Tuesday, 24 August 2010

How Jay Smooth Solved My Bloggers Block (and other political matters)

I've been getting a lot done recently, but I've had trouble with my blogging.

If I were a guy, this would be me over the past couple of weeks, as I deal with a certain amount of Blogger's Block.

Downloaded from Flickr under Collective Commons License

The point is that I have been enraged, ENRAGED, in recent days.  Almost everything in the news has been enough to send a girl totally frothing mad.  This has caused me problems on the writing front.

So I've been spending a bit of time (a bit too much time actually) with Mr. John Randolph, or Jay Smooth, founder of WBAI's great hip hop show Underground Railroad.  Get the podcasts (when you're done reading this post).  You probably know him pretty well already.

If you don't - make up for lost time.  He's lovely!

Man, he's got it down, my whole blogging/writing/political situation right there.

First of all there is that little Inner Hater to deal with

But its more than just self-criticism, although goodness knows, I have enough of that. 

The outrages in the news have been on my mind, so that's what I want to write about, naturally.

But being so angry,  can I write about it without going way over the top, or being just totaly naive?

Right or wrong, that is what has blocked me up.

Take Tony Blair for example.  Every time that smirking bastard gets into the media is a further insult to democracy and the rule of law.  Not only has he never been called to judgement for his crime(s?) he has been richly rewarded for it or them.

I mean, really, how sick is this culture? 

Then there are the cuts, another round of thievery by that band of tax exiles, press barons and prefects ruling UK right now, on behalf of their school friends and brothers-in-law in the financial sector.  Who created the problem in the first place, and now want us to pay for it. Us?  Pay for their  corruption? Robbing us coming and going:  heads they win, tails we lose. It's the usual story of course, but more blatant than usual, and this time has got me totally climbing the wall.

However, I'm hoping that the sad death of Jimmy Reid will provide inspiration for many widely-supported sit-ins and work-ins this coming winter.  The dignity of Jimmy Reid's funeral, with reminders of the importance of his political and intellectual achievements, provided a moment of regeneration during the week.

On top of that, the gross accusations against the heroic Julian Assange, using the oldest trick in the book, practically sent me into orbit.  Which leads me to my favourite tweet of the week: "So that's how they are planning to take him down.  How retro!
(Gareth Allen @TCInterval,  The Confidence Interval)

Fourthly there have been crocodile tears spilled over the truly dreadful situation of Afghani women, fuelled by cynical CIA spin doctors (revealed by Wikileaks), and articles from the lackey press, e.g. Time Magazine, and these too have had me fuming.

Laurie Penny showed, in a well-researched New Statesman piece called The West must Not Use Women's Rights to Justify War, that any "support" of NATO governments for women's rights is entirely contingent on how far doing so will advance their own goals: even when women are really suffering, neither these governments nor their armies lift a finger unless it suits them.  

Honestly, are we really expected to believe that war is a feminist enterprise, or that armies have feminist goals?

Marwan Bishawa of Al Jazeera is also very clear: if invading armies benefitted women, he writes, the women of the middle east and central Asia would be among the most liberated in the world.  He quotes Martin Van Creveld, the Israeli war historian, who believes that men go to war to escape their wives and families in search of ecstacy.  This is a striking thought, but hardly fertile ground for feminism, even if only half-true.

And we can't relax, even in the metropoles. Cath Eliot commented sharply and correctly on continuing lenience to rapists, which shows how the state will still ignore women's rights if it can get away with it, regardless of what the law says.   I mean, really, after all our struggles, they still have impunity).

And finally, there are the astonishing, I mean astonishing fulminations over an islamic community centre in Lower Manhattan.  Timothy McVeigh and his cronies (remember them?) were militant christian terrorists and white supremacists who bombed 168 people, including 19 pre-school kids, but I never heard anyone call for an end to church-building in Oklahoma City, or denial of license to the Y.  No-one tried to punish and humiliate their co-religionists.

Astonishing that such medieval bigotry has gained so much traction in a modern society: including, we now hear, book-burning (Some red-neck fanatic Reverend is planning to burn the Koran on September 11! Astonishing!)

It may be astonishing, but its also terrifying: this is not just hysteria (although that's part of it), it's the outcome of a systematic effort to eliminate Islam from the US and Europe, a rabid but coordinated movement that started in Denmark and UK after that whole Mohammed Cartoon thing, and increasingly espouses violence.  It includes such elements as the English Defense League and Stop Islamisation of Europe/UK.  Salon.Com had a pretty good timeline on how it was whipped up initially, including information on the horrific Pam Geller. Even a couple of  quick Wikipedia searches will give you loads of info on these dangerous bozos.

So, as you can see, my rage is pretty understandable.

But can I write about all this shit, in the way that I really feel, without going way over the top or just sounding like a total dumbass maniac ... ?

Jay Smooth has the answer, at least part of it.

I really like that whole clenched fist thing going on here, signifying our shared essential humanity!

And I pretty much agree with what he's saying, with one small proviso:

Are all different views of equal value? Views I can respect, but what about those with different interests?  Such as ConDems, bankers, imperialist spin doctors and right-wing fanatics?  Those who are trying to screw us?  I don't think so.  I draw the line there.

But, all in all, Jay Smooth, bless him, seems to have sorted out my blogging block.  

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