Ventura Column – THE WORLD THAT CALLS ITSELF “THE WORLD”

Michael Ventura’s next-to-last column

MICHAEL VENTURA

LETTERS AT 3AM –

THE WORLD THAT CALLS ITSELF “THE WORLD”

Austin Sun – Oct. 31, 2014
The most significant sentence of the 20th century was written in 1950 by James Baldwin:

“The world is white no longer, and it will never be white again.”

Baldwin knew most of this planet never was white. His declaration was for the world that calls itself “the world” – emphasis on “the.” It was a world that called most of the planet the “Third World.” There was no second. Only a world that called itself “the world” and a lesser world that came in third.

The world that calls itself “the world” is far more diverse now, because, as Baldwin knew, it wasn’t strong enough to have its way, so it had to change.

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End of an era

Michael Ventura is retiring from writing his Letters at 3 a.m. column.  I can’t begin to express how sorry I am to hear it.

http://austinchronicle.com/columns/2014-10-03/letters at 3am-a-long-goodbye

 

 

 

MICHAEL VENTURA — CONNECTIVITY/VULNERABITY: Pt. 2

A pleasant surprise to find myself quoted within a column written by someone for whom i have had the highest respect for the 30 years since i first discovered his work.

LETTERS AT 3AM –

Austin Chronicle – August 22, 2014

 

A 19-year-old shot an archduke.

That happened on June 28, 1914, in a country that was then called Austria-Hungary and is now called Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Almost instantly, many dots collided and connected. As usual, most leaders expected a quick, predictable war. As usual, that was nonsense.

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MICHAEL VENTURA – VULNERABILITY/CONNECTIVITY – Pt. 1

There is a Will Smith movie called “I, Robot” in which the cop says to the computer guru, in exasperation, “you’re the dumbest smart person I know.” That’s us.

Michael Ventura’s latest “LETTERS AT 3AM” column:

VULNERABILITY/CONNECTIVITY – Pt. 1

Austin Chronicle – August 8, 2014

 Dark Angel premiered October 3, 2000. Created by James Cameron and Charles H. Eglee, the Fox series pilot opened with eerily crew-cut children in their jammies fleeing in the snow and getting shot. Cut to Jessica Alba on a motorcycle in a dilapidated Seattle with drones patrolling overhead.

Alba narrated: “They used to say one nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day. It was sort of a joke until the June morning when those terrorist bozos whacked us with an electromagnetic pulse from 80 miles up. You always hear people yapping about how it was all different before the Pulse – land of milk and honey, blah, blah, blah, blah – with plenty of food and jobs, and things actually worked. … Americans really thought they had it dialed in, money hanging out the butt. But it was all just a bunch of ones and zeros on a computer someplace. So when that bomb went klabooey, and the electromagnetic pulse turned all the ones and zeros into plain old zeros, everyone was like, ‘No way!’ America’s just another broke ex-superpower looking for a hand-out and wondering why.”

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Michael Ventura – Hitting the Street

MICHAEL VENTURA

LETTERS AT 3AM –

HITTING THE STREET

Austin Chronicle – May 30, 2014

A street kid – I was a street kid. (No. There is no “was” to the street. Still a street kid, down deep.)

If “street kid” conjures in your mind a tough, svelte, hip urchin – well, street kids like that exist, but they’re the ones the street kills first. For every movie-worthy street kid, there were dozens of us hanging out in the background, alert as cats – fire escape kids, rooftop kids, alley kids who knew how to blend right into the bricks and survive.

“Street sense” is not like in the movies – it’s not digging the score about every badness on the block. Street sense is knowing any shadow might hurt you. Street sense is respect for those shadows, with the knack to spot capital-C Crazy from across the street, and even from around the corner. Knowing how to go from here to there without getting your ass handed to you.

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Michael Ventura — Sentences without a home

MICHAEL VENTURA

LETTERS AT 3AM –

THE NAMELESS MOON, etc.

Austin Chronicle – May 16, 2014

 

Lots of scrawled or printed-out scraps in three bulging manilas: sentences without a home, sketched notions, occasional quotes, and bits cut from columns because I was short of space or because they distracted. Once in a while I save what’s worth saving and empty the manilas onto this page.

* As to understanding: Look for patterns. Be it a historical event or a family fight, once you find the pattern you’re halfway home.

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Michael Ventura – What you believe in your bones

I find particularly compelling these lines: “I was green, but had enough sense to know that opinion is not belief and that it can be hard to learn what you believe. Not what you want to believe, or think you believe, or feel you’re supposed to believe, but what, in your bones, you really believe – believe without even knowing you believe.”

MICHAEL VENTURA

LETTERS AT 3AM –

ARTICLES OF FAITH

I was 18, about to be 19, and learning the meaning of necessity. My task was to contribute to the support of my mother, my siblings, and myself. We’d rented a one-bedroom in the Bronx, but I wanted to work in Manhattan. I’d ride the Woodlawn line to Grand Central Station and read the want ads at a funky diner there, nursing a cup of coffee purchased for a dime (no refills).

I’d been a Times Square counter man on the night shift. That hadn’t worked out. But I knew I’d find a day-shift job because I could type. Back then, if you were presentable and typed 100 words a minute, there was always work, so it didn’t take long before I secured a position suitable to my skill set: $70 per week take-home, no sick days, no benefits, but, in that era, and for how we lived, $70-per would just do.

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