Monday, March 13, 2006

Monday's Blog: Joey Cheek

It was a slow weekend for I Wonder Why We Listen to Poets... I spent most of the time listening to the same ol' stuff I've been writing about over the last week or so (not that there's anything wrong with that, sometimes I think blogging makes you want to jump to the next thing too quickly). I wasn't going to post today, but then I saw something and it stirred me to write.

iTunes recently added U.S. Olympic speedskater Joey Cheek's "Celebrity Playlist." It's a pretty good compilation of indie (Andrew Bird, Death Cab) and 90's alternative (STP, Pearl Jam) and cements Joey as the kind of guy I'm glad to support. I became a big Joey Cheek fan during the Olympics and I had wanted to write about him, so this seems like the perfect segue into that.

It is a big world and there's a lot of stuff that happens in the outside the United States that doesn't necessarily get the press it should. As a public, we are often subject to agendas we do not control and therefore have a hard time finding news from within in our traditional media outlets that is unfiltered, unbiased or unweighted. Certainly the genocide in Darfur is one of those things that hasn't been a priority for the U.S. media given all the other U.S.-centric events in which we are engaged.

That's where Joey Cheek's actions in the Olympics comes in.

I'm glad Mr. Cheek (see, now I can use my Wall Street Journal style guide) has taken his 15 minutes and directed the attention away from his achievements, towards something far more important. By pledging his medal bonuses (around $40,000 I think) and urging his sponsors to match, Cheek has helped the people of the Sudan gain valuable attention. It's hard to feel like we can accomplish much as lone individuals, but I hope that one person in the spotlight turning our attention towards the Sudan is just a start to the good we can help bring about.

For anyone who's seen a movie like Hotel Rwanda -- so not a date movie by the way -- or has read anything about the horrors of a genocide, it is all we can do not to turn our eyes away when those people need the world's help and compassion.

Further reading:
"Cheek's generosity rates medal" || San Francisco Chronicle
"Redicovering the Olympic ideal" || Washington Post
"U.S. must work to halt Darfur genocide" || Boston Herald

With that I thought I'd post some uplifting/thought provoking tunes, enjoy and make sure to check out Right to Play.

Van Morrison || St. Dominic's Preview (one of my all-time favorite songs, by one of my all-time favorite artists)
Van Morrison || Caravan ("Turn it up / Radio / So you know it's got soul")
Pearl Jam || Indifference ("I will scream my lungs out, / 'til it fills this room")
Pearl Jam || Breath ("I suggest you get off your porch / Run away my son / See it all / See the world")

(Songs are hosted by and will be live until they have been inactive for 30 days. Songs are for sampling purposes only, please support the artists whenever and however possible.)


Katie said...

The Last Waltz - you haven't lived until you've seen Van the Man strutting his stuff in a burgundy jumpsuit...Hands down the best performance of Caravan I've ever heard/seen...

newbobby said...

Van is certainly the man. I've been rocking his St. Dominic's Preview album the last week or so. "Almost Independence Day" and "Listen to the Lion" had to be some heady material to record. Nothing about that record says conventional, really, two songs +10 mins (the aforementioned), a 6:30-long title track. Seven songs? But it still is incredible. He was just feeling it at that stage of his career.

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I have read through one history
Each of you has your personal story; it is your history. Keeping a diary or writing your feelings in a special notebook is a wonderful way to learn how to think and write about who you are -- to develop your own identity and voice.

People of all ages are able to do this. Your own history is special because of your circumstances: your cultural, racial, religious or ethnic background. Your story is also part of human history, a part of the story of the dignity and worth of all human beings. By putting opinions and thoughts into words, you, too, can give voice to your inner self and strivings.

A long entry by Anne Frank on April 5, 1944, written after more than a year and a half of hiding from the Nazis, describes the range of emotions 14-year-old Anne is experiencing:

". . . but the moment I was alone I knew I was going to cry my eyes out. I slid to the floor in my nightgown and began by saying my prayers, very fervently. Then I drew my knees to my chest, lay my head on my arms and cried, all huddled up on the bare floor. A loud sob brought me back down to earth, and I choked back my tears, since I didn't want anyone next door to hear me . . .

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"I haven't worked on Cady's Life for ages. In my mind I've worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn't seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it'll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That's a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, "At the age of 14 and with so little experience, you can't write about philosophy.' So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It'll all work out, because I'm determined to write! Yours, Anne M. Frank

For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank's first stories and essays, including a version of Cady's Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing

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