Thursday, March 05, 2009

In Which Another Rabble Is Roused!

A nice surprise today. I ran into my friend and co-worker John in the teachers' lounge. John is an amazing bass player and teacher - years ago we played together in a TV-show band; now I teach at the school he has been teaching at for a long time, and we run into each other occasionally between classes. John has a razor-sharp and relentlessly curious mind and is very well-informed about things most people have never even heard of. When we were gigging together, he was always telling me about something interesting he had read about or heard on public radio (which I was not especially clued into at the time, and not the least bit politically active.)

I remember one short conversation we had in passing a while back - he had read Tom "Porn-Stache" Friedman's book The World is Flat and was (understandably) a little bummed about the seeming inevitability of the race to the bottom that the powers-that-be have forced us into. It's hard not to get discouraged when the "serious" people assure us that outsourcing, low-wage living and serfdom is the only future we have to look forward to, so we might as well get used to it, quit kicking, and face reality. I was in the middle of writing The Price of Right and wished we had time to talk about it, since I was in the middle of chewing through the sixty-five political/sociological/historical/psychology books I read in the process of researching my own book. But we were both on our way to class, so there wasn't an opportunity to get into it.

When the book came out, I gave John a copy, and today I see him in the break room. He said that he liked the book, which of course I was glad to hear. But what really made me feel like I've done something worth doing is that he's mad again! He told me that he had given me a shout-out on his blog User-Is-Content - which, by the way, is a very cool and eclectic blog, and I highly recommend that you check it out. If you're interested in science, the environment, government, alternative technology and the politics of possibility - it has a Wired magazine feel to it without the forced graphical hipness - you will dig it for sure.

AM New York called me a "rabble-rouser"
as if were some sort of criticism instead of a badge of honor to me. That's my real aim with this book - I want to rile up as many people as possible. Anger and outrage are exactly what is called for. And anger and outrage are constructive and lead to action, whereas apathy and withdrawal lead to paralysis. As I've said ad nauseum, I think it doesn't matter whether we can 'win' this thing or not - only that we stand up for what we believe, what we know is right. To not take action against what is wrong because it seems too difficult is the pussy way out, and if we sit on the sidelines, we deserve whatever we get, and have no right to complain.

And it's good to see someone as smart and ethical as John back in the game.


Jolly Roger said...

They're still at it; the paper today featured economists promising us that the latest round of lost jobs "aren't coming back." The truth is, of course, that if we repeal the moronic monkey's subsidies for things like shuttering and moving American plants overseas, some of those jobs WILL come back, because it'll make economic sense to bring them back. But we wouldn't want people to get the idea that there's anything we could do to save ourselves from the Third World now, would we?

As far as badges of honor-I just love it when I get linked to by Malkin, or I really write most of my stuff for them, and it pleases me when I see them looking it over.

Alicia Morgan said...

Ain't it the truth? I think if you're not pissing the right off, you're not woking hard enough.

darkblack said...

Good old John...I remember showing him some two-handed tapping techniques back in the last century in some dingy practice room (were there any other kind?) down the hall from P3 so we could all be Billy Sheehan for a day - And a Canuck too, IIRC. Ah, memories. I can't imagine him riled up, but it must be a powerful book indeed to make it happen, Alicia.


Alicia Morgan said...

Wow, DB - it is a very small world! Yes, he is. They've spiffed up the practice rooms considerably - they are pouring money into everything but teacher salaries! John looks laid-back, but he has some strong ideas and opinions and definitely marches to his own drummer, which I like about him.