Hello to all, especially my longtime readers/followers in Canada, Russia, Brazil, the Seychelles, UK, China, and of course France.
As each new year approaches and each year end fades, we as a global people often consider watershed pop culture events that have changed our perceptions. Musician scholar and pop culture critic William Banefield states, "Popular culture allows us to see so many meaningful elements, fixtures, and symbols of our culture. This is the means by which our identities are concretized in many ways."1
Through the lens of this quote, I must say: 2018 has been a very disturbingly interesting year.
Hurricanes in the United States: https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/accuweather-predicts-that-florences-death-toll-may-total-600-when-including-6-month-tail-period-after-storm/70006207
A 7.5 earthquake in Indonesia today, Friday September 28th: https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/breaking-75-magnitude-earthquake-rattles-indonesia-promoting-tsunami-warning/70006199 ,
We now have weather called a "medicane" in Greece:
Our planet, Earth, a symbol of our identity as humans is shifting and shaking us to our core, causing us to re-evaluate much of our central traditions and values. Our home, Earth, is not necessarily cooperating with those who would try to harness her for selfish gain. She now seemingly more than ever before is making us pause to reflect on our role as her steward.
Holiday themed programming has began to shimmer its media designed warm, fuzzy, cheerful glow into our global public eye.
Although increasing buying frenzy propels a consumer driven attitude towards the approaching holiday season after September is beginning to push an ever growing mountain of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas commercials overflowing with merchandise, it is important to consider the "groanings" of our Earth, to stop consumer frenzy purchases before the madness enchants us, to appreciate family and friends.
This pre-season time is also traditionally one in which to consider those who are grieving, starving, lonely, bullied, poor, working poor, and homeless. It is also a time to reflect on the filthy rich who lead vacuous lives of episodic high adventures that bury an abyss of pain and regret. to alter a phrase by a previous mentor, Bruce Keitel, "That which seems, is often hidden by the seams, of the symbolic meaningless seme wealth."2
As a young man yelled out on a chilly evening a few years ago while being arrested by San Diego Trolley Transit police officers, "Why am I being handcuffed and treated this way? Am I not also a child of God? I am also a child of God! Both officers of the law and perpetrators seem locked in a deadly uptempo Topsy-Turvy dance.
I wasn't sure what the young man had done to provoke the overly-aggressive response. But, it made me pause and think. Experiencing someone taken down so physically is different than late evening channel surfing.
Talking and interacting with refugees from war whose artistry provides comfort against tragic memories is different than reading about them online.I experienced this during a lengthy interview with the refugee rapper Hot Dog several years ago.
This was reinforced for me during my brief interaction through a translator and during my interview with the Matrida Umoja band: https://matridaumoja.com/
Life experiences of new friends who just want to talk are illuminating as we share our transitions and crises.
This is the time to reflect, before seasonal pop culture materialism grabs our attention.
Who are we as a global people? Will we embrace these next few months with meaningful "goodwill towards all?"
The "traditional" season is almost here,
1.William C. Banefield, "Popular Culture in Non-Theory: Seeing Ourselves, Revealing Ourselves, Knowing Ourselves," Black Notes: Essays of a Musician Writing in a Post- Album Age (Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.2004), 62.
2. Bruce Keitel was a mentor professor. He trained several Summer Bridge student instructors at San Diego State University in the 1990s and early 2000s in ways to engage critical thinking pedagogy active teaching praxis.