Thursday, January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn

I read Howard Zinn's radical testament "A People's History of the United States" in High School. It was probably my first foray into my future academic pursuits in Ethnography and Cultural Studies. In case you haven't read it (you really, really should) Zinn tells the story of America through the eyes of the oppressed and defeated parties; from the Arawaks; the tribe who initally met and confronted Christopher Columbus, to the American Native and Slave populations, to the unsuspecting citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima (Kiroshima?) and more. Reading that book was one of the first times I was able to communicate my empathy for those who quashed by the debateable, yet inevitable "rise of humanity." I went on to expand my knowledge by reading other opinions by timeless critical thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson, Michel Foucault, Karl Marx, Jane Jacobs, Max Weber, Sigmund Freud and his frenemy, Carl Jung. All of those geniuses eventually tackle human nature as does Zinn, but he did so in a matter than brings the eternal dichotomy between Ruler and Subject to life through straight up beefs we can understand today (Sorry Howard). He was an eternal activist for justice and overall consideration among man. Howard Zinn was one of the greatest minds of my time, or any, and he will surely be missed. In his honor, today's song is by the appropriately named avant-garde psych-rock band, The United States of America. Not to be confused with The Presidents of the United States of America (although that would also be cool), The USA produced only one record during 1968 but it left it's mark as one of the most far out albums of the era. With amazing song titles like, Lovesong for Dead Ché, Osamu's Birthday (Remember: recorded in 1967) and I Won’t Leave My Wooden-Wife For You, Sugar, you could be contented just reading the album, but the tracks themselves are nothing short of audial hallucinations. My personal favorite is Stranded, a song with the most amazingly lysergic electric violin solo, the only problem is that its just not a crazy enough example of the depths of their psychedelia. I am also including as some sort of acid soaked barometer,  The American Metaphysical Circus, a song that starts off with a whole minute of crazy clown noises. For the stronger, 18+, NSFW oriented readers, there is a crazy intense version with some pretty naked phantasms coming out of their own genitals located here.

Goodbye Howard, I hope there's at least some injustice in heaven so you don't get bored.

(pssst did you vote?)

Song #57: The United States of America - The American Metaphysical Circus

BONUS: The United States of America - Stranded

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