|Phoito by: Garitan|
Let me begin by apologizing for the first post on LOLBham containing a serious message. We're supposed to be laughing. We should be laughing. But today, it's hard.
I don't, in any way, want people to think I'm making light of the deaths, death threats, jailings, violence or abuse in regard to any of the events to which I shall shortly elude. This is basically a tangled up rant and opinion piece.
Laughter, humor, satire, comedy, whatever your flavor of funny, is the essence of the stew of human communication. And those people who write, perform, present or in their way play with us, have a unique kind of guts that allows them to stand in front of large groups of people and let it all hang out.
The popularity of American shows, such as The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, various print publications such as The Onion, our own locals, Burningham News, Birminghamster, the French publication Charlie Hebdo, whose staff, writers and editors were killed today in a horrendous act of terrorism, all point to the desire, demand and obvious need for humorous outlets to deliver news and salve our spirits toward today's various social issues.
It is no overreach to state that humor is a crucial aspect of expression in a free society, and that humor is currently under attack.
From recent cyber attacks on Sony for the release of The Interview, attributed by most sources "in the know" as perpetrated by North Korea, to the arrest and torture in an Iranian prison of Maziar Bahari, in which part of his interrogation centered around a satirical interview with Jason Jones of The Daily Show, there is a growing interaction between politics and entertainment in the form of satire and humor.
Why would this be so?
Because those in power, those who seek power, those who fight powers, know humor is powerful.
What does this have to do with us, Birmingham?
Why should we care more than a quick comment of condolence or post of concern on Facebook, about something so far away, so distant?
Well, it has lots to do with us.
Our little city, our expressive, creative, hurtful, hateful, loving, marvelous little city full of art and music and actors and comedians, is a home for expression...free expression, poetic expression, sights, sounds, touch, taste and yes, laughter.
THAT is why we support the arts! THAT is why each silly little thing we do, each little show, little video, song, each grand design, each powerful message, each dish we carefully prepare, each venue and each faithful fan is part of our little...our giant America.
Today's attack on Charlie Hebdo cannot be seen as anything isolated or far away, or out of our world. Because whether you like what they were saying or not, it was their little city, their little expression, their giant hope of freedom.
It might seem flippant to draw a connection between the essence of our freedoms and the next guy or girl you see up on stage strumming the guitar, reading his or her poem or telling a joke. But the connection is real.
These freedoms are built on each tiny moment, each song or painting or joke. But just as the foundation of our freedoms is many small things, so can be freedom's destruction.
The foundations of repression are also small pieces, small moments, small acts, each and every single time one ignores the plight of his neighbor, each time one turns the other way, or each time one stifles the free flow of information or artistic expression.
How can the people of Birmingham, our little city state of culture help protect this freedom, and what does that have to do with LOL Bham and you the reader?
Just this...SUPPORT THE ARTS! Through time, dollar or deed, put your heart, your back and bravery of spirit, into arts, into expression and information, song and dance.
That's what the various performers, patrons and fans of our city do. That's how you can feel good about going to a show, having a locally brewed craft beer, eating in any of Birmingham's wonderful restaurants, volunteering for something, a play, a festival, any of those points of contact with the essence and flow of Birmingham's creative spirit. This freedom IS the victory over repression.
My heart goes out to everyone directly affected by the attacks today on Charlie Hebdo. I will not say it was my bag...it offended my ingrained Southern sensibilities. But by God, HOW DARE THOSE MURDERERS commit such a violent, repressive act on people for creating satirical content! It's like something out of a bad movie, only people are really dead.
What I say... FUCK EM!
Laugh harder! Play louder! Write what you damn well want to! Today's attack on Charlie Hebdo serves to prove that, yes, that is dangerous, even more so than just flopping a show or missing a joke. But whatever... Be free! Something is gonna kill all of us eventually. And I applaud all who die seeking this freedom.
Today's killing in France was another horrible, senseless act of ignorance and more proof of our need as a species for enlightenment, love...and more laughter.
Of course I invite you to follow what I do with Sunvarmint Ethereal, Underbelly Ham, FreePressMusic or here on LOL Bham as ways to connect with what I know about. They are simple blogs. They are my contribution to my community and sharing the arts.
The various arts of expression I witness every day are the salve for my eyes on the world. This is one of the wonderful little ways we can share freedom. What is yours? Let me know and I will share it. These things I do are a big part of how I get by. That...and my unapologetic use of ellipses.
Love to you my friends - Lee