Saturday, September 30, 2017

Out and About – Summer 2017

Well, the autumnal equinox has been and gone . . . which means the "time of transformation" is well and truly upon us. Indeed, here in Minnesota the leaves are turning and the temperature is cooling. Time, then, to take a look back on the summer that has ever-so-recently ended . . . and a summer that actually included a winter – an Australian winter!

But first, regular readers will be familiar with my "Out and About" series, one that I began in April 2007 as a way of documenting my life as an “out” gay man, seeking to be all “about” the Spirit-inspired work of embodying God’s justice and compassion in the world. I've continued the series in one form or another for the last 10 years – in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 . . . and now into 2017.

So let's get started with this latest installment . . .

Above and right: I feel like my summer really got off to a great start with a June 15-17 trip "up north" with my dear friend Kathleen to the Grand Marais on Minnesota's beautiful North Shore.

Over the years I've embarked on many memorable road trips with Kathleen, including to St. Louis in 2008, Wisconsin in 2010, Kansas City in 2012, and Pahá Sápa in 2013.

Above: Grand Marais – Saturday, June 17, 2017. For more images and commentary of our visit to Grand Marais, click here.

Above: Back in the Twin Cities and my home in south Minneapolis.

I'm very fortunate to live where I do and with the best housemate one could possibly ever want. First things first, though, where I live. . . . I'm very close to Minnehaha Creek and its surrounding parkland and areas of urban wilderness. The heron at left, however, was not photographed at the creek but on a pond not far from Cedar Lake, which is also located in Minneapolis. I was house- and cat-sitting for some friends in that area early in the summer. For more images of and around Cedar Lake taken at this time of "perfect young summer," click here.

Above: Now here's a photo that was taken by Minnehaha Creek. In fact, the creek is just out of view over on the right!

Since the end of August I've been walking the path that you can see in this picture every day to catch my bus to work. I feel very connected to the large oak that you can see, for reasons which I talk about here.

Above: Playing badminton with Tim, my housemate, in the front yard of our home. He won!

As I said before, Tim is a great housemate . . . and I feel very fortunate to know him in that way and as a good friend.

Right: Tim and his girlfriend Colleen. We were all out celebrating Tim's birthday at the the end of June.

Above: Speaking of special friends, here's my boyfriend Brent! Among many other wonderful things, he's a big time Wonder Woman fan! We went and saw the new Wonder Woman movie when it first came out in early June. We both liked it a lot (even though, truth be told, the Scarlet Witch is my favorite superhero!).

At the end of June I "moved on" from my site coordinator position with TRUST Meals on Wheels, a position I'd had since June 2011. On Monday, June 26, 2017, my colleagues and friends at TRUST hosted a farewell reception for me.

Above: With my work colleague Julia and a number of Meals on Wheels volunteers. From left: Margie, me, Julia, Kim, Larry, Ann and Dick – Monday, June 26, 2017.

Left: With longtime Meals on Wheels volunteer Sue and little Leo.

For more images and commentary, click here.

On Saturday, July 1, I had a number of friends over for a party ahead of my July 9 departure for Australia for a six-week visit.

Above: Friends Tim, Hugh, David, Omar, Matthew, Brent, and Zac.

Right: Friends Stephanie, Alfredo, and John.

For more commentary and photos of this and other "bon voyage" gatherings at around the same time, click here.

Above: An Australian sunrise – July 24, 2017. It was, of course, winter in the southern hemisphere when I was in Australia.

To start at the beginning of my "Australian Sojourn – Winter 2017" series of posts, click here.

Above: With my two brothers and our parents – Coogee, August 5, 2017.

We gathered in Coogee, a beachside suburb of Sydney, to celebrate my Dad's 80th birthday. For more images and commentary, click here.

Above and below: Feeling at one with the spirit of Guruk.

Above: On August 22 I returned to Minnesota and my home by beautiful Minnehaha Creek in south Minneapolis.

Above: Friends John and George . . .

. . . whose September 16 wedding in Minneapolis I had the great honor of officiating!

Above: Brent and I at George and John's September 16, 2017 wedding ceremony at The Towers in downtown Minneapolis.

Summer 2017 Wild Reed posts of note:
The Holy Spirit: Giver of Knowledge, Light, Inspiration, and Guidance
Our Lives as LGBTQI People: “Garments Grown in Love”
Vanessa Redgrave: “Just Being Alive, Staying Human, I Think That’s Infinitely Precious”
June, the “Time of Perfect Young Summer”
Progressive Perspectives on Jeremy Corbyn's Achievement in the UK Election
He's Back!
On the First Anniversary of the Pulse Gay Nightclub Massacre, Orlando Martyrs Commemorated in Artist Tony O'Connell's “Triptych for the 49”
Tony Enos on Understanding the Two Spirit Community
A Visit to Grand Marais
Police, Pride, and Philando Castile
Making the Connections
Petula Clark: Singing for Us, Not at Us
Moving On
Australia Bound
Ahmad Joudeh: Dancing for Peace
Buffy Sainte-Marie Headlines SummerStage Festival in NYC's Central Park
Challenging Discrimination Through a Modern Take on Traditional Dance
In Charlottesville, the Face of Terrorism In the U.S.

Australian Sojourn – Winter 2017
A Visit to the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Overcast Skies
Austen and Australia
Donald Trump: A View from Australia
Return to Guruk
The Neoliberal Economic Doctrine: A View from Australia
Guruk Seascapes: From Dawn to Dusk
Good Mr. Dawes
A Visit to Sydney's Taronga Zoo
Journey to the Southern Highlands & Tablelands: Exeter and Mt. Alexandra
Journey to the Southern Highlands & Tablelands: Bundanoon and the Sunnataram Forest Monastery
Journey to the Southern Highlands & Tablelands: Goulburn and Canberra
The State of Marriage Equality in Australia (Part 1)
The State of Marriage Equality in Australia (Part 2)
In Coogee, A Very Special Birthday Celebration
Return to Sydney
A Visit to Gunnedah
Last Days in Australia
Guruk Sunrise

Return to Minnesota . . . and to Summer!
Worldwide Gay Pride 2017
Spirituality and the Health Care Setting
Thank You, Frank!
The Prayer Tree

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – Spring 2017
Out and About – Winter 2016-2017
Out and About – Autumn 2016
Out and About – Summer 2016
Out and About – Spring 2016

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

Friday, September 29, 2017

St. Michael, "Wave Maker"

That's how an RN at work described St. Michael the Archangel. I have no idea what she meant by this description, but she said it after she heard my name and after I told her that today was St. Michael's feast day.

Oh, and it was just before I was about to go and see a patient in my role as resident chaplain. I'd visited this patient, a young man recovering from addiction issues, a number of times before. According to the RN with whom I briefly engaged outside the patient's door, I was a "hit." Hopefully that meant I was making a difference in this young man's life.

Hmm . . . maybe that's what she meant by "wave maker"?

For more of St. Michael the Archangel at The Wild Reed, see:
The Archangel Michael as Gay Icon
St. Michael the Archangel: Perspectives and Portraits
Michaelmas (2008)
St. Michael: Archangel, Spiritual Warrior, Icon of Homoerotic Love
The Inherent Sensuality of Roman Catholicism

Image: St. Michael the Archangel by Br. Mickey McGrath (via Trinity Stores).

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Progressive Perspectives on Colin Kaepernick and the "Take A Knee" Movement

I dare say that for those Americans unaware of the movement involving NFL players and others kneeling during the playing of the national anthem so as to protest police brutality and racial disparity, things changed in a big way this past weekend. And it was a dramatic gaining of consciousness due entirely to comments made by President Donald Trump about the NFL players who are "taking a knee."

During a campaign rally in Huntsville, Alabama, last Friday, Trump said such player protests were “a total disrespect of our heritage.”

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired’?” Trump said.

Numerous NFL players quickly condemned Trump’s comments, and the NFL itself released an official statement on Saturday calling the remarks “divisive” and disrespectful.

More significantly, NFL player protests swept the entire league this past weekend in response to Trump's hostile remarks.

Colin Kaepernick: American hero

The "take the knee" movement was started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who, during the 2016 season, began not standing while the national anthem was played before the start of games. Kaepernick's decision to remain seated (and then later kneel) during the anthem was his way of protesting systemic racism and police killings of black Americans in the U.S.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he said in a locker room interview on August 28, 2016. In the same interview he also noted that, "There’s a lot of things that need to change. One specifically? Police brutality. There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards."

How bad is the problem of police in the U.S. shooting black people? Well, just in the year after Kaepernick first began to protest, police and law enforcement officials killed at least 223 black Americans, according to a HuffPost analysis of data compiled by The Washington Post and The Guardian. The latter reported that in 2015 young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers. Furthermore, their rate of police-involved deaths was five times higher than for white men of the same age.

Over the next year, as numerous NFL players joined Kaepernick, police across the United States killed at least 222 other black Americans ― culminating with the death, on August 13 of this year, of Patrick Harmon, a 50-year-old black man shot and killed by police in Salt Lake City.

Kaepernick's protest sparked nationwide controversy both inside and outside of sports. In the eyes of many, however, much of outrage was short-sighted, misplaced, and/or hypocritical, as the following op-ed cartoons highlight.

Kaepernick threw 16 touchdowns against just four interceptions in 12 starts for the 49ers last season. He has been a free agent since he opted out of his contract with the team on March 1 (the 49ers, who went 2-14 last season, would have cut him had he not opted out, new general manager John Lynch said in May).

Kaepernick's free agency status has been the subject of much discussion and controversy, with many believing that his protests, and not performance, were the reason he was not signed with a team for the 2017 season.

Regardless of the reason he remains unsigned, Kaepernick is an immensely popular and inspiring figure. Personally, I consider him an American hero. His nonviolent protest against racial injustice has been likened to the activism of Martin Luther King, Jr. His jersey led the 49ers’ sales from March to May this year, and many are inspired by his generous financial support of organizations working in oppressed communities. It's even been suggested that Kaepernick be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Above: Eli Harold, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest during the national anthem last year. (Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Following are a number of progressive perspectives on Colin Kaepernick and the "Take a Knee" movement he started.

In demonstration of complete ignorance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings and beliefs, Clemson University’s football coach Dabo Swinney claimed King would not have supported Kaepernick. Anyone with actual knowledge of what King stood for knows he would have rejoiced at a rich, Black athlete risking fame and fortune by nonviolently protesting for justice. If college athletes are being taught something different it is blasphemy, not truth.

Kaepernick isn’t the first athlete to speak out, though he does it without the perils to those who came before him. John Carlos and Tommie Smith [right] raised fists and were kicked out of the Olympics. Muhammed Ali refused to step forward in his draft line; he lost his title. Jackie Robinson was in a WWII segregated military unit and refused to stand up when he was ordered to the back of the bus, taking a court-martial instead.

Today Robinson is an American icon. No player in Major League Baseball wears number 42 — except for one day of the season when all players on all teams wear it.

Robinson wrote about his first World Series game: “There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion. . . . As I write this 20 years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”

Kaepernick surely had it better than the Black athletes who came before him, but there simply is no denying how pervasive racial injustice remains in our country. His critics might not want to be reminded of racial injustice while watching football, but imagine if they had to live with it.

– Jeffery Robinson
Excerpted from "Standing Up for Justice by Kneeling During Anthem"
Inside Sources
September 11, 2017

Above: Colin Kaepernick in 2016. (Photo: Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

Ever since [. . .] white people first expressed the initial outrage (the kind they’ve sustained and that has resulted in Kaepernick still being unemployed), I’ve been looking to these same people for some semblance of grief at the unapologetic racism on display in this country, some anger at the pattern of supremacy and privilege in this Administration, some outrage at the sickening deja vu Americans of color are experiencing.

But I’m finding none of these things. Instead I’m finding victim blaming and rationalizing and elaborate efforts to tell us why our eyes aren’t seeing what they’re seeing.

I know what my eyes see. I know what they see over and over and over again.

They see humanity ignored, they see fear metastasized, and they see white people excusing away violence and discrimination and murder — instead of facing the brutal truth that maybe institutional racism is real and maybe Colin Kaepernick and his brethren are worth listening to, and maybe they shouldn’t be vilified outliers who we’re trying to shut-up.

Maybe we should all be kneeling right now.

White friends, if your immediate response to the shooting of a man or woman of color is to try and justify why he or she is dead instead of asking why they were shot, you may be the problem here.

If you’re more comfortable calling out kneeling football players than marching nazis with torches, you may want to ask why that is.

– John Pavlovitz
Excerpted from "White America, It’s Time to Take a Knee"
The Intercept
September 20, 2017

Above: Ravens players never protested during the national anthem before last Sunday's game against the Jaguars, who also all knelt. (Photo: AP/Matt Dunham)

Trump directed some of the harshest words of his presidency not at ascendant neo-Nazis or even opposition politicians, but peaceful NFL stars, many of them black, taking a knee to bring attention to a cause they care about deeply. What makes this so unique is that it wasn’t a Joe Biden hot mic moment: It was an intentional attack on free speech.

The outrage was instantaneous. Athletes and entertainers expressed their disgust. Soon, the remarks became a national, and even international, discussion.

Then came Sunday. It was the largest single day of protest in NFL history. Instead of Colin Kaepernick taking a knee, 19 teams had about 200 players who participated in protests of some kind; many took a knee or had a seat during the national anthem. Three teams opted not to come out for the anthem at all.

And they weren’t alone: The protesting players were joined by owners, some of whom even decided to go down to the field to lock arms with their players as a form of solidarity. Front offices from team after team blasted Trump’s words at the Alabama rally in official press statements and tweeted infographics — all saying some version of how much they disagreed with Trump’s divisive tone or rhetoric.

And that’s where we have to pause.

The popular demands on NFL executives and owners to speak out against Trump seem strange. Most NFL owners and general managers are unknown to your average American. But here’s the thing: What Trump said about NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem was hardly different from what NFL owners have not only said, but actually done to Kaepernick.

. . . Kaepernick has been effectively banned from the NFL by owners and management who hate his guts like they do traitors and murderers.

That’s why what happened yesterday was perplexing. Some of the team owners showing solidarity with their players had made million-dollar donations to Trump’s inaugural committee, knowing full well where he was coming from. And many of the same team executives who were releasing statements and locking arms in support of players have shown their own disdain for Kaepernick — some, presumably, were the same ones who trashed him to Bleacher Report, others simply failed to show Kaepernick solidarity by refusing to give him a shot at playing again.

Trump learned his disdain for protesting players from them. Way before he called protesting players sons of bitches, the team executives were saying, fuck Colin Kaepernick.

Never mind that Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, the two best quarterbacks in the game, say Kaepernick should be in the league. Never mind the fact that some teams are still winless with quarterbacks who are struggling through every single quarter. Before Trump said a single word in Alabama, those teams had already shut Kaepernick out.

What the NFL players did yesterday was genuine — real solidarity with one of their own. But what most of those team owners and general managers did was marketing. It was, in the words of ESPN’s Howard Bryant, “performance art.” It looked and felt real, but was as counterfeit as a $3 bill. These owners and general managers put on a beautiful show yesterday, but as long as Kaepernick, in the prime of his physical career, is unemployed, they clearly lack the courage of their convictions. Kaepernick should’ve been on the field yesterday.

– Shaun King
Excerpted from "NFL Owners and Executives
Who Protested Donald Trump Are the Biggest Hypocrites Yet
The Intercept
September 25, 2017

Above: Not just the players. Cheerleader Raianna Brown kneels at her Georgia Tech football game on Saturday, September 23, 2017. (Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

Black people in protest, be they rich or poor, famous or obscure, have always made the powers that be uncomfortable. Because to be black and to be conscious and to have a voice flies in the face of white supremacy. As a result, while Nazis can be afforded the right to march freely and proudly through American cities, it is conceivably never OK for black people to speak out against what they perceive as injustice and oppression.

Some people, like Browns coach Hue Jackson, have argued that on the field or in the locker room is not the proper venue for protest. But what is ever the right venue, when it comes to black people in protest? Black people march in the streets, and they’re branded as a whole as thuggish rioters and looters. Black people quietly take a knee on basketball courts or football fields, and they’re branded as ungrateful and unpatriotic. Black people share their opinions on white supremacy via Twitter, and suddenly they’re loose cannons who should be fired.

This, of course, is white supremacy at work. The criticisms of the NFL athletes who have largely led this new wave of silent protest during the National Anthem isn’t really about respect (those who have died defending this country also died for the right of American citizens to protest). It’s about controlling black people, and, most of all, actively dismissing the very real concerns and issues that these protests are calling out.

– Zeba Blay
Excerpted from "What It Really Means When
Black People Who Protest Are Called ‘Ungrateful’
The Huffington Post
September 25, 2017

Above: Players from the Indianapolis Colts take a knee.
(Photographer unknown)

While [the] NFL protests may be unpopular right now, particularly with white people,1 similar protests in the past — involving race, civil rights and varying definitions of patriotism — came to be viewed much more positively after the fact.

Marches for civil rights during the 1960s were generally seen negatively at the time. As the Washington Post noted last year, most Americans didn’t approve of the Freedom Riders, the March on Washington in 1963 or other similar protests. In fact, many Americans thought that these protests would hurt the advancement of civil rights. In addition, but many Americans held mixed-to-negative views of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. In a 1966 Gallup survey, 63 percent of Americans gave King a negative score on a scale from -5 to +5. Now, the civil rights marches are viewed as major successes, and just 4 percent of Americans rated King negatively on that same scale in a 2011 Gallup poll.

Many Americans also viewed gay rights marchers during the AIDS epidemic negatively. According to Business Insider, the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation in April 1993 drew more than 800,000 people fighting against discrimination and seeking more funding for AIDS research. But in a Newsweek survey conducted at the time, only 23 percent of Americans thought that the demonstration did more good than harm in the fight for gay rights. Today, gay rights organizations celebrate the march, same-sex marriage is legal and much of the platform demanded by protesters seems mainstream.

The polling on the marches for black and gay civil rights underscores a fundamental truth about surveys: They merely measure how people feel at the time the polls are conducted. People can change their minds later. Civil rights protests, moreover, tend to involve a minority making demands of society at large, and so by definition begin as “unpopular” — which means that their initial unpopularity doesn’t tell us much about how they’ll ultimately be viewed.

– Harry Enten
Excerpted from "The NFL Protests May Be Unpopular Now,
But That Doesn’t Mean They’ll End That Way
September 25, 2017

Stay focused. The NFL protests are not about Trump, the military or respect for the flag. They are about police violence against people of color and the systemic racism in the United States that precipitates and excuses them. Every time we talk about these important acts of high-profile resistance in other terms we diminish their impact by diluting their message.

– Unknown
via Facebook
September 25, 2017

Related Off-site Links:
ColinThe Leveret (June 22, 2017).
U.S. Veterans Are Coming to Colin Kaepernick’s Defense in Droves – Maxwell Strachan (The Huffington Post, August 31, 2016).
A Tale of Two Christianities on Its Knees: Tim Tebow and Colin Kaepernick – Michael Frost (Mike, May 3, 2017).
Colin Kaepernick Has Donated $700K of His $1 Million Pledge to 24 Different Organizations – Mark Hinog (SB Nation, June 3, 2017).
The Unexpected Connection Between Slavery, NFL Protests and the National Anthem – AJ Willingham (CNN, August 22, 2017).
Star-Spangled Bigotry: The Hidden Racist History of the National Anthem – Jason Johnson (The Root, July 4, 2016).
Why Colin Kaepernick Matters – Samuel G. Freedman (, August 15, 2017).
The Awakening of Colin Kaepernick – John Branch (The New York Times, September 7, 2017).
Calling Kaepernick "Son of a Bitch," Trump Urges NFL to Fire All Protesting Players – Jon Queally (Common Dreams, September 23, 2017).
Colin Kaepernick’s Mom Has No Time For Trump Calling Her Son A ‘Son Of A Bitch’ – Sam Levine (The Huffington Post, September 23, 2017).
I Tried to Defend Colin Kaepernik and This Is What I Learned – MarquetteAlumProgressive (Daily Kos, September 23, 2017).
NFL Players, Coaches, and Owners Lock Arms and Kneel During National (September 24, 2017).
NFL Players Kneel for Anthem In Unprecedented Defiance of Trump – Bryan Armen Graham and Martin Pengelly (The Guardian, September 24, 2017).
Take the Knee: Athletes Unite in Historic Protest Against Racism and Police Brutality, Defying TrumpDemocracy Now! (September 24, 2017).
Why Is Trump Condemning Football Players More Harshly Than White Supremacists? – Jacqueline Thomsen (The Hill, September 24, 2017).
The Long History of Civil Rights Protests Making White People Uncomfortable – Judd Legum (Think Progress, September 25, 2017).
I Understand Why They Knelt – David French (National Review, September 25, 2017).
Dallas Sportscaster on NFL Players Taking a Knee: "All of Us Should Protest How Black Americans Are Treated in This Country" – Emma Baccellieri (Deadspin, September 25, 2017).
Jesse Williams: NFL National Anthem Is a "Scam" to Boost Military Recruitment – Cavan Sieczkowski (The Huffington Post, September 25, 2017).
Trump Fixates on NFL Protests — While Ignoring the Disaster in Puerto Rico – Heather Digby Parton (Salon, September 25, 2017).
It's Bigger Than Trump. It's Bigger Than Kaepernick – Charles Pierce (Esquire, September 25, 2017).
All of the Work, None of the Credit: Don't Drop the Ball on the WNBA's Activism – Britni de la Cretaz (Bitch Media, September 26, 2017).
Congresswoman Takes a Knee on the House Floor to Protest Donald Trump’s NFL Remarks – Lee Moran (The Huffington Post, September 26, 2017).
Why Do Whites Oppose the NFL Protests? – Steve Chapman (The Chicago Tribune, September 26, 2017).
Sponsors Are Dropping NFL Players for Protesting. This Is What We Mean When We Say ‘White Supremacy’ – Michael Harriot (The Root, September 26, 2017).

UPDATES: Colin Kaepernick Is Named Citizen of the Year by GQ Magazine – Chuck Schilken (Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2017).
Colin Kaepernick is Recipient of 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award – Michael Rosenberg (Sports Illustrated, November 30, 2017).
Colin Kaepernick Named Face of Nike's 30th Anniversary of 'Just Do It' Campaign – Tim Daniels (Bleacher Report, September 3, 2018).
Don’t Speak for My Military Family: A Veteran’s Wife on Colin Kaepernick and the Nike Boycott – Lily Burana (Salon, September 5, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In Charlottesville, the Face of Terrorism In the U.S.
Trump's America: Normalized White Supremacy and a Rising Tide of Racist Violence
On International Human Rights Day, Saying "No" to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
Welcome to America . . .
"This Doesn't Happen to White People"
Remembering Philando Castile and Demanding Abolition of the System That Targets and Kills People of Color

Monday, September 25, 2017

Finding Laura

I’ve only sparodically watched the long awaited third season of director David Lynch's landmark series Twin Peaks. What I’ve seen is both mesmerizing and disturbing, much like the original TV series.

Recently I came across a fascinating piece about season three by Crit Hulk. Following are excerpts.

In the end, there is only one real question . . .

Why is Laura Palmer so important?

Because at the end of [Twin Peaks], when a million choices could have been made, [director David] Lynch had to go back to her. Just like he had to go back to her years ago with Fire Walk With Me. In a way, Twin Peaks has never been about anything BUT Laura Palmer.

To many, she started as a narrative’s “murdered body.” A version of a trope we’ve seen in a thousand shows and a thousand movies. But to Lynch, she was never just a simple motive. She wasn’t a dead girl’s picture on a wall. She wasn’t a fridge to be stuffed, just so that some dude could feel all aggrieved and seek revenge. What set Twin Peaks apart was how much this small town cared about the girl’s death, and more, how they cared about her life and the way she affected everyone around her. The narrative of the show itself was not a whodunit, but a Rebecca-like investigation of who she really was in the first place. The whodunit was more about what lies at the dark heart of the American town and the American family, unveiling the echoes of abuse across the spectrum, along with the many contorted faces we force young women to wear just to keep up the facade. Twin Peaks is a story about what shouldn’t have been done, but what was done a thousand times. A girl who experienced so many tragedies before the inevitable one that took her life. It’s a set of tragedies that continues in many forms, even 25 years later.

As the new season tells us, “Laura is the one.” But righting this wrong isn’t as simple as catching a killer, nor somehow finding a way to return a single girl from the dead. I go back to the episode eight “origin” scene where we learn that Laura’s light was put into the world as a response to evil [represented most powerfully in the third season of Twin Peaks by the entity known as Judy or Jowday].

But what we’ve seen is not exactly fighting evil, is it? In fact, she ends up being a victim to evil. Was this show saying that women were put on Earth to be victims of men? Is she more akin to the female Jesus, dying for our sins? What does it mean? What is her light? Well, I think episode eight is telling us to see these forces as part of a larger system. If the story of Twin Peaks is about the story of abuse itself, then stopping abuse would require understanding all of the cycles that go on without end. It would mean disappearing into the history of time and violence and echoes of generations. It would mean facing the entirety of the truth.

. . . There’s always a question driving us, but it is also what traps us. We always want to fast-forward through the anguish to the alleviation. Here and now, it is more pronounced than ever precisely because I do not know if we will get another season of Twin Peaks. No one does. Even David Lynch doesn’t know. And so, we sit like a ball on the curved track of infinity, forced to wait in our point in time. It does not feel so great.

This is the forever state of Twin Peaks. Whether it’s waiting a week or 25 years, the cycles of plots and cliffhangers and expectations meet at the nexus of ad infinitum, the same way forever, over and over again. It’s frustrating because we may never get “out” of it through resolution or definitive ending. But like life itself, there is only that which may come to be, and that which is cut down before its time. We are the trapped magicians, longing to see between two worlds, to see through time and what the future of a show may bring. We are the ones who risk being burned by the fire itself.

But what is the fire metaphor anyway? It is the chant used to walk between worlds. It is what we say when we let the demons try to get inside us and “cross through” with the difficulty of that which may burn us. It is that which may devour us whole. That’s why we need to hone the demons of time. We need the fire to effectively “walk with us.” Which essentially means we need to open our hearts and make it through such barriers undamaged. This is so completely necessary because you cannot break cycles without facing them. Without knowing how they permeate yourself. Without really finding a capacity for change in yourself, which is the hardest thing in in the universe. As Gordon Cole once called it in different terms, it is “fixing your heart.” And so, we must be like Laura and embody the hope of eradicating the impossible. Of somehow burgeoning through the annals of time itself, having taken in so much fire and surviving it. Because when we’re trapped in the recesses of such despair, the way out is always through.

– Crit Hulk
Excerpted from "Twin Peaks Finale Recap: We’re Going Home"
September 4, 2017

Related Off-site Links:
Twin Peaks Ending Explained: How to Make Sense of David Lynch’s Baffling Finale – Zack Sharf (IndieWire, September 4, 2017).
Twin Peaks Finale Review: David Lynch Steps Outside of the Dream for a Brilliant, Mindbending Final Journey – Zack Sharf (IndieWire, September 4, 2017).
Twin Peaks Season 3’s Ending Explained – Edward Cambro (Screen Rant, September 4, 2017).
Twin Peaks: The Return, Parts 17 & 18 – "The Past Dictates the Future"/"What Is Your Name?" – Joel Bocko (Lost in the Movies, September 4, 2017).
Twin Peaks: Judy’s True Identity Revealed – Edward Cambro (Screen Rant, September 7, 2017).
Twin Peaks Finale: A Theory of Cooper, Laura, Diane, and Judy – David Auerbach (Waggish, September 7, 2017).

UPDATE: Hiding in Plain Sight – Judy Revealed – Brien Allen (, Jauary 19, 2018).

For more about Twin Peaks at The Wild Reed, see:
It Is Happening Again
The Fizzer Finale of Lost Brings to Mind the Unraveling of Twin Peaks
London Calling

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Price I Pay

For "music night" this evening at The Wild Reed I share the promotional video for Jenny Morris's cover of the Billy Bragg song, "The Price I Pay."

Jenny's 1993 recording of this song was her last appearance to date on the Australian ARIA top 100 singles chart. The track was later included on her 1995 album Salvation Jane. (For another track from this album, click here.)

About Billy Bragg's original 1986 recording, Dan Seeger writes:

The clarity and directness of . . . “The Price I Pay” (There’s something inside that hurts my foolish pride/ To visit the places we used to go together/ Not a day goes by that I don’t sit and wonder why/ Your feeling for me didn’t last forever) is enhanced by the studio care that’s been brought to [it], the kind attention that becomes the production equivalent of a sympathetic ear, always listening with the goal of complete understanding.

To my ears the same can be said of Jenny Morris's recording, beautifully and knowingly produced by Andrew Farriss and Mark Moffatt, together with Electric Hippies' duo Steve Balbi and Justin Stanley.

So without further ado, here's Jenny Morris and "The Price I Pay" . . .

My friend said he could see no way ahead
And I was probably better off without you
He said to face up to the fact
that you weren't coming back
And he could make me happy like you used to
But I'm sorry to say I turned him away
Knowing everything he said was true
And that's the price I pay
for loving you the way that I do

And there's something inside
that hurts my foolish pride
To visit the places we used to go together
Not a day goes by
that I don't sit and wonder why
Your feelings for me didn't last forever
But I love you so much that sometimes it's such
I'd walk a mile with a stone in my shoe
And that's the price I pay
for loving you the way that I do
That's the price I pay
for loving you the way that I do

So keep that phone out of my way
for all the things I must say
Are empty if you don't believe they're true
And that's the price I pay
for loving you the way that I do
That's the price I pay
for loving you the way that I do

I love you so much that, baby, it's such
I'd walk a mile with a stone in my shoe
And that's the price I pay
for loving you the way that I do

For more of Jenny Morris at The Wild Reed, see:
In Too Deep
Saved Me
Crackerjack Man
Sometimes I Wonder . . .
Break in the Weather

Related Off-site Link:
"I Didn’t Find It a Joyful Experience Anymore": Singer Jenny Morris Reveals She Was Forced to Quit Music After Battling Rare Neurological Condition That Has No Cure – Monique Friedlander (Daily Mail, October 12, 2015).
Jenny Morris: Singer Reveals Career-ending Spasmodic Dysphonia Diagnosis, Hailed a "Real Hero" for Charity Work – Ben Cheshire (ABC News, October 12, 2015).
Jenny Morris Honoured for Fight for Musicians’ Rights as She Reveals She Was Assaulted on Stage – Kathy McCabe (The Daily Telegraph, March 25, 2017).
Singer Jenny Morris on Sharing a House with Michael Hutchence – Christine Sams (Domain, March 27, 2017).
Singer Jenny Morris Honoured in Sydney Ceremony – Iain Shedden (The Australian, May 20, 2017).

Previous featured artists at The Wild Reed:
Dusty Springfield | David Bowie | Kate Bush | Maxwell | Buffy Sainte-Marie | Prince | Frank Ocean | Maria Callas | Loreena McKennitt | Rosanne Cash | Petula Clark | Wendy Matthews | Darren Hayes | Jenny Morris | Gil Scott-Heron | Shirley Bassey | Rufus Wainwright | Kiki Dee | Suede | Marianne Faithfull | Dionne Warwick | Sam Sparro | Wanda Jackson | Engelbert Humperdinck | Pink Floyd | The Church | Enrique Iglesias | Yvonne Elliman | Lenny Kravitz | Helen Reddy | Stephen Gately | Judith Durham | Nat King Cole | Emmylou Harris | Bobbie Gentry | Russell Elliot | BØRNS | Hozier | Enigma | Moby (featuring the Banks Brothers) | Cat Stevens | Chrissy Amphlett | Jon Stevens | Nada Surf | Tom Goss (featuring Matt Alber) | Autoheart | Scissor Sisters | Mavis Staples | Claude Chalhoub | Cass Elliot | Duffy | The Cruel Sea | Wall of Voodoo | Loretta Lynn and Jack White | Foo Fighters | 1927 | Kate Ceberano | Tee Set | Joan Baez | Wet, Wet, Wet | Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy | Fleetwood Mac | Jane Clifton | Australian Crawl | Pet Shop Boys | Marty Rhone | Josef Salvat | Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri | Aquilo