Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Other People


We are the other people, we are the other people, you’re the other people, too...
Frank Zappa

...had some friends in Arizona...mix of college students and drop-outs...some planning on dropping back in, some not so much...living in this ramshackle house next to a scuzzy bar...narrow front porch butting up to the sidewalk...cool place to sit and watch people pass by...two real bedrooms, as I remember, and a kind of walk-in closet just big enough for a bed...often a person or two sleeping on the couch or living room floor, as well...a likely place to find weed, beer, and loud music at any hour...

...one day there was this new guy sitting on the porch...turned out he’d moved in with the girl in the walk-in closet room...which meant he wouldn’t be there long...but that’s another story...longish hair, dark sunglasses, big smile...into Kerouac and Vonnegut, Nirvana and P. J. Harvey, hiking and dogs...got us tickets to see Johnny Cash in Phoenix, just before he got sick and stopped touring...we became friends immediately...

...a couple weeks later, were walking down the sidewalk and ran into a friend of his, who had a dog...said he’d gotten kicked out of a pizza place because he took the dog in with him...my friend, grinning, snorted, I’m sure the dog’s cleaner than the Mexicans they got working in the kitchen...

...which, I told myself, must’ve been meant ironically...or something...though it didn’t really sound like it...and, soon, started hearing more...about blacks, gays, women, Jews, people who didn't respect his right to smoke cigarettes wherever he wanted, and, most of all, as this was northern Arizona, Indians...ended up in a big ugly argument with him every time we met...and, as gradually became clear, he liked it that way...fed off of the reactions his hateful words elicited...and I decided our friendship had to end...

All we need is a voluntary, free-spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep fuckin' everybody 'til they're all the same color.
Warren Beatty, Bulworth

I support gay marriage because I believe they have a right to be just as miserable as the rest of us.
Kinky Friedman

...saw that new Star Trek movie...younger, hipper, less boring...I liked it...and was reminded that the first...or, at least, most famous...interracial kiss on American TV was between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura, in 1968...though, in order for it to happen, they had to go way into the future...and to another planet...and fall under some kinda alien mind control....strange as it may seem now, in 1967, when anti-miscegenation laws were struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, in the appropriately named Loving vs. Virginia decision, Gallup polls showed that 70% of the population was opposed to interracial marriage...a considerably higher figure than current...or recent...levels of opposition to gay marriage....

Of all dangers to our nation that exist in our day, there can be no greater one than having certain portions of the people set off from the rest by a line drawn—they not privileged as others, but degraded, humiliated, made of no account.
Walt Whitman

18 comments:

Rhiannon said...

i used to live in the northern part of Arizona..Prescott..more cold there, pretty,..but not all the people were..they actually were and still "are" allowed to wear guns in the backpockets of their jeans or other apparell they might wear..."loaded guns"..pretty darn scary it was!

Reading in this post about you befriending the "Friend" in Arizona and how he turned out to be a smart "A**" reminds me of the town where I live now..it's a lot like that here. It's getting a bit better but they hate Obama..most of them at least.

Yeah, people here have conversations with me and say to things like "you know those blacks"? "you know those sick gay people"? "you know those non-smokers that are bugged because their griping about how I'm hurting their lungs"? "you know those liberal left wingers"?...I have no problem nowadays when they make comments like this to me to ask them "no I don't know what you mean why don't you tell me, what about them"??and then it hits them that I actually might not be one of "those people" they thought I might be..the ones that all agree with them and nod as they reek of nicotine and blow smoke in their faces. After I make my comment to them I stand there and politely "wait" and watch them squirm and get uncomfortable...you see this way it makes them either have to stomp off, or yell at you or make assumptions about you, or...what usually happens..I wait for their explanations and watch their faces get red and stutter and mumble and I'm sorry but it's kind of fun to watch these hypocrites "squirm" and all I ever usally have to do is ask them "why no I don't know what you mean why don't you tell me"???he he..it's been an interesting ride to open peoples eyes and get them to think by just asking a simple question..it confuses them..try it some time.

I like to watch people explain their prejudices to me. It's kind of interesting. I don't argue or debate I just ask them the simple question is all.

What really astounds me is their assumption that I might feel the same way..I guess it's because around here where I live most people think that way..therefore I am a "minority"..and I really don't mind because then I get to ask the question to a lot of them..on a regular basis.:o)

Peace Love and Brother and Sisterhood for this country and world of ours,

Rhiannon

the walking man said...

All I can say Cynical Yogi is Amen brother...Amen. Once you remove lines you remove impediments to freedom.

Eco Yogini said...

hm. I know people like your old friend. it's difficult and weird to have to confront someone who is an adult and racist/sexist/anti-gay whatever.
Being from a white-village, going home to visit means I hear a lot of that... and when it comes from family there isn't much you can do.

I liked the new Star Trek- but then I was always more of a Next Gen/Voyageur/Enterprise fan (i know, i know- Voyageur?? lol). Star Trek did always push the boundaries and explore what was socially acceptable- kinda like Battlestar most recently did :)

does that make me a geek? lol

Sidhe said...

Thanks. I really enjoyed your post today!

laughingyogini said...

That's really THE lesson, though isn't it...to some degree or t'other, we ALL need to learn for evolution...enlightenment...I AM YOU
-whew, now that's a scary thought- really! workin' on it....

Seeing Eye Chick said...

There is nothing worse than being locked up in an enclosed space with a smoker. And nothing more embarassing than discovering someone you like using racially offensive language. That always stops me in my tracks. Like I have inadvertantly dug up a relic from the past that randomly emits offensive language and smells.

But then I suppose that cool-dude exterior, is what makes this evil banality so insideous. You always expect that behavior to goose step right up to you in a uniform covered with swastikas and barking in German.

That almost never happens.

Robin Easton said...

I have seen you on all the blogs I visit so I decided it was time to come and visit you. :)

I really admire this post. I have learned that each being I face is an aspect of myself. I know this can seem a stretch for many people but I have found it true for me. There is a great article about a native Hawaiian healer that relates to this. At this link: http://hubpages.com/hub/How-Dr-Hew-Len-healed-a-ward-of-mentally-ill-criminals-with-Hooponopono

I applaud the truth you are sharing here. It warms my heart to hear it. I am with you.

Thank you,
Robin

Tonya said...

Your "Star Trek" reference reminds me I just saw the episode where Frank Gorshin is the half black-half white alien -- there's a heavy race relations undertone. "Star Trek" was ahead of its time and doesn't get the credit it deserves. :) Love your blog, BTW. I'm becoming a fan!

Rita P. said...

In Portugal people still look at you like you're an alien just for asking if there's anything vegetarian on the menu... =s
But at least racism isn't very popular, except for the odd neo-nazi protest from time to time. But people just make fun of them and move on.
Still, gay and women rights are still pretty neglected around here. People ogle you in the street, and if you're a slightly more effeminate man they can even point and comment. It's disgusting. But we're getting there... =)

Melinda said...

Hi Jay--

As happy as I was with the results of last November's national election, I was despondent over the results of Prop 8 passing in California. Immediately, I felt ashamed of this progressive state that I am usually quite proud of--and I also felt guilty that I had very recently changed my residence so that I voted in MA--for the first time in many years. I wished I could have thrown my one vote in support of gay marriage as it affects the lives of so many people I care so much about.

I absolutely loved the quotes this week--and how did you know that I am so enchanted with Dr. Suess? Me and the doc go WAAAAAY back. He was my *first* beloved author/artist.

Take care,

Melinda

Deborah Godin said...

Wow, really - Captain Kirk kissed his subordinate, Lt. Uhura?? (I wasn't a Trekkie, but don't hate me) Hmmm, I guess yesterday's miscegenation would be today's workplace sexual harrassment...

Kim said...

Nice juxtaposition. And that quote from Bullworth is always worth it...that movie is amazing in so many ways.

Kavindra said...

Fantastic post. Thank you - you put it just perfectly, and ended with an amazing quote. And yes, I have thought, tho never quite articulated, that in years we will look back at our yahoo ways now, and see our fight against gay marriage as being as narrowminded bigoted and repugnant as anti-miscegenation laws look to us now.

Yorick said...

Okay...I have been a trekkie for years. Have been many things - if you live long enough, you can be or have been or should have been almost anything. I digress...here's my thought on "the kiss" ...wasn't Kirk lucky that it was filmed in 1968 - filmed now it would have ended in a sexual harrassment suit. Ya know, "what goes around, comes around"

How about equality with or without a ceremony. Committed partnership should be honored. Children once born should be legitimate. Want to be "married" do it in a church, synagogue, temple, mosque etc. Want to be in an honorable committed relationship - a civil union that is recognized by all including the IRS. Make civil marriage that is exclusively for heterosexuals illegal. End. of. story.

earthtoholly said...

Like Eco Yogini, I sometimes hear that crap on my visits. Not so much, as frowning on the occasional "joke" and praise for Obama usually brings silence. But the attitude is still there and it's so disheartening, especially since there's a very young one in the family--I'm hoping he reaches adulthood with an open mind and respect for all...he definitely has some headwinds there...

I've heard the new Star Trek movie is pretty good and I'll be seein' it soon, though I still miss the young Shatner. *sniff*

Great post, as usual, drjay.

Brooks Hall said...

Living in a big city, I get the chance to observe my reactions to strangers on a daily basis. I get to see who I might strike a conversation with and who I might avoid. And really, it's mostly based on looks and what seems familiar and friendly to me. I consciously work to expand my world. And yes I think I have some suspicious patterns that might be based on faulty impulses taught by TV when I was growing up and by learning from the unexamined reactions of others. Learning to deal with fear and look at a person without all the learned preconceptions is a noble task.

Christine Vyrnon said...

in other words: This too shall past

Lydia said...

Holly is right to worry about that young one in her family. Learned hate has a big tap root, even if, as an adult, a person doesn't show that side to the world (or may not be fully aware it exists). I know of what I speak, because I've been shocked to realize that my husband struggles with that battle. He canvassed neighborhoods with me for Obama, voted for him and wants his presidency to be a huge success. But scratch a little deep and there's a flood of generalized tension, bred in that good Christian home he was raised in, heaped upon him by that preacher step-father of his. We've had nothing to do with his folks for four years. Personally, I'd welcome a watershed confrontation, but that's not likely to happen.
It sucks.