THERE’S A LOT GOING ON

In my life. Yours too, I’ll bet. Because there is a lot less going on.

What was commonplace has become an event. Family from out of town. A concert. Funny how a period of isolation can make all sorts of things more visible. And change your perspective.

About a year after this pandemic hit I came across a brilliant video called “The Great Realisation” (https://youtu.be/Nw5KQMXDiM4) by a young New Zealand-born, London-based poet, performance artist and filmmaker named Tomos Roberts (a.k.a.“Tom Foolery”). I would also call him a visionary. His bedtime story has been viewed more than 100 million times, and is now also in book form. I offer this link because I think it is really worthwhile, even for a third look.

That’s a lot of people listening to a poem. So right here, let’s give a nod to poetry, shall we? Where limitless imagination and the most expansive of landscapes can be brought to life with just a few words. Hats off to our own Library Girl Susan Hayden (never without a hat) for her long running spoken word series at the Ruskin Group Theatre, and to the spectacular coming-out party of New Roads grad and poetry superstar Amanda Gorman, the first ever National Youth Poet Laureate, for her sublime and inspiring Inauguration delivery of “The Hill We Climb.” And to the every-day-we-write poets (or at least we think about it) like my high school classmate Diane Gage, who sends out a weekly poem to her list of (free) subscribers. It always makes my Sunday better.

SO DID “THE REALISATION” CHANGE THE WORLD?

Many who first saw it desperately hoped it would. It was so timely and made so much sense. We saw in our homes and out our windows, in our changed lives, what he was talking about. I think it has had a greater effect than we might realize, and we have seen a societal shift in the last two years, in some ways. Just look at what it has done to people’s perspective on work.

But not enough. Not enough. Not fast enough. Mother Earth is running out of time, according to 99% of climate scientists. We are seeing trickles of change, while glaciers the size of an entire state break off into the sea, never to return (except to Miami, in a more liquid form).

As I referenced in last week’s CURIOUS CITY, money and power have such a mighty pull on some people that they go to extreme lengths acquiring them, more and more and more. Those people, those corporations, those politicians, do not want to see a “Great Realization” and have tremendous resources to resist such change. While the earth we all live on speeds daily, measurably, towards being uninhabitable.

DOES ANYONE REALLY NEED

A billion dollars, for any reason? (Can’t you do a lot with half a billion?) Okay then, does anyone need 10 billion? How about hundreds of billions? There are nine men who do have that much. You may have seen their spaceships overhead, or sailed past their islands. According to Forbes, the world’s 2,690 billionaires saw their combined wealth rise from $8 trillion on March 20, 2020 to $13.5 trillion as of July 31, 2021. While millions lost their livelihoods and even their lives. (More than 900,000 COVID deaths in the US.) Income disparity is a root cause of homelessness, ya know. So while we try our best in Santa Monica, we are fighting something much larger.

This is not socialist communist talk. I’m fine with capitalism that is reasonably regulated. It is a matter of human dignity, and above all, common sense.

I can’t remember the last time the nightly TV news didn’t carry a story about some major weather catastrophe hitting huge parts of the US. Costing us all so much, including billions of dollars. What used to be rare is now the norm, only magnified in intensity and destruction. And yet, rarely do these stories ever mention the phrase “climate change.” The real story they are reporting. Is it because they don’t want to lose viewers, the large part of America that has turned its back on science and facts? Someone wrote recently, we have become a society where the informed keep their mouths shut to avoid upsetting the ignorant.

I KNOW

You want me to write about Santa Monica. (We avoid the storms that start on the other side of the Rockies, but we are a coastal city, aren’t we?) You want me to write about profligate spending by our School Board and our City government. (Sacramento has its problems too but I’ve got my hands full.)

I wrote also about that, and disdain for opposing views and a lack of transparency, which were all neatly illustrated by a Youtube clip I came across, involving then Board President Jon Kean.

I don’t dislike Kean personally, only some of his Board actions. We have had a few nice chats about music and movies. He’s a fan of John Prine and Henry Rollins, so… there. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t kick his dog. Yes, he was on the Board and even President during much of the time that the Muir Woods mural, that I have fought so long to preserve, was allowed to completely deteriorate. But I don’t believe in grudges. I do believe in accountability. That long process with the mural revealed to me ways that our School Board sometimes operates, and I did not approve of what I saw.

One thing we must agree on – anyone who runs for office should be willing to answer to constituents. And constituents need to keep it sane, please. Practicing transparency and openness to hear all opinions would get all but the crazies off their backs.

Let the sane and fair and transparent start moving toward the realizations we need in these times.

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 36 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com