There is a scene in J.D. Salinger’s Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters where the enigmatic Seymour Glass suggests that, instead of delivering the Gettysburg Address, a more appropriate response to the death 50,000 people would have been if Lincoln walked to the podium, silently shook his fist, and sat back down.
Which pretty well sums up my feelings this morning after the Johannes Mehserle trial and the subsequent highjacking of an otherwise peaceful rally by anarchists.
I’ve got nothing else to say.
Just after the new year, Jerry Kolber contacted me to ask if I wanted to write a guest post over on the One City blog. I have deeply ambivalent feelings about this. I have ambivalent feelings about this because One City has been criticized by people whose opinions I deeply respect. So, part of me feels like a sell out. On the other hand, I have to respect the fact that the editors of that blog are reaching out to a ne’er-do-well such as myself which suggests that they’re willing to entertain alternative viewpoints, an idea I want to support.
I wrestled with the piece that I ended up submitting to Mr. Kolber. And I’m not 100% satisfied with it, truth be told. Part of me wanted to write a massive take-down critique of the whole thing, a snarky, sarcastic “everyone’s wrong but me” sort of post complaining about my usual irks (privilege, diversity, commercialism, the “Buddhism isn’t a religion” crap). But lately I’ve found myself feeling less irritable. Or, more to the point, I find myself tiring of complaining in those terms about issues that I’ve been complaining about for over six years in this space. If my readers really want to know why I think Buddhism is a religion, I’ve covered that territory. And I’m tired of being a critic for the sole purpose of being a critic. There are, at present, other bloggers out there who are better, wittier, and possibly hotter than me. Let them have that lime-light.
So, in the end, while I’m not 100% satisfied, with the piece, I’ve got to keep it in perspective and remember that it’s (a) only a blog piece and (b) does fulfill my primary aim, one that I doubt I’ll grow tired of any time too soon, i.e., reminding everyone that there really is diversity within the broader (American) Buddhist community, that this is a good and necessary thing, an idea that I’ll defend till I’m blue in the face.
But in the interest of space (I got the impression from Mr. Kolber that shorter was better) there was something I ultimately cut out of that piece that I really wanted to leave in. I cut it out because it was only tangentially related, not directly and obviously related, to my main point. And every attempt I made to make it more directly related seemed forced. And I loath (my own) forced writing. What I really wanted to include was the following: I love Oakland.
Some bloggers these days post daily (or weekly) digests of things they’re reading. You don’t want some bland, decontextualized list. You want commentary. You want to read my list of depressing (and hopeful) news stories from the Interwebs, circa this week, 2009. (Oh, and I hella love Oakland.)
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
We have a skylight in our bedroom, directly above my head. Last night, around a quarter to eleven, there appeared two helicopters, loud, and blinking lights into the darkened room. This morning, I found out why: the Oakland Police had corralled a good number of people to arrest them in front of the Paramount Theater, about six blocks from our house.
In case you hadn’t heard, in reaction to the shooting of an unarmed twenty-two-year-old father in BART station, local residents went from peaceful protest to violence yesterday.
Okay. I’ve got a few things to gripe about today and you’ll have to forgive me in advance if any of this seems thoroughly “un-Buddhist.” The why and hows of the following being, in point of fact, completely Buddhist will have be for some other rant. Here goes: Am I invisible? Did I forget to […]
Time is playing with me all sorts of funny. (You read that right. All sorts of funny.) I feel like the last few months have flown by, like I’ve not been able to keep up. It’s all going so fast. And then, this week, it feels like time. Is. Dragging. I can’t stand it. I have only one reasonable explanation for time’s sudden shift into neutral: the wedding is but a short sixteen days away. Since July 1st hit, the wedding has seemed nothing but Imminent (I’m getting married this month!) and I’m excited as hell. And when you’re waiting for something, and excited as hell, time stops.