Category Archives: Kent State

Hot Air

A Declaration

Y’know, it’s a damned shame I have to do this but considering the state of our bizarre, regressive, antediluvian, smug, arrogant state I have no choice.

Declaration

That last line, BTW, was originally written If you don’t like this, fuck you. Then I figured it’d be a tad more civilized the way it ended up. My original sentiment stands, though.

A Bold, Moral Stance

Kudos to the editors and publisher of the Indianapolis Star. Today’s front page is groundbreaking, even monumental.

Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s a welcome departure from the careerist, too-cautious, phony-baloney objectivity that characterizes corporate news media these days (with the exception of the amorally subversive Fox News).

Indy Star 20150331

 

Click Image To Read Complete Editorial

 

Let’s recognize the people who made this happen:

  • President and publisher Karen Ferguson
  • Editor and vice president Jeff Taylor
  • Editorial pages editor Tim Swarens
  • Designer Emily Kuzniar

Good job, folks!

Join The Club

A quick reminder: The second meeting of the Bloom magazine Book Club happens late this afternoon, 5:30pm, at FARM Bloomington’s Root Cellar Lounge.

Sanders

Scott Russell Sanders

Scott Russell Sanders will read from his latest, the novel Divine Animal, and will answer questions. The Pencil will be there, too. You don’t even need to have read the book. Just come to hear the author speak and rub shoulders with people who dig reading.

More Word-y Stuff

The southern half of Indiana boasts a second, beloved independent bookstore down by the Ohio River in Madison. Friends of Bloomington’s own Book Corner, Village Lights Bookstore props. Nathan Montoya and Anne Vestuto have been peddling new and used tomes since 2008 in the picturesque river town.

The two also stage Poetpalooza, an annual bash for local and regional versifiers. This year’s event takes place Friday and Saturday and will include readings by former Poets Laureate Norbert Krapf of Indiana as and Maureen Morehead and Richard Taylor of Kentucky. B-ton’s Tony Brewer will pound out Poetry on Demand on his old-school typewriter throughout the course of the affair.

Brewer

Tony Brewer Loads His Smith-Corona

Here’s the 2015 Poetpalooza schedule:

Friday, April 3

  • 5:00pm Open Mic Kick-Off Emceed by Alex Acosta (IN) & Harlan Kelly (IN)
  • 6:00pm Tom C. Hunley (KY)
  • 6:30pm Barbara Sabol (OH)
  • 7:00pm Bianca Bargo (KY)
  • 8:00pm Book Launch “Black Achilles” by Curtis Crisler (IN)
  • 8:30pm Katerina Stoykova-Klemer (KY)
  • 9:00pm Film Screening “Proud Citizen”

Saturday, April 4

  • 10:00am Book Launch “The Work of the Body” by Jill Kelly Koren (IN)
  • 11:00am Maureen Morehead, Kentucky Poet Laureate, 2011-2012
  • 12:00pm Norbert Krapf, Indiana Poet Laureate, 2008-2010
  • 1:00pm Tom C. Hunley (KY)
  • 1:30pm Barbara Sabol (OH)
  • 2:00pm Gerry Grubbs (OH)
  • 3:00pm Nettie Farris (IN)
  • 4:00pm Richard Taylor, Kentucky Poet Laureate, 2011-2012
  • 5:00pm Frederick Smock (KY)
  • 6:00pm Curtis Crisler (IN)
  • 6:30pm Katerina Stoykova-Klemer (KY)
  • 7:00pm Book Launch “Eavesdropping in Plato’s Café” by Jack Ramey (IN)
  • 8:00pm The Reservoir Dogwoods (IN) — Jason Ammerman, Tony Brewer, Matthew D. Jackson, Joseph Kirschbaum
  • 9:00pm Film Screening “Proud Citizen”

It’s a two-hour car ride from Bloomington to Madison via SR 46 and SR7 (catch it at Columbus). The view is delightful as you enter the Ohio River Valley, though, so make it a neat day trip.

Four Dead In O-Hi-O

It’s been 45 years since four young anti-war protesters were gunned down by Ohio National Guardsmen on the Kent State University campus.

Kent State became a touchstone term for a generation. It might well have been the most dramatic salvo in a general violent uprising — one that never really took place for a variety of reasons, many of which remain hidden or willfully unexamined to this day. A careful reading of the history of this holy land between the years 1954, when the US Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of the Topeka, Kansas, school district, and the January 27, 1973 treaty ending American involvement in Vietnam shows a nation perilously close to a second Civil War.

Kent State

Protesters Take Cover As Shots Ring Out (Image: Reuters)

PBS will air a new documentary, Kent State — The Day the ’60s Died Tuesday, April 28th, at 8pm. Documentary production company Room 608 Inc. and PBS also will release the 60-minute film on DVD. The program is part of a week of specials airing on PBS to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the end of our nation’s Vietnam War.

One more thing: Kent State gets all the ink and the attention but a mere 11 days later, Jackson police and Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers opened fire, killing two and wounding 12 students at Jackson State University. The campus, like hundreds of others across the nation, had been roiled by anti-war and civil rights protests that spring. Back in 1970, though, the killing of black students was deemed not as newsworthy as that of whites by the then-mainstream news media.

Things change, natch, even as they stay the same.

Hot Air

Zap!

Well, I’m alive. Although, from what I’ve been told, I was a daisy pusher for a hot couple of seconds.

See, I got my spanking new defibrillator implanted Friday. Apparently, immediately after wiring up the little dynamo, the docs as a matter of course cause the patient’s heart to go into fibrillation so’s they can see if the machine will properly jolt said muscle back into its customary walking bass line. And since fibrillation is, essentially, sudden cardiac death, well then, technically, I was St. Big Mike for that little snippet of time.

I know, I know — I’m over-dramatizing the whole shebang but, jeez, lemme have my moment on the sun, wouldja?

Anyway, I’ll be taking it easy for a couple of weeks now, although clacking out these screeds does not count as an undue burden upon my ticker and my two forefingers. So I’m back to haranguing you with my half-assed opinions and half-cocked suggestions.

Funny thing is, I was chit-chatting with a pal the other day and she said she doesn’t believe in “western medicine” which, I suppose means she’s suspicious about the motives and actions of pharmaceutical companies, health care insurers, and other such used car salesfolk. To a large extent, I agree with her. The profit motive makes our health care delivery system fairly fercockt, at least in relation to that of every other civilized nation on this Earth.

Still “western medicine,” meaning the science practiced by those who look askance at such parlor tricks as homeopathy, faith healing, magnet therapy, and qigong, has come up with a number of machines and drugs that allow me to be sitting here typing this out rather than fermenting in the ground at Rose Hill.

I’ll take the west, thanks.

Kent State

So, yesterday was the 43rd anniversary of the May 4th Massacre, aka the Kent State shootings. Four Kent State University student were gunned down by Ohio National Guardsmen during a protest rally that day.

For those of my generation, we can’t hear the words “Kent State” without thinking of the four dead in Oh-hie-oh, as Neil Young so memorably put it.

It’s also lesson number 624,539 that, no matter how uncivilized we think political discourse is these days, we ain’t got nuffin’ on the late 1960s and early 70s.

Consider this dialogue between a man who had sons attending Kent State at the time of the shootings and a researcher studying attitudes about the incident, as related by historian Rick Perlstein in his book, Nixonland:

Man: Anyone who appears on the streets of a city like Kent with long hair, dirty clothes, or barefooted deserves to be shot.

Researcher: Have I your permission to quote that?

Man: You sure do. It would have been better if the Guard had shot the whole lot of them that morning.

Researcher: But you had three sons there.

Man: If they didn’t do what the Guards told them, they should have been mowed down.

How delightful it must have been to have a father who was four square in favor of you getting your head blown clean off should you have failed to obey an order.

Here are some images, some iconic, of the day a bunch of Kent State students failed to obey orders.

Kent State

Kent State

Kent State

Kent State

Homo Sapiens sapiens. Yeah. Sure.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“There is a distinct difference between having an open mind and having a hole in your head from which your brain leaks out.” — James Randi

CELESTIAL BEAUTY

Just a reminder, the transit of Venus will be visible in these parts in the hours just prior to sunset Tuesday evening.

The phenomenon has only been seen by human eyes seven times.

Wear #14 welder’s glasses or get a pair of those neat eclipse glasses that look a bit like movie theater 3-D glasses. The transit also is visible through one of those pinhole projection boxes the geeky kids in seventh grade always knew how to make when there was a partial solar eclipse.

Eclipse Cheaters

Which leads me to my fave beat-the-dead-horse question: Why believe in magic and monsters when real life itself is so spectacular?

WE HAVE A MOVIE

Man, you blew it if you were unable to catch the Italian movie “We Have a Pope.”

I just caught the Ryder Film Series offering last night at the SoFA small theater and it was a delight.

A cardinal named Melville is elected Pope and just as he’s about to greet the crowd in St. Peter’s he suffers what can only be described as a nervous breakdown, brought on primarily by his long simmering lack of self-confidence.

The Moment Before The Breakdown

The assembled Cardinals, who by canonical law cannot leave the Vatican until the new Pope greets the crowd, panic and eventually bring in a shrink in an effort to get the new boss to the balcony window.

By and by, the new Pope escapes the Vatican and a certain madness ensues.

The beauty of a lot of non-Hollywood movies is they don’t have Hollywood endings. That’s all I’ll say about that.

The movie will run on cable’s Independent Film Channel and if Peter LoPilato can ever get it back here in Bloomington, don’t blow your chance to see it again.

GO! — NOW!

UNINTENDED PR CONSEQUENCES

WHaP reminds me of all the foofaraw over Martin Scorsese‘s “The Last Temptation of Christ,” based on the eponymous book by Nikos Kazantzakis.

Released in 1988, TLToC dealt with the fever dreams of Christ as he hung on the cross, baking in the sun, driven mad by pain. He imagines an alternative existence wherein he settles into a simple life, marrying Mary Magdalene and not carrying the burden of all humankind’s sins.

The Man Wants Out; The Deity Has A Responsibility

It’s one of the most pious, spiritual, and reverent movies ever made.

I mean, the whole idea of Christ’s death, as I understand it, was that he was tempted to avoid his fate, but his faith and obedience to his “father in heaven” overcame his human need. And therein, I always thought, lay the foundation for Christianity.

But when TLToC played at the Biograph Theater in Chicago, Catholics and other defenders of the one and only big daddy-o in the sky picketed and shouted and otherwise drew more attention to the film than it ever would have garnered otherwise.

Go figure.

CANDID

BuzzFeed the other day ran a list of the most powerful photos ever taken.

Which got me to thinking which pix I’d pick. Ergo, here they are (in no particular order):

The French guy crying as the Nazis march through Paris

Vietnam: The naked girl running, the self-immolating monk, the Saigon police chief executing the guy in the street

The JFK assassination: LBJ takes the oath, Ruby shoots Oswald, JFK Jr. salutes

Earthrise from Apollo 8

The Chinese student and the tanks

Martin Luther King lay dying

World War II: Marines reenact the flag raising at Iwo Jima, the sailor kisses the nurse on V-J Day

The National Geographic Afghani girl

Che

Protest: John Carlos and Tommie Smith give the Black Power salute, Kent State, the flowers in the gun barrels

(All photos copyrighted.)

There. How about you? Tell us what’s on your list via the comments.

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