joni mitchell

Holy war
Hate and cruelty…
How can this be holy?
If I had a heart I’d cry.

These ancient tales…
The good go to heaven
And the wicked ones burn in hell…
Ring the funeral bells!
If I had a heart I’d cry.

There’s just too many people now
Too little land
Much too much desire
You feel so feeble now
It’s so out of hand
Big bombs and barbed wire
We’ve set our lovely sky
Our lovely sky
On fire!

There’s just too many people now
And too little land
Too much rage and desire
It makes you feel so feeble now
It’s so out of hand-
Big bombs and barbed wire…
Can’t you see
Our destiny?
We are making this Earth
Our funeral pyre!

Holy Earth
How can we heal you?
We cover you like a blight…
Strange birds of appetite…
If I had a heart I’d cry.
If I had a heart I’d cry.
If I had a heart I’d cry.

Shine – Joni Mitchell commanded

Oh let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on Wall Street and Vegas
Place your bets
Shine on the fishermen
With nothing in their nets
Shine on rising oceans and evaporating seas
Shine on our Frankenstein technologies
Shine on science
With its tunnel vision
Shine on fertile farmland
Buried under subdivisions
Let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on the dazzling darkness
That restores us in deep sleep
Shine on what we throw away
And what we keep
Shine on Reverend Pearson
Who threw away
The vain old God
kept Dickens and Rembrandt and Beethoven
And fresh plowed sod
Shine on good earth, good air, good water
And a safe place
For kids to play
Shine on bombs exploding
Half a mile away
Let your little light shine
Let your…


GeekAesthete explains:

Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don’t get any. So you say “I should get my fair share.” And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, “everyone should get their fair share.” Now, that’s a wonderful sentiment — indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad’s smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn’t solve the problem that you still haven’t gotten any!

The problem is that the statement “I should get my fair share” had an implicit “too” at the end: “I should get my fair share, too, just like everyone else.” But your dad’s response treated your statement as though you meant “only I should get my fair share”, which clearly was not your intention. As a result, his statement that “everyone should get their fair share,” while true, only served to ignore the problem you were trying to point out.

That’s the situation of the “black lives matter” movement. Culture, laws, the arts, religion, and everyone else repeatedly suggest that all lives should matter. Clearly, that message already abounds in our society.

The problem is that, in practice, the world doesn’t work that way. You see the film Nightcrawler? You know the part where Renee Russo tells Jake Gyllenhal that she doesn’t want footage of a black or latino person dying, she wants news stories about affluent white people being killed? That’s not made up out of whole cloth — there is a news bias toward stories that the majority of the audience (who are white) can identify with. So when a young black man gets killed (prior to the recent police shootings), it’s generally not considered “news”, while a middle-aged white woman being killed is treated as news. And to a large degree, that is accurate — young black men are killed in significantly disproportionate numbers, which is why we don’t treat it as anything new. But the result is that, societally, we don’t pay as much attention to certain people’s deaths as we do to others. So, currently, we don’t treat all lives as though they matter equally.

Just like asking dad for your fair share, the phrase “black lives matter” also has an implicit “too” at the end: it’s saying that black lives should also matter. But responding to this by saying “all lives matter” is willfully going back to ignoring the problem. It’s a way of dismissing the statement by falsely suggesting that it means “only black lives matter,” when that is obviously not the case. And so saying “all lives matter” as a direct response to “black lives matter” is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem.


staceyannchinI can’t stop shaking. I can’t stop saying, “Stop killing us.” Muttering it from room to room. Stop making our death less visible than the death of others. Dead is dead. Gone is gone. Sorrow is sorrow. I can’t make sense of myself. Cannot access my own sense of self. All I see is this shaking. This rage. This unfathomable sorrow. Stop targeting Black bodies. Stop killing us. Please stop killing us. Stop muting our cry for justice. I am shaking. Listening to all these white news anchors. These entitled White men. Telling a story in which they are complicit. More and more and more white men. A sea of White men mouthing our tragedy. Where is Melissa Harris-Perry.? Where is Angela Davis? Where is Alice Walker. Mutabaruka? @Keorapetse Kgositsile? Get these white men off my fucking screen. White men. Talking about our sorrow. You cannot speak for us. You, who can barely speak in your sorrow for the slain police officers, but can speak at length with no empathy for the Black men killed by murderous cops. You cannot speak for those killed at the hands of police officers that run free. Without a lateral empathy, you cannot speak for people who look anything like me. I’m so angry. So sad. So sad. Sometimes anger and sadness is all you have. I am desperately trying to articulate it. Everything I write seems incoherent. Feels incomplete. The deaths of these two men whose murders we witnessed on video yesterday have completely disappeared from the conversation. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is room for all of it. Every time white people die, Black death is forgotten. Every time a police officer is killed, Black civilian deaths are erased. The very reason this young man, 25 years old, took up a gun is informed by this kind of one-sided coverage. This one-sided coverage is why we are so torn between mourning those men killed in the line of duty, and those who are killed by those duty bound to protect us. I cannot stop shaking/waffling between anger and a sadness I know it will take us decades to shake. The stories you tell are like bullets. Stop aiming them at us. Stop killing us. Stop killing what we have left of our already marginalized stories.


betty soskin
On the night of Monday, June 30, an intruder attacked NPS Ranger Betty Soskin in her home in Richmond and stole many of her possessions. We are all deeply saddened by these events, but relieved to report that she is recovering well and resting.

Please consider making a contribution to Betty’s Fund, and directing others who want to help to All funds raised beyond immediate needs will be used, as Betty has asked, to complete a film in progress that contains vital documentary information about Betty’s life and impact. This is the legacy that she wants to continue passing on to younger generations, and a remarkable testimonial to her strength of spirit.

Checks can be mailed to Rosie the Riveter Trust, PO Box 71126, Richmond CA 94807 and should be ear-marked Betty Fund.

Cards for Betty should be mailed to the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center:

Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park Visitor Center
Attn: Betty Reid Soskin
1414 Harbour Way South, Suite 3000 (Oil House)
Richmond, CA 94804