Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Vashti Bunyan -- Same but Different

Today I say Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet for Tookie Williams. Arnold followed in the trail blazed by Wilson and Davis and refused clemency for Tookie. I don't blame him as much as despair of all our elected officials and the Sodom and Gomorrah group they are now pandering after. Governers used to commute the sentences or pardon hundreds of people, and over the years, as the "law and order" stance has become popular, have stopped doing it at all. So we have the weird juxtaposition of huge numbers of people being released after decades of incarceration as DNA proves they were convicted improperly, yet when Tookie refuses to say he's sorry for a crime he's insisted all along he didn't do, there is no admission among the powers-that-be that, well, judging from all these folks being released left and right after decades in jail because they were innocent all along, perhaps Tookie isn't guilty. Perhaps he's innocent too. And it's not like clemency would have freed him. It would have merely made Tookie live for the rest of his life behind bars. Which is, in itself, an amazingly harsh sentence. But Arnold has to continue the masquerade to placate the hang-em-high set, the shoot-then-ask-questions set, the scared and hurt people who are so afraid of the world that they'd rather slaughter innocent people than let a killer live imprisoned for the rest of their life. (And this is just one of many masquerades we watch all to placate these people who want to hide their heads in the sand. Our drug policies are similar lies spun to make people feel like an unwinnable war is going well, we still try to treat undocumented aliens as if we could stop them from coming over if we cracked down harder and built better walls, etc...)

Last night, as I drove home in terrible traffic for almost two hours with a terrible migraine, I started to pray to G-d, chanting 'bring Moshiah now' over and over. I started to believe in Moshiach's immanent coming and hoping it would be last night, solely so Tookie wouldn't get executed last night. Usually the whole Moshiach thing seems silly, and the whining and begging seems so childish, but that was me last night, because was so tired of the death penalty and our society and I felt the sooner Moshiach got here the sooner we'd stop the craziness. I've been protesting these things since college and despair of change. So why not? Bring
Moshiach now!

Vashti Bunyan. One of the oddest names ever. But great music. She put one one album, Just Another Diamond Day, in 1969, and then, apparently disappointed in the response and with the music business in general, walked away, went off and had a family, and then in 2000, her album was reissued and people took interest. And this year, she released Lookaftering. It's very interesting to discover someone and be able to listen to pretty much her entire body of work in two hours with two albums that were recorded thirty-five years apart, and to hear the difference those years have made. This is, I guess, English Folk music. It's very pretty, but not cutesy at all. It's all acoustic guitar and clean chimey sounds and flutes and that sort of thing. Her first album is very much from a young perspective. There's lots of wood walking and animals and pastoral stuff and whispering fairy stories till they become real. Her new CD has her singing more about relationships and children and love and loss, but with the same gorgeous sounds. The reviewer on allmusic.com said that this album could have been made 300 years ago, but he meant it's timeless, not dated or ancient... anyway. It's remarkably singular stuff. Gorgeous, gorgeous.

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