Comment by David Hughes: The present pandemic has inspired many performing artists: locked down, they are reinventing old works and coming up with new ones. A century ago in 1914, labor bard Joe Hill did the same from his own lockdown—a Salt Lake City jail—lifting lines from “The Internationale” and composing new ones like these from “Workers of the World, Awaken”:
If the workers take a notion, They can stop all speeding trains; Every ship upon the ocean They can tie with mighty chains; Every wheel in the creation, Every mine and every mill, Fleets and armies of the nation, Will at their command stand still.Continue reading “For a Clinic Without Supervisors”
At this point fluoride in drinking water (not to mention toothpaste) is so widespread that we might not remember a time when its use was controversial. I personally don’t think that adding it to our water supply is wise, but I won’t discuss that here. I’ll simply recall my own experience with fluoride in the 1960s as something to keep in mind. Continue reading “Otitis Tedia”
The same edition of Gay & Lesbian Review that I touched on last time—its Stonewall Special—contains an essay by author and publisher John Lauritsen: “The Rise and Fall of the GLF.”1 I reread the piece last month.
Shortly after Stonewall in the summer of ’69 Lauritsen attended a meeting of gay people who were debating whether to align with the antiwar movement, with which John had been involved since 1965. He and the other radicals at the meeting carried the day and so the group eventually was dubbed Gay Liberation Front, a nod to the National Liberation Front—aka Viet Cong—of Vietnam. This is an example of the overlap I always saw as perfectly natural. As a kid I organized against the war in high school and and also wrote a book report on James Baldwin’s Another Country.2 Others might have preferred cubbyholes over connections. Continue reading “The Summer of Our Discontent”
Comment by David Hughes: From the time I became aware of the Industrial Workers of the World, decades ago, I’ve called my wife Andrea Carney “the accidental Wobbly.” The Wobblies’ modus operandi is to organize on the job and call for what’s needed—if not take over the means of production entirely. Here’s the story of how Andrea did the former. It’s taken me months to get her to tell this story, and I’m so grateful that she has.
In 1973 my then-husband left his business to become a freelancer. We needed money so I decided to go back to work—at the Bullock’s department store in Sherman Oaks. Meanwhile I enrolled in a medical assistant training program at Los Angeles Valley College and received my certificate in May of 1974. After a month of internship I looked for a job. Continue reading “Little Women”
This past summer in Cheyenne my uncle Richard Hughes told me of his hallucinations. That a man going blind might also view visions seems an insult to injury. Yet his condition has a name—Charles Bonnet syndrome—after an eighteenth-century Swiss naturalist and philosopher. As profiled in ACNR (Vol. 8, No. 5, 19) Bonnet first listed his grandfather’s
silent visions of men, women, birds, carriages, and buildings, which he fully realised were ‘fictions’ of his brain. Bonnet himself later underwent visual deterioration and experienced hallucinations typical of the syndrome named after him […].
(Compare with “Blinky” Watts, the sound effects technician character from David Lynch’s short-lived TV series On the Air, who suffers from Bozeman’s Simplex, which causes him to see “25.62 times as much as we do.”)
Six months prior I came across a song by Richard Dawson, which I wanted to write about tonight only to find that he too sees things (due to a genetic defect), but through a glass darkly, as Dawson toldThe Guardian‘s Michael Hann, who remarked, “There’s an almost hallucinatory clarity to his writing.” Continue reading “Seeing Things”