Various Things

Posted on December 16, 2010

8


I’ve never understood the act of “reading” my written work. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy listening to people read their work, especially if they’ve got talent in that regard. Since I don’t have that talent, I generally feel that I’m actually warning people away from my writing that would normally have enjoyed it as text before they heard me butcher it as spoken word. That being said, someone (and that someone is the versatile and talented Jennifer Chien) not only thought that one of my pieces was worth reading, but still thought that after hearing me read it.

That reading of my non-fiction narrative piece “Where Meat Comes From” (originally published as “The Knife’s Pull” in Meatpaper), will be broadcast at 7pm on Friday on KPFA, 94.1 FM. You can listen here then online, or hear it later.

One last thing about KPFA. That venerable public radio station has been around here forever. They have some great shows like Free Speech Radio and Voices of the Middle East and North Africa. Unfortunately, funding for such things is as deep in the crapper as everything else in this country.  The entire staff of Free Speech Radio were given pink slips last week. They literally have about two weeks to save the show, so think about sending them some cash.

Along those lines, Ilan Pape, the”revisionist” Israeli historian was on Voices last night, giving a rare, superbly informed and passionate and welcome glimpse of the invisible Israeli left. Its worth listening to.

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The Democratic Party will be pushing its DREAM act legislation heavily this week via phone bank, or so they tell me in their email communiques. Please don’t support this heinous legislation. Even if it lets a few thousand undocumented kids get into college, the effect on our military and militarism is just too high a price to pay. Tell them to go back to the drawing board on this one, and to stop trying to solve America’s problems by invading and destroying weaker nations.

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Glenn Greenwald’s had some excellent coverage of Bradley Manning’s incarceration lately. Its easy to forget about Manning in all the more interesting discussion about Julian Assange and Wikileaks, and the intrigue of the leaked diplomatic cables. But Manning’s bravery in leaking these documents shouldn’t be forgotten, and the conditions of his incarceration are an outrage.

Today Greenwald critiques the current meme going around that Assange will be prosecuted as an accomplice to Manning. Pliant propaganda devices in the Government-Blogotronic-Industrial Complex now argue that Assange is guilty of treason for seeking out Manning’s leak, rather than simply sitting around with a thumb in some orifice waiting for an institutional leaker to phone up.

Its an utterly absurd idea that seeks to isolate Assange from the long history of journalism in the public interest, that has for decades, contrary to this mendacity, sought out leakers and their leaks. Here’s an excerpt from the auto-biography of Katherine Graham, the former publisher of the Washington Post, concerning her vigorous pursuit of the Pentagon Papers from Daniel Ellsberg, even after the federal government had successfully argued in court that their dissemination was illegal:

Ben Bradlee [WP Excec Editor] anguished over being scooped. He had worked so hard to build up the paper…Now the Times had landed this big one on us, and Ben, mortified but unbowed, set to work to try to get the [Pentagon] Papers for the post…

Our editors and reporters had been trying desperately to get their hands on the Papers. Ben Bagdikian, the national editor, had guessed Daniel Ellsberg was the source…and he had been frantically calling Ellsberg…Bagdikian spoke to Ellsberg, who said he would give him the papers that night.

Katherine Graham, Personal History, pg. 446-447…

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I went to school to get a Bachelor’s late in life, and its been a long slog, through two years of community college, through lung surgery, several moves, lots of poverty and the static paranoia throughout the last three or so years that it would all be for naught. On my way to my last final, I was convinced that I would get hit by a truck or get arrested for something completely ridiculous and quotidian (which has become a theme in my life lately). Well, its all over now, I have a degree, a level of acceptance and recognition that I’ve dreamed of for two decades. For some reason, however, after all that emotional investment, worry and work, this scene from The Candidate keeps coming to mind:

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