Hello Friends, welcome to Friday Food for Thought. Every Friday I’ll help start your weekend by sharing four people, thoughts, or things that are on my mind this week. These may be books or movies, podcast suggestions, interesting people I follow on social media, music, products, or, well, anything. You may find interesting creativity boosts here, some conversation starters, or just a small dose of entertainment. Click here for my previous post. Feel free to share this with friends, or offer suggestions via the comments. Let’s begin!
1) Deep Thoughts – The Song Remains the Same, Only Louder:
I’ve been reviewing New York Times archives from the late 1980s and early 1990s as research for a possible writing project. It’s astonishing how similar the headlines are to today’s. Climate change is a real threat, gun violence is increasing, police brutality is on the rise, healthcare is alarmingly expensive, Republicans obsess over depriving women of reproductive freedom, we taxpayers bail out rich people who manage their businesses incompetently, systemic racism and class discrimination are rampant, along with endless hand-wringing over inflation, interest rates, and the stock market. We face many of the same issues today, only they’ve grown in magnitude. The amplification of social media doesn’t help, but if our problems seem to have grown, it’s because we failed to deal with them when they were more manageable. The few effective efforts – the 1994 assault weapons ban comes to mind – were abandoned or never sufficiently expanded on. There’s no happy conclusion to this. Only by cutting through propaganda and demanding accountability from ourselves, our corporations, and our governments can we clear a path to survival and sustainability.
2) The Greening of Jazz:
I’ve been revisiting my collection of Grant Green CDs this week. Like his near-contemporary Wes Montgomery, jazz guitarist Grant Green died of a heart attack in his forties. While Montgomery is rightfully recalled as an important influence on later generations, Green is not so well remembered. Green’s recordings reflect a variety of styles, including the blues, bebop, Latin, and gospel music. Green’s final albums may have been a mixed assortment of pop-funk efforts, but for years Green offered a style that was inviting but never easy, on albums like Green Street, Feelin’ the Spirit, and Matador. Most of Grant’s music is available for digital download, but I always prefer physical media and recommend CDs when you can find them.
3) Yes, It’s Art:
An individual I follow on Twitter recently commented that almost no one considers photography an art form. That was news to me. I didn’t offer a debate – it’s just social media, after all – but the first source I consulted was my beloved copy of Elliott Erwitt’s Paris & New York box set. Paris & New York is a collection of joyful, thoughtful images reminding us that both cities, like all cities, are the sum of their people. And yes, photography is very much an art form. Erwitt has been affiliated with Magnum Photos since 1953 and the site features a number of his images. You can also find a sampling of his work online at the International Center of Photography. But photographs are best lingered over in person, so I still recommend the Paris & New York set if you can locate a copy.
4) Glasnost Days:
I don’t have a lot of kind things to say about Ronald Reagan, but one thing he got right was transforming his thinking toward the Soviet Union. While a number of people and events brought this about, I suspect that only Mikhail Gorbachev could have bridged the final gap. Likewise, I imagine that only someone as strong-willed as Gorbachev could become the dominant figure in a Werner Herzog documentary, even one titled Meeting Gorbachev (2018). If, like me, you’re nostalgic for the hope Gorby offered and mourning his passing this week, Meeting Gorbachev is a moving and thoughtful documentary. It’s currently streaming free on Kanopy.
That’s all for this week. Have a good weekend!
This post contains NO affiliate links. All suggestions are based on my own personal experience, your experience may vary. Nothing herein is intended to serve as medical, legal, financial, or any other advice for which you should consult professionals and not some random guy on the Internet.