The Commoner’s Speech

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2011 by Gypsy Scholar

After I read the promo for NPR’s Morning Edition’s at the end of my program, I listened at 3 a.m. Monday to its report on the Academy Awards (which promised to highlight “The high points and … the low points of the Academy Awards”). Yes, I heard the “high points”–the clips from the acceptances speeches for Best Actor (Colin Firth) and Best Screenplay (David Seidler). And “low point” must have been the host, one of my favorite actors, James Franco–the Italian-American actor who has impersonated Allen Ginsberg and who is a part-time grad-student studying the Romantic poets–, impersonating Marilyn Monroe!

But what I didn’t hear was conspicuous for its absence–the the acceptance speech from the winner of the Best Documentary, Inside Job. I listened again from 4 – 6 a.m. Not a word. I even went to NPR’s Morning Edition website, searching for what might have been excluded from the news broadcast. Nothing.

Now, you may ask why I think it a newsworthy story and why its absence on NPR is conspicuous. I would respond by asking: Do you remember Michael Moore’s acceptance speech for Best Documentary, Bowling for Columbine, at the 2003 Academy Awards? He courageously took the time to blast Bush and his war. Here’s the news byline: “Back in 2003, Michael Moore strode upon the Oscar stage to accept his award for Bowling For Columbine with his fellow nominees and one intention: to make his voice heard by the Oscar audience about the injustices he saw in America.” This was front-page stuff. So the reason I find NPR’s silence on Inside Job odd is that the filmmaker, Charles Ferguson, pulled a michael moore:

“Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud not a single financial executive has gone to jail–and that’s wrong!”

I must admit that I was rooting for Josh Fox’s Gasland, the documentary about the oil and gas industry’s “fracking” technique, which implicated Halliburton in contaminating people’s water with hundreds of chemicals that make this deadly technique work. (Halliburton–now where have I heard about that company before? Gee, weren’t they, around 2003, literally making a killing off exclusive government contracts for the Iraq war–and guilty of faulty work that electrocuted soldiers in their showers? And wasn’t it the same Dick Cheney company that was found responsible for the faulty well-drilling set up that led to the BP oil spill disaster?)

But I’ll take Inside Job as well. (To NPR’s credit, I did find, while searching for a story on Ferguson’e acceptance speech, a pre-award piece on Gasland: “Sparks Fly Over Gasland Drilling Documentary.” Yet, no NPR story on the fact of the oil and gas industry’s putting pressure on the Academy to drop their nomination.) Fortunately, our community station also broadcasts Democracy Now, which did highlight Ferguson’s acceptance speech.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s salutary that we got to hear a clip from David Seidler’s acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay, The King’s Speech, on NPR: “And I except this on behalf of all the stutters throughout the world. We have a voice, we have been heard, thanks to you, the Academy.” Yes, it’s good that another handicapped special-needs demographic gets this kind of national attention and recognition for their plight. That said, I also think there’s another demographic of financially handicapped Americans who need help–the middle class and the working and non-working poor . (And I submit that if economic things keep going the way the super-rich, corporate elites want them to go, the American middle class will probably be shrunk to the numbers of the linguistically challenged Americans!)

I want to ask my listeners: Aren’t we in need of some recognition for our plight? Thus, while I think that it’s worthwhile to have the recognition for the Little King That Could (on behalf of the stutter’s of the world), I also think that we commoners need some kind of boost through Academy Awards exposure. Thus, I would have liked to have seen and heard Charles Ferguson’s michael moore moment front and center all over the news. We all, the common people, need some kind of voice in the media–before we are reduced to a stutter in incoherent shock in the face of the super-rich succeeding in turning our “democracy” into their corporatocracy.

Isn’t it about time to hear about what the economically handicapped American population is saying as they raise their voices about the financial coup d’etat that was pulled off in 2009–the commoner’s speech? Can I get a witness?

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GS’s Beltane/May Day Midsummer Night’s Dream

Posted in Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 by Gypsy Scholar

From latest musical essay on May Day and and Beltane:

Thus hawthorns were known as the “Trysting Trees” of the faeries, which frequently grew on ancient burial mounds or at crossroads and other thresholds to the Otherworld.  At this time, then, villagers could witness the awesome spectacle of the Faerie Ride through the  forest. (There have been many eyewitness accounts recorded of the Faerie Ride—sometimes known as the “Phantoms of the Night.”) In Celtic countries on Beltane, food was always set aside for the faery folk, as the veil between the two worlds became thin at this seasonal turning point. Legend claims that if you sat beneath a hawthorn tree on Beltane Eve, you may catch a glimpse of the Faerie Queen (Elfin Queen, or Queen of Elfen or Elphame), riding by on her white steed. But you are advised not to look her in the eye or she may spirit you away to her Otherworld realm. This is what is reported to have happened to the legendary Thomas the Rhymer. A famous ballad from Scotland tells the story of the poet who sat by a hawthorn known as the Eildon Tree and met the Queen of Faeries (or Elfland Queen). He was abducted off to the Otherworld. However, this May-time close encounter bestowed upon him the gift of seership, which gave him the new name of “True Thomas.”

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I don’t know if anyone listening caught it, but the reason that I emphasized the term close encounter was my way of playfully suggesting a correspondence between what earlier ages recognized as encounters and abductions with beings from another world–like the Faerie–and today’s encounters with ETs–like the Greys. However, I should clarify that I don’t necessarily “believe” that people today are literally encountering Greys anymore than I “believe” that ancient people were literally encountering beings called Faeries. (By the way, the analogy only makes sense if we get over the notion–al la Disney–that Faeries are these cute little elfin creatures who all look like Tinkerbell or Puck. No, the ancient Celts saw these creatures as large and terrifying. The analogy also holds because experts in both phenomena refer to these types of paranormal creatures–Faeries and ETs–as “folkloric” and “extradimensional”.) However, I should caution that this doesn’t make me a hardcore skeptic (of the Skeptic Magazine elk) of the ET phenomenon. Notice I said literally. In other words, I don’t take the accounts of sightings and/or abductions at face value. (And since I confess that I have never “seen” either ET’s or Faeries, I guess that that makes me agnostic on the phenomenon.)  Again, I’m not an outright denier of the ET phenomenon because I do think that people who are reporting encounters are seeing something; I just don’t necessarily take it to translate as what one would expect it to be from a half-century of media images about spacecraft and spacemen. I guess my take on it is that the ET experience is an archetype. That means, simply put, it is a trans-historical phenomenon, whose specific content is empty, and which every age translates into its own cosmological paradigm–in ancient times, these encounters where aerial beings like faeries (or angels and demons); in our technological age, they are the advanced hardware of spaceships and automatons. (If it is objected that ufologists, like Erich Von Daniken, point to spacecraft/spaceman-looking type objects on ancient Sumerian seals and panels, I would say that this is a projection of our notions of an other-worldly, or other-dimensional phenomenon onto the past.)

So, while I consider myself, cosmologically speaking, an animist (in the fine Celtic tradition), and thus open to “spirits” (such as the faerie) existing on other planes of existence, I don’t literally “believe” in what a mentor of mine used to jokingly refer to as “pro bono proctologists from outer space”!

“Out of this wood do not desire to go: Thou shalt remain here, whe’r thou wilt or no.” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare.)

Happy May,

Gypsy Scholar

Welcome from the GYPSY SCHOLAR

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2009 by Gypsy Scholar

radio_host3The Gypsy Scholar welcomes listeners to my new blog.  It is set up in order to dialogue with my listeners about what they hear on the program, the TOWER Of SONG.

Airs  every Monday 12  – 2  a. m. on KUSP — 88.9 FM or kusp.org.  Website: revradiotowerofsong.org.

The Gypsy Scholar hopes his listeners will communicate their thoughts and feelings about the program, so it will be more interactive.