Courage. Hope. Care. Boojummy. The term is derived from Louis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark. The Boojum, the most dangerous kind of snark, is found on an island many months sail from England, betwixt and between the dark crevices and crags. When you find one, so they say, you disappear. Forever. I kind of like to think it’s because you find yourself. In addition to courage, hope and care, you also need thimbles and forks – think Robert Frost two roads in a wood, not last night’s dinner – when you set out on a snark hunt.
Because, you see, it’s all about the weave and the darn. The doomed and the damned need not be either. They can be better than they were. Better. Stronger. Happier. In themselves and for us, if only we give them choices and alternatives to light moons and mommify all those hardened hearts.
Now, you can ask yourself, what the hell is this guy talking about? But you’d kind of be missing the point because the whole point is that there is no single point and so you’ve got to kind of go elliptically around and about and through and over and under and around, zigging the light and zagging the fright and tickling the dark and missing or maybe making the mark because, you see, it’s all connected, the big and the small, from the round, smooth marbleized Universe of Einstein right on down to every darn gluon, quark, atom and molecule of the woodified mind of man and woman and blade of grass a hummingbird wind sways back and forth in oscillating rhythm beneath the thousand million blossoms of that cherry tree rocking to the rhythms of a white house gale.
We can make it better. And we can make it even betterer together. I’d like to figure out a way because the weight is a gift when you’re strumming the nada surf riff, but it’s hard as hell to carry it all on your own, so tell you what…
… let’s take it back to 1.
It’s a called a PROGRESSION.
An interesting question I have to ask you Mattijn. Are you AGAINST making money? I will tell you my feeling and I know it is not “healthy,” but it is the way I am and I believe you will perhaps identify with me on this. For me, I can only make money and feel good about it if I am doing something I believe can make the world a better place.
Money as exchange for spirit bothers me greatly because it makes the world less, not more insofar as the terms of exchange are not in accordance with the lessons I was taught as a child such as: a) do what you love b) it is better to give than receive c) do unto others as you would have them do unto you d) love thyself e) try your hardest; and so on…
However, I also do not like to give and not receive, which is what has been a common occurrence for me in my life and it can make one angry and bitter, something I have had to fight against, believe me, for most of my life.
Do you see how people become paralyzed? They neither create for fear of being taken advantage of, nor do they make money because they are morally opposed to the terms of the exchange. Such people are in metaphorical “purgatory,” trapped in the rut of inaction, what Hegel termed the “dead end of possibility.” To act or not act is to fail, but in no action remains at least the proverbial pipe dream.
Do you know that line “I could have been a contender?” from “On the Waterfront”? These are the words of such a person, a person who didn’t try. But for people like me and you, Mattijn — and tell me if I am wrong — it is, or can be far, far worse. We live in a form of hell — because we see the light so many others do not and have no choice but to follow it — like Robert Johnson to the devil, and it is lonely, very very lonely. I know all about it. It is a place no one can lead you, so few will follow, but there is rarely a dearth of those who will readily attack.
Ron Blackwell, Chief Economist of the AFL-CIO at the dais giving a presentation at the New School Conference "A Realistic Growth Policy for Our Times" this past April 13, 2007.
There are a lot of frustrated folks out there looking for responsible, sustainable ways to expand opportunity for the have-nots in an age I have come to increasingly refer to as the "Neo-Gilded Age."
The answer as I see it?
PLURALISTIC CAPITALISM aka "The American Dream." Trickle-Down meets Trickle-Up and all we need to do, really, with a nod to Princeton professors Daniel Kahneman (Prospect theory) and Paul Dimaggio (cultural capital) is to supersize our notion of economy to include the value of heart, hope, courage and care.
Many thanks to Ron Blackwell, as well as Michael Reich (UC Berkeley), David Howell (The New School), Pascal Petit (CEPN, Paris) and Michael Piore (MIT) for their sportsmanship in the face of some well-intended tricksterishness on the part of this Citizen Economist. More on that another time, but let’s just say I learned a thing or two by osmosis.
RELATED WRITINGS (by Raphie Frank)
Pressure is Aggression to the Monkey in the Man
Trickle Up Economics, Conscious Capitalism & Co-Generation
Sophinette asks: Is Bono Fooling Us All? My response? NO!
The New Demand Economy : Watch out for Latinland
The Mathematics of Opportunity
Introducing “Trickle Up Economics” (aka “The One Song”)
Synchronicities of the Happily Converging Road
What’s Wrong With Profit?
If Keith fired Mick and decided to let Tina Turner front the band with Gram Parsons riding shotgun, they would sound a lot like Queen Esther. – CDBaby.com
Album cover shot for Talkin’ Fishbowl Blues
INTERVIEW BY RAPHIE FRANK
You grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. And now you’re in New York making your career as a vocalist, actor and writer. What brought you here?
You have to understand the myth that is New York. It’s like the Emerald City. I can remember wanting to live in New York when I was very very little. I can remember watching old Saturday Night Lives with John Belushi and seeing the beginning and seeing little pieces of New York and thinking “I want to live there. I want that energy.” Watching things from the Harlem Renaissance and thinking “I want to be a part of that.”
It’s hard though because it’s so much worse when you’re imagining how horrible it can be. When you’re living in a little town and all you have to go by is Scorsese movies and the rude people you meet that come through and all the stories you hear about how expensive it is and how everything smells like urine – you can intimidate yourself out of even coming for an extended visit.
But you came here. How did you get past that intimidation factor?
I put the fear of not fulfilling my destiny, of carrying regret around for my whole life before the fear of living in New York. I didn’t want to have to say “What if.” I didn’t want to have to live with the idea that I could have done something wonderful if I’d just gone to New York.
When did you come to New York?
I came to New York from Austin, Texas in the early 90’s. After college.
And you came to be a superstar?
I think I already am a superstar! The question is whether or not everyone else is going to find out about it. I’d like to, you know, I’d like to take my little arrow and shoot it into the air and I want it to go as far as it possibly can. If I hit something, hooray, but if I don’t, hey, at least I came to New York and I tried.
MORE GOTHAMIST INTERVIEWS by Raphie Frank