Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Compassion over greed should be a sentiment that always works. Who's going to disagree with such a statement when really pressed? It should be ingrained though it usually feels that we have to push greed - even if it's the misplaced, innocent and ignorant greed that we just don't understand as kids - out of us. We try to replace it with benevolence and kindness, but it's a true ordeal to get all the way there. It's alright to be honest about it. It's tough to complete the transformation for most people. It shouldn't be, but it is and it's because it's not all that natural to display attitudes and leanings that don't take care of one's self first before looking out for others. The greediness - not the hurtful or manic kind - is built in and flushing it completely out is hard to do.
The thought of wanting to feel compassion over greed, however, is a beautiful thing and it's at the center of many of the messages that Stefen Robinson, or Chicago's Yea Big, pens and performs. His viewpoint is, without a doubt, filled with the vitriol that comes with seeing very few participants in compassion. It doesn't help that he probably reads the New York Times every day and has no choice but to get the sense that the world and its societies are on two bad legs, teetering and tottering. All it would take is one final, fatal stiff wind to knock it all over, but alas, it keeps standing and most of its people choose to ignore the symptoms, unabashedly unapologetic and neglectful, but then again, they don't see the bigger issues as their own. They are the problems that have no conclusions. They are the problems that need someone else to fix them.
Robinson batters his many issues with lazy Americans, with their reluctance to see what he thinks he sees. He raps, "I heard a watched pot won't boil/Yes it will/You gotta turn up the heat/It's time to quit wasting time on the trivial/And start spending time on the material," in a response to the ugly stagnancy of American politics. He has a feeling that we should all be out in the streets these days, protesting and he might be right.