Sunday, December 9, 2007

Oprah endorses Obama

This is really big news. Oprah has never endorsed a candidate before. As we all know if she proclaimed tic tacs as her favorite candy everyone would rush out and buy them. If she sneezed and used a hanky instead of kleenex droves of people would swap over. If she says we shouldn't bomb people when they ain't done nuthing to us, then some people who may not have listened previously may pay attention.

Many people are favoring Clinton in the democratic campaign but if you just think of it from the perspective of a media tycoon who has much to earn from campaign races it's easy to see why we should all vote for Obama. (If for no other reason.) Clinton is ripe material, full of flashy, sensationalist stories that can be twisted and turned. The media have already managed to associate her campaign with fear, to mingle it with scandal, and she has managed herself to be unclear about her stance on the war in Iraq and to be caught planting questions in the crowd.

It would be so lucrative and easy to smear Clinton when the campaign race heated up. They could disable her bit-by-bit, picking her apart, until she appeared a hagrid, hairy, lunatic dyke bitch in the minds of most Americans. This is a bit harder task with Obama. He's already bared all in his books and has not yet had the chance to amass a scandalous history and vituperous hate that can motivate to action and bond republicans together as nothing else.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Fires of Silicon Valley

The air was chilled. Christmas trees already poked through curtains and lights blinked providing amusement on the dark walk home. We walked fast to stay warm and as we pulled a block away from our home - a long block - the fire engines rounded the corner, followed by the police. I counted three fire engines, two police cars and one police truck. "Did you turn off the stove?"
"Of course."
"We left the heater on."
"It's ok to leave the heater on!"
"Are you sure you turned the stove off?"
"That could really be our place they're at..."

It could have been our place but when we arrived, eyes stinging from the plastic smoke billowing into the air, it wasn't. It was one apartment block over.

People were running around in their house slippers yammering on their cell phones. One young man pleaded into his phone that he needed to know if insurance would cover damages. Another man stared up at the fire as he stood next to his one possession worthy of taking out the the apartment, a box of CD's.

I imagined what we would take if it was our home burning. Our laptops. And my five or so external drives with years of filmwork. The rest could burn. I felt somehow relieved to have an exit strategy in case of fire. A month previous I'd concocted my strategy after living through my first earthquake. (Welcome to california)

The firemen took their time, organizing (I assume) strategizing (I suppose) then ascended a ladder to the apartment roof. It wasn't quite like Backdraft where the heroes ran and shouted and giant balls of orange flame threatened to destroy everything. This was calm, slow, measured. I could almost imagine the Christmas lights burning out, a spark and a flame, that turned more to smoke than fire. And there we all were, standing below like toys in a Winter play, acting out our parts in slow motion.

The smoke switched from one window and was now coming out another on the top floor apartment. The firemen used a chainsaw to the cut through and drop in. It was soon over.

A Saturday night's distraction for some. A shock for the tenant of the apartment who would eventually come home and find everything blackened, destroyed. Perhaps some extra money for the young man who ran around photographing from all angles, and certainly an article in the
local news.

It was my first fire close up. I have a feeling, that if I stay in California I will get to know this scene well enough over time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Excercising Power

Are Americans so focused on Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton and Reality TV that we can't possibly bother to think about the freedoms that are slipping away as we speak? This was the topic of discussion on the phone with one of my soul friends from back home in the Midwest. We talked about how everyone is much too focused on keeping their mortgage, paying off student debt, staying on top of bills, attending to struggling relationships strained by the enormous weight of debt, that we haven't any further time to form a clear strategy, a feasible pathway for how to save our sinking democracy.

Our talk was circular delving into America's rich history of public disobedience and crossing over into powerful groups like the Black Panthers and the Weathermen. Our ranting was pained, worried, like mothers trying to figure out how to save their children who've fallen in with the wrong crowd. Where was the anger we wondered? Where is the rage? Most important of all, what could we do?

We are at a turning point right now. If dreams are any indication, the shadow of our future is menacing, rather than peaceful. But we have the power to change it all. Don't we! I'm not sure what we can do, but my soul friend and I surmised boycotts may be the key. I personally own 2 TVs (that I found on the side of the road) which sit in my closet in case I ever have a video exhibit and need them. Maybe that is a first step? Put the TV in the closet! If that is too radical then maybe we can all boycott Foxtel together. We can refuse to eat at Fast Food places. We can cut down meat eating to three times a week or go all out vego. We can hug a stranger. We can be fearless.

Can you just imagine, if for one day, everyone in America did not watch TV?

It hearkens me back to Earth Hour in Australia where for one hour everyone in Sydney turned off their lights as a symbolic act to show our power to change the tides of global warming and energy usage. The effect was tremendous and support washed over the world.

We have the power to make the change, we just have to exercise it. So lets get started heh? Let's help each other, give each other a kick in the arse every now and then. Come on folks. Together, one, two, three.....

Lets shower the world with our love!