four years later (wtf do we do now?)
Go read "Taking Stock of the Forever War", the fascinating cover story of today's New York Times Magazine. It's a lengthy & in-depth article written by Mark Danner, professor of journalism at Cal-Berkeley / Bard College, regular contributor to both the New York Review of Books & The New Yorker & author of Torture & Truth: America, Abu Ghraib, & the War on Terror, along with many other books on human rights & American foreign policy. Four years after the horrors in NYC & elsewhere, it offers a different perspective & an alternative narrative to the events since that bizarre Tuesday morning & IMO is a must-read, especially today (via Huff Post).
Four years ago, I rolled out of bed late after having seen a marathon Project Logic show at the ill-fated Wetlands & walked out to see my roommate Joe Blink & his gal (at the time) Carrie Treeful watching the carnage on tv. I was stunned & awestruck, of course (and not because Joe had failed to wake me up), though I recall reacting more to the extraordinary scale of the attack than to the fact that the US had witnessed terrorism on its own soil. I don't remember if I watched both towers fall or just the second, but it was truly unbelieveable. As the day went on, a number of people came over to our tiny Williamsburg apartment, as our satellite cable gave us access to all the news channels, and we watched the surrounding buildings collapse & the rescue efforts continue. I wouldn't return to Manhattan for several days, but we could see the giant cloud of smoke & dust hovering over the southern end of the island - a tangible signal showing us it was real.
On that day back in 2001, I watched George W. Bush announce that we were going to get "the folks that did this" & began to grow very worried about how my country was going to react. Despite my modest knowledge of history or world politics, I wondered aloud about how I expected this President to send out conventional troops to battle an unconvential foe, that he would need to do something showy & big to convince Americans that action was being taken, and how doing so would be a gigantic error. I knew then that that attempting to fight a "war on terror" (though I don't recall if that phrase had been used yet) in such a cold war mindset would be foolish, and that true, effective justice would only be had through quiet, unimpressive means. Deep cover intelligence & special forces work - the kind of stuff the public wouldn't / shouldn't know about - seemed more likely to do the job against enemies that lacked a battlefield to meet them on or a government to negotiate with, while large military operations would merely stoke the flames of a volitile region & create more terrorism. Why, oh why couldn't I have been dead wrong, as-per-usual?
Talk about the wrong people in power at the wrong place at the wrong time. As the recent, tragic bungling of relief / rescue efforts in the wake of Katrina demonstrates, the President & his cronies that have hijacked the Republican party & our federal government are, hateful ideology aside, incompetent from top to bottom. Has BushCo appointed anybody that hasn't completely blown it, and in ridiculous fashion? And this guy is going to select the next two Supreme Court justices? These people just can't pick a winner & it's terrifying. I didn't see of today's ironically sterlized, DOD-sponsored, so-called Freedom Walk, but its existence is embarrassing enough.
MP3 K-OTIX vs Kanye - "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People"
MP3 TV on the Radio - "Dry Drunk Emperor"
While these Bush / Katrina-related tracks are nothing new, as Boing Boing picked up on the Kanye remix last week & it was picked up by Soul Sides and just about every other blog out there, I figured I'd do the same in case somebody managed to miss out on them. Since its initial posting on FWMJ, the response has been substantially positive to The Legendary K.O.'s (aka the Houston TX-based K-OTIX crew) impressive reworking of "Goldigger", the latest single off Kanye West's acclaimed new album Late Registration. The striking new lyrics take on the role of people caught up in the disaster, a refreshingly point-of-view admist possibly less nuanced "Bush-bashing" used by other artists, as K-OTIX's Micah Nickerson explains:
I had really wanted to write about this in the first-person, as someone stuck in New Orleans and left by this administration to basically fend for myself, but was having trouble putting the emotions I felt into words. When I heard Kanye during the benefit, the rest as they say was history.
Matt Yglesias discusses the track in relation to other political songs in last few years, such as Sleater-Kinney's "Combat Rock" (from back in 2002), Metric's "Succexy" (off their 2003 debut LP) & the Decemberists' "Sixteen Military Wives" (watch the music video). Yglesias thinks Bush is more callous IRT to class issues, though Digby suggests that race may be playing a larger role now as Bush attempts to shore up support among his base, falling back upon the old divisive-yet-reliable Southern strategy. So perhaps Kanye & the Legendary K.O. may have a point after all (via Atrios).
The TV on the Radio track comes from the band's recording sessions for their follow-up to last year's Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes LP, and has been posted as a "gift" to express "their thoughts & feelings regarding Hurricane Katrina" by their label, Touch & Go records:
we ( tvotr ) were back in the studio thinking and feeling again and made this song for all our everybody... in the absence of a true leader we must not forget that we are still together.... hearts are sick ... minds must change ... it is our hope that this song inspires, comforts, fosters courage, and reminds us... this darkness cannot last if we work together. let us help each other... heal each other .... look after one another ... the human heart is our new capitol.... this song is for you.... us..... we.... them... it is free. pass it on.
TO THOSE AFFECTED BY HURRICANE KATRINA : NEW YORK CITY'S HEART IS WITH YOU... STAY STRONG ! WE LOVE YOU.
It's a bit of a rough mix, but it does the trick nonetheless. Thanks guys.
Once again, regular programming should resume shortly. Patience.
Meme via Teaching The Indie Kids To Dance Again via Last Plane To Jakarta.
[Despite being dated 9/11/05, this post was unfortunately delayed, as I got cockblocked out of using the lone computer at work last nite to finish it.]