Removing TV Cold Turkey

On drive home from Philly and the hot disappointment that was Live8 I swore I would remove all of the big media crap in my life. As a first step I resolved to stop watching TV.

Ever since I can remember I have loved the machine called the television. I’ve been physically memorized, dare I say controlled by it for twenty plus years. In college I realized it wasn’t the CONTENT of the programming that compelled me to watch it but the cathode ray tube and its super fast flickering that held me. Persistence of Vision tricked my unconscious some how. Ever see the movie A Clockwork Orange? Remember that scene where Alex is forced to watch images with his eyelids forced open?

The machines the television and the film projector have influenced my creative life significantly. They have been the canvas of my moving paintings. But now the damage that big media has done to global culture is just too great for me to ignore. I can no longer consume them. I fear to use them as tools for art.

I will not support the massive, marketing, money making, media jugernaught that climbs on the backs of Africans to make a buck. They can claim all they want that Live8 was about stopping poverty in Africa, but in the end the rich just get richer off of the suffering of the poor. Now they don’t need to put the poor to work they just speak the names of those who suffer and money appears in the twenty first century robber barons bank accounts. Not to mention all the political power that is gained by a few media stars.

The withdrawal process is going to be hard for me. TVs are everywhere. In bars, in airports, in shopping centers, and on public streets. But I recognize this has to stop somewhere. If my brain’s power can’t be completely recovered from the effects of the TV maybe my future children will not be addicted at an early age. Live 8

Albert Yee is Awesome!

The absolutely best part of going to Philadelphia was meeting Albert Yee of the DrangonballYee blog. (Plus the other cool liberal bloggers like Matt of and Chris of I had only exchanged emails with Albert and he gave me a place to stay, took me to get a steak, and introduced me to a cool bar and some of the best Jazz I’ve ever heard.

I was almost home and Albert called to see how my trip went. I realize then that he innately understood all that (or whom ever fucked up this “backstage passes” stuff) didn’t. Treat others like you would like them treat you. Go out of your way for the people you don’t know. Live 8


Albert’s Blog. Albert’s Photos.

No Backstage Passes at Live8 Philly

When I first found out about the opportunity to go to Live8 and cover it I was excited but skeptical. But I decided to suspend my initial thoughts. I even wrote “I suspend my skepticism and give this action my trust.” I figured what the hell I’ll drive eight hours one way to get there, sleep, blog, podcast, then drive another eight hours home to North Carolina. (I had to come back fast to go to my engagement party thrown by my new in-laws!) All of this was worth the ACCESS. I thought it was worth the opportunity to interview some famous people about the problem of poverty in Africa.

Well…that didn’t happen. We didn’t receive backstage passes. What we got were “VIP” arm bands to get to the front of the stage. Nice, but I didn’t come to see music. It’s hard to talk shit about a party. A very big one, which brought joy to many.

The infuriating irony is I defended my positive attitude about “what Live8 could be” to another blogger in Philly. He was skeptical, but I insisted to look at the glass half full instead of half empty. What did I get for my trust? Not what was promised.

I appreciate Joe Trippi apologizing on his blog about the press passes problem. I know shit happens. But it was annoying and insulting to constantly be treated like a gate crasher when you were INVITED to write about something. I didn’t put up with as much as others. Albert has written about being harassed by security personal and pushed by a cop!

What I really got out of going to Philly was not planned at all. I met several awesome liberal Philly bloggers. (More about them in the next post.)

Here is the podcast I recorded just as I was about to leave Philadelphia. I was sunburnt, tired, angry, and not looking forward to the long drive home.

My advice to others who want Bloggers and Podcasters to cover their event: Don’t promise something you can’t provide.

What I learned from this: If your blogging for compensation (press passes). Get it upfront! Live 8

MP3 2m 944.9kb 64kbps

One Campaign, One God, and What War?

Before the Live8 show in Philly, Albert and I went to The One Campaign’s rally and press conference. Here are some of my thoughts of the event and a podcast mp3. It’s an interview with two students from Connecticut. Here’s Alberts blog post about it.

Lots of people from all around the country were there wearing One t-shirts and One stickers. Several NGO partners were in attendance also. First it was a pep-rally to brag about the “success” of the One online and letter writing campaign and then speeches to discuss message. The message that poverty in Africa can end in our lifetime is a noble one. The strategy to achieve this goal is to pressure world politicians to have the will and money to act.

But during the press conference part we had celebrities, a eloquent man from Africa, and three reverends from various Christian churches. Sound like the beginning to a joke? Well it was.

The final speaker, a Christian reverend, led the crowd in prayer. A fine tradition of gathering unity in the crowd duplicated from the civil rights struggle. But when listing singular unity of one, such as one person, one vote, and one voice he included ONE GOD. A man in the audience booed. Another man looked upon this dissent and stared angrily.

Where were representatives from other religions? Lots of people in Africa worship other gods besides this reverends god. Many worship more than one. I found this loud public statement in front of tons of media and a good size crowd to be extremely rude. Why didn’t the staff and leadership of The One Campaign include religious leaders from the Islamic faith, or the Jewish faith, or even from the indigenous religions of Africa?

Another glaring omission of this press conference and the ENTIRE Live 8 event in Philly was the condemnation of war. No one even brought up the war in Iraq, pro or con. It was like we were all in a zone of denial. Not once did I hear about how war causes extreme poverty. Not once did someone express their sadness for all the people who have died needlessly in war. It was if the price we must pay to get war starting leaders to listen to us is to not mention war. We can not pretend war does not exit in the world.

I understand, but do not agree with, the argument that we want to create unity by setting aside our political differences. But when did war become a positive political position? I tell you when. When George W. Bush started peddling fear as reason for war. When he began using the thousands who died in the attacks on 9/11 as reason for more war and death. As Live 8 happened and as I write this post the President is under a lot of pressure for not ending the war in Iraq soon. As each American solider dies more and more Americans wonder why our military stays in Iraq. Does The One Campaign pledge not to discuss the war to get a seat at the table with the leaders of the world? Are they suggesting that if we just ignore the death and suffering that it will go away?

No campaign to end poverty in Africa will succeed with a monotheistic, Eurocentric, blindness to the fact that all war in the world must cease.
Live 8

MP3 2m 48s 1.3MB 64kbps

Steaks, Jazz, and The Special

Alto Saxophone, drums, and a Hammond B3 organ. What a beautiful combo. Albert Yee took me to get a cheese steak at Jim’s Steaks then to an amazing Papst Blue Ribbon beer paraphernalia museum slash bar called Bob and Barbara’s on South Street. We had “The Special”. It’s a shot of Jim Beam and a can of Pabst! For only three dollars! That’s where we ran into the most amazing live organ sound I’ve ever heard. With a Leslie cabinet and everything! That sound was like a dream! Evidently this part of Philly has a long history of live R&B and Jazz. Damn, bloggers are so cool! Live 8

Thoughts on the Road to Philly

I just got to Philly. On my way here I recorded a few thoughts. Yes I was driving and recording. 😀 Ain’t it weird how your thoughts can really flow and be creative while you drive? Well…at least that’s how it works for me. The crux of my thoughts: Save lives! Do some good for the world Mr. President! Not that those are creative or new ideas. But in this violent world you start to wonder. Live 8

MP3 1m 31s 728.7MB 64kbps