Jan. 4th, 2007

Alex Ross

Pop Murder

If I could find the spot where truth echoes
   I would stand there and whisper memories of my children's future
   I would let their future dwell in my past
                    so that I might live a brighter now

                    -Saul Williams

I wake up every morning (groggy, but) optimistic that today will be the day humanity takes another baby step forward. Either with the aid of my actions or in spite of them. That we will be kinder, wiser, gentler by days' end. That the veneer of nobility that we epoxy on every morning will hold through the first coffee break. And some days I win, and some days I lose.

Saturday I lost.

Any fool can play executioner for a day,
And say with fingers pointed in both directions
'He went that way,
It's only a switch or syringe,
I'm exempt from eternal sins...'
But you still wear a cross,
And you think you're gonna get in...

America as I dream it to be in my happy moments rises above Hammurabi.
(Let America be) America as it should dream to be needs to look for, STRIVE for, higher ideals in its conduct with the world.

The America Apologists, who use phrases such as "The Blame America crowd" to denounce un-patriots like me for questioning the actions and intent of my own elected government  would claim that to Win we need to stop trying to be noble. That to Win we need to Play the Same Game.


Am I an unrealistic dreamer?
Is pragmatism necessary?

But so is the Dream. I am not foolish to believe that we can help to create a brighter now. That we can, instead of building a brighter future for our children, build a better world today for everyone.

and "Win"? Win what exactly?
The War on Terror? (with no objectives you cannot win)
The Superpower race? Done
The Capitalism Race? Done

If the goal is simply to keep our soldier kids alive then we have a real easy fix for that.
If the goal is to Beat the Iraq Game...   then we should probably start playing to win, [the One True Thing that Vietnam taught us is that you cannot try to play politics with war. The run-up, and the rationalization games can be played before and after. But in the actual prosecution of war... You don't play to cover the spread. You play to blow them out. You use the force necessary to do the job quickly, properly, and as ethically as possible. And here we are in Not-Another-Vietnam where our Leaders tried to win using exactly the precise amount of force necessary.]

And now we allowed a farcical trial in a corrupt legal system (that has not yet been overhauled) to condemn a man to a YouTubed death.
We are the most powerful nation on Earth.
We occupy their nation.
We couldn't Hollywood up something better than that?
We couldn't save face in what should have been a moment of primal triumph?

Ah, but the pardons never come from upstairs;
They're always a moment too late,
But it's entertainment; keep the crowd on their toes,
It's justice, we're safe.
It's not a hit, it's a holiday.
Shoo-bop-shoo-bop my baby

Oh and the triumph.

You can hear our good ol' Cultural Christian friends extolling the virtues of Hussein's death without the slightest trace of hipster irony.
Sanctity of Life, and Judging Not being selective (naturally).

I have not been violently opposed to capital punishment. Though I have long objected on pragmatic grounds (Capital Punishment agnosticism - I don't Know, and neither do you)
I sure am headed that way though. I felt ill on Saturday knowing that the scripted response was to be grateful for Der Vaterland's taking care of me. For bringing Justice.

Why here in the Still Shiny 2007 can't we aspire to something more?
Does his dying (maybe) 10 years ahead of his time compensate the Iraqi people for 25 years of oppression?
Does it bring back the 149 villagers he was convicted for killing?

Who receives any lasting benefit from the pollution of killing another human being, no matter how evil?

No one.

Not a single person is safer today than they were on Friday.
And the State has killed another human.

Maybe that's what we need to play the same game to Win.
We can run away with the Bloodiest Nation in history award.

It's a holiday for hanging, yeah
It's a holiday for hanging, yeah
It's a holiday for hanging, yeah
It's a holiday for hanging, yeah

I'm a holiday for hanging,
I'm a holiday for hanging,
I'm a holiday yeah
I'm a holiday for hanging,

It's a holiday for hanging, yeah.

                                                       - It's a Hit - Rilo Kiley

EDITED To add: Now over at Vox with music.

Dec. 5th, 2005

Alex Ross

The First Christmas of my Fourth Family.

This journal has never been all that personal, and even less so as I haven't really written anything truly personal in just shy of forever.
So those of you who have come on board recently have no shot of knowing my family history, and even the long timers among you (and some of you have been here nearly four years) can have easily missed it in some elliptical backwood of my thought process.

I lived only briefly in any sort of existence with my biological nuclear family. My mother was too young (and her father was dying) and my father between the drugs, alcohol, jail time and chronic undermaturity wasn't much help. They gave it a go but they weren't really cut out for coupledom.  As it turns out my mother was a very good mother, and the Stewarts are better people for her being in their lives.

And so after three years the sun rose, and the sun set, and such was my first family.

My father, being the manipulative human that he was, 'reformed' after leaving prison. He manipulated my mother into giving him a second chance (crashed and burned), and then manipulated her into trusting him with his own son. Given enough rope, he hung us. I was spirited away to live with him in Massachussetts. Given his habits I was not the easiest plot he'd ever hatched, and I was dispatched when he "couldn't deal with me anymore" (quote from my Nana) to live with my Nana in her trailer in Salem NH. Between that trailer and her former home in Methuen MA I would spend the next five years with my paternal family. They rock. A better group of aunts and uncles one could never ask for. As the family orphan I was included in their vacations and their parties, and I was every bit the little prince.

My father being my father he is he managed to wreck that for me too. In my eighth year (his 38th) he decided to rather spectacularly end it all, and "take the little shit with him" (quote from the police report of the contents of notes my father had left for himself). He didn't get me, and, being my father, didn't manage to get himself. But it was decided that the family needed to make it harder for him to get me if he should try again in the future. The Great Council of 1983 convened, and all of my aunts, uncles, Nana's and biological mothers hashed out what would be best for me. With the wisdom of the ages I was granted to the least likely of them all.

And the sun rose and set, and thus ended my second family.

I was sent to live with my Crazy Uncle and his freshly minted wife (only two years out of both college and the ceremony) who were expecting their first child in four months. Not the aunts and uncles who had been princing me for the last five years... but a new family entirely. And they were singularly the best thing that could have ever happened. No longer was a mid afternoon dessert served to me with my cartoons. No longer could I order whatever dinner I wanted. And for some strange reason they expected me, at EIGHT, to dress myself every day. Down right draconian.

This is the family that I am referring to when I say family.
And I grew both taller and wider, and they let me go to college.
They let me go to college for theatre.
In the course of pursuing that degree I stage managed a show called Glass Menagerie during which I worked with a girl.
A girl I had met before, but not really known.
Through a wide array of emotions and adventures I grew up to be me, and she grew up to be coryphella, and we managed to not hate each other for two consecutive minutes, so we decided to commit the rest of our lives to one another.

And the sun rose, and the sun set, and so passed my third family.

Every Christmas we trek home through the 3000 miles between San Francisco and New Hampshire, and we would spend Christmas with our Other families. But not this year. A variety of circumstances made the decision easier, but the time had come. We needed to spend Christmas with our family. Our poor under played-with cat and ourselves. There needed to be a beginning.

And so this Christmas is the first in my thirty years that I will not spend with one of my first three families, and the first in 22 years that I haven't spent with my third family, the family that chose me.

This Christmas I spend with the family that I chose.

The pictures that follow are of our first Christmas tree, beautifully decorated, and if you look closely, you might just see a hummingbird that never did break on the Glass Menagerie.

Pictures FollowCollapse )

Feb. 13th, 2003

Alex Ross

(no subject)

one word: Life

two words: renewed endlessly

three words: Filtered words, Thoughts

five words: Recycled, Reused, Refined, Reimagined, Reincarnate.

ten words: The feeling of a hundred voices pounding on your walls.

twenty five words: Aching to blend them all in a way that will befit the gravity of conducting an orchestra of the dead. The Glorious Harmony of Souls.

fifty words: Longing to feel the thrumming in my veins. The vibrations of every ancestor who contributed to the rivers and lakes in my body. Those hundreds of men and women who sculpted the landscape of me from their own hopes and dreams, fears and lusts. A being distilled, rather than diluted.

seventyfivewords: I skulk here in my mediocrity, a young dragon waiting for the ink in my veins to explode into flame. Violent and hot. Dangerous and unavoidable. Searing friend and enemy. Leaving virulent wounds that resolve into scars, reminding both forever that I existed. That the combustion of me had effect. Skin. Psyche. Soul. A flare in the night, casting nuclear shadows on their now. Refined blood of my forebears screaming release at finally being heard.

onehundredwords: History waits for the Howls, and records them breathlessly. Rapt in admiration for the warmth that spreads from the immolation. (Moloch, Moloch, Moloch). Frozen Generation rushing from fire to fire, inured to the waste as they try to catch the spark. Mysteries consumed in growth life love. Our voices silenced to make rent. Explosion waiting as we distill our own descendants.

Skulking. Drifting. Alone in our darkness. In our chill.

Postponing what we feel boiling inside us, fearful of mess, frightened of the us it might mean we are.
Passing our heat down to others who might be less afraid.

Alex Ross

January 2007




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