Sunday, June 03, 2007

An American in Paris


Today I saw the perfect image of Bush-Cheney supporters -- two fat guys in a Cadillac SUV tossing Styrofoam cups on the road, in torrential rain. Is there any wonder that Texas and Wyoming vomit more pollution into the atmosphere than most countries? Who cares when you can pretend to clear brush at the Crawford "ranch" or go quail hunting drunk with equally careless reckless friends? Hey, the stock market's riding high, so woo-hoo! Let them eat cake!

What irks me -- among other things -- is the high cost of living and the increasingly unstable civil society we have to live in. Even international oases are getting priced out of affordability. The Canadian dollar is now almost one for one with the U.S. dollar; a trip to France is barely feasible anymore. But it wasn't always this way.

American writers and artists of all types and backgrounds flocked to Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. It was one of the great cultural oases for Bohemians. African Americans like Josephine Baker and scores of jazz singers and musicians found a welcoming audience. There were friends and patrons aplenty. They had a niche, and they were honored for being artists and thinkers. Is there such a magnet anywhere in the USA today? I doubt it.


Though the living is easier in the south of France -- and in easygoing cities like Toulouse -- I love Paris. If I could transport myself there for a week, I'd do it pronto. I'm sick of Bush-Cheney America.

Today's Rune: Harvest.

Birthdays: Jefferson Davis, Josephine Baker (b. Frida Josephine McDonald), Colleen Dewhurst, Tony Curtis (Bernard Schwartz), Allen Ginsberg, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Larry McMurtry, Curtis Mayfield, Suzi Quatro.

Bon voyage!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen to that, doc!

Charles Gramlich said...

Just three years ago a Canadian vacation was so cheap that I could afford to stay a couple of weeks. Not now. Sigh.

the walking man said...

Erik,
I wish there was a San Francisco of the fifties where people, artist, poets, writers flocked and a New York that still had a starving artist place but sadly they are gone. and although I have traveled extensively in North America, I have never once had the desire to have a passport to go anywhere else. Soon even though it's only a mile away I won't go to Canada anymore because I won't get a passport to be able to get there. Sadly the world largest open border is going to become strictly guarded.

I know Josephine Baker, Paul Robeson, Billy Holiday and many more fit right into the Paris art world of the thirties, not judged on the color of their skin but rather their ability to capture and enthrall an audience. It was a haven for them that they could not find here.

And while I am very sick and tired of this administration, all three branches and all of the ancillary things controlled by those portions of this administration. This is still my home, even though the entire world is mine, this is my home and I don't really like visiting other peoples homes to see what they have built. I've seen bits and pieces of other cultures and societies mainly through face world conversations. And the art produced by those cultures, which you must agree art speaks of a culture.

So I have no solution for finding a world spot that we could all gather and live free, get drunk, write, paint, eat together and speak to the things we love and could teach each other. Other than for myself, I post every piece I write (except the truly too long pieces which I would freely send out to anyone who asked through the mail.) And take to heart every comment made about it.

It is the solution I have chosen. To just give it to the the world as my contribution to the community of poets and writers. I don't care anymore if it ever hits paper because as a young writer that was a goal but now I want to hit hearts.

If I posted every piece of writing in the short poetry style I have adapted myself to and 1 person comments or critiques then it proves that the community of artists does gather and hang out and share, and this is the only true freedom we are currently allowed, even though it may be monitored and recorded by one of those ancillary departments of the government I don't care because it means it is being read and I might, maybe, pray God change one mind to the knowledge of Freedom.

Much Peace

You do know that at one time your new home used to be referred to as the Paris of the Midwest?

TWM

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the read . Great writing and I could not agree more. MW

Sheila said...

Gas prices are fucking ridiculous.... it drives me crazy!!! I wish I could visit Europe. That would be fun.

Danny Tagalog said...

Yes, but why aren't you all spreading weed-killer on the poison?

Danny Tagalog said...

Isn't it 'convenient' that the currencies have 'converged'? The Americas? Not a pipedream anymore???