Dancing with David Bowie under the Serious Moonlight – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

David Bowie on 1983 set of LET’S DANCE video with dancers Terry Roberts (left) and Joelene King (center). (Photo from bowiedownunder.com originally published in 1983 Serious Moonlight Tour booklet)

Dance is a political strategy that says “yes” to life as opposed to the corporate and terroristic manipulations that so eagerly promote polarization and glorify violent entries into death. Simply put, that is one important reason David Bowie’s 1983 Let’s Dance video (directed by David Mallet) is one of my all-time favorites. Through its subtle acknowledgment of the plight of Aboriginals in Australia, the late great Bowie Jan 8, 1947 – Jan 10, 2016) made two very important statements:

The first statement is very similar to that made by Leonardo DiCaprio when accepting a 2016 Golden Globe Award for his performance in the movie Revenant. It is namely this: the lives of indigenous and “minority” people are something much more than hindrances to a given company’s or government’s preferred agenda. As such, colonizing them (something which can be done in many different ways: economically, politically, socially, etc) or marginalizing the same is not the “acceptable option” so many seem to believe it is.

For the complete post with photos and videos please click the Source: Dancing with David Bowie under the Serious Moonlight – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

Let’s Fix It: 7 Steps to Help Replace Legislated Fear with Informed Compassion | Aberjhani Author-Poet-Literary-Consultant | LinkedIn

Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, hold large banner containing the many names of individuals known to have been killed in confrontations with police. (Photo: Reuters)

Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, hold large banner containing the many names of individuals known to have been killed in confrontations with police. (Photo: Reuters)

More than half the states in America (currently 33) have laws which allow one individual to take the life of another and get away with it simply by saying he or she feared the person represented an immediate danger to his or her life. That argument in recent years has been used in a number of high-profile cases where exactly who posed a danger to whom was not at all clear.

Nevertheless, in the end it has been an African American (usually unarmed) who lost his or her life to a White American (usually armed––in the case of Trayvon Martin’s death George Zimmerman’s biracial background is duly noted), creating an apparent trend. Even mainstream media with its upbeat pop culture delivery has found it impossible to ignore the increase in that trend and consequently joined the ranks of those shouting it is time to #FixIt.

In this particular case, fixing it means correcting the tendency to give fear authority over one’s actions when encountering those perceived of as “different.” Also, in this particular case, it means not exploding like a suicide bomber in the face of inevitable change and opting instead to invest in informed compassion toward one’s fellow human beings.

An Ominous Iceberg

Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Kajieme Powell only a few miles from the same location, Renisha McBride just outside Detroit, Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, and Eric Garner in New York are but a fraction of the tip of a very ominous iceberg.

For the full article with list of recommendations please click the link:
Let’s Fix It: 7 Steps to Help Replace Legislated Fear with Informed Compassion | Aberjhani Author-Poet-Literary-Consultant | LinkedIn.

The Saving Grace of an Old School Strategy and Impulse

Salman Rushdie former Red Room banner photo from Internet Archive Wayback Time Machine“What one writer can make in the solitude of one room is something no power can easily destroy.”
Author Salman Rushdie as formerly featured at Red Room
. (photo graphic courtesy of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine)

A lot of hearts passionate about reading, writing, publishing, and literary culture in general were broken July 3 when emails went out informing members of the former online Red Room community that it was going offline on July 8. Canada’s rapidly-growing Wattpad had acquired the San Francisco-based Red Room and elected to dissolve it rather than let it stand as a separate entity the way Amazon did when it acquired Goodreads last year. The July 3 notice gave those who had been having a quiet intense love affair with the online community for just over half a decade less than a week to get their profiles, keyboards, and gigabytes of shared content in order.

Aside from the emotional impact of having to unexpectedly say goodbye to what many considered a genuine “class literary act,” a number of writers realized they had initially composed and posted original works for their blogs and comments sections directly online without bothering to store back-ups anywhere else. Call it a 21st-century side effect of texting and instant messaging which tends to encourage––though not necessarily by any means intentionally–– communicating with minimal reflection on what is said before it is said. That same impulse prompts minimal concern for the preservation of shared texts even when the capacity for such preservation is available.


A Value unto Itself

The dilemma of losing original writings to the sudden departure of a favored website is not something likely to happen to an old school writer for one simple reason. Ever since as long ago as the predigital age of the number-2 pencil and the typewriter, wordsmiths-in-training were repeatedly cautioned to never give up the only copies of their writings to anyone for any reason. Most, in fact, were often told to never relinquish their “originals” period, which is one reason you occasionally hear about “authentic manuscripts” selling at auctions for millions of dollars (hard copies not digital files—at least not yet). Their value is derived from the singular legitimacy endowed by a moment in history and by an experienced crystallization of consciousness that can be described but not duplicated. The results of the moment can be reproduced in the form of copies, published articles, genuine books, or digital files. But it remains a fixed event with a value unto itself.

That same saving grace of old school strategies and impulses seems to have prompted Red Room CEO Ivy Madison and website editors to guard against the total loss of works previously published on the site by partnering with the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to preserve members’ content. According to the posted domain sale notice, “The complete Red Room archive created the week of July 7, 2014 will show up on the July 2014 portion of the Wayback Machine calendar by approximately August 15, 2014.” That’s a far better deal than many others have gotten under similar circumstances.

Former Red Room editor Huntington Sharp maintained the following in response to a Publishers Weekly article on the subject, “No one lost their content: we made a special arrangement with the Internet Archive to make sure every page will be findable on the Wayback Machine. We don’t know of any other platform having taken this step on behalf of customers, but Red Room and Wattpad did.”

NEXT: The Saving Grace of an Old School Strategy and Impulse (part 2 of 2)

by Aberjhani

The Year of James Baldwin Now in Full Classic Literary Swing (part 1)

 

Photo of author James Baldwin by Dmitri Kasterine

                                  Author James Baldwin in St. Paul de Vence, France, 1976. (photograph by Dmitri Kasterine)

“It has always been much easier (because it has always seemed much safer) to give a name to the evil without than to locate the terror within. And yet, the terror within is far truer and far more powerful than any of our labels: the labels change, the terror is constant.” –James Baldwin, from the essay Nothing Personal

Members of New York City’s cultural arts community made a rare kind of decision earlier this year and the results of that decision continue to generate exceptional events and responses. They–– as in Columbia University School of the Arts, Harlem Stage, and New York Live Arts–– elected to observe The Year of James Baldwin from April 2014 until June 2015 in honor of the late iconoclastic African-American author’s 90th birthday August 2, 2014.

Long before he died on December 1, 1987, millions came to recognize the indelible mark of Baldwin’s impact on, and the incredible depth of his singular voice within American literature. He is in many ways more alive now than ever before, a statement that holds especially true when considering the events that have already been held to launch the year dedicated to him.

“There were few political figures as deeply engaged and as capaciously soulful as James Baldwin, nor we’d like to insist, any as urgently pertinent to our own times,” noted curator Lawrence Weschler in the brochure for Live Ideas, James Baldwin This Time!  He added the following:

Please enjoy Aberjhani’s full post by clicking here:
The Year of James Baldwin now in full classic literary swing part 1 – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

King of Pop Michael Jackson and the World Community – The Journey and the Rainbow

          Michael Jackson with Spanish translation of quote from article by Aberjhani.
(graphic art poster courtesy of Facebook Group Blues Away)

The book Journey through the Power of the Rainbow, Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry, contains a full chapter of quotes on Michael Jackson as well as the short essay which follows. Anyone interested in winning a free copy of the book is encouraged to check out the Goodreads widget at the end of the essay.

At least part of worldwide reading audiences’ growing familiarity with my work has to be attributed to the late “King of Pop” Michael Jackson. Although I started writing about Mr. Jackson’s life and legacy after in his death in 2009, I did not understand just how many people around the world had been taking note of those writings. Then it was brought to my attention that several full articles had turned up on multiple websites in the form of unauthorized translations into German, Italian, French, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, and other languages. Given the ease with which Internet technology makes it possible to accomplish such linguistic feats––precision of the translation notwithstanding––I told myself it had been inevitable.

Technological ease was only part of the reason. Another very significant part was what I had sensed myself and what author and Minister Barbara Kaufmann had identified as the “spiritual emergency” into which Jackson’s fans around the globe had found themselves plunged upon his death. They had discovered little to no consolation within a mainstream media and sideline tabloid press that continued to employ guerrilla decontextualization to sensationalize and capitalize off distortions of the megastar’s image even as the worldwide community he left behind flailed about in a tsunami of unrelenting grief. 

Please enjoy the full post by Aberjhani at this link:

King of Pop Michael Jackson and the World Community – The Journey and the Rainbow.

Mothers, Daughters, and Slavery Make Disturbing 2014 Holiday News (part 1 of 2)

Nigerians call for justice on behalf of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. (photo by Reuters)

Nigerians demand justice in case of kidnapped students and better laws to protect girls. (photo by Reuters)

In chilling contrast to the lyrical verse and candy-sweet images that millions of American families are preparing to enjoy on the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, May 11, the families of almost 300 abducted school girls in Nigeria are struggling to maintain sanity while praying for an end to the ordeal. 

The students reportedly were abducted from the Government Secondary Girl School in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, on April 15 (some reports say April 14). On May 4, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan issued an appeal to the international community for assistance finding and returning the students, who range in age from 16 to 18. President Jonathan stated, “This is a trying time for this country… it is painful,” and promised parents that he would not allow the kidnapping to go unsolved. 

Video in which the extremist leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, surfaced May 5. In the video, Shekau boasted that he intended to sell some of the girls into slavery and force others into marriage. On May 6, additional reports began to emerge that another eight girls, aged 12 to 15, had been abducted from a village near Boko Haram’s suspected stronghold. 

Social media, blaring the hashtags #BringBackOurGirls and #StolenDreams, helped to increase international outrage over the mass kidnapping itself. However, outrage has also intensified over the failure thus far to recover such a large number of young women. Since the original kidnapping, some 50 of the student managed to escape while approximately 220 remain captive.

 

Terror and Guerrilla Decontextualization

That the mass abduction is criminally heinous and spiritually tragic is something not even a marginally-informed person would deny. It should not, however, be described as an accurate expression of Islam. When the terrorist labels it as such, he is doing nothing more than utilizing guerrilla decontextualization to replace the spiritual goals of the religion with an individual lust for power and a deadly disregard for human life.

To check out the full article by Aberjhani please click this link:
Mothers, daughters, and slavery make disturbing 2014 holiday news (part 1 of 2) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Putting Text and Meaning to the Guerrilla Decontextualization test (pt. 1 of 2)

Dancers light up the stage in Cirque du Soleil's staging of

              The dancers of Cirque Du Soleil’s production of “Immortal,” based on the
music of Michael Jackson, light up the stage in Dubai. (photo courtesy of
GulfNews TV)

“He got kicked in the back
He say he needed that
He hot willed in the face
Keep daring to motivate…”
–– from the song History by Michael Jackson

 Upon the launch of the Guerrilla Decontextualization website in August 2012, the concept that inspired it was defined primarily in ultra-modern technological terms. Examples of the practice included the following: short clips from longer videos presented as definitive statements of an individual’s beliefs, photographs of private moments marketed for public entertainment, and statements made decades ago reported on the evening news as though they were made just a few hours earlier.

All were instances of events removed from their original context for the purpose of fulfilling an undisclosed agenda. The result often went beyond simple defamation of character, which is generally defined as any knowingly erroneous communication that damages an individual’s or organization’s reputation. By insidious contrast, guerrilla decontextualization usually involves partial truths made to look complete. It goes beyond simple defamation of character or slander because it sustains an entire culture devoted to manipulating public perception for the sake of financial, political, or social gain.

When Knowledge Becomes a Victim

What happens when history itself––as one lives, breathes, and knows it––is guerrilla decontextualized? How can history then provide authentic life-enhancing legacies if the person presenting it chooses to slant reality toward one angle or another because he or she prefers a version that makes his or her preferred demographic look more heroic? More humane? Or more worthy?

How could a guerrilla decontextualized history reveal that all individuals hold the potential––just as Nelson Mandela and ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Mother Theresa did––to bless the world with uncommon gifts of transformative vision, sacrifice based on a seemingly endless capacity for love, and leadership based on a titanic will to serve humanity to the best of one’s ability? The answer is it likely could not. Such an intentional misrepresentation would lay a foundation for perpetual chaos rather than one for enlightened responses to tragic circumstances. It would serve to create assumptions that too many would accept as valid “facts” until those “facts” crash head-on into what might be experienced as–– a revelation. Or as––a violent conflict of interests.

Please enjoy the full article by Aberjhani by clicking here:
Putting Text and Meaning to the Guerrilla Decontextualization test (pt. 1 of 2) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.