Tonight I’ma hit you off with some examples of holiday class. I’m a professor at a university in Manhattan, and today, class was a class act. Teacher and students all holding it down for a session of old skool learning. The “you think you know till you find out there’s more” kinda learning. The “everyone here has something to teach” kinda learning. And on this threshold, deap sea dive occasion, tip toes curling around the verge of jumping headlong into another chosen family holiday season, figured I’d take some time to surround me and you with *class.*
November 19, 2007
First up on Class Acts: the New York Times for going there this Sunday…
There is something so yum about glancing across the front page of the Sunday New York Times and seeing the primary picture (above) add color, thick icing on oven warm cake, to an investigative article which takes a critical look at President Bush’s homeboy stance with Pakistan’s president, General Pervez Musharraf. Wait, wait, wait. Rewind.
Did you just write the words “critical look at President Bush” in the same sentence as “New York Times.”
Why yes, yes I did.
The article, Bush Failed to See Musharraf’s Faults, Critics Contend, took aim at the “Bush-Mush” relationship, saying Bush backed him too soon, and that “Busharraf,” as some in his home country derisively call him, not only sold out to Bush, but was a user on top of it all. Hard to cull sympathies here, Bush can’t chose his friends right, Bush has a hard time giving up on those who would stab him in the back, but who can’t relate to this, and how fascinating that the democracy-dictatorship divide should come down to this intimate look at interpersonal relationships between two human beings with power.
The article is a class act in an era of loud protests and a silent press corps. In examining the dynamic between Bush and Musharraf, the article steps in right on time with a nod to the thin line between democracy and dictatorship, and a big shot out, however inadvertent, to history. It seems that Bush Jr. and Sr. gotta bad case of making friends with any enemy willing to do their bidding. And by now we know that U.S. presidents’ most armed and zealous in their spread of “democracy,” forge dangerous alliances with violent dictators (Norriega, Bin Laden, Pinochet) for decades, that is, until those same dictators start making decisions without consulting their Washington based pimp. What do we do with this knowledge? Remember.
Kudos to author Sheryl Stolberg and the NYT for taking the reigns on a nationwide narrative that deserves revisiting and rethinking.
Second up on Class Acts: Doris Lessing, for winning the 2008 Nobel Prize for literature so…uniquely…
The picture says a lot, but the video says far more:
Both of these pieces depict Doris Lessing and her down home, for real for real, reaction to winning the Nobel Prize. You know, the Nobel Prize, the same prize that inflates people all big like floats in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Her way reminds me that it is possible to be gracious and gruff.
Third and last up for Class Act: David Sides, for showing us, not telling us, that solidarity mourning can happen and it happens so sweet through the arts…
David and his Riverside, CA posse put out this You Tube video for Kanye, currently grieving the tragic passing away of his moms. Check it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpI6VNvRTII&NR=1
Got the chills watching it, as much for the heart behind it as the fluid mastery of the artist himself, sometimes upright and sometimes grand. Special shot out here to Mary and Patty and the whole fam of them who are grieving the loss of a son, a nephew, a brother, a friend, a young street soldier to gun violence. I dedicate this last class act to her and her family, solidarity, love ain’t no rarity, I’m sending y’all my love.
Stay tuned for more of “All the News That’s Fit to Flip,” from yours truly, NaXaL.