N is for nativism versus immigration

“Illegal” immigration has always been a red herring.

There have have always been nativism movements in the United States. Seldom has been as blatant as it’s been the past year and a quarter. In February 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director L. Francis Cissna announced that the agency changed its mission statement from:

“USCIS secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.”

To now:

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.”

The aspirational angle has been lost.

By contrast, “During the 1940s, America basically underwent a nationwide sensitivity training program. Zoe Burkholder, a historian of education, writes… that a ‘forced tolerance’ movement had begun frothing a decade earlier as educators feared that scientific racism—the pseudoscientific ‘Master Race’ theories brewing in Germany—could waft overseas.” A reasonable worry, evidently.

Thus the story about the Superman pic shown. (Hey, wasn’t he an illegal alien?) What I do know is that the current regime’s attitude is troublesome.

Fran Rossi Szpylczyn notes: “The part where Jesus says to welcome the stranger is not a suggestion, it is a directive.”

The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein writes that Ronald Reagan “not only celebrating the concept of welcoming people from all sorts of places during his kickoff of the fall campaign, but arguing that it was immigrants who helped build the country and it was the dream that they embodied that was what made America great.” The GOP icon didn’t believe in nativism.

In other words, the US Needs ‘sh*thole’ countries, not the other way around. “America’s prosperity and security are greatly dependent on the goodwill and cooperation of other nations, developed and emerging markets alike.”

That would include chain migration, or family reunification.

Read former President Obama on immigration from September 2017

A pastor friend of mine noted recently, “I am thinking this morning of good people, great Americans I know, who have come here from Haiti, [various African countries], Pakistan, Philippines. These Americans contribute to the greater good of the US… [they] have worked hard, learned to live in an often-less-than-friendly new place, raised strong families, and sent their kids to college so they can also contribute to society… You ARE the American People.”

As Flow of Foreign Students Wanes, U.S. Universities Feel the Sting.

The Weekly Sift guy nailed it when he wrote about The Real Immigration Issue: “‘Illegal’ immigration has always been a red herring. The more fundamental question is whether the United States will continue to be a country dominated by English-speaking white Christians.” Will nativism continue to push back?

For a brief historic perspective, read Becoming a Citizen: Naturalization Records, 1850 – 1930

For ABC Wednesday

October rambling #2: monotasking

Bob Dylan isn’t the first lyricist to win the Nobel

anyjackass

Christ’s Burial Place Exposed for First Time in Centuries

John Green explains the tax plans of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and the differences between Donald Trump’s plans for healthcare in the United States and Hillary Clinton’s proposals

Political ads: Jason Kander for US Senate from Missouri and Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty

SNL: ‘Black Jeopardy’ with Tom Hanks

‘What Kind of Mother Is 8 Months Pregnant and Wants an Abortion?’

‘Marquis,’ YouthFX film about Marquis Dixon; a state appeals court has rejected the original nine-year sentence for Marquis Dixon, the Albany youth convicted as an adult for a sneaker robbery

H.I.V. Arrived in the U.S. Long Before ‘Patient Zero’ and Mythology of ‘Patient Zero’ and how AIDS virus traveled to the United States is all wrong

We are intersex people, and we don’t need to be ‘fixed’ by surgeries

Surviving the intersection of fear and recklessness

Read This Story Without Distraction (Can You?) – I did not know monotasking was a word

Tom Hayden, protester-turned-politician, dies at 76

NFL Ratings Just Fell Off a Cliff: Why?

Taryn Huber Named RMAC Volleyball Academic Player of the Year; daughter of one of my oldest, dearest friends

Maine’s Penobscots tell Cleveland: Win the Series, great, but lose the logo

Remember When The Chicago White Sox Won The World Series?

5 Things Millennials Are Trying To Render Extinct

Winnie the Pooh is still the best bear in the world

Now I Know: Silence Lights and Hannibal, Lector and Dire Straights and The Groom of the Stool and Marching Forward and Tumbling Down and When It Rains, It Poems

Movie: SANCTUARY (1961), starring Lee Remick, Yves Montand, Bradford Dillman, and Odetta; screenplay by Ruth Ford and James Poe, based on works by William Faulkner; directed by Tony Richardson. In 1928 Mississippi, the black maid of a white woman helps her employer out of a predicament

A Hamilton Skeptic on Why the Show Isn’t As Revolutionary As It Seems

John Ostrander: Making a Better Superman
snopes

The Post-Racial America section

Racial Terror Lynching in America, Animated

‘What did you just call me?’ Black broadcaster confronts hate in Charleston

An Open Letter To Those Who Don’t See Their Own Racism

‘Only White People,’ Said the Little Girl

‘She’s So Pretty. Where Did You Get Her?’

Music

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the Gregory Brothers, featuring Weird Al, Debbie Harry and others

Springsteen covered by women: The best of the best, part 3

boudwin. – Asking is Leaving

The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Are a Disgrace to Music; worth it for the music links alone, but no Yes?

Queen’s Fast Version of ‘We Will Rock You’ From 1977 BBC Session

Coverville 1145: Moody Blues Cover Story for Justin Hayward’s 70th

Mama told me not to come – Three Dog Night

Jolene – Dolly Parton & Pentatonix

Listen to Odetta cover Dylan

No, Bob Dylan isn’t the first lyricist to win the Nobel

Brian Wilson Talks Mental Illness, Drugs and Life After Beach Boys

Bobby Vee died at age 73, here’s a 2014 video in support of Bobby’s last album

Chartered Waters: Music Chart Stories

Friday Funnies: The Black Comic Book, Pt. 1

People – O.K., white people – have actually told me, “I don’t think of you as black.” Don’t know what to do with that one.


After my father died ten and a half years ago, my mother, sisters and I went sorting through his things, naturally. One item that I seized on was The Colored Negro Black Comic Book.

Somehow I was totally unaware of this book’s existence. It was published by Price/Stern/Sloan in 1970 (though my father may have purchased it later), and I went to college in 1971, so I didn’t see it around.

It was written by Harvey Comics (Richie Rich, Casper) editor Sid Jacobson, whose name frankly didn’t ring a bell at the time, and drawn by Ernie Colon, whose name I recognized instantly.

The book is 80 pages. 14 x 19 cm. Page 3 reads in part: “This satire of America’s best-loved comic strips is presented strictly for laughs, but with the hope that one day, in a world of greater honesty, justice, and understanding, the black man will take his rightful place in the literature of all kinds.”

So, how did it do? It’s hard to judge things decades after the fact, but I’ll give it a shot.

Note: in the comic strip tradition all the words in the strip are in capitals, but for readability, I’ve deigned to write in standard English. Also the words that are in bold in the strip are in red in this text:

The first strip is “Superblack”, a 4 page takeoff on The Man of Steel.

Page 1:
Lois: Mother! Dad! Guess who’s coming to breakfast!

Page 2:

Page 3, Panel 1:
Supes: (looks lovingly at Lois, and vice versa): Lois has told me so much about you folks, we’ve both sure you’ll have the liberalism to delight in our happiness….
(Picture of a man, and a placard “I.F. Stone for President” in the background.)
Page 3, Panel 2:
(Women in background)
Father (waving his finger in Supes’ face): The world is changing fast, but not that fast! As much as I’d like to, I find that I-

Page 4
(Lois’ mom bemused, Lois proud to see Supes hold her dad up in the air by the jacket)
Dad: -W-Welcome you to the family –chokeson!

The movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was obviously on the minds of the writers. Not only are Lois’ first words a play on that title, but the father name-drops Sidney Poitier, the star (along with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) of that 1967 film.
I think it works as “it’s hard to REALLY be liberal” story. Miscegenation was only legal in all states the same year as the movie came out, after all. the finger in the face was a nice, patronizing liberal, touch.

The second strip is “Bronzie”, 4 page riff on “Blondie”

Page 1:
Bronzie: I Wonder who that could be?

Page 2:
(Neighbors at the door)
Female neighbor: Good evening. We wanted to be the first to welcome you to the neighborhood.

Page 3:

Page 4:
(Neighbors shocked look, Bronzie’s back to them and Bronzie’s husband in his chair, bemused)
Bronzie: In fact, you’re the only ones to call on us in the two years we’ve been living here!

This sort of thing actually used to happen to people I knew. Funny in a somewhat painful way.

I’ll be looking at more strips in the coming weeks.

One other observation- for some reason, you can see the dots used as the skin tone on some strips (Natural, Superblack) more than others. They all look a consistent graytone in the book.

“Flesh Horton”, a 4 page take-off on “Flash Gordon”.

Page 1:
(Two guys sitting at the control panel)
Flesh: Things have certainly changed, Dr. Zirkon!
Zirkon: Yas, Flesh- they certainly have!

Page 2:

Page 3, Panel 1
(Shot of spaceship)
Flesh: Now, we live as if there were no difference in our skin color at all!
Zirkon: To tell you the truth, Flesh, I hadn’t realized you were black ’til you mentioned it!
Page 3, Panel 2
(Flesh opening a door)
Flesh: -But what are we going to do-

Page 4
(Men and women with slightly pointed ears, sitting in airplane-like seats; sign says “Greenie Venusian Section”
Flesh (not in shot): -with those damn green Venusians?

People – O.K., white people – have actually told me, “I don’t think of you as black.” Don’t know what to do with that one. What does that mean? That they think of me as white? And if so, is that supposed to be a compliment? (Hint: it’s not.)

I’ve also heard, “I’m color-blind.” I’m always suspicious of the remark. If they are truly color-blind, which I doubt is true with most people regardless of race, why do they find a need to say it? And to me? Also, more often than not, something is said later in the conversation which betrays the comment.

I think this story really speaks to what I consider to be a major truth: that people who have been oppressed sometimes go out and oppress Unfortunate, for sure, but it does happen.

***

“Natural”, a 4-page riff on “Nancy”. I should note that except for the panel shown, Nancy is always smiling. Note also that while Natural is in every shot, she says nothing, but is looking coquettish, especially in the last panel.

Page 1:
Sluggo: I don’t dig it, Natural – you’re the grooviest black chick I know-
–you picket, you stand up for your people’s rights-

Page 2, Panel 1:
Sluggo: -Right up to your natural hair, you’re all soul, baby!
-And you gotta admit, I’m the grooviest white guy you know!
Page 2, Panel 2:
Sluggo (putting on round lens shades):
I wear shades in the winter and tan myself in the summer!

Page 3:

Page 4:
Sluggo (literally on a soapbox): -So tell me, girl- why won’t you go out with me?

I knew these guys in high school especially, these white guys (and occasionally white gals) who could out-street talk me and expected that I would think that they were really “down with it”. I tended to find them irritating.

I’ve also known white people who like to tan who liked to point out that their skin color was darker than mine on their forearms, and would put their arms next to mine to prove it. Most insulting, not to mention stupid.

But, is it just me, or does Sluggo look like he might be a light-skinned black?

So, the real question is: is it funny? Yes, I think so. To quote AdAge’s Bob Garfield: “It’s the universal recognition that drives the laughs.” I’ve been positively inclined towards everything I’ve looked at thus far. This too shall change.

Thanks to Mary Beth, my former colleague, for scanning these a decade ago; this way, I did not need to bug friend Fred Hembeck, who had scanned some previous items for me.

Reprinted from my blogs of January 15 and 22, 2006, with minor edits, such as replacing dead links.

August Rambling II: Smart is sexy and stupid is not

A reference to my piece about David Cassidy made it into the print version of the paper because “it was a good post, and filled with what we like: short, timely and to the point :)”


The New York Times’ prophetic 1983 warning about the NSA, which naturally leads to Glenn Greenwald killed the internet.

My Feelings About the Harriet Tubman Sex Tape in 10 GIFs.

Invisible Disabilities Day is October 24. I have this friend with rather a constant neck pain, but she doesn’t LOOK sick, and therefore feels diminished by those who actually don’t believe her. Conversely, The Complexities of Giving: People with Disabilities as Help Objects.

Photos of the worldly goods of inmates at the Willard Asylum. I backed the Kickstarter for this and wrote about it a couple years ago.

“Each week, TIME Magazine designs covers for four markets: the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific.” Often, America’s cover is quite, well – different. I had noticed this before. I don’t know that it’s “stunning,” but it IS telling.

The Peanuts gang meets The Smiths, in which This Charming Charlie masterfully blends Charles Schulz’s comics with lyrics by The Smiths.

Mark Evanier’s Tales of My Father, featuring Tony Orlando. Also, Tales of My Cat.

A friend’s letter from his brother. (Can one read this sans Facebook?)

Yes, smart is sexy and stupidity is not.

Eddie, the Renaissance Geek is cancer-free!

So I have survived my first grown-up move. Moving as an adult, it turns out, is radically different from moving as a student.

John Scalzi: To The Dudebro Who Thinks He’s Insulting Me by Calling Me a Feminist.

Air New Zealand celebrates marriage equality.

Lake Edge United Church of Christ in Madison, WI: “Worship at the Edge” PRIDE Sunday.

My old buddy Matt Haller has a new blog and writes about lies my shampoo bottle tells me about dating.

Arthur challenges his own snap assumptions.

SamuraiFrog writes about the list of best movies that EW had on the list in 1999, but which had fallen off the list by 2013 and also other great films. Re: a comment he made: that will require a blog post from me. He’s been musing on the early Marvel comics, which have all been interesting, and I was glad to play a small part in his understanding of Thor.

21 Jokes Only History Nerds Will Understand​.

German, not Swiss, Orson Welles.

Marian McPartland, ‘Piano Jazz’ Host, Has Died. I loved how she way she not only performed but, probably, more importantly, INFORMED about music.

The late Elmore Leonard’ TEN RULES FOR WRITING. His New York Times obit.

David Janower has passed away. He was the choral director of the fine Albany Pro Musica, and I knew and liked him personally, so I am sad. He had surgery a few months back and suffered a stroke from which he never really recovered.

A worthy neologism found by Dustbury.

The God of SNL will see you now.

Dolly Parton’s original recording of “Jolene” slowed down by 25% is surprisingly awesome.

Paul McCartney “In Spite Of All The Danger” & “20 Flight Rock” (Live), the former a cover of first Beatles record. Also, the Beatles’ final photo session, August 22, 1969.

Chuck Miller has posted every day for four years, over 2,000 blog posts on the Times Union site.

Dueling banjos: Steve Martin, Kermit the Frog. Sesame Street does Old Spice parody with Grover.

No ukuleles were harmed in the making of this video.

What did I write about in my Times Union blog this month? That annoying JEOPARDY! Kids Week story and Should ‘citizen initiative and referendum’ come to New York? and The prescient David Cassidy song. Cassidy got arrested locally for felony DWI, and a reference to my piece made it into the print version of the paper because “it was a good post, and filled with what we like: short, timely and to the point :),” FWIW.

If you are an NYS homeowner, read Tax Department Launches Statewide STAR Registration. The Data Detective blog has some other interesting stuff – if I do say so myself – such as On being ‘right’ in science.

Jaquandor answers my questions about the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team and unfriending.

Spontaneous​s goat manure fire.

June Rambling: an atheist’s prayers, and stillness of the soul

101 Ways to Say “Died” that appeared in early American epitaphs

Useful phrases for the surveillance state.

Long-lost diary of Nazi racial theorist and Hitler confidant recovered.

George Takei remembers the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, which included himself.

Why three states dumped major private prison company in one month. I’ve long been suspicious of private prisons with them “extracting guarantees of 100 percent occupancy.”

Cereal bigotry, Arthur’s response to the Cheerios ad controversy.

SamuraiFrog feels this is the most eloquent and exact statement about fat-shaming ever. And Lefty’s wanting to shake his disease.

Gay Men, Male Privilege, Women, And Consent.

In the literally OMG category: Christian Domestic Discipline… is a movement that seeks to carry out God’s will. “Which specific plan of God’s? Oh, you know, just that all women obey their husbands fastidiously — a dynamic that CDD thinks is best maintained through doling out corporal punishments.”

An atheist’s prayers.

Awkwardneϟϟ, Ken Jennings at his son’s elementary school for the annual “Festival of the Famous.”

Astronomy Picture of the Day: June 18 – A Supercell Thunderstorm Over Texas.

Steve Bissette Working On A Book About Alan Moore, Asks People To Publish His 1963 Stories Online For Free.

Meryl expands on the New York Times Magazine, “Who Made That?” article.

American and British pronunciation of Spanish (loan) words.

How Bugs Bunny saved Mel Blanc’s life.

Shooting Parrots likes to write about roguish folks you’ve never heard of – I’VE never heard of – such as Eugène François Vidocq and Ignáz Trebitsch-Lincoln. Interesting stuff.

To Parents of Small Children: Let Me Be the One Who Says It Out Loud.

Mark Evanier on the wealthy Zukors, the sweet but terrified Stearns, and his compassionate father, who worked for the IRS, part 1 and part 2.

My buddy and former neighbor Diana’s Lean In story.

Melanie: harp lessons, Italian rain, and traveling the world from home. Also, how stillness is a quality of the soul.

I wrote Love and cheating, and what I don’t understand.

Little by little things are disappearing from my house.

According to IMDB, Richard Matheson wrote 16 episodes of the TV show Twilight Zone, which included the “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” segment that was also used in the Twilight Zone movie.

101 Ways to Say “Died” that appeared in early American epitaphs.
to me

There’s a great new documentary out called 20 FEET FROM STARDOM. The movie is about backup singers – those incredibly talented musicians who you rarely hear about but are on all your favorite records. Coming to the Spectrum in Albany on July 5 – I WILL see it.

How a maudlin song became a children’s classic.

Great Coverville podcast honoring Cyndi Lauper, who won a Tony AND turned 60 this month; oh, I might have suggested it. Dustbury celebrates as well.

I’ve been ear wormed by Our State Fair, the opening song from the 1962 film ‘State Fair’, not a great movie, but the first non-kiddie film I ever saw.

In honor of summer, a visual representation of The Rite of Spring.

Tom Lehrer singing about The Elements, then and THEN.

K-Chuck radio: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and cover songs and songs about Superman.

And speaking of the guy from Krypton: Superman was promoted at the 1940 New York World’s Fair. But who played him? It is a mystery! Also, Original ‘Superman’ Co-Star Interrupts ‘Man of Steel’ Conversation in Movie Theater Restroom.