Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Last Will and Testament of John Brown

The Last Will and Testament of John Brown Starts with Olives and a Movie...

I'm on the sofa. It's around midnight. I'm chewing on another Manzanilla stuffed olive. The windows are cracked to welcome the onset of spring. An intermittent cool breeze trickles by me. I'm numb.

My head is fully functional. My eyes are working. They're focused intently on the television. My ears are fine. I can hear everything. The olive tastes good. I'm thinking. Actually, I'm absorbing. Behind the absorption, in the very back of my head--right where noggin meets neck--a realization is percolating.

I'm warm. My body is sleeping. My forearms are heavy. I have to pause to consider whether another olive is worth the excruciating effort required to lift it from plate to mouth. My feet are gone. My legs are gone. Numb and warm and fuzzy.

I'm watching The New World and I'm watching it at just the right time. Sometimes, things happen a certain way and that way is the only way those things could ever really work. So it is with me, the couch, a numb body and The New World. It's all perfect timing. For whatever reason, everything about The New World is working. For whatever reason, I am working as if my sole reason for existing is to watch the movie.

I watch. And up from the back of my head comes a thought. It bubbles up from the neck into the forefront of my consciousness. Like a water cooler. Blurp.

This movie is doing something different. It's telling the same old John Smith/Pocahontas story, but it's not allowing me my usual historical smugness. Sure, I know how the story goes, at least in general terms. Yes, I know how it all ends. I remember key plot points from grade school Pilgrim projects scattered over several Novembers. It's different this time.

In The New World, the principle characters don't know what's about to happen. They don't know how the story ends. The tale isn't history book material. It's happening in their present. The movie doesn't slap your face with reminders about what will eventually happen. Nothing about it feigns omniscience. Everything is new. It's new. It's happening. It's done effectively enough to put the viewer into that newness.

I'm living in that moment with John Smith. I'm impressed with the tall grass. I admire the sunset. I feel fear and curiosity about the naturals. Later, I'm hanging with Pocohantas. I'm impressed and intimidated by London. I'm human and prop. It's all new.

I'm not one of those diehard Terrance Malick Fans. I liked Days of Heaven. I thought Thin Red Line was better than most movies, but not as good as those who trumpeted it as an artistic masterpiece pretended. Badlands? I haven't seen it.

I mention my perspective on Malick because discussions of his movies often devolve into film partisanship. It's Malickites vs. Anti-Malickites and the movie gets lost in the kerfluffle. I'm not interested in that discussion, though.

I'm not willing to claim that The New World is a cinematic masterpiece. It undoubtedly has flaws. It probably could be better. At that time, however, it was perfect. On my couch with a tired body, an engaged mind, and a saucer of olives, The New World was absolute genius. It captivated.

You could take a million different messages from the movie. It could be a tree hugger's parable. It could be a PC reflection on the noble savage. It could be a backlash humanization of the European conquest of the Americas. It could be a love story. It could be history with a great score and a good cast.

My message was in the newness of America to the English, the newness of England to Pocohantas and, after the credits fell off my screen, the way we act in our current moment, completely unable to ascertain the eventual consequences of our actions. We might have guesses. We may make predictions. In the end, though, we utilize our understanding of history and the present, mix it together with the way we feel and the threat in our face, and do something. History judges. It's always new.

The New World is, no matter what you think about its narrative, beautiful. Though some decry the imagery as static and over-lingereing, no one can credibly argue that Malick fails to find and feature natural beauty in a very strong way. It is a pretty movie and the natural onslaught eventually wears at the viewer's urban wall, connecting him or her with the land again.

John Brown Hearts George Harrison...

I was born in 1970. As a result, I was never required to pick a favorite Beatle. If someone made me pick today, I'd throw my support behind George Harrison for a variety of reasons that aren't directly related to this tale.

George Harrison wrote a few amazing songs. He committed a few nearly unforgiveable musical sins in the 80s.

Harrison, sick and tired of the business end of Beatlemania and the tyranny of superstardom took a day off from "work" in 1969. He went over to Eric Clapton's house and walked through the garden with an acoustic guitar in his hands. After a gloomy English winter, it was nice to see the sun again. By the end of his walkabout, he wrote Here Comes the Sun.

Here Comes the Sun almost seems like a throwaway song. The lyrics are simple. Maybe simple-minded. It's nothing more than a big thumbs up to sunshine and bright backed by a catchy melody. A very catchy melody. The Beatles recorded it (sans Lennon) and it sold well in 1969. Maybe that's because a cute tune will sell no matter what. Maybe it's because, even in the most tumultuous of times, people need to remember that sunshine and bright are good things. Here Comes the Sun also offers a certain reassurance we all need to hear, even if it is pat and simple. "It's all right".

I was driving to work a few days after watching The New World. I was pointed eastbound, waiting at a stop light on an overpass. The sun was directly in front of me. It wasn't a nuisance, though, as it was shaded by hundreds of tiny clouds that were racing on wind in front of it. It looked like one of those high-speed stop-frame movie tricks. The sky was moving at a frenetic pace while we waited through stoplights.

I was sick of AM talk radio word-porn. I was so tired of hearing about Jeremiah Wright that I avoided even the socially acceptable liberalism of NPR, just in case. I tapped the "scan" button on the radio a few mintues before I hit the stop light.

The light flipped green, my foot reflexively moved from brake to accellerator and I took one last look at the sun and the white rocket-fast clouds. The radio paused on a "classic rock" station and I recognized the "du dn du du". I stopped it there. Here Comes the Sun.

I was northbound on a boulevard, passing through an established residential neighborhood that, over time, has found itself shoehorned between two pods of commerce. Trees on both sides of the road. No matter how long I typed, no matter how long a Terrance Malick camera lingered on those trees, you couldn't understand spring Kansas trees in the wind without seeing them yourself at that moment. The were new and green and in exactly the right place at the right time.

Butterflies...

Before Here Comes the Sun and before The New World, there were butterflies, a grumpy father named John Brown and Revolution.

Work is work. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I feel little more than disdain toward it. When I'm on the treadmill too long, my mood suffers. I doubt I'm unusual in that sense.

Lately, I've filled a few slow work hours and a bit of at-home downtime with this blog. It isn't the centerpiece of my life, but it has been a regular diversion. I watch the news. I listen to the news. I read other blogs. I think. I comment. I write. The more I think, watch listen, read and write the more generally frustrated I become. The blog seems like a good idea. A nice way to vent while advocating for things I hold dear.

At the same time, it makes me angry. Angry at those with power. Angry at those seeking power. Angry at liars, cheaters, hacks, fools and generally silly people who do fantastically stupid things. If tracking the day's events and commenting upon them is a vent, it's merely the vent on a self-constructed mental pressure cooker.

Usually, my bad moods last a day. Maybe two. This time, I was working on day six of a generally lousy disposition. I was about to take another dip from the well of rage. The laptop was in front of me and I was ready to start answering comments on some of the posts here. I wanted a little peace, a little quiet and about ten uninterrupted minutes to set the record straight for a few of the asshats who left snarky remarks and to backslap a few of the geniuses who shared my sentiments. I didn't get it.

Instead, I got a visit from my four year-old daughter who wanted to play outside. Even with a bad mood, I'm a decent father. The weather was nice and a trip outside would spare the Brown family from cartoons. I did what decent fathers do. I went outside.

Ball throwing and ball kicking were suspended upon the discovery of a big yellow butterfly. There are few things four year-old girls love as much as butterflies. We'd chase. It would land. We'd approach it would fly away. The process repeated itself, punctuated by our laughter, her very real amazement, and my mock surprise. In time, my phony excitement gave way to a real interest, too.

That's when the child had her idea. The butterfly landed on grass, right? That must mean that the butterfly likes grass. So, perhaps we could get a piece of grass and "trick" the butterfly into resting upon it. We could then pick up the butterfly and study it more closely.

This was an idea doomed to fail. There was no way a jumpy four year-old could ever sneak up on an equally jumpy butterfly with a piece of grass. Even if the kid managed to contain her excitement long enough to get close, no sane butterfly would opt to grab the offering. Even if the butterfly did grab the grass, it would fly away the second the child lifted the blade. Doomed.

I sugarcoated my assessment. I told her it probably wouldn't work, but she could try. She found a relatively long blade of grass and suddenly transitioned from spastic post-toddler into a butterfly tricking stealth machine. To my utter amazement, her plan worked. 100% success.

Within moments, she held the grass in one hand while lightly petting its wing with the index finger of her other hand. Eventually, the butterfly flew away. We laughed and rolled in the grass, drunk on her success. We went to find him again, but he was gone.

A few hours later, the Brown family decided to go out for supper. The child was excited to walk to the car. She thought we might again see her pet butterfly. I knew better, of course. The odds of seeing the same bug again were astronomical. As we made our way to the car, however, I did see it. The same yellow butterfly with the same black patterned wings. It was resting on a bush. The girl walked right up to the butterfly, this time without grass, and carefully petted him. She said "goodbye, see you later" and he flew away.

I missed my blogging time chasing butterflies. The next night, I was preparing to add to Prepare Yourselves for a Settlement. The girl was sitting on the floor. She had been playing with Tinker Toys. At that moment, though, she was just staring toward the ceiling. I quizzed her. She was thinking about butterflies. We talked, laughed and considered butterflies. Ten minutes later I was shaving broken crayons with a potato peeler. We made "stained glass" butterflies with wax paper, an iron and Crayola fragments.

Those butterflies are now hanging from a homemade mobile in her bedroom, which brings us back to the Beatles. I stood on a wooden chair, and carefully tacked the butterfly mobile to the ceiling while the child directed my efforts and my wife made a photographic record of our triumph. I was whistling.

You Say You Want a Revolution?

The child asked me why I was whistling. I told her it was because I was happy. I recognized that my mood had improved somewhere between butterfly trickery and butterfly craftiness. "What's that song then?"

I was whistling a reassuring line from a Beatles song. It wasn't the "It's all right" of Here Comes the Sun. It was the "You know it's gonna be all right" of Revolution, which takes us back to my car several days before. The timeline blurs when you're piecing things together.

I was driving home from work on the freeway, intentionally avoiding my usual audio diet of newsy talk and bullshittery, wishing that the Royals were playing so I had something decent to pass the time. I'd rather listen to Denny Matthews call a loser right now than to some local Michael Savage wannabe's masturbation over concocted scandal. The radio searched for a station and it found the Beatles.

I've always loved Revolution. Musically, it's a real rock 'n' roll assault from a band who isn't known for its power chords or screaming. It's also a melodic earworm that's hard to shake. It's lyrically interesting and has a unique backstory.

It started as a ballad and became fast and distorted only after Lennon realized he was the only one who "heard a single" in the slow version. The lyrics have bobbed between being counted "in" or "out" "when you talk about destruction". Lennon says he had mixed sentiments, but the rest of the lyrics belie that explanation. The "in" version is almost self-contradictory, leading me to believe John Lennon was having a little fun with the "in/out" switch.

Revolution doesn't glorify the titular concept. It's critical of stereotypical viewpoints of revolutionary activity. It mocks those who'd attempt to garner favor by waving posters of Mao. It's a song about the need to revolt internally against the things we despise instead of taking our rage to the streets. It's not about tearing down institutions, it's about changing minds.

The most interesting part about Revolution is its end. It's a reminder to those who are operating on hate and raging against the machine that, when all is said and done, "it's gonna be all right".

Eventually, the sun will come. It's all right. I don't know how many people have found a dovetailing between Revolution and Here Comes the Sun. It's obvious to me. The two meet in the same place. Things can be shitty. Things can be dreary. Eventually, if you're willing to roll with it, everything turns out all right.

The real John Brown was an extremely religious man. A fanatic, perhaps. I stole his name for this blog, but I didn't snag his fervor. I'm not religious. I have my opinions. I have my perspectives. I'm not a Flying Spaghetti Monster smart-ass. I'm not a Richard Dawkins atheist. If you asked me if I planned on meeting Jesus after my death, however, I'd probably chuckle at the very notion.

Nonetheless, I've seen longshots come in before. One of my early childhood memories is a Jim Colborn no-hitter. I've watched Kansas lose to Bucknell and Butler in the NCAA tourney. I've seen a butterfly land on a blade of grass wielded from a usually hyperkinetic four year-old. I don't plan on having coffee with Christ, but anything is possible.

Although I'm not a churchgoing man, I've gone to a few churches. A few years ago, the Brown family visited a Unitarian church. I liked a lot of what I heard. In fact, I often wonder why we haven't become regulars there. The pastor is a Harvard-educated guy from Massachusetts. He blogs. Every once in awhile, I look him up and read a sermon.

Thom Belote recently delivered a sermon on emotional renewal. He begins the sermon by sharing his shock in learning that Sirius radio was offering a 24-hour station dedicated to the sexual activity of Elliot Spitzer. He references everything from The Matrix to popular liberal bumper stickers to Jeremiah Wright to MLK's admonition that we should live in "divine discontent".

Belote's point, in my estimation, is that there is a place of emotional renewal that lurks somewhere between our rages and happily sticking our heads in the sand. There's a place for revolution based on our understanding of the world and our knowledge of history but it doesn't make sense to pursue those objectives with "minds that hate" any more than it pays to pretend like everything is perfect when it isn't. In the end, it's about finding personal points of conversion and reaching a state of healthy emotional balance.

John Brown Returns to Politics, if only for a Moment...

This blog has always been more political than personal. Now might be a good time to return to that political terrain, as tired as it's becoming.

I've noticed a few things lately. They are things I've probably known for a long time. Perhaps they slowly slid down the back of my head and have only now gurgled to the front again. Pat Buchanon will never say anything that really matters to me. He will not make me think. James Carville will never say anything meaningful, either. He will cover old territory. There is nothing new on television news and very little new in the blogosphere. Hucksters will slime. The power-hungry will reach. Attention whores will slut themselves up for an audience. Mock outrage will blare daily and condescension will share time with rage and hate. It's not new. It's old.

Watching it and responding to it every day is akin to choosing to build your home at the intersection of Masochism Road and Sisyphus Lane. It guarantees repetition of malignant exposures and repulsive behaviors. If I'm right (and I probably am) that Hillary Clinton's campaign causes cancer of the political soul, why would I voluntarily choose to expose myself to her creepy germs day after day? Why would I do that when it's so obvious that I'm already beginning to display symptoms of the disorder?

The New World reminded me that we confront the new from the now, armed only with our knowledge of the past to guide us. We don't know the end of the story. The most noble efforts will be damned by history. Our most evil schemes may be acclaimed. We don't know how the story ends. We can make our educated guesses. We have no choice but to try to do good. We can't know the results. Too much dogmatism, too much certainty, too much carrying pictures of Chairman Mao... They don't make a lot of sense to me.

The upside is that "it's all right". In the end, things tend to work out. Sometimes they don't work out for the best. Sometimes they do. Most of survive.

There are things worth fighting for. I mean really fighting for. John Brown (the real one) believed that. He raged against the slavery machine with all of his Jesus-stuffed heart. Thousands upon thousands of heroes known and unknown have stood in front of tanks, delivered speeches, left comfort for the sake of righteousness and displayed courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

I wonder, though, is our current political state worth that blind rage, that fervor, that dedication? Does it make sense--good sense--to get pissed off at whatever crazy and stupid thing Bill O'Reilly says? Is it nourishing to hate Michelle Malkin? Is there any reason whatsoever to even care in the slightest about Ann Coulter?

I can't come up with a good reason to push the boulder of "Hillary Clinton is a fucking Monster and I can't stand her" back up the mountain. It's not worth the energy. It's not worth the brainpower. It certainly isn't worth missing butterfly chases or craft projects. It's old, it's tired, and it's remarkably ugly. I won't claim I'm ashamed of anything I've written. I certainly won't recant my positions. I will, however, abandon this.

This is the last will and testament of John Brown, blogger. I'm going to spend my blogging time fishing, chasing butterflies, watching baseball, marveling at sunsets and finding emotional renewal in balance. I'm going to remember that we don't have monopolies on truth, we aren't omniscient and, that "everything is gonna be all right". That's my plan. If fate taps my shoulder with a cause that really resonates with me--one that compels me to heroism--I'll be there.

In the meantime, I'm going to try to live a little bit more like the concept I found so appealing about the Obama campaign before both sides started to get traditionally ugly. There was this idea that we might be able to be smart enough to examine the now and to study history in a way that would lead us toward a productive approach to the future. It was hope and change fueled by the idea of serious consideration. I liked it. Like so many, including some at the very core of the Obama campaign, I abandoned it when things got dirty.

We tend to retreat toward old learned behaviors when we're confronted with an attack. It's hard not to be defensive and to then scheme an equally painful counter-attack. It's also stupid and boring. I might be smarter than Pat Buchanan. I might be closer to true than he is. I'm just yelling along with him for sport, though. It's like forcing oneself to fart just to add to the stench in the room.

It's destructive. "And when you talk about destruction, don't you know that you can count me out?"

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right
It's all right


57 comments:

  1. Wow. That was hands-down the best thing I've read in weeks. I'm with you, I just can't be arsed anymore to contemplate what HRC and her army of hope-eating undead are going to attempt next. I seem to be going through exactly the same process that you are (complete with a 5-year-old son who wonders why I'm always in a bad mood), and I've got another kid due in 2 months - and, while it would be nice to look back in 20 years and tell my baby-to-be 'you were born the year when we finally fixed things', i guess no matter what happens, there's still a lot to enjoy in this fucked-up world -even as we opt to continue hurtling toward extinction by corporate capitalism...

    I could attempt to construct a second, tortured metaphor vis a vis Sidney Ponson outdueling Zack Greinke today, but instead I'll just say: Thanks for all the great reading, and all the best -

    steve h.

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  2. Nice reflection, dude.

    Yeah, after a break of sunlight, it's gotten a little dark again, outside.

    It's so fucked up, dude.

    You spend all this time in school and in things like speech and debate and you spend all this time growing up thinking, "Surely all this learning and thinking and such, surely it means something. Surely people in the world use this stuff to solve real problems and its not all just mental masturbation."

    And in your heart, you know it does mean something.

    But then you get out in the real world and you find shit like this election where everyone seems to act like it doesn't mean anything. That all that matters is how much I can manipulate people from one political moment to the next to keep me around to keep doing the same goddamn thing.

    I don't know about you, dude, but I had an awful lot of really decent, interesting, thought-provoking, productive, problem-solving, brainstorming, contemplative conversations in college - in classes, in small-groups discussions, in little activist get-togethers, in debate rounds, listening to and giving speeches, in apartments, with roommates and friends - where, behind all the bullshit (and there was plenty of that, too, obviously) there was a genuine interest and I always thought and hoped on the part of everyone else in those discussions to have honest discussions meant to address issues that we all faced.

    I know that politics is complicated. And I don't want to artificially reduce it. We have differences. People have different ways of looking at things. They have different proposals to solving problems. They have different outlooks and lenses for understanding problems.

    But it seems to me that we should be able to mature and grown-up enough to have those conversations honestly, respectfully, openly and in a way that is has some respect for the consciences of everyone involved that is not just one long power-frenzied effort to Get My Way, which is what democratic politics has been reduced to, at least in America, but I suspect in other liberal democracies around the world, as well, today.

    Personally, I'm more interested in the honest conversations.

    But I'm with you. I'd rather have the honest moments with people if the bigger discussion is always going to fall into the muck and the bullshit as if they really mean more than they do.

    It's as if politics is a game for the snarky rather than something that offers genuine leadership or honest engagement. And the latter is demeaned as if to expect it is naive or unknowing in The Ways Of Those Who Know Better.

    And then the whole process just devolves into this mess of self-righteous bullshit where people just want to give up on the whole enterprise because nothing good seems to come of it anyway.

    Funny enough, John, I think that's basically what led the American civil war. The states and the partisans for and against slavery had been duking it out, politically, on this question, for so long, they had made so many compromises, they had been making moves to outlaw it, blocking those moves, looking for every effort that would finally remove this blight from the nation's conscience, that they finally just said, "Fuck it. Let's rumble."

    And so they did.

    I guess I'm one of those naive ones who thinks that maybe even on this most fundamental questions of freedom - I mean how much more fundamental a question of freedom can you have than whether or not you are free to live without chains because of the color of your skin? - that perhaps we could have still talked and thunk ourselves out of it.

    600,000 Americans died in that war. If memory serves me, it's the bloodiest war in American history.

    James McPherson, the preeminent American Civil War historian suggests in a What If? essay I read that he wrote that perhaps France could have intervened to help find a diplomatic resolution. The political implication, of course, as counterfactual as it sounds to American children who grew up learning about the Civil War finally ridding America of slavery, either following the British lead and finally enacting a law and some kind of compromise that outlawed and phased out slavery or letting it wither on the vine and respecting states' rights, as Lord Acton rooted for as he led William Gladstone to liberalize the British Empire.

    But America didn't take that route. We took a route that we still learn in every grade school text was the "right" path - because America took it, of course, and because the evil of slavery was finally abolished, as well, of course - which really was a pretty dark moment of power overwhelming reason.

    Instead of arriving at a political solution that involved the least amount of tragedy and bloodshed, we took the route of maximum bloodshed and show of force for a good cause. A good cause that would ultimately cost the lives of 600,000 people.

    It's a choice that haunts us, by my lights. It's a choice that says that though we loathe the power of imperialists to wage world wars in the name of civilization or whatever rationalization that imperial power took, in the moment, we are certain that our own wars for the right cause - even if other less deadly options might have been available - is good enough for us.

    And so goes the rationalization for any on-going political warfare in the United States over any number of issues where partisans have strong feelings.

    Abortion, conservatives reason, is modern day slavery. Except it is worse than slavery. It is the murder of innocent babies. And if civil war is appropriate the end slavery, what can be the appropriate response to the murder of vulnerable innocents?

    Wealth inequities, liberals reason, is the evil of corporate and monied interests that cannot be brought to heel except by revolution or at least the threat thereof to make any other option sound reasonable.

    The political process becomes (and has always been, really) a game of manipulation by parties who rationalize that if war is the ultimate show of power, then every other policy is moderate, by comparison. And thus radicalism, partisanship, political gamesmanship, pressuring, leveraging, isolation, and every millionth form of political manipulation is used in lieu of honest engagement and discussion where the consciences of people involved is taken seriously, even when we have serious disagreements.

    And there are these moments, like the Presidential race seems to have given way to, here, recently, where the dark forces of righteousness seem to overwhelm more reasonable and decent people and discussion. I'm not even voting for Obama, at this point, and I still sense the dreaded feeling of "politics as usual" - meaning, bullshit overwhelms something more honest - that every Obama supporter is sensing as Clinton, McCain, the press, everyone pounds away at this guy with all the bullshit, personal attacks, guilt by association, and every other dark, ugly tactic that all of the people involved are all too smart to know better than to think are anything other than a big stinkin' pile of crap.

    And, like every other Obama supporter - because truth be told, I'm pretty sure I'll be as if not more upset than most Obama supporters if Clinton somehow weasels her way to a nomination - I'm just waiting for the world to settle, once again, for this cesspool of meaningless activity for so little purpose that we call a democratic process in America. We will once again settle for this dark, ugly, bullshit version of this process, all in the name of righteous cause that just doesn't have the patience or the time or the tolerance for honest discussion between honest enough people, if we'd all stop being such jackasses all the goddamn time.

    Universities expect more out of people. In fact, they fall short in a million ways that kind of wears on the nerves the more you know about them. They don't always get the better discussion. But they get it better. I know, because I sat in a million discussion classes or van rides or campus debates and I read a million books from a million and a half different perspectives, while I was there, and I learned an awful goddamn lot from a lot of different people offering honest perspectives and honest agreement, disagreement, discussion, brainstorming, etc.

    There's always war, others reason. Or demonizing and dominating your political opponents. Or the same old cycle of cynicism and apathy that power seems to engender.

    But goddamn it if something more honest and thoughtful doesn't always seem more real and everything else seem more bullshit by comparison.

    That's my thoughts about this same, goddamn stupid horseshit political spin cycle of bullshit overwhelming something more honest. The fate of the metaissue.

    I don't think we're down for the count on this one, John.

    I do sympathize with the need to have some breathing space from all this soul sickness.

    But I do hope I still get to hear what you have to think about everything, dude. Because it matters to me, more, to hear what you have to think and to learn from your reflections, and learn more about you, in the process - I didn't know you liked westerns; I don't think I ever would have called it had you not said something - than it does to know what fuckin' Robert Blowhack has to say about the Jeremiah Wright scandal, part 991.

    I need to go get something to eat, dude. I wish I had a beer. Maybe I'll pick some up on the way home.

    Maybe it's time for me to give politics a rest for a night, too.

    Tell the fam hi for me.

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  3. Mr. Brown we hardly knew yeh, and yet you tell the story of my life on your blog today. In 2004, I found that carrying water for John Kerry was becoming one of the heaviest goddammed things I'd ever tried to carry, and got pinned underneath the weight of it becuase putting it down meant the unthinkable would happen.

    Then I discovered somewhere in that process, that while fretting about how doomed our future was, that my constant grouchiness was dooming my present with my wife 5 and 4 year old daughters. So I let it go, and you know what, everything was alright. In fact, it was better than alright.

    I approached this election season with great skepticism about whether I should risk giving a shit, simply because of the hell of the last one and what it was like for those who are close to me.

    Then my wife bought Dreams From My Father, and she was on board. Every day, I was facing the repeated "come on in, the water is great" from my wife to get on board with Obama. I resisted as long as I could. I'd already completely lost faith in every candidate I'd ever had any hope in, why would he be any different. In fact, my strong dislike of Hillary has nothing to do with her race with Obama (although it has definitely confounded my feelings about her). It has everything to do with my looking to her for refuge from this god awful new president we had going into office in 2001. I looked to Hillary Clinton as our last line of defense to keep the good times alive. And then I watched and waited for her to do absolutely nothing but hedge, and hedge, and hedge. Then came her presidential candidacy with all of these promises of bringing back leadership. I was never in favor of her candidacy, and my instincts about that continue to be vindicated on a daily basis.

    At any rate, something happened. Obama didn't dissapoint. He rose to the occasion, and grew. And so I slowly, reluctantly became a supporter with my wife. Now all I can say is that whether or not he is meant to be president, he is a gifted person who is meant to lead in one way or another, and I do believe he will contribute something important to our broken politics. You don't have to be president to do that, although it does help.

    All I can say "John" is that I've truly enjoyed your perspective and found it to be very refreshing, and definitely filling a vacuum where a lot of the same thoughts that I have would go.

    Thanks for participating, but thanks even more for remembering what is really important.

    Steve (harraser of the 'dickless' anon).

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  4. Thanks, brother.

    Peace.

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  5. Excellent post....most excellent.
    But Johnny, I hardly knew ya. You're a fine writer; smart witty funny and irreverent - just the way I like them. Your words will be missed, but, then again, I'd rather you give them to the four year old. Peace.

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  6. AWESOME post. I will miss your wit and wisdom. But sometimes it's healthier to walk away. I've done it myself before (though, like Michael Corleone, every time I thought I was out, they pulled me back IN). I think we could all use some more butterfly-chasing time. Thanks for the reminder.

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  7. Saying good bye forever? Or just so-long for now ...

    Thought-provoking (as usual). Hope you find some reason to come back and cybershare when the muse strikes you.

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  8. John, I'm going to miss reading your blog. Just do what I've done over the years. Take a break, start brand new and write about what you love.

    And let us know when you come back. Most of us do at some point. :)

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  9. Ah John...you are such an excellent writer and I hope that you will find it in yourself to step back in from time to time...
    I loved this post and I agree with you about the primary race. Ive been, for a long time, ignoring the primary and trying to focus on McCain. Of course, my kid is 14 now and I have all those years of butterflies and waxed paper pressed with irons (hopefully not at the same time)...and we all are feeling a certain dismay right now...the answer to which is to slow down if you're not someone who is hoping to make a living at this, and just post when it strikes you.,..and forget the sickness of the democrats; they must lose and they likely will....and its so unfortunate for our kids....but writing about this, and leaving a perspective for those kids is pretty important, considering how correct our history books are...
    So, try to consider the democrat thing a done deal and the work to be done a real portrait of McCain...
    losing your voice in this thing seems a little cruel.
    So, hopefully its just so long...
    and in the meantime, enjoy the butterflies and all the rest because you blink and they are sullen teens telling you to go and look at your blog or something;-)
    I remember saying to myself out loud to hang onto this feeling because the sweet smelling head and the warm little hands would soon be a memory, and before I could turn or think, it was gone...and I can hardly remember where all those fevers and throw-ups, zoos and airplanes, went...But I have the plastic detritus to prove it, and for some reason its my responsibility to sort it out for the tag sale, but then he gets part of the money...huh? Did I give birth to this young smelly thing?
    This is the part that makes me look forward to the grandchildren that he claims he will never have...never ever...so, don't...er...throw out the baby with the bathwater...your time will come again as these things circle round and need to come out somehow.

    I am keeping you in my reader in the hopes of hearing a word or two (and heaven knows, lately Ive been only publishing once or twice a week myself.)

    hang in...

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  10. ". It has everything to do with my looking to her for refuge from this god awful new president we had going into office in 2001. I looked to Hillary Clinton as our last line of defense to keep the good times."

    What a ridiculous statement. You "looked to" a freshmen senator to check the excesses of the Bush Administration? By that same token, you must hold Obama equally accountable for the second term of the Bush Administration? He was also brand new and shares more or less the same voting record of Clinton, such as voting "for" the Iraq War supplementals in 2005 and 2006."

    Oh, and this was an interesting comment. "I found that carrying water for John Kerry was becoming one of the heaviest goddammed things I'd ever tried to carry." You're absolutely right, he was a weak candidate, and the fact that soooo many people have to carry soooo much water for Obama, well, what does that say?."

    Oh, and dickless, my predictions are still on for tonight. Clinton wins Indiana and finishes very strong in North Carolina.

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  11. Hey anon,

    I hope you dick is still attached to it's body after tonight. Not only did Hillary barely win in Indiana, but she lost by 14 in North Carolina and WESLEY CLARK REPORTEDLY CALLED HER TONIGHT TO GET HER TO DROP OUT.

    IT'S OVER. DEAL WITH IT.

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  12. OK, that's enough now, Mr. John Brown. You can come back now...

    Jeez man, we could be, like, having all sorts of fun with Taylor and her crew (man the level of cognitive dissonance over there today - pathological! (And delicious)

    Well, OK. Enjoy the quiet life. I've enjoyed your musings here for a couple of months, and appreciate that.

    Thanks!

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  13. Bummer, I just discovered you a couple of weeks ago it's a shame but I understand not wanting to sully yourself dealing with this muck. Enjoy your child and your fishing...and the sun.

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  14. Dear Anon,

    you are now yesterday's news; old and out of style, but since it was so much fun, I'll indulge one last time.

    Yes it may sound crazy, but I looked to an exiting First Lady from one of the most popular presidencies in modern history who had decisively won a spot in the US Senate and began that career with more political capital than most Senator's earn in an entire career to provide some fucking leadership. I later learned that is not the way of the Democrats who live in the DC bubble. They are accommodating capitulators who like to keep their powder dry for the next chance to make a big bang; an event which never takes place. John Kerry was the epitome of this disease, and Hillary Clinton outed herself as the new and improved antibiotic resistant superbug strain of this exact same disease.

    By her rationale, at that time as a freshman senator, she had 28 years of experience leading our country already, so the freshman senator excuse does not wash and is a classic example of you doing the kind of water carrying that will break your back. If she were half the fighter against Bush as she has been against Obama, well maybe there would be a little less torture, war, borrow spending, illegal wiretapping (the list is quite long). Only when competing with a Democrat, does the "fighter" in her emerge.

    Lastly, I never contended that Obama's Senate career has been anything more than lackluster. That puts him as an equal with the entire field of candidates (R or D)in this season. But as a candidate, he was the only one besides John Edwards who advocates that the status quo is the problem, not the solution.

    For that reason, I don't have to carry water for him, which makes him a very easy candidate to support.

    Now we must go our separate ways. You are a part of the past of this election season. Feel free to continue obsessing over the genitalia of Obama supporters here if you like, but I am shifting my focus to attacking Republicans, and you may have also noticed that this is not currently an active blog.

    Regarding your prediction, a reply can be found in the thread where you originally posted it. And I believe your prediction at that time was for 2 (count em 2) victory celebrations, not 1.

    Adieu my nameless friend.

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  15. Well, JB, we do what we like and sometimes what we have a tolerance for and sometimes what we absolutely have to do. Butterflies are cool, but so is expressing one's dissatisfaction and advocating for things.

    I don't find them mutually exclusive, I compartmentalize some things, some feed others.

    I'll go to a fun shoot in a week or so and in June, for my birthday, I'll splurge and go drag racing. Both activities require a calmness and focus unavailable if I obssess, so I'll make sure to post something to get that out of my system.

    You know how to find me and if you want to post something as a guest, I'll do that. You are a really talented writer, but blogging on a regualar basis becomes work - especially about time you start taking responsibility for keeping readers interested...

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  16. "Who is Taylor Marsh?" I stumbled on your site while trying to answer that nagging question, and found this post, which reminded me of my own review of The New World. I still can't decide if it was a good movie or merely a hack that pulled the right strings, but in the end, does it matter?

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  17. Britain loves "hess" tooJanuary 2, 2016 at 11:40 PM

    This is hilarious! More fun than LBP posting coded disfigured photoshopped pics of knuckles, beards, ears, hands, teeth. Only to discover GXD nailed Krist to the X and left.

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  18. Hess is Krist and/or GXD? Hamels the horse is the hammer and Obama the monkey is the nail (because everyone knows black males have enormous cocks. Very "Mandingo". Its ok, though. Would you rather be an XXmale like hess and have no dick? I think not!

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  19. I really need you, Hess...I am in love-January 9, 2016 at 1:00 AM

    I don't care-I'll take Hess anyway I can get Hess! I'd fuck its brains out!

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  20. I really need you,Hess...I am in love-January 9, 2016 at 2:11 AM

    Hess spelled with a capital. As in my number one Hole. Whether it be Christ or God, hell, I do not care. This is a Wahington resident. Every politician wants to fuck it.

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  21. Lets ban all Muslims.

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  22. Then you have to ban all Jews. Muslims got ISIS, etc. The good-looking Jewish people got the JDL & the United Snakes to turn tricks. Sorry.your dead wrong.

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  23. Artificial Sweetner-support capitalism-warm the planet upJanuary 16, 2016 at 9:49 PM

    Israel wants to become the next great super-power. The Palestinian freedom fighters are forever keeping the deadly Jews in check. Think of Mr.Ed having a "nice" frozen custard. Think of the motel closing the gate to the desk. No public restrooms. The ground hog refuses to watch the Super Bowl-claims they all cheat because the public demands it. Then s/he went on to tell me(tearfully) "lions lives matter".Told me E & P's cousin Cous Cous out in California killed a woman. Mentioned E & P's relative Cecil was a victim of US/Israeli terrorism. Strange. I secretly recorded everything s/he said-talking backwards, sounds identical to Stevie Nicks. I felt as if I was in a murky dream. Wake up. Wake up. You got to leave America...

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  24. Generation X vs Generation XXXJanuary 16, 2016 at 9:54 PM

    England, Canada for a modern democracy.

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  25. S/he was industrial-blonde and now hess hair is new wave amber (again)January 16, 2016 at 10:03 PM

    S/he insists global warming is political and not scientific.

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  26. Make your case as to why...January 17, 2016 at 2:33 AM

    You are not going to be in agreement with someone 100 percent of the time. Trump is best by far for the entire free world. He still can be swayed on certain issues.

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  27. No criminal justice system? Really? Not even 4 the elected?January 17, 2016 at 4:44 AM

    Even the score-killers should not be given a free pass.

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  28. Deal Cutting-life's a bitchJanuary 17, 2016 at 1:36 PM

    I am more interested in Davit's sweet labia and vulva-banging its brains out.

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  29. America is a 2-star motelJanuary 19, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    Deal cutter- your country has been reduced to a "state of mind". I admire Mr. Trump for calling out Bush, Inc. I do not agree with him on all of his policy proposals, but he will be the one to confront the nigger in The White House. Monkey needs a shoe up his ass. No-I take that back-he might actually enjoy it.

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  30. Bushes, blacks & jews= parasitesJanuary 19, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    The mind is a very powerful tool, btw.

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  31. Go to hell, grabbersJanuary 19, 2016 at 2:15 PM

    Yes. We despise them.

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  32. plain, generic-speakJanuary 19, 2016 at 2:25 PM

    Call Trump what you want. He's not a grabber. He created jobs, he negotiated legal deals. He did more than any of those running for "the office" put together. They don't even come close. I never thought of him as being perfect. Never did. Just a good, regular guy who did some pretty amazing things. Very few people on the planet even come close.

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  33. plain, generic-speakJanuary 19, 2016 at 2:28 PM

    I am sure those beautiful witches would agree ! We monitor this blog, too.

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  34. U can monitor anything your little heart desires...January 19, 2016 at 3:11 PM

    Music...a very powerful resource. Hey-DANGER-THE FLIRTS THE MONK CHUMOY ZOMBIE 150x Remember this? Danger, danger she's dangerous! The Flirts shouting names at their audience. They actually shouted "NIGGER". Mr.Obama, The Flirts shouted the N-word! Imagine that! Flirts were PA/Upstate NY/Ontario. Suddenly...1983.

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  35. sign on the dotted line...January 22, 2016 at 12:13 PM

    I actually like the amber look on hess (reddish brown). Now if only we can somehow get hess to respond. I know! I know! Let us discuss E&P. How "these lions" are on the forefront of the "lions lives matter" movement. If we continue to dive into DRP's past s/he is going to get weeerded out about it.. OK then. What about the scary snake between Ryan's legs? What about a hot sale on satanic satin sheets? NAU? What about affirmative action for more white players on U.S. basketball teams? What about Israel asking for even more money in aid? What about DRPy's friend-the bread squisher from Bucks County, PA, US (as in u suck. In Obama's case it would be: U suck ass). What about Mr. Ed taking a dump in the snow? What about just a couple of free speech freaks trying to get DRP to write us a letter so we can put it on the auction block ! You know us but you still won't bother with us.we went by your flat on David Bowie's birthday and left you a "Marks & Sparks" gift card. Your always telling people to sign on the dotted line,eh.

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  36. U have been silent for years - time to see the sunJanuary 22, 2016 at 12:16 PM

    You like groundhogs, beavers, hedgehogs, etc.

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  37. 80S FRESH CULT FOLLOWINGJanuary 22, 2016 at 1:14 PM

    Anglo-American democracy in America is now void.Time 2 replace it with NAU. Because each star on the American flag has been replaced with a Jewish one. There are so many other countless variables and details concerning DRP & the cult of DRPy. Think of "hess" fans as David Bowie's grand kids. We are Generation XXX. We're here. Its here. Its all around us. Its here. Its been here. Its here 2 stay.

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  38. The loaves of bread squished by the bread squisher were meant as some sort of "sacrifice".

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  39. Groundhogs, squished bread-and Mr. Ed? This is our universe? WOW! Astrological signs and all ! I see it now. Thanks, Fresh.

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  40. We love the 1980's, Davey DMX !!January 22, 2016 at 10:42 PM

    But I think the magic is over. S/he does not respond to any of our wishes-and pandering. Maybe if we talk about deadly jewish lobbyists s/he'll respond ? Should we type krazey 80's graffiti-style? See to shining sea? "One for the treble-Davey DMX".

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  41. Rejected by a rejectJanuary 22, 2016 at 11:08 PM

    They used super 8 footage for the Davey DMX video. They avoided using videotape for some reason. "Break Machine- Street Dance" video was also another historic milestone in pop culture hesstory. But I agree. I think when a frantic DRP called security to have us removed that was a clear sign. U can't alwaz get what u want. Glad 2 have met u, he-she bitch/dyke. S/he's a true h/it alright.

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  42. Lion in the east-and a lion in the westJanuary 23, 2016 at 2:25 PM

    All it took was a cardboard box for the breakers to change the world and start something that helped define pop culture.

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  43. place the "T" over the "O"January 24, 2016 at 3:00 AM

    DRPy-a new kind of Monica Lewinsky/cultural icon for the 21'st century & beyond. Ha!

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  44. No wonder it shuns. An "It person" on top of it- eeeewww!

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  45. On top of it-in terms of destiny, ; meant to be. But in terms of nature.-Its a bottom boy. Vaginas have no power. The dye has been cast. Its beyond control.You can shun all you want. Its out of the bottle. Right after Obama had sex with Cole Hamels he could not even look at the camera. His body language, remarks, everything. he might as well open a Bk or a Mcdonalds at his presidential library. Have yourselves an "AllDay" nigger breakfast while staring at pictures of his feet.

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  46. You have to say that SLOWLEE.

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  47. place the "T" over the "O"January 24, 2016 at 2:50 PM

    Brains have power-not everything is rooted in destiny. Its a mix of some sort.

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  48. I'm still trying to make the connection between groundhogs, squished bread and Mr.
    Ed.

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  49. Fashionista-the other "fashionistas" are not being very clear because its a code. HESS has followers-that's precisely the problem. Whether s/he wants them or not.You cannot insult the United States by wearing t -shirts that say "Uncle Sam is a Jew", or "Jewnited States of America". Mr. Ed t-shirt with the logo "Soup's On" written in German.Or remarks about McDonalds Allday "down low" breakfast. Outspoken critics of America's Superbowl; calling it a "sham" on their BTW secret web site. Naming U.S. leaders as "terrorists" who work with terrorists (2008 November). All of this bizarre Radical Right stuff. Derogatory remarks -stop it!

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  50. Its out of the bottleJanuary 29, 2016 at 9:22 PM

    You stop Generation XXX by not promoting Generation XXX.

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  51. they're mad as hellJanuary 29, 2016 at 10:42 PM

    I saw their secret site. The witches no longer watch SuperBowls anymore. It comes on late in the UK and they all have to go to work the next day. It was bitter in tone. I guess they cannot cast anymore spells because the games are fixed. Haha.

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  52. But I am sure plenty of their fans/disciples will be watching the greatest television event of the year.

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  53. GX 3.2/GXXX'ers/the magic or the music never dies/Fleetwood Mac=innfinity/new paths 2 discover 4 2day's teensJanuary 30, 2016 at 9:23 PM

    Its not that the witches don't respect the players.I'm sure they do. This is a matter of discussion when we have our mystical,annual groundhog day breakfast in Pittsburgh. They will be having lunch in London at the same time.

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  54. What's your sign ?January 30, 2016 at 9:40 PM

    We won't be discussing Jew-SA or Jew-S or Uncle Samuelstein or Mr. Obama (the monkey) being in love with a horse's ass. Yid/nigger/Jew-S terrorists are not even worth discussing anymore.We are not going to let them consume us. We live and enjoy our lives freely and we keep to ourselves. We are under the law and well within our constitutional rights. Misery is behind us. We're too busy. Look down, look up.

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  55. We would like to "think' DRPy & friends would be having lunch at the same time we are having breakfast.S/he did it before with another group. We are not a crazy cult.Because we feel Israel wants to become a super power and blacks want to destroy the world-based on the evidence-it is our opinion. We want to get in touch with Dave. That's it. No one else.We can't get ahold of hess. Too many followers & s/he's always surrounded. Its frustrating for alot of us. Never answers our letters we have sent to the PR firm. Nothing. We love you, Dave. We are not pandering, we are in alignment with BTW.

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