Friday, November 05, 2004

All y'all are my blood, but you let the pharoahs push you around! And though you do think I'm deranged, you can change. Oh, my god, you can change.
-Travis Morrison, "Change"

If I'm not listening to the radio when walking around town, I'm listening to Travistan. "The Word Cop," which I quoted a couple days ago, is up at Morrison's website. I recommend it to anybody who isn't instinctively opposed to anything that sounds remotely like Ben Folds. The politics on this album are assertive and direct without blindly propagating the kind of hate that is so understandable and so common and yet SO WORTHLESS right now.

Do people really not see the contradiction in saying "Fuck you, you intolerant fuck?" In dismissing what you don't understand? In damning the media while propagating their hysterical, binary logic? LIBERAL. ADJECTIVE. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

If you are incapable of seeing anything other than red right now, please take a nap until you can. Punch a wall. Change. Oh, my god, you can change.

If we're going to find a way to change minds we're going to have to understand where those minds are coming from. Figuring out the complacency of others by tackling our own (it is still sunny outside for most of us, and we're not going to change the way people think by saying it isn't). Educating and informing rather than screaming "WHAT ARE YA, STUPID???" Acknowledging the hungers and desires of people not like ourselves (hell, take a tip from Travis, and use bible metaphors! As David Rees notes, most atheists are more Christian than the bible-thumpers, so what's to lose?). Plus it wouldn't hurt for us to actively look for common ground. We only would have needed to sway an extra three percent of the voting populace to keep people from posting these kneejerk United States Of Canada memes (here's a map that a child couldn't draw).

Anyhow, Travistan strikes me as one of the kindest, smartest, funniest, most mature albums of the year. It sounds even better now than it did when I wrote about it for Stylus. Yeah, the busy arrangements may hit you before the song's point, but that's why there's a lyric sheet. Hell, even the critical reaction has been educational. It's been enlightening trying to figure out how people can miss the boat so completely. I have some ideas, but I'll save that for another rant. This one's long enough as it is.

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