Loving vs. Placebo? Sasha Rainbow, Life's What We Make It

First of all, happy 50th anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia decision, June 12, 1967.

Here is a thoughtful article in Salon, written by Dave Singleton, the godson of attorney Robert McIlwaine. 
“He” was my godfather Robert McIlwaine, Uncle Bob as I called him, and my secret was a surprise. I discovered recently that he was the lead lawyer on Loving v. Virginia, the iconic U.S. Supreme Court case on interracial marriage. He argued for Virginia and against the rights of the interracial couple.
Like Singleton, I spent all my summers Mark Twain country, where slavery had been legal. A lot of my own writing was influenced by conversations among grandparents and family members when I was 5 years old in 1967.  My parents generation was pro-Loving, but they argued with older Ozark relatives about it - some of whom I adore still.  

The anti-Loving marriage argument at my grandparents home was that "It's not right to the children, it deprives the kids of either society".  That is familiar now.  I've heard it said about marriages across religious lines.  And it struck me deeply because, at 4 years old, I'd asked the girl next door, Sally, if she would marry me when we grew up.  She explained to me we could not because she was Jewish.  I asked my parents if it was true that a Christian boy was not allowed to marry a Jewish girl.  They told me it was actually possible, but that family can oppose it, and that you have to "think of the children".

I could not, at that time, imagine ever loving a girl as much as I loved Sally.  And perhaps that's why the evening news of the Supreme Court case, Loving vs. Virginia, caught my 5 year old attention.

Today, I'm grateful to have grown up knowing and loving 'racists' who were just cautious, frightened people, not bad people - like the uncle of the Salon writer.  I think this prepared me to recognize 'accidental racism' in the environmental community. These are my friends, sharing my recycling passion, many of whom seem as stubborn as any family in the south when it comes to trade in used equipment with black people.  

Where I grew up, you learned that you can hate and detest a friend's idea, without thinking too much less of the friend. If you think free export policy will hurt Scrap Sector's children, and I think anti-export policy hurts the Tech Sector's children...  I don't describe you as a bad person.

But righteousness always hears it that way, doesn't it?  And when you become famous for being righteous, you invent and prosecute "blasphemy".

The nuance is sadly missing from the response I got yesterday, indirectly (posted to a fan group) from Placebo "Life is What You Make It" director Sasha Rainbow.  Rather than answer any of my questions, even my messages offering to introduce common third parties if she doesn't want to speak to me directly, she pasted a new sunshine on my bum, spank slapped me personally as a very bad human being who people should avoid talking to.  I'm thinking of writing in response to her characterization of me and Fair Trade Recycling. Maybe tomorrow.

Perhaps we are just competitors.  Perhaps she saw the teaser for the Joe "Hurricane" Benson documentary I'm trying to shepherd, and it's just business to position her own Agbogbloshie documentary ahead.  She has employees, mouths to feed, etc.  

In the Clean Hands Teaser / Benson documentary, I'm struck every time by all the wonderful, sincere, well-meaning environmentalists in the opening minutes, whose preconceptions about Africa teledensity and consumerism led to the physical imprisonment of an African born TV repairman. Our collateral damage was fueled from a desire to nurture children, like the ones Sasha Rainbow films at the Accra landfill.

But the nuance of the story of secondhand electronics sales in Africa is really told best by someone who learned to disagree with people they love.  There are certainly still "racists" in the Arkansas Ozarks I grew up in, but the geography is certainly not defined by them. And the environmental movement should take solace in knowing that being wrong about African TV Repairmen, Ghana's Tech Sector, and the import business doesn't make them bad people and admitting so, even after nearly 2 decades of collateral damage, won't expose us.

So my son and his friend from college are in Accra today, on a pre-arranged internship to study flat screen repair and re-manufacturing under the tutelage of Africa's Tech Sector.  I think it's great that they will be exposed to people more talented and knowledgeable about electronics than they are.

While they are there, we'll add a meeting with Awal and the Scrap Guys, whose complaint about Rainbow's production prompted my interest.  And there's Alhassan, who we know in common.

A fan on some Placebo band site saved Sasha's response about my blogs and shared it with me yesterday, adding a bunch of her own (sometimes accurate) criticism of my writing, my ideas, and my general dearth of charisma.

I've gone back to re-read the blogs, to see how they summoned this ire.  What my blog actually said was "if its true" that Awal wasn't paid, we'd offer to connect them.  And I was polite enough in trying to open dialogue with them on Facebook messenger.  Getting no response.

So here's what Sasha's response was

Hello XY, thanks for your kind words and getting in touch. To be clear, none of what he [Robin] has posted is true. Everybody was paid and in fact we placed the boys into a boarding school so they now have a bed, shelter, education and food everyday. We worked closely with the secretary of the slum union of Ghana (a former resident of Agbogbloshie and now a close friend) to make this video and the documentary. I have been advised not to respond to this man, Robin, as apparently he likes to cause trouble online around this subject. He has been contacting the people from the video (who I am in contact with still) offering them $20,000 for god knows what, which I think is deeply upsetting considering these people live in real poverty. I don't know what else to say except thanks again and I hope my docu will speak for itself when it's out and that you'll have a watch! Thanks heaps, Sasha"
Well.  Nothing of what I have posted here is true?  Literally, nothing?  I'm just "causing trouble around this subject?"  So I guess she's sticking to the claim that Agbogbloshie is the largest e-waste dump in the world, and the stuff there is imported and dumped directly.  Maybe she just means nothing I said about Euro Agbo Photo Journos was true about her production - that might be fair, but I think that's not going to come through to the Placebo fan base.

But see the bold.  Is it really deeply upsetting to Sasha Rainbow that we are trying to raise $20,000 for a clean-recycling jewelry project that creates jobs for wire burners and pays to offset e-waste generated in Ghana?  That I had this idea to use the T-Shirt Sales website to promote handmade objects made from the clean copper recycling process?  I spent the winter working on with Awal, Razak, and Yahroo, at with the metalsmith father of one of the laptop technicians at Chendiba Enterprises.  When a video using Awal's tire burning had a link to Placebo T-Shirt Sales, I thought maybe we could get some reciprocity going.

Look, I understand they are freaked out.  I had no idea Placebo had been in a major lawsuit with a guy on a 1990's album cover when I started talking to our guys in Agbogbloshie.  These are guys I lived with for weeks, and went home to visit their wives, kids and families in Tamale.  I see a guy I know on a big rock video, ask him if he got paid, he says no, and I start pursuing it.  I mean I guess that's not gentle of me but in my very second blog I suggested a pretty reasonable, I think, answer.


Sasha Rainbow says "I have been advised not to respond to the man, Robin" and then goes on to apparently badmouth Fair Trade Recycling's $20,000 fundraising goal for the fair trade recycled jewelry.  As if the guy I spoke to about it, whom I've know for 2 years, is "hers" and I'm "going around her" to speak to him about a project he should want to be a part of.

Well, she's probably just upset because she's just had this huge moral boost from the Placebo Band's reception of a hard several weeks producing a Kevin McElvaney "Still Not Sponsored" inspired video.  She can't let an actual sponsor get in the way.  More to come on our Clean Copper Project.

For now, Happy #LovingDay.  I think I can be friends with Sasha and Alsdair if they meet with me.  I'm open minded about why they have such a different opinion of Agbogbloshie than I do. White Savior Collision on the #CharitableIndustrialComplex interstate, news at 11.

Here is the conclusion her audience member drew about me personally.  It can only go up from here.

Dear Mr. Ingenthron.
After seeing some great confusion in Placebo fan groups about your comments and blogposts regarding the Placebo video "Life's what you make it", where you are accusing the band, management or film maker of not crediting or paying the men in the film, I would very much like to forward you the answer of Sasha Rainbow, who got contacted by members of our Fan group to get further infos about the issue.
I would like to kindly ask you to stop accusing the band and spreading fake information. I understood you are running an NGO who is exporting waste from western countries to Africa to be recycled, (If this is good or bad is another matter and i don't want to discuss it here), so it is somewhat understandable that you are ot very much in favour of any critisism of that e-waste site. There is still no reason to spread false pretences about the band and that video. Best regards,

I was too young to say what I was thinking when my Ozarks family was debating the Loving vs. Virginia Supreme Court case, a unanimous ruling in favor leaving people alone to marry or be friends with whom they want to.

I will return to the Fair Trade Jewelry in the next blog.

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