JMBzine.com

by James M. Branum

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This blog/website is written by James M. Branum.

From a blog post from May 11, 2010:

I’m changing the direction of this blog yet again, to refocus on those areas of my life that are not related to my professional life, politics or activism. (all of that stuff can be found in the future at GIRightslawyer.com or PeaceReport.org)

For a longer explanation of what this change is about, keep reading…

I’ve published various things online for a long time, first a personal website (starting in 1995) and later a blog (starting in 2001).

These websites have gone through many, many, many changes. In the early days it was mostly about music I liked and things I found interesting. Later on, as my life changed I wrote a lot about my days living in Austin (as my religious and political beliefs continued to evolve). Upon return to Oklahoma, I settled into a routine of mostly writing about radical politics and the peace movement with frequent excursions into the subjects of religion, spirituality and occasionally other interests.

Much of my blog writings were deeply personal. I expressed a lot of sorrow in times of depression, but also enthusiasm for things that thrilled me. And there has been a lot of anger. I’ve railed against the military, the government, corporations, and a lot of others stuff. I hope there has been some graciousness too, but I’m afraid I mostly let the anger rule my rantings. The anger got so bad I gave thought to quit the blog, but I tried instead to redirect the anger in better directions (with varying degrees of success).

As I have settled into a career as a an activist attorney, I’ve seen the blog take less and less importance in my life. Partly due to time constraints but also because I was spending more and more time posting on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking websites. My blog also got hit by denial-of-service attacks and I received death threats from people who don’t like what I do for a living, so I necessarily had to quit posting personal stuff on twitter and I pulled most of website archives down. I hated to do this, but I felt I had to for my own personal safety.

But I’ve missed the blog. And I’ve also began to grow weary of the increased commercialization of social websites like Facebook (and the growing moves to eliminate all vestiges of privacy in those arenas). Facebook’s moves to the creepy have made me want to have more control over my own expression of my own thoughts.

I want to be the one who decides what I will publish for the world and what I want to remain private, not some faceless evil corporation.

So, this blog is going to begin again. I will continue to post occasionally on facebook for my political/professional work (because, boy, it is a good tool for organizing), but will be switching my more personal (and hopefully timeless) things to this space.

Part of this move is for my own mental health and happiness. I do love to express myself, but I need a better venue to think and write about things that are distant from the day-to-day political struggles of the world and my communities.

So, I’m hoping to avoid political rantings and the like over here and instead talk about things that are meaningful to me for other reasons. I’ve been seeing for the last 6 months or so that my life is horribly out-of-balance, and I want that to change. And I think this need is direly important.

In World War II, Great Britain faced its darkest hour. Everything was turned upside down in the epic struggle. Yet, when the finance minister said that Britain should cut arts funding to support the war effort, Prime Minister Winston Churchill pushed back with a succinct and potent response: “Then what are we fighting for?” (see Canada.com for discussion of this quote)

I also think about this stirring quote by the character John Keating from the classic movie Dead Poet’s Society:

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

The legal activist life is a “noble pursuit… necessary to sustain life.” But it is not the sum total of my life. There is so much more than the struggle for justice. There must be time for me to tend my garden, and paint, and play music, and enjoy art, and everything else worth savoring. So, this blog is going to be dedicated to “poetry, romance, love” and all of the other things that I stay alive for. I will talk some about spirituality too, but not so much about the political aspects of it, but more what Dorothy Day referred to as “the duty of delight.”

So be it. Carpe Diem. Thanks for reading.

Note to self: Here’s my old website banner… https://jmbx.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/jmbzine-090509-headergraphic.jpg

Written by James M. Branum

January 27, 2009 at 8:01 am

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