Thursday, February 22, 2024

Waiting, In the Interval

        Between seasons. Between change. Between atmospheric rivers. Between the America we knew and where it goes. We live in the interval.   

        On the California central coast this is the season some call Irish.

    If you know Ireland, you know this is an imposter. It is reminiscent, however. 

    Just being California winter is plenty good. From the perch here, it seems entirely too many citizens are loosing their grip.

    This includes the Alabama Supreme Court and at least 6 activist US Supreme Court Justices, all of those who have surrendered heart and mind to the MAGAban, those who give comfort to Russia and their mad czar, and those want to kill the almost two-and-a-half century experiment in a democratic republic. 

    We are between sanity and them. 

    If the MAGAban sycophants were to gain control, we likely would slip into a struggle that no one deserves. That we need to address these realities is a signal  we are in descent. 

There is much about this America that is troubling; beliefs that are badges of ignorance gone malignantly arrogant. Uneducated and now unhinged.

       The hijacking and the weaponizing of faith is misbegotten. Christian Nationalism, the atrocity of Hamas, and Netanyahu's abuse of the history of the Jewish state to conduct a war of genocide are three footmen of hell. There is plenty of evil creeping about.
        Nations respond to attack, but a counter attack that targets civilians, and ignores pleas for restraint is a case of two wrongs do not make a right.

        Authoritarianism, theocracy, and a new feudalism are active threats and sadly too many are poorly educated and/or manipulated to understand how they have become tools. 

        Again Russian agents are manipulating US citizens and attitudes. The MAGAban Republicans are part of the attack. They also put our children and grand children at risk of going to war to stop the aggression of the same Russian czar they support. It is madness.

        We stand between continuing the struggle to realize our aspirational promise or a regressive mania that seeks to discard human rights, freedom of thought, choice, belief and expression. 

        The poisoning of faith is insidious. We have seen it before. Dietrich Bonhoeffer a Lutheran minister was an outspoken critic of German Nationalism and the rise of the fascists. He was executed by the Nazi government. 

        Bonhoeffer asked humanity to think deeply and weigh the consequence of what is said, thought and believed. "Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are."

        Be it a philosophy, faith, or a personal code requires examination, giving respect, and thinking of others. This is more diligent than being a follower, scrolling your screen, posting emojis or rants. It requires getting out of echo chambers and silos.

    Look closely and you will see in Christian nationalism, Christian Trumpism, and MAGAban Nationalism, the seeds of the destructive evil that coopted faith, churches and the German regime.

 Things change. We can make choices. Big decisions are ahead.

       We live in the interval.  

        See you down the trail.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Do you wanna know a secret?

Harry Hammond/Getty 

        OK, so it's not really a secret, but it's something about which most people don't have a clue. You recognize the Fab Four above, and one of the reasons you do is because of the name below the frame.
        Harry Hammond was the first of the great Rock and Roll photographers and the image above was part of the creation of Beatlemania. It was 60 years ago this week George, Ringo, Paul and John appeared on the Ed Sullivan show which is considered the birth moment of a phenomena that rocked the world.
        This photo was the image tens of millions of people first saw of the Beatles.
        Harry Hammond took the photo as the Beatles were about launch. Hammond
was the early photographer for the Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Eddie Cochran.
        It's hard to believe now, but for a while Hammond had the business to himself.
        London born Hammond dropped out of school at 14 and picked up a job shooting on Fleet Street. That was where printing and publishing began in Britain in the 16th century. By the 20th Century most of London's Newspaper and magazines were there. 
        Hammond showed an early talent and soon he was hired by an outfit that was known as "Society's Photographers," the wealthy and the aristocrats. In the 40's he decided there would be interest in showbiz and pop culture. By the 1950's he was known by most of the entertainment scene including musicians and had photographed Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, and Judy Garland among others. 
        When he took the photo that was used in advance of the Ed Sullivan show he was a middle aged 45, but had a way getting the trust of rock and roll's pantheon.
        When Rock became big big business, thanks largely to the culture changing impact of the Beatles and the "English invasion," Hammond decided he didn't care for the growing number of other photographers doing what he had done almost exclusively, so he retired from shooting rock stars in the mid 60's and began managing bands.
        His work is highly valued and collected. Harry Hammond, who helped light the fuse for the Beatles explosion passed in 2009 at 88. As we think back about that first Beatles appearance and all that followed, you know that iconic image was the work of Harry Hammond.
        See you down the trail.