the power to perceive

Okay I didn’t blog yesterday. I think I was stil processing the election. I think I will be processing it for a bit. It’s a bittersweet time for those of us who support gay rights.

While we got our first african-american president elect, states keep pounding the nails into the gay issue with gay marriage banns passing in Florida and Arizona.  Arkansas has apparently banned all unmarried people from adopting children. And California looks bad as they are counting votes. As I have mentioned earlier, all of this hate is funded by some local West Michigan money. Hey praise the lord, right?

But the election of Obama is definitely something to think about.  Besides breaking the historic color barrier, I hope that he is indeed a post-boomer 21st century leader for the US because that’s what we need. I have felt the last eight years have been a frightening trip down the rabbit hole of the worst case scenarios of incompetence, weird nixonian payback, corruption, greed, and hate and torture in the name of the USA and a hateful Christian God. The Bush administration changed the basic fabric of our delicate attempt at democracy. I think they should be tried, convicted and incarerated.

Instead I’m sure they will begin the standard post-government “service” of raking in the big money. Pathetic. Dante would definitely put them in a low ring of hell. 

Jimmy Carter was right about the race thing. He said that he thought the USA had changed enough that it was possible Obama could be elected. I was hoping he was right about that. I was raised partly in Tennessee and I remember Jim Crow segregation. As a child it struck me as weird and unfair. I got in trouble for drinking at the “colored” drinking fountain.

I continue to review the bigotry I was inundated with in Greeneville Tennessee and other southern towns. This bigotry is also alive and well in the northern areas I have lived (including Holland Michigan). I see prejudice as part of the human condition. Hell, it’s in our language. So that we all struggle against our own bigotries and against the unfairnesses in our institutions and environments. How many times have I heard people say stupid bland hateful comments in my lifetime about people of color and gay people and women. Sometimes I have responded well. Many times I have been quiet in confusion and shame. Recently, I heard a man rail about how much the Democrats must hate women because of their treatment of Senator Clinton. He said that our own Governor Granholm was elected by Republican women who voted for her. Weirdly the subtext I heard in his rant was that he didn’t want Obama elected. Now why do you think that is? Hmmm. 

Well enough stream of conscious blogging. 

I have been reading “Listening to Popular Music Or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Led Zeppelin” by Theodore Gracyk. I have an unhealthy predisposition to read philosophy and aesthetics occasionally. Gracyk makes some great points about why we like the music we do and how we move from an initial response to a deeper response. He illustrates this with the scene in Wayne’s World, where Wayne, Garth and friends sing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  

He points to the characters’ obvious contagious attraction to the song as an example of liking something without understanding the entire piece. He goes  on to talk about the complexities of the actual song, “Bohemian Rhaposdy.” He makes a case for understanding it as a sort of Freddie Mercury comments on his coming out of the closet and grappling with the “crime” of his gayness. One point he makes is that the strong guitar and beat of the song illustrate musically that gay men can make strong agressive music that plays against stereotype.  He questions whether the movie scene would have worked if instead of announcing that “I think with go with a little ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ gentlemen,” Wayne had said, “Gentlemen, let’s go with some anthems of gay pride to get ourselves ready for the club scene.” Very funny. And makes a good point about how I find myself drawn into music to find deeper meanings. I often want to see a copy of the lyrics of a new song before I feel like I know if it works entirely for me. Seeing the score is even better for the composer in me. 

Well anyway, I leave you, dear reader, if you are still there with this interesting quote from John Dewey’s Art as Experience that Gracyk quotes:

“The moral function of art itself is to remove prejudice, do away with the scales that keep the eye from seeing, tear away the veils due to wont and custom, perfect the power to percieve.”

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