¡ACTIVISTA! by Sonny Smith: "Do not turn your back away from the people of Arizona!"

by Sonny Smith

I just came back from tour through the beauteous state of Arizona. My camper broke down in Tucson. Myself and the Sunsets stranded on the side of the road trying to figure out what to do. Radiator fluid dripping down the highway. The John Wesley Coleman boys from Austin traveling in peril with us. There was gonna be too many people to fit in a tow truck we were told, so we had to split up. The boys began walking to the nearest town. Impressive. It was 113 degrees. I didn’t know if I was gonna see those guys again. They didn’t take anything with them. Not even water. Moments later a trucker pulled over and gave us his remaining four jugs of water. As it turned out the boys made it to the Phoenix gig because the trucker had stopped and given them a lift.

Let it be heard: Arizona is lousy with arch maniacs, archfiends and arch fleas!

Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s sojourn on earth reveals a basic lack of love and understanding for humanity. Yes this crooked cracker nut cake sheriff clown hails right out of some throwback 1950s deep south paperback: white, pale, bloated, mean and hell bent on criminalizing the inevitable other. Is it possible to surmise he is not an old soul, but a newer soul, perpetrating crimes in order to experience retribution? A de facto style for the soul to learn and grow. Fear not seekers of justice, it may take a hundred lifetimes to learn his lesson. Why, his retribution may possibly last millennia!

Let it be known! Arizona is plump and fat with honest fair folks!

The fellow that towed my camper to the Tucson garage was the nicest tow truck driver I’ve ever met. He said he wouldn’t take advantage of my situation and it turned out he didn’t. He gave me the most amicable deal I’ve ever gotten from a tow company.

Let it be known! Arizona is rank and foul with wicked xenophobes!

I passed six motels with signs stating “American owned and operated.” To be clear, “American owned…” signs hanging from motels are a not so subtle message declaring they aren’t owned by Indians. It’s racist code. A lady told me years ago: “They’re ruining the motel business.” Sheriff Joe dressed in drag.

Let it be known! Arizona is busting at the seams with righteous and reasonable folks!

The Trunk Space club owner in Phoenix was an understanding man when I told him I couldn’t make the gig. Clubs don’t typically forgive bands when they don’t show up. He didn’t have to be so understanding, but he was.

Protesters are attempting various strategies. Some shall win some shall fail!

Under a campaign entitled Soundstrike, bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West, Conor Oberst, and Sonic Youth have signed onto protest Arizona’s immigration laws by refusing to play in the state. This is a sincere yet most unfortunate choice of protest. Bands! Musicians! Artists! Do not turn your back away from the people of Arizona! Play underground. Play in houses. Play in day labor camps.

Let it be known! Arizona’s flowing over with good and bad news!

The proto-fascist Senate Bill 1070 was blocked on four key parts. But guess what, it’s going to be against the law to stand on the sidewalk and be available for work!

Let it be known!

When my band passed through the quasi-military immigration checkpoint I briefly quaked in my boots. Little fear however for my blanche white profile. Not so for the Latino angel trucker who gave my band water and brought the Wes Coleman boys one hundred and thirty miles to their gig. The checkpoint guard gave me a sideways look. “You in some kind of band or something?” “Yes” said I. She looked at my rig and sized us up. Had she decided we were “American owned and operated”?

Sonny Smith
Fri July 30, 2010

Categories: "¡Activista!" column by Sonny Smith | Tags: | 2 Comments

About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2023: I publish an email newsletter called LANDLINE = https://jaybabcock.substack.com Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca.

2 thoughts on “¡ACTIVISTA! by Sonny Smith: "Do not turn your back away from the people of Arizona!"

  1. Let it be known! Arizona is being overrun by brutally violent Mexican drug cartels. Wait until they begin to run Northern California’s marijuana growing operations. Can’t wait to see how the white, bloated but enlightened Sacramento and San Francisco politicians deal with that. I’ll clue you in, it will be the perfect excuse for a state take over of medical marijuana growing. Who’s that beady eyed creep of a presidential advisor that recently said “never let the opportunity of a crisis slip by”?
    Let it be known! The majority of the citizens of Arizona as well as the majority of all American citizens support Bill 170. Even many bloated brown ones, whose families migrated lawfully. How dare they empathize with fellow Americans in a REAL life or death crisis?
    Let it be known! If it was WHITE, bloated, blood and dollar thirsty Canadian drug and body runners who were terrorizing the northern states, we (the great mass of idiots between NY and CA) would feel the EXACT same way. I know it’s impossible for you to believe, but most of us bloated white people don’t give a fuck what color VIOLENT CRIMINALS or undocumented visitors are. Swedes, Aussies, EVERYBODY– Get in line and do it right for Christ’s sake!
    Let it be known! If you actually lived in southern Arizona and bodies were regularly being found rotting on your ranch, you wouldn’t be making judgement tie-ins from your ‘our lil’ ol’ truck broke down’ story.
    Let it be known! Millions of hard working Latino and native people are fleeing the corrupt socialist fascist dictatorships that are puppets of the drug cartels, to come to a land whose civil liberties and opportunities created the very wealth that is being stolen now by politicians who are puppets of global banks and corporations to insure that what awaits them on this side of the border is just like home.
    Let it be known! One half million citizens of all colors marched in Washington last week in a call for honesty and honor to be restored in America. And it is a nothing short of an outrage that our narcissistic snob of a president responded by saying that he didn’t watch the rally, and the near bankrupt New York Times put the story on page 15.
    Let it be known! That all readers and lovers of Arthur Magazine are not condescending
    Marie Antoinette styled secret arm chair racists that believe our European heritage and plush educations allow us to decide what’s right for the poor poor helpless non-whites who couldn’t possibly rise or prosper without our fashionably doled compassion.
    Only if and until there is solid evidence of corruption by Sheriff Joe Arpaio (who by the way is uncannily respected by inmates, and actually bothers to visit with them on a name friendly basis) then your assumption that he is… –uh oh, here comes the new brown shirt word again: ‘RACIST’, then aren’t you racially profiling too?
    One last observation, illegal immigration has actually decreased since Obama took office– NO JOBS!
    See you in the long lines for gov’t cheese and inoculations brother.

  2. C,

    Dude, save your teabagger talking points for sympathetic ears. Bodies on the ranches? It’s not a drug cartel, it’s immigrants, dying of thirst because they are avoiding armed minutemen lunatics and a police state that has militarized the area. More deaths from exposure this year and last than the previous 7 combined.

    Even your hero Jan Brewer had to back down from that ‘drug cartel beheadings on ranches’ lie. And half a million attended Glenn Beck’s ‘Restoring Honor’ event? More like 87,000. More people protested against SB1070 in Phoenix, that got a lot of coverage from the MSM too.

    If Sonny Smith actually lived in Arizona, chances are he wouldn’t be a millionaire owning a ranch like you say. He’d more likely be one of the millions making 7 dollars an hour in a state that has fought successfully to dismantle such ‘socialist’ endeavors as organized labor and the minimum wage. Many of these workers are already on government support, a back handed welfare payment to the profiteers who employ them while not paying a wage that anyone can actually live on.

    While you’re decrying the “patronizing” viewpoint of someone who decries an obviously racially motivated law, the alternative is silence as our constitution is shredded to appease white people who are sick of hearing people speak in Spanish or having to see Spanish language text on the wall at the DMV. What is particularly galling is the way these same people fetishize their version of the constitution, and fantasize about how everything was better back in the days of Jim Crow.

    Luckily the demographics are not moving in their direction, and we’re not going back. White privilege will not die easily, and things are bound to get worse before they get better. But the screams and cries, and all cap rantings are surely the sign of an animal that knows it’s been backed into the corner, and the humane thing to do is to snuff it out of it’s misery.

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