It’s a tenuous time for white privilege in the United States. Black people in the U.S., quite frankly, busted ass over the course of hundreds of years to go from being literal property to owning property and being able to (kind of?) vote and use the same public and private buildings, services, and- Lord have mercy- water fountains as white people (among a host of other things that will take up roughly 30 posts if not more; don’t get me going on environmental justice and food deserts). In 2014, bleeding heart liberal white people like myself were reminded by the police perpetrated murder of black teenager Michel Brown of just how far we hadn’t and haven’t come. Two years after the murder of Michael Brown, white liberals and many, if not most, people of color and poor people were all delivered another swift kick to the balls when reality star and really shit businessman Donald Trump was elected “democratically” to lead the U.S.
I originally wrote this on Friday, August 9, but I wanted some time to pass before I published it. It rambles a bit, but I promise, this is music related.
Following David Berman’s death and some personal events, I have been reflective about loss, grief, and death.
This time of reflection coincides with a time I am actively journaling (for the first time in years) with meditations from philosophers and practitioners of Stoicism serving as my guide. Maybe older white men are not contemporary society’s version of wisdom or a friend at this time, but I have found a great amount of general wisdom from the Stoics. The best answer to our problems is often the most simple. The tricky part of Stoicism for many (myself included) is accepting our past and exerting some control on our lizard brain.
Yesterday evening, I found out the news via my friend Stu. For roughly 30 seconds, I thought it was a cruel joke but genius PR ploy by Drag City on the heels of the Purple Mountains tour. David’s date of death had not been added to his Wikipedia page, which gave me hope despite the Google news panel confirming over and over again– like a grotesque carousel– that he was, and is, dead at 52.
Sam and I were in a bit of a spat at the time, and I could not tell him this news in the middle of a fight. I waited for him to get home to break the news.
I talk about 18/19 year old me a lot because 18/19 year old me was so so adorable and so exciting and also so so stupid in the way late teens/young adults are.
Perennial childhood classic The Muppet Movie turned 40 this summer. Kermit the Frog goes on a cross-country mission to get out of the swamp and into Hollywood while simultaneously running from the evil Doc Hopper, who just wants those tasty frog legs. And so began the first of many (seven!) Muppet movies.
I used the phrase a “childhood classic”, but that is too simple as The Muppet Movie and, just as significant, The Muppet Movie (Grammy winning and Academy Award nominated) score have continued to be huge personal influences on me as an adult (as I am sure it has to many of you).
I listened to the soundtrack to discuss some of the themes that are more tangible to adults.