2010; the 'Year of Transition', with ol' ZENmud taking a chance on finding some guidance in a misguided fashion, by dwelling optimistically at one of America's poorest Web businesses. It shall remain nameless in this column.
We wouldn't want to offer even 'negative publicity' to a website which daily reinforces its -F- rating with the Better Business Bureau; which, to some marketing angels, apparently never exists (with the possible exceptions of "Bhopal//Dow", "Gulf of Mexico//BP", or even "Rocky Flats//Dow" (did we 'getcha' with that third one?)).
it may be judicious.
Down at 23rd and Welton a softball game was going on under floodlights which also illuminated the gas tank. A great eager crowd roared at every play. The strange young heroes of all kinds, white, colored, Mexican, pure Indian, were on the field, performing with heart-breaking earnestness....
Near me sat an old Negro who apparently watched the games every night. Next to him was an old white bum; then a Mexican family, then some girls, some boys – all humanity, the lot. Oh, the sadness of the lights that night! The young pitcher looked just like Dean. A pretty blonde in the seats looked just like Marylou. It was the Denver Night; all I did was die.
Down in Denver, down in Denver
All I did was die.
Having spent post-parental-divorce years in Denver, with (for a period of over a year) a job downtown, I spent every working morning and evening at the opposite corner, southwest: the company Van sat there, every night, in a barb-wired, chain-linked fenced-off parking lot, and I gazed over at the lights and green grass of Sonny Lawson Field. It was a demoralized, and demoralizing area when I frequented that neighborhood, hurriedly. It was my nature to walk fast to it, and retreat as quietly as possible, in those still-racially charged days.
That very year - 1976 - was when I first read On The Road, and his revelations became mine. I opened my eyes to the Soul-saturated sinews of this Dharma-Denver, now more depressed. Saying 'Five Points' in my era was rushed and hushed, yet to Kerouac it represented the 'Best Jazz between Kansas City and Los Angeles'... or was it Chi-town: Chicago? Only ghosts and phantoms of riffs gone silent, remained in the winds which wound down these concrete ribbons.
Kerouac found (in one vein) what he sought out endlessly, driven by the squeals from the stands, the 'attaboys!' from the field: America can 'play' together, sometimes, some days, even when it can't work together, or live together, or abide each other. He wrote about his Denver Night twenty-seven years before I knew he had one... nine-thousand, nine-hundred Denver Nights before.
Before the Korean War?
Before Joseph McCarthy scapegoated all of Hollywood, and J Edgar Hoover drove Charlie Chaplin into exile?
In the midst of America's return from WW II's 'racial tolerance' to our rampant, historic racism, which Jack K must certainly have experienced, the quote above points optimistically toward a too-rare tolerance in Society, to be exalted, yet Kerouac benefited from the naivété of Communist-chasing governmental players, in Congress and the FBI, in writing what assuredly would have been seen, if published some fifteen years later (for On The Road) as more subversive.
Across the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and up-river on the Nile, Egyptians are looking à la Kerouac for the country that fulfills more realities than myths, while a mythic reality... the Mubarak-ian reality, totters.
Mubarak's universe, of course, represents autocracy repressing (or bribing) those classes of citizens in due course, to achieve some semblance of 'Egypt' that has created a stagnation (similar in fact to our US stagnation ever since Reagan breathed Oval Office oxygen), since Egypt signed its peace Treaty with Israel.
The Cairoic events of these last two weeks attracted the latest media frenzy, fed by 'Social networks' passing of first-to-second-hand information. YouTube has a video showing what may be one of the earliest feminine Cairoine's call to her countrymen for aid... for 'protection' of the women who were ready to stand for Mubarak's withdrawal from power.
Are those purported supporters, who ripped into Tuesday's and Wednesday's protesters, actually off-duty or civilian-clothed Egyptian police or military? Publicly, the Armed forces appeared to be taking a neutral stance, by saying it wouldn't strike down 'the Great People of Egypt' (thus appearing to weaken Mubarak's hold on power?). The Parisian newspaper Le Monde reports that Mubarak has 'had enough' of being President, and would gladly leave, yet fears that determination because of 'the chaos' it would leave in his parting... Yet a reader/commentator to that article (as we are all now, thanks to the Web) reminds us that NATO has spent Billions to 'support' democratic 'movements' (in Afghanistan and Iraq); are we supporting Mubarak or the 'democratization movement' in Egypt?
Thus is any CairoACK writing today, metaphorically euphorically, about the mix of Egyptians who've joined to promote redress of their economic and professional stagnation under Mubarak's near-pharonic rule? Has he found his "23rd and Welton" futbal field, where Copts, Christians and Islamic children kick their ball towards one of two goals, to the screams of parental or friendly supporters? Or is the 'street game' simpler than this supposes? Who needs a stadium of any size when Tahrir Square is serving for the manifestations? Is their game simply survival, or victoriously outlasting the Mubarak regime?
In the history of the development of the Internet, Egypt fared as well as South Africa in leading all statistics on Internet growth and density: Africa was 'wired in' from those two ends. Egypt, under former President Sadat, sought some semblance of Peace with Israel. Mubarak, who had become President upon Sadat's October, 1981 assassination, has enjoyed billions in US Aid, prime seats at 'all the right tables' in terms of geopolitical posturing, and a personal enrichment that is certainly impossible to ascertain.
While Jack Kerouac was watching baseball in North Denver, and then writing about it all, in 1949 and 1950, Hosni Mubarak was graduating ('Class of '49') from Egypt's "Egyptian Military Academy for officers ([whose] alumni include one of Mr. Sadat’s assassins)" (National Post)
Kerouac seemed to search for that 'We, the People' aspect of our American Story.
Mubarak? Pure ambition, apparently, drove him into that realm where military connections gravitate. Mubarak's fortune is estimated to be roughly 30-40 Billion dollars, and to be well-invested in the "usual Suspects' Banks". Between the US, and Switzerland, as well as Britain, much of Hosni's family nest-egg remains accessible, should any case similar to those brought against Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines be a forebearer of justice. So are Mubarak real estate holdings in London, Los Angeles, New York and Washington.
His people... (the supporters) would of course be more affluent, more travelled, more Capitalist; they would not be the type of Egyptians playing "23rd and Welton" styled futbal à la Kerouac.
The great Egyptian people may not have to go the distance many Peoples face, when seeking more-or-less pacific 'regime change'. The extent to which Mubarak's 'boys' can crack down on 'the people' (whether in or out of uniform) depends on the number of democratic demonstrators: if that grows in reaction to repression, Mubarak's Louis Vuitton luggage should be dusted off! Yet if repression chills demonstrators' numbers, resilience could be an asset for Mubarak.
A barbaric Mubarak, could bring out a hundred Ja'q CairoACKS...