1340 hrs. I apologize for this being the first one of these for this brave not-as-new-as-it-used-to-be year of 2013. Please don’t get the idea that I think you breathlessly wait for one of these. I know you have a life. I do like communicating with you and would like to get back to this kind of writing more often.
Perhaps one of the best ways to ruin an apology is with an excuse. We’re all busy, so I can’t use that one. What has been happening with these is that I have been expending a lot of my energies working on two books, the LA Weekly pieces and all the other stuff that piles up around here on a day to day basis. When it comes time to write here, I start thinking that I should be working on one of those things or getting the next radio show together. I do appreciate the letters you send, asking what the deal is with what used to be a weekly letter.
Here are a few things that have been on my mind lately.
In an attempt to understand issues, I tend to try to break them to their most basic parts to grasp the bigger idea. If I can understand the intent, then I am a good way there. I think that most complex things, at least as far as what faces us these days are quite simple and to a great degree, muddied by lawyers, lobbyists, profiteers and those who seek election now and then.
One thing that seems to never get mentioned in all the recent sequestration and healthcare arguments is that humans are complex creatures and by modern standards, are an expensive endeavor.
A long time ago, people ate from the land, got sick from damn near everything and died off relatively quickly compared to now. The farming family who had five children didn’t always end up with all five reaching adulthood. These days, it is not exactly a guarantee but it is very likely that your children will grow up and go off into the world, etc.
The truth that foodstuffs in the Western World are for now, fairly abundant with enough variety price wise for a large part of the society to not starve to death, people of all economic levels can survive. As they grow up, science makes food more available and the population grows exponentially.
The foodstuffs are no longer simple. They are quite complex and they do quite a number on the human body. The body will not die off like it used to. You have millions of people who are basically clunkers but they keep on going. To feed it and keep it going, that’s a large investment. Even if you’re relatively healthy, it is a large investment. Human life, as it goes into its ninth decade is often pricey and takes several people to assist in sustaining its well being.
All I am saying is that can we all agree that a human lifespan costs money. It seems to me, you have a few ways to deal with this inescapable truth. You can say you’re on your own to make your decisions as to intake, occupation and lifestyle choices and live/die with the consequences as to what you saw fit to do. That’s perhaps a little harsh but seems to satisfy the common sense crowd and actually, how I try to live my life. You can seek to educate the population as to what happens when they eat this, or drink that and there will be potential consequences. When Michelle Obama brought up the topic of child obesity, Sarah Palin accused her of declaring war on dessert. The tobacco industry battled hard to keep the not-so-fun facts about their product from the people but eventually lost that battle but I am sure they do just fine.
Humans are pricey. How do you want to handle that? I think for political expediency, many in Washington have broad brushed the healthcare issue in an effort not to offend those who donate to their campaigns. I think an information based, multi-tiered approach would be a possible way to go. Food and health education early on, administered with great clarity and zeal. More choices in supermarkets and popular food outlets, etc. The flipside of all that is that when you give a population ample food, they repay you by breeding like little bunnies and the Malthusian cycle roars ever louder. As well, I think there is in some levels of the power structure, a fear that too many people would be healthy and clear headed all at once and start saying no to a lot of things, pushing for equality, etc.
With all the roiling in Congress and elsewhere about the heath issue, nutrition and lifestyle never seem to get enough attention. Could it be that the parties involved make more money out of the problem than the solution? For me, it’s simple. You either value your fellow human and do what you can do not only keep yourself together but to look out for others, or you just have contempt for those who fall out of the category of “you and yours” and get on with things. To me, it really is that simple. At this point, an overhaul and upgrade would be costly at first and a monumental pain in the ass to implement but incredibly efficient in the future. As it is now, I think a lot of politicians play small ball on all this.
I mention all this because when I listen to Paul Ryan, I wonder what the hell he wants millions of Americans to do with what they have been given as options and the information about them. I am sick of the mean pettiness of all this. Both sides perpetuate this, I know that but damn, I want to get up the road. Telling Americans to “Suck it up!” or whatever is just hyperbolic and shows contempt and poor planning when other, smarter ways to go are right there in front of you.
Austerity for myself and generosity to others is what I strive for. I pass and fail on that one but do my best.
I get a lot of letters about drone bombings. I think it’s important to note that drones are just another ordinance delivery system. American foreign policy has been killing innocents for decades. As far as killing Americans on foreign soil, if you join al Queda, there is a chance that America will be looking to kill you. Note to anyone anywhere near one of those suspected terrorists: you might want to change your location because it’s hot. Don’t get me wrong, I am not happy about any of it. I just don’t see that it is a policy shift as much as an advent in technology. Stop playing world cop and watch all this stuff and the awful statistics decline. As far as Rand Paul and his 13-hour paranoia about drones seeking out Jane Fonda or anyone else in America, it’s really nothing I am fearing compared to the beating the Fourth Amendment has taken over the last several years. I don’t have contempt for Democracy like he does, so what comes out of his mouth is laughable and easily dismissed.
To me, all of this stuff is sticks and stones in its ethic and simplistic brutality but highly evolved due to constant innovation and a profit incentive. Anything less would be . . . Socialism!
Enough of this soapboxing!
Just a heads up, my next book, Before the Chop: Writing for the LA Weekly 2011 – 2012 is at layout and will soon be going to the printer. I know that many of you have not the time to check out the weekly column I do at the LAW. The pieces go through a bit of editing for the sake of space when they go to print, so I thought it would be cool to collect the first 100 in their original form and put them in a book for efficient access. I don’t have a firm release date for this but it won’t be all that long. Since we do things ourselves here, we have a lot of latitude and don’t always need months and months of set up. I reckon May-June on that one. I will keep you posted.
It was Heidi’s big idea to start, or at least try to start a weekly video from the office. The first one, which she titled Four Day Work Week is available for your scrutiny here: http://henryrollins.com/video#4_day_work_week
It is strange and at times, frustrating to be off the road but I am here in Los Angeles, getting things done as best I can. I will keep you posted as best I can as to what is developing.
Thanks for reading this.
2017June May March
2015July June May April
- 04-28-15 Henry & Heidi Podcast: Rollins Band Part 2
- 04-13-15 Henry & Heidi Podcast: Haagen-Dazs
- 04-03-15 Henry & Heidi Podcast: The Chase
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