Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Yo check it:

I thought I knew what cynical was till I read this article today in the LA Times about a woman who is on a hunger strike to save California old-growth trees.

She's not the cynical one.

She's been sitting outside the State Capitol, starving, for 50 days. She sits three hours a day in a chair, but she's too cold to stay out longer than that. I guess she's lost like 20 pounds or something. She looks pretty gaunt. Anyway, she wants Grey Davis to fulfill his campaign promise to save all old growth trees.

He made that precise promise four years ago.

She says that 7 million old-growth trees are at risk from logging in California.

I'm amazed we even have that many left.

Now, I'm no eco-activist, but I'm sure glad some people are. They're doing my work for me. Because I really do care about The Tree.

She wants to put a measure on the state ballot to save trees of 152 years and older. Sounds reasonable, even conservative, to me.

Davis calls it "extremist."

Maybe it is extremist. When the status quo is so confoundingly, extremely unacceptable, a sane and determined activist does seem extreme.

But whether or not I even agree with her, Davis's reaction to her is horrifyingly cynical. It's also insulting to the tradition of crazy-sane activism that has helped to pull our country (and our state) out of the middle ages on a lot of issues.

Of this woman's fast, our governor's spokesperson says:

"Public policy is not made by refusing to eat."

"This sort of thing is a publicity stunt, not an effort for meaningful change."

I guess Cesar Chavez's fasts to help migrant farm workers were PR stunts.

(His views were extremist too, by the standards of the day, you know.)

And I guess Davis would call the hunger strikes of the suffrage movement publicity stunts, too.

Or those fucking crazy-ass abolitionists.

Talk about extremists.

Or, you know, that Indian guy who wore the diaper and all. He was always going on some fast or other.

Talk about your stunts.

Martin Luther King's numerous arrests were publicity stunts too. The March on Washington was a publicity stunt. In fact, the entire civil rights movement was a publicity stunt.

All protests, and certainly all acts of civil disobedience, are publicity stunts.

You can't get anything done in this world without a publicity stunt.

Davis is just mad this woman is making him look so bad, because she actually cares about something.

I wonder if our governor believes in anything enough to starve himself for it.

What really gets me is his arrogant disregard for California history.

We have a proud history of publicity-stunt activism on all sides--the Free Speech Movement, the Anti-Vietnam War Movement, Operation Rescue, Act Up!, the disabled rights movement, that dock workers' strike---just to name a few.

Like, duh.

Of course, there's also a long history of corporate "activism" in Sacramento too, which is a little quieter, a little more tasteful, less daredevillish.

I guess if the tree-huggers had some nice campaign gifts and wore Versace suits, their tactics would be more palatable to our governor. Because apparently that's really the best way to get through to him.

Since they don't, they have to rely on publicity. And as history proves, this kind of activism does work, and it does shape public policy. You old lardass.

(Just by the way: Why are the self-starvers, I mean the people who really put their money where their mouth is, almost always lefties? I mean, why don't you ever see someone doing a hunger strike to preserve the death penalty, or to open up wildlife areas for mining, or to bail out big tobacco?)

NEW TOPIC, same shrill tone:

The Total Awareness Thingy reminds me so, so very very much of good, old-fashioned Soviet-style Communism, it's almost quaint. It really makes me nostalgic for Prague. I think of it, and I get a craving for Becherovka and state-made cigarettes, and I long to hear the streetcar wheels grinding along their tracks, sending up sparks in the dark.

It also reminds me of high school, too, in the 1980s, when I had to read "1984" in one night for a test. I thought I would just read the end, and little bits, but it was so good, I started at the end and just read it backwards. I was kind of a fucked-up kid. Anyway, that book rocked.

Around that time, John Poindexter was being indicted for various felonies against the American people. He liked to lie a lot.

Anyway, back to Total Awareness. Just imagine: the enemies of so-called Big Government promoting a system the Reds would have creamed for.

It's nothing new, but it seems so very old-school. I think this Poindexter guy is stuck in the '80s, like Cyndi Lauper and Erasure.

Maybe he's part of the whole '80s fashion revival thing.

In any case, Mr. America is clearly a Commie at heart.

It's funny how much we really do resemble our enemies at the end of the day. Tres Harry Potter.

Harry has a little bit of potential evil in him. Actually, he has a lot.


What was it Dumbledore says in the new movie?

It's not our abilities that defiine us, but our choices.


Last night driving home on the Hollywood freeway, there were palm fronds lining the shoulder of the highway, looking like dorsal fins. It was like a shark attack on the freeway, dude.

Tonight is the second anniversary of the Hotel Cafe. Hooray!

I haven't been writing about rock lately because I am a little dormant right now. I just did a huge spewing of ass-based philosophy and theory about The Rock while doing my Top Secret Mission. I came up with some OK nuggets of garbage in the process: For example, "The Strokes aren't really rock; they are a 'Rock Pill'." They are an over-the-counter drug, a cheap high, a momentary approximation of "That Rock feeling." It's not the real thing, and you know it, but it's OK. You've been so hungry for so long for the feeling.

ok bye


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