Monday, October 30, 2006
Dia de Los Muertos 1
On Saturday the 28th, three days into the large wildfire "just west of Palm Springs," the 19th annual Desert AIDS Walk took place in the morning down the sidewalks of Palm Canyon Drive...
...with a loop around the "Historic Tennis District" before returning back to home base at Frances Stevens Park.
I have been using the phrase "evil AIDS charities" for years, after watching outrageous sums of money going through the hands of nonprofits and into the pockets of overcompensated bureaucracies, all on the backs of armies of volunteer labor and the generosity of people moved by others' misfortune.
It's probably best not to trust any group that has the word "Project" in their name because it's usually a tipoff that one of its founders is a graduate of Werner Erhard's EST movement, which in its last, decadent phase started "The Hunger Project," a horrific bit of marketing genius that promised to end world hunger through consciousness raising.
Young white men and children of many colors dying young of a fatal disease turned out to be an even better fundraiser, so hunger was swiftly abandoned and instead we got outfits like The Stop AIDS Project.
My cynicism about the Desert AIDS Walk melted, though, on actually seeing the sweet crowd, which included many more Mexican-Americans than anticipated...
...including a large contingent "Walking for Nino."
All weekend long, people called to make sure we were okay from the fire that had already taken the lives of four firefighters on Thursday morning when the Santa Ana winds were at their worst, but as you can see, there was a 10,000 foot mountain range between Palm Springs and the fire and the winds were blowing westward towards Los Angeles.
Senator Barbara Boxer, who no longer lives in Marin County but who has recently moved to a rich community in the Coachella Valley, was among the voices clamoring for a federal investigation and revenge on the supposed arsonist who set the fire.
The fever with which this vendetta theme was carried out everywhere in the press was rather gruesome and didn't seem a very fitting memorial for the young dead firemen. Mexicans seem to do death better than U.S. culture, which may explain why Dia de los Muertos is rapidly becoming a new American holiday.