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Friday, July 24, 2015

Losing wheels.

Are you sure it's July? Absolutely sure? How is that even possible? All right, Jesus. Where did the freaking Spring go? No, no ... not THAT spring. I meant the SEASON spring! God almighty.

Yes, here we are ... three months after posting the last episode of our podcast, THIS IS BIG GREEN, and we're still short of posting the next episode. Sure, it's summer, but this is about wading in the water at the nearest beach resort. God, no! This is about the wheels coming off. This is about a leak in the hull. This is about a seized engine, smoke drifting lazily skyward from its molten husk. (Do engines have husks? Well .. ours does.) This is about production delays that are not voluntary, but ultimately necessary.

Brother Matt is our show editor. I think it's common knowledge that he has been caught up with fledgling Peregrine Falcons for the past three months in particular. Aside from that, his computer imploded, taking many of his work files with it. Not a good circumstance, as you can well understand. I mean, think about it - how the hell are you supposed to complete a Star Trek parody like Ned Trek without the requisite ship sounds, particularly when it's an audio podcast? The audience has few enough cues to work with, in that there are no visuals and we are lousy actors. (Though strangely that last bit doesn't stop us from trying to get our point across.)

Sheesh. When things go wrong ... I know what some of you are probably thinking. I know because Mitch Macaphee has built a special mind-reading device that reveals the inner thoughts of anyone who so much as glances at this blog post. So ... I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING ... and aside from all of that stuff about Donald Trump's white baseball cap, I totally agree with you. That said, some of you probably assume that the reason we do Ned Trek is just to provide a vehicle for distributing new songs. There's some truth to that. We are not tremendously introspective here at the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill, to be honest - a lot of the time, we're just running on enzymes. Knee-jerk creatives, that's us.

So hey ... don't give up on THIS IS BIG GREEN. We will be posting someday soon. In the meantime, amuse yourself with classic episodes of Ned Trek at www.nedtrek.com. Lotta laughs there.

Lighting up.

Another black person is dead as a result of wrongful arrest. That in itself is not remarkable, unfortunately. And while there appears to be some social media debate as to who was in the right and who was in the wrong in this case, a look at the police dash-cam video is as unambiguous as, well, the one featuring Eric Garner's summary execution. Sandra Bland, pulled over for not signalling a lane change (for Christ's sake!), is arrested for not being sufficiently subservient to a Texas State Trooper with a chip on his shoulder. "I will light you up," the trooper threatens when Bland resists his order to leave the car - a demand issued because the young woman declined to extinguish her cigarette when asked. (Yes, asked, if somewhat testily.)

This life mattered.The video of this incident is chilling, and instructive. It is a window into the mentality of entrenched white domination of black people; nothing less than this. Irritation should not be sufficient cause for arrest, whether it's being projected by the motorist or the arresting officer. Sandra Bland was not doing as she was asked. She was not bowing and scraping. At the same time, she was not violently confrontational. The Texas State Trooper could have just handed her the ticket - or a warning - and walked back to his cruiser. Once he decided to be a dick about it, there was no backing down - not as the white cop disciplining the black miscreant.

Did she suicide? If she did, I can understand how she got to that place. She had had problems with depression, but for chrissake ... she was about to start a new job, and then on the basis of nothing at all, she was taken to jail, held on $5000 bond, her prospects in ruins. The arbitrariness of the criminal justice system - the same injustice against black people she had criticized - was landing on her neck, reducing her to the status of a slave.

Being white, I don't claim to understand the black experience. But by considering the hard facts of black life, the constant harassment, the endless traffic stops, the serial humiliations, the threats to life and limb, white people can gain a small measure of that understanding. We have to keep that in mind when we hear stories like that of Sandra Bland, or Eric Garner, or Michael Brown, or so many others. Not so easy.

luv u,

jp