Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Fasting Hungry Guy Gobbles Up A Beast Of Burden

Omar P.L. Moore/

by Omar P.L. Moore/        Follow popcornreel on Twitter FOLLOW
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I had listened to Mike Malloy's radio program last night and heard about Matthew Schauenburg.  Mr. Schauenburg is a man, a Wisconsinite, an American, who was outraged at his state's governor Scott Walker.  Outraged enough to starve himself. 

Starve himself to death, if he has to. 

"Day 24", it said yesterday on Mr. Schauenburg's blog "Hungry Guy".  Twenty-four days in America without food.

Matthew Schauenburg has decided to forgo food not because he can't afford it, but because of a principle. 

No lionizing here or appeals to righteous fervor.  Apparently though, Mr. Schauenburg is willing to die for what he believes in, a throwback to the 1960s in the mold of a Dr. Martin Luther King, who was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while in Memphis supporting the strike of garbage workers there, 43 years ago this coming Monday. 

And do you remember Rachel Corrie, an American crushed to death by an Israeli tank while protesting Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003, three days before the invasion in Iraq began?

"Miral" is Julian Schnabel's new film, based on a true story about the Israel-Palestinian conflict.  It opens very soon in select U.S. cities.  (Friday in New York City.)  Dare I say it: I think some may be more upset at "Miral" than they were Ms. Corrie's untimely, awful death.

Martyrdom schmartadom

By the way, I don't think Matthew Schauenburg is trying to be a martyr, but then again, so what if people think he is?  So what if he is?

"Thinking isn't knowing", Gregory Peck's Sam Bowden character once said in J. Lee Thompson's 1962 film "Cape Fear".

And how is dying for a cause a bad or a stigmatizing thing?

I know I don't have -- and many reading this fragmented, convoluted editorial probably don't have -- the stomach to starve to make a point about legislation that cripples working class and middle-class workers and their rights to organize, bargain and unionize for health benefits, wages and myriad other vitalities to keep roofs over heads, food in bellies and clothes on bodies. 

But many Wisconsinites could be starved as a result of the actions of their governor.  Part of me wonders how on earth people voted for Mr. Walker in the first place.  (Some probably wonder the same about the current president.)

Perhaps because all of this happened in Wisconsin, all of this stripping away of human rights and dignities happened in that so-called "cheesy" Midwestern (cheese) state of Super Bowl champions, few, with the exception of the hundreds of thousands of protesters, cared.

And there's Michigan.  What if legislation like this Wisconsin debacle was passed in New York?  Or in your state?

If every state in the U.S. had legislation like Wisconsin's, would what happened in Egypt last month happen here? 

A little voice within asks: are we slowly but surely being pushed to the brink?

Wars, lousy economies, Wall Street heists, unemployment, no accountability.  Survey says: "not a recipe for social comfort."

That is troubling, yet true.  Peace of course, is the best and only way.       

People are being arrested in Michigan and Wisconsin today for merely exercising their free-speech First Amendment rights.

"You remember the law, don't you?", Denzel Washington's on screen character once said in a film.

Fame: Part nothing

Nowadays people are famous for absolutely nothing at all.  I don't even think Andy Warhol envisioned the specifics of what he once said to be quite like this, though.  Famous purely because of "good looks" (and zero talent?)  Famous because you don't raise critical questions, existing as a hired empty-suited buffoon instead?

Why isn't Matthew Schauenberg famous? 

I think you know why.

With three wars going on and the U.S. mainstream media deciding to look elsewhere for a story -- since this one wasn't sexy enough (hint: it didn't bleed) -- one of the very least things a soul could do was tweet this

Most of the responses were favorable, like this one.  Some were not. 

If you think Mr. Schauenburg is not brave, if you think he is a "loser", then what do you make of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker? 

After all, Mr. Walker signed legislation that strips away bargaining power for salaries, health benefits, and union organizing for workers of the middle class and working class.

Is that brave?

The negative responses did not address this as they denounced Mr. Schauenburg for his response to the governor's heartless actions.

The level of anger of the negative tweeters was palpable though unsurprising.  We've been socialized in this 21st century climate to look at sacrifice as an irritant or an inconvenience.  Some of us are entranced by our cellphones to the point where a good number of us drive cars while talking into them, nearly hitting people in the process.  And the word on the street is, don't you dare call me -- you just text me instead.

Automation is our groove.  Sanitization is the move.  No risk.  No pain.  All reward. 

TMZ Chimpanzee. 

No disrespect to Mr. Levin -- for he has shrewdly tapped into a market and made a kazillion dollars in it.  That's as American as you can get, no? 

TMZ, once an utter laughing stock, has become more respected by some than the news organizations once considered the pillars of the Fourth Estate.

Truth is, TMZ is probably more likely to cover Matthew Schauenburg than The New York Times, which is now charging customers money to read its articles online and elsewhere.

Ignore this: In re Twitter Patter

Thanks, New York Times, for charging us to read the news -- and thanks for perhaps plagiarizing my phrase "Twitter Patter", which I foolishly thought I had invented. 

You should have trademarked it, buddy. 

"Thumbs Up" is a great trademark, and Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were smart enough to do the right thing.  Today, many years later, that phrase remains pure gold. 

If I had trademarked "Twitter Patter" -- and from a legal point of view Twitter would likely have the exclusive rights to the phrase anyway -- would that have stopped the Times?  I don't know that I came up with "Twitter Patter" first in the whole wide world, perhaps even before Twitter -- but I'm almost sure I did before the Times did.

"Aw, quit yer bellyachin', fool!"

What have I learned today?

At the end of the day, Scott Walker isn't the issue.  Matthew Schauenburg, bless his heart, isn't the issue.  Both are doing something.  One took a negative step and with a stroke of a pen affected millions of lives.  The other took a brave, bold and inspiring step to make a point and seems willing to lose his life unless governor Walker has an attack of conscience or an epiphany, whichever comes last.

Previous editorial: The Lion, The Witch and The Warlock

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