Upstream of Consciousness wants to be a collection of interviews that only contain answers. I will provide 5 phrases, words, quotes, links, pictures, or videos (in italics) and your consciousness will provide the rest. Responses can be short or long, real or fictional, words, links, or anything in between. In return, each of my "subjects" will give me 1 item back which I will then respond to (under the heading Ripple, with a number next to it). Come, swim for a while.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Nipple Cripple (6)

Name change as requested by Oscar.

6. Mathangi Arulpragasam [Oscar]

Dear son of M.I.A.,

Sorry for the vague greeting -- all I can find of your name so far from Google is that you are not named Ickit or Pickit.  I can only imagine what your name is -- I hope something strong and useful and not too gimmicky and not too boring.

I've been asked to write about your mother, which may confuse you, because I don't actually know her.  But I think about her a lot.

In a lot of ways, I admire her -- she is creative and revolutionary with her music, fully in control of her image, and doesn't give a fuck about what people think.  She almost delivered you on the stage of the Grammy's for fuck's sake.  And she continues to surprise in an industry that is sadly depleted of surprises.  I can appreciate that.

I can also appreciate that she takes the turmoil that I have inside of being of too many cultures to ever feel fully in one -- she takes that turmoil and she makes music out of it.  That fusion of sounds reminds me that it's not always necessary to choose.

It took me a while to get there, to appreciate her art without bringing myself into conflict about her person.

I spent a lot of my college years deliberately avoiding her music.  See, I was sick of people romanticizing her, of not understanding Sri Lanka beyond what came out of her mouth.  I imagine she'll tell you about your grandfather, who some claim was one of the main engineers behind the suicide bombing techniques of the Tigers.  I wonder, always, what people say about that to their children.  

"Your grandfather worked to free our people," she might say.  "So we no longer had to live under oppression."

Maybe in her eyes, that's truth.  In my eyes, your grandfather aided in killing -- and it doesn't matter which side.  I lost a lot of faith in her when she started raising money for the tsunami and it went to a shady Tiger organization.   If you want to hear what I think about the Tamil Tigers, I'll send that other post about that. 

She has a lot of power in the world, a lot of power considering Sri Lanka.  I hope she uses it for good.  

I use her.  I use people's love for her and people's fascination for her and every time she comes up in conversation I make sure people know the other side of the conversation, that the Tigers are not as romantic as their name and the flashy graphics would suggest.

And that's why I still listen to her.  Because as much angst as she causes me sometimes, she allows me to have a platform for conversation and debate and education.  And for that, I'm truly thankful to her and her music.  

This is a lot of heavy shit for a newborn.  I hope by the time you're able to read this, this will be history, your mother will be selling lots and lots of records, and your world will be a lot more peaceful than ours.

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About Me

I am interested in the human condition.