Who Will Blaze the Next Trail?

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I wish I were rich. I would have access to tools. My voice would carry farther, and louder, than poverty allows. We need a new set of trailblazers. I would like to be one of these. Would you? I think of Steve Jobs, and how he wouldn’t settle for the adequate. He insisted on excellence. Who else insists on insanely great ideas? Who is willing to defy the established order? I think about Frank Zappa and how he kept us sane. He produced outrageous music which challenged our preconceptions. He wasn’t afraid to call crap, crap. I think of Philip K. Dick and his strange vision. I think of how he served all of us by speaking the unspeakable. He warned us of what lay ahead.  Anonymous and Wikileaks are his progeny. I am reminded of John Lennon, who had the courage to dispose of his enormous fame in the interest of truth. His courage is an inspiration. My thanks to U2 and Arcade Fire and many others who have carried on his torch of truth. But how many more? How many torchbearers are there? Can we blaze the next trail? There is so much to do.

I applaud Ron Paul’s gallant crusade, even if I don’t agree with all of it’s particulars. He is honest, and a trailblazer. In some ways he reminds me of Eugene McCarthy, who ran for President in spite of his disdain for the office. He was a poet at heart. I think of George Carlin, and Bill Hicks. They had the courage to spell it all out. They cared more for the integrity of their message than commercial success. Where are the George Carlins and Bill Hicks of today? I can only think of three. Margaret Cho, Lewis Black, and Sarah Silverman. We need truth tellers.

Who will blaze the next trail? All of us, it seems to me. We can no longer look to heroes. We must forge this century out of our own inspirations. The nature of politics and media is in flux. We will be playing by different rules in the future. The internet is playing a pivotal role in this transformation. Anyone can create a blog and voice their thoughts to the world. The trailblazers will emerge from that cybernetic quantum foam. I am hopeful. However dark realities remain. I am threatened by poverty. If I am unable to keep a roof over my head or pay my bills, my ability to make a difference is sharply diminished. All potential trailblazers are limited by economic reality.

The game is designed this way. The status quo is kept in place by the disproportionate wealth enjoyed by those in power. Innovation is stifled to the extent it threatens the power structure. If the power brokers had realized what a threat the internet could prove to be, I believe it would have an entirely different form today. They didn’t see it. It creeped up on them. Lucky breaks of that nature don’t often happen. We need to take advantage of this one. Although artists pay a price with an open internet, the benefits outweigh the cost. We don’t want to return to the old system, in which the conservative establishment had a huge influence on what we see and hear. With the present system, mavericks can have a voice.

So, who will blaze the next trail? Hopefully you and I.

Trailblazers past and present

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