Mickey Z. — World News Trust
December 30, 2020
There was a time when I was a very popular mixtape maker. (Mixtape = “a compilation of favorite pieces of music, typically by different artists, recorded onto a cassette tape or other medium by an individual.”) I took immense pride in my creations and cleverly called each of these cassette masterpieces a “Mick’s Mix” — giving them out to friends, family members, and co-workers on birthdays, holidays, etc.
Such gifts blended my own tastes with the close attention I’ve always paid to the style and preferences of the people in my life. It thrilled me to no end when I’d see friends talking about, comparing, and even sharing my tapes.
(Screenshot from Rotten Tomatoes of the VHS tape box for the 1993 film, Dazed and Confused)
After casting his 1993 film classic, Dazed and Confused, director Richard Linklater made a very specific cassette mixtape for each of the primary actors. These tapes, of course, featured music from the 1970s when the movie’s plot takes place. Linklater’s goal was to imbue each member of the large ensemble cast with a unique, distinct vibe. Such tapes inspired a cinematic blend of the director’s tastes and the interpretations of each individual actor.
Perhaps you smell a mixtape metaphor brewing?
There is so much we cannot control about and within our lives. It starts with when and where we are born… and to which family. Genetic predispositions, environmental factors, the randomness of everyday life — each of these (and more) play major roles in our destiny. We are essentially at their mercy.
Yet, we still have an incredible amount of autonomy as to what our metaphorical mixtape sounds like. For example, who we are right now has been shaped by our cultural choices, e.g. music, books, film, art, etc. Other mixtape ingredients include the friends we’ve made, careers we’ve pursued, and geographical locations we’ve settled in. All of our choices — large and tiny — influence the quality and tenor of our daily, hourly life.
Do we truly listen? Are we compassionate? Do we have an overwhelming desire to be "right" and to dominate situations? Is forgiveness a regular part of our day? How often do we laugh or cry? Obviously, these questions could go on for pages… but I think you get the idea. On that note, I’ll wrap up my final article for 2020. Among many things, it’s been the year in which I made a “comeback” of sorts into regular writing — something that’s been a major component of my Mick’s Mix throughout the years and decades.
Thank you for your readership, your support, and your challenges. I look forward to more such interactions. But for now, as we reflect upon this turbulent year, I urge you to deeply and carefully contemplate and curate who you wish to be in 2021. As that vision takes form, keep in mind how much power you have in shaping your life. If you don’t actively use that power, others (social media, news feeds, politicians, government, corporations, pop culture, charismatic sloganeers, etc.) will gladly shape your life for you. So please, get to work on your 2021 mixtape. The world needs what you and you alone have to offer... and I for one am really looking forward to hearing it!
Mickey Z. can be found here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on the streets of New York City. To help him grow this project, CLICK HERE and make a donation right now. And please spread the word!