09/10/14

Last of a Breed

I’m not totally sure which principles really matter any more. But, this man surely did. And his commitment to them affected culture.

truett cathy

Truett Cathy founder and chairman of Chick-fil-A. (March 14, 1921 – September 8, 2014)

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by Harulduz7. Lyrics here.

Today’s blong here:

Not on Sunday (An Ice Dream)

12/5/13

Superlative

Truthfully, I’ve read maybe 250 pages of Long Walk to Freedom’s 750 or so. But, between the movie Invictus and this meat pie I had once, I’m pretty sure I can fill in the gaps. Plus my brother-in-law is a South African ex-pat and so that makes me almost native by the commutative property of brother-in-laws.

I have one take on Mandela, and I’ve made it to others many times before.

I am unaware of any other human in all of history who was oppressed so absolutely and then was given so absolutely the power to invert that oppression on millions of lives in justifiable retribution and yet declined. Not Ghandi or Dr. King or Mother Theresa. All of these individuals, righteous and consistent in their pacisifism, never actually gloved the reigns to violent power that must have tempted Mandela. They were always subject to power, maybe power they declined, but power they never possessed in the way he did. He was the undisputed psychological Monarch of South Africa upon his election. Had he chosen to change the country’s language to Mongolian Chinese and require men to birth the nation’s children he would have had widespread support.

Call it strategic or contrived, he elected, in the face of significant opposition from his own and victimized people, to largely integrate and accommodate. If you notice, throughout much of the rest of the developing world, when abused society obtains power they return the abuse.

The only parallel is in the lives of famous religious figures, like Christ. They are disqualified from this conversation insofar as they profess either actual divinity or divine authority or x-ray vision. As far as we can tell, Mandela was not any kind of incarnation or supernatural peeping tom.

Just a man who chose to do right in the face of so much opportunity to do wrong.

Maybe the greatest human that ever lived. Seriously.

mandela

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by Dave Santos.
Today’s blong here:

When They Ask You to Run

01/22/12

JoePa

It’s just an impossible thing that one of the most revered figures in college football would essentially lose it all in the wake of a child abuse scandal and possible cover-up and then die of cancer within months. It’s a sad day for everyone. Although he made what was likely a severe, severe mistake in judgment, I hope he died in peace, with a sense of dignity, and solace that there had been tremendous good in his life. All of us will die with sin on our hands. It’s easy to forget, but we never should.

Below is the song I did around the time news of the scandal broke and the original post is here.

Performed by ipoet. Music produced by Diaz from Hungary.

Today’s song blog here:

Dorm Dreams

12/21/11

Camp 22

It’s easy to Team America mock the Dear Leader. He looked and behaved a fool.

And, it’s a credit to the complexity of the human psyche that, merely as a function of physical and emotional distance, we so easily dismember the comedy of a totalitarian murderer from the tragedy he imposed. Kim Jong Il operated one of the most brutally savage regimes in the history of mankind. Many rulers have butchered their own citizens. I’m not sure any have done so as heinously as Kim Jong Il, in modern times, while simultaneously demanding the kind of obsequious displays of affection he did. Through contrived famine and labor and prison camps he killed millions of people. Mass Games to his glory that he simply chose not to attend. Again, these are the ironic hallmarks of abuse at any level — violence and guilt. He was just really sadistically good at both. And, maybe the most harrowing part is the the tent of isolation under which North Koreans have performed for so many decades.

So, in case you just got around to caring, Kim Jong Il isn’t a fictional marionette imagined by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. He was a real dude. And, don’t be confused by the silence emanating from the peninsula or maybe even your local paper. The screams were all nightmarish if you had been there to hear them.

There is various legend around his birth and childhood. Some aggrandizing, some excusing, some accusing. He was romantically born in a cabin on Mt. Paekdu along the North Korea and China border. Propaganda has it that his mother told him that the mountain was where his father had defeated the Japanese and that someday it should be his home. At three, his younger brother drowned in a pond at their estate in Pyongyang. Some have suggested the drowning occurred at Jong Il’s already pathological hand. There is no good evidence for it. His mother died from pregnancy complications just two years later. It’s always easy to pin adult wickedness on childhood trauma. But, maybe too often it’s something of the exact opposite. Maybe this sort of imperial wickedness flows from too much privilege. Lives with no difficulty leading to power without empathy. Maybe, Jong Il was simply a product of sugar and spice and everything nice. Maybe, that’s what dictators are made of. Oh, and failed communism.

My bad, yesterday. This song is not catchy or for kids. 2 obituary songs in a week’s time right before the holidays. Nice.

Performed by ipoet. Produced by pumpkinFoot.

Today’s song blog here:

Sugar and Spice