Thoughts On The Walking Dead and Texas Politics

My allergies have been really bad the last few days, on top of other things, so I haven’t been as productive as usual.  Also, to create anything, be it a blog or a song, you need to take in a large amount of material.  Other than listening to records, which I never stop doing, about the most I have been able to concentrate on is watching The Walking Dead.  I am finally caught up with the newest episode.

Zombies have typically been used as metaphors for different political situations.  George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, which takes place in a mall, has been seen as commenting on consumer culture.  I feel like because of the complexity of the storytelling, and the density of the imagery, the politics of The Walking Dead are complicated, and it can’t be simplified down to a left or right thing.  There are different scenes and story lines and images that feel like part of red and blue America.

One of the things I really like about it is the fact that the cast is racially diverse in a way that most mainstream entertainment is not.  I also feel that, for the most part, the characters are sufficiently complicated and are represented as human beings.  While the characters, such as Tyreese and Glen, are not stripped of racial characteristics, they are never defined by them either.

All art is political at some level.  Sometimes you just have to read between the lines.  Even pieces of work that are expressly non-political are political.  Things that are just escapism, which can perform the altruistic function of allowing you to disconnect from the stress of daily life, is essentially saying that everything is OK.   In not challenging the dominant narrative of society you are you are making a political statement by abstaining from the discourse.  Again, I do believe that escapist entertainment can have an altruistic purpose, but one shouldn’t say that it is non-political.

However, in the realm of escapism I think there are different levels of worth.  Some escapism champions materialistic values.  Something like American Idol is not only not asking you to not think about the real world, it is also full of the kind of shallow materialistic values that are a burden on our society.  A great deal of mainstream country and mainstream rap, whether singing about trucks or bling, communicate the message, that is hidden under the guise of fun, that you are what you own.

I do think that The Walking Dead, while being entertainment largely, manages to ask questions about human nature.  How far can people go and still retain their humanity?  Even though the killings in Episode 3 of Season 5 seemed to be justified, they were filmed in such a way that was meant to make the viewer feel uneasy.  In Season 4, especially, you see the damage that a society structured on violence starts to psychologically damage the children that grow up in it.  The show is still asking you to think even while it creates a narrative entertaining enough that it whisks you out of real life at the same time.  It is an interesting balancing act.

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Today I have also been doing some reading on the current political races in Texas.  If you want to see the definition of despicable, google Dan Patrick, who is running for lieutenant governor in Texas.  He is a former radio shock-jock that has now gone into politics.  If you are not from Texas, and want to learn about who this man is you can read the following article:

Man Who Believes God Speaks to Us Through “Duck Dynasty”

If you are in Texas, then I hope very much you will do whatever you can in your power to make sure this man loses the election.  Even Rick Perry looks respectable next to this moron, and that is saying something.

Abbott Has Voter Information Destroyed

Greg Abbott Has Voter Information Destroyed

In Texas Greg Abbott, candidate for governor, has a history of trying to suppress the vote.  In the above article from Dallas News Abbott, while he was Attorney General, had an organization that was trying to register people to vote raided and then, after the charges were dropped, had the raided materials destroyed.  This is a prime example of how low the Republicans will go to suppress the vote.

Fight the Real Enemy

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As Halloween approaches I am consistently reminded about what is really scary in life.  Freddy, Jason, zombies, vampires, ghosts, and the like, hold no more fear for the thinking adult.  Not when the likes of Ted Cruz is out there.  Someone like Jason functions on a kind of animal like instinct.  He’s predictable.  With Ted Cruz you never know what kind of frightening and illogical idiocy is next.

Fight the real enemy!

Shows, Shows, Shows

This is a rundown of this week’s Shinyribs show, as well as current upcoming solo gigs.

Shinyribs this week (All Texas):

Thursday – Fort Worth – Capital Bar – 9pm – Free Show
Friday – Lubbock – The Blue Light – 11pm
Saturday – Roscoe – The Lumberyard – 8pm

Kev will also be playing at the Volcano in Houston tonight at 8pm I believe.  This is a solo show and I will not be making it.

Get more info at:

http://shinyribs.org/shows.html

Solo gigs on the books are at Strange Brew in ATX:

November 5th – 6pm – with Kacy Crowley
December 21st – 4pm – with Kacy Crowley

Basically the gigs with Kacy are song swaps, although my partner in crime, Alex Moralez, comes out and plays drums, and I will play bass when Kacy is singing.  I am working on building a solo website, but it will probably take a little time as I am pretty busy between gigs and working on a campaign to get public transportation passed in Austin.  I love Austin, but the traffic here is pretty hellish.  If we could fix that it would be a huge step forward.  We are trying to get the first major step in public transportation passed this November, but all the usual people are fighting it.  The city is supposed to double in size by 2040, so if we don’t do something now it is going to only get worse.

So anyway, at some point I will build a website, and I should have footage of the TV show I did coming to me so that y’all can here what my solo material sounds like.  I hope to make an album at some point next year, as soon as possible.  Working on getting more solo gigs which I will hopefully announce soon.

in the future when all’s well…

Jefferson

Threadgills Tonight

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http://www.threadgills.com/events/shinyribs-5/

Tonight I’ll be playing Threadgills in Austin with Shinyribs.  The link above is to the show information.  Threadgills is one of my favorite hangs and places to see music in Austin.  I don’t always come across in person as super approachable, but this is not by design.  If you see me and want to discuss, argue, condemn, or debate anything I have written here I am always up for a good conversation.

Shameless Self Promotion Part 1,006

Tomorrow night I’ll be playing live on Infynit Hour.  It will be me solo with my partner in crime, the great drummer and percussionist Alex Moralez.  If you are in the Austin area you can watch it live on Tuesday, October 7th on Channel 10 from 10:30 to 11pm.  Those of you not in the Austin area can see it on their YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/InfynitHour

Check it out and see what we’ve been cooking up.  This will be my first solo TV appearance and only my second solo show.  Into the fire!

In the future when all’s well…

Jefferson Brown

Jefferson Brown Solo Show Today at 4pm in Austin at Strange Brew

Cockney Rejects East End Babylon Film Trailer: http://youtu.be/fDTA6wk6r3Y

Watching this to get in the zone for my solo show today at Strange Brew at 4pm.  It will give you an idea where my head is at.  Today is a song swap with friend and songwriter Kacy Crowley.  In Austin, Texas at 4pm.  Don’t miss my maiden voyage!