meet jess's mother

i'm late to blog. i was on the phone with jess's mother who is just this amazing woman. she wrote me this great e-mail and said i could note it here.

i've noted that jess can play guitar and that he has an amazing voice (baritone). she e-mailed to say thanks for the kind comments about her son, her husband and herself. and she put in that they have always told jess he should go into music 'we support his dreams whatever they are but if it's a choice between sharing an amazing gift or becoming 1 more corporate media whore, we really think jess would be happier in music because that's where his talents are and it's an honest living.'

that made me laugh so hard that i had to call her right then and there.

she told me the sweetest and funniest stories about jess as a little boy but i have to work with him saturday and since we never think the childhood stories our parents tell about us are as funny as others do, i'll take a pass.

we also talked about kat who jess's mother just loves. she says 'this woman loves music, she breathes music. i haven't read any 1 who writes about music with such passion and understanding in years.' i agree with that.

jess's mother said that these days it's churned out and paint by number stuff but that kat's reviews are like the best reviews from cream during it's hey day. 'the woman could hold her own against patti smith when it comes to an album review. she finds this way to convey the music and mood of the album. the stories she's tells about dak-ho and maggie and the rest really are more than just here are my friends, it's a gateway into understanding the album she's reviewing. she's an artist.'

she also noted the entries about finding your voice amidst the shouting and finding your quiet place, safe place.

'it's so true and i can remember back during vietnam, people who couldn't find those places burned out very quickly and it got very ugly. there were burn outs on the home front too and a lot of times you don't hear about that.'

she tried to talk to jess about the e-mail that had upset him but he wouldn't talk to her about that. so she asked me and when do i not spill.

'a fairy tale is homophobic?' she asked. 'that person knows nothing about the sixties. ruth is right, fairty tales were a huge part of the subculture.'

she asked about folding star and the book chats and i explained that with college and going to the jury duty selection things got crazy. she said betty was pricking thomas friedman's 'monster ego' and that it was past time some 1 did. 'he must really have to work hard to be so dense.'

and we talked about the third estate sunday review and the great work they do there. her favorite things so far have been the interview with the woman who had the abortion, the peace rallies 'which npr could have done in the 70s when it still had some guts,' the editorials, the fairy tale, the harry reid piece and, of course, the tv reviews.

'i know ava and she's the sweetest person and i read those reviews and am laughing so hard but so shocked because ava is so sweet and c.i. over at the common ills is usually so straight forward. i guess there must be something about each other that brings out the comedian because those reviews have me rolling. i loved the 1 on nick and jessica and felt some 1 needed to say it. and i did watch medium monday since it was the episode that ava and c.i. had seen and praised. we both loved that episode and will probably try to catch it again. we aren't big on tv and for reasons that ava and c.i. outlined on csi because it is all about fear, fear, fear. and the thing that they did about law & order where they were maybe in the 60s but maybe in today was so funny. it captured my own youth perfectly. that was what it was like at my house, with my father firmly behind the war and my mother trying to keep peace and my older sister and me against the war. you just tried to have a truce at dinner time and then after, every 1 went their own way except for those times when mom would try to drag us into the tv room to watch a program all together as a family. so i just loved that.'

about c.i. she said she keeps telling her husband 'quit e-mailing c.i.!' because she knows how much e-mail the common ills gets. she picked as her personal favorites the highlights from codepink's stop the next war now ('an incredible book'), the thing on our involvement in iraq ('should this marriage be saved was the perfect title'), rudith miller ('i wonder how many people got the messages behind that because i doubt most people realize what a red baiter newton fulbright, for example, was'), this week's editorial on the new york times ('new york timid' is perfect in describing how the mighty have fallen') and anything on the elite fluff patrol.

'if c.i. drops the timid, i understand because we dropped our subscription due to the war propaganda. but i really think c.i. provides a valuable service. i couldn't wade through that nonsense but i appreciate that some 1 says no to them and refuses to play along like they are a great paper. we read it to be informed but when the invasion was coming down the pike, it was obvious that truth was the 1st casualty. i think they're embarrassing and repulsive and i don't know any educated person that feels the timid is a must read these days. they have trashed their reputation and at a time when newspapers are feeling the pinch i really think the timid may have to make serious changes or else accept the fact that people just don't trust it anymore.'

i asked her if jess's work with the third estate sunday review had made her feel more kindly to journalism? 'if jess wanted to do that, it would be a gift to the world. we need to laugh at these people and let them know that they aren't as important as they think they are, take the wind out of their sails. and we need to laugh because the mainstream stereotypes us as dour activists.
the ones i have encountered throughout my life who've been dour have been the 1st to burn out.
we need to realize that, what does c.i. say, don't knock the mock? that this is a powerful tool. and we need to use it. it's the tool that levels the playing field. and it hits them on a level they don't like. like when that center fellow, ed, wrote you. yes, i'm sure he would like to debate policy because he can lie and distort and then say you don't get it. but when you made fun of him he couldn't take that. the bullies and liars never can. there's a lot of power in laughter.'

jess's parents are both lifelong activists. his father works on prison reform mainly today and his mother is a lawyer who didn't put on a power suit and join up with a corporation but instead dedicated herself to helping the people that needed help. if you wonder why jess is so groovy and wonderful, it's because he has some solid parents behind him.

and if they hadn't been about to go out to dinner, i could have stayed on the phone with jess's mother all night. she's an example of how we can agree to devote our lives to social justice and how we can do it without burning out and turning into mirror images of the people we speak out against.

i hope you enjoyed hearing about jess's mother because i think she's an example to us all and that her life is her message. this goes to what we've been discussing all week so think about it.