RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Wednesday, July 10

SONG OF THE DAY: Ritmo Sabroso

Global diaspora of various beginnings combined with digital communications has made the world smaller while also not acknowledging the digital gaps that still exist and how there are always going to be shadows for the forgotten. Been thinking on what I am as a human, accepting my status as white male in America, yet also realizing I’m not entirely like a lot of other white males. Been thinking of myself as unwhite lately, because I’m externally identified as white, most certainly, but I try my best to not perpetuate a lot of that shit with my own actions. It’s impossible to detach yourself from how others identify you, including systems built on biases which benefit you, but it’s also very possible to actively not embrace that shit, and definitely you can do the work to not perpetuate the ugly side of that.
And yet I went to a home funeral yesterday, where we stood around the grave that the family dug, and they played a couple old bluegrass songs at the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, and there’s a cultural context to all this for me – greater Appalachian roots which came from Scottish highlands… a common theme in the eastern half of the U.S. But also I’m a product of various immigrant diasporas – one quarter Polish with a variation on “fisher” surname, a quarter Scandinavian, part German-ish as filtered through Pennsylvania mountains… but standing at home-cooked funeral, outside, old folks playing old instruments, singing old songs about finally being free, it’s all cultural at molecular and unexplainable level that’s not evil. The history of globalization and empire and dominant cultures, even within the framework of racial divisions, is one where dominant cultures consumed and suppressed even other cultures within what we now see as the same.
It will be interesting to see how this shifts in the near future, now that we have these handheld devices that educate as well as delude us, and so many cultural things are cross-pollinating each other. And yet also, we’re experiencing a vast superficial knowledge of more, while knowing deeply less. Someone once told me about the difference between knowing one square inch a mile deep, and one square mile an inch deep, and how superficial knowledge doesn’t actually allow for root knowledge, and can easily be washed away. As I helped dig a grave this past week, I thought about that, as we dug shovelful by shovelful, down through the silt, luckily not too red clay, far deeper than one normally digs, because that’s how deep you have to go for safe eternal resting space. I don’t come from high and mighty people, despite the privilege I do have, and there’s a lot of cultural pieces that were lost because of that. I knew drug culture better than people playing banjos, although there was crossover, like an old dude called Rocky Top who had drank himself out of Nashville who sat around the poker table at Tank’s house where my folks went every weekend, picking songs. But I do know piecing it together, and how to get shit done when it needs to be done, rather than planning and talking and thinking about it forever.
Humanity is no more fucked now than it’s ever been. But there’s a lot of hard work that needs to be done. Not discussed and delegated and argued and talked over and hashed out and endless circles of discourse and spirals of power hierarchies that destroy actual collective work ever getting done. There’s enough work for all of us to just get to doing in our own lives, daily. And that helps establish new cultures, new cross-pollinations that aren’t appropriation or assimilation or suppression and oppression, but actual shared physical acts of working together. The arts falls into this as well, because the arts is the fun work you do after the hard work is done. And fuck man, nobody wants to just do the hard work seven days a week without doing the fun work too. Every somber Sunday morning needs a feral Saturday night. Life needs contrast in order to not be mundane to the point of just sitting around waiting for death. It feels a lot of times like our one inch deep knowledge of the square mile of today’s existence is severely lacking, at least to me. But ain’t shit to do about it except get to work going deeper.

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