This installment includes Henry's thoughts on the attempted political assassination in Tucson, plus the awesomely annotated playlist for his KCRW BROADCAST #97 originally aired Saturday 1-15-11. For more details please visit KCRW.com and HenryRollins.com]
Never the one to be the drag at a party, I only say this because I think I am not the only one whose normally high spirits are somewhat dampened from the complete awfulness of the recent tragedy in Tucson, AZ.
There is no need here to go through the events, name names or attempt to assign blame. I know you read and pay attention to what's happening in our country. As information hopefully becomes available, we will learn more about this shooter and perhaps more about where to go from here.
Like many of you, I monitored the media and how they handled the assassination attempt on Rep. Giffords closely as they went into full swing to deflect, utilize and process what happened for maximum advantage and minimal damage.
Over the last several years, with news media becoming a twenty-four hour, perpetual information machine, the pundit being mistaken for an actual journalist has been a common occurrence. The two are quite different. One provides a hopefully informed opinion and the other is merely the messenger, unfettered by partisan leanings. The latter has become harder to come by in what would be considered mainstream media and we are all the worse for it.
When people who provide commentary are mentioned frequently by members of Congress and the Senate and from time to time, the president, there is, in my opinion, a problem. That my president lowers the level of discourse by using the name of a conservative talk show host when addressing the nation, dangerously cheapens the overall message.
Willingly or not, I think we are being blinded by that bright light and deafened by that caterwaul to the point to where we don't search for the cause but merely roil in the effect.
I know that I am unable to understand the depth of sorrow relatives and friends of those killed and injured in Tucson are going through. I don't want in any way to be thought of as making light of the situation but I am looking for something good to come from all this. In my opinion, something must. Perhaps this event will make some people in America take a hard look at how we do things, from education delivery systems to how we look after someone who has mental disabilities that precludes them from assimilation into society at large. It's obvious that we all can't get along.
That being the case, what is to be done? I know, I know--how many pages can I have? There's a lot to be done and not only will we do it but I think we are doing it.