New(ish) John K. Samson song about fantasy baseball, fascist fuckers, the end of the world, demolished hope and helping “to organize something better, something beautiful”. So basically about the summer of 2020.
“The white boys bruised differently than the black boys and called it the Ice Cream Factory because you came out with bruises of every color. The black boys called it the White House because that was its official name and it fit and didn’t need to be embellished. The White House delivered the law and everybody obeyed.”
Colson Whitehead’s book after Underground Railroad tells the story of a reform school, the Black boys in the school, the devastating impact of the school and the system that enables it.
This novel has similar strengths (based on a true story, the concept, the research and historical truth behind the concept, the heft of the prose in the best parts) and weaknesses (underdeveloped secondary characters, the sometimes less inspired prose in transitional plot phases) as Underground Railroad. It’s still a great book that is important and deserving of its success and accolades.
But it also made me realize how the important, successful, critically acclaimed, powerful ™ books by and about Black people too often focus on (historical) hurt and pain. I could use some recommendations for important, successful, powerful ™ books about Black joy. Not because books like Nickel Boys or Underground Railroad make white people like me uncomfortable – that’s the best part about Whitehead’s work – but because stories of joy and success need to be celebrated and supported, too. Especially in these times.
A recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll and the connected article results in what they call a “warning for Democrats: Americans are largely against the country becoming more politically correct.” The question in the poll, like the framing of the article, is.. odd.The full question is:
“In general, are you in favor of the United States becoming more politically correct and like when people are being more sensitive in their comments about others, or are you against the country becoming more politically correct and upset that there are too many things people can’t say anymore?”
Asma Khalid called this a good definition of politcal correctness in the most recent episode of the NPR Politics podcast. I don’t think so. The question is neitehr a fitting definition of politcal correctness nor a neutral one, but rather a definition that at the very least leans towards the use of the term “political correctness” as a right-wing fighting word. It connects “politcal correctness” to censorship.
Not using certain words and supporting certain concepts isn’t about censorship, it’s about not continuing to hurt people.
“Don’t go mistaking your house burning down for the dawn.
Frank Turner will soundtrack 2018.
Their campaigns have in many respects been complementary. Both candidates embrace the slogan “ni droite, ni gauche,” popularized by the interwar fascist leagues. Macron, bauble of the extreme center, seeks to substitute for the traditional right-left divide a vision that opposes globalizing, educated, cosmopolitan professionals to backwards, bigoted, and unenlightened nationalists: Le Pen’s worldview in camera obscura. For both Macron and Le Pen, openness, free movement, and European integration can be counterposed to patriotism, “national preference,” and the defense of entitlements. The prospects for either option depend on a significant recomposition of the electorate.
Grey Anderson on the French elections, the demise of the Socialist party, the rise of a rebranded FN, and the societal shifts of the last 5 years.
All You Fascists Bound To Lose
Stumbled over this Woody Guthrie cut from a 1940s radio broadcast. The other performers are Sonny Terry, Pete Seefer and Cisco Houston (probably.)
BRB, need to dust off my guitar.
Spicer’s apology, as heartfelt as it may be, doesn’t entirely resolve the issue. He is enmeshed in an Administration in which designations of us and them, our people and not our people, the good ones and the bad ones, provide a rubric for almost every policy. For Spicer to revert, as a default, to such terms in explaining why Assad is worse than Hitler suggests that he—and, it is a safe guess, others in the White House—are either not registering the implications of what their boss is saying or are doing so all too well.
Amy Davidson: Sean Spicer Is Very Sorry About His Holocaust Comments
In America the question has long since ceased to be whether or not we should go to war. Instead, we argue over how we go about maintaining and expanding an already endless landscape of wars.
Patrick Blanchfield on the acceptance and depoliticization of war in US (political) life.
It is also unclear what legal authority Trump used to order the strikes in Syria. News reports Thursday said Trump had told some congressional lawmakers he was considering a military option in Syria, but none had been sought. The U.S. strikes against ISIS, for instance, are arguably covered by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), but the AUMF doesn’t cover strikes against the Assad regime. Still, Trump might receive retroactive congressional approval for the strikes in Syria, just as Obama did in 2011 in the ultimately ill-advised operation in Libya.
Trump won’t be the first president to campaign against war and yet wage it, as David noted: Both Woodrow Wilson, who took the U.S. into World War I exactly a century ago this week, and George W. Bush, whose interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq are being felt even today, did just that. Whether the U.S. action in Syria will be confined to Friday’s action was unclear—even to the president. Speaking Thursday to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump said of Assad: “He’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so I guess something should happen.”
The U.S. Strikes in Syria (The Atlantic)
I think it’s understandable (if wrong) that Trump took military action in Syria, but the way he did is once again ill-advised and reckless. I also can’t get over the fact that a billionaire just ordered military escalation in a complex, international conflict from a golf club in Florida.
I couldn’t express my annoyance with this in only 140-characters, so here’s a short blog post:
For his part, Mike Pence is also very, very committed to ensuring that there’s never even the slightest appearance of impropriety with regards to his marriage. To achieve such a feat, Pence reportedly won’t have dinner alone with a woman who is not his wife; he also won’t attend any events where alcohol is served unless Karen is by his side.
For the record: I’m really, really close with my wife. I love hanging out with her. I also love having dinner with female friends alone. Okay, being a former English major I otherwise would’ve starved alone in my room…
Seriously, some of my best friendships are based on having dinner – drinks included. Many of those nights felt intimate, sometimes we even talk about intimate topics – and yet, I don’t cheat on my wife. Penceites must be so confused.
I even think that having dinner with women who are not my wife make me a better husband/man/person. Through these 1-on-1 dinners and talks I get to hear stories and perspectives from women who are different than my wife (or mother) and this helps me being less ignorant. Less clueless when it comes to women’s issues in general. When I see how Pence and his ilk talk about women, their healthcare, and sexuality, I’d recommend that they have dinner with women who are not their wife more often. This whole thing is completely absurd once you add the fact that gender isn’t a binary and not all people are heterosexual.
Not coincidentally, the combination of pity and disgust I have for men who can’t see women as anything else than temptation is similar to the combination of pity and disgust I have for the Trump Administration.