Sometimes, the Truth Is Unpleasant
I'm sorry about your cold, and hope you feel better soon ("Hack Snort," Editor's Note, Dec. 15). One request: In the future, would you please make an effort not to put "phlegm" and "good chunk" on the same line of text? Thanks, and happy holidays.
Ash Deserves a Ticket Out of Town!
Thank you for finally putting Bruce Ass ... I mean Bruce Ash on your Get Out of Town! list (Dec. 15). I have written at least one other year asking for this and thought maybe his absence from the list was mostly because his highest-profile stuff is on talk radio. I've personally argued with him via email and accused him of being a spoiled rich kid who lives in an ivory tower.
Anyway, before I start ranting, I will just say thanks again.
In Defense of the Sound Strike and Derechos Humanos
Ah, the Tucson Weekly ... what can I say? Lots of good stuff in there—and sometimes, not so much. And sometimes a mixed bag.
But, oh, Linda Ray ... did you have to go and do it? Yes, I'm talking about the "Get Out of Town!" directed toward Derechos Humanos and the Sound Strike. First of all, Linda, my disappointment is not bitter. You did start your bit by recognizing the "essential work for the civil rights of Southern Arizona's Latino population." The only thing I would add is that the civil rights work of Derechos Humanos benefits us all. DH has also been on the front lines in protesting wars, walking union picket lines and supporting many not-specifically "Latino" struggles.
Frankly, if anyone should get out of town, it's the local musicians and downtown hipsters who are so loudly complaining about the Sound Strike. OK, they shouldn't get out of town. Instead, they should recognize what's going on, and they should get involved. I'm a local musician myself, and I frequent downtown music venues. I'm also an active supporter of Derechos Humanos, the immigrant-rights struggle and the fight to defend Ethnic Studies. I've gone to many a demonstration, and I've volunteered time at DH helping report abuses of immigrant workers. I've gone to federal court to witness the travesty of "Operation Streamline," and I've even gone into the desert to confront and expose Minuteman camps.
Guess who I virtually never see participating in day-in, day-out civil rights struggles or showing solidarity in the streets? Local musicians and downtown hipsters. The simple fact is that most local musicians and scenesters are, frankly, self-absorbed and self-indulgent. They think that it is "uncool" and beneath them to actually show that they might give enough of a shit about poor people and working people and students and those targeted by racism to actually do something about it.
Yes, there are notable exceptions. I also know that there are times when musicians can get it together to really help out an important cause. I've twice organized successful benefits for Haitian workers affected by hurricanes and earthquakes, and the support was tremendous. Benefits are great, but they aren't the same as taking the struggle to the streets. And if a musician criticizes the Sound Strike but actively supports this movement otherwise, my words for them are far less sharp.
When Ray says, "Derechos cut off a much-more-leveragable benefit: The empowering sound of music to motivate and mobilize widespread action," the fact is that the proof is in the pudding: Most of the local scenesters who complain loudest about the Sound Strike have not shown the slightest willingness to put their bodies on the line or stand up with immigrants and brown people being targeted by Arizona's new Jim Crow.
When Ray talks about the contributions of music to the movement such as "We Shall Overcome" and union-organizing songs, let's be clear: The vast majority of those songs came from people involved in the struggles they were singing about.
So when these folks complain about the Sound Strike and about how much their music can help the movement, I just want to tell them, "You get out of town ... and don't come back until you're ready to contribute something real, not imaginary."
James Patrick Jordan
Hoffman's Attack on Occupy Tucson Was a Disgrace
I was surprised (and outraged) by the front-page article by Josh Brodesky in the Arizona Daily Star on Dec. 11. It was unjust and irrational, and now the Tucson Weekly has published an attack with a Guest Commentary by Jonathan Hoffman (Dec. 22).
He praises the Tea Party movement as more effective. True, it has been, having managed to bring our government virtually to a gridlocked standstill. If that's what he calls "working within the system," unfortunately, he is correct. The system is a disgrace.
The Occupy movement is not limited to "the political left," another smear. The city's waste of police time (for which Occupiers pay taxes) and the over-the-top multiple citations show the bellicose suppression of freedom of speech and assembly. Councilwoman Regina Romero shows admirable sense in advocating that those tickets be torn up. She is brave to stand up in an atmosphere of such hostility and propaganda from the media, which hopefully will change if and when mutual respect between Tucson and its citizens is restored.