Friday, July 10, 2015

The Confederate Flag Debacle.

To wade into muddy waters, I would like to give my two cents, from seeing what I have seen while being in the Southern states on multiple occasions, but more importantly from being an avid student of history.

So let's begin down this road: Abraham Lincoln decides he is going to take a stand against slavery after he found passages in the bible that opened his mind to the (now obvious to us) fact that all men were created equal. (This is a happy thought for me, because nowadays people try to use the bible to take away people's rights - but I digress.) The South, powered by the slave industry at this point, secedes from the Union, purely because they don't want to stop slavery and could care less about the country as long as they don't have to stop. There are multiple quotes from various generals, soldiers, and politicians stating this exact thing. History doesn't waver on that point. 

So: Honest Abe says; (paraphrased) 'It doesn't work that way, we are still going to let them go - and we aren't letting you go.' The South proceeds to fight to stay seceded so they can treat slaves like farm tools, whores, and just about anything else they feel like.

Now at this point, I want to identify that I do understand the sentiment of wanting to identify with freedom from Government if they are wrong, the right to secede when need be, and doing what you think is right regardless of what those in power tell you. The fact is the Government was not wrong on either issue in this instance, history is pretty clear on that. 

Now the closest thing we can liken the Confederate flat to in other countries is the Nazi flag, unfortunately. (Yes, yes, I went there - just hear me out.) They believed the Jews were a lesser people and they took over the government to make sure they could keep them that way. The main difference is, (besides better technology in the latter) we had more level headed people in this country to stop our own form of Nazism before it took over the world.

Well meaning people fought on the side of the south, but ultimately, if one is to look back at history, that is one of the most shameful and embarrassing moments in our nation's history, right up there with killing off Native Americans just because we wanted their land. 

Whatever pride has come to be associated with the Confederate flag, it's not the original feeling or intent of the people who flew it. Just like the Nazi flag represents an idealism that today embarrasses and horrifies the country of Germany, the Confederate flag should instill some sort of shame, at least alongside the pride - if not instead of.  

If there is something I haven't brought up in this debate I am certainly interested in hearing it. Not stuff like "3,000 black people fought for the south," because we all know that very few free black people lived in the south, so the chances that they fought of their own free will is highly unlikely.

Many people who I generally respect opinion-wise have taken a stance for the Confederate flag - against taking it down, against possible legislation being passed to ban it, and I have not heard a single good reason given, other than they don't like being forced to. I have heard that it stands for Pride and not Racism, although history does not reflect that. I genuinely have not heard a good argument on this, and being a Libertarian myself, I am often against government involvement, but this major push against any action violating the 'right to fly this flag' just seems illogical to me - seeing what it stood for at the time.

I acknowledge that I do not live in the South, nor am I African America, (Although I have lived in the South in the past, and also play the bass...soooo) I am sure there are parts of the cultures I am not familiar with, but I have however been in the south with multiple friends of mine who are black on multiple occasions and I have been shocked by the level of racism I have seen there directed towards them that you just don't see in the Northern states. Seeing what I have seen, I can't help but think that the feelings of African Americans do not seem to mean that much to a decent amount of Southerners - but prove me wrong - I always endeavor to have an open mind, as I hope you did while reading this post.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Musing No. 18 - Not Quite There Yet

"Every hour of every day, there’s a talented musician somewhere on the planet who makes the decision to put their artistic side on the back burner in favor of a more stable career. Although they vow they will pursue music in their spare time, just this simple mindset shift could mean that writing songs and playing gigs will always take a back seat to almost everything else in life."

   I read this buzzkill of an article the other day. This was the highlight of the article, and unfortunately the words that bounced around my head for a day. So in other words, in order to pursue any future in music I have to abandon any remnant of responsibility? Fuck that.

   Music 'geniuses' may be quick to call my future hopes of a music career DOA, but I thought the whole point of music - specifically rock, was to buck the system. To not give a shit what others think of you. Sounds like someone is afraid of competition and wants to thin the herd. The fact that you are working full-time on music and I've never heard of you before you wrote your little article says very little for your music cred there, Mr. Author.

   This actually brings me to another little peeve of mine. Music snobs. If your music is technically good but doesn't SOUND good, then it's NOT good. Get it? Music is supposed to sound good. I cannot stand the 'music elite' that pat themselves on the back for the 'Amazing' string of notes, harmonies, and syncopated rhythms they can put together - with little regard to the fact that it sounds like complete shit. I've taken a few music classes, and one of the reasons I stopped is because I frankly couldn't stand music students. Every time I watch the movie 'Good Will Hunting' I gaze into the heavens and dream of watching someone putting a music student in his place like Matt Damon put that haughty Yale student out of commission.

"You dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin' education you coulda got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library..."

   Music should be fun. Music should inspire. Music should be the direct assembly of the musician's dream. Music should not be a contest. I think hanging out with some people who view music as a step in their ladder of success, rather than as something that is amazing and fun, is what has held me back for awhile. Do you know how amazing it is to play on stage in front of hundreds of people? I hope I always keep the wide-eyed wonderment that I remember having the first time I accomplished that goal.

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

End of Musing No. 18

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Musing No. 17 - Coffee & d-Con

To preface this post - my night was held together by many MANY cups of this:

So around 1 AM my beautiful 37-week prego wife and I were sitting on our bed, watching various episodes of How I Met Your Mother that I have saved on my Mac. We've got it hooked up to our nice big tv, which is across the room, but I don't mind getting up to switch every episode because....well let's face it, it's not like I've yet achieved the perfect weight-class.

I know I already did a preface for this particular musing, but I think I'll add another. While I love living out in the more wildlife area of the southern Grand Rapids area - me and my wife really are city folk. By this point you are probably thinking, "How the hell are any of these factors related?" Well fear not, because I genuinely believe that I can somewhat bring this jumble of mish-moshed thoughts together....or if I fail, I hope I at least fail hilariously.

A.D.D. is awesome - back to my story. So one of the episodes of HIMYM ends and I get up to go change the episode. As I was walking over to the computer, the floor in front of me seemed to gain a momentary moving ink blotch. I stop in my tracks and stare for slightly too long. My wife, noticing my momentary lapse of concentration asks me what I was staring at. My first thought: "Damn...I really was looking forward to sleeping tonight." She asks me again, "Hun, what's wrong?" Sweat starts to bead slightly on my forward as I think to myself: "Play this cool and you still might be able to." "Uh...yeah hun," I say aloud, attempting to collect my thoughts, "I think I might have seen a mouse." "F*****ck. Nailed it."

Well clearly she wasn't going to go to sleep until I caught the mouse. Catch the mouse? Now - let's get this out in the open. Jack Hannah, I'm not. Crocodile Dundee, I'm not. I've never even won a game of Mousetrap. I'm sure there's a way to catch a mouse on the spot - but I have no clue what it is.

One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong.

I lumber grudgingly over to the spot where I saw the mouse run, and pray to God to I just had a momentary contact malfunction. I start pulling things out of the way and the damn thing runs over my foot, through my legs and under the bed where my wife is now quite unhappily sitting. I also may have pooped myself. (What?! I told you I'm city folk!)

I then put on shoes and start squeamishly removing food from the end table next to the bed, as my wife had stockpiled a good amount of snacky things (it's a wonder why the mouse picked our room) as well as removing items from under the bed. I get a good amount of this done and still see no mouse. I quickly decided it was time for reinforcements. I go awaken my brother-in-law's basset hound upstairs and lure him into the bedroom. I tell him to go under the bed. He sticks his head under and then plops/lays down. Sooo I sigh and start pulling more things out.

Now we have our bed up on platforms for extra storage, but since there was no platform for the middle - we put a concrete cinder block. Those of you suspense novel connoisseurs are no-doubt figuring out what I am leading to. There was a very comfy looking mouse nest built inside one of the two sides of the cinder block. Fantastic. Experience has taught me that you can't see the little buggers inside their nest, after a rather unfortunate incident where I picked up what appeared to be a harmless a ball of white fuzz in the garage of a previous house and a mouse jumped at my face. I go and grab a mop and poke the handle into the nest expecting the worst. Nothing. I pull the nest out. Nothing. Not relief but lack of desire for having to go in farther slaps me in the face.

Evil lives here...

I concluded that I will be needing something stronger to fight this evil. I inform my wife that she should and the dogs probably hit up the couch in the living room for the night, since she informed me she wouldn't be able to sleep in the bed til I get the mouse - then I head off for the store!

Arriving to the local 24hour grocery store, (10 to 15 minutes away) I quickly locate the rodent annihilation aisle, and I proceed to grab - oooh about 20 bucks worth of d-Con items. I walk up to the front, proud that I will be attacking this unwanted visitor and reclaim my testicles from the 2 to 3 inch ball of black fur that stole them from me. I proceed to check out, only to find that my wallet is not located in my back pocket. "Damn," I think to myself, "Little bugger stole that too. He is good!" I sheepishly ask the unpleasant register laborer if he would hold onto my goods, so that I may return to pick them up swiftly. Annoyed he yells to his manager that he is going to the restroom. I take that as a yes.

Jumping back into my vehicle I see that I am bumping the bottom of my gas tank. How convenient. At around 2 AM, many many gas stations are open in my area - and are quite coincidentally very open to giving their precious commodity away to wallet-less patrons. I pray to baby Jesus that I can make it home and not make this a more embarrassing story than it already is. I take off out of the parking lot and down the road.

Baby Jesus was not in the mood to be kind. A stranger with an awfully coincidentally full portable gas tank was, though, so I will now be saying all future prayers to 'Beat-up Chevy-driving Hobo-looking, Possibly-homosexually-pedobeard man.' What can I say? The gays love me.

SOOO back on the road! I get home, grab my wallet, make a detour to a gas station so I don't have to give more than a smile to the next strangely flirty good Samaritan and head back to the store. I arrive to see that all my items have been returned to the back of the store where I found them (FANTASTIC) and fly speed racer style through the aisles once again. Checking out and then hopping in the car I stop for not one, but 2 cups of coffee at McDonalds and then return home.

Little bastard won't know what hit him.

As I now sit here, on my couch, waiting for mickey to step in a sticky trap, get severed in a cheese clamp or eat a lethal dose of mouse poison I ask myself, "More Coffee?"

End of Musing No. 17

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Musing No. 16 - I'm Going To Have A Little Terror

So if there are people that haven't heard yet, I'm going to be a daddy. Not sure what the sex is yet, but if I had to guess, I would say the sex is Awesome.

Now some of you may care, but most of you probably don't and are now waiting for me to make a funny antidote or inspirational reflection upon how this may relate to you in any way.

Well you won't get that here, that's for blogs that are actually good and post more than twice an f-in year. Yeah yeah, I'll work on that last part. I just wanted to state that soon I will release my spawn upon the world and the terror that hopefully will ensue.

They say pictures make blogs more interesting.

End of Musing No. 16

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Way Too Damn Much Hurt

Life is tough, This road is rough
Everyone says for answers look above
Or look within yourself they say
That'll fix the wandering way
Does it really fix the way?

Life is pain and so am I
I'm ashamed of tears I cry
I'm depressed by tears I cause
Or by all this widespread loss
Numb the pain with this and that
Drinking, drugs, success can't match
The magical pang of pain within
Each time I think of what has been

Life is brief, the time it flies
Try to stop a blinking eye
Try to catch a fleeting breath
Futility defined is halting death
Those you love they come and go
Can't accept the changes no
Can't accept the better you
Wish I hadn't changed too

I still can't say that my life is better now
Still can't say my life is worse
All I can say when I look back
I've had way too damn much hurt

© Joel A. Mann 2011