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Thought from America

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:09 am
by Adam Blake
After over a fortnight in this beautiful part of N California I flashed on something. Apologies if it's blindingly obvious but consider: little over a hundred years ago people in this country were still regularly sticking a pole in the ground and declaring that all the surrounding land belonged to them and shooting anyone who disagreed. That's not really very long ago. The foreclosure crisis is just the same thing, except that instead of guns the usurpers use money. The land robbers had powerful friends in congress and government too, just like the banks today. Just a thought.

Re: Thought from America

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:11 pm
by howard male
I often have little (yet big) perspective shifts like this, Adam, so it’s a pleasure to share yours. The recent past seems to become more compressed the older we get. For example, all the horrors of the two world wars seemed as distant as the Roman Empire when I was a child or even a teenager, yet now they seem so close to our own period as to make me realise how remarkably lucky our generation was to have missed them.

And time itself seems to conspire in my speeded-up subjective experience of reality. For example, the other day I noticed, on returning to London, that a whole new building seems to have sprung up on the Londn skyline – panoramically visible in its entirety from the top of our road in Crystal Palace - during the week or so I’d been away, dwarfing all the buildings around it. The Shard isn’t finished yet but its grey scaffolding-encased silhouette has surely gone up in record time.

Re: Thought from America

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:20 pm
by Adam Blake
The astonishing thing for me about WW2 is that it is still in living memory. When I was coming here I had a couple of hours stopover in San Francisco airport and found myself sitting next to a young (20 year old) soldier on his way home for Christmas after spending a year in Afghanistan. He latched on to me and talked non-stop for an hour or so about the dreadful things he'd seen. It occurred later that I was the perfect vacuum for him: a completely anonymous guy he'd never see again. It was not as though he was going to regale his family with these anecdotes over Christmas dinner, after all. I asked him if, considering how much active service he'd seen already, whether the army might not post him somewhere safer and easier for his next hitch. "The army don't care", he said, matter-of-factly.

As for the land robbers, the banks, the Wall Street criminals, the Hedge Fund bandits - it's the first time in American history that the prevailing culture (ie, white people) have been stiffed in this way by their own kind. Many of them can't believe it's really happening - that they're being treated just like poor Mexicans, blacks, Native Americans (Injuns) - but more and more of them are slowly waking up. The realisation that Obama isn't going to wave a magic wand and make it alright has been a bitter pill indeed. Who knows what's going to happen in 2011 here?...

Re: Thought from America

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:02 pm
by garth cartwright
Adam isn't it obvious that the disaffected white communities are rushing to embrace Sarah Palin and the Tea Party? Socialism is such a poisoned word in the US that it appears (to me) very unlikely that Americans will go for the left. Instead they will go for right wing populists who blame China-Mexicans-Russia-Muslims etc. I got into an argument at a new year's party with an english bloke who had lived a long time in the US and thought it heaven on earth and all the problems were China's fault. I would love to see a working class uprising but I doubt that will happen in our lifetimes.

Re: Thought from America

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:26 pm
by Des
Beats me how people who spend so much time banging on about how terrible American politics is insist on going there for their hols. Presumably they'll be off to Israel next.

Re: Thought from America

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:00 pm
by Adam Blake
Des wrote:Beats me how people who spend so much time banging on about how terrible American politics is insist on going there for their hols. Presumably they'll be off to Israel next.


Are you talking to me, Des? If so, do it directly please.

Re: Thought from America

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:05 pm
by Pete Fowler
Des wrote:Beats me how people who spend so much time banging on about how terrible American politics is insist on going there for their hols. Presumably they'll be off to Israel next.


Des, we are America. The USA was built on you and me and then a flurry from other places. You know that from your music: it absorbed the lot. I can listen to the Everlys and hear, instantly, the connections with the Ulster-Scots; I can listen to John Lee Hooker and hear the rhythms of the African states from which his ancestors were torn. I can hear Sicily in Sinatra, Spain and its colonies in Richie Valens.

I can hear the world in the States.

I might loathe their policies, I might feel a shudder at Palin and her guns. I might feel a sense of horror at their hedge funds, I might pinpoint Goldman Sachs as the Devil Incarnate of a world that has come off its hinges. But whenever I go there – and I haven’t been anywhere near enough since I left a job that sent me there so frequently – I find those who are just like me, as you would find those just like you.

And I will never forget evenings in Boston with folks who ranted and raved about Reagan; or bumping into, in Nashville, an old mate of mine who ended up drumming for Nanci Griffiths, and spent a couple of hours berating me for the sins of Tony Blair, as if I were somehow personally responsible for the failures of the Labour Party; and I will never think of New York without recognising its unbelievable life force, its unimaginable buzz, reducing London to the serendipidity of St Albans.

We are America; and if that is denied, life itself is questionable.