Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

Posts made in February, 2018

Your War to End

By on Feb 22, 2018 in Blog | 1 comment

Dear Teenage America: Your outrage is well founded. All your lives you’ve known gun violence as a norm. It was not a norm when we were in school. It should not be a norm. This is your Vietnam. It is a corrupt war hijacked for purposefully obscured reasons. It is your war to end. Vietnam was a war abroad challenged at home. This war is solely on our land. The names of schools suffering premeditated surprise attacks of destruction ring out like the battles of any prior global conflict: Columbine (1999). Virginia Tech (2007). Sandy Hook (2012). Parkland (2018). Add to these battle monikers the neighborhood mass shootings near your campuses: Aurora (2012). San Bernardino (2015). Orlando (2016). Las Vegas (2017). These don’t even include the lessor acts of weekly gun violence that no longer seem to warrant national news coverage. The assaults are frequent and terrorizing, yet somehow they have become numbing. With these numbers and the vast unpredictability of some 300 million guns in American civilian hands, no public space can be declared protected, fortified, or safe. Not schools. Not churches. Not theaters or clubs. Not government office buildings. How is this not a war? We hear your cry. Enough already. Make it end here. Make it end now. Eliminate assault weapons from the American civilian landscape and you will have changed our nation for the generations to come. You have risen with spontaneity, passion, and authenticity to oppose injustice. You can no longer tolerate the breach of trust perpetuated on the places you come in order to learn, share, trade ideas, grow, and ready yourselves for the future. Your immediate impact and opportunity have not gone unnoticed. Here is what one writer, Emily Witt, wrote about you in The New Yorker: By Sunday, only four days after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, the activist movement that emerged in its aftermath had a name (Never Again), a policy goal (stricter background checks for gun buyers), and a plan for a nationwide protest (a March for Our Lives, scheduled for March 24th). It also had a panel of luminary teens who were reminding America that the shooting was not a freak accident or...

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The Emergent Miracle of 50

By on Feb 8, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Were popular songs from 1918 played widely in 1968? How about songs from 1928 in 1978? Or songs from 1938 in 1988? So how come songs from 1968 are still widely played in 2018? Want to know why? Here are ten songs from the top of the charts in 1968, from the Billboard Hot 100 of that year: “Hey Jude” by The Beatles (#1). “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream (#6). “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel (#9). “Mony Mony” by Tommy James and the Shondells (#13). “Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone (#20). “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf (#31). “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones (#50). “Light My Fire” by Jose Feliciano (#52). “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (#57). “I Say a Little Prayer for You” by Aretha Franklin (#93). I don’t think I need to write any more words today. The point proves itself. We don’t need to know why. The songs speak for themselves. They sing for themselves. Our attachment is primal, mystical, enduring. Given the fifty years between the 1960s and the 2010s, not a day goes by that we don’t celebrate the 50th anniversary of something, for many of us our own time on the earth. Last year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This year it’s The White Album. The Rolling Stones already have a 50 and Counting tour on their resume. Last year Fleetwood Mac hit 50 and headlined The Classic West and East stadium tours alongside iconic peers the Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Journey, and Earth, Wind, & Fire. Paul McCartney will likely tour until he can no longer stand on the stage. Ringo is still regularly on the road with his All-Starr Band.  You’ll remember that The Beatles led The British Invasion shortly after the Kennedy assassination. Yes, “all those years ago!” So what is the endurance factor of what we now call classic rock? Is it simply that the baby boomers who shepherded these bands in youthful acts of defiance are living a lot longer? There might be something to that, but it doesn’t explain why so many millennials are...

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