Bottleneck in My Brain…The Soundtrack
I feel caught in a whirlwind of news and I can’t clear my head. There is so much to think and write about…yet, since this weekend, I’ve been unable to put words onto paper in a way that makes sense. That is, words about the things I’d really planned to post about and have notes jotted down about…so my planned posts are stuck in my head. Maybe it’s a case of brain overload or a kind of aphasia: the words are all in my head except that when I type or write them they seem jumbled. In my head things are clear but once I sit to write them down everything is a mess. There’s a rush for it all to get out so I’m battling a bottleneck of ideas and thoughts all trying to get out at once…in that configuration nothing sensible can result so I find myself acting as a traffic cop (bear with me, I’m about finished with this metaphor). It’s amazing the kind of anxiety caused by this inability to even adequately communicate my thoughts on things. I feel like I’m in the wrong skin.
Because I can’t do a headstand (yet) I’m turning to music to relax my brain so that I can more comfortably direct this traffic and try to clear some of the thoughts from my head. A number of songs have come to mind as I’ve read the news and observed and chatted about things in the past week or so…so here goes…
Last week I logged into Twitter and caught a lively debate and conversation about, as I see it, poverty, sterilization, and privilege. As I made a note to begin working on a blog post about privilege in Jamaica and one about bodily integrity, Buju’s ‘No Respect” popped into my head and has been playing nonstop there since then.
Then yesterday I chatted with a friend about one of the many things going on in Jamaica: the Government of Jamaica’s plans for Pinnacle, the spiritual home of Rastafarians in Jamaica. But soon we were talking about the woeful recordkeeping in Jamaica generally and then specifically about its effect on the Jamaica’s title records. There may be an established process for tracing title but the actual state and accuracy of the title records is another thing altogether. At the tail end of the discussion I shared as an aside that I was discarding my long-held theory that governments of Jamaica are incapable of the long-term planning and vision needed for the country. I’d based this theory on years of observing how we careen from one crisis to another, reacting instead of being proactive. We’ve rarely if ever tackled the structural problems that cause the problems. Please don’t mention Vision 2030 as evidence of long-term vision or planning, thanks. Anyway, I flung that theory out the proverbial window when I learnt that Paul Burke was being appointed as the People’s National Party’s General Secretary. (Or is he being elected? I cannot make sense of the succession mechanisms within Jamaica’s political parties. It all seems so…situational.) To be fair, it’s a theory I’d stubbornly held on to for years because it offered a reasonable and comfortable explanation for why so much goes so wrong so often in Jamaica. But, nah, I’ve relinquished that for reality head on. Why now? Because the General Secretary of a party, as I understand it, is the person in charge of ensuring the party wins an election. He or she marshals, directs, and ensures that the resources available are used to ensure victory. It requires chess master-like strategy and, perhaps, a bit of cunning. But it’s politics, yes? Please note (as was pointed out on my Timeline) that General Elections are not constitutionally due in Jamaica until 2016 and, before then, local government elections are required by 2015. It is now just 2014 and rumors of Mr. Bunting stepping aside as General Secretary were floating around since last year. So, yeah, they’re capable. O and did I also mention that as of October 2013 Mr. Burke (through his company) is involved in legal proceedings about taxes that he owes to the Jamaican government? Please also be advised that I found articles dating from 2008 about Mr. Burke being hauled into court for the same issue. My friend, in response to my musings simply said, “Welcome to Jamrock!”
Yes I noticed that much of official video is bleeped out. The irony.
The lead singer from Third World died this week, which is a big loss and yet another reason to hate cancer. As I reflected on Bunny Rugs’ career and fabulous voice, I realized that I’d heard a lot of Third World’s songs growing up. I remembered watching and singing along to so many videos on good ol’ JBC as well as listening to the cassettes that my cousin had. And I smiled as I thought about my childhood and how absolutely privileged I was. My family wasn’t then and isn’t now wealthy but my grandparents and mother worked hard to provide a comfortable life. So comfortable was my upbringing that we had not only the luxury of a television, but also I was able to lounge around on the weekends watching it. Books were available and I was read to from a very early age; there was food every day and a routine to life. Grandpa always said that parents should ensure that they provide at least as much as they had for their children. I’d say he exceeded his own standard because he provided for his children, grandchildren, and sundry cousins, nieces, and nephews. I never felt less than; my grandparents and mother ensured that. Growing up I always felt safe and assured and I know that this foundation is part of what allows me now to sit here and type and then hit publish, to opine on things that I don’t always directly experience but still feel strongly about. Such is (part of) the nature of privilege. My favourite Third World songs are “Sense of Purpose” (perhaps the first song I loved that was about love) and “Now That We’ve Found Love.”
And as I reflect on the nature of privilege and how it affects our thinking and actions, whether we realize it or not, my internal DJ turns again to Buju.