Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Strange And Bitter Crop

The name "Luther" is old German in origin. It's meaning is "soldier of the people" or "renowned warrior". It's often used as homage to Martin Luther, the Christian protestant reformer, or to Martin Luther King, Jr (MLK) the civil rights activist. 

King Moonracer

I was conceived at the first hippy commune in the United States. It was called Drop City. At the time, my dad was a co-founder/artist and my mom was a local high school kid from Trinidad, CO.  I was born a few months after MLK was assassinated. In his wake there were riots happening all over the country. I was named "Luther" not to honor MLK but as a form of protection. My parents believed that there was going to be a violent revolution and the new regime would go easy on me if my name was "Luther."

I mention this because I actually have a few readers now and, for the first time, received feedback on my last post. I now have three people following this blog (all of whom I suspect are covert radicals like myself).  I was told by those who know me that I have surrounded myself by slackers but I am obviously  "not a slacker" and asked why I would promote such a "worthless" point of view?

It is true that I have worked tirelessly my whole life and am not a "slacker". I am not a fan of work and responsibility but I have not succeeded in "doing as little as possible." What I have done is become the reluctant champion for those with whom our society has, what I would call, an "uneasy truce." I am on a one man mission to advance the cause of those who are still in constant threat of psychological, spiritual, and even physical, annihilation because they are incapable, or flat out refuse, to "go with the program".  "Slackers" are the ones that look and sound the most like me and with whom I most strongly identify. But they are not the only ones. I have managed to make a career as a champion for bitches, freaks, psychotics, bums, thugs and junkies.  None of these people even remotely look or sound like me but I like to believe that I have earned their trust and respect. Why? Because I respect them. I admit that I am comfortable in many ways. But I still have a gut feeling that something is very wrong. Not doing what our society wants us to is not necessarily a character flaw. 

In case you were wondering, I'm not a public defender. I work for a non-profit and the project I work for is, in my opinion, radical. So radical that I think too much attention threatens it's very I will remain intentionally vague.  We have an unofficial slogan "high tolerance, low threshold." When I talk about this philosophy to outsiders I often pretend as if it is "new" and I don't know exactly what it's all about: 

"High threshold, low intolerance? I can't remember." 

In actuality it is not a  "new" concept in America. Basically it  means "come as you are and do as you please." Outside of America, many still believe we all live by this creed. In reality, only corporations and a few privileged youth and very wealthy individuals can get away with it. Admittedly, it has unlimited potential to breed both power and corruption. Once it is fully realized that such an environment is being attempted (with government funding) for the mentally ill living in extreme poverty, it probably won't be tolerated for long. So shhhhh. Even some of those who are on the inside, and benefit on a daily basis, are suspicious of it and try to tear it down. It''s an exciting,  inspiring and often brutal place to work.

Lately I have been referring my staff to the movie the Hurt Locker. According to some definitions a hurt locker is " a figurative place where someone is said to be, or will be, getting hurt or beaten." 
 "We are in the business of handling bombs, explosions, and hurt" I tell my staff. 

"And our cause is not for everyone... to bring back the dead". 

"To harvest a strange and bitter crop. "  


  1. Some of your best writing yet! Please don't stop writing....I cried, laughed my ass off, and was put in touch with my own "worthless" point of view. Not sure if I'm a boomer or a slacker...but I do know that I'm a radical for life. Keep up the great work! Love You

  2. I've never met a deep sea diving, art dealer, who is a great parent... and a slacker. If you are a slacker, than you are the James Bond of slackers... which is awesome. I'm pretty sure that's what you are. Something we should all aspire to be. Love you too, Mark.