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Musicians with Nothing to Say contributor:tamra spyvey
I've been reading an amazing book The Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen, I highly recommend it to anyone. Jensen unflinchingly digs into the tangled history of money and violence.

Telling the story of a black woman in Georgia in 1918 who after her husband was killed by the Klan vowed revenge and then was abducted, hung up, had her belly slit open with a pork knife and her eight month old fetus's head stomped in front of her before being tortured to death, Derrick doesn't blame racism alone. He points out that some very fertile land was abandoned shortly after when the black community fled the area.

Derrick gives us horrifying statistics about the percentages of black men imprisoned today, for example in Baltimore over fifty percent of the black men have been imprisoned. One of four women in America is raped and about another one of four suffers attempted rape. A prisoner is less likely to get raped in prison than a woman is living "free." Millions of children worldwide are forced into prostitution. Death squads using chainsaws torture and kill farmers.

But Derrick pulls the curtain back so we can see more deeply. For example, isn't it interesting that most death squad activity occurs near the operations of oil companies? Child prosititution always shows up in the wake of the multinational corporations. Violence is how you keep an underclass down. Keeping an underclass down makes the overclass rich.

Why do money and murder so often go together? Don't most of us have parts of us murdered just by working the jobs we're forced to work? By living in a pile of debt? It's not as simple as money is the magic ring that grants you anything. True, instant satisfaction can be bought, often without consequences.

But Derrick thinks it goes deeper than that. Like I sing in Fubar: the more things you treat like it the more your life turns to shit. Money makes everything it. A person becomes an it. Animals, rainforests, they are nothing but objects with a set value that can be offset by a higher value.

A farmer may be the sixth generation on his farm, proud to have learned the art of soil renewal, an American whose ancestors fought for freedom in the Revolutionary War and every war after, but to the lawyer and the accountant his land is worth x amount of dollars. Kicking him out along with another hundred of his kind to build a giant industrial complex that will poison the area for generations, well that just makes good dollars and cents.

Chances are the decision maker will never even see the farms or families being destroyed. The decision maker will enjoy his mansion, feel affection for his lovely daughter, buy diamonds for his wife, get good seats at the ball game and the opera, and all is right in the world.

There's no giant conspiracy of monster humans, no satan pulling the strings, just too many people who see other people as it. Dumb redneck. Damn nigger. Silly faggot. Stupid blond. Feeble-minded bitches. and on and on and on.

The people who lived in America before us believed nothing was merely it. Stones had spirits that fashioned their peculiar beauties. Every individual animal and plant had a soul worthy of respect. I've felt that way since I was a kid. Many kids do.

Our own ancestors where ever we came from all shared such beliefs. It would be hilarious if it wasn't horrific that while torturing and obliterating people with these sensitive beliefs our ancestors trumpeted their own moral superiority.

Derrick Jensen proves our so called civilization isn't civilized at all, it's built on child abuse, rape, torture, war, and every single day it claims many victims.

We seem to be at a special crisis point now. Any idiot could have predicted that the march toward globalization would be far too tempting a target to ignore for people who love power and money. America, a symbol of freedom, is showing disturbing signs of fascism. She would be a great launching pad for the super elite of the world to squeeze maximum profit out of us all.

Did you know that the most successful hedge fund managers are getting paid one BILLION dollars a year? Did you know when most of our families lost half our money when the market crashed that hedge funds doubled and tripled the money of the richest? I say the richest because the minimum investment accepted by these funds is in the millions.

600 million dollars for the retiring head of GE. Almost 400 million for the retiring head of Exxon. The rich are getting richer. Which would be fine except upward mobility is almost dead in America. If you were born poor most likely you will live your life poor. America where anyone can make a fortune has become more like a caste society.

Which finally at long last brings me to my point. Why I hate American Idol. : D

But first let me digress once more!

I find it interesting that most of the musicians who have played with Lucid Nation never mention it anywhere. After all, we've been number one on national college radio, we got rave reviews in Rolling Stone and Magnet, we're considered an important experimental band, we're in Wikipedia, respected poets say I'm a serious poet. Why wouldn't you mention, if you had recorded with me, that you had?

When I send out bulletins about how I'm looking for a bass player I get messages back saying I can't believe you can't find people to play with, who wouldn't want to play in your band? But I can find very few musicians willing to play with me.

Do you think it might have something to do with politics? Do you think it might be because I have a big mouth and I'm not afraid to share information that moves me? Do you think it's because I'm driven by the idea that if the future is terrible people will be able to point back and say while most musicians were wanking Tamra Spivey was telling the truth?

It's creepy that pre 9-11 more people wanted to play music with me. The more paranoid we're all getting, the more terrorism and abusive security measures seep the poison of suspicion into all our souls, the less able I am to find collaborators.

I'm not surprised by it. I saw what happened when I was a senior editor at Newtopia Magazine. We had broken big stories about Iraq and Diebold's crooked voting machines. When our editor in chief was sent to prison for a year after getting caught with a joint and a couple tabs of e the rest of us tried to keep it going but we all became so paranoid of each other everything quickly froze. Now Newtopia is only an archive, but it still gets a half million unique hits a year and growing.

I'm guessing that most of the musicians I've played with don't want their friends and families googling Lucid Nation. Nobody wants to talk about politics if they don't have to.

When I look out into the world of music I see musicians with nothing to say. Musicians imitating formulas, doing what they're told, crowing about their chops, sprouting the elitism of their specialized taste, bragging about sexual conquests, money grubbing, lining up eagerly to be exploited.

I've always felt it was our responsibility as musicians to tell the truth. That's the difference between Picasso and being a wall painter. To me most musicians are wall painters at a time when the world desperately needs Picassos. Some of these musical wall painters are amazingly skilled. But they are only entertainment and that makes them, according to Derrick Jensen, accessories to the crime.

One of my guitarists is a guitar teacher. He was telling me the other day about trying to explain to a ten year old student the difference between an American Idol and John Lennon. That is why I hate American Idol. It's a sleeping pill. It's the great river they call denial. It's an idiot with firecrackers silencing the songbirds. It's a massive celebration of musicians with nothing to say when we most need musicians to say something.
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