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Vance Gilbert

NOW *THIS* IS A RANT

Look, Falcon Ridge Folks Fest was magnificent, but I’m absolute toast, I’m still not rested up, and I’m just letting it fly. Hope no one’s feeling get hurt here...oh whatever.

James “Whitey” Bulger
If you are suspected of killing people and perpetrating all kinds of other crimes and your nickname is “Whitey”, by golly, you are guilty.

Zimmerman/Martin Verdict

Only those two know what happened for sure. But let’s be clear, if a Black Man Neighborhood Watchman had been repeatedly told by the police on the walkie talkie to “get back into the car and cease” approaching the “suspect” and that BMNW had disobeyed, I believe that neighborhood watchman of color would, as Louis Jordan said, “Look real cute in dee stri-ped suit”… Ask me how I know.

How Not To Be A Conservative
Yeah, as the adage goes, “I have lots of them for friends”. My conservative friends, for the most part, teach me something daily. Conservatism makes us liberals think, wait, reassess, view with studied scrutiny. We become co-conscienced. At our best, both of us are able, at the end of a conversation in which there is learning, to say “Hmmm, I hadn’t though about it like that”. Or, “I don’t agree with the route there, but I agree with the end product”. Or, “I totally disagree, but if I was left to raise your kids, I would die before raising them any other way than what you prescribed. You have my word.”

Yet I have this friend...Here went the string from an email I got from him yesterday:

(Him, in a post with some attached flag-waving newsreel):
What courage it took for Lindbergh to overcome the odds against him, and accomplish this amazing feat!

(me, smart-ass and looking for a fight):
What, having 3 families, promoting eugenics, and being a Nazi sympathizer?

(him): Linbergh (sic) was a great man but not an admirable man.

(me): Same for JFK, MLK, Nixon, and Clinton...And Hitler was a brilliant one, yet without either of the other two attributes you mention...Please stop making me think, and oh, you forgot the "d" in Slim's last name.

(him):
Not sure I'd describe all on your list as great.

(me): I knew you wouldn't. Neither would I. Many would. I left off Reagan, Malcolm X, oh the list goes on, depending on what you subscribe to.

(him, going all Zion on me now...): "Hitler was a great man but a wicked one." H-m-m, now what famous Jew hater said that one?

(me, swinging from the Negro fences now..): Notice how that ass isn't on my list. Ugh. Detestable divisive man. Then there's the guy that said "Hymietown" and the one that said "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, etc etc..."  Fukking Democrats...

It ended there and we ducked back into other topics...

I love this man, but guardedly. I had to learn how.

He’s self centered, myopic, well-read and boorish at the same time. He’s got a Right answer for everything, including anything personal you might bring up to him. He comes from the Vietnam era, and is as far right on every issue as can be except the Vietnam War, and that’s why he felt fine about not going. He raised two daughters. One is a married accountant with 2 kids. The other was artistic, bulimic, anorexic, then finally came out to this family of narrow-minded one-trackers. They tried to “fix” her, getting help hither and yon. I know what happened - they came across groups of support for her, but that didn’t happen as they liked, as most of those groups were as Christian as the day is long.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that (yep from Seinfeld...I didn’t watch it much - never felt quite represented. Between that show and Friends there weren’t any Black people in that world...but I knew that line...). But, yeah, he fished and fished until he found just the right questions to the answers before him.

This guy was on a rampage during this time. I tried to be the best friend I could, but he was so very didactic. If I had something I wanted to talk about, it was, “Well do this...” But when he wanted to speak about his daughter’s situation, it was; “She’s gay just to get attention”. “Gay is a club and a choice”. And once to me, in tears, “She’s cut off the family bloodline at the neck...and what do I tell her grandmother?”

Uh, Tell her she’s gay?

Ohhhh, I’ve never more wanted to slap someone more sillyly (that should be a word). That girl, suffered, shunned, disapproved by family for the longest time, finally met this wonderful woman partner whom she’s still with, who’s an ex-army trained radio specialist of some sort - far better with guns than her dad will ever be with his, and believe me, *that* irony isn’t lost here -  fostered a child, 2 dogs, a house, a successful career as a teacher. The kindest woman you’ll meet. Wry. Talented, too. Through her pain and suffering and uncertainty she played volleyball on a college team that won its division, played saxophone, straight A’s, and played softball.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being an accountant, but I’m just saying….

And I became close to the daughter as we had both seen the irascible, unforgiving side of her father. She turned to me and my partner as older, accepting, supportive adults, when he and his wife had thrown up their hands. That set well with my friend, yeah, believe it...

Word had it that a day of reckoning came when he had some post-60 year old health problem, saw whatever as close to God as he might get, reconciled with this daughter, then proceeded to do what my forever fighting violent parents always did - write notes and just casually drop into conversation how wonderful their relationship is doing - like it’s been that way all along. He’d speak of the couple coming to dinner and holidays like nothing happened and it was as natural as falling off of a hetero-log.

But yes, he was one of the first to call when I was out of the hospital. There were numerous meals at his house years ago when he knew I didn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. Books, magazines bits and things he’d give me that he knew I could use. Oh, he let it be known that he was giving it up to you, but he’d put it into the back of your car nonetheless.

What have I learned? That I can’t get all my bromance sugar in one place. I can’t depend on him for X, but a little for Y. How to take a deep breath and be accepting. And I’m still learning, hopefully able to say and mean “Hmmmm” when it is most appropriate.

Jon Stewart and Seth Rogen Should Never Laugh
Please don’t laugh when you both are on TV together. Please. I hate both of your laughs. Stewart’s high-pitched “queeek queek queek” and Rogen’s “Ah huck ah huck ah huck” both seem so South Park. They piss me off.

Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Moment Of Moments

A shared stage with Pete and Maura Kennedy, 1/2 half of Moxy Fruvous, me, Red Molly, a few others. We were singing Stand, a song by Pete and Maura with stuff borrowed from Curtis Mayfield as part of the Morning Gospel set, and this wonderful song was rocking. As I was singing, looking out into the audience I saw a young cerebrally palsied, wheelchair-bound young friend of mine named Galen up on his feet, with the help of his sisters. Gnarled hands flailing and as close to clapping as they will ever get, drool flying, smiling wide and gyrating, but standing.

Stand..........

...the chorus went, and I heard it veer wildly out of time and pitch and I see Maura, whose intonation is utterly flawless at any time or day, her lovely Sandy Denny/Linda Thompson voice choked yet still putting out, yes, I see her in total tears, as she had spotted Galen too. Then everybody else on stage gazed down into the area where other differently abled folks were, where Galen was standing, and no one could really sing, weeping freely, holding each other up at the shared microphones, but everyone was singing tremendously too, both things, the same time. We wobbled from the stage, self congratulatory in our folk scene, but quite changed, forever.

I wish my Conservative friend had been there for that.
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updated: 4 years ago