Friday, April 24, 2015

Gearing up.

You know, any other band would be talking about a summer tour right about now. But that's what "normal" bands do. They play in front of actual people and stuff. Big Green? Not so much.

There must be SOME clubs out there...Here's the thing about Big Green. We are not a "normal" band. We are a musical collective, a band of brothers, a loose association of critters, a gaggle of organisms, a ... I don't know, something else that implies more than one of us. And weird. The very suggestion of a "summer tour" brings to mind something quite different from what most people picture. We're not rolling into Akron or Missoula, playing in a urine-soaked noise cave, and sleeping on someone's floor. No, sir - typically, we're sleeping in the urine-soaked cave. That cave? It's called the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill, our adopted home.

Okay, so we never, ever do normal tours. I'm not saying we never will, but everyone ELSE is saying it, so who am I to argue? No, sir ... when we go on tour, it's not the usual plainclothes, indie circuit - it's in outer space, on other planets, in other solar systems, and so on. Actually, one time, we did an inner space tour, deep beneath the Earth's crust, but that was the one exception. So if you heard us, and it was after 1993, you would have had to either (a.) tunneled to the planet's chewy center or (b.) traveled to Neptune, Jupiter, or the Crab Nebula. Unlikely, I admit.

Check out our podcast, This Is Big Green.Anyway, when we want to do a summer tour, we start by looking up. Way up. Hey, think of it this way. The Hubble Space Telescope, now 25 years in flight, has demonstrated that the visible universe is far busier a place than we had ever previously imagined, with fields of literally millions of galaxies within view. In short, there are a lot of punters out there - a lot more than you'll find down here on old Terra Firma. So what use is it trying to hit it big in America or England or India? We want to be big in M24 and environs. Fuck the Milky Way - it's podunk, according to sFshzenKlyrn, and he should know ... he was DISCOVERED by the Hubble.

So, yeah ... there may be a voyage this summer. Grass is always greener in the next galaxy cluster over.

No negotiations.

There's more news of drone deaths, this time including western hostages. "Mistakes can occur", president Obama says, employing the passive voice as his predecessor Ronald Reagan often did. The American captive, aid worker Warren Weinstein, had asked his government to work toward negotiating his release, to no avail. We do not make deals with "terrorists". Unlike during practically every war our country has been involved in previously, in the context of the "Global War on Terror", prisoner release negotiations have been barred, whether on the part of the United States government or by private parties, such as the families of the captives. Thus, no release, and ultimately, death by drone.

Chief hostage negotiatorWhat brought this policy about? Perhaps it's the experience of, again, Reagan and the fallout from the Iran-Contra scandal. The official line at that time was, "we will not negotiate with terrorists", but the effort towards back-channel negotiations became clear as the story unfolded. Of course, context is important, it seems to me. Back in the eighties, we were deeply involved in the Lebanese civil war, both directly and through Israel's invasion - that was the proximate cause of the capture of westerners in Lebanon. We were also supporting Iraq's murderous war against Iran, which no doubt accounts for Iran's interest in negotiating for arms with American representatives. And then there's the Contra side of the ledger. Against that bloody backdrop, negotiating for captives seems pretty minor.

As far as I can tell, in every American conflict since the end of World War II, we have referred to our enemies as terrorists. We certainly did it in Vietnam. It's a pretty simple principle - the other side kills, as do we, but their violence is worse than ours. Ours is justified, even if it's way beyond the scale of the violence practiced by our adversaries. And so, we express regret when our flying killer robots accidentally blows up an American. No such courtesy when we incinerate nameless Pakistanis, etc.

As in previous conflicts, terrorism is in the eyes of the beholder. Which is why barring negotiations over captives is so nonsensical. If we did it before, we can do it now.

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