Happy 2021, everyone. What a year it has been so far. I wish I could join those feeling a vague sense of relief and optimism, but over the past few days, to quote Micah Schnabel, “I’ve got a bad case of innocent-people-being-murdered-by-angry-white-men blues.”
I am not in the mood to go into much detail here (the link below will do that), but I will remind anyone that the casualties of the COVID era haven’t been confined to ICUs. There are plenty of people who would still be alive if they weren’t so blessed born in a country whose response to the pandemic has been rooted in passionate ignorance and contempt for the working classes. Suffice it to say that my friend Alexis would still be with us (and improving the world with her brands of charm and talent) if this country had anything resembling sensible mental health counseling and/or gun control legislation. Maybe if the state of Tennessee (and Cazzy’s Corner Restaurant) wasn’t so thoughtless as to let rich white folks keep on brunchin’ in the middle of a pandemic.
It’s all so maddening, and I’m grateful to the community who knew Alexis as well as my students for reminding me that as senselessly as she died, her death is going to motivate us all to take action and change this reality that nobody asked for.
Thanks for the support on the last post about our GEOG 320 Project. I’ve got more coming soon from the Cultural Geography class, as well as some news about a couple of local and regional presentations I’ll be making this fall!
A fight breaks out against Neo-Nazi skinheads in the crowd at the final R.A.S. show, 1984. Photo courtesy of Philippe Roizes, all rights reserved.
In the meantime, here is the most fascinating way you could spend your next hour-and-change. ‘ANTIFA: Chasseurs de Skins’ presents 1980’s Paris in all of her brutal reality. Some friends of mine had a conversation about just how much music influenced personal identity and clannish behavior for Generation X. This often played out politically in violently reactionary pockets of Western Europe on the heels of the “no future” era and international malaise of the 1970’s. Class struggles became, at the behest of the political right, “racial” and political struggles, and these played themselves out in the punk scenes in and around Paris for several years. It’s easy to forget how a band like Berurier Noir could have had such a profound impact outside of just music.
One thing that hit me while watching this was, comparatively, how pacifist the North American left is versus the French, Spanish, and British left(s). Actual progressive voices get quelled easily here (and the ones that don’t, well, have been putting their foot in their mouths of late). This is, among many other reasons, why the Presidential nominee of a major party has been able to succeed on a platform of symbolic (and actual) violence at a grassroots level. Unsurprisingly, violence is the only rejoinder many of these people understand or respect. Racists, Islamophobes, and other people who lack the inherent ability to think critically (or at all, really) have little reason to fear bricks to the head or other such retaliation, so they behave in an animalistic way and refuse to practice compassion. But then again, that’s just one American’s opinion and interpretation of a wonderfully done documentary.