Thu, 04 Jan 2007 15:42:57 +0000
All is not lost. As a former Florida voter (I now live in NY) and long time democracy activist I saw up close how young voters were treated by both parties in the 1990s and 2000. They were courted by their peers until election day. Then most of them were discarded like the dupes they felt they were. Their issues such as police brutality, education and minimum wage were way back-burnered. So they stayed away until the Iraq Debacle. Proportionately, not many returned. Indeed there were a few new young voters and many newly retired, mostly evenly divided between the two main parties.
Neither party organization knows how, nor wants to communicate to the youngest voters even using cool media. The kids think politicians are a joke. If they know anything it's that Repubs are raving radio loonies and Dems make boring as boring can be videos. They're kids so what can you expect? I'll tell you.
Case in point: There ain't no mo Deaniacs! Though flawed as are all politicians with media enemies, Dean was youth inspiring. Who among the candidates rearing their behinds this early in the race can motivate young people like Dean? Obama? Maybe. Time will tell very soon. He may be the sacrificial rabbit or the prodigall son, hopefully not Hamlet.
Florida, like California, is a cult of personality state. Political flacks can make cases for weak agendas as long as there's a media acceptable smile and front page baby kiss. No one objects to the political media publicly. Privately Floridians know things are sweet for the fast money crowd without a strong state government. Kathy Harris is a prime example of the caliber of Republican we had when I lived there. She's gone for a rest, a long rest. You can bet she'll be back as a fundraiser in 2008.
Oh yes, I know firsthand, I was a radio and television news editor, on air reader and psa creator. Not the prostate test...public service announcements! Our station tried to find non-identity based Florida organization spokespeople to feature in our required half hour daily interview show. All too often it was a Florida Power and Light utility company representative with advice on your air conditioning bill or a raving self annointed anti-Castro politician pitching a new factional not-for-profit fund raising scam to take back the island for freedom and democracy.
I've learned that America, the land of opportunity through democracy, is a confused, scared country right now without much communal direction. Except in its deep desire to be forgiven its corporate, consumer and political sins through its indulgence in religion. We used to say you could tell what the guest is going to pitch on air by his identity description. We weren't often wrong.
We need to remember that young people mature a bit, marry, have children, turn into voters with their family and identity agendas. Let's attract them now. Make progressive issues a desirable agenda through their youthful interests. If we succeed in the process, we just might overcome the hapless need to constantly disparage this aging, easily manipulated, bleeding democracy we love, want and need to survive as proud citizens.
Mon, 02 Oct 2006 18:30:00 +0000
Bush Is Bad--Impeachment Edition
We went to the opening of “Bush Is Bad”—Impeachment Edition on Oct 28th. Seeing this updated version of Joshua Rosenblum’s political cabaret at the Triad Theater on West 72nd Street convinces me that not every political idealist should or could be a progressive blogger.
Some people must get their message out there in their own very different way. Instead of offering his political opinions online, composer-lyricist Rosenblum serves up his anti-conservative, anti-Bush commentary in this highly sophisticated, yet totally accessible New York cabaret...
In last year’s original “Bush Is Bad” cabaret we heard “How Can 59 Million People Be So Dumb?” and that there’s “New Hope For The Fabulously Wealthy” among 24 other wildly funny and stylized songs. While laughing we also knew these songs were telling the truth about American politics, always from a liberal, progressive perspective.
A year later with this new edition about the Bush Presidency, its many deceptive players and sideshow characters, we learn that “Anyone Can Grow Up To Be President” and “You Can Never Have Enough Bush” especially if you’re a patronage political appointee who’s doing “A Heck Of A Job”.
Caricatures of conservatives and their supporters are greatly exaggerated as they can’t be in real life. We spend hilarious satirical time with Katherine Harris, Wally O'Dell of Diebold fame, Jack Abramoff, Accident prone Harry Whittington who was shot by VP Dick Cheney, heck of a job Michael Brownie, Don the Bully Rumsfeld, Draconic Dick Cheney, contemptuous Condi Rice, and most importantly the Bush Big Mama, Barbara the Ball Breaker. Alberto Gonzales opines that “Torture Has Been Very Good To Me” while George W. himself sings about clearing brush “Down In Crawford”.
Still, the crux and point of this show is to prove to the converted that politics as theater doesn’t have to be as depressing as the media would have us believe. Often we’re led by political media to believe that all politicians are inimicably corrupt, hypocritical and venal. Because of this, a majority of Americans are disgusted with politics, which leads to apathy, alienation and frustration. They avoid participation. “Bush Is Bad” shows us that some pols are far worse than others. Yes Virgina, voting for the lesser of two evils is one of the considerations in the privacy of the booth.
“The “I” Word” is unleashed in a furious chorus. Indeed there’s a way out of this quagmire, a way of getting rid of Bush. “Would somebody give him a blowjob please,” the cast pleads. Here the corporate media’s obsession with Clinton’s sex life is taken to absurd ends. Meanwhile the wild and crazy Bush family children are brutally caricatured, as, well, the next generation of Bushes. Yikes!!!
There’s plenty of sex in politics both straight and gay, revealed and closeted, and plenty of songs about political sex in this show. I’m hoping a new song will be added about Congressman Mark Foley’s (R-FL) sudden resignation due to his emails to young and pretty boytoy pages in Congress. It’s a “Bush Is Bad” delight, bad for the Republican hypocrites, but a very good moment for political cabaret.
What “Bush Is Bad” does best is juggle almost all the aspects of Republican politics, from values to corruption, from war to stealing elections, in one show that gives us strength and reason to carry on the fight against one party rule.
I can’t wait to see the next version of “Bush Is Bad—The Jeb Edition”
“Bush Is Bad”-Impeachment Edition
Concept, Music and Lyrics by Joshua Rosenblum
With Janet Dickinson, Neal Mayer, Michael McCoy
Directed and choreographed by Gary Slavin
Opened Sept. 28, Unlimited run
Thursdays and Fridays at 9 pm: Saturdays at 7 pm
The Triad Theatre, 172 West 72nd St., NYC
Tickets: 212.279.4200 Use code “BUSH” for 30% discount
Tue, 07 Dec 2004 16:20:31 +0000
New York Artists Post Election Town Hall Meeting
Introduced and moderated by Eleanor Heartney, Larry Litt and others
Date: Saturday Dec. 11, 2004
Time: From 6 to 8 pm
Where: White Box
525 West 26th Street
1) Talk about the various relationships artists have with innumerable current issues locally, nationally and globally.
2) Discuss the formation of an artists’ committee to support progressive and liberal candidates of any party through the talents and energies we have to offer.
3) Set dates for future meetings that will implement actions either individually or with groups, such as advocacy group and candidate contact for artists.
When a core committee is formed we will concentrate on creating awareness in the arts and arts education communities of the upcoming elections. We can affect the 2005 New York City Mayoral, School Board, and 2006 gubernatorial campaigns. These elections are important to artists as NYC Dept. of Education, Dept. of Cultural Affairs and NYSCA budget appropriations are essential cultural issues.
Many activist groups are having this type of meeting to evaluate where we go from here. Bear in mind that conservative agendas have prevented arts education from progressing in public schools and installed an atmosphere of self censorship among arts teachers.
This effort may evolve into a state wide organizing campaign for artists in all disciplines through cooperating arts spaces and art departments at colleges and universities. This is an artist run, not a curatorial event. Do not bring slides.
Make your statements, share your views, talk about the future with your fellow artists who created political work for the 2004 elections in all visual media, video, film and performance.
You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.
--Jeanette Rankin (1880-1973) Pacifist and politician