1/15/20: History and biography are the same subject matter. America fought the Nazis and won. Germany said it was wrong and repented. Both America and Germany then prospered as friends and allies. That is the process — a process that we never engaged in with the Confederacy. We have to do it now. We have to defend ourselves against the American darkness that has been encouraged by Trump and the Republican Party. The immoral criminals have to be held accountable — thousands of mini- Nuremberg trials from Trump and members of Congress to White Nationalist foot soldiers. Then the enemies must repent. Only then will we have peace.
I like this piece from June 2019 because it shows how the poison of fascist racism does not only harm its primary victims, African-Americans, but adversely harms us all — not to the same degree of course. But my family’s story as Italian-Americans also includes suffering caused by racist aggression and injustice not directly intended for us as Italian-Americans. If one part of the body politic is wounded, the whole body bleeds. Of course our suffering is nothing compared to that of our African-American brothers and sisters. I only mean to say that the interests of black people are my own — and not only for liberal reasons of empathy for others.
1/14/21: After a necessary period of since defeated performing and opining and public journalling, in 2019, some writing actually happened — inspired by a surprising source. Psychedelic writing fueled by my preferred drugs of unlit cigars, movie theater popcorn and rigatoni. I’m off all of those stimulants currently and unfortunately.
Copyright 2021 Richard Thomas
4/29/19: Movie Review — Avengers Endgame, the Demented Truth
Avengers Endgame doesn’t end. I don’t mean that it lasts so long that it seems that it doesn’t end. It actually doesn’t end. It doesn’t start either. And there is no middle.
Avengers Endgame transcends linear time, which it reveals to be an illusion. There is no chronology to existence. Chronology was developed to bring order to the chaos of being alive, but it ultimately terrifies us. I DON’T WANT TO DIE — we scream into the void. Or we yell WHEN AM I GOING TO DIE if we don’t like how things are going.
Avengers Endgame is a fabulous escape from our fantasy constructed by the conditioning of a society that we fear and desire that we created individually and in a group out of the fears and desires of the society that doesn’t really exist except in our heads…
Paula and I had an art filled day in Los Angeles yesterday. We saw the Turner exhibit at the Getty Museum and we saw Robert Altman’s masterpiece movie from the mid-70’s Nashville at the Aero revival house in Santa Monica.
L.A. is a city of grandiose intentions betrayed. It sprawls in unfinished disrepair. If a hoarder’s house became an urban landscape it would be Los Angeles. One seedy building of past or imagined grandeur after another passed by us as we drove the crowded, impatient and uncivil streets and boulevards. Every edifice screamed I CAN MAKE A BUCK HERE! I CAN MAKE A BUCK HERE! L.A. is a sprawling drunk who believes he is sober. Its attempts at dignity are pathetic and comical. I really like it. Oh, the humanity!
And then there is the Getty. We park our hulking rent-a-car, a mid-size SUV. The fifteen dollars is all that…
Update 2/27/17 (The day after the kerfuffle regarding incorrect announcement of the Oscar Best Picture winner)
It wasn’t Warren Beatty’s fault. They gave him the wrong envelope. (Not that it was that big of a deal anyway.) I hate to see a great artist ridiculed. Another mistake in the Best Picture category —the failure of Beatty’s largely unseen masterpiece “Rules Don’t Apply” to be nominated. It was better than “La La Land” (which was good — it wasn’t intended to be a polished musical as its critics seem to think — it was like “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” or Woody Allen’s “Everyone Says I Love You”) and dealt with similar themes and material. (I haven’t seen “Moonlight” which looks very interesting.)
It’s very hard — and very important — to make truthful art and even the people who are rewarded with fame and money don’t get the respect that…
1/14/21: Creation and Destruction
There is something poetic about the human promise of the new administration — vaccines and food for hungry children — standing cheek to jowl with the stench of a conspiracy of demented rubes trying to destroy the American democratic republic and ultimately kill us all with guns and flagpoles and pipe bombs, not to mention your not so friendly neighborhood coronavirus.
I’ve been engaged in personal projects that I am certain are not that uncommon. I couldn’t stand my hair — it was in my way and I couldn’t safely see a barber — so I shaved my head. I resemble a big nosed baby or a skinhead breaking windows in the Capitol riot, take your pick. I’ll choose innocence, thank you very much. I’ve been unfriending people on Facebook because every time I see their name on photo I get a bad memory, and who needs it really.
I used to think that bad times came and you hit bottom, and then you started the climb up. I thought life was cyclical. It isn’t. Everything happens all at once.
So all of my old pieces apply today, and something new is cooking in the oven — Chef’s Surprise — a mystery to everyone including the Chef.
The old piece that I am sharing today answers the current conundrum regarding the misbegotten largely white exurban masses who love Trump, have a fetish for political violence, hate masks and social distancing, and are sure that they are being lied to by “socialists”.
How can we win over the hearts and minds of the poor darings? Kumbaya?
We can’t. They believe the shit that they do and are aggressively coming after us because they like it. They enjoy it. They get off on it. It makes them feel superior and powerful.
We don’t have to make peace with these assholes. We have to defend ourselves against them and keep creating …
which is what we always have to do … existence involves taking out the garbage and making beautiful meals.
The oldie but goodie that I share today was written in the summer of 2017 on a day that I was driving through Nebraska on the way to California.
Copyright 2021 Richard Thomas
The world changes when you drive over the Iowa-Nebraska border. Iowa is like Illinois. Reason and insanity live side-by-side — checks and imbalances. In Nebraska you get the impression that there are very few buildings and lots of people — or I should say, former people. The zombies roam through the farmland searching for human brains to eat. They must be hungry.
Nebraska talk radio has a peculiar charm. The hosts broadcast from places like San Diego following their “How to Lie to Suckers Broadcasting Manual.”
The suckers aren’t that stupid. They want the lie. They call the shows and praise Trump saying that his attack on Mika Brzezinski is “probably true.” Their defense of the demagogue evidences that some small speck of living brain tissue that still receives blood in their skulls recognizes that Trump’s ugly claim, against the millionaire cable news star raised in an elite family of…
1/10/21: I am proud to say that the Rick Blog saw the white nationalist threat of Trump-ism and has condemned it often. This post contains pieces from late 2016 and early 2017. People who looked past this evil, minimized it, and thought primarily about their 401Ks, should admit they were wrong. There is a lot of talk about healing right now. The prerequisites of healing are admissions of lies and mistakes, and accountability for immoral, criminal, seditious and treasonous acts. White nationalism must never be tolerated again. Fascists who commit crimes should be tried and punished with a fairness and decency demanded by the values of our democracy. White nationalism is un-American. Punishment of white nationalist criminals is necessary for our individual and collective security. Turning a blind eye to white nationalist crime is immoral. White nationalism has always been an existential threat to our freedom. It must be repelled. As a practical matter, it is also time for immoral white people who are indifferent to the vast suffering that racism has visited upon people of color to now see one thing. White nationalism is a preliminary step. It should now be obvious that the final solution is fascism and it wants to subjugate us all. Thugs like Trump, who have no abilities except the ability to bully their way to power want to control us all. Think of that white people, the next time you see a person of color mistreated. And listen to African-Americans and other people of color. They are experts on White Nationalism. Their knowledge has been earned through bitter experience.
Process note: My writing has changed — I believe it is more graceful now. But here’s the thing about art, you make it out of what is available to you. I think the prose here has an admirable earnestness and directness. It’s personal and fierce and I am proud to re-post it.
Copyright 2021 Richard Thomas
1/10/21: I am proud to say that the Rick Blog saw the white nationalist threat of Trump-ism and has condemned it often. This post contains pieces from late 2016 and early 2017. People who looked past this evil, minimized it, and thought primarily about their 401Ks, should admit they were wrong. There is a lot of talk about healing right now. The prerequisites of healing are admissions of lies and mistakes, and accountability for immoral, criminal, seditious and treasonous acts. White nationalism must never be tolerated again. Fascists who commit crimes should be tried and punished with a fairness and decency demanded by the values of our democracy. White nationalism is un-American. Punishment of white nationalist criminals is necessary for our individual and collective security. Turning a blind eye to white nationalist crime is immoral. White nationalism has always been an existential threat to our freedom. It must be repelled…