Entertainment, Reading, Relationships, Uncategorized

Gaffes, Misinterpretations and Intentional Offenses

No Comments 02 March 2015

angerAs much as I love Facebook and Twitter I decided to pull back a bit during this season of Lent. Why? Because reading them will invariably lead to me getting angry about some injustice in the world or something said by somebody I don’t know or somebody I wish I didn’t know.

Scrolling through my news feeds and friends’ posts as I sat on the train during my morning commute consumed my thoughts. What the hell is wrong with these people? Why do people say such mean things? Don’t they realize you can’t just say stuff like that without public backlash? Boundless rudeness. Sexism. Racism. Homophobia. Gee thanks. I really needed that dose before starting my day. And…really? You know sometimes people really do make mistakes. Absent sufficient evidence to the contrary, let’s just call it an innocent gaffe and…let it gooooo!!! And other not-so-innocent-people make the mistake of digging in when they are called out on their bigotry. Wrong move. The bloggers will be all over your craziness. Say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” and say it right away.

Lent is a time of self-evaluation and penance; a time of preparation for that great day commemorating Christ’s resurrection. It reminds me of my imperfections. This year it moved me to consider how imperfections are regarded in this age where we are all impacted by the virtual soup bowl. Not much is left to the imagination anymore. But don’t get it twisted: reality is not always reality. Reality can be photoshopped; reality can be scripted; reality is a set up of social constructions.

Rather than soak up gaffes, misinterpretations and the language of angry webcam gangsters (aka trolls) sometimes you just gotta lean back and watch the real life dramas unfolding on public transportation.  Selah.

Music, Uncategorized

Con Dolore: Tribute to Michael Jackson

No Comments 26 June 2009

I was going to marry him even though he was an older man.  Well, that never happened, but marrying Michael Jackson was the fantasy of all the girls in my neighborhood growing up in the 70s.  We absolutely adored him.  Michael Jackson embodied what Nina Simone sang, “Young, Gifted and Black.”

News of Michael Jackson’s death at the tender age of 50…well, one is tempted to say words like “shocking,” or “unbelievable.”  This morning two musical terms seemed most fitting: con dolore and fermata.

Learning to play the violin, I always enjoyed playing songs that contained interesting changes in style.  Playing fast, jubilant songs was fine but playing songs that dropped in hints of sorrow and melancholy appealed most to my ecletic taste.  Approaching a section marked con dolore I would take the finest posture and prepare myself to almost absorb the notes into my soul.  Deep, rich, mellow moments within the composition.  I had an affinity for those measures played con dolore – with sadness – simply because so much of my young life was at that time filled with the sadness of child abuse.  Playing con dolore gave expression to those early days of severe whippings, mental beat downs and cussin’ outs. 

Unfortunately, where this was only a segment of my life, the song of Michael Jackson’s life – despite the tremendous success – always contained more con dolore measures than any of us – his fans – cared to admit.    Allegedly a victim of child abuse by his father, Jackson’s abuse was carried forward into his adult life by tabloid writers, paparazzi, “insiders” and money vultures.  Sufficeth to say, he was not always an innocent bystander in his life drama.  Michael Jackson was as troubled as he was talented.  But mostly, when not on stage, Michael Jackson was lonely.

It’s simply tragic that here was a man who worked all his life to be at the top of his game, such an expert in his craft, yet so lonely in his life.  We loved Michael Jackson’s musical abilities and he gave us more and more of his giftedness.  But he paid a high price: severe stress.  And Jackson had absolutely no amorous relationship.  No one who absolutely loved him intimately, in his nakedness, sans the material stuff of life. He lived for the stage and his life became a public stage with a terrible lot of dramatis personae.

For all the lessons we may glean from Michael Jackson’s life, there is one not so obvious:  His songs had no abrupt endings (if so, I can’t think of one).  Once on stage, this performer gave us all he had.  Jackson carried his songs out, he pushed them beyond what we thought was possible.  We watched him as orchestra does a conductor as he signalled fermata – hold for a little longer – on the final note.  We always wanted his work to last longer than the standard count.  Who doesn’t want to leave that kind of legacy?

And though the ending measure of Michael Jackson’s life seems so con dolore, like a tear slowly dropping to the floor, the final note – which is so beautiful, too beautiful, as though it shouldn’t but must be played to complete the song –  is held fermata.  Today, we are holding on a little longer to his talent.  Replaying those hits we grew up with.  Rewinding, over and over, those music videos and concerts just to see him “do it” again.  Yeah, holding on to some beautiful memories.

Rest in peace Michael, rise in victory.

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