CommunityFDL Main Blog

Late Nite FDL: Artists

More growing pains in the blogosphere.  The movement matures, people find their niches as space expands, some people grow envious, hasty words and hilarity ensue, even though more room means there’s more room for everyone.

Over at the Roots Project beta site, to which I won’t link because it’s not (yet) ready for prime time, we’ve taken some time to try to define our values as progressives, what animates us, and what the binding values of the site community itself are and will be.  In one section, I sketch out three "Roots Community Values" of "collaboration," action" and "personal growth."  Here’s what I wrote in the brief "personal growth" segment (emphasis added):

Personal Growth: In our working lives, some of us are lucky enough to make a living in an arena that continually challenges us to stretch our talents while serving some cause or mission greater than ourselves. Many, perhaps most of us, do not. The working world for many leaves us uninspired and underutilized. Here in this community, we recognize that all people have talent. All people have something they can do better than most other people can (the very definition of a talent). As a result, we come together in part to create networks of people who can work together while discovering and encouraging each others’ talents, perhaps in ways they’ve never experienced before. We encourage each other. We strive to remain positive in our approach and our dealings with each other. While many of us come here because we seek to make a difference in changing the direction of our country based on our values, many of us stay because we have together created a community that, as it turns out, promotes not only our development as engaged, informed citizens, but also our development as fully realized people.

Those are among the binding principles for the community that will blossom as the Roots Project. 

I have news for people:  none of us are able to perform in a way you readers, lurkers and critics will define as perfect at all times.  Get over it.  Build on your own talents, recognize the talents of others and encourage them.  Bloggers, even organizers, are in their way creative artists.  We have bigger fish to fry than each other.  It’s those with more ambition than the talent they wish they had that spend the most time trying to tear others down.  That’s the root of envy. 

As for the composition of the Clinton meeting, that’s something Bill has to answer for, it seems to me, or Peter Daou, who made the invitation recommendations.  I’m with Christy from this morning:  let’s get some answers and do some reporting before we fling accusations, particularly at people who had nothing to do with the guest list.  Peter’s a big Lebanese-American boy and he can speak for himself.

Speaking of talent, Jeff Buckley was a singular artistic talent, too soon gone.  Do you think people, after he died, thought about ways they should have criticized him or tried to knock him down, because doing so made them feel bigger, more important or more self-righteous?

Let’s stay in focus, people.  Leonard Cohen wrote a brilliant song; Jeff Buckley’s studio recording is my favorite interpretation of it.  Please enjoy Buckley’s live rendition.  Meanwhile, we have other progressive values and the common good to pursue together.  Some people have to interface with and fight with the establishment directly, others do their thing from a greater distance.  Some work on a national stage, others work powerfully locally.  Some focus on niches of single issues, others on news analysis, others on movement building and others on lots of other stuff.  All these roles, and many others, are necessary. 

Everyone has potential talent.  Understand yours and those of the people around you, and if I may recommend it, focus on what you can do, rather than on what those who genuinely, persistently fight for the common good could have done differently in your estimation.  For myself, I hereby acknowledge my imperfection:  past, present and future.  It won’t come as news to me when you point this out to me, but the manner in which you do it will say at least as much about you as it does about me.  Accountability is good for everyone:  let’s just get the facts first.

Speaking of artists:  who’s your favorite artist, too soon gone?  Whose unfulfilled promise do you miss the most?  Let’s take it up in the comments.  Some with full careers can even qualify.  Marvin Gaye comes to my mind, and Sam Cooke.  Who comes to mind for you? 

Previous post

The weatherman and the cockroach

Next post



Pachacutec did not, as is commonly believed, die in 1471. To escape the tragic sight of his successors screwing up the Inca Empire he’d built, he fled east into the Amazon rain forest, where he began chewing lots of funky roots to get higher than Hunter Thompson ever dared. Oddly, these roots gave him not only a killer buzz, but also prolonged his life beyond what any other mortal has known, excluding Novakula. Whatever his doubts of the utility of living long enough to see old friends pop up in museums as mummies, or witness the bizarrely compelling spectacle of Katherine Harris, he’s learned a thing or two along the way. For one thing, he’s learned the importance of not letting morons run a country, having watched the Inca Empire suffer many civil wars requiring the eventual ruler to gain support from the priests and the national military. He now works during fleeting sober moments to build a vibrant progressive movement sufficiently strong and sustainable to drive a pointed stake through the heart of American “conservatism” forever. He enjoys a gay marriage, classic jazz and roots for the New York Mets.