Brian’s Column: Life on the Less Unreal Side

7. Baseball and neighbors and Cubs, oh my!
Brian R. Wright

[Link to Episode 6]

Note: These columns are a series, I will make into a volume of my memoirs. You may follow the links at top and bottom of page to go to preceding or succeeding episodes. The series starts here. {If the [Link to Episode <next>] at the  bottom of the column does not show an active hyperlink, then the <next> column has yet to be written.}

No doubt subconsciously I viewed my entry into the forced socialization program of government schooling as an anomaly, something im- posed on me by higher authority that down deep I resented and never treated seriously. In a word, unreal. [Keep in mind that in the 1950s, the states still held ultimate authority over our culture’s compulsory children’s (prison) schools; the federal Mob didn’t really didn’t start stirring the forced-schooling cauldron—mainly on policy and funding—until the 1960s, with LBJ’s Great Society great overreach.][1]

The above-right photo shows my first- or second-grade era baseball team, managed by my dad and sponsored by the Overland Park Lutheran Church (OPLC). I’m in the back row on the far right. I became hooked on baseball from the glowing first day Dad took us to Kansas City Municipal Stadium to watch the perennially cellar-dwelling Kansas City Athletics of the American League. [The A’s would alternate with the Washington Senators between eighth place and seventh place. But it was still the ‘Show,’ the major leagues of baseball.] The sights, sounds, smells, tastes… watching these giants throw the ball so fast around the horn, hit it so hard. More like gods than men—at play on hallowed ground. Going to the ball park was my first spiritual experience,  a church far more moving/reverential than the one in town that my parents had signed us up for. From the age of 5 to 15 I knew what I was going to be when I grew up: a ballplayer. Continue reading

Book Review: Tribe (2016)

On Homecoming and Belonging
by Sebastian Junger
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright

Tribe, working definition: The people you would share the last of your food with.

A short read, yet a powerful one. Junger is an established writer-journalist—The Perfect Storm (1997), A Death in Belmont (2007), Restrepo, film (2010), War (2010)—who takes on the social psychology of individuals wanting to feel part of a larger special community of souls. [I would  use the word, collective, except for its often-negative connotations. What distinguishes a ‘good’ collective or community is the individual’s choice in the matter. And what initially drew me in to Mr. Junger’s narrative was his recounting of how during American colonial days, large numbers of the whites would wander off to live with the Indians… so much so that the Puritans had laws against it.(!) [There were no recorded cases of the reverse, where Indians chose white society.]

“’We had no master to oversee or drive us, so that we could work as leisurely as we pleased,'” she explained. ‘No people can live more happy than the Indians did in times of peace…. Their lives were a continual round of pleasures.'”
—  p. 11 Seneca captive, Mary Jenison.

Reminds me of things spirit brother, Russell Means, would say.

The author’s interest in the subject stems from some early observations while he was still living in suburban Boston: simply that modern conventional American life affords very little in the deep and self-sustaining spirit of community. So he set out on a wander to the West, 1986, hitchhiking, had an incident with a disheveled man who stopped to give Junger the man’s whole ration of food, made a special effort to see how Junger was doing. [To my mind, this was an instance of general humanity, perhaps encouraged by the man’s social group, but certainly something the man might have done completely on his own.] Continue reading

Movie Review: Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)

Best-in-breed Western, like Hombre __ 9/10

GeronimoGeronimo: With all this land, why is there no room for the Apache? Why does the White-Eye want all land?

What a treat! Get out your fond memories of Dances with Wolves, then take in a quasi-documentary treatment of the handling of the great Apache leader, Geronimo, by the US Government White-Eye military hierarchy. With a coterie of some of the best actors working in Hollywood in 1993. Also, keep a box of Kleenex nearby for how it ends up… or be prepared to weather another seething storm of outrage against government cruelty. Continue reading