Thursday, October 28, 2010

"A Nation Divided"

CNN has been examining the state of racial relations here in America. I have watched a number of specials, interviews and reports dealing with this issue and quite honestly, I am sick of it. It has me wondering how much of an issue racism actually is and how much of it is actually created by oversensitivity and the media.

Someone is probably getting upset right now reading this..."How dare he say I'm just oversensitive!" Really, well let me explain my view.

Recently I heard an interview with Al Sharpton. He made the statement that we have to recognize the "N-word" for the derogatory term that it is. "Every other race has a derogatory term that is taboo to use, why shouldn't the black race have one." Now, in my opinion, this is one of the most ignorant statements I have ever heard, spoken out of what I see to be insecurity. If you are truly insecure with yourself then the power of a derogatory term holds no influence over you. Call me "honky", "cracker" or "white trash" if you wish, I don't care. Your opinion of me doesn't change the truth of who I am. And if you hate me because of my skin, my sexual orientation or my religion, so what. You're an idiot.

The fact is that we are creating racists everyday by making such a big deal out of racism. It is the supposed "targets" of racism that are causing racist reactions, creating new racists and acting racist.

Growing up I didn't see colors, I saw people. From third grade to fifth grade I highly respected a guy named Felix. His mom and dad were from Africa. I never saw Felix or his family as "black". He was just another kid in my class. My best friend was a kid named Sovan. He and his family were from Cambodia, an exotic idea but not one that made me look at him any differently than another kid.

Later, when I was 13, one of my friends was a guy named Tony. He was black but I never really paid it any attention. He was a friend and his skin color was never a factor.

It wasn't until I was well into my teens that race became an issue adn only then because other races pointed it out to me. I still didn't see "color" but others saw mine. I was exposed to racism not by racist whites but by minorities who saw all whites as racist...Now, who are the real racists?

Since coming to prison my experiences with racial issues has become more pronounced. Constantly I hear people blaming the "white man" for their problems. I see shows mocking whites and comedians making jokes about white guys. Recently a "black" magazine (Essence I think) was bashed by the African-American public beucase it hired a white fashion correspondent. An African heritage sotre refusing to hire a white man because it does not work for the "theme" of the store...

Personally, none of those things bother me. If I opened a European heritage store I would probably only hire those of European decent, not out of racism but out of a sense of commitment to the idea behind that business. No major issue is raised when "reverse" racism occurs, the "minority" verses the "white man", but the smallest transgression by a white person is blown out of proportion.

I'm not trying to say that racism doesn't exist or that its not a problem. What I am saying is that the more of an issue we make out of it, the bigger the problem becomes. Dr. Laura says the "N-word" 11 times on the radio and CNN airs 20 different programs that showcase the interviews with Dr. Laura, the victim, and every specialist on racism they can find over the next week. Suddenly, what was either an ignorant act of racism or just poor judgment, is now a serious matter, more proof that our nation is divided. Maybe that's what we want, a nation divided.

Here's the fact of the matter, if someone is a racist, so what. That perosn is entitled to his or her opinion. the more of an issue you make out of ignorant statements or ideas, the more power you give to them.

A law forcing a business to hire a certain number of minorities is, in my view, racist. And if an employer chooses not to hire someone based on race, so what, it's his business. If you disagree, don't patronize the business.

I am white and in prison I am the minority. I am often racially discriminated against and deal with racist attitudes because I am white. Guess what, I don't care. I deal with people who treat me fairly and equally. I avoid those who don't. Their attitudes have no affect on my day-to-day activities and I realize they are born out of ignorance, not because I have done anything wrong.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"2084: The Beasts of Orwellian Burden (Entry 2)"

"Scarecrows Watching"

Alone we hand to witness the crimes,
Brutal seasons of Holocaustic passions.
Forgotten images of simpler times,
The Ones who watch through falling ashes.
Oh, what visions we must endure,
As flesh and blood corrupts the pure!

Not alive and yet...not dead,
Nailed to our twisted trees.
Staring out 'cross fields of red,
Soaked in the blood of burdened beasts.
Oh, what bitter view we have
As mankind shows its darkest half...

You can't judge
What is only made of straw.

And when yesterdays become a haze
Beneath their cloud of hypocrisy,
Let only the bad fade away,
Away from battered memory
Oh, what dire fate our futures hold
As nations create a war so cold.

But you can't judge
What is only made of straw.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Common Grounds"

With the violence in the Middle East, here in the U.S. and throughout history that has been and is carried out in the name of "religion", I must take a moment to speak on this institution. I wish to be clear that I am not an atheist or anti-spirttual, I simply have an opposition to the institutionalization of religios views and fanaticism. It sickens me to think that humans kill and belittle their fellow man all for a God they obviously don't know.

To create, to cause is divine. Destruction is the absence of "God". Perhaps if the overzealous, religious fanatics spent the same amoutn of time studying holy works and the world around them, "God's" creation, that they spend being mad about the fact that someone disagrees with them, they would learn love and understanding.

I often wonder what has become of the great thinkers who seek to develop society as a unified people. Why have we slowed in efforts to create a better world? Where did the motivation for philosophical thought and inovation disappear to? Have we blown up all the muses?

It seems to me that we have become so consumed with proving who has the right answers, that we have stopped looking for answers.

The truth is that many of the points disagreed on by the various funtions are merely samantics. As much effort as is put towards petty disputes over who is right or wrong, if it was put towards bettering the world or doing the good things "God" desires for us, this world would be that much closer to a Utopian society.

Stop being morons! Live your lives the way you choose, as long as it is healty and productive and who cares what the next man does, as long as it is healthy and productive. Ultimately, our goals are all the same...Happiness and Righteousness.

Let us focus on what we have in common and how we can build on that, rather than focusing on our differences.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"2084: The Beasts of Orwellian Burden (Introduction & Entry 1)"


What follows are a series of lyrical entries inspired by both the works of George Orwell and the power-hungry nature within man. While Orwell often targeted the Communist View in his political satires (Animal farm and 1984), the fact remains that all power corrupts the selfish and weakminded. True leaders do not need to dominate, they only need to guide and inspire.

Unfortunately, our politicians are rather "beastly". The great leaders are being lost beneath the mud slung by opponents and "quick fix" mentalities. The common man is ground beneath the feet of big business and the nation is ruled by the dollar.

No end is in sight, for should you take down one tyrant, another rises in its place. Until we learn to be independant, free-thinking, self-motivated individuals, we will continue to be herded like the beasts we are...

"Kingdom of Man"

"Dominion was given
To all men living
And yet we abused..."

To settle disputes.
How did we fall so far?
We love our weapons
and our right to choose
the faces of our stars.
It is a world for us to do with
Whatever we wish.
Will one be allowed to live,
or merely exists?

This is the kingdom of man
Necessary force applied
Ruled by an iron hand
To make you understand
that we are your masters.

To the baying of all our hounds
we turn a deafened ear
no need to listen to their foolish sounds
no need to end their fears
for we are the only reflection of God
Let's not forget our places
domination over this chunk of sod
belongs to human faces.

This is the kingdom of Man
necessary force applied
ruled by an iron hand
to make you understand
that we are your masters.

"Two legs stand
loking out across decaying fields
and the corpses of weaker species
laughing with the knowledge
that he is true lord of beasties..."

None are greater than he who bares the whip,
all others must succomb
to the laws bred from human lip
and lies born on their tongue.

We'll make you understand
That we are teh Masters of Creation

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"In Honor Of..." (Part 4)

Keeping in line with the visual arts I move from the realms of motion picture entertainment to the painters and graphic artists who inspired me. Before I ever had a true appreciation for art, I could draw. My earliest influences came from the drawings I found in graphic novels and comic books. Mad Magazine's Sergio Aragones and Marvel's Jack Kirby were among my favorites. Even now I highly respect their works and feel that their artistic contributions are under appreciated.

Later in life I began to uncover the beauty of renaissance works and the more "intellectual" works throughout history. I discovered Van Gogh, Monet, Dali and Michelangelo and began to understand the power of their works.

Art is passion. Truly, it is the amount of blood, sweat and tears that goes into a work that gives it a voice, not the amount of "skill" or paint. I couldn't really appreciate art until I understood that.

While I have a strong appreciation for artists like Andy Warhol, M.C. Escher and Pablo Picasso, my experience with the visual arts has a more commercial foundation. Most of my influences have come from comic books, CD jackets and book covers. I am particularly inspired by Fantasy/Sci-Fi imagery. Artists like H.R. Geiger have the unique ability to create visionary landscapes and unique beings.

I can't name the artists but CD jackets like Sublime's self-titled release, Rob Zombie's "Hellbilly Deluxe" and Megadeth's "Peace Sells But Who's Buying" displayed intriguing and inspirational imagery.

Only now is pop-culture beginning to discover the depth of the story lines found in comic books but I still don't feel the artwork is given the credit it is due. I believe the Superhero image is a metamorphoses of the ancient depictions of gods and goddesses. I find myself lost in the pages of a well-drawn book for the imagery as much as for the story lines.

Hopefully, in the future, Jacky Kirby and Todd McFarlane will receive the artistic credit they deserve, not just by the comic genre, but by the art world in general. They are the modern influences on the future of the art world.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Blood & Water"

These are the days...
These are the days...
These are the days of my life
And I've always known
That I was alone,
And I can't go home to my life...
But just a picture,
Or a memory,
Won't make me better...
Oh, better than I was last night.

These are the times...
These are the times...
These are the times that I cannot forget
So when I die,
Be sure to close my eyes
Don't want to see you cry when the darkness sets...
And if the blood
Is really thicker
Than water...
Oh, the water it can't get me wet.

And I want to know...
I want to know right now
Will I ever be free?

We stand to lose...
We stand to lose...
We stand to lose a lot in our lives.
God only knows
As we walk these roads
Will we see the truth through all of the lies?
And if the blood
Is no better
Than the water...
Oh, the water's gonna take out my eyes

But just a picture
Or a memory
Won't make me better...

Better than I was last night...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Responsible Citizenship"

So much time is spent searching for excuses or placing blame, that few in prison ever find responsibility. This is what leads so many to a continuous cyle of crime. The do not believe themselves to be living an "unrighteous" lifestyle, therefore they make no effort to change. This lack of motivation leads to a revolving door system.

Prisoners are not alone in the irresponsible living, in fact most of the world is currently in a state of "blame first". Everyone is searching for the easy way out and rather than accepting their own ignorance, they point out the ignorance in another. We blame childhood, rate, the "system" and anything else we can find for the problems in our lives and yet, as much as we divert the blame or burden, we still find no satisfaction.

The reason so many of us are consumed with blame is that we don't like being wrong, but until we accept our wrong doings, we cannot move forward in our lives. We will be stuck in the past mistakes, consumed by our own emotional turmoil.

I once found myself caught in this state of blame and occassionally find myself slipping back into old habits. I don't like being wrong either but if I am ever going to move forward I must accept when I do wrong or when I allow for negative circumstances.

If I do drugs or ingest alcohol I cannot blame the substance for actions I commit while under the influence. I knew the possibilities but I made the choice to take in the substance anyway. I can only blame myself.

I may not always control outside influences but I do control how I allow them to affect me and how I respond...

I watch the news a lot in here and I often see the state of affairs. Many of the criminals blame the system or their pasts. I see people suing one another, corporations and various institutions for the stupidest reasons. Why sue a restaurant if you spill coffee on yourself? Just be more careful next time, moron!

We have the power to choose...We are responsible for our own lives. Even if a law prevents us from doing something, we shoose to follow it or oppose it. If you feel a law is wrong, strive to change it. Advocate what you feel is right or accept that if you oppose the "standard" you can blame noone but yourself for the outcome.

Until we can all learn to accept responsibility for our own actions and become mature enough to work towards productive lifestyles, civilization will continue to push towards a disaster. It is the current finger pointing, irresponsibility that continues to give rise to war and ignorance in our world.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Strike Me Down"

Sometimes its easier to believe
That nothing could ever go wrong
That love will surely pass away
And the pain will soon be gone
Well, if the storm doesn't fill me
The fires will
My soul absorbs her silence
Just enough to kill.

And if you strike me down
Will I still feel it tomorrow?
And if I hit the ground
Will I find that I am hollow?

Sometimes it's easier to forget
Then to ever have really loved
Than to remember how you moved
And the way you handled the gun
Well, if the bullets don't fill me
The daggers will
My heart beats like violence
Just enough to kill.

And if you strike me down
Will I still feel it tomorrow?
And if I hit the ground
Will I find that I am hollow?

Well, if the poison doesn't fill me
The passion will
Her eyes dig into me
Deep enough to kill.