The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Watts! #7

13 comments :

Marshall P. Smith said...

This is the reason razor wire was invented.

Bing said...

This is the reason pointy shoes were invented.

Trader said...

Never get bored with the Watts' pictures.

Tony said...

Not being from anywhere remotely near L.A., the use of the exclamation mark is lost on me.

Before you jump to concussions, I grew on Long Island, in a certifiably lower class area known as Central Islip. We had some riots in "the black neighborhood" (aka Carlton Park) in the late 60's that was contained by the certifiably unsubtle techniques employed by Suffolk County cops and some community leaders who saw an opportunity.

Needless to say, the presence of people of color led to folks in C.I. north of the Long Island Expressway to declare themselves the new community of "Islandia" and they even got a new post office. How Orwellian.

Care to 'splain the exclamatory presentation?

I also find my above neighbor's remark about razor wire to be odd. Whose fence is it? Where was the fence located? Was this photograph even taken during the riots? Do you really believe everything the newspapers tell you? Especially from the 1960's? They just look like a bunch of bored kids to me.

I think any of us would love it if young people would just dress like that again.

Just sayin'.

Tom Sutpen said...

The Mothers of Invention recorded a piece in 1971 entitled 'Billy the Mountain', wherein, at a certain point, the entire ensemble, as one, yells out the name 'Watts!'. When I was thinking up a title for this series, that moment in that recording popped into my head.

It's literally that simple.

This was originally going to be a miniseries, but I found so many striking images from the Watts riots of 1965 . . . added to which, I'm perpetually fearful of running out of series ideas for this blog . . . that I made it an ongoing concern.

All of these images are from that event. Unfortunately there is no information on the circumstances of this photo other than that.

I don't get the razor-wire comment either . . . at least I hope I don't.

Tony said...

Ha!

I remember that album now. Good one.

FZ was always "razor sharp" on pointing out our social discomforts.

Jan said...

Well I get the razor wire comment and i'm sure both of you either. What I don't get is why you think it's racism. My point is that maybe it was just a funny comment having nothin' to do with the color of skin but the act of climbing through a fence. Chill.

Fred said...

I used to date a woman who was clerking in the LA County DA's office. Her mother's maiden name was Watts. It turns out that her family used to own the area now known as Watts, which was a farm. It's kind of like how The Bronx was named for the Bronx, a family that owned the land at one time.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Bing said, "this is the reason pointy shoes were invented."

:-)

Marshall P. Smith said...

Jan, you are 100% correct! The 'razor wire' comment was an attempt at humor, nothing more! It was my first impression when I saw the photograph! I thought of it as being little clever, maybe witty!

Okay, ego, I'd been up late and was visiting here before hitting the sack, sorry! I didn't notice the title, "Watts!"! Looking at the photo, it looks like kids goofing around, having fun! I didn't even think about a connecction to riot OR newspapers!?!

If Tony didn't get it, oh well! I'm not really sure why he went in that direction! But that's okay too!

Oh, pointy shoes would make fence climbing easier!

Tommy O'C said...

We city kids used to climb chain-link fences all the time. Razor wire put an end to that, in many locations. Plain and simple.

Actually, of the two, the pointy shoe remark is more culturally biased.

The image in my mind, looking at this photo, is of this fence collapsing under the weight of all those ascending bodies.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Somehow the cultural bias of Bing’s Beatles boots nostalgia worries me not at all. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatle_boots

Nor do I think Mr. Smith meant any harm.

Tom Sutpen said...

Agreed on both counts.