I've been fortunate enough to construct a satisfying series of cut-up based artworks in the last year as part of the audio/video collective, The Muttering Sickness, with my long-time collaborator and colleague at Lake Forest College, Don Meyer.
From "The City of The Interzone" (to celebrate the Wiliam S. Burroughs centennial in both Chicago (with the Chicago Humanities Festival), and in Tangier (with the European Beat Studies Network), to Modern Business Machines, a collaboration with Regina Taylor's amazing production, _stop. reset._ at the Goodman theater, to The Last Days of Radio album release on Anne Waldman's and Ambrose Bye's Fast-Speaking Music label...it's been a great year.
Yet, nothing prepared me for the challenges of our recent Jeb Bush "Uptown Funk" remix, and I had no way of knowing how much this wonderfully frustrating project would share with my experience as a parent.
Yes, parenting. Here's why.
1) Jeb Bush does not always say what you want him to say: No, he doesn't say these individual words, ever, so far as I can tell -- "Chucks" or "St. Laurent," and he never says, "Gotta kiss myself, so pretty."
So, like my daughters, he says others things, and those words are often so delightful that I can't help but revel in the possibilities.
Kallista: "I like blue and green. I know boys who like pink. There are no 'boy colors' or 'girl colors.' Why do people even say that?"
Jeb Bush: "Cro-Magnon Man," which comes is for great use here.
2) Jeb Bush doesn't understand climate change: My daughters, 7 and 9, have a solid elementary school understanding of environmental stewardship. But if I asked them to explain global warming, they would likely be unable to do so using the language of science.
Jeb, defending Rick Perry, once told Fox News that whether global warming is man-made or not remains still open to debate.
So, it's fair game for our collage version to have him say, "Global warming, not a science man."
My daughters, of course, are likely to get a better grasp on that science part in the coming years.
3) Jeb wants to be independent from his family: In many of the raw video materials we drew from for this mash-up, Jeb speaks about his family with love and respect, but also, often, he tells of how he is his own man who will make his own decisions.
Translation: He would have bombed Iraq as well, but not just because his brother and father did.
My daughters, too, want their independence.
They never hesitate to cannonball into the pool by themselves.
it's their way of bombing, I like to think.
4) Jeb wants to be President, and so does my youngest daughter: Kallista, 7, would like to be President, and so would Jeb.
My oldest, Athena, 9, born is China, is not able to be President. Why? Because her 10 months in a Chinese orphanage would clearly make her a sleeper agent for a foreign power. She would secretly compromise the security of our nation were she to be elected.
So, for now, it's Kallista and Jeb who together share this aspiration.
Jeb says that, "We are not going to clean up the mess in Washington by electing the people who either helped create it or have proven incapable of fixing it."
Kallista, I'll note, is always the consummate outsider. She certainly did not cause this mess in Washington.
One of them has certainly earned my vote.
5) Jeb takes a lot of time: I have serious respect for the anyone who takes the time to collage the individual words of politicians together, to have Barack Obama sing Taylor Swift, or, in the fantastic Cassetteboy clip, to have David Cameron rap like he's never rapped before.
Even in the digital age, these are not easy to make (as my first imperfect experience has taught me). These cut-ups require combing through transcripts, cutting and pasting and processing endless repetitions, and really, getting down on the carpet and myopically focusing on being present for the project.
It's play, but it's also work -- like parenting -- and when you see the final product, grown from an idea into a thriving voice confidently proudly proclaiming these words--"Family Bush, I wanna sacrifice," you'll know that you've done something right.