DISPATCH 07-24-11 LOS ANGELES

07-24-11

1234 hrs. Just the last forty-eight hours have been eventful enough to make one very quiet and introspective. Not all that great going to the station yesterday thinking about what was happening in Norway and seeing the report on the death of Amy Winehouse.

When you think of all the young people killed in Norway, it is perhaps difficult to devote any time to the death of a rockstar, who “had it all” or whatever you want to say. It’s bad all around.

We being a 24-hour people these days, it’s interesting to me at least to see what other people in the world are saying about things. Interesting sentiments I read about the deaths in Norway. Everything from the political gaming and positioning to the idea that more guns would have made things safer, less guns, etc. Of course, the death penalty topic comes up as well. That one is of endless interest to me. I see both sides of that one. I come down solidly on one side but am always interested in hearing well articulated arguments for the side I don’t agree with.

Then there’s the debt ceiling. It is obvious that I am quite the pedestrian when it comes to how the numbers roll out so I try to see some things from an emotional or rational point of view to see if I can learn anything about anything.

Capitalism is a machine that is complex to the point of religion. I have no great understanding of it beyond a visceral/street level evaluation. One thing it guarantees is that there must be winners and losers. Not everyone is going to get the same amount of return for calories expended. I am not trying to get into a nuanced argument as to who one ends up where one does. The rough fact is that the person busting ass in the sun with a heavy tool probably isn’t bringing home the same amount of money as an executive at a large corporation. No matter what anyone’s opinion about that is, I don’t think that particular point is up for debate. The point I want to make is that in the last several years, the winners are winning harder and the losers are losing harder. I think that it’s going to be a very rough ride for a lot of people in America for one reason or another. Some people, of course, have no one to blame but themselves and others, are in a hard spot because their jobs went overseas or some other thing, not of their making occurred and now their world has changed. “Suck it up and cope.”, isn’t working for me as advice in these situations. That is to say, I don’t know what good that does to hear and act on, especially when it comes from the mouth of someone who is worth millions. So, when one considers the idea of Americans going hungry in America, like right now going hungry, one might entertain the ideas of mercy, decency and a moral line one doesn’t drop below. That isn’t the job of capitalism. It isn’t built to do that. That would be like getting feelings out of a computer. So, upon whose shoulders does the burden of these great human values fall upon? I guess that would be us. I hope we handle this one well. Politicians ceaselessly frustrate, no matter what side you’re on. I think to a certain degree, their situations are frustrating and they do the best they can. That is not to say that some of them, neither side is excused, play out for their paymasters at the expense of the people. To conclude this exhaustive series of run-on sentences; while politicians try my patience, I never give up on the people in America. Americans are my currency, hence my tanned hide optimism.

A lot of sadness and anxiety over the weekend. This week’s press cycle will no doubt be worth paying close but well considered attention to. I hope we all choose well.

I keep coming back to thinking of Amy Winehouse, a person I didn’t know and whose music I know little about. I guess because in the scope of things happening at the moment, it’s something I can somewhat get my head around in size. One person. The other headlines are epic in sadness. I remember many years ago, being in Denmark at the Roskilde Festival the day after those kids were killed there. The scene was so strange, so confusing and sad. I have been thinking about that all weekend. I don’t know if you have ever been to any Scandinavian countries. A beautiful part of the world and great people. I am sure what happened in Norway is hitting the entire region hard.

Until next week, thanks for reading this. Henry

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