Yes, Republicans, Michael Cohen [left] is a thug, a mob figure, a greedy slime-bag who lies. . . . And he used all those traits as Donald Trump's right-hand man for ten years. You cannot have it both ways: The president employed this guy, used him as his fixer and his deal maker, for precisely the reasons you now find reprehensible. No other president in modern history would even know someone like Michael Cohen, let alone make him his personal lawyer and his Executive Vice President for ten years. Everyone associated with Trump is dirty; they are all liars and crooks, because Donald Trump is a liar and a crook. Mob bosses don't employ honest people and honest people don't work for mob bosses.
We have a criminal president who presided over a criminal campaign and continues to head a criminal enterprise. I stand by my now year-old prediction that this crime boss will resign in disgrace to avoid, not impeachment, but multiple criminal indictments of himself and his entire brood of common crooks. Trump's a mobster who managed to con his way into high office, just like Spiro Agnew or some East Coast mayor or state senator. And that is a very good thing: Federal and state prosecutors – unlike the U.S. House if it were to impeach him – can force him to admit his guilt, shut his mouth, and go away quietly or face watching his children grow old in prison while he slowly dies in a penitentiary hospital bed. Stay tuned. Things are going to start moving faster.
Carl was so loved and he gave so much of himself. He took so many people under his wings. . . . There was so much love.
– Veth Javier
NOTE: The song that's sung by Carl and used in this tribute video is “Sarah,” from the musical The Civil War. It's available on the 2-disc CD, The Civil War: The Complete Work (1999). About the song: Corporal William (Bill) McEwen from Minnesota writes a letter to his wife Sarah from the battlefield. He tells her how much he loves and misses her, that every time he closes his eyes, he imagines memories of being with her and, even now, his heart is there. Immediately after, Sarah receives a black-bordered condolence telegram; Bill has died in battle. She vows that she will struggle on to raise their son and survive in the midst of tragedy for "The Honor of Your Name."
I find it interesting that most longtime elected Democrats are focused on lowering voters' expectations in quite a Republican way: MN Senator Amy Klobuchar says no to universal single payer health care ("Can't afford it," she says); both Klobuchar and her fellow Minnesota Senator Tina Smith support oil pipelines near Lake Superior/BWCA and never question the cost of destroying our water; andSenator Diane Feinstein just said of the Green New Deal, "we can't afford it." Has she ever said that of any weapons system? (A question one could ask almost all Democrats in office).
Almost two years before election day, and we're already being told that just getting rid of Trump is all we're allowed to want. (While the DNC still refuses to see how the Clintons' "Third Way" corporate takeover of the Democratic Party paved the way for Trump.) Elect any of the corporate Democrats/"moderates" and corporations will stay in charge of our health care, continue to take over public schools, run more and more prisons for profit, and continue to offer no challenge to the (at least) 54% of the national budget going to endless wars. If we're "lucky," we'll "make history" (again) with another president of color; but damn little will change in terms of the Corporate State – government of the 1%, by the 1% and for the 1%.
– Lydia Howell via Facebook
February 26, 2019
If much of what Sanders said [at Monday night's CNN town hall meeting] sounded familiar, it's because many policies that sounded radical and new in 2016 have become mainstream Democratic positions. It's not that Bernie went centrist; instead, the center moved toward him. That is how the Vermont senator raised $10 million in the week after announcing his candidacy for the 2020 nomination, and it's why he polls near the front of the pack of contenders running for the Democratic nomination.
. . . Thanks to Sanders' attention to these issues in 2016, now all Democratic candidates must promise to tackle income inequality, the high cost of health care and the stranglehold that monied interests hold over Congress.
[The Green New Deal is impossible to pass in a divided government, which is precisely why it’s been criticized by Democratic leaders like [Senator Diane] Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who recently dismissed the Green New Deal as “the green dream, or whatever they call it.”
What’s the alternative, then? Feinstein’s counterproposal would do little to make a difference. It seeks to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050—an acceptable goal, albeit 20 years later than the Green New Deal’s. But to achieve this, Feinstein’s resolution only proposes three things: re-implementing myriad Obama-era climate regulations, re-joining the Paris agreement, and implementing a national price on carbon. “It’s not that these things are wrong,” environmental activist Bill McKibben wrote in The New Yorker over the weekend. “It’s that they are insufficient, impossibly so.”
The problem with Democrats like Feinstein is that they make a big show of calling for action on climate change. And yet, their solutions prove they don’t grasp that climate change is, as Dave Roberts put it for Vox, “a fucking emergency.” They don’t grasp, as David Wallace-Wells writes in his new book, The Uninhabitable Earth, that 2 degrees Celsius means “tens of millions of climate refugees, perhaps many more, fleeing droughts, flooding and extreme heat, and the possibility of multiple climate-driven natural disasters striking simultaneously.”
Meek policies, like those proposed by Feinstein, will ensure at least 3 degrees of warming. By that point, Wallace-Wells writes, “Southern Europe would be in permanent drought, African droughts would last five years on average, and the areas burned annually by wildfires in the United States could quadruple, or worse, from last year’s million-plus acres.”
. . . Democrats like Feinstein are right to be concerned that something like the Green New Deal won’t pass, but their alternative does about as much to prevent this future as Trump’s policies do to worsen it. Trump’s climate denial, and Feinstein’s climate advocacy, both have a negligible impact on a problem of this scale. This emergency calls for wholesale societal change.
Passing such a monumental plan will indeed require support from Republicans. But the Democratic fracturing over the Green New Deal ensures the GOP will continue to do nothing. When the proposal first gained steam among Democratic voters, but before the party’s leaders were pressed for their position on it, some conservatives argued that Republicans needed to come up with an alternative. As Feinstein and Pelosi signal that the Green New Deal is dead in the water, though, Republicans have an excuse to ignore the issue altogether. They can sit back and watch the Democrats tear each other apart over the issue, while the clock runs out on addressing the most challenging crisis of our time.
Given this partisan reality, there’s only one conceivable path for success in slowing global warming: Voters have to kick Republicans out of office. To have any chance of enacting meaningful climate legislation, Democrats not only must control the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate; they must be in complete agreement about what needs to be done. Feinstein’s scolding of schoolchildren suggests that the Democratic Party would squander that opportunity instead, killing the last real chance for bold action. That’s not all it would kill, either.
I've borrowed the title of this post from a recent article at TruthDig by Kevin Tillman, a veteran of both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. With the Trump administration ramping up its rhetoric of “regime change” in Venezuela and openly talking about seizing the country's vast oil reserves (the largest in the world), Tillman writes how all of this bears a striking resemblance to what happened in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“As one of the soldiers who illegally invaded Iraq,” Tillman says, “this scares me. I know an illegal coup/invasion when I see one.”
This past Saturday I joined with around 100 others to voice objection to yet another U.S.-led illegal invasion of a sovereign nation and to stand with the majority of Venezuelans who oppose both U.S. military intervention and sanctions.
Here's how Wyatt Miller, writing in Fight Back! News, describes Saturday's event:
The streets were full of working-class solidarity on Saturday, February 23, when well over 100 people, including trade unionists, Latin America solidarity groups and anti-war activists gathered under the banner “U.S. hands off Venezuela!” The event was part of a global day of action to protest the ongoing U.S.-backed coup attempt against the democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro. [NOTE: That Maduro was “democratically elected” is aquestionable assertion. Regardless, one can still oppose U.S. intervention.] Protesters occupied multiple intersections in the high-density Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis, distributing fliers and speaking with pedestrians about the situation in Venezuela.
The demonstration took place as the coup attempt took a turn closer to an invasion, involving a high-profile attempt to storm the Venezuelan border from Colombia. U.S. and U.K. media spent much of the day highlighting groups seeking Maduro’s overthrow, who claim to bring U.S.-sponsored ‘humanitarian aid’ into Venezuela from Colombia.
My photos of Saturday's event are accompanied by an excerpt from Tillman's Truthdig article, one that particularly appreciate as in it, Tillman acknowledges that being in opposition to U.S. meddling doesn't mean unquestioning support of the authoritarian rule of Venezuela's president, Nicolás Maduro. (I have some activist friends who assume that whoever or whatever the U.S. government is opposed to must therefore by default be unquestioningly supported. It can drive me nuts!)
Another aspect of Tillman's piece that I appreciate is that he doesn't just critique but offers alternatives, i.e., things the U.S, government could and should be doing if it really was concerned about the people of Venezuela.
As was the case in Iraq, there are no legal or moral grounds to intervene in the affairs of Venezuela and no international laws to support such an intervention. There is nothing in the Constitution that sanctions meddling in the elections of a foreign country, and nothing in the Venezuelan constitution that legitimizes self-appointed presidents. Venezuela is not a threat. Venezuela is not firing missiles at the United States, attacking our allies or invading the U.S. with troops.
Sadly, the propaganda spewing from the mouths of American politicians and pundits is as predictable as it is hollow: “Venezuela is socialist.” “Their economy is in shambles.” “Their government is corrupt.” “There is food instability.” “There is a humanitarian crisis.”
What’s missing in the attempt to justify the overthrow of President Nicolas Maduro is recognition of the fact that many nations around the world are, to some degree, socialist, have economic challenges and battle corruption. There are humanitarian crises all over the globe. Are all those governments somehow illegitimate and therefore candidates for a U.S.-orchestrated coup?
To be clear, this is not an endorsement of Maduro, any more than I endorsed former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (nor am I comparing the two). This is about our leaders thinking they have the right to interfere in the affairs of any country they choose. Not only is regime change illegal and morally wrong, it has proved to be disastrous.
Yes, Venezuela has problems. Many appear to be self-induced; others are circumstantial, like the massive drop in oil prices, which, combined with harsh, U.S.-led economic sanctions, is particularly devastating, considering that more than 90 percent of Venezuela’s export earnings come from oil revenue. Venezuelans also are dealing with a politically divided country, a situation to which I believe everyone in the U.S. can relate. However, it’s the external problems that I find most concerning. It is pretty clear from where I sit that the U.S. is waging illegal economic warfare against the people of Venezuela. From the sanctions to the freezing of assets to the blocking of Venezuela from the international financial system, this is what appears to be driving that country over the edge. So as our leaders publicly lament this “humanitarian crisis,” behind the scenes, that is exactly what they want.
Why this coup is taking place is transparent. Some of our government officials are actually telling us. Our leaders, yet again, feel entitled to another country’s resources. As was the case in Iraq, Venezuela’s oil reserves are not controlled by U.S. corporations or a pliant government. They are owned by the people of Venezuela. It is theirs and nobody else’s. This means the oil cannot be looted by Western corporations or controlled for political purposes by outside forces.
Unless, of course, a coup takes place and the oil is taken by force. That is what it appears our leaders are going to do. In all fairness to members of the Trump administration, this belligerence toward Venezuela did not start with them. It is merely an extension of previous administrations’ policies. If Venezuelans believe Maduro has mismanaged their nation’s most valuable asset, it is their right to seek change, but this is not a right enjoyed by Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi or Elliott Abrams.
Like Iraq, our interference is not about liberating the Venezuelan people from some tyrannical regime. Nor is it about saving them from starvation. So please don’t allow our leaders to use the goodness inside of you as a weapon for your own manipulation. The goal is to pillage and plunder a vulnerable nation. It is evident that our representative leaders don’t care about the health and welfare of the Venezuelan people any more than they cared about the Iraqi people.
If they cared, they would consult with the Venezuelan government and ask how the U.S. might provide unconditional assistance. If they cared, they would let Venezuelans sort out their own problems democratically. If they cared about democracy, sovereignty, individual rights, human rights and the rule of law, then they would keep their hands off of Venezuela.
This honoring continues today with the sharing (with added images and links) of the obituary that was published the day after Carl's death in Playbill, a U.S. magazine that focuses on theatre actors, new plays, musicals, and special attractions. Written by Kenneth Jones, this obituary run under the headline, "Carl Anderson, Superstar's Judas on Stage and Screen, Dead at 58."
Carl Anderson, the actor and singer who was Golden Globe Award-nominated for playing Judas in the film, Jesus Christ Superstar, and appeared in Broadway's Play On!, died Feb. 23 after a battle with leukemia.
Mr. Anderson was 58. He was born in Lynchburg, VA, in 1945, to a steel worker father and a seamstress mother, according to his official website. Mr. Anderson got his first taste of performing when he sang in Baptist church. He also sang in high school.
While serving for two years in the Air Force, he was involved in the World Wide Air Force Talent Contest, allowing him to sing at military bases around the country, strengthening his talent.
He was noticed by a talent agent while singing with a band in Washington, DC. Part of his band's act was performing songs from the concept album of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar.
According to the official Carl Anderson website (here), "The concert touring company of Jesus Christ Superstar was auditioning and, on the last day of auditions, 27 June 1971, Carl – who had been delivered to New York City not knowing why he was there – auditioned for and landed the role of Judas. Two days later, he was in rehearsal." He would later say in interviews that he stepped into the Broadway role of Judas when Ben Vereen suffered throat problems. They alternated the part for a time, and Mr. Anderson then headed west to perform in the Los Angeles company of the rock opera.
But he was soon plucked from rehearsals for a screen test for film director Norman Jewison. Weeks later, he left the L.A. show to begin shooting the film of the rock opera in Israel.
Playbill On-Line could not independently confirm dates of Mr. Anderson's Broadway appearance in Jesus Christ Superstar. The Internet Broadway Database information for the production is incomplete.
Mr. Anderson was Golden Globe-nominated for "New Star of the Year" and "Actor in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy."
In 1992, Mr. Anderson again played Judas in a North American touring revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the movie. He would play it on tour again as late as 2002-03.
The most recent national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, with rocker Sebastian Bach in the title role and Carl Anderson as Judas, dawned Nov. 1-17, 2002, at the LaMirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in California before traveling the country.
The new staging borrowed elements from the 2000 Broadway revival, but was altered and made more militaristic than on Broadway.
Mr. Anderson is heard as solo artist on a number of albums in the Epic, Polydor and GRP labels, as well as on the hot-selling Jesus Christ Superstarsoundtrack, which was reissued on CD in recent years.
Singing jazz, pop and adult contemporary music over the years, Mr. Anderson had a notable hit recording, "Friends and Lovers," a duet with 1980s soap opera actress and singer Gloria Loring.
What is it in Andrea Dworkin’s long-neglected oeuvre that has suddenly become resonant? Perhaps it’s simply because we’re in a moment of crisis, when people seeking solutions are dusting off all sorts of radical ideas. But I think it’s more than that. Dworkin [right] was engaged, as many women today are engaged, in a pitched cultural battle over whose experiences and assumptions define our common reality. As she wrote of several esteemed male writers in a 1995 preface to [her book] Intercourse, “I love the literature these men created; but I will not live my life as if they are real and I am not.”
Dworkin was unapologetically angry, as so many women today are. Even before 2016, you could see this anger building in the emergence of new words to describe maddening male behaviors that had once gone unnamed – manspreading, mansplaining. Then came the obscene insult of Donald Trump’s victory. It seems like something sprung from Dworkin’s cataclysmic imagination, that America’s most overtly fascistic president would also be the first, as far as we know, to have appeared in soft-core porn films. I think Trump’s victory marked a shift in feminism’s relationship to sexual liberation; as long as he’s in power, it’s hard to associate libertinism with progress.
And so Dworkin, so profoundly out of fashion just a few years ago, suddenly seems prophetic. “Our enemies – rapists and their defenders – not only go unpunished; they remain influential arbiters of morality; they have high and esteemed places in the society; they are priests, lawyers, judges, lawmakers, politicians, doctors, artists, corporation executives, psychiatrists and teachers,” Dworkin said in a lecture she wrote in 1975. Maybe this once sounded paranoid. After Trump’s election, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, and revelations of predation by men including Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein, Les Moonves, Larry Nassar and countless figures in the Catholic Church, her words seem frighteningly perceptive.
It’s actually a month-long celebration, as February is the month of both Carl’s birth (in 1945) and death (in 2004, at age 58).
In this fifth installment of The Wild Reed’s celebration of Carl, I share the music video of "How Deep Does It Go?", one of a number of standout tracks from Carl's 1990 album Pieces of a Heart.
Pieces of a Heart was the first of three albums that Carl released on the jazz label GRP Records, and a review of it follows the video below. Enjoy!
Have you ever lived for someone
more than you live for yourself?
Can you perceive of a love you believe in always?
Can you learn to let somebody
really live inside your love?
Can you release everything you have to her?
How deep does it go?
How deep does it go in your love?
I just got to know,
could you ever let go of my love?
I feel I can touch you places
that no one has ever been
Trust me this time
as I gently find every end
I will go to any measure
just let me know how far to be
Whatever it takes
I will put your heart at ease.
How deep does it go?
How deep does it go in your love?
I just got to know,
could you ever let go of my love?
How deep does it feel?
How deep does it feel in your love?
How deep does it feel?
Does it make you reveal all you have?
'Cause you live in me
making my world complete.
And what you give me
is so much deeper than deep.
How deep does it go? I wanna know.
How deep does it go in your love?
I just got to know,
could you ever let go of my love?
How deep does it feel? Tell me.
How deep does it feel in your love?
How sweet does it taste?
Could another erase what we have?
How deep does it go?
How deep? I wanna know.
Tell me, how deep?
With so many well-known male cross-over artists today in the areas of pop and jazz such as Al Jarreau, Phil Perry, Jeffrey Osborne, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder, few are familiar with the tremendous artistic talents of Carl Anderson, artist and vocalist extraordinaire. Imagine a controlled, powerful, rich baritone voice, something of a cross between former vocal icons Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole, and you have got the rather unique vocal stylings of Carl Anderson. How a talent of this magnitude could go virtually so unknown, beyond those in the music industry anyway, is a mystery to me.
[On the] impressive Pieces of a Heart, Carl Anderson showcases his amazing talent as a vocalist. Just listen to the beautiful and exotic "Dance of the Seven Veils," the emotionally stirring "If I Could," the classic jazz piece "Maiden Voyage," the sassy duet with Brenda Russell, "Baby My Heart," and the soaring and deeply moving title track and you'll see why the music of the late, great Carl Anderson will take a piece of your heart."
As regulars readers will know, I’ve long admired Buffy Sainte-Marie and enjoyed her music. Indeed, I find her to be a very inspiring figure. (I even chose her song "It's My Way" as my theme song when I turned 50 in 2015!)
I particularly appreciate and am inspired by Buffy's passion and purposefulness – and by the way she blends her art and social activism. I’ve seen her four times in concert, and had the privilege of meeting and talking with her on three of these occasions. She’s creative, articulate, warm, and funny – a very human human being, in other words.
[Medicine Songs] is a collection of front line songs about unity and resistance – some brand new and some classics – and I want to put them to work. These are songs I've been writing for over fifty years, and what troubles people today are still the same damn issues from 30-40-50 years ago: war, oppression, inequity, violence, rankism of all kinds, the pecking order, bullying, racketeering and systemic greed. Some of these songs come from the other side of that: positivity, common sense, romance, equity and enthusiasm for life.
[. . .] I really want this collection of songs to be like medicine, to be of some help or encouragement, to maybe do some good. Songs can motivate you and advance your own ideas, encourage and support collaborations and be part of making change globally and at home. They do that for me and I hope this album can be positive and provide thoughts and remedies that rock your world and inspire new ideas of your own.
For The Wild Reed's special post featuring highlights from a number of reviews of Medicine Songs, along with an insightful interview with Buffy, click here.
In celebrating Buffy today at The Wild Reed I share the music video for her song, “The War Racket” (from Medicine Songs), along with Maggie Rahr's review of Andrea Warner's Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography, released last September. Rahr's review, entitled “Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Merriment and Perseverance Shine Through in New Biography,” was first published September 26, 2018 by The Glode and Mail.
Ooo, you’re slick – you investors in hate
You Saddams and you Bushes,
you Bin Ladens and snakes
You billionaire bullies,
you’re a globalized curse
You put war on the masses
and then you clean out the purse
And that’s how it’s done, war after war
You old feudal parasites
you just sacrifice the poor
You got the cutting edge weapons
but your scam’s still the same
as it’s been since the Romans:
It’s the patriot game
Well, that's the war racket
That’s the war racket
You twisters of language,
you creeps of disguise
Your disinformation –
it's like worms in your eyes
You privileged bankers,
you gambler thieves
You profit on war, you think
there's just less money in peace.
That’s how it’s done, time after time,
In country after country
and crime after crime.
You pretend it’s religion
as if there’s no one to blame
for your dead and impoverished
in your little patriot game;
Honey, that's the war racket.
We got the world's greatest power
and you team up with thugs.
Make a fortune on weapons,
destruction and drugs.
But your flags and boots and uniforms
they start to all smell the same
when both sides are killing
in your little patriot game..
And that’s how it’s done
and you’ve got our sons
in the crosshairs of horror
at the end of your guns
But your national anthems
they start to all smell like shame
when all sides are dying
in the patriot game
And war is never, ever holy
It’s just a greedy men’s dream
And you two-faced crusaders –
both sides are obscene.
War is not made by God,
war is just made by men
who misdirect our attention
while you thieves do your thing
And that’s how it’s done
About every 30 years
The rich fill their bank accounts
The poor fill with tears
The young fill the coffins
The old hang a wreath
The politicians get photographed
with their names underneath.
It’s the war racket
It’s just the war racket
– Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Merriment and Perseverance
Shine Through in New Biography
By Maggie Rahr
The Globe and Mail
September 29, 2018
At just 22, Buffy Sainte-Marie was boarding and disembarking flights across North America, performing for intimate crowds in not-yet legendary folk coffee houses of the sixties, when she made a preternatural decision.
Sainte-Marie, only just coming to prominence in the United States, hoped to deliver the urgent and bursting poetry of her young peers to gatekeepers she’d earned access to, who might open doors for them.
This is just one of many quietly revealing moments readers ought to pause to consider in Andrea Warner’s new authorized biography, which illustrates how the iconic singer-songwriter, activist and educator changed the landscape of modern music not only with her idiosyncratic voice and self-taught, compositional style, but with her ears – and her capacity to lift others.
Mitchell, decades later, would go on to write the foreword for this very book: “Buffy Sainte-Marie is one of folk music’s unsung heroes and her inspirational life is a story that deserves to be read.”
Longtime fans and careful listeners of Sainte-Marie’s will find details that are charming and relatable, as well as heartbreaking and never before discussed in previous interviews.
The book doesn’t read like your typical sixties music biography, as such tropes wouldn’t match Sainte-Marie’s ascension: There are no lurid tales of adultery or drug-fuelled parties either legendary, regrettable or both. The collection’s selling point isn’t in the salacious or tragic, but instead may be found in a direct pondering and revisiting of years past, in the way a long conversation over a cup of tea might be absorbed.
Those who are familiar with Warner’s work as a CBC music journalist, will recognize her writing tone – one that welcomes us to imagine what the 60-some hours of phone conversations between Buffy Sainte-Marie and the author that preceded the book itself, might have sounded like.
"We talked twice a week, for two hours each time,” Warner says. The two spoke on the phone regularly over the nearly two-month stretch, with Warner calling from Vancouver and Sainte-Marie based in Hawaii.
Eventually they met in person, on tour, and in Warner’s neighbourhood, at a cat café, where Sainte-Marie quickly settled in on the floor, instantly connecting with a handful of cats, as naturally as if she were at home.
For Sainte-Marie, the experience of revisiting the story of her life (up to now – it’s by no means slowed down) has been akin to this: “Confirmation. Like a movie of your wedding. It’s such a blur while it’s going on that seeing it later kinda anchors it down to reality.”
“For working musicians on the road, we don’t experience the calendar rhythms of weekdays-weekends work-rest around which most people build their lives and snapshots,” Sainte-Marie writes in an e-mail.
“So I kind of lack the usual life milestones and goal posts that would mark a personal linear ‘album.’”
This – being expected to divulge the most intimate details of one’s life, only to end up crunched into a headline – is nothing new for Sainte-Marie. But the conversations with Warner were different. More spacious. There was time to unpack the full story,
With each passing week, Warner became more enamoured with her subject.
“[She’s] so incredibly smart … so down to earth. ... That’s Buffy.”
The interviews (Warner was armed with “a lifetime of questions”) often fell into natural conversations and eventually passed the slotted two-hour mark every time. In one exchange, Warner found herself explaining the term “gaslighting” to Sainte-Marie, who she knew had likely experienced it herself without having a word for it.
In the book, Sainte-Marie describes the core of her activism, “decolonization,” the same way. “We knew what it was, we just didn’t have a word for it.”
The musician’s quotes lift off the page. On the subject of being an educator, Warner writes that the artist is, “Gentle, but firm. Her words are an education, not a lecture.”
Buffy’s version: “You don’t give it to people in an enema.”
Warner’s narrative tracks Sainte-Marie’s life from birth on the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation Reserve in Qu’Appelle, Sask., her childhood with her adopted family in the United States – the exact date and circumstances surrounding her adoption are unknown, a painful and common casualty of the time – and some five decades spent both in and out of the spotlight in good measure, across the United States and the world.
Born under the name Beverly (and still called so, fondly, by some old friends quoted in the book) the musician showed great promise in both singing and composing by the mere age of three. By university, she was playing guitar with the then yet-to-be discovered Taj Mahal, who sought her out in the stairwell of the University of Massachusetts where she studied.
Sainte-Marie’s memories and observations, in her own words, are tidily and poetically inserted throughout the book, in interludes that appear between chapters.
“I’m surprised I get any credit,” one such interlude begins, a stunningly raw admission in itself, given that it’s coming from a legendary singular talent who has been largely overlooked in the North American cultural canon of musical heroes and activist groundbreakers.
Sainte-Marie isn’t digging for compliments. She’s simply sharing a straightforward personal take: demonstrating a rare, deep humility and groundedness from someone who has been famous since the beginning of her adulthood. It’s often been suggested in popular culture that celebrities who rise to fame at a young age are somehow fossilized at that nascent age, if not lost to the ravages of fame.
If anything, Sainte-Marie, or what we can conjure of her from the pages and from her music, seems to have manifested just the opposite – somehow spanning both youthful exuberance and wisdom in her 78th year.
Warner, for her part, explains her subject’s omission from our mainstream cultural touchstones in this way: “Music journalism was white, straight, male for so long,” she says plainly. “It’s not that people want to exclude her voice, I think they just didn’t understand . . . or listen . . . or analyze their own complicity in it.”
But Sainte-Marie holds no bitterness. In fact, she sees the arrival of this book as a kind of introduction.
“I’m pretty serious for somebody who has so much fun and I’m a lot of fun for somebody who has also engaged with tragedy.”
The admiration isn’t one sided either. Sainte-Marie has plenty of good things to say about Warner.
“Because Andrea captures that merry side of me that many writers either have not gotten in the first place, or have seen edited down in favour of a heavy-handed headline, it is kind of a public coming-out of my merry side.”
Merriment and perseverance together – the image Warner’s writing casts is one of an insightful leader, whose commitment to joy in learning has only grown over the years. This is at the heart of the biography – one which arguably is decades overdue.
– Maggie Rahr The Globe and Mail
September 29, 2018
I established The Wild Reed in 2006 as a sign of solidarity with all who are dedicated to living lives of integrity – though, in particular, with gay people seeking to be true to both the gift of their sexuality and their Catholic faith. The Wild Reed's original by-line read, “Thoughts and reflections from a progressive, gay, Catholic perspective.” As you can see, it reads differently now. This is because my journey has, in many ways, taken me beyond, or perhaps better still, deeper into the realities that the words “progressive,” “gay,” and “Catholic” seek to describe.
Even though reeds can symbolize frailty, they may also represent the strength found in flexibility. Popular wisdom says that the green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm. Tall green reeds are associated with water, fertility, abundance, wealth, and rebirth. The sound of a reed pipe is often considered the voice of a soul pining for God or a lost love.
On September 24, 2012,Michael BaylyofCatholics for Marriage Equality MNwas interviewed by Suzanne Linton of Our World Today about same-sex relationships and why Catholics can vote 'no' on the proposed Minnesota anti-marriage equality amendment.
"I believe your blog to be of utmost importance for all people regardless of their orientation. . . . Thank you for your blog and the care and dedication that you give in bringing the TRUTH to everyone."– William
"Michael, if there is ever a moment in your day or in your life when you feel low and despondent and wonder whether what you are doing is anything worthwhile, think of this: thanks to your writing on the internet, a young man miles away is now willing to embrace life completely and use his talents and passions unashamedly to celebrate God and his creation. Any success I face in the future and any lives I touch would have been made possible thanks to you and your honesty and wisdom."– AB
"Since I discovered your blog I have felt so much more encouraged and inspired knowing that I'm not the only gay guy in the Catholic Church trying to balance my Faith and my sexuality. Continue being a beacon of hope and a guide to the future within our Church!"– Phillip
"Your posts about Catholic issues are always informative and well researched, and I especially appreciate your photography and the personal posts about your own experience. I'm very glad I found your blog and that I've had the chance to get to know you."– Crystal
"Thank you for taking the time to create this fantastic blog. It is so inspiring!"– George
"I cannot claim to be an expert on Catholic blogs, but from what I've seen, The Wild Reed ranks among the very best."– Kevin
"Reading your blog leaves me with the consolation of knowing that the words Catholic, gay and progressive are not mutually exclusive.."– Patrick
"I grieve for the Roman institution’s betrayal of God’s invitation to change. I fear that somewhere in the midst of this denial is a great sin that rests on the shoulders of those who lead and those who passively follow. But knowing that there are voices, voices of the prophets out there gives me hope. Please keep up the good work."– Peter
"I ran across your blog the other day looking for something else. I stopped to look at it and then bookmarked it because you have written some excellent articles that I want to read. I find your writing to be insightful and interesting and I'm looking forward to reading more of it. Keep up the good work. We really, really need sane people with a voice these days."– Jane Gael
"Michael, your site is like water in the desert."– Jayden