Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Who Runs America?

As I wind down my stint as a HS school librarian, I'm given to reflecting on my 35 years "in the biz". We recently hosted Slam Poet Taylor Mali for our annual evening "Coffee House", and I was struck by the depth of reflection that he brought to the event. I was also impressed that several student offerings questioned the profligate behaviors endemic to modern society.

But have my 35 years as a teachers seen any real change (dare I say "growth"?) in human behavior in modern society?  Allan Ginsberg's "Who Runs America" was published, as it happens, in 1974, the year I began my teaching career - but it aptly describes the  current view from the suburbs of Bangkok - on a good day...
    "Oil red dung colored smoke
       level to level across the horizon
                blue tainted sky       above"
                                                             "Who Runs America? Alan Ginsberg, 3 Dec 1974"

Mali and our student poets suggest that a heartbeat of social conscience does indeed still resonate faintly within our materialistic, me-first, gadget-oriented and NIMBY-obsessed little souls -  but talk (even poetry) is cheap. My personal decision to "walk the (environmental) talk" is the only way forward.

Watch for future notes about the resurrection of the "North Road Trading Post".