This is part one in a series that will run over the next few days (up to and including New Years Day) featuring predictions for 2008 by folks somehow connected with Amoeba Music -- staff, owners, and Amoebloggers (including The Bay Area Crew, Whitmore, Gomez Comes Alive!, and Eric Brightwell), plus other individuals who are either fans of the Amoeblog (such as DJ ALF) or have been featured in some way in past Amoeblogs such as hip-hop author/journalist Michael A. Gonzales (interviewed months back in a report about the book Bronx Biannual).
Each contributor was asked to make a prediction for 2008 on any topic -- music, film, technology, politics, sports, social trends, etc. Their prediction could be real or imagined (i.e., wished for) and they could be done in all seriousness or in jest or in half-jest. And the responses could be anywhere from a few words to a paragraph or longer in length. Very special thanks to those who took the time to share their predictions for 2008 including today's contributors: Eric Brightwell, Amoeba Marc, The Insomniac (Bay Area Crew), and DJ ALF -- all below:
INCREASING OUTSIDE PRESSURE ON THE USA TO CHANGE ITS WAYS:
I predict that the biggest criminals in the history of humankind, literally having stolen the entire contents of the US Treasury several times over in the last decade, not to mention all the lives ruined or lost along the way, will continue their thieving virtually unabated in 2008.
The legendary saint Cab Calloway, brought into existence on Christmas, was never off the cob, he was the heppest cat, the gasser on the scene, and scribe to the Dictionary of Hepology, not just any book of lingo like some hincty gate-mouth might cop to, emphatically no! This man’s a poet! Hey, Calloway was solid, a ready cat with serious chops, never capped, I mean never capped. Cabell Calloway III licks hit all the armstrongs every time with those "hi-de-hi's," and "ho-de ho's, singing in that blip beat key, swinging overcoats growling some hip and hot gammin’ grooves. Be it a gutbucket blues, the ready racket on the main kick or just some clambake where he’s got this cat riffing on the doghouse - hitting all the basso notes, cool Gabriel wigging on a boogie-woogie and some Jack on skins mugging heavy, Cab always crept out like the shadow, stylish threads togged to the bricks, walking hand made, custom to the thread mezz ground grippers … on each arm, a fine righteous queen he dug the last black, each dicty dutchess fresh off the dreamers and lily whites.
At one point Cab was collaring 200 g’s a year, that’s one foxy stack of fins. Platter gravy coming on like a test pilot, cuts like "Minnie the Moocher", “Reefer Man” and "St. James Infirmary Blues" were everywhere man, chicks breakin’ it up, dropping a nickel or a dime note just to latch onto the hippest cat who could send the coolest riff riding high. Cab the man was the man; kids come again to the Cotton Club in the Apple, rug cutters Trucking, Pecking, or bugging to the Susie-Q, never no fraughty issue here. That’s the Bible baby! Cab and the cats digging a mess, one riff after another, and every hot killer jam taking off, that combo was always bustin’ conk, breaking up the joint like gangbusters. Zazu-zazu-zazu-zay! No room here for icky squares who can't collar the jive. The jitterbuggers at the Cotton Club always had a hummer of a ball. Yeah! Whipped up! Jumpin’ and mitt pounding till the chimes say its way past early bright. Ow!
Doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on "normalization." This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous, and unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as "the way things are done." There is usually a division of labor in doing and rationalizing the unthinkable, with the direct brutalizing and killing done by one set of individuals; others keeping the machinery of death (sanitation, food supply) in order; still others producing the implements of killing, or working on improving technology (a better crematory gas, a longer burning and more adhesive napalm, bomb fragments that penetrate flesh in hard-to-trace patterns). It is the function of defense intellectuals and other experts, and the mainstream media, to normalize the unthinkable for the general public. -- Edward S. Herman
Sympathy is much easier to come by than empathy. Funny that, since it would seem easier to disinterestedly understand the conditions leading to another's feelings and reasons behind his or her actions than to actually share those feelings and agree with those reasons, particularly when the other is so different from oneself. I suspect the dominance of the word 'sympathy' is largely due to not enough people appreciating the need for 'empathy,' or even understanding what the word means, as if the two terms were synonyms. Thus, when the more ethnographically inclined among us suggest America needs to understand the environs or rational structures of a foreign entity perpetrating some act that we deem immoral, they get called traitors, or sympathizers. HUAC in the 50s springs readily to mind, as well as the right-wing media's reaction to the intellectual Left's take on 9-11. Classical liberalism, which serves as the bellwether for America's moralizing, defines the human as a self-regulating rational individual, and thus any action taken by an entity (our state, another state, or some hodge-podge collection of disagreeing radicals) that violates the rights of the human so defined is, ipso facto, inhumane. Thus, any attempt at humanizing, eliciting empathy for, the ad hoc devil will be received about as judiciously as Hannah Arendt's "banality of evil" in 60s Israel -- which is to say, not very to downright hostilely. This negative reaction is always despite any potential moral agreement that the devil should still be hanged.