Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday "Sermon" from the Rev. Billy Equates Bio-Diversity and People Diversity

Rev. Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping Choir are performance artists who cover issues of consumerism and environmental destruction. And they sing great too!
Sunday "sermon" from the Rev. in which he makes a connection between the organic diversity of neighborhoods which is being lost due to gentrification and the loss of biodiversity through the activities of big corporations like Monsanto. "...a healthy neighborhood needs lots of different people, who mingle with their rhythms, fashions, language, hips and hair." Keep this in mind those of you who want to sanitize Newport right into bland nothingness.

"BIO-DIVERSITY AND PEOPLE DIVERSITY. I was on the phone with a Huffpo writer named Kathleen Kiley who wanted to ask about our relationship to Jerry - the news vendor of Astor Place, a 27 year veteran of this 5 street intersection. The instinctive politics of our singers is that a healthy neighborhood needs lots of different people, who mingle with their rhythms, fashions, language, hips and hair. Astor Place was such a place, at the center of the East and West Villages in downtown New York, but then fell on monocultural times as yuppies and logos proliferated. The small shops, flea market and all and any neighborhood eccentrics were pushed into shelters, hospitals or jail. Just as the young college kids that are everywhere now are smoothed and simplified down into the corporate choices of status, youth, power and money. Those are the garments of much of the Astor Place traffic nowadays, except the humble Greek-American Jerry at the news kiosk, the last person that is allowed to stand on the sidewalk and converse in an unhurried way with passersby. Jerry is a throwback to the old days of immigrants in the street down in the village, and in his ordinariness he's become a controversy. Jerry has a pace, vantage on life, and his own wisdom. He is like a highly evolved species, a life form, holding forth in a forest that was leveled for cars and careers. As Astor became homogeneous, there was no human comedy left to talk serious politics. Am I making sense? And it suddenly dawns on us: the more monocultural we get, the more difficult it is to know instinctively how diversity is also crucial in the natural world. The honey bee hive is more like a neighborhood, but to Monsanto the bees are pests, free, uncontrolled, making crazy spiraling designs in the air, in constant communication - they need to be replaced by pesticides and fertilizer, to maintain that single monoculture, that industrial crop, one plant, row upon row, as far as the eye can see. Astor Place will die without diversity. Without diversity, that larger intersection, the Earth, will hold silent extinction on its rocks."

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