I have to admit that as I'm listening to this, I'm listening to Arcade Fire's Funeral, an album which I orginally kind of panned on this very blog, but which I am now starting to like more and more. I pulled the album out because Arcade Fire is playing at ACL Fest, and I've read a couple of really good reviews of their live shows, so I wanted to give them a second chance. And I'm glad I did. I think I rejected them at first because I thought they were just trying to ride the wave of bands who were rehashing the sounds of '90s bands (or even late eighties), and to a certain extent I still feel like I can hear some kind of Canadian Siouxsie and the Banshees thing going on in there, but they've got their own thing going on besides whatever influences they've got, and it's pretty interesting. Definitely worth a look at ACL, anyway.
Speaking of ACL, have I mentioned how pumped up I am that ACL Fest is coming up? I know it's not until next month, but I truly do look forward to it with all the excitement and fervor of an Austin-based vacation. For those of you who haven't really looked at the lineup, do it now. If your friends haven't heard of a band or two from the festival that you think is worth seeing, burn them a copy of the band's CD or play it for them so they'll be interested in hearing the band when they come. Say a prayer to the weather gods and dust off your old blanket or camping chair. Make a silly banner to hoist above your spot so your drunk ass friends can find Camp X-Ray in the crowd. Three days of music. What can be better than that? Hooray!
In other news, I've been watching the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip without saying a whole lot about it because, frankly, I haven't really had any strong opinions on it.
On my drive back from Houston this weekend, though, I was listening to some jackass, right- wing pundit on one of Houston's talk radio stations, and he got me thinking (usually right-wing talk radio pundits always get me thinking- I listen to their public policy ideas and just imagine the disasters that would occur if their ideas were implemented, and it helps me to immediately recognize the wrong answers to a variety of issues). Anyway, this guy was going on and on about how Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the citizens of Israel were showing nothing but foolishness and cowardice by withdrawing from the Gaza strip- how they had done nothing but show the Arab world that terrorism had served as an effective tool in achieving Palestinian political objectives.
I strongly disagree with that statement. Of course there's been violence, inflicted and received on both sides, but I see Israel's withdrawal from Gaza as an act of strength. They are willing to be the bigger party and be the first group to show a willingness to compromise and make concessions in the interest of reaching a peace agreement. The violent stalemate which has occurred for so long between Israel and Palestine has occurred in part because of fear- a fear that any willingness to make sacrifices on behalf of peace will be seen as weakness and exploited by the enemy. Bravery and strength have been displayed during the nonviolent evacuation of the Gaza Strip as Israelis demonstrate their commitment to peace to the entire world. It's easy to sit back and accuse anyone who shows a willingness and ability to make sacrifice in the name of hope as a fool or a coward, but it takes an act of courage to be the first one to lower your weapon.
Anyway, the guys who keep telling us that we're better off hiding behind our guns piss me off. Sure, you've got to use common sense and recognize when someone is trying to do you harm, but sometimes (especially when your enemy also claims to be interested in peace) the brave thing to do is being willing to put your gun down first. So lay off the poor bastards who are getting kicked out of their houses for a shot at peace. These people are not weak, and they're not cowards. They're willing to take risks in order to give their country a chance at peace, and at worst, they're putting too much faith in the human nature of their enemies. Even if they get burned and the Palestinians turn on them, I still think that Israel has shown bravery this week and acted for the right reasons.
I gotta stay away from Houston talk radio.