Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"We come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics."

"What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply."

- Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Na Na Na Na - Na Na Na Na - Heh! Heh! Heh! - Goodbye!

Outgoing President Bush bid farewell to the Nation last night. Those who tuned-in to watch W's smirking, awkward cold grin and folksiness for one last time, saw the concluding episode of a Presidency that had become a very bad sitcom long-overdue for cancellation. In some way, it was (like these past eight years) painful to watch Bush desperately try to assure us America was "better" and "safer" from his tenure in office. Especially, since his face was unable to conceal the many lies and obvious pain buried underneath.

Bush said nothing new to the American people last night. But, why would he? After all, there's no good way to justify incompetence and outright villiany. Instead, Bush painted himself out to be the lone cowboy. The outsider. An unpopular heroic father-figure, who always knew better than his foolishly misguided children about the big "difficult" decisions of the world. But the only person Bush was still trying to fool was himself. We gave up on him long ago.

Admitedly, Bush opted-out of using his signature arrogance and swagger that had so characterized previous speeches. In fact, at one point, Bush even looked like he was going to break-down and cry. And who would blame him? After all, he fucked-up - big time. Maybe a part of him realized rhetoric will never erase his ruinous record? Sure, the decisions he made were "difficult", but perhaps they could have been a lot easier if guided by logic and reason instead of stupid fear and stubborn blind faith?

W's closing remarks stuck to the theme of his presidency - 9/11. Bush said,"This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house, September 11, 2001. ...As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. But I never did." ...No. ...No, he didn't. In fact, the biggest criticism I have of the Bush presidency is the way it fetishized 9/11 for it's own imperial gains and never tried to heal the nation's wounds. Bush instead used 9/11 every chance he could as if he was pouring lemon juice on a wound. The attacks were a tragedy, but Bush also still pretends "America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict." ...Wrong. American foreign policy has created many enemies and Bush's decisions have likely only created more.

The propaganda Bush fed to Americans over the past eight years tried to paint America as some "innocent" bystander who has always only been here to help. Such rhetoric works for feeble minds too weak and/or scared to admit they're not perfect. But, to be fair, this attitude is only a coping mechanism; after all, a heroic explanation to account for the death of the many who served in the armed forces or who died on 9/11 is easier to process than to admit and associate such deaths with the same greedy gangsterism that has defined American foreign policy since its inception. Ultimately, isn't this the real function of propaganda? To make us believe something we know is false?

I admit, some sick part of me will miss Bush. Sure, he was a crook, bumbling fool, war crimminal, croney, and hypocrite; however, he (as Richard Nixon was for the late Dr. Thompson) - never let me down. I always knew he would fuck things up and he did. But I won't miss him that much; after all, I would rather be surprised by a President who could actually make things better than to suffer through one I know never will.

So, farewell Mr. President, looks like we "misunderestimated" you after all. Let us now hope History will tell your story and truly give it the justice it deserves!

Friday, January 02, 2009

“No time in ‘09”

By Nicholas Allanach

“If you wait too long for the perfect moment, the perfect moment will pass you by.”

There's no time to waste musing on all that might have been or all that may be – there’s only now. I recognize my only option for greater personal evolution is to work harder, be totally honest, and continue to trust my instincts are correct. 2008 flew by with an even greater intensity than the year before that; thus, I anticipate 2009 to be an even faster flash in human history and, if I still hold any hope of being heard in this great cacophony of creation, I damn well better stop all this lecherous intoxication and get to it!

"The Great '08" was indeed magnificent; admittedly, everything that happened over the past twelve months (and those that now slip into the New Year) are not perfect. Of course, who really has the time to stop, reassess, or evaluate these events that have and continue to unfold (particularly when not being paid to do so)? Accordingly, I’m animated by a frantic almost euphoric energy that tries to idealistically outpace the frustrating limitations of this body, time, and bank account. Last month, I turned 30 and, admittedly, I've spent many wasted hours, since then (and perhaps even a little bit before), staring dumb at a blank computer screen biting my nails, lost in some "mid-life" musings on dumb decisions, wasted adventures, and dreams unfulfilled.

Despite battling being broke, and working two jobs in this machine of a city to survive—my life’s adventure is far from over and I still consider myself “wealthy”. Besides, being hungry for success is the best motivation one can have to really focus on this life’s work. Regardless, I’d be a hopeless, stubborn, and overly-idealistic fool if I were to pretend this life has not already passed certain irreversible phases and moments that can not be changed. But I shall waste no time on regrets, these things made me who I am, and I must not forget - no two journeys are ever the same.

So where are we at the close of this great year? Well, as I write, an “unseasonably warm” weather front rolls through New York. Next week, Wall Street will re-open from the holiday break after a year that proved the limitation and failures of the Capitalist system. As I ate my breakfast, I read the news to see hopes for peace in Gaza are currently being shot to hell by Israeli air strikes that will likely escalate into a land war. I then read about a man who dressed-up as Santa Claus and shot-up a holiday party before setting the house on fire. Basically, nothing has really changed in this crazy, weird, war-filled world; but we still keep our eyes on the future in hopes of a better day; accordingly, this year was not all bad; however, the optimism of an Obama Administration taking-over Washington next month will confront many problems that will not be resolved by one man alone - it will take us all to solve these issues. Again, here we are, balancing on a knife’s-edge, between a sustainable future for all humanity or a bleak, violent, and scary one.

As far as things in my own life are concerned, I’m only worried about not having any money and not getting enough done during the limited free time I have. I do not need to worry about my home (even if it is a small one bedroom in East Harlem). I do not worry about a job, (despite recent developments at The New School, my position still seems to be pretty secure). And –most importantly—I’m fortunate for a host of loving friends and family who I would now like to thank separately for all they have done for me this past year…

Nate and Chrissy: Congrats to you both on the new house and much love and light for your healthy and brilliant new summer arrival! Thank you both for all the summer BBQs, bonfires, and boat trips. Dad and Ben: Even though we didn’t get to see each other this past year, I look forward to my upcoming North West adventure. It will be nice to see the Vancouver gang again! Thanks for listening Dad and being the best advisor/friend a young man could ever have. Ethan: Keep up the good fight little nephew, the road ahead is tough and fast, but there are many people who love you very much. Mom: For enduring and doing your best with what you got. I know life is tough, but I hope happiness is not so distant for you in this New Year. Denise: Thanks again for the late night rambles, lady advice, and slamming food – if it wasn’t for you, this artist would have truly starved long ago. Kristi: This may have not been the “Great ‘08”, but we’re still here, and the future is as only as free as we make it. Thanks for bailing me out when I was about to drown and for always encouraging people to be the best they can be. Jesse: Even though the war criminal is still in power; hopefully, we’ll be able to actually start getting done some real projects in ’09 to make more ripples in this already stormy sea. Nadir: It’s been a year of struggle and change. Despite this, you remain a right honorable gentleman, even with your penchant to be “a common opportunist”. Mark: Good luck teaching in Iraq, I look forward to reading about your adventures when you find the time to write about them, and to see you stateside this summer. Dan: Congrats on your recently published article and despite all the heat you faced from those who wanted to make you what you’re not this year – “don’t take any guff from those swine!” Rachael: Thanks for making the Mon. – Fri. routine as tolerable as two hippies can. Sorry for being a grouch when I am, but as the late George Carlin said,“Scratch the surface of any cynic and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.” Indeed, and at least the flag of the double-thumbed freak fist still hangs proud over West 12th Street! Jeff: Who knows what ’09 will throw at you? At least you’ve proven yourself capable of rolling with the punches and knowing when to hit back. Fuck conforming to what others want to make of you - make yourself! E.E. Cummings once said: “To be nobody-but-yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night, and day to make you somebody else –means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” Julia: for the laughs, V-man pizza, and keeping it real under the Big Top - Ha! Ha! Jim: For the long distance creative inspiration and possibility of future Baltimore artistic organizing! Aman: Great to make a new friend this past year that truly understands, appreciates, and worships the awesomeness of Batman and Nine Inch Nails as much as me. Sung: Congrats on your graduation from The French Culinary Institute – good luck in the restaurant business! Nancy: Thanks for the opportunity to work at the 92nd Street Y, for being a friend, and proving it is possible to juggle many interests at once. Rigo and Tom: for being great friends that often feel more like family. To my Maine peeps (and to those on the West Coast too): you were all in my heart and mind this past year and although we didn’t get to meet-up, I hope some day, when I’m rich enough to own my own island, we will have a raucous reunion once again! Ian: Thanks for coming down to the city “you hate” this summer - at least I know you love it enough to eat fried chicken in Harlem before dancing with punks at a Mindless Self Indulgence show. Matt: Nice rambling and partying with you at the close of the year, good luck in Paris, and keep it Johnny Mac! Ena: thank you for being so amazing and for lighting up my dark night with your brilliant Starshine! I look forward to our New Year and hope that whatever adventures we share together, our “friendship” will only continue to evolve and grow in simple happiness.

No time in ’09 gang – so, let’s get to it!