Show Me a Hero

October 7, 2015
Show Me a Hero: art, drama, poetry, at it best, basho, tolstoy, bach, koboyashi issa, not even a nobel prize would match its place in the canon.

the irony of the title: this is not martin luther king mandela gandhi heroism. not tv superheroism.

hamlet, king lear, red badge of courage trojan women – imperfect broken tragic just plain troubling heroism, across the spectrum of a whole range of heroism. Ordinary people living their lives heroically. the heroes of yonkers defy stereotype, and that includes actors who give life to them, incarnating real people. the director. the sriptwriter. and the producers.

i was born in yonkers, grew up in south tarrytown, next to irvington, grew up with washington irving, ichabod crane, rip van winkle, and with lilly white catholicism. any car with a stephenson sticker who dared park outside the 11 am sunday high mass left without its windows, mirrors, and sometimes without its tires… my younger brothers went to washington irving high school. i gew up not comprehending the ghetto of tarrytown that was later torn down to make the computer parking lot around the train station. the lilly white catholic churches, and the black church in north tarrytown. i remember transfiguration parochial school and its white racism and its intolerance to non-whites who never lasted a semester there. much later in life i joined the greyston zen community and worked at its lilly white greyston bakery in yonkers. yes, eventually creating a homeless program and its front page spreads in the Wall Street Journal, homeless people baking $50 wholesale cupcakes for dean and deluca and brownies for ben and jerry’s [that was a decade before these events.]

this program documents the reality of Westchester, Marymount, Hackley, Dobbs, and its white christianity. of ordinary every day racism that constitutes our daily lives in Westchester and the heroism, humanity, courage, decency of ordinary people.

taking the genre of docutainment dramatic tv and turning it into one of our greatest works of aristotelian tragedy: we have a portrait of the tragedy of america: racism in america is like water for fish, its foundation.

no MLK will ever give us absolution, no oscar romero. no apollo 13. no dancing with wolves. No Dr. James R. Walker, ordained convert yuwipi in all lakota lineages. No Dorothy day. nothing will ever cleanse us. our heroes are broken. like we’re all version of a clint eastwood movie, the unforgiven.


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April 8, 2010

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