Mark Zuckerberg added a hamburger button to Instagram while one of its founders was on paternity leave. He quit soon after, and now we have the full story about why
Welcome to Gabracadabra Studios.
The Psychedelicatessen is now open. My name is Gabrielle and I’ll be your server.
Greetings old friends and new,
Thank you for being a part of my journey even if we’re not speaking currently. I’m grateful for souls that left me upon the path with beautiful memories and even the scars; many of them have healed along the way — making me stronger than before.
There are other scars — old ones — the wounds we all carry around on this spaceship earth…whether we acknowledge them or not. Human suffering *and joy* is what makes us family; those most common experiences. We too often neglect the joy of living when we don’t allow space or conditions for it to thrive.
It isn’t hard to see that joy tends to take a backseat in the current political climate.
For those who are new here, I’ll preface this post with some backstory. I’ve had several homes on the internet doing business and creative media projects as the web evolved with me. I was an early adopter and I have seen many changes, both good and bad. I’ve met amazing friends in cyberspace on many sites. A handful of the more recent sites are collapsing thanks to their disregard for free speech, fear of open source information, and pesky ‘sticks and stones’ called opinions [gasp!]. Of course, it is also collapsing due to exposure of the incestuous corruption with Big Brother agencies and their stranglehold on popular social media outlets. More on that in posts to come.
Let go or be dragged. ~ Zen koan
We always forget that change is the only constant. Especially in America. It is never as expansive as we imagine it could be — but instead something packaged and sold; narratives like “hope and change”. Real change happens only when we decide to change our hearts and minds. That’s what [r]evolution looks like. This is uncomfortable for those who’ve become extremely comfortable with a system that gets its wealth by exploiting us at home, while investing in Wall Street’s global war machine abroad. The Matrix media continues to seduce the populous with vapid consumerism, causing good people to look the other way when they should not. True [r]evolution comforts the disturbed, the downtrodden, the peaceful, the anti-war activists; the emapths. Remember them?
What would John Lennon do?
How can we possibly learn if we do not remember our past mistakes, seeking humbly to correct them and thereby attain redemption? Redemption is meaningless if no hardship is presented for us to overcome. America got too comfortable in its easy chair without reminders of what it has lost. We’ve approached what Martin Luther King called, ‘a spiritual death.’
For those of us who have paid attention since 9/11, it has been humbling to bear witness to unfolding history. We’ve held on to our integrity. Now we must hold sacred space.
Huntress Hits Her Mark?
I want to share a personal experience from last October, a month after I moved to my new home. It is one of the better experiences I can name in my life, and it surprised me as much as anyone who witnessed it. It is equal parts known and mysterious but definitely a human induced catalyst of my own making. One I’m compelled to share on my new website, with a new and deeper understanding about how my experiences fit into what feels like uncharted territory in collective history. Without a map maker, or a trusted guide, I’m left to rely on my inner compass and taking leaps of faith. That good, ol’ self-reliance that Emerson wrote about.
“ne te quæsiveris extra” · seek not yourself from outside yourself
The following story began in the year 2011 when I created the list of intentions below. It was October 11th, on a full Hunter’s Moon night.
Fast forward to last October when I stumbled upon it while unpacking, a few days before last year’s full Hunter’s Moon night. I literally had to sit down.
After thoughtful consideration and a nudge of encouragement, I decided to share the list and the story of my journey with — wait for it — my new intentional community, around a fire that Hunter’s Moon night exactly seven years later…in Bloomington, Indiana. We sat in a circle after weekly community dinner and I burned the list after sharing the story.
Of course, I had to take a photograph of it.
Today, almost six months later, I can no longer say I ‘live’ at Green Acres Permaculture Village — I thrive here. Bloomington, Indiana is a college town I’d lived in a few years before. I often visited throughout my youth to see friends, lovers, and live shows. But I was drawn to move to this part of southern Indiana for vastly different reasons than my younger, naive self could have imagined before 9/11.
Since my arrival at Green Acres, I’ve been working on several projects. Right out of the gate, I began working with marketing interns from the local college the first week. I’m doing web work for an amazing non-profit [which you’ll hear more about soon], and doing social media outreach for the village. Several of my new friends here are now excited that I’m once again flirting with hosting house concerts.
Two years before I made that list in 2011, I had a local non-profit that co-sponsored, promoted and hosted house shows to raise awareness for two national music charities. It was called The Road Home. A labor of love I once thought would be a musical gift to the city of Indianapolis. However, the sweet momentum of that project was short-lived.
The Road Home ~ A Long And Winding Tale
The Universe taught me a huge lesson at that time, about what community meant and where not to place my trust. I’m still not certain whether it was fear, jealousy, or just competition that caused people to behave so terribly, but the consequences of my trusting nature and a simple miscommunication became a sudden typhoon, seeing me lose my project, two months of future photography income, my sense of place, and my home — where my child and our cat also lived.
In literally less than 24 hours, I went from respected photographer and music promoter with prospects, to searching for a home and a regular job. To say that this experience was devastating would be an understatement. That it was caused by hearsay and rumor was worse. I managed to keep my head up and fought for my integrity. All I had left was my family and my professional reputation. I had to defend both from what ensued.
People who shall not be named began to share ludicrous rumors — which eventually got back to me in a text message full of gleeful snark. This person was literally laughing at my misfortune while I was scrambling to find income and a roof for my family. Others later engaged in cruel remarks without ever asking me directly what had happened.
Still others felt it was a perfect time to dump their emotional and relationship problems in my lap. Empaths will recognize that tune: the curse of kindness. Even if I had any time to spare for another soul, I simply didn’t have the energy. I gently set a few them straight. Some needed to be told to fuck off. I put myself and my family first and you’d be surprised how many took that personally.
After this harrowing experience, nothing going on in the city interested me. I kept receiving dozens of invitations a week to live shows, and being asked to take professional photographs for bands [for free] — to “get exposure.” I realized I needed to get out of this city and lift the bar higher than bar culture. I’d had enough.
You tell me: why would anyone with any self-respect stay in a city full of mean girls and cliques hellbent on social climbing, rumors, backstabbing, and pretending to like you because they think they’ll get something out of it? What that something was, I’ll never know. It was just another bad reality show that had played itself out.
I’d rather walk on by and let ’em get on, get on, get on with what they’re doing. ~ Want More, Need Less, Lyrics by Toni Halliday. Band, Curve.
Two months later, I was spending Christmas with family. I received an email informing me that my former music project was featured in the holiday edition of the Jeff Buckley International Newsletter. I was floored. That was an incredibly bittersweet moment of validation that brought me to tears. I was humbled and grateful. I did have something fine and it accomplished something meaningful that was also meaningful to others…and my fellow Buckley fans around the world.
The city got my backside. And I’ve never looked back.
A lot of things transpired in the two years before I made my Hunter’s Moon list. But the short of it: I was highly motivated to get away from uncivilized civilization and manifest something meaningful again. This was never about people I used to know [or thought I knew]. No drama. No names. None of that matters. What did matter was that I learned a valuable lesson about the shadow, and the collective unconscious. I moved on; always seeking to treat others, and myself, better than I was treated by that ‘scene’.
Not long after, there was news of the devastating Haiti earthquake. I witnessed in real time the incredible value of social media as a tool for sharing news. A friend asked me to co-sponsor a musical event to raise funds for Haitian earthquake relief and I was glad to assist with promoting. On the heels of that show, news of the BP Oil Disaster unfolded in the Gulf. From that moment, everything seemed less important than a need to learn about what was happening to our world — and the ecosystems we depend on for survival.
The BP Oil Disaster wasn’t just a catastrophic event for the people of the Gulf, who were already struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina. It was a major catalyst that irrevocably changed how I viewed the world. For me, it was like a second 9/11.
We’re All Not Guilty, We’re Responsible
So sayeth the late poet and native activist, John Trudell.
I will be the first to admit when I’m wrong when enough facts are presented. I will not, however, have things decided for me based on rumor, hearsay, or magical thinking from elected officials telling me to stay calm [like when poisoning the Gulf of Mexico]. I didn’t ‘hope’ for change — I decided to change. It is our own thinking that has to change first. Only then do we choose to no longer be victims. To ‘free my mind’, I chose to be a warrior, not a worrier. It also meant owning my choices…and living with the outcomes, both good and bad.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. So yeah, sometimes I worry! Though I no longer feel the need to scream into the void of cyberspace. I observe. I meditate on information presented. Then I aggregate news I feel is relevant to discourse.
That is what I have chosen to do since I slayed my own Jabberwocky of cognitive dissonance. I felt a responsibility to pay it forward through journalism. Choices made every day are ill-informed due to corporate media alone. I’m now at a point where the choices I make are, more often than not, well-informed leaps of faith.
Leaps of faith are about trusting your gut — your instincts — your Self. We can guess outcomes based on a little bit of information, but America doesn’t realize it has been flying blind much of the time by relying on a corrupt media. Informed or ignorant, when you take chances, the idea is: a lesson gets learned from the outcome, regardless.
The problem with an ill-informed ‘democracy’ is that it will learn the hard way and often when it is too late to do much about it. We require a little ‘tough love’ since corporate media ‘fails upward’ by design. There is not much left for it but to trust your own mind and do your own research.
Magical thinking about what media and government functions actually are has, unfortunately, caused the country to lose its ability to tell its own stories, or to learn from past mistakes rather than repeating them every election cycle. We have pitifully few examples of daring that inspire. [I’m hardly inspired by corporate culture darlings or sports figures pimped as ‘heroes’, selling razors, soda, or mini-vans].
I find myself looking further into the past for information and inspiration. Uplifting stories about courageous folks, like those Howard Zinn wrote about in A People’s History of the United States. Yet there are many who would see this book banned. Why? Because the truth about real history isn’t profitable. There is nothing in it for Wall Street or the political elite to have resources widely available that would empower everyday people. The system wants good, obedient consumers of soda and mini-vans and war…not people speaking truth to power…or finding out exactly who holds the real power.
It’s US. We, The People.
We’re better off reading an out-of-print book or getting a tarot reading than opening a newspaper these days. [Psst: the two former offerings I plan to share here.] From the ‘leap of faith’ Fool tarot card to The Universe or The World card, these archetypal symbols tell a story about the journey toward self-liberation.
Governments cannot give you that, you have to obtain that through sacrifice. [What my yoga teacher called: ‘going through it to get to it’.] The path to freedom, or what Carl Jung called the individuation process, doesn’t look like a ‘free-for-all’ of consumption, has nothing to do with french fries, or getting more stuff from [I’ll say it again] a corrupt government that has to pay for the ‘stuff’ by illegal and unconstitutional means.
Welcome to the real world, Neo.
Quit Your Whinging
We need to raise our own bar and practice good words and actions. Healing wounds and breaking cycles of abuse that perpetuate shaming, co-dependency, gas-lighting and coercion. The very cycles of abuse that have been in human systems from religion to state power for thousands of years. You can call that patriarchy if you like but the enemy is not men. It is maybe 1% of them — owning nearly every damn thing, including ‘too big to fail’ banks and the corporate media.
America can’t afford to sleepwalk through world history, expecting decent outcomes without first acknowledging it HAS a collective shadow. As a double-Gemini, I have learned to respect language, communication skills and know that words are powerful. Of course, they are co-opted by the state, organized religion and political ‘foundations’ because they know words are powerful. Systems wield them with surgical precision because they have a manual for that. It is actually titled, Propaganda.
Written by Ed Bernays, who happened to be Freud’s nephew, it is a manual for corporate psychological warfare. We call it something far more palatable now: Public Relations. So when I see more snark in politics and “sticks and stones” thrown by people needing ‘trigger warnings’, Bernays’ handiwork isn’t difficult to see. Folks who are too easily manipulated by emotions do more harm than good in a democracy; especially to the first amendment. An emotionally triggered populous could conceivably bring down a country founded on principles of liberty and freedom. Right out of Ed’s playbook!
People will have to miss me with trigger warnings in the arena of politics. If words hurt people, they should get rid of their televisions! Otherwise, they are choosing to pay to be manipulated, gas-lighted, and coerced by psychological warfare. Aren’t we upset by that? We certainly should be — but it is difficult to realize, let alone admit when we’ve been duped, suckered or bamboozled. We all have control over our actions and reactions. Why choose to allow strings of letters to own us?
It’s time to graduate Jr. High and punk rock something. Rock ‘n roll looks and feels more like democracy than the current incarnation.
I decided 7 years ago to ditch cable television. I didn’t want to pay for my own lobotomy after reading Catherine Austin Fitts’ chilling forward in Crossing The Rubicon. I also didn’t want corporate buzz words bouncing around in my head when I decided to sit down and write. When our words are not our own instead of regurgitated doublespeak from car show models on the idiot box, we purchase a one-way ticket straight to the place Orwell and Huxley warned us was the end of the line for democracy — and critical thinking.
Imagine a place completely opposite of what I have just described to you. That is the exactly the kind of place I set out to find when I made that list on a full moon night in 2011. But I won’t lie to you. Each year, the things I listed became increasingly difficult to find.
I’m incredibly grateful that I did. I’ll not take those blessings for granted.
Seven years of hard-won education through media work, travels, loss, and personal heartache later — I am here. I’m alive and enjoying life with a beautiful group of co-creative human beings. Sometimes we get what we ask for and then some. My mentor, Mike Ruppert wrote in the acknowledgements of his book, Crossing The Rubicon, that “Miracles can happen without our permission.”
I certainly gave my mine!
Three days after I made my intention list, a whirlwind of activity commenced. I’d acquired a PC to host an internet radio station. The same week, I was booted out of a house share due to some BF/GF housemate psycho-drama. I didn’t panic, though. It occurred to me immediately, ‘Of course! I had just sent my intentions…here we go!’
New friends rallied, coming to my aid. Many were grateful for the writing and news analysis I had done. One of my UK readers mailed me a beautiful silver coin with a note of gratitude. I still carry that coin today. A published author who followed my work at the time, sent money for a decent hotel so I could decompress and meditate before the Thanksgiving holiday.
The following week, I got the invitation to fly to Portland for an Occupy media tour down the west coast, visiting parts of the country I’d never visited before. It was on that trip that I met and interviewed Mike Ruppert in Sebastopol, California.
You’ll notice that I put Bloomington at the top of my list. That’s because this city had at one time, a peak oil task force. I’d also learned it was home to a growing permaculture community with teachers who are internationally published and recognized in their field. I had scouted communities on the west coast during the Occupy tour, seeking people who were energy literate and practicing resilience; but I was both amazed and relieved to discover that it wasn’t much further than my own back yard!
There’s a helluva lot more to this story which I will share in future installments. The point I want to make? Mike Ruppert was the first person I heard utter the word permaculture. I’d studied his work during the BP oil disaster in the Gulf, trying in earnest to learn how the oil industry ticked. A great deal of understanding about currency, oil economies, i.e.; my energy literacy, came from listening to Mike’s early lectures and reading Crossing The Rubicon. Make no mistake, this book is not just about oil. I’d also learned just how long corrupt NGO’s and ‘foundations’ had been looting other countries under the guise of humanitarian aid, like Haiti after the earthquake…and what we’re now seeing unfold in Venezuela.
Again, these are things that cannot be unseen…and should never be forgotten.
Since Mike’s passing, I was named official archivist for his important book. The bell that resonated so deeply and changed the course of my destiny, however, was upon viewing the documentary in which he starred, called Collapse. Even after reading Rubicon, it was Mike’s earnest storytelling that convinced me to dig deeper and take action.
If not for Mike, I wouldn’t have made that list. Of course I’m sad that he is not with us but his spirit is absolutely present. I thank him often. Mike was quick to thank others who taught him so he could pass along knowledge he acquired. I want to return the favor.
I learned a lot about responsibility and honor from a good man, and an honest cop. But he was more than that. He was a good ancestor. We should all strive to be one.
End of The Deep State: Brought To You By The Letter Q?
I am relieved to find others discussing Qanon where I live! I made several videos about it last year that will I’ll share here soon. People in this movement understand what I’ve come to learn through Mike’s work. I firmly believe he would have been following this phenomenon. Much of what he’d written about in 2004 is linked to current events. “Future proves past”…for those familiar with the nomenclature.
“Until you change the way money works, you change nothing.” ~ Michael C. Ruppert
Mike’s oft-used quote was actually more of a mantra. And it does appear that things might actually be moving in that direction! However, we must consider the words of Gil Scott-Heron, “The revolution will not be televised.” Epic moments are indeed numerous but they are certainly not being sponsored by razors, soda or mini-vans. Let Bernays roll in his grave!
I’ll post new Rubicon book excerpts from my Youtube channel, and much more about Green Acres, the intentional community I call home. There will be plenty of audio/visual delights that tickle my psyche as well. I have aggregated 7+ years of such posts in the categories listed on the right. Happy browsing!
Please note: you may discover Youtube videos missing from older posts due to censorship — not just from this country. Those posts will remain unchanged and archived for posterity, just in case some social media giants get broken up like the banks [yes, I still give my permission for miracles].
And now for something completely different: The Official Doomer Disclaimer
Bonus GoT Nerd Disclaimer: Arya is my favorite.
I no longer talk of extinction.**
**unless we’re talking about pollinators that we rely on for food, desertification of soil, lack of clean water, or comet impact theories from Randall Carlson and Graham Hancock [also a friend to Mike]. Discussion of human extinction due to “human induced” climate change wastes valuable human energy for no return on psychological investment. I’m no longer on the fence but I am done talking about the sky falling. Globalists are doing enough fear-mongering for all of us, thank you very much.
Like the Game of Thrones character Jon Snow said, “I’m here to fight for the living.” For me, that includes the living planet. It does not include, however, fighting for or defending rude, childish behavior from the self-righteous who refuse to discuss ‘how’ the planet is warming. I want to focus on solutions, not parroting Chicken Little globalists.
I have taken in as much climate evidence as I can stomach. I’ve seen people wallow in grief, despair and self-pity. I did it myself until I took my power back from others who were parroting the same things globalists are squawking. Some have since become grief counselors because they are convinced — by those globalist sources — that we’re fucked. [*insert spider and fly analogy here*]
It is this kind of despair that ultimately drove an already deeply wounded Mike Ruppert to take his own life. I refuse to defend faith in data from globalists [who have that handy manual for emo-manipulation] but who simply can’t be bothered to discuss or debate said data, show up to support a pipeline protest or stand with water protectors.
Frankly, I find that truly fucked.
I’ve concluded, as anyone who has done any research will tell you — the planet is warming. I’ve never argued that point. However, by looking further into the past, I’m convinced that the planet has been warming — and cooling — for the better part of 12,000 years. That simply isn’t going to be stopped by co-opting the Green Party ‘new deal’ by a fresh round of energy-illiterate neoliberals…no matter how cute they are in pantsuits.
Permaculture is the wisest, least expensive and less energy intensive course of action. It needs to start locally, but I could see it happening en masse like the effort of the national Victory Garden campaign during WWII. That would take some political will, but efforts like this can also start locally and ripple out.
Collective energy is best focused on local solutions for viable soil, clean water and the mental/spiritual health of future generations that will be caring for all three. I’ve no interest in engaging in politics or dogma, instead of actual science; which leaves room for error and the humility that comes with that. If we’re all agreed that the planet is warming, it leads to the same conclusion and solution for the energy literate: more people learning, practicing and teaching permaculture. As outreach specialist for Green Acres, I aim to make that knowledge more accessible to the curious and uninitiated.
You can start in your own backyard. And there’s no need to become morally elitist about it because the planet doesn’t care how you feel! But she will take care of you if take care of her. Try that instead of caring what other people think. You’ll be surprised how far that will get you!
In closing, please beware of those who take no time for self-reflection, who never question authority, media, or their own assumptions. Lecturing, posturing, and blaming isn’t helpful. Look in the mirror to start the heavy lifting of inner work. Turn. Off. Your. Television. Inquire within.
I’ve reflected on attitudes that have changed people after the last election. Not always for the better. They often remind me of those city folk who engaged in snark and cruelty to protect a clique. Now it’s a political party, or a candidate, or another in a long line of rigidly held worldviews. I find it harder to tell them apart. Like so many fun-house mirrors reflecting the current political climate — proven to be human induced.
We need it less. Let’s manifest something more. Time to make a new list!
I hope you’ll come back to see what’s cookin’ in the coming year, or subscribe to get some magic in your inbox. Love and rocket stoves ~ Gabrielle
[h/t to Jim Naureckas at FAIR blog: Dick Durbin Wants to Stop You From Being a Journalist]
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin tells you which parts of the First Amendment apply to you.
[Earning that first name in all caps…]
Please note: Being a senator doesn’t make him journalist, either, yet here he is writing in the [floundering] Chicago Sun-Times like he knows a thing or two about it.
By this line of thinking, he could complain that not everyone who writes a book is an author and not everyone who runs for public office is a politician. The first amendment applies to every citizen with a voice – unfortunately, big money has drowned out many new voices but NOW an online press can and will drown out these obsolete, corporate pucker-ups.
If this swine can convince you he knows better than you – what’s next? ‘Who’s a real musician’, ‘who’s a real painter’, ‘who’s a real person’…oh, shoot…I forgot, these dinosaurs already believe corporations are people and money is speech.
Mr. Naureckas, writing for FAIR makes the case for new media which old media can’t seem to wrap it’s senile brain around: “Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and even Instagram are all, guess what, media outlets–that is, institutions whose primary purpose is to distribute information to the public. (Their names appear in bold in FAIR materials because we bold the names of media outlets.)”
Even CNN should be able to agree with that assessment, even though their coverage of the Boston Bombing proved they’re laughably abysmal at gathering information on the net.
|Did you check your pack before you jumped?|
Dick Durbin, you played yourself. So has mainstream media and the time has come to exit the stage. Don’t let it escape you that many entered from the left but they are now all exiting stage right. Eventually, some will come crawling back, crying that the corporate parachutes they thought they were wearing were actually rucksacks full of propaganda and fossilized thinking.
I’m really quite enjoying this last curtain call and I don’t even own a television. The dog and pony show was old and predictable ages ago.
Here’s a thought…perhaps mainstream media could redeem itself by investigating this? Last time “real journalists” looked, it wasn’t a cold case. Sorry, MSM pundits, anchors and car show models – it’s not a sound-byte, I know…and it won’t fit on a Twitter update…but that wouldn’t be considered ‘investigating’, now would it?
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights.
Yes, there will be an exam later…
Considering the amount of social media connections one can make on the internetz, I’ve decided to let those connections work ‘for me’ rather than against me in sharing news with readers.
Not only am I a writer and photographer, but a news analyst. Over the last two years, I have made it my mission to wade through the vast wasteland of US news outlets to pluck out nuggets of truth to share with my readers. It’s a lot like performing an autopsy on US media and then harvesting the good organs that haven’t shut down yet. My research background comes in handy for this task.
My comments on social sites tend to be rather colorful – my Gonzo comes out often but the new ‘timeline’ everyone loves to cheer or complain about has its downside. I can’t find a damn thing I posted three weeks ago to connect other stories that have been shared earlier – which is important for researching in order to help you connect the dots.
That and some seriously golden Gonzo moments are sucked into Facebook’s blackhole where I cannot retrieve them. So, from now on – I will do my news analysis here on the blog. It needs more content and I can keep my research and verbal color palette in one place for myself and for my readers. Win/win!
With Facebook’s recent changes and the news that it just purchased the photo sharing company, Instagram – I have decided to keep all my eggs in TRC’s basket – not Zuckerberg’s.
US media is cracking down hard on citizen journalists – especially when it comes to covering Occupy through the big brother tools of “free” social media. We all know in this climate – nothing is free. We either agree to be mined for data, spied upon or do not use social media at all. OR we use their tools to our advantage. I have recently changed to open source software for my OS as well as my browser. I will defend my free speech here with all the tools at my disposal, until they make it impossible to do so.
I hope you’ll find this new direction worthwhile and will make TRC a valuable resource for news you can use in the future. Many thanks to all who support TRC and free speech everywhere.
Let the autopsy – er – analysis begin. Hand me that scalpel…
[A question/answer session from an anonymous journalism student from Sweden for Occupy. We both agreed it would be good to share this for all the young journalists and budding occupy media teams. So, here you go. I was honored to be asked to participate.]
Why did you decide to pursue a career in Journalism?
I wrote for a school newspaper in Jr. High and was curious about journalism then and after several creative writing courses in High School – but I didn’t actively pursue it until I was well into my 30’s – mostly because it flushed well with my photography. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but many of the photographs I took at the time were art photos and descriptions came with them as a matter of course.
My actual career background is in the administrative field [much of that was correspondence and research]. The people I worked for liked the manner and style of my writing and I was highly praised for my ability as a researcher.
After my last administrative job was phased out, I actively pursued photojournalism as a means of sharing information. Being a politically active book nerd, my skills simply married well with journalism. I took the leap with my first blog and received a lot of good feedback. Later, I started a music project which garnered some international attention for my writing and since then, I managed to cross the music writing over into activism. Two things I am very passionate about. This started me down a path of deeper research and intelligence gathering – and the study of journalism in history.
In many ways, journalism pursued me. I’m also a Gemini – ruled by Mercury – the sign of communication and information. Though, many don’t put stock in those things, I can attest to that being a strong personality trait.
Are you glad that you did? Do you have any regrets?
This is an interesting question seeing as I feel like I had no choice but to write. Like an artist creates, a writer writes. I’m glad my work helps others and in this day and age of corporate news – it feels like my duty to continue. I’m honored to witness history as it unfolds and try my best to report factually and objectively – which was near impossible to do in political writing. The deeper I researched, the more I learned and it became a personal awakening process. For that, I am also glad and couldn’t regret a thing. It’s been as much a spiritual journey as a professional one. Seeking to uncover the truth, by it’s very nature, is a spiritual undertaking.
It’s impossible to regret growth as a human being – it is experience that makes the writer, after all. Though there are few posts by me on TRC, I like sharing others work. I’m working on a book, building a radio station as well as news videos, which doesn’t lend itself well to news writing at the moment. There are a lot of great reporters and writers out there and I like to share the ones that impress me.
What successes have you realized as a result of your career choice?
Mostly accolades and the honor of seeing my work alongside some of my personal heroes in the field. Also using my work to help others less fortunate or that do not have a voice. Success is a personal reflection because it is defined differently by an individual rather than what society deems successful. For me personally, I have printed letters and emails framed from other writers and artists I admire – and have met one of them last year who was quite a mentor for me. So I guess I feel my successes are in my growth and the personal connections with like minded people.
This is also a mixed blessing as some writers may not be socially in tune or egotistical which is a turn off. But that’s life and all part and parcel of the experience. That doesn’t make a person’s work any less valuable a contribution. I mean, Hunter Thompson may have been considered an asshole by many – but his writing put Rolling Stone on the map, in my opinion.
Money. I think most writers would say the same. The corporate media machine and technology has lulled a lot of people into a false sense of what journalism is or should be. It does get a bad rap. I feel that is changing however, so honestly, it’s an exciting time to be involved in media as much as it is precarious. There are many who probably couldn’t hack it and aside from money, the greatest challenge for me was cutting through my own cognitive dissonance in order to report without mainstream bias. This is much harder than it sounds simply because the mainstream has done it’s job well. Being a little ‘gonzo’ helps.Hunter Thompson remains one of my favorite writers and he said that it is near impossible for regular people to get good information during wartime. This makes the job of a journalist much harder as well. Meeting and overcoming challenges to deliver honest reporting is pretty much how any journalist worth their salt will keep their integrity and the loyalty of their readers [or viewers]. Even when the political climate makes them fickle…and fickle is being kind. It’s a tough audience out there right now.I’ve always admired Keith Olbermann’s ability to maintain loyal listeners. I’m not sure European readers will know who he is – but he was on a cable station called Current which is owned in part by Al Gore. He was fired abruptly two weeks ago and was one of the only remaining voices on [pseudo] mainstream that supported and reported on Occupy. I hope he gives Current a Gonzo bitch-slap so hard that Al’s wife Tipper will feel it.Don’t get me started on Tipper.
Are there any “unknown” pieces or aspects of such a career that might be helpful for an outsider to consider?
Be prepared to handle the truth when you find it – and be prepared to tell it to others thoughtfully not cautiously. The duty of any journalist is to report what IS – to the best of their ability with the information available. ‘Available’ does not mean you don’t have to research. Dig until you are satisfied in your own mind and heart that you have discovered something of value to your readers. It is ultimately about them.Lastly, if you want to improve a thing [your writing, the political landscape, the press] be critical of it. In order for the art of journalism to survive corporate control – it needs more critics not suck ups. This means you need to have a thick skin and an iron constitution. Journalism is not for the weak of heart. The old saying that the pen is mightier than the sword is true – words are very powerful things – wield them with respect for the truth and you will never injure yourself.Others may get hurt, however – but if a small few are hurting the 99%, the environment or our democracy – being critical of them is just helping karma along. It is way past due for a nudge.
Any personal advice or last comments?
Keep a copy of the First Amendment where you write. I recommend watching the movie “Good Night and Good Luck” at least twice to understand why one of the highest awards for American journalism has Edward R. Murrow’s name on it. If we were all half as good as he was – we could mop the floor with MSM here. That time is coming because this economy is seeing major publications laying people off. Citizen press and underground media need to get their foundations established now – there is a window and I’m unsure how long it will be open. Connect with like-minded thinkers, photographers, videographers and not worry about trying to “make it” in a dying corporate media culture. Leave that old cold war corpse to rot…it’s time to get on with the business of telling people the truth.US media is about as useful as a stars and stripes band aid on compound fracture.