Any great artist is wrestling with their sadness and loneliness, their fears, anxieties and securities, and they're transfiguring those into complicated forms of expression that affect our hearts, minds and souls and remind us of who we are as human beings, the fragility of our human status and the inevitability of death.
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The basic problem with my love relationships with women is that my standards are so high - and they apply equally to both of us. I seek full-blast mutual intensity, fully fledged mutual acceptance, full-blown mutual flourishing, and fully felt peace and joy with each other. This requires a level of physical attraction, personal adoration, and moral admiration that is hard to find.
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And every historic effort to forge a democratic project has been undermined by two fundamental realities: poverty and paranoia. The persistence of poverty generates levels of despair that deepen social conflict the escalation of paranoia produces levels of distrust that reinforce cultural division. Rae is the most explosive issue in American life precisely because it forces us to confront the tragic facts of poverty and paranoia despair, and distrust. In short, a candid examination of race matters takes us to the core of the crisis of American democracy (p. 107).
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Market moralities and mentalities-- fueled by economic imperatives to make a profit at nearly any cost-- yield unprecedented levels of loneliness, isolation, and sadness. And our public life lies in shambles, shot through with icy cynicism and paralyzing pessimism. To put it bluntly, beneath the record-breaking stock markets on Wall Street and bipartisan budget-balancing deals in the White House lurk ominous clouds of despair across this nation.
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I do believe that healing takes place on a number of different levels and that in fact black healing can be deepened by trying to heal across as well as within. But it could be that to call for black and Jewish healing without acknowledging the need for intra-black healing puts the cart before the horse.
I think markets are mechanisms that determine prices that are necessary for mass heterogenous populations, and markets do generate levels of technological innovation and productivity that is crucial. But when unregulated, they often generate levels of vast inequality and ugly isolation that makes it difficult for people to relate and connect with one another.
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Theology is indispensable for religious communities to make sense of themselves and their changing views about the world in light of what is perceived to be revelation, but, at the same time, that theology can have a pretentiousness, or double pretentiousness, if it is acontextual as opposed to contextual, if it is foundationalist as opposed to antifoundationalist, or ahistorical as opposed to historicist.
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Life is such a mysterious thing that you are up one day; you are down the next day. A lot of the homeless brothers and sisters who were a success ten years ago, they are now on the street. Maybe ten years later they will be a success, but the crucial question is what is the quality of their life.
I think the important thing to understand first and foremost about Michael Jackson is that he was the international emblem of the African American blues spiritual impulse that goes back through slavery - Jim Crow, Jane Crow, up to the present moment, through a Louis Armstrong, through a Ma Rainey, through a Bessie Smith, all the way to John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone.
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The Poverty Tour provided the opportunity to meet many people who had been living paycheck to paycheck even before the economic downturn. To so quickly slide from the great middle into the underworld of the poor validated our suspicions that perhaps these citizens never really were bona fide, middle class Americans. Indeed, some economists assert that the middle class evaporated decades ago.
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In a time in which Communist regimes have been rightfully discredited and yet alternatives to neoliberal capitalist societies are unwisely dismissed, I defend the fundamental claim of Marxist theory: there must be countervailing forces that defend people's needs against the brutality of profit driven capitalism.
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..begin by talking about the kind of existentialist chaos that exists in our own lives and our inability to overcome the sense of alienation and frustration we experience when we try to create bonds of intimacy and solidarity with one another. Now part of this frustration is to be understood again in relation to structures and institutions. In the way in which our culture of consumption has promoted an addiction to stimulation - one that puts a premium on packaged and commodified stimulation. The market does this to convince us that our consumption keeps oiling the economy for it to reproduce itself. But the effect of this addiction to stimulation is an undermining, a waning of our ability for qualitatively rich relationships.
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I'm a bluesman moving through a blues-soaked America, a blues-soaked world, a planet where catastrophe and celebration- joy and pain sit side by side. The blues started off in some field, some plantation, in some mind, in some imagination, in some heart. The blues blew over to the next plantation, and then the next state. The blues went south to north, got electrified and even sanctified. The blues got mixed up with jazz and gospel and rock and roll.
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To be American is to be part of a dialogical and democratic operation that grapples with the challenge of being human in an open-ended and experimental manner. Although America is a romantic project in which a paradise, a land of dreams, is fanned and fueled with a religion of vast possibility, it is, more fundamentally, a fragile experiment-precious yet precarious-of dialogical and democratic human endeavor that yields forms of modern self-making and self-creating unprecedented in human history. From Thomas Jefferson to Elijah Muhammad, Geronimo to Dorothy Day, Jane Adams to Nathaniel West, it holds out the possibility of self-transformation and self-reliance to New World dwellers willing to start anew and recast themselves for the purpose of deliverance and betterment. This purpose requires only a restlessness, energy and boldness that galvanizes people to organize and mobilize themselves in a way that makes new opportunities and possibilities credible and worth the
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The blues is relevant today because when we look down through the corridors of time, the black American interpretation of tragicomic hope in the face of dehumanizing hate and oppression will be seen as the only kind of hope that has any kind of maturity in a world of overwhelming barbarity and bestiality. That barbarity is found not just in the form of terrorism but in the form of the emptiness of our lives - in terms of the wasted human potential that we see around the world. In this sense, the blues is a great democratic contribution of black people to world history.
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119When you bring together the national security state and the military-industrial complex, when you bring together the prison-industrial complex and all the profits that flow from it, when you bring together the corporate media multiplex that don't want to allow for serious dialogue... and then, when you bring together the Wall Street oligarchs and the corporate plutocrats, and they tell any person or any group, 'If you speak the truth, we'll shoot you down like a dog and dehumanize you the way we did to dehumanize the brothers in Attica, ' the only thing that will keep you going is you better have some love in your heart for the people.
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And when you love people, you hate the fact that they're being treated unfairly. You tell the truth. You sacrifice your popularity for integrity. There is a willingness to give your life back to the people given that, in the end, they basically gave it to you, because we are who we are because somebody loved us anyway.
In these downbeat times, we need as much hope and courage as we do vision and analysis; we must accent the best of each other even as we point out the vicious effects of our racial divide and pernicious consequences of our maldistribution of wealth and power. We simply cannot enter the twenty-first century at each other's throats, even as we acknowledge the weighty forces of racism, patriarchy, economic inequality, homophobia, and ecological abuse on our necks. We are at a crucial crossroad in the history of this nation-and we either hang together by combating these forces that divide and degrade us or we hang separately. Do we have the intelligence, humor, imagination, courage, tolerance, love, respect, and will to meet the challenge? Time will tell. None of us alone can save the nation or world. But each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so.
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To be a jazz freedom fighter is to attempt to galvanize and energize world-weary people into forms of organization with accountable leadership that promote critical exchange and broad reflection. The interplay of individuality and unity is not one of uniformity and unanimity imposed from above but rather of conflict among diverse groupings that reach a dynamic consensus subject to questioning and criticism. As with a soloist in a jazz quartet, quintet or band, individuality is promoted in order to sustain and increase the creative tension with the group-a tension that yields higher levels of performance to achieve the aim of the collective project.
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when you bring together the national security state and the military-industrial complex, when you bring together the prison-industrial complex and all the profits that flow from it, when you bring together the corporate media multiplex that don't want to allow for serious dialogue... and then, when you bring together the Wall Street oligarchs and the corporate plutocrats, and they tell any person or any group, 'If you speak the truth, we'll shoot you down like a dog and dehumanize you the way we did to dehumanize the brothers in Attica, ' the only thing that will keep you going is you better have some love in your heart for the people.
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I believe that all of us have gangster proclivities and greedy orientations that need accountability. That's why democracies are necessary. We have to have institutions to try to curtail the use of arbitrary power so that our greedy orientations and gangster-like proclivities don't get out of hand.
What does it really mean to be a leftist in the early part of the 21st century? What are we really talking about? And I can just be very candid with you. It means to have a certain kind of temperament, to make certain kinds of political and ethical choices, and to exercise certain analytical focuses in targeting on the catastrophic and the monstrous, the scandalous, the traumatic, that are often hidden and concealed in the deodorized and manicured discourses of the mainstream. That's what it means to be a leftist. So let's just be clear about it.
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I grew up in traditional black patriarchal culture and there is no doubt that I'm going to take a great many unconscious, but present, patriarchal complicities to the grave because it so deeply ensconced in how I look at the world. Therefore, very much like alcoholism, drug addiction, or racism patriarchy is a disease and we are in perennial recovery and relapse. So you have to get up every morning and struggle against it.
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The need of black conservatives to gain the respect of their white peers deeply shapes certain elements of their conservatism. In this regard, they simply want what most people want, to be judged by the quality of their skills, not by the color of their skin. But the black conservatives overlook the fact that affirmative action policies were political responses to the pervasive refusal of most white Americans to judge black Americans on that basis.
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The humanity and the humility, which are very different than the biological species homo sapiens. Humanity versus homo sapiens - very different things. We are biological creatures, we are animals, no doubt, but when you talk about "humando," you're talking about that particular kind of animals who are aware of their impending extinction, who have the capacity to be sensitive to catastrophe and disaster and calamity and profound crisis.
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When we think of globalization we are thinking in part of structures and institutions that have been developed over time and that have allowed us to become more interdependent and interrelated. But the development, the extraordinary development, of those structures and institutions has not fundamentally transformed our humanity. We are still those animals with fears and anxieties and insecurities in the face of death and dread and disappointment and disease.
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The authority of science ... promotes and encourages the activity of observing, comparing, measuring and ordering the physical characteristics of human bodies.... Cartesian epistemology and classical ideals produced forms of rationality, scientificity and objectivity that, though efficacious in the quest for truth and knowledge, prohibited the intelligibility and legitimacy of black equality.... In fact, to "think" such an idea was to be deemed irrational, barbaric or mad.
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Never before has the seductive market way of life held such sway in nearly every sphere of American life. This marketing way of life promotes addictions to stimulation and obsessions with comfort and convenience ... centered primarily around bodily pleasures and status rankings. ... The common denominator is a rugged and ragged individualism and rapacious hedonism in quest of a perennial "high" in body and mind.
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King's response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution. A revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens.
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Music at its best...is the grand archeology into and transfiguration of our guttural cry, the great human effort to grasp in time our deepest passions and yearnings as prisoners of time. Profound music leads us--beyond language--to the dark roots of our scream and the celestial heights of our silence.
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So much has to do with going beyond treating black people as cosmetic and symbolic items, as opposed to genuine personalities and human beings. And that is a deep moral and spiritual issue, which can of course be backed up by Civil Rights Commissions which enforce the laws against any form of discrimination.
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I want to be a jazzman until the day I die. To help keep that motion, momentum and movement going, for myself, for my students, for the people who hear me. Oh sure, some days you look around at this country and look at the evidence and think, Oh Lord, don't look good. But you keep moving. You gotta keep moving.