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robertogreco : 1906   4

Rebecca Solnit: When the Hero is the Problem | Literary Hub
"Positive social change results mostly from connecting more deeply to the people around you than rising above them, from coordinated rather than solo action. Among the virtues that matter are those traditionally considered feminine rather than masculine, more nerd than jock: listening, respect, patience, negotiation, strategic planning, storytelling. But we like our lone and exceptional heroes, and the drama of violence and virtue of muscle, or at least that’s what we get, over and over, and in the course of getting them we don’t get much of a picture of how change happens and what our role in it might be, or how ordinary people matter. “Unhappy the land that needs heroes” is a line of Bertold Brecht’s I’ve gone to dozens of times, but now I’m more inclined to think, pity the land that thinks it needs a hero, or doesn’t know it has lots and what they look like."



"William James said of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, “Surely the cutting edge of all our usual misfortunes comes from their character of loneliness.” That is, if I lose my home, I’m cast out among those who remain comfortable, but if we all lose our homes in the earthquake, we’re in this together. One of my favorite sentences from a 1906 survivor is this: “Then when the dynamite explosions were making the night noisy and keeping everybody awake and anxious, the girls or some of the refugees would start playing the piano, and Billy Delaney and other folks would start singing; so that the place became quite homey and sociable, considering it was on the sidewalk, outside the high school, and the town all around it was on fire.”

I don’t know what Billy Delaney or the girls sang, or what stories the oat gatherers Le Guin writes about might have told. But I do have a metaphor, which is itself a kind of carrier bag and metaphor literally means to carry something beyond, carrying being the basic thing language does, language being great nets we weave to hold meaning. Jonathan Jones, an indigenous Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi Australian artist, has an installation—a great infinity-loop figure eight of feathered objects on a curving wall in the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane that mimics a murmuration, one of those great flocks of birds in flight that seems to swell and contract and shift as the myriad individual creatures climb and bank and turn together, not crashing into each other, not drifting apart.

From a distance Jones’s objects look like birds; up close they are traditional tools of stick and stone with feathers attached, tools of making taking flight. The feathers were given to him by hundreds who responded to the call he put out, a murmuration of gatherers. “I’m interested in this idea of collective thinking,” he told a journalist. “How the formation of really beautiful patterns and arrangements in the sky can help us potentially start to understand how we exist in this country, how we operate together, how we can all call ourselves Australians. That we all have our own little ideas which can somehow come together to make something bigger.”

What are human murmurations, I wondered? They are, speaking of choruses, in Horton Hears a Who, the tiny Whos of Whoville, who find that if every last one of them raises their voice, they become loud enough to save their home. They are a million and a half young people across the globe on March 15 protesting climate change, coalitions led by Native people holding back fossil fuel pipelines across Canada, the lawyers and others who converged on airports all over the US on January 29, 2017, to protest the Muslim ban.

They are the hundreds who turned out in Victoria, BC, to protect a mosque there during Friday prayers the week after the shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. My cousin Jessica was one of them, and she wrote about how deeply moving it was for her, “At the end, when prayers were over, and the mosque was emptying onto the street, if felt like a wedding, a celebration of love and joy. We all shook hands and hugged and spoke kindly to each other—Muslim, Jew, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, atheist…” We don’t have enough art to make us see and prize these human murmurations even when they are all around us, even when they are doing the most important work on earth."
rebeccasolnit  heroes  change  democracy  collectivism  multitudes  2019  robertmueller  gretathunberg  society  movements  murmurations  relationships  connection  femininity  masculinity  leadership  patience  negotiation  listening  strategy  planning  storytelling  bertoldbrecht  violence  attention  ursulaleguin  williamjames  1906  sanfrancisco  loneliness  comfort  billdelaney  jonathanjones  art  humans  humanism  scale  activism  action 
april 2019 by robertogreco
A historical photo series of San Francisco's "Outside Lands" Richmond district
"Driving out to “The Avenues,” or San Francisco’s Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods that hug the Ocean Beach coastline, can seem like a trek to those more centrally located within the city. But the payoff is worth the trip. Out there you’ll find the slowed down bustle of mom and pop shops, a salty fresh breeze from the ocean, and the sprawling Golden Gate Park (neat fact — it’s larger than New York City’s Central Park).

The Richmond district used to be sand dunes as far as the eye could see up until the late 19th century. Since then, it’s grown up into a diverse residential neighborhood with some of the best Chinese and Russian cuisine in the city. Explore its rich history below, and don’t forget to take a trip to see it for yourself."
sanfrancisco  history  photography  classideas  sfsh  2017  1800s  1870  1898  1899  1906  1919  1922  1932  1935  1940s  1957  1972  1974  outsidelands  innerrichmond  outerrichmond  innersunset  outersunset  richmonddistrict  sunsetdistrict 
april 2017 by robertogreco
The Damnedest, Finest Ruins | KQED Truly CA - YouTube
"THE DAMNEDEST, FINEST RUINS examines the 1906 earthquake and fire, which burned for three days. With restored silent film footage, rare archival photographs, and the remastered voice of Enrico Caruso, it challenges the official story of what happened on those terrible days. A FILM BY JAMES DALESSANDRO

[See also:
http://ww2.kqed.org/trulyca/the-damnedest-finest-ruins/

"On April 18, 1906, the San Andreas Fault slipped along a 300-mile stretch from Mendocino County to south of San Jose, devastating every town and city in its path. Within minutes, fifty-two fires broke out in San Francisco. Within three terrible days, San Francisco, the “Paris of the Pacific,” was nearly destroyed.

The city’s fire chief at the time, Dennis Sullivan, had battled with city officials for years to build a massive fire suppression system: San Francisco had burned down six previous times. The day before the earthquake struck, Mayor Eugene Schmitz, political boss Abe Reuf and all 18 members of the Board of Supervisors had found out they were about to be arrested in the biggest corruption probe in U.S. history, an investigation lead by the White House office of President Theodore Roosevelt.

The city leaders used the chaos and destruction to try to rehabilitate their civic image and emerge from the devastation as heroic leaders. Yet, their mismanagement continued in the restoration efforts. While the U.S. Navy and firefighters battled the fire, San Francisco’s mayor ordered the U.S. Army to shoot suspected looters and to use dynamite blasts on wood frame buildings. Scores of innocent people were shot, and the dynamite started hundreds of fires. In the immediate aftermath, city officials set the death count at 478 when as many as 4,000 to 6,000 may have died.

The Damnedest, Finest Ruins uses restored silent film footage, rare and never-seen photographs, and interviews to unravel a century of lies that led to the total destruction of the jewel of the American West. Written and directed by James Dalessandro, author of the best-selling novel 1906, The Damnedest, Finest Ruins features narration by actor Peter Coyote along with the digitally re-mastered music of Enrico Caruso, who performed at San Francisco’s Grand Opera House five hours before the disaster struck, barely escaping with his life."]
sanfrancisco  history  1906  california  documentary  ruins  enricocaruso  jamesdalessandro  towatch 
july 2016 by robertogreco

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