Saturday, November 06, 2004

We Shall Be Released. Really!

What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding?
I am part of a leftie chautauqua type thingie called Infotainment Posse. Over the past year, we’ve put on “get out the vote” shows in various hotbeds of people who don’t need convincing, but it’s been fun anyway.

The lineup changes somewhat from show to show, but the basic crew includes Mike Dingle, a local San Francisco promoter, who emcees; musician Michael Ward (whose brain child it was), with his band Dogs and Fishes; Caroluna, who is a singer and video artist; news videos from the Guerrilla News Network (who put together the new Eminem video); me; and headliner David Harris, the journalist and activist.

So the show is a mix of comedy, music, and plain old politicking.

We brought ourselves to the Unitarian Church in Palo Alto last night, presenting us as a “What now?” type of thing, to get the lefties fired up and back to work. And the joint was packed! Standing room only. It was encouraging. The crowd was pretty much all white (except for one black man), and mainly really old, which seems to be the demographic of churches in general these days, outside of the Bible belts.

Afterwards I was talking to a guy who had an interesting idea. He suggested that the CIA (or somebody) should set up the Muslim equivalent of a Unitarian Church. It would be Muslim but very laid back about it. Bowing to Mecca would be your personal choice. Create your personalized Allah. Work for peace. That sort of thing.

The idea would be to create an artificial ecumenical Islam to offset the mullahs and insurgents, to create an environment devoid of minarets, ululations, and munitions, an environment instead of large ornament-free meeting rooms, murmurs of assent, and Birkenstocks.

This is a great idea! I’m kidding, but sort of not.

What about me?
My website,, now features streaming audio of my Ian Shoales commentaries, along with links to various online texts I’ve written.

DVD wisdom.
Just spoke with Bill, who is the process of authoring the DVD, and he asked me to share with you this piece of wisdom: “Every button requires a hundred decisions.” And that’s so true, don’t you think?

Personal Anecdote
Driving home with Mr. Dingle after the show, we decided to stop at a convenience store near the on-ramp to get something to drink. We found a place on a dark street, with barred windows, and a gaggle of layabouts loitering in front. The door was solid metal, and slightly a jar. A young black woman emerged from the store, as we approached, closing the door behind her. I tried to open the door, but somebody was holding it shut.
Then a face appeared as the door opened a crack, and a middle-aged East Indian man's face appeared. He seemed anguished and angry.

He shouted, "What do you want!"

Um. To come into the store?

"We're closed!"

And the door slammed in our faces.


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