In Defense of the Redneck, Merry Christmas Pigs, and More


So here’s several Ed Abbey essays read by the man himself that I found last night. Mostly collected here so that I can set them up to play easily and without searching while doing dumb work.

In Defense of the Redneck

Merry Christmas Pigs

Freedom and Wilderness, Wilderness and Freedom


Planting a Tree

Watching the Birds

Come On In

Fire Lookout

The Dead Man at Grandview Point


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God Created Rich People First — Alan Rickman in Revolutionary Witness

I don’t remember where I ran across Alan Rickman in “Revolutionary Witness” by Peter Barnes, but seeing it, Rickman became one of my favorite actors, right from the start:

God created rich people first, and then showed them the world they would own, and when they came to a field with thousands of headless bodies with torsos and hands like iron, God told them the headless bodies were destined to be poor workers.

The rich cried out, “But these heroes with their iron muscles will crush us.”

“Don’t be frightened,” answered God. “I shall place very small heads and brains on their bodies so until they develop them you’ve nothing to fear.”

Who are still the oppressors? The rich. Who are still the oppressed? The poor. Your slavery is their liberty. Your poverty is their prosperity. Priests say the poor must be content with their poverty and they’ll find heaven hereafter. Idiots, cretinous rag-pickers! My dog Georges has more sense. Don’t you know that whilst you’re gazing up at heaven your pockets are being picked clean, your eyes are plucked out and you’re robbed of your birthrights, blind to what is done to you?

Peter Barnes wrote it to commemorate the bicentennial of the French Revolution, and its been stuck in my head for nearly twenty years. You can watch it in three parts on YouTube:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Being Interrupted while Working

From A Moveable Feast.

Some days it went so well that you could make the country so that you could walk into it through the timber to come out into the clearing and work up onto the high ground and see the hills beyond the arm of the lake. A pencil-lead might break off in the conical nose of the pencil sharpener and you would use the small blade of the penknife to clear it or else sharpen the pencil carefully with the sharp blade and then slip your arm through the sweat-salted leather of your pack strap to lift the pack again, get the other arm through and feel the weight settle on your back and feel the pine needles under your moccasins as you started down for the lake.

Then you would hear someone say, “Hi, Hem. What are you trying to do? Write in a cafe?”

Your luck had run out and you shut the notebook. This was the worst thing that could happen. If you could keep your temper it would be better but I was not good at keeping mine then and said, “You rotten son of a bitch, what are you doing in here off your filthy beat?”

Or you can take it from Jack.

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From Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement by Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall.

Not to reduce John Trudell to one moment in his life, but this is worth remembering.

One a side note: This is also the reason I think the argument that the right to bear arms is irrelevant is hopelessly naive. Not to mention ahistorical. Yeah, you may not need to. But others have.

The Peltier assassination effort appears to be only one of several abortive but deadly FBI counterintelligence operations directed at the remnants of AIM during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Another, even grimmer example concerns the death of the family of AIM’s last national chairman, John Trudell:

In February 1979, Trudell led a march in Washington, D.C. to draw attention to the difficulties the Indians were having. Although he received a warning against speaking out, he delivered an address from the steps of the FBI building on the subject of the agency’s harassment of Indians . . . Less than 12 hours later, Trudell’s wife, Tina, his three children, and his wife’s mother were burned alive in the family home in Duck Valley, Nevada – the apparent work of an arsonist.

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On Lighthouse

It’s Colorado Gives Day. And you know what I’m gonna point at: The Lighthouse Writers Workshop. And I’m gonna be unremittingly corny in doing so.

First, the personal stuff: A lot of you know that it’s been a crazy few years for me and the kids. It’s been a tough time, I ain’t gonna lie. Not as tough as a lot of people have it, don’t get me wrong, but tough enough there were times I wasn’t sure we were stay afloat. But we did. Things are getting better every day, and a lot of that has to do with Lighthouse. They support writers, and I don’t mean in some vague way: I mean by keeping a number of us above water, with food on the table and a roof over our heads.

And then there’s the intangible stuff: Having a community where literature matters. An amazing community. This ain’t some sniping, status anxious, academic program. (Which is not to say that all academic programs are like that, but you know what I mean.) These are some of the best people I’ve ever met, and smartest. Every day I have the opportunity to collaborate with some of the finest writers working, and to pass on a little of what I’ve learned to the next wave of ‘em.

There’s not a faculty or staff member or student that I’m not proud to call a friend. That’s not to say we all agree on much. Like on everything else, my ideas on writing can be, shall we say, slightly off center. But there’s room for me, room for everyone. And room for beginning writers to pick and choose different philosophies.

And there’s the other stuff they do. The outreach programs to the homeless and under-served populations. The young writers’ programs, with financial aid opportunities. The Book Project, to help guide writers through that first novel.

I always tell people that there’s only two things in life that I really take seriously: My family – with my kids at the front of that – and my work. The rest of the world I’ll let y’all bicker about. I may chime in now and then, but really, I don’t give a shit.

My family. My work.

And Lighthouse.

Every time I email the founders, Andrea Dupree and Michael Henry, I try to tell them how much what they’ve built means to me. To the point where I’m pretty sure I embarrass the hell out of them.

But I don’t give a shit. They’ve given me more capability to work, and to take care of my kids. Lighthouse has made me a better writer and a better person, and I don’t know what else you can say but that. It means the world to me.

So anyways, Lighthouse is a non-profit. And today is Colorado Gives Day. So why don’t you do that.

If I haven’t sold you yet, this is their mission statement:

The Lighthouse Mission

The mission of Lighthouse Writers Workshop is to provide the highest caliber of artistic education, support, and community for writers and readers in the Rocky Mountain Region and beyond. We strive to ensure that literature maintains its proper prominence in the culture, and that individuals achieve their fullest potential as artists and human beings.

To achieve this mission, Lighthouse has identified seven goals:

  • Lighthouse attracts literary types of all ages and from all walks of life, inviting them to connect with our programming and community, both to enrich their art and enrich their lives.
  • Lighthouse provides a lifelong educational environment that fosters the artistic, intellectual, and personal growth of its community and provides continuing support as they embark on successful careers and productive lives as artists and citizens.
  • Lighthouse continually elevates its educational and artistic standards, remaining open and responsive to changing conditions in the worldwide literary arts scene.
  • Lighthouse attracts and retains talented and renowned faculty members in all disciplines by providing a collaborative work environment and involving them fully in the artistic and educational life of the community.
  • Lighthouse upholds its commitment to a diverse community by nurturing an inclusive, supportive, and welcoming environment .
  • Lighthouse takes an active role in preserving the future of the literary arts by providing exemplary arts education programs, encouraging its members and youth to serve as advocates for the literary arts in society.
  • Lighthouse tirelessly promotes the belief that writing and reading create a deep understanding of ourselves and others, and thereby encourages compassion and empathy in our society.

Our Organizational Values

Lighthouse welcomes all people who want to learn more about writing, no matter their age, experience, or education. It’s important to our vision and mission that we keep our offerings affordable and our facilities convenient for all community members.

Writing is often seen as a solitary art; however, all writers need the inspiration and support of others. Our workshops engage students, teachers and peers in deeply collaborative relationships. We seek opportunities to explore other arts and media with regional and national partners.

We explore emerging genres, foster innovation, and encourage experimentation.

Writing and reading are primarily solitary pursuits. Lighthouse provides space and spirit for fellowship among working and aspiring writers. We offer readers unique ways to discover the writer’s way. We invite everyone who values arts and culture to explore the written word. And we support the vibrancy and diversity of the Colorado artistic culture.

We believe that writing empowers greater understanding of self and others and thereby encourages compassion and empathy in our society.

Lighthouse is dedicated to the supporting the highest potential of each writer, whatever his or her goals and talents. We are committed to increasing awareness of local and national authors producing high quality work.

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On an Assault Weapons Ban

So I haven’t wrote a blog post in awhile, and wasn’t planning to, but this is something I think needs a bit of teasing out.

I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about an assault weapons ban lately, and there are a few things I thought folks should know. For the record, I’m not opposed to it. Or at least not because of any ideological reasons or because it’ll impact me in any way. But I just don’t think most people know what exactly it means, or why it’s such an incredibly useless issue to obsess about.

Which, it looks like from here, is why it’s so popular among Democrat politicians. It’s a way of getting votes by pretending to take a stand on an issue that is anything but an actual stand.

So, a few facts about assault weapons:

Assault weapons are used in such a small percentage of gun homicides that they’re statistically irrelevant. That’s just a fact, and everybody knows it. Most gun homicides are committed with handguns. And by most, I mean somewhere around 80%. And 18-19% of the rest of those are committed with regular type rifles and shotguns. Nobody aware of the statistics thinks an assault weapons ban would have any effect on gun homicides, and that includes politicians. This from the New York Times: “’Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement,’ a Department of Justice-funded evaluation concluded.”

But more importantly, I think, most people who talk about assault weapons, don’t know what that means. There really is no such gun. There are assault rifles, but those are already illegal for most civilians to own, because they are capable of fully automatic fire. An assault weapon is a semi-automatic weapon, meaning one pull of the trigger fires one bullet, that is cosmetically similar to an assault rifle.

According to the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, which is what most folks seem to want to renew, what makes a gun an assault weapon is a set of cosmetic features, of which you can choose one. For rifles, there are five of them:

1. A bayonet lug (which nobody uses, because bayonets are silly).

2. A flash suppressor (which looks cool, and is designed to conceal the muzzle flash of a fired weapon, but doesn’t seem like it would impact any of the active shooting scenarios we’ve seen).

3. A grenade launcher mount (this is the goofiest of the lot, because grenade launchers are very illegal already).

4. A pistol grip (this is kinda functionally irrelevant, but most people will go with this one because they’re more fun to shoot).

5. A folding or telescopic stock (useful if you’re a cop or military member who’s in and out of body armor all the time and needs to adjust the length of your stock on the fly, but most civilians will just buy a stock that fits).

That’s it for a rifle. Note that it says nothing about anything actually functional. The fact is, you’ll still be able to buy a semi-automatic military-looking rifle. You’ll just have to choose whether you’d rather have a pistol grip or a bayonet lug.

This, for instance, would still be completely legal:


Or you can spend a few bucks on aftermarket parts and swap them out so it’s exactly how you want it. The parts will still be legal and easily available, and it’ll take you almost half an hour. The final product will be illegal, but nobody will be checking. Most of these guns, like AR-15s, are infinitely and easily modifiable. That’s part of why folks like ‘em.

Now this would probably be combined with a ban on extended magazines, but those aren’t the same thing. So that means you’d only get 10 rounds, as opposed to 20 or 30. That is a functional difference. But the fact is that anybody who spends a few minutes a day practicing in front of their TV can get pretty damn quick.

And the dirty trick about extended magazine bans is that all the ones already produced will still be legal. Legal to own, and legal to buy and sell. Those number in the hundreds and hundreds of millions. The only thing the ban will do is make them cost more. And there will be an immediate proliferation of parts kits to extend your magazine to whatever capacity you want. Again, it’ll cost you a few dollars, and the end result will be illegal, but I guarantee there will be millions of people willing to take the chance, just to say they did.

And the point’s kind of moot anyways. Because, remember, these are not the guns that are used in 99% of gun homicides. And there’s no reason to believe that the few folks who do use them to kill won’t be just as happy to use all of those slightly-less-sexy but just-as-lethal guns that will still be widely available. Or that they won’t spend a few bucks and a half an hour making their gun just as sexy as they want. It being illegal will probably not be a deterrent.

Like I said, I’m not against an assault weapons ban, except in that I think the folks who are for gun control are getting sold a bill of goods. To me it looks like the left’s version of climate change denial: A political obsession that has no justification in the facts.

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Columbus Day in Denver



An emotional confrontation is expected in Colorado’s capital Saturday as American Indians take to the streets to protest a parade celebrating Columbus Day.

Denver police will be out in force to try to keep the downtown parade, sponsored by the local Italian-American community, peaceful. Indian leaders have warned that violent conflict could erupt if force is used.


The Denver City Council agreed unanimously Monday to proclaim Oct. 12 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and the vote was cheered by the audience in the packed gallery.

“Today is a very good day to live in Denver,” said Councilman Paul Lopez, who sponsored the proclamation.

In passing the proclamation, Denver joins other cities across the country in observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Columbus Day.

For a while there, it was a kind of tradition to get arrested protesting the Columbus Day parade here in Denver. Which made it my favorite holiday, obviously. I couldn’t be happier today, though. Mostly for all the great people I met during those protest, who worked so hard to make this happen.

But a little, I’ll admit, because I remember all the anti-Indian racists at the likes of the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post, not to mention on the streets, and man, they must be just holding onto their chairs, feeling like the whole world’s spinning out from under ‘em.

Which makes me happier still.

Congratulations everybody.

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From this interview with David Eugene Edwards. Because I’m obsessed with Wovenhand right now. Again.

People want to stand up and address things that they see that they don’t agree with. They stand up and they say “This is what’s going on, and we need to do something about this,” and people get together in groups and try to make this happen politically, socially, or however. The conflicts – I mean, the whole idea of punk rock music and rock ‘n roll are the same, which are, for the most part, an act of response to oppression. These are responses to oppression, and there’s many different responses to oppression. Oppression is a problem, so you can’t point at rock ‘n roll and say “Okay, this is bad,” just like everybody else talks about constantly – you have to go to the source of the problem. You can’t put a band-aid on it.

You gotta go find the root problem, and that is the world right now with everyone trying to get to the root problem of whatever it is, whether it’s intolerance or religious fanaticism or whatever. We wanna get to the root problem. What’s the root cause of these people acting like this? So we do all of this, and we meet in this center pavilion and talk about this stuff, but the place that we meet – this is fucking Disneyland. We’re having our little meeting in Disneyland, and maybe you live on the northside of Disneyland, and it’s great over there, and the southside’s great, but we’re living on Disneyland.

The land you’re on does not belong to you. The buildings that you’re walking around on and in, and the roads that you’re driving on were built by slaves that were murdered and not paid and raped, and then you stand there and wanna make these decisions about rock ‘n roll or gay people, or when the church is basically an institutionalized pedophilia ring. All over America. All over the world. You create a problem, then you solve the problem. That’s how this country works. You create a problem, then you solve the problem. You bankroll both sides of the deal, and then you just keep rollin’ on. I have no patience for some guy in a suit that’s gonna come up and tell me anything. I have no patience for it.

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