|Subject:||Beauty and inspiration.|
Tonight i went to see Amy Goodman speak. She is the host of Democracy Now and a widely recognized journalist — perhaps one of today's strongest voices criticizing the corruption of corporate media and promoting independent media. MM, who told me about the event, considers Amy a personal hero, and the tremendous reaction of the crowd showed that many people in the audience did too. I was impressed by the force of her character and what she had to say, and got a copy of her book signed afterwards.
Here she is talking about the massacre in East Timor in 1991.
I noticed a couple of clever twists in her use of language — she used the word "whitelisted" to mean what is usually meant by "blacklisted", for example, and that packed a little punch.
She had some pretty damning things to say about the incredible distortion and hypocrisy of the mainstream media. For instance, when the Saddam Hussein statue was pulled down in Baghdad, CNN showed video of the statue falling down over and over again all day long. But CNN International presented a split-screen view: one half showed the statue falling down, and the other half showed the casualties of war. The casualties of war just don't appear on American news stations, even though they are shown everywhere else in the world. The Europeans have a completely different view of the war. And this example demonstrates that CNN knows exactly what it's doing: tailoring their news for consumption by their target audience.
Imagine what a tremendous change in public opinion we would see if the casualties of war were shown on the news even for a single week.
Amy's speech was inspiring. It made me really want to do something about the media.
But let me tell you about something else for a moment. Before Amy spoke, Michael Franti went onstage and sang a few songs.
See that person on the right? That's the sign language interpreter. I was struck by how beautiful she was and how beautiful her hands and her movements were. (I happen to have a thing for hands.) I was utterly captivated. I could watch her sign all day long and never tire of it. She signed when people were speaking, and her hands spoke gracefully. But something truly amazing happened when Michael Franti sang: she began to dance with her hands. Her face and her whole body played out the rhythm and emotion of the song as her hands articulated the words. When Franti told a story, she didn't just speak the story; she acted it out, transforming herself into the characters into the story as he quoted what they said. It was a cross between improv and sign and dance.
It made me think again about the beauty of sign language, and wonder whether sign could be incorporated directly into modern dance — signing while dancing (just as people speak while dancing in our UDT piece), or using the symbology of sign to choreograph the entire body or several bodies. I'm sure it must have been done, or if it hasn't, that it would be fascinating to try.
After returning from the show, i went to Music and Story Night at Wilde House. I enjoyed some nice performances there: assorted crazy antics, songs and poetry performed by beautiful people, beautiful belly dancing. I keep using that word — i really did see a lot of beautiful things tonight. I went up and read a segment from the Amy Goodman book i had just bought. Here's Ethan playing: