time is was and what a time it was, it was
a time of innocence a time of confidences
long ago it must be, I have a photograph
preserve your memories they’re all that’s left you
Simon and Garfunkle, “Bookends Theme” (hover mouse HERE for groovy soundtrack to blog)
We live in a time when advocating violence is violent.
I used to advocate violence.
Back when the Left had the upper hand on threats and the Right were doing the bumping off, I got a FBI file, for the words that came out of my mouth. Today I’d probably be recruited to run for office under a red Tea Party banner. The powers that be coded me the Purple Haired Bomb Thrower. I even had my own stamp… like TOP SECRET, but it read PURPLE HAIRED BOMB THROWER, on each page of their file. Or so I’ve been informed. I’ve never actually seen that particular jacket* but my ex-old-man, the love of my life, a big time gangster– smuggler style– had access via his crooked DEA contacts who checked it out for him, the The Purple Haired Bomb Thrower was (is?) my very own — and remarkably, for them, original— code name.
Waylon (the ex-old-man) was just being prudent of course. After all he didn’t import 38 tons (per load) of hashish and pot for a couple of decades and remain alive and free, if not by not being prudent.
The Purple Haired Bomb Thrower.
At least that is what he told me, laughing his seductive no one can touch me laugh. He was relieved because I didn’t have a druggie– or informant– jacket. Just a political one, and those he found humorous and trite. Not to mention out-of-date by the time we met (again) in 1988.
There was some truth to that jacket name– there usually is– because as I said, I did advocate violence at the time. In fact I advocated assassination. (Like of Ronald McDonald if he had been corporal? …who else? was Rush Linbaugh around then? Sarah Palin?) But I digress.
A well placed assassination, it seemed to me, was a likely way– for the down and outers, like most students, certainly my group– to starkly alter the course of American History in one fell swoop… so to speak. There I go with that violent language again eh? vitriol–the word of the day.) However, the Milk/Moscone killings had occurred in San Francisco only a few years before and one of the few American members of our gang was close to Peter Plate who suffered the brunt of the Dan White riots. (humm no wonder the cops were on us? how myopic we are in the throws. of battle, eh?)
Besides that connection, our gang used to do stunts on all-Black buses in San Francisco scaring the begezus out of those who didn’t catch our jokes, performing bad skits on the shaky bus about Angela Davis running for Nanny when she was drafted to run for VP instead of President by the Communist Party. Then we’d jump off and run away. That and many other sometimes more shocking demonstrations were the fast growing legacy of IOU, our gang. To be honest it was mostly among ourselves that we advocated assassination. Mostly to mess with the law against uttering those words. We were making art, or so we thought.
Then one bleak rainy day in San Francisco, my mostly foreign student friends and I huddled together staring at the world map surrounded by skit story boards and punk art on cardboard tacked to kitchen wall listening to the radio, all of us uncharacteristically silent. John Lennon had just been shot outside of the Dakota in New York.
“That is the end of our assassination policy,” I announced. “No more advocating assassination.” (When it was time to lay down policy we all had a voice but I was most often the one who spoke what we were all thinking.) We’d been inspired to respond to the then-new Ray Guns world. My all male gang of Icelanders, South Americans, San Franciscans and Greeks looked at me with drawn faces. It was hard to tell if they were relieved or disappointed at my declaration. Like I said, I was most often the leader of this wayward group of film students, not by design but perhaps by my travel guide personality, and outspoken mouth. I had such a sense of entitlement in my 20’s! Perhaps the Tucson shooter did too.
“The wrong person might overhear us,” I explained. “Most importantly, the wrong person could get shot.” They nodded and that was that. No more advocating political violence. I think we were truly astonished that something that we’d been advocating in humor, as art, had been used on a Bard. Our Bard. I still am.
“What you say happens,” I said just to fill the silence. They all nodded. This was one of our axioms. Handed down by William Burroughs. I’d passed along the teaching of that great paranoid master to them for months, and they’d had a chance to meet him personally when he took up my invitation to come to San Francisco for a rare reading. He hadn’t been there for the previous 25 years, “didn’t like the place,” but when I’d said, almost as an aside on a stoned phone call with him, that I could get “anything (he) wanted,” he’d replied, “I’ll have James call you tomorrow morning and set up the details.” He came, and I did.
Anyway, I believe it was right then on that rainy afternoon that my version of abracadabra was born.
“My friends,” I boomed, “more than ever– this is a world of say and it is so! Saynitso!”
“Oh ya! Saynitso! Dig it!!”
“Yeah man, dig it! Saynitso!”
Today, 1/11/11, this is more true than ever before. Or so we believe, since the perp hasn’t said a word. The Tucson Killings track back to a saynitso situation. And since I work for Huffington Post as a rare-bird Media Monitor, I’ve spent the last three days soaked in media for them. Even if it wasn’t a saynitso situation that caused the senseless shocking killings and attempted assassination of Gabby Giffords, it is now.
And so it will go down as a result of vitriolic speech, in history, just like Paul Reveres historical ride after Longfellow wrote it became the poem (and made it so); the Tucson Killings exactly as they are being said/written about today in the media are history now.
You think it will go down like this? Numerous Tea Party nutcase candidates call-out/insight one nutcase and 6 non-nutcases were gunned down, including a nine year old girl, thus: n+ nutcase Tea Party-ists + 1 alienated nutcase= -6 non-nutcase innocents.
It doesn’t come out. But when did that make any difference in modern history?
Incidentally, the “kid” who did it was an equation nut so that little syllogism is for him.
Why do anything for him? Because he is a poor lost soul. (btw only my Buddhist friends have expressed sorrow for the young man first and foremost when we’ve conversed. What a bunch of seditionists huh? But those were my first thoughts too. That kid had had more doors shut in his face in the last few months than the Three Stooges in a lifetime.
So on this happy note, welcome to my blog. Make comments if you can figure out how to. And if “you” are an agent of some kind and my “chatter” has brought this little story to your attention, I welcome you as well and hope that you’ll comment if you have a minute. I know how damned busy being crooked some of you are, so hey, go get the nutcases and find treatment for them would ya? Keep busy that’s the best way to deal with your hypocrisy. You could start rounding up in Alaska. I used to live in B. C. and I’m telling ya, those long winters definitely make folks crazy. Good thing most of them are a long long ways away from the lower 48. Stay warm Mr/Ms. Agent Man.
Signing off, tonight as the Purple Haired Bomb Thrower. As I write that phrase again it doesn’t sound that rad. After all, it was part of the art school curriculum. Not the bomb throwing, but the hair. Wildly colored hair was #2** on the uniform code at the San Francisco Art Institute. God how I loved that school. It could have saved Jared Loughner, his victims, and by proxy all of us who’ve been stunned and aching since his dreadful deed. I believe he felt that he had very few alternatives left; art school might have saved his soul. I know it saved mine.
Simone, Pacifist 1/11/11
somewhere in cyberspace where I’ve resided since the WWW began uploading images
*Jacket is slang for a criminal record file, or a surveillance file with no criminal record. However, I did see one of my files, obtained for me by Allen Ginsberg in a his class action suit, I believe. It was only a few pages thick, but then I was only 23 at the time, hadn’t had all the time I’ve had now to accumulate brushes with radical behavior. I’ve haven’t tried to get my notorious PHBT jacket… but hey it doesn’t pay much to be avant guard, and after I left Naropa Allen and I began to have conflicts. But I must admit that THE PURPLE HAIRED BOMB THROWER might make for a cool leather jacket patch… ah well, I’ll keep you posted.
** the #1 item on the dress code was of course “cool, black shades.” It probably still is. When I went back to the basement of SFAI numerous years later, I opened one of the still-unlocked lockers and sure enough…. there were my black Ray Ban Wayfarers and a cracked leather jacket. Some things never change. I wonder what color hair that film student was wearing… new lawn green?