There is still some hesitancy among mainstream media outlets and other civility-compulsives about whether Donald Trump is actually a racist or—out of a cynical appreciation for the expediency of racism—merely someone who talks like one; has acted like one throughout the entirety of his public and professional life; has surrounded himself with bigots from his butler to his administrative staff; and supports racist policies including ethnic cleansing.
This is a distinction without a difference. Sen. Elizabeth Warren got some pushback on the Left for saying something similar.
“Is the president racist?” CNN’s Manu Raju asked her. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Juan Williams’ history of civil rights sacrifices and gains proves he knows better”
I sometimes attend the Seattle Atheist Church on Sundays, and despite the many virtues that group has an organization and positive argument it makes by example for secular humanism, the fact that the “Four Horsemen” of the New Atheism movement were four white Anglo-American men reflects accurately the biases you’ll find in the atheism movement in the United States, United Kingdom, and the Anglosphere more generally.
Seattle’s atheist community is better than many other spaces I’ve seen, particularly in regards to gender and sexuality, but one element it continues to deal with is anti-Muslim racism.
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: “A Prophet of Peace” and Juan Cole’s New Historicism”
Lane Greene’s Talk on the Wild Side: Why Language Can’t Be Tamed came across, in its initial reading, as a scattershot collection of topics relating vaguely to the way the pronunciations, words, and grammars of languages will change with time so long as those languages continue to live and have people speak them. What makes the book really special, though, is the deeper theme: despite some people’s best efforts to pretend otherwise, decentralized changes are not just acceptable but inherent to language.
A Southern-born American journalist now living in London, the polyglottic Greene likewise moves through his topics with a comfortable, intelligible style, connecting otherwise disparate elements with threads that follow easily and ultimately tie together in a way that is truly something special.
What I’m not fully convinced of is whether this was intentional or something emergent from the subject itself.
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: “Talk on the Wild Side” by Lane Greene shows how language is power”
Yeah, fuck prisons how dare they lock up murderers and rapists. It’s not their fault that they commit crimes. Let them do what they want. Honestly it’s 2018 you should be HONORED if someone steals your wallet out of all the people in the world they chose you.
Are we attempting to rehabilitate criminals or punish them? Because punishing people doesn’t seem to be working.
Neither as I said just let them do whatever they want clearly they wouldn’t be murdering people if it wasn’t the right thing to do. Human nature is inherently good and therefore no one can do anything wrong. Why punish or rehabilitate people just trying to be themselves?
I’m not convinced we’re locking up many rapists right now, and only some of the murders.
Continue reading “Until prisons can be guaranteed to be free of cruel and unusual punishment, we must abolish them”
You’ll often hear, in reference to current events, that the Republican Party has its origins in the anti-slavery movement of the mid-19th century.
This is, strictly speaking, true, but bowdlerized.
The best an abolitionist Liberty Party candidate ever did for president was 2.3 percent of what was then the popular vote in 1844.
The Free Soil Party was anti-slavery but only in so much as it disliked enslaved people. It got 10.1 percent in 1848.
The Know Nothing Party didn’t care for slavery but what really got it going was anti-immigrant nativism, contemporarily aimed at Irish and German Catholics. In 1856, it got 21.5 percent of the vote, still only good for third. By then, the Republican Party was competing on a slogan of “Free soil, free silver, free men.”
Abraham Lincoln won the presidency as a Republican with less than 40 percent of the popular vote four years later.
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: It’s a lot easier to kick someone out into the rain than fix your own leaking roof”
Please, my fellow liberals, stop calling all Trump voters “morons.” Stop calling them “racists.” Stop saying they are “too dumb” to realize that they are “voting against their self interests.”
Rural voters, particularly Midwesterners and Southerners who support Trump and his contingency, reside outside of wealthy coastal enclaves like Seattle, New York, Palo Alto, etc. and they know EXACTLY who is responsible for outsourcing their good-paying jobs and where these C-suite executives reside and thrive. They are not nearly as stupid as many of you seem to think. They ARE voting according to their economic self-interest because their regions are not receiving equitable redistribution of infrastructure investment and job opportunities from the wealthy coastal enclaves where the American oligarchic class lives.
Please, for all of our sakes, learn to make common cause with your fellow working-class Americans and do not allow blind partisanship to prevent you from reaching across the aisle. Or else our oligarchic class will one day be as powerful as Russia‘s and stolen elections will be a foregone conclusion here, just as they are there. “Citizens United” is a leap in that direction, and destruction of the public education system with the return of segregation through tiered “charter schools” is another leap.
Fight wisely, fight nobly, persevere, my people, fight back. Please don’t give up on American democracy so easily.
We completely disagree, at least on half.
Continue reading “White-mansplaining the inherent racism in the Republican Party to women of color (with graphs)”
You always ought to be wary of any point of view you consume at length where you find yourself agreeing with it completely, where it anticipates every question that pops in your head and answers it, to the point that at the end you can identify no daylight between your thoughts and its own.
The effect is something like riding to the airport after you’ve doublechecked everything you meant to pack and finding it was actually all already there. There’s no rational reason for you to be unsettled rather than comforted, but somehow you are.
Mike Lux has a written just such a book: How to Democrat in the Age of Trump, and it’s worthy of being recommended to anyone on the Left trying to find a way forward.
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: “How to Democrat in the Age of Trump” by Mike Lux is a suspiciously good read”
When it so happens—more regularly now than before but never yet regular enough—that a cheap zinc or bronze cast of some semi-famous slaver is yanked from its pedestal in the middle of a city night, or when a suburban school board in broad daylight votes to no longer compel students to adorn their bodies with the name and imagery of a particular child trafficker, invariably there rises the cry:
“You’re erasing history! You’re censoring our Confederate past! You’re rewriting collective memory to sanitize it!”
This, of course, is worse than nonsense and akin to defending the maintenance of NAMBLA-installed plaques to Jerry Sandusky. It should be regarded as such whether it’s an argument being made by angry, open bigots in Facebook comment sections or under the auspices of the National Review.
But some worthy portions of our history have indeed been buried, erased, and minimized. Harvard’s Anna-Lisa Cox’s latest book The Bone and Sinew of the Land is an example of what it actually looks like when that sort of history is excavated for a popular audience, and what a positive effect that can have.
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Bone and Sinew of the Land’ recovers some American history that actually has been erased”
It’s a rare thing for a book to conclude and your biggest complaint be that there quite wasn’t enough of it. Yet, that’s what Darnell L. Moore accomplished with his memoir No Ashes in the Fire.
It’s an impressive work of introspection, family heritage, and the intersectionality of race, sexuality, gender, and even faith, all the more so because it’s done in beautiful prose.
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: ‘No Ashes in the Fire’ by Darnell L. Moore burns bright and goes out too soon”
The Hope Circuit by Martin Seligman is like reading a Wikipedia article about someone accomplished enough to have their own entry but not so much they can resist editing it themself.
Also, that article continues for 400 pages.
Subtitled A Psychologist’s Journey from Helplessness to Optimism, surely it’s the amount of unpleasant reading that makes the experience most unpleasant, but to be fair, Seligman — or “Marty” as he’d prefer his coed undergrad students call him — also establishes himself as an unlikable person very quickly. That is a truly remarkable accomplishment for a memoir where he controlled the entire narrative and reached me as a blank slate with no prior knowledge about his life.
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Love yourself enough to not read “The Hope Circuit””