The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Oh Phil, What Have You Done?


The Sixties unleashed a virulent, two-faced genie who is alive and well today, and still gives and takes in equal measures.

There have been some really bad trips over the years, starting with the grisly mayhem of Charlie Manson and his crew, the madness of Mark David Chapman, the unutterable crassness of O. J. Simpson, and now the shooting rage of Phil Spector. All were fueled by drugs, sex, violence, and rock-and-roll in lethal combinations.

Noam Chomsky has said we’re in much better shape today because of the changes of consciousness that took place more than forty years ago—there is more transparency in government and more individual freedoms. It doesn’t always seem that way, but it is. The United States was a much darker place than anyone cares to remember. But it has come at a high cost.

Sometimes change comes too fast. A number of men haven’t been able to cope with the liberation of women and have slunk into violence or Christian fanaticism as a way of coping. Racial equality is intolerable for a portion of Southern whites. Illegal immigrants are shunned. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals are almost universally feared and hated.

We have traveled so far in our minds. I sometimes feel as if I’ve covered eons of time in my short life. It has often been exciting, though it’s not always easy to remain stable in the face of such massive change. I pity those who believed they found answers in sex, drugs, and violence. Or religion. Or the occult. Or spiritualism. It never works. It always leads to death.

It is only in kindness and decency that we ever find our true selves.

April 13, 2009   Comments Off on Oh Phil, What Have You Done?


Emerging from the womb fully formed,
Huitzilopochtli was an instant phenomenon
who could maneuver up and down, fast or slow,
sideways, backwards, and even hover,
changing directions in milliseconds,
easily positioning himself to suck the juice out of
the four hundred deep-throated, rattan-clad warriors
who stood between him and becoming a god.

April 13, 2009   Comments Off on Huitzilopochtli