Wednesday, January 21, 2009

it ain't me........

(now i have CCR's 'fortunate son' stuck in my!!)

this blog "ain't" by was written by musician travis howard ( but it's so well said and thought provoking that i told him that i *had* to spread it around. thanks t! you inspire me!

My Country And The Art Of Losing.

Current mood: awake

Category: Blogging

Today we welcomed a new President of our United States after what about 76% of Americans are calling a long hard winter. It's the day some people have called a new beginning. Others kind of shrug their shoulders and kick the ground and mutter, "Well...I hope he does something good". I've moved in and out of various circles here in my new country digs and have heard enough opinions that I felt like it's maybe my duty to at least say what I think.

I love this country. I still tear up sometimes when I see hands over hearts during the National Anthem. I love the courage that we've always had in the face of such varied and inevitable threats as we've had to face down. I love that we win. We win most of the time. And I'm thinking that maybe that's also the problem.

Maybe what we've unwittingly become here lately - and by lately I mean in the last generation or two - is Billy Zabka. Billy Zabka was an impossibly handsome, incredibly charismatic actor in the 80's. He worked his ass off in all those 80's high school movies. You know, the ones that featured just enough shots of breasts to be rated R and make every hormonal young boy either sneak into the theaters or stay up til 1am to see the HBO reruns. Billy's big break was a karate movie. He played the same guy he always played. The impossibly handsome, incredibly charismatic bad guy -- who knows karate -- and gets shown up in the last ten slow motion minutes of the film. This time he was up against Ralph Macchio. The movie - The Karate Kid.

After 1985 Billy's career continued in the same general direction, albeit angled slightly downward instead of slightly upward. I met Billy at various parties in the late 90's when I first came to Hollywood. After knowing him a little, it wasn't hard to see why that trajectory changed. Like the antagonist in the teen movies, Billy didn't understand HOW to lose. He thought that if you lost, that was it. The credits roll and you're banished to some far away 99 cent rental bin. So Billy kept doing the same thing he always did. Called the shots in his career. Made the decisions. Only listened to people who agreed. And on and on. tells the rest of that story. He simply denied that he ever lost instead of admitting to and learning from another's victory.

Americans have watched so many war movies and football games that the only way us lay people know how to deal with loss is to grumble about the winner, make excuses about the circumstances, and generally ignore the fact that we have not done our best WHILE STILL CALLING IT OUR BEST. And all the while those all too familiar with losing have watched as our "best" gets worse and worse. And their best gets better and better. And we just feel like it's somehow our birthright to win.

Nope. Not so, America.

We've lost in the last few years. From relaxing banking regulations so it's easier to make real money from imaginary money - to not recognizing how the cultural and racial face of this country is changing and not making intelligent moves to deal with it - to leaving every child behind by teaching them basketball before we teach them art or music. It's not really as much an argument I'm making as it is hindsight. We've lost.

But the bright shining light of the great idea of America broke through in a black man's first act as our new president. An appeal to all of us to look around and see the rubble that we're standing in, call it what it is, and pick up something and get to work. The trick to losing is not being a loser. And the trick to winning is having lost enough that you know the stakes for winning the next time. It's the next time, everybody. The fence - the aisle- the great divide between two ideologies is a waste of all of our time. There's no more black or white or red or blue. There is truth in every faith. There is truth in no faith. No more white knight. No more lone cowboy shooting up the place in the name of justice. If you want to arm yourself against the enemies of your future, learn their language. Learn their culture. To educate yourself is to conquer all in your path. And to work through loss is to win.

1 comment:

Musing In The Light of Confusion said...

"To educate yourself is to conquer all in your path."

knowledge is power...amen!