Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

17 January, 2020

from Louisville: Another city on the make


There's a coffee shop walking distance from the shelter. These days I haunt coffee shops like I used to haunt bars. I went to Freddie's on Broadway because it was a cheap, cash only dive bar that asked no questions and only required people not to offend the general atmosphere. That place was also a wonderful archive of all things masculine from the 20th Century: hand drawn wrestling posters, beer steins, collector booze bottles from the 1970's, I hung out at Rubbie's because it's a neighborhood bar close to home, the happy hour prices are good, and the well bourbon was tolerably good. That bar was also a good bell weather for the last Presidential election.

Angry white men
trying to hold back
a changing world
like they grip their beer

Now I rotate between a handful of coffee shops in the city. When I'm scribing for pay or working on my own words, I go to noisy coffee shops, like the one close to where I live, or the one close to the shelter. When I'm meeting people, I go to one of two Heine Bros. On Bardstown Road because the white noise doesn't distract my ears from conversation. When I want to hang out and read, or talk to people who have also either stepped off or were pushed off the wide path , I go to Highland Coffee. They each have a thing I like better there than any other coffee shop. Heine Bros serves a turmeric chai with black pepper I really like. Highland has a nice selection of herbal teas and makes a cup of coffee. Sunergos, in my neighborhood, has the best cappuccino in the city and serves delicious cheddar chive drop biscuits that make for a good lunch.

Pockets of warmth
in an increasingly chilly cityscape
regardless of the season
regardless of the temperature.

Please & Thank You on Market and Shelby is a short walk from the shelter. They have wonderful herbal teas and the best blueberry lemon muffins in the city. I go there to scribe or to work, and to eat a muffin after I finish my short shift in the shelter coffee room. Lately I've run into K, a woman I met when I volunteered with one of the local homeless outreach organizations. She's usually sitting out front, a few steps off to the side away from the corner. When I can afford to, I get her a cup of coffee. Sometimes she's flying a sign. Sometimes she's waiting for her boyfriend J, who is always either off trying to find work, off trying to do some good deed that will, when he tells the story, never be repaid in kind. J has a demon in his gut like I do. When I see her I ask whether J has been drinking, so I know whether I'll see him or the demon. They are always in a state of emergency... being moved on, lost a tent, stuff stolen, scrambling to avoid snow, rain, cold, heat. Their home camp in Butchertown was bulldozed a few years ago to make room for a soccer stadium. The investors through money at the city to house the residents of Camp Campbell quickly for the good PR boost. Nearly all the former residents of Camp Campbell are no longer housed now. But there aren't any news cameras around to notice.

Erasure – delete a line
delete a camp
delete a person
a collateral damage
for the marketing collateral

Part 1 posted on Instagram. Check it out!

19 July, 2016

Dirty River on the road: selfie activism

Quality is the greatest enemy of mass-leveling. -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Polar Protesting: Near Quicken Loans Arena
I spent yesterday in downtown Cleveland trying to find the dire narrative the political extremists on both ends and all major media outlets have been pedaling. True to the old adage "If it bleeds, it leads," it seems as if FOX, CNN, and MSNBC are determined to create a causal connection between the recent killings and the implosion currently happening inside the GOP.

I saw one mini van full of guys in olive drab who were clearly not military, not police, and not connected to any government agency. There were a few people taking advantage of Ohio's open carry law, and if you follow the media story about the "rally"*  in the Public Square, it would be easy to believe that downtown Cleveland is looks like the setting for a Phillip K. Dick novel.

People deserve better than the narrative they're being fed about the actual state of things. 

Yes, there were a lot of cops around. A few of them were wearing bullet proof vests. Most of them were wearing their regular uniforms and carrying their normal firearms. There were also the usual brand of Jesus freaks, megaphone doomsday preachers, and political protests. As I mentioned in one of my video updates yesterday, the polar bear is probably my favorite. Not only is it on message, but I have to give kudos for the person in the suit's dedication to the cause, because not only did that person walk around for several hours in a hot polar bear suit in July, but that person did so around Public Square and E 4th Street -- the hub of activity outside Quicken Loans Arena.

There were a few radical speakers at the free speech mic, some hate mongers posing as Christians, and
two other protest marches against Trump and the GOP: a pro-immigration march that made creative and not market intended use of a sex blow-up doll, and a parade of women wearing pink in protest of Trump's outright misogyny. There were some lone protesters, each with their own cause, ranging from a call to treat Syrian refugees fairly to one of the sanest people I saw, an old man with a t-shirt that read  "END POVERTY NOW."

I was also hoping to find a few of the more radical left marches to include. Tom Morello showed up to wear his IWW hat and punch the air with the Northeast Ohio Wobs... but the march took place at 7pm -- long after any delegates, GOPers, and major media outlets had filed into the Quicken Loans Arena compound to listen to Chachi spout and Trump's wife plagiarize. Moreover, the march took place from E 47th to E 12th Streets.

The hub of pre-game activity for Day 1 of the convention happened between 8am and 1:30pm at the Public Square and E 4th Street. 

Free speech is crucial to a free society, and dissent is the marrow of a healthy democracy. But I have to wonder about the purpose of a protest no one sees except those who would know about it anyway.

I've participated in marches and protests before because while voting is a civic duty, it is the exact opposite of revolutionary action. When people are organized and have a unified message, dissent can change the direction of The State run amok. But the most successful protests, the most successful forms of dissent, also take risks. 

If the radical left is serious about changing the direction of things and taking on the damage done by late stage capitalism, then it's not enough to march somewhere "safe" because they buy into the media myth of a militarized zone at Public Square. Having a radical message means doing more than bird calling it back and forth with people who agree with you. That's the failure of social media activism. 

People deserve better than dissenters who don't want to take a risk for what they believe. If we leave the megaphones for the hate mongers, we are enabling the hate and violence, not standing against it.

*If the media outlets covering the "gun rally" had used a wider camera angle, they would have had to tell the story of five people that no one paid any attention to. But a close camera angle is the best way to create a crowd to fit the narrative they walked in wanting to tell.

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01 December, 2015

Compassionate City, Continued and Gator Man Strikes Again

Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others. - Ambrose Bierce

Compassionate city, continued

The thing people need to remember is Louisville is, first and foremost, a port town -- spawned by the river and maintained by the descendants of slimy critters that crawled out of it. There is no amount of brand-name creating, gentrifying, or white-washing in the name of economic development that will remake this town into anything but the den of vice, passion, and delusion that it is. Someone really should tell the mayor he can change the window dressing all he wants, but the actual nature of River City is what it is -- beautiful and perverse, both corrupt and incorruptible.

Of course, if someone did tell Mayor Fischer all of that, he'd just run out and buy more paint to cover it all up. The most popular color used to cover Louisville's swollen twigs and berries is police blue.

This past Sunday I went the folks at Fed with Faith to deliver food, sleeping bags, sterno and propane, and thermal underwear to River City's homeless population. We went to a new camp* with supplies, and took down their information. I rode around with Jean, one of the founders of Fed with Faith, and did what I could to help. He's either discovered the secret to endless energy or he mainlines coffee, but I did have a good night anyway.

The people living in the new camp ranged in age from their late 40's to barely 20. Some of them had family -- we ask in case they turn up dead and someone needs to be called -- but most of them didn't. A couple of them are in the process of finding housing, and there were some other issues around self-medication that always rings familiar to me.**

We ran into another guy who was eating out of garbage can near the downtown convention center. He said he used to play in the NFL. He also said he lived in New Jersey in 1988 during an earthquake that opened a hole where the Taliban was. We also ran into a kid who couldn't get into the shelter because he didn't have any ID, but who had no business being out. We had to hang around a bit to make sure a group of guys from the shelter didn't jump him for the food and stuff we gave him.

I also met Bob and Chris, and Prince Albert^.

One interesting tidbit I learned about our "compassionate city." It's illegal to move a camp. If you're caught moving a camp, you get cited form illegal dumping. Let that one sink in for a minute. So, while being homeless isn't technically illegal, according to the LMPD Press Information Office, they manage to criminalize everything BUT, and dehumanize their fellow humans in the process.

But it's all about the brand... right?

The gator man strikes again

As a result of me posting the article LEO refused to print and me accusing them, rightfully so, of wanting homeless porn^^, I no longer write for them. I wasn't full-time anyway, just another hired gun, working piecemeal and being told to wait for the sweet by and by.  Of course, my work with them was getting hyper-scrutinized anyway, ever since I asked to be more than the mixaphorical+ brides' maid. The truth about freelance writing is the same truth about being an adjunct college instructor --

why hire you on full-time when they can screw you for pennies?

This isn't getting me down, however. Thanks to my break-up with LEO, I've decided to break out on my own. Just because I'm not getting underpaid by them to drag important news out of the muck and into the light, doesn't mean I can't underpay myself.

This time, however, it will be in form of a weekly podcast, The KENTUCKY MUCK. We're still putting our pints and quarts together, and you can expect to get word of it soon. The Kentucky Muck Podcast will cover News, politics, arts, and culture that need to be dragged out into the light. We will be engaged actively in #bevinwatch, as Matt "no-cock fight is too dirty for me" Bevin takes the oath of office and starts doing to Kentucky what Scott Walker has done to Wisconsin -- but with that carpetbagger flair that only comes wrapped in a flag with a prayer on its lips.+++

I'm also closer to announcing the first release of Dirty River Press, which will probably be a chapbook.

In our little south end bunker, we're also working on a storytelling podcast concept called Falls City Storytelling. That one will be fun of a different sort.

And there's more... but I hate to spoil a surprise.

You may have noticed I've put a donation button on the webpage. Back when  I wrote under the American Re:Visionary blog, I had a tip jar. At the time, I used the tip jar for travelling money. Now, I'm asking that if you like what you read that you help me continue to write it. The more you give, the less I have to work a day job and devote to you, Dear Friends and Readers.

Thanks. Expect more soon.
*Nope, not going to tell you where, and for all the reasons I mentioned in my previous post.
** I have gotten away (for the most part) from daily self-medication. But if there really was salvation in a bottle, I'd have found it by now.
^Prince Albert says he's a direct descendant of King Edward. He also claims to have walked 43,000 from Florida to Louisville. Having travelled and lived out some myself, I can see where it would fee that way.
^^I apparently impugned the "integrity of the paper" and probably hurt the feelsies of the gatekeeper in calling them out publicly. But since the current publisher claims to be a Liberal and does business like Jay Gould++, I feel less than terrible about either. Their current cover story -- about the methane plant deal in the West End -- misses the mark by about 20 football fields. But the lead is journalistically "correct." And, their concert listings will be spot on. In a related note, there was a huge Black Lives Matter protest at the Old Jail House in downtown Louisville yesterday. They protested in support of Judge Olu Stevens and his reported decision to dismiss a jury during a drug case on the basis that the jury was not racially diverse enough.
+ mixaphorical, adj: an apt mash-up of generally isolated metaphors. From PDOUWP, Compendium Ed.
++Jay Gould was a rank capitalist most famous for saying "I can hire one half of the working class to shoot the other." He did. It worked. It still works to this day, since capitalists and powermongers are not so much creative as they are repetitive.
+++ i.e., fascism.