delightful exhaust of millions of cars (yes... one of them my own... do I have any genuine viable options since the auto manufactuers and oil companies systematically eliminate any real competition?) and the whomping bass from nearly as many urban car stereos. These things DO hurt my person or property, and I do NOT consent. Yet they do not change. I'm mad.

And just for local color, I'll throw in that most artists ARE underpaid, and certainly unappreciated and often downright disrespected. "Get a real job." Indeed. I think I'll go work in a cubicle for Halliburton. That'll fix everything, right? Shit. Worth being angry about, if you ask me.

Sadly, I could go on, but if you haven't gotten my point by now.... Don't worry, I won't take it out on you.

On the other hand, I have many things to be grateful for, and I'm well aware of it. A few of them:

A loving wife who cares about me, is patient with me, supports me when I need it, and doesn't when I'm wrong. Also, I get to make beautiful music with her! (Literally and figurativly.)

Loving friends who do the same... well... not the part about figurative beautiful music... there are healthy boundaries....

Loving pets who do the same, and they're warm and fuzzy!

Living a life largely dedicated to making art.

Being in relativly good health, and having only myself to blame (well... except for those coal-fired power plants and the methyl mercury) for my physical deficiencies.

Living in a comfortable and safe in home, in a reasonably comfortable and safe community. (There's always room for improvment in both....)

Having enough to eat.

Having time to enjoy my life, which among other things includes: aspen trees, really big rocks, green grass, sage, mountains, elk, deer, antelope, magpies and crows, rivers, rain, sunshine, horses, cats and dogs, guitars and mandolins, the Aubrey-Maturin series of books by Patrick O'Brian, the Olympics, Akira Kurosawa's films, catfish, bacon, lemonade, popcorn with butter, rocking chairs, Mission-style architecture, the paintings of Lanford Monroe and Andrew Wyeth and my father Bob Thompson, plains indian tipis, muzzle-loading rifles and antique sabers, Blade Runner, Creedence Clearwater Revival, healthy social discourse exactly like this blog, the smell of Bushmill's whiskey and woodsmoke, and the feeling of my shoulders unknotting when I fall asleep at night.

Yeah, I'm cranky and snarl a lot. I suppose when I'm in a foul mood I look like I could take a wild swing or two, or at least snap an expletive in an undeserving direction. Perhaps I could control my attitudes a bit better, at least in public, but I don't think my anger is totally unjustified.

Likewise, I'm often just thrilled to wake up in the morning, and the ability and the - dare I use the word in the America of G.W. Bush? - freedom to put my thoughts and feelings on the line is one of the things worth waking up for.

Like all of us, I'm learning. Other than my drawings (I hope my scanner works today) don't expect a lot of blogging for a while. It's been wonderful and enlightening and healthy, but I'm pretty worn out with it for now... and I've got gigs to play and drawings to make and friends to attend to - all in the "real" non-virtual world. And to all you anonymous folks... there's a lot to worry about in this world, but hang in there. Courage is right around the corner.


Blogger Dharmonia said...

Right ON brother!

11:35 PM  
Blogger CJS said...

Well done, well said. Good shootin', brother.

12:38 PM  

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