Thursday, February 16, 2006

If You're Opposed to Torture, Bill, Why Do You Do Your Cable Access Show?

I occasionally get asked why I do my cable access show, which "co-stars" my buddy James Shibley. The show is called “Born to Slack” and it airs 3 times a week. Sundays: 10pm-Channel22, Tuesdays :10pm-Channel 23, Fridays: 11pm –Channel 11.There are moments of good flow but let’s just say it is predominantly Emmy-proof. Just two guys sitting on a sofa, ranting about the Bush administration. The language is deliberately crude, whereas this blog is for my more genteel side.
We’ve done something like 94 episodes which is a lot - certainly enough to get burned out upon occasion. Once you commit to something like this, you realize it’s not always going to fit comfortably into your life. Some days there is a feeling of why bother? Last year, I knew my mother was dying and yet, I sat there and did a ridiculous cable access show as an emotional wreck. She died the day after we taped a couple of episodes.
As for James, I’ve known him for around 18 years. There’s an age difference but we’re brothers on some level. I’ve always thought he had a cool sense of humor mixed with some serious issues and rage. That’s a combination that works for me. I used to plead with him to take it to the stage, but he couldn’t get motivated to leave the couch. I even offered to get a few guys and carry him on stage still sitting on his sofa but the answer was no. I’ve spent a good deal of time trying to get musicians to do things when they would rather not, so I don’t press it. I just let it go.
Then one day as it was becoming clear how horrendous the Bush administration was shaping up to be, James said he wanted to do a cable access show – anything really to fight back. I took the courses and we got started. It was a real trip for a long time, but I’ve been a little burned out lately. Frankly, I’d lost touch with the reasons we’re doing this. It seemed like more and more people are aware of these hideous scandals so we were becoming obsolete, if that’s possible.
The feeling of wondering why ended today. I caught a glimpse of the latest torture pictures to be released, and I am fully back in touch with my original reasons for going on TV.
I believe we’re living in one of those times where our actions will be judged by future generations. There will be a time in 10 or 20 years when we will hear some serious questions: What did you do to try and stop these people? The worse possible answer – the answer that will be indefensible – is that you knew this behavior was occurring and your government was responsible and yet you supported this administration.
A close second will be that you knew it was going on but you did nothing. In these times doing nothing is completely unacceptable. The cable access show is one thing I will point to as proof that I did not stand idly by while my government turned to torturing detainees. Various episodes of my show might not be all that easy to look at. Watching some episodes might be a form of torture in themselves. But I don’t care. When this is all over, I just want to be able to look in the mirror. America is in grave danger, people. Our leaders are war criminals, and they’re getting away with it. I never was an activist before, but this is different. I have to speak out. That’s why I do the cable access show.


At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool, and please keep doing your show. I'm a big fan. I recognized the difficulty in keeping up the energy, and saw evidence in some of the episodes. Nevertheless, sincerity speaks loudly, and is obvious coming from both of you.

I met Shib at the Hilton this last fall. I was there to attend a celebration of life for a friend who had died. Linda Hornbuckle was singin' up a storm in the ballroom; I was socializing in the reception area. I saw him walking by and couldn't believe it. I called "Shib?" and he heard me, so we met.

I will say this, and it's not a criticism:

Communication with this blog and with your show is strictly one-way. It would be an honor to actually sit down with you and Shib some time and chew the fat.

A Loyal Fan

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Dear Gorok,
Thanks for writing in. I relayed your message to Jame's machine, so we'll see what happens.
The bad streak could be over on the show starting this Tuesday at 10 on Channel 23. (They're closed Sunday for President's Day.) I thought we finnally got back on track this week, after an awful series of technical and personal failings.
Thanks again for your support.

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last night's show was great.

I think many of us have a foreboding of impending doom. We pretty much know the bushkis are going to do something to deflect attention from their crime spree and indictment cornucopia. We just don't know what,when, and where it's going to happen. It's their MO, after all. Example: They tell us "SS needs to be fixed". We don't buy it, so they break it and tell us "See, we told you it needed to be fixed." The same thing is true with the Forever War they started. They tell us "The terrorists are a powerful, dangerous enemy and you aren't willing to give us everything we want to save you from them." I look for them to do something really serious, like detonate a nuke at one of our country's ports. Then they'll say "See, we told you. Now we have to declare martial law and sieze the media, the internet, and all your private weapons".


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