Sunday, January 23, 2011

National Brotherhood Week…....

No it is not really NBW. I don’t know if there is even such a thing. The title comes from a song made popular by satirist Tom Lehrer in the 1950’s and ’60. His work would be banned from any public school today because it is so non-politically correct.  Such songs as “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park”, “The Vatican Rag”, and “Who’s Next” were used to bring attention to hot potato issues through humor.
I bring this up because not much has changed in 50 years, at least as far as vitriolic language which is the new buzz word for groups not being nice to each other. Yet again the powers that be want everyone to sit around and hold hands, sing Kum Ba Ya and be oh so tolerant of what others think and believe (as long as you agree with those who made the suggestion in the first place.) However, I am not writing about politics or beliefs or any of that…..I want to make a point that such behaviors begin as early as Kindergarten, get really bad in Junior High School, can become violent in High School, and then get reclassified and categorized as we become adults. The names and locations get changed to protect the innocent (if you don’t know where that reference comes from you probably don’t remember when all TV as in black and white). I want to apply this circumstance to our own local community. And by that, I don’t even mean our county or even our city. I am referring to our own arts community and probably by association, any art community in any town, city or even just college visual arts departments.

We all want to be thought of as one big “group”.  To those outside of the visual arts (and I stick to visuals because I can’t sing, dance or play an instrument so my experiences are limited), we are all those ‘artsy fartsy creative types” who dress weird, can’t hold a “real” job, are drunk or on drugs and make stuff nobody understands but get their money to do it. Those of us on the inside of our little bubble will use terms like “left-brainer” and other such associative terms just as much. Is that likely to change with a little tolerance and hand holding? I doubt it.

Take it a step deeper however. In our own little bubble world, we have a great divide as well.  Different organizations, groups, or places are established to nurture those with similar interests and tastes.  As I continue to carve out my own little black and white world in what is basically my dorm room downtown, the differences become all that more obvious and interesting to observe.  Studying social behavior and the structure of “communities” (not as in physical places but as social groupings), how anyone would expect us to form cohesive bonds with no judgments or divides has to be a bit removed from reality themselves. It does not work in the animal kingdom or the insect world or even at the level of bacteria. Things are always attacking and eating other things, making judgments and acting accordingly – though I don’t think gazelles are really analyzing the merits of running or not running when a lion is close by-but my point is that if we were to all “get along” then where is all the fun?, all the news stories?, all the cool photos and gossip and TV shows and inspiration to make our lives interesting while we travel from cells to dust?

Our art world bubble bath has those who like the whole zombie and creature feature genre as well as those who like flowers and landscapes. We have the found object junkyard junkies and the nothing but the best paper pushers. There are photographers and Photographers, there are realists and those who need to “get real”. There are do-ers and dabblers who disdain the deconstructionists, as well as trained and the un-trainable who are all past potty training part one, but not as far as their mouths are concerned. Textile technicians with exquisite taste who take offense at the work of crochet queens as well as talented wood carvers that can’t convince others of the merit behind their meticulousness.  Most of all however, we all notice those who “talk the talk” so to speak versus those who truly “walk the walk” in support of the arts and artists. We may all join hands and sing every now and then, but some will always be hopelessly off-key.  We will all never “get along” like one big happy family regardless of whether it is a local thing, a state thing, a national thing, a political thing or whatever kind of thing can be listed because in truth, we don’t really want to.

So let me make this blog the official National Brotherhood posting….go ahead and hate each other, love each other, pretend to like each other or just ignore each other…it does not really matter as long as you don’t hurt each other physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, socially etc etc etc…..God gave you a brain so use it wisely and use it often. 

And case you have never seen the lyrics to National Brotherhood Week... (not sung to the tune of Kum By Ya BTW)

ARTIST: Tom Lehrer
TITLE: National Brotherhood Week
Lyrics and Chords
Oh, the white folks hate the black folks
And the black folks hate the white folks
To hate all but the right folks
Is an old established rule
/ E B7 / - E / E7 A / B7 EE7 / 
But during National Brotherhood Week
National Brotherhood Week
Lena Horne and Sheriff Clark
Are dancing cheek to cheek
It's fun to eulogize
The people you despise
As long as you don't let 'em in your school
/ A - / E - / B7 - / E E7 / A - / E - / B7 - EA EB7 EA EB7  /
Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks
And the rich folks hate the poor folks
All of my folks hate all of your folks
It's American as apple pie
But during National Brotherhood Week
National Brotherhood Week
New Yorkers love the Puerto Ricans
'Cause it's very chic
Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can't stand
You can tolerate him if you try
Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics
And the Catholics hate the Protestants
And the Hindus hate the Muslems
And everybody hates the Jews
But during National Brotherhood Week
National Brotherhood Week
It's National Everyone-Smile-At-
One-Another-hood Week
Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you
It's only for a week, so have no fear
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!
/ A - / E - / B7 - / E E7 / A - / E - / B7 - E Abdim7 /
    / F#7 B7 E - /

1 comment:

  1. You're writing about Myrtle Whybother, Aren't you?
    I can't stand her work either.

    What a fun, sensible blog posting!

    I think it's less about getting along as a group and more about not eating out of the same trough (Myrtle drools, as we know!)
    More than anything, it's about not ganging up and centering all our bile on Myrtle : D