Razorcake magazine has published an interview with me in issue #34. If you can’t find it wherever punk rock magazines are sold, try ordering it using the link on this article. It’s a pretty OK interview. I mean, at least it sounds like me. Even as far back as the interviews I did as the leader of Dimentia 13 I was always amazed at how most of the quotes attributed to me were actually made up by the writers. This one’s not like that. Plus there are some pretty idiotic photos you can cut out and pin up on your wall.
Not a whole lot of people have signed up for the monthly day-long Zazen micro-retreat in Santa Monica this Saturday September 23rd (see the link to your right for full details & schedule). With all the traffic and comments this blog gets and all the sales of my book, it’s kind of surprising how few of you are really willing to actually do the practice you so enjoy reading and talking about. Such is life I suppose. Maybe I should write a book called “Put Up or Shut Up.” *
I will be at the 7:15 show of Zen Noir on Saturday Sept. 23rd at the Westside Pavillion Theater on Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles. It’s a weird, funny movie. Go see it. Go to the article called “Zen Noir” (2 articles below this one) and click on the link there if you want to know more about the movie.
Last night I went and saw “The U.S. vs. John Lennon.” I liked it. But, then again, I’m a sucker for just about anything Beatle-related. Yoko comes off pretty good in this one, unlike in other documentaries about John or The Beatles. I’ve always been a fan of Yoko. I’m one of the few people who actually digs her Plastic Ono Band album perhaps more than John’s Plastic Ono Band album.
The film focuses on Lennon’s political activities, particularly his 1972 “Sometime in New York City” period. That album has always been one of my favorites of his, maybe because Yoko’s more fully featured on that one than on any other until “Double Fantasy” and “Milk and Honey.” Also because of the rockin’ sounds of Elephant’s Memory, their back-up band at the time. If I didn’t know better, I might have been convinced by the movie that Lennon was more a political activist than a musician. Even though the film quotes him saying he was an artist first more than once, the producers seem more interested in him as a political figure. Which is OK, I guess. Every documentary has to have some point of view. It’s just that it isn’t really true. Lennon’s overtly political phase was pretty short-lived. Though it did, obviously, concern the Nixon administration.
I’m not entirely sold on the film’s covert message that Lennon was the force of Light and Life while Nixon and Bush are Darkness and Death personified. That’s way too simplistic and idealized. Lennon was an amazing talent, no doubt about it. But he was, by his own admission, a dreamer. Songs like “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine” are absolutely 100% spot on correct. There can be no doubt whatsoever that sentiments like those point in the direction mankind needs to go if we are to survive. But we also need to be aware of the real facts of the world which, unfortunately, are not as beautiful as our dreams.
In the 80’s I hated Reagan with a passion and supported the idea of the nuclear freeze. Yet nowadays I am, quite painfully, forced to admit that the arms build up Reagan supported was the real key to the end of the Cold War and the end of the threat of total global nuclear annihilation. Reagan, who would surely have been tarred as part of the forces of darkness by these film-makers had the film been made in the 1980’s, was right and I was wrong. Peace is established by and large through the threat of violent retribution towards those who would disturb it. I do not like this fact. But I cannot deny it. This is something which we must certainly change. But we will not change it by refusing to face it, by pretending that the way to peace is all beads and flowers and love-ins, and insense and groovy spirituality. It isn’t. The real way to lasting peace is to establish a realistic outlook and stick with it no matter if we like it or not.
* OK, I know a lot of you would come to the sittings if you didn’t live a bazillion miles away from Los Angeles. But I also know that people are buying the book in LA. I see them show up at the bookstores I frequent, watch the numbers dwindle and see them get restocked. It’s all very gratifying. But I have to wonder, where are these people on Saturday mornings…?