Friday, October 8, 2010

Imagine: It's John Lennon's 70th Birthday on October 9, 2010. And it is Sean Ono Lennon's 35th birthday--the same exact age John was when Sean was born. Hapy Birthday, Sean!

(See YouTube for over 80 tribute videos by musicians and fans)

(Check out Google's mainpage for this)

See IMAGINE *here*, featuring John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I'm wishing you joy and peace, Yoko!

I'd kind of like to think, even with the Italian version, that I was named after Julian Lennon. But as I was born over two months before he was, that's unlikely. Julian is now 47. He's lived seven years longer than his father did. I'm wishing you joy and peace, Julian! Joy and peace also to your mum, Cynthia, who wrote a great book about John

And a very happy, joyful, peaceful 35th birthday to you, Sean!

What follows is from CBS Sunday Morning. Click on title below to Get Back to the original website.

NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2010

Julian and Sean Lennon Come Together

Having Grown Up Separately in the Shadow of a Beatle, the Half-Brothers Discuss Their Careers and Their Close Bond

  • Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono and Julian Lennon at the opening of an 
exhibition of Julian's photographs in New York City. Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono and Julian Lennon at the opening of an exhibition of Julian's photographs in New York City.  (CBS)
  • Play CBS Video Video The Lennons Come Together John Lennon's two sons grew up living completely different lives raised by two different people. And who would have thought his two long estranged families would ever come together in peace and harmony. But as Anthony Mason now shows us, they have.
(CBS)  Fans of John Lennon plan to COME TOGETHER at events around the world next Saturday to mark the anniversary of his birth. Hard to believe, but that's the day Lennon would have turned 70. And who would have thought Lennon's two long estranged families would ever come together in peace and harmony. But as Anthony Mason now shows us . . . they have:

In the often-bitter history of the Beatles family . . . it was a surprising moment of unity.

John Lennon's first wife Cynthia and the woman he left her for, Yoko Ono, embracing.

On the eve of what would have been Lennon's 70th birthday, his two wives and their two sons . . . all together now.

"That was most curious how that came together," said Julian Lennon. "I did tell everybody that everybody was going to be there - and wasn't quite sure if everybody was going to turn up!" he laughed.

The occasion was the opening of Julian Lennon's first exhibition of photographs.

At 47, John Lennon's first-born son is already 7 years older than his father was when he was killed in 1980.

"If millions of people weren't coming up and asking you about your father's 70th birthday, is it something you would be marking in any way?" Mason asked.

"I'm actually looking at my age and his age, going, Jesus, what happened?" Julian laughed. "You know, time has flown. And now more than ever look back with a great deal of respect for him as a man, and his work, but not necessarily as a father. There's a lot of forgiveness now."

It's been the paradox of Julian Lennon's life that he spent his childhood chasing after his father's love, and the years since running from his father's shadow.

He scored a series of his own hits in the Eighties, but was always being measured against his father's almost mythological image:

But earlier this year Julian suddenly set out in a new direction . . . considering a career as a photographer.

"It's kind of unexpected, isn't it?"

"Listen," Lennon replied, "six months ago, I had no idea."

Urged on by celebrity photographer Timothy White, who admired his work, Julian began to put together a show based around a series of landsacpes and skyscapes:

Web Exclusive: Watch Extended Interview With Julian Lennon

"It sort of became a bizarre hobby. But I can't help myself for taking pictures of clouds," Lennon said.

"I guess also, the other side of the coin is, Dad wasn't necessarily known for his photography. Not that that's the reason I'm doing this by any means."

"But you don't have to suffer the comparison," Mason said.

"Yes, in that respect. So there's a joy in this and a freedom to this."

But Julian has also tried to hold onto him. For years he has been buying up Beatles memorabilia at auctions around the world.

He's collected the Afghan coat John wore on the set of "Magical Mystery Tour."

"How did you feel about having to do that?" Mason asked.

"Well, I mean, it does suck, doesn't it? But if that's the only way I can get them back, then that's what I'm going to have to do."

"What means the most to you?"

"I guess the postcards," Julian said. "It means that he was thinking about me at a time he wasn't around."

After the divorce, Julian often went years without seeing his father, who later doted on his half-brother Sean:

"When I saw the fact that, you know, he'd basically given up music for a couple of years to look after Sean, you know, that was - it was hurtful. I thought, 'Well, why didn't he do that for me?'

"But then in retrospect, and [seeing] what duress he was under at the time when the Beatles hit, I mean, they hit as big as it got. I started to grasp, Well, he couldn't have stopped. You have to let go and sort of say, Well, I get it. I understand. I really do."

The day before the opening of his photography show, his mother Cynthia arrived from Spain where she now lives:

"We've never seen my son so happy as he is now," she said.

When asked if he was nervous, Julian Lennon said, "Yeah. I do get incredibly anxious. Almost borderline panic attacks."

On opening night at New York's Morrison Hotel Gallery, Julian's show packed the house:

"I think it was more insane than backstage after a gig," he said.

The crowd included George Harrison's first wife, Pattie Boyd.

And then Yoko arrived with Sean.

Julian and his younger brother, who is now 34, grew up in different homes, in different countries, but they're very close:

"Julian is the reason I started playing music, actually," said Sean. "Because when I was a kid I remember when his record came out. And he was, you know, the biggest thing that existed in the world."

"Biggest thing in our family," said Yoko.

For the first time together, they talked about their relationship:

"Actually he taught me how to play guitar," Sean said. "I remember him teaching me the song, 'Faith' by George Michael."

"Oh, jeez," Julian exclaimed.

"But the truth is Julian was like my hero. He still is," said Sean.

The show included photographs Julian had taken of Sean, when he surprised him on tour in Eastern Europe a few years ago.

For two weeks, Julian rode the tour bus with his brother:

"So he was your roadie?" Mason asked.

"I actually became the sort of assistant tour manager for restaurants."

Sean said, "He's much better at organizing than I am."

"Just experience, my dear boy," Julian said. "Just experience."

"You're the organized one! Anyway, it was the most touching thing."

Julian's relationship with Sean's mother has been far more difficult.

For years he fought bitterly with Yoko for a share of his father's estate, before they finally reached a settlement.

"You've had your differences in the past," Mason said. "Forgive me, but you've decided to 'give peace a chance.'"

"Jeez!" Julian said. "It's just not worth the stress. It really isn't. The stresses and the strains. I think the key point to all this, for me at least, has been Sean. If I hurt Sean's mother, then I hurt Sean. It's a roundabout way of thinking about things. But because I love Sean so much, I just don't want to hurt him. I can get over it. Have gotten over it."

"And thank you for doing that," Sean said.

"Thank you for being here tonight," Julian said.

In the end, Julian Lennon's show of photographs produced its own remarkable picture, that of John Lennon's family together.

Imagine that.

For more info:

"Domestic Violence Awareness Month" ought to be renamed "Heterosexual Husbands and Boyfriends Beating The Shit Out of Women and Their Children Awareness Millennium"

image is from here

It is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the U.S. and here is a website devoted to publicising that.

1. Domestic Violence is, it seems to me, the violence done by the U.S. government and corporations and individual oppressors to the oppressed who live within the U.S. and its "territories". Or to it's "territories" and the land and the air and the water. Poverty, for example, is a form of Domestic Violence. So is institutionalised racism, heterosexism, and misogyny.

2. Domestic violence is distinguished from Off-shore Violence. And in looking at the latter what we may note is how warfare is part of each: warfare against women by men who seek patriarchal/male supremacist control of women and girls, and also to regulate and restrict the behavior of boys so that they grow up to be "good patriarchs", meaning mass murders, serial rapists, and batterers of anyone in punching range.

3. Domestic Violence was the name chosen when discussions about the many ways men dominate women through intimate violence because too specific for contemplation, let alone resistance work and activism to stop men's violence against women. It is the generic term for something that isn't at all generic or ungendered. Yes, we need to acknowledge that there is such a thing as battery in lesbian and gay relationships. And of course there are many ways adults in families do violence to children. But the most common form of gendered-sexual violence in families is fathers and father figures incesting/raping/molesting their own daughters or girls they are supposed to be parenting, not preying on.

4. Why doesn't the Anti-Woman Revengelical Fundamentalist Christian White Right [Wrong) acknowledge that their unwritten and unspoken moral code is this: "The Family That Preys Against Female Family Members, Stays Together Due to Stockholm Syndrome and other effects of Dominance and Control"? And realise that feminism is only anti-family if your idea of family includes men dominating women, heterosexism, and violence against women and children, including sexual violence?

5. Why doesn't the Anti-Woman Libertarian Liberal "Left" acknowledge that their unwritten and unspoken code is this: men should have as much freedom of access and rights to violate girls and women as men desire to have, to do whatever it is men wish to do to girls and women that men learn from predatory men and pornographers and pimps. What is are the liberals and libertarians doing to stop incest and rape? Not a whole helluva lot. Why is that? Because rape and incest aren't worth stopping? Or because liberal men believe that in a liberal society incest and rape are part of the price paid for "freedom"? Too fucking high a price, I say.

6. Why isn't homophobic and anti-girl bullying and battery understood as part of Domestic Violence? How many girls and boys have to take their own lives before conservatives and liberals wake up to the fact that children hurting, degrading, humiliating, and terrorising other children isn't socially good or socially necessary. Clearly anti-bullying and anti-battery policies and education programs could be in place in every school system. Sure, there'd have to be less military massacres going on non-domestically, to liberate funds to pay school systems to implement such policies and programs. But the problem with that would be what? Less profit in Dick Cheney's, Donald Rumsfeld's, and David Petraeus's pockets? Those "poor" men will just have to get along with the millions they already have acquired through mass rape and mass murder of "foreign" people of color.

7. Why isn't the violence boys do to girls in school systems and outside school systems discussed? I sporadically hear about is anti-gay bullying, usually by boys against boys, or anti-girl bullying, usually by girls against girls. I'm not suggesting each isn't a serious social problem--both are, as is anti-lesbian violence against girls, which I hear little to nothing at all about. But we also need to focus on the problem of boys sexually harassing, stalking, physically and sexually violating girls, throughout grade school and on into adulthood. And anti-lesbian violence among children too.

8. There's a simple way to end married het men battering women in their home. It is to remove forever from the home any man who is found to have beaten up a woman in the home. And to prevent him from ever having contact with his female spouse or his children, as beating up a child's mother is or ought to be grounds for losing all rights to ever see your child or your spouse again. Sound harsh? To the men who think that's too harsh: Try not beating up women and avoid the harsh consequence. Any man that terrorises or systematically dominates and controls a woman in their home has no right to raise their children, to have custody of them, or to visit them. Sound harsh? To them men who think that's too harsh: systematically demonstrate regard and respecting for women and children; don't terrorising or ridicule anyone; don't dominate and bully anyone; and don't demean and controlling anyone systematically. Try being non-abusive, compassionate, and caring, not vengeful and vindictive and then, guess what? You get to raise your own children! See how easy that can be? It's all, quite literally, in your hands, fellas.

9. As for the men who declare the "equal" problem of women beating men, show me the thousands of x-rays of those men's broken bones, please. Show me the thousands of photos of their badly battered faces. Show me the shelters. Because it's not that class-privileged men aren't economically posititioned to purchase and set up "safe homes" for men abused by women. No. Straight men can do that if need be, what with all those allegedly advanced construction skills (to compliment all the destruction skills). The reality is that there is no need. Meanwhile, men down-play the violence men do to women and up-play the violence women do to men. (Yes, women can and do hurt men (and women) in a variety of ways. I've seen women who have been abused and neglected by men lash out in frustration and pain and say hurtful things to men, sometimes even to their faces. What I haven't ever seen or heard about is this: a woman abuse a man who was never been abused by a man. Not once. I accept that it is often the case that men who batter women witnessed men beating up women somewhere earlier in their lives. But not that they witnessed women beating up men earlier in their lives. So no matter how you look at it, the source problem here is men's violence against women, not women's against men.

10. Funny (not ha-ha funny, and not ta-ta funny) how the major media might mention something about Breast Cancer Awareness Month--never enough, while generally ignoring Heterosexual Husbands and Boyfriends Beating The Shit Out of Women and Their Children Awareness Month. I know queer battery happens too; I'm gay. But I'm all for naming what the endemic problem is that's part of an overall systemic reality of men subordinating women, which is men battering (and raping) women, intimately. And anyone beaten, even in lesbian and gay relationships, is called misogynistic names, which tells you a whole lot about the gendered foundations of domestic violence. The problem is not, as too many abusive het men proclaim the problem to be: "spouses hitting each other". I raised the issue in a recent post: why it is that anti-abortionists don't seem to give a shit that men beat up pregnant women causing untold miscarriages? I mean even if they only care about unborn female foetuses and don't give a damn about out-of-the-womb girls and women, you'd think they'd be overtly anti-battery and anti-rape (including anti-incest): two reasons for unwanted pregnancy and unwanted loss of pregnancy. Two main methods of terrorising and dominating women through force and violation. How about Pernicious and Predatory Patriarchal Privileges Awareness Month? Let's see the morning shows and evening news deal with that issue honestly in town hall meetings.

Pirates of Color and Blond Thin White Heterosexual Women: Part 93 (now in 3D), aka "Gunfire at Falcon Lake"

this image is being used here for media analysis purposes only, as an expression of political speech, and is from here
I've written out my analysis of what the hell is going on with this case in my comment below. It has been modified a bit from the one I submitted to The Feminist Texican. With thanks to Melissa for posting what follows. Please click on the title below to link back to her blog. What is next is a video and commentary and analysis from Melissa. Then a very few comments (two) from readers of her blog. Then there's mine, which as usual is last and longest. While I get into it below, I'll state from the outset that I don't know what happened in this particular case. I've only got mass media as my source of information and if there's one thing they're known for not doing, it's telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. They aren't under any oath, and their investors want money, not social change. Exploitation and entertainment is the name of the capitalist media game. The stories all start and stop there.

To all who have been harmed by poverty, drug trade gun-fire, rape, and other forms of atrocity, my heart goes out to the loved ones of those who did not survive. Most of those victimised are of color. Many are women of color. And the U.S. media won't tell you a damn thing about any one of them--we won't ever learn their names, hear about their personal histories, watch their family members and other loved ones grieve, or understand how it came to be that they were in a violent place where guns manufactured in the U.S. were sent with the express purpose of firing bullets in order to kill people of color.

On the alleged Mexican pirate attack at Falcon Lake

6 October, 2010

Trigger warning. 

Today has a transcript of the interview portion here.

This is all just too bizarre.

I live in south Texas (I was actually going to go out to Falcon Dam with a friend a while back to check out the flooding) and hear stories of cartel/gang violence on a daily basis. Something about this woman’s story seems off when you compare it to all the stories you hear about cartel violence. For one, how would she have time to turn her jet ski around, see her husband was shot, try to pull him up onto her jet ski, and still be able to get away…all while being shot at from three boats? I could absolutely be wrong here, and perhaps she really did “luck” out and was able to barely make her escape, but it doesn’t sound right. Second, mutilated bodies turn up all the time. I really can’t see the cartels giving a shit if Hartley’s body is found, so I can’t picture them going back just so they could hide his body. (No, I’m not alleging anything here other than my opinion that her story sounds bizarre. I can’t imagine what the family is going through.)

As an aside: I just love how a young white woman is widowed in an attack by Mexicans, and it gets national news coverage. Yes, I’m gonna go there. Because innocent people are getting murdered on a daily basis. Women are being raped at gunpoint while their boyfriends/husbands/family members/friends are forced to watch. I went to dinner last month with my old high school friends and was stunned to learn that two of them had relatives who’d been kidnapped and held for ransom in Reynosa. Do you have any idea how surreal it is to sit at Olive Garden, have one friend disclose the fact that her uncle had been kidnapped, and then hear another friend at the other side of the table say, “Mine was too?” (Both of their relatives are safe now.)

Fucked up shit is happening. Daily. Less than 15 miles south of where I live. But because it’s happening to brown people–Mexicans, no less–the media doesn’t give a shit.

1. noemi | 6 October, 2010 at 10:46 am

I totally agree with you that its not being reported. The shit my dad tells me when he comes back from Nuevo Leon. My cousin right now is kidnapped, for weeks now. And there was no coverage at all when they hung men from trees near Cerralvo.

2. Darth Paul | 6 October, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I turned him over and he was shot in the head. And that’s when one of the boats came up to me. [I] had a gun pointed at me. [They] were trying to decide what to do with me, and then they left.”

Me digo el mudo…

I’m just gonna be coarse and suggest she had him offed and is trying to pin it on vague Mexican bogeymen. As indicated, violence is happening all the time on the frontera…what better place to have an ‘incident’ with your spouse of one year?

3. Julian | 8 October, 2010 at 12:54 am

I’ve heard her story. Apparently there are plenty of media opportunities to do so. For what it’s worth, I’m going to say I believe her account of what happened. And my condolences to her and his loved ones.

And I’m also going to say that when I first heard this story my first reaction was that this was yet another fu**ed up racist white male supremacist media story that was going to clog the airwaves–or whatever they are now–for weeks to come.

Why did I think that? Because this is not just A story. It is THE story that repeats in dominant U.S. media and in the dominant U.S. mind: something negative happens to an English-speaking woman, usually young–sometimes a girl–always “pretty” by corporate/advertising/pornographic standards, which means–necessarily and with very few exceptions–she’s white, blond, and thin. I already mentioned young, didn’t I? And white? And thin? And blond? Just checking. And not ever, ever a lesbian. And not ever, ever a butch woman of any sexual orientation. Oh, and always, always class-privileged. Always. Never poor. Not even once.

So here’s the deal: the media wants us all to look at these women, some women, a select few, over and over and over again, to prop up this one ideal of beauty while exploiting someone’s suffering, and to associate this beauty with suffering and with victimisation and various ideas that “she needs help”.

The perennial “she” has been kidnapped, raped, or something else that’s grim and terrible, always–ALWAYS–by “a foreigner”. If the foreigner isn’t an English-speaking, GREAT. And if the foreigner is male and of color, EVEN BETTER. Corporate media isn’t about to discuss any serious issues, like, say, white male supremacy and how it impacts what media covers and doesn’t cover. You’d think that all the dominant media would occasionally slip up and make the mistake of focusing on that, but no. We won’t hear about the fact that one in three American Indian women are raped in this country [in her lifetime] and that over 80% of the rapists are white het men. That’s not “news”. Truth is, it’s not “new”, but it ought to be news.

What we’ll get is yet another story that amps up U.S. white xenophobic racism, anti-Mexican/Mexico (or anti-Black, or anti-Muslim, or anti-Arab) sentiments, and plays to the heterosexist and racist pornographic imagination wherein bad things happen to good white (“good” and “white” being interchangeable) women, by bad, bad men (read: men who don’t speak English as a first language and who are darker than pale white people). “Dark” means bad.

The media IS HUNGRY for stories that will reinforce our racist government’s efforts to stigmatise people of color in order to reinforce white supremacy and uses of the U.S. military and police forces–as if white supremacy was in any danger of being harmed any time soon. (As if it wasn’t the U.S. government and corporations that are harming the hell out of non-rich white folks, and people of color of all classes. Hush my mouth!)

It’s Snow White and Sleeping Beauty all over again. All we need now are some white het male heroes on Aryan-white horses to save the day.

The reason the perennial “she” must be young is U.S. corporate advertisers have tons of non-recyclable shit to sell us all. So we’ve got to be trained on her face. We’ve got to note what “youth” looks like: it looks like a white woman, preferably blond; it doesn’t look fat; it looks more beautiful if very young. Because there’s another major enemy out there of white women (and women of color too)–AGE. Yes. Cue the “Jaws” theme music. AGE will get her. One day it will. If she and her white loved ones aren’t off’ed by some man of color in the mean time.

The O.J. Simpson story was so huge, so very, very, very huge, not only because he was famous. But because it so usefully reinforced in the dominant white imagination this idea that really, when you’re not looking, that dark man is gonna gitcha! And the “you” he’s gonna git is “pretty, white, blond, thin, female, heterosexual, and class-privileged”.

Now I’ll add that I believe O.J. Simpson horrifically battered and murdered Jessica Brown Simpson, and that he also callously and selfishly murdered Ron Goldman. The issue isn’t so much guilt or innocence. The issue is what to focus on so that we don’t have to pay attention to the deeper issues: the racist-misogynistic violence and terrorism that is U.S. foreign and domestic policy–the active maintenance of poverty, for one thing, which disproportionately wears the face of someone who is female and of color.

We’ve also got to not really notice–in so many words–the fact that we’re at it again in Asia–sixty-five-plus years and counting of terrorism, just because we can keep on murdering and raping, raping and murdering Asian people and pretend, against overwhelming evidence, it’s to protect white Amerikkka. And we have awards–medals of honor–to give some of our soldiers, if they live and if they don’t. (The U.S. military cares not one bit about its soldiers; it trains them to kill and to be killed, and if they complain about it they are called misogynistic names.)

And I say all of this while believing that this particular young woman is telling the truth. And, I could be wrong. I thought about the fact that maybe her husband was an abuser. That’s not because media portrays, stigmatises, and stereotypes hulky white het guys as perps of anything, mind you. It’s because I know lots of women and gay men of all colors who’ve been victimised by white het men.

In this latest story, I’ve wondered if maybe he, the white husband, was involved, himself, in drug runs. Perhaps not. We’ll see what we find out. Lorde knows the media won’t leave this alone. And they won’t PRECISELY for the reasons Melissa says: because the dominant U.S. media must not cover the deaths of women of color. They must not cover the deaths of men of color either. They will usually only cover the terrifying incidents of white women being systematically harmed (by white men) if the perp isn’t a white man.

And so we won’t get news about Iraqi citizens who’ve been raped and murdered by U.S. troops–unless, maybe, if the soldier is a Black or Brown man. And we won’t hear about what the West is really doing in Afghanistan, to women, to men, to children, to the land. And we won’t hear about how U.S. and European weapons are funneled to and furiously fuel every conflict around the world: from Central America to sub-Saharan Africa to cities and towns across the good ol’ U.S. of A.

We won’t be called to grieve the loss of any people of color. Not ever. Not in the white white West. If no one white was harmed, there was no crime, as far as dominant media is concerned. If only whites were harmed, and only people of color were the perpetrators, you’ll be hearing about it for weeks if not months, if not years, if not for centuries.

The U.S. media doesn’t have time to tell us anything that’s fundamentally and systematically wrong with the U.S. We’re too busy being enthralled with what happened in this latest case. And with the latest products to make our skin look years younger. Oh, and Lindsay Lohan and Lady GaGa.