Friday, December 26, 2008

Things to Look Forward to in 2009

For Starters:

1. January 20, 2009
2. Elizabeth Alexander's poem for the inauguration
3. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx in the Soloist
4. Literary debut of The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin
5. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower
6. Mad Men Season 3!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Viva La Vida

I've been thinking a lot about this song lately.

I knew immediately when Coldplay released their latest experiment, with the album cover of the Delacroix painting and the storm the Bastille aesthetic that they were styled in, that something big, unnameable and epic was on the horizon for us -real americans- and the world. I remember listening to the opening opus thrilled yet melancholy by the rather upbeat and contradictory lamentable lyrics.

It occurred to me then that this was the subtle cultural response to the Bush Years. No? Think about it:

The song is persona piece of a historical figure, Herod, King of Jerusalem, before it collapsed under the rule of Romans and the subsequent crusades that dominated the ancient world. Considering the Bush years led to our own experience in a holy war. I don't need to summarize the last 7 years of what we've experienced -soldiers, civilians, Americans, the world, respect, etc.- but consider the losses we've had.

The election of Barack Obama sent people dancing in the streets. It was amazing to see humanity celebrate possibility.

But at the same time, I felt a little bad for W. Seriously. I certainly can't wait for the end of the Bush years. But I felt sad for him because he's that guy. It's like the song: "Revolutionaries wait, for my head on a silver plate". Granted, no one was storming the White House gate like it was the Bastille or anything nearly as bloody as the Delacroix painting. It was more like a peaceful manifestation of the Delacroix painting, the flag waving and the cheering, ecstatic mob outside of the castle waiting for the deposed king to leave.

The financial system collapsing adds another nuance to this culturally significant ditty. Watching the fall of giants such as Bear Sterns, Lehman, Washington Mutual, the auto makers, and the remix of a Ponzi scheme with Bernard Madoff seems to make the timing of the release of Viva la Vida hold a deeper resonance for our times in ways that I'm not sure they've even imagined yet.

Funny, huh.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Election 08

Some images:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Imitation of Life

My write-in candidate for the 2004 election in an imagined meeting with Obama.

The Sky Is Falling


Many of my friends have wondered aloud, in countless conversations, is our way of life, sustainable? The jumbo mortgages, the SUVs, the student loans to cover the brand named degrees, the shopping, the consumption, the 'good life'. Is it sustainable? Can the economy continue on a limitless upswing, and we reap the benefits from such expansion in growth with the national debt rising, a two front war with an invisible enemy and rising prices for essential goods.

In 2007, Ellen and I sat outside at Nabu eating sushi, with cranes looming over our heads at the construction site of yet another luxury condo, and wondered aloud.

It can't be, she said. It's bloated beyond proportion. There must be more to living in the world beyond work for the idea of the good life. Something's gotta give.

In March, Bear Sterns buckled. Last week, the levees broke with Lehman, Merrill and AIG.

Main Street or the average man isn't entirely clear what's happening as it relates to them directly. With the constriction in the financial market, that's teetering on the brink of failure, one thing to be certain of is that when Americans are unable to borrow even more money for the good life: cars, homes, food, etc. the realization of the global economy will hit pretty hard.

No man is an island, chicken little.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Jason Bourne on Palin

Yes! Somebody needed to say it.

Remembering September

There's a quality of spectacular blue that September skies have. A deep azure that calms, soothes, and envelopes you. It's a blue that I look forward to seeing every year after days of air thick with humidity.

There's a smell the air gets in September, the smell of summer past her peak, the signal of time of harvest, where nature's fruit have reached its ripeness. And the air chills a bit, nips at your fingertips. You crave the comfort a light sweater. The smell of a possibility again. Beginning new again. Like the smell of school supplies, new clothes that children wear for their first day of school. Starting over. September, I can smell her in late August at dusk, when the sweltering heat breaks, the breeze caresses your arms, and the ripeness of summer subsides for something new to be born.

Because something else has started to die. Fruits fall off of trees, settle in the earth, a season has come to an end.

In September in New York, at dusk, twin columns of light pierce the sky. The twin lines of light are angelic against an indigo sky.

In September in New York, as I find a quiet joy in the smell of autumn approaching, I remember the smell from 7 years ago, when lower Manhattan was a cauldron, and the lost souls on that fateful day, the 2800+ victims, and how that space became sacred. An unlikely burial ground.

I remember them. I remember New York. I remember the 11th of September.

And we remember in our own quiet ways. Some of us were heading to work. Some of us were sitting in class. Calculus. Fluid Dynamic Physics. Some of us were supervising field operations on a construction site in the Soundview section of the Bronx. Some of us just finished voting for the next Mayor in the Primary. Some of us were on the subway heading downtown, uptown, crosstown. Some of us had just woken up. We were everywhere that day. And we remember.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What I’ve learned at the onset of the Second Coming in American Politics, Part 1

A few things:
Namely, the second coming isn’t exactly what everyone expected. He can’t command the seas to part with a wooden staff.
He doesn’t turn water to wine.
He can’t raise the dead.
He doesn’t stutter. As a matter of fact, he’s the most loquacious and eloquent speaker of them all.
He’s a smidge darker than I originally imagined, yet a shade lighter than most.
He’s a shrewd politician and strategist.
He’ll make mistakes.

If the national stage is a microcosm for the rest of society, then at work, I’m watching the manifestation of generational struggles and long held wide beliefs of the intelligence and competence of African Americans by their white colleagues.

A coworker emailed me to ask me ‘Who’s side am I on?’ singularly. The project we’re working on is a joint venture between a Harlem based black owned company and Westchester based white owned company. I’m black and work for the Westchester company. The presumption is loaded in the question. As an obvious black person, I obviously fall on the black side.

I think she was rabidly pro-Hillary in the primary days.

Another question surfaces in the days to follow: What race is the admin on staff?
An answer in whispers: I think she’s Latino.
A snort in response: Same difference.

In this new world of American life and politics, there are still some miles to go before we sleep in the daily professional lives of working Americans. When we are we judge by character and performance rather than how we look?

The NYT magazine article from a couple of weeks foreshadows a period where an Obama presidency will not allow for any real or substantive critique of black America’s experience of discrimination or injustice as long as the Obamas are chilling in the Rose Garden. As if this singular, yet momentous reality in American history is prohibitive of rebuke or accountability. Generations of narrow-mindedness don’t dissolve overnight. It still lives in the ether. On both sides. Some of our most stalwart allies for equality still hold prejudices and presume an embattled attitude of ‘us’ versus ‘them’. And with a challenged economy, these attitudes that stem from a deep frustration of the current economic climate will worsen. I can only hope that it won’t be exacerbated by multi front military conflict in the Middle East and Asia.
I’ll more to say on that later.

Into the Fray

Welcome to my blog.

Sometimes there are times to keep silent. Sometimes, you need to speak up. So here's my space. I'll share  thoughts and images as they dance around my head. 

I thank you for reading or your satisfying your idle curiosity.