Saturday, May 28, 2011
The following video is brought to us by the Guardian UK:
Jamie Byng, publisher of Canongate Books, was a friend of Gil Scott-Heron for more than 20 years. During 2010 they recorded this interview in London where the rapper-poet talked about his life and work, interspersed with intimate performances of his music. A fuller version of the film is to be released later in 2011
Juan Cole @ Informed Comment had this to say:
Ironically, his obituary will not be televised because television news became just what he predicted.(Because:)
They get together
Whenever they think it necessary
They are turning our brothers and sisters into mercenaries
They are turning parts of the planet into a cemetery...
"Better Work For Peace, ’cause peace ain’t comin’ this way."
A note from Razer Raygun: I spent a decade and a half doing audio reinforcement for live performances in Central California, and one of the first gigs I ever worked was in 1982/3 for KUSP Santa Cruz community radio doing sound and a live broadcast of Gil Scott-Heron from Soledad prison. Like BB King, Gil Scott-Heron was a tireless worker for social justice and DID NOT forget his brothers imprisoned in America’s gulags.
Rest in Peace Gil Scott-Heron, you WILL be remembered.
A very well-written summation of Gil Sott-Heron's life and times from the Telegraph UK.
Gil Scott-Heron, who died on May 27 aged 62, was a composer, musician, poet and author whose writings and recordings provided a vivid, and often stinging, commentary on social injustice and the black American experience; his declamatory singing style, allied to the overtly political content of his work, made him widely recognised as one of the inspirational figures of rap music.
Scott-Heron first came to attention with his 1970 recording The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, an attack on the mindless and anaesthetising effects of the mass media and a call to arms to the black community: “You will not be able to stay home, brother./You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out./You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,/Skip out for beer during commercials,/Because the revolution will not be televised.”
Written when Scott Heron was just 18, it first appeared in the form of a spoken-word recitation, his impassioned incantation accompanied only by congas and bongo drums, on his debut album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox.
The following year Scott-Heron recorded the song for a second time, this time with a full band, for his album Pieces of a Man, and as the B-side to the single Home Is Where The Hatred Is.
The song went on to be covered, sampled and referenced in innumerable recordings, the title entering the lexicon of contemporary phraseology. In 2010 it was named as one of the top 20 political songs by the New Statesman.
Scott-Heron’s music reflected something of the militancy and self-assertiveness of such theorists and polemicists as Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. Over the course of some 20 albums he produced a series of sardonic and biting commentaries on ghetto life and racial injustice, including Whitey’s On The Moon, Home Is Where The Hatred Is, The Bottle (a lamentation about people squandering their lives on liquor, set to an irresistibly seductive Latin beat) and the anti-apartheid anthem Johannesburg.
But anger was only colour in Scott-Heron’s music palette; songs such as Must Be Something and It’s Your World were moving affirmations of faith in the power of the human spirit...
[In full, a succinct but detailed biography]
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Wednesday May 11 2011
In the wake of the closing of Borders Bookshop the SCPD has increased their overt pressure on the musicians and craftsmen native to, and traveling through Santa Cruz California.
These itinerant craftspeople have been known to purvey their wares within the boundaries of the city's arcane laws regarding sales, vending, noise ordinances with no known or stated standards, trespassing laws that encompass half the available sidewalk space as is the case in front of Borders Books, and the police are on scene this morning to specifically show the citizens of Santa Cruz how welcome they are, and to prove-by-their-presence that generally, hanging out and enjoying the day on Pacific avenue, a PUBLIC STREET, is a significant enough event to warrant(sic) 'observation'.
Pacific Avenue, in the intervening years since the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, has become an ugly blight... A failed corporate business-inhabited 'Shopping Mall', with the only revenue producing businesses apparently being the bars frequented on weekends by UCSC students, wherein Santa Cruz increases it's bloated police budget, but NOT it's city treasury, enforcing laws related to a host of universally problematic alcohol related crimes.
This is RazerRaygun saying "Take It Easy... But TAKE IT!
This news report has been cross-posted to Santa Cruz IndyMedia
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Tragedies Of War, Mothers Day Edition: 6 Years After Watching US Soldiers Kill Her Parents, 11 Year Old 'Tal Afar Girl' Samar Hassan Still Traumatized
Alternate version, OnIslam.netMOSUL, Iraq — Until the past week, Samar Hassan had never glimpsed the photograph of her that millions had seen, never knew it had become one of the most famous images of the Iraq war....
[The photo for Samar, then 5 years old, showed her screaming and splattered in blood, mostly of her parents,]
"Samar, almost 12-year-old now, lives the outskirts of Mosul in a two-story house with four other families, mostly relatives.
Losing her brother Rakan, who died when an insurgent attack badly damaged the house, she currently lives with her older sister, Intisar, and her husband, an unemployed former police officer.
Intisar’s husband, Nathir Bashir Ali, says that the family could not pass the accident psychological trauma, in a country with a failing health system.
“The pains of war have been visited on thousands of Iraqis, but even here Samar’s story stands apart. Three years after her parents were killed, her brother Rakan died when an insurgent attack badly damaged the house where she lives now. Rakan had been seriously wounded in the shooting that killed their parents, and he was sent to Boston for treatment after Mr. Hondros’s photos were published. An American aid worker, Marla Ruzicka, who helped arrange for Rakan’s treatment, was herself later killed in a car bomb in Baghdad.
Intisar’s husband, Nathir Bashir Ali, suspects his house was bombed by insurgents as retribution for sending Rakan to the United States. “When Rakan came back from America, everyone thought I was a spy,” he said.
Samar left school last year because she was too shy and not doing well, Mr. Ali said, although Samar said she would like to return and hoped to be a doctor when she grew up. She leaves the house only on infrequent family excursions and has two friends who visit to play with dolls and chat. She spends her days cleaning, listening to music on her purple MP3 player and watching episodes of her favorite television show, the Turkish soap opera “Forbidden Love,” about lovers named Mohanad and Samar.
“I am Samar,” she said, wearing a long red dress and sitting on the couch next to Mr. Ali. Two of her siblings, also in the car when their parents were killed, sat nearby.
“I’ve taken them many times to the hospital, where they get pills” for emotional problems, Mr. Ali said. “All of them take pills.”
He says Samar’s 8-year-old brother, Muhammad, talks to himself when he is alone.
“When we go out and see a family, they get sad,” he said.
Sometimes he finds the children in a room together, crying.
“When they remember the accident, it’s like they just died.”
Under George W. Bush’s administration, the US invaded Iraq in 2003 to oust the Saddam Hussein regime on claims of possessing weapons of mass destruction, a claim never proved true.
Since the 2003 US invasion, Iraq has plunged into abyss with overlapping civil conflicts that have left tens of thousands of civilians dead... [Much more @ the New York Times]
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."Preamble to the "Mother's Day Proclamation" by Julia Ward Howe.
One of the early calls to celebrate Mother's Day in the United States.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Inspired By Uprisings In North Africa And The Middle East Revolution Spreads To America - Rap News 7
[9 minutes 58 seconds, Pop Out Player?]
From the New York Daily News... One step removed from the National Enquirer, or Razer's local paper:
"Small plots of marijuana found growing on bin Laden compound perimeter"
"Reporters at Bin Laden's million-dollar hideout discovered small plots of marijuana growing in the deserted lots on the compound's perimeter.
The dope plants were planted on three sides of the compound..."
(OMFG Duuuude it's a 'Must Read')
Speaking of drugs, Terrorists, et al you REALLY NEED TO KNOW about...
"The 5 most ridiculous moments in terrorist history"
"Many past terrorists, even some of the most notorious ones, have been complete morons." ~~Anonymous, former DoD counterintelligence analystAnonymous, at Tremble The Devil:
It’s generally a bad idea to leave the keys to your getaway car inside of the carbomb you’ve just rigged with fireworks, three propane tanks, a couple 5-gallon jugs of gasoline, and 100 pounds of explosive fertilizer.
Makes it kind of hard to get home.
Wait wait, make that non-explosive fertilizer actually – because you’re too stupid to bother googling what kinds of fertilizer actually blow up. Plus, what makes it even harder to get home is also locking your house keys inside of the same carbomb. And it’s probably an ever worse idea to release a YouTube video claiming responsibility for the attack before it even happens… especially when your attack hinges on a bunch of fireworks left in a bucket igniting a bunch of explosive material that’s not even exposed to the air.
But that was the modus operandi for Faisal Shahzad, just one in a long line of really, really stupid terrorists.
For reasons that’ll soon grow obvious, after the successful execution of an FBI sting against a group of ex-cons who’d converted to radical Islam in prison last summer, one of the media’s favorite quotes has been that at least one of the men is “intellectually challenged.”
This is said like it somehow makes him incapable of carrying out a terrorist plot. Like all past terrorists have been clever. Sinister, devious fellows who used their sharp wits and bright minds to think their way past our defenses. Like much of terrorism, this is an illusion. Many past terrorists, even some of the most notorious ones, have been complete morons.
It was only two years ago that two terrorists were thwarted from bombing an airline terminal when their Jeep Cherokee got stuck beneath the awning of the Glasgow International Airport.
One of the duo fled from the Jeep in flames, and was forever immortalized when a Scottish cabby kicked him so hard in the crotch that the heroic cabby broke his own foot, leaving us with the absolutely epic headline:
I Kicked a Burning Terrorist So Hard in Balls That I Tore a Tendon In My Foot
And in fact so many terrorists have been so ridiculously stupid that the failure of this most recent plot doesn’t even break into the top five.
The media’s also keyed in on the fact that the ringleader in last year’s NYC plot smoked up during the day of their foiled attack, and was still so high he told the judge he only “sort of” understood what was going on around him. Which brings us to our first moment:
5. The formation of the Assassin sect
If it wasn’t for weed, we might still have Ghandi, Abe Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, and JFK with us today.
You might even say that their deaths never would have happened if some old dead Muslims hadn’t been baked out of their minds.
Nowadays when you get high you’re pretty much only a threat to someone’s life if they happen to be a Dorito, but back in the day getting higher than a giraffe’s ass was an inescapable prerequisite for joining what’s become the world’s most notorious fraternity of killers.
And the term “fraternity” isn’t used loosely here, as about any SAE pledge-master would be put to shame by the initiation ceremony of the original Assassins – but more about that shortly.
The term Assassin actually loosely translates to “pot-head.” Labeled Hashshasheen in their native Arabic, literally “those who smoke that dank-ass Mediterranian hash,” the Crusaders who first encountered them decided this was a bit too much of a mouthful so over the years the term was anglicized to the more familiar “assassin.” As it turns out, smoking the sticky-icky was an integral part of becoming an Assassin.
Led by the Old Man of the Mountain, who you can think of as some kind of terrible killer Arabic pot-smoking Santa Claus, the original Assassins were a Shiite sect headquartered in the Persian crags where they’d plot their attacks, swooping down into cities and royal courts to stab the hell out of whoever was opposing their will. After, of course, smoking copious amounts of dope. In this way the Assassins managed to consolidate an empire that was both vast and, presumably, very hazy.
To become an Assassin you first had to go through a trial that is fairly unique in history. A prospective initiate had to smoke hash until he blacked out. Seriously. The first step to becoming an assassin was to literally smoke yourself retarded.
Afterwards you’d awaken in a lush garden, filled with fountains and the most beautiful damsels in all the land, who would feed him every type of delicious morsel and subject you to sexual pleasures he might not even had known were possible. Odds are, to become an assassin you’d have to be cool with having a finger stuck somewhere uncomfortable. Possibly the back of a Volkswagen.
As the day went on you were given more and more pleasures, and more and more hash, until you passed out from the dope once again. A finger may still have been somewhere uncomfortable. When you woke up, the whole process began again, until finally an Assassin explains that what you’ve just experienced was but a tiny glimpse into the Paradise that awaited you if you would die for Allah as an Assassin.
Once you accepted their offer you would learn all the ways of the dagger (while high), how to mix poisons (while high), become a master of disguises (also while high), and how to pass for a member of any religion or culture in the region (while, of course, high). On your mission you must be focused on the kill alone, not your own escape, or where to find some munchies.
Assassins carried out hundreds of bleary-eyed killings as they spread their empire from Persia across the rest of the Middle East, and faded from notoriety only after their supply of marijuana finally ran dry.
But the best part…
Actually, they never ran out of dope, they were all brutally slaughtered by Genghis Khan’s Golden Horde in 1255.
One of them, probably while giggling and making Big Lebowski references, felt it necessary to assassinate one of Genghis’s sons because he wouldn’t let his Muslim sect – big shocker coming – pray as much as they wanted to.
So Genghis Khan sent word out that there was going to be a census, and every member of the Assassin sect made their way to the nearest city so that they’d be counted and get their piece of the pie, or pot-brownie or whatever.
But instead of being counted, the assembled Assassins were brutally slaughtered where they stood by the Golden Horde’s cavalry. The few who escaped were eventually tracked down and sent to the widow of Khan’s brother, so that she could torture them to death one-by-one in whatever manner she wished.
So tap a little out for your most infamous forbearers the next time you pack a fatty in front of season two of The Chappelle Show (Cf.).
Shockingly, the history of terrorism only gets more absurd in modern times...Read About all five stupid terrorist tricks @ Tremble The Devil, the story of terrorism as Jesus Christ, James Bond, and Osama bin Ladin would tell it (and be very afraid).
Visitors To Auntie Imperial's News & Blog Review
Thanks For Stopping By