April rambling #2: Smartest place on earth

A World Awash in Purple

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The 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners, with links to many of the written pieces!

The Vlogbrothers — John and Hank Green — summarize the tax proposals of the folks who want to be your next President.

John Green: Here’s to civil discourse and David Kalish: Comparing Facebook to a pee-soaked lamp post.

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy.

Mississippi Interracial Couple Evicted For Being In An Interracial Marriage. In 2016.

Michigan mechanic refuses to serve people from the ‘ghetto’ — but insists he’s not racist – he was a bit coarser than that. “But Jim S. insists he’s not racist — which is exactly what racists usually say. ‘Race has nothing to do with this, let me clarify,’ Jim S. told Mic. ‘What we’re trying to avoid is people who number one can’t afford service.'” In 2016.

Michael Rivest: Thoughts on White Privilege and Colorblindness.

Why You Should Care about Felon Voting Rights.
Continue reading “April rambling #2: Smartest place on earth”

June rambling #2: composer James Horner, and coloring books

John Oliver: Helen Mirren Reads the Most Horrible Parts of the Torture Report and What the Internet Does to Women.

The Internet Age of Mean.

11 Ways White America Avoids Taking Responsibility for its Racism. “The pernicious impact of ‘white fragility.'” Slurs: Who Can Say Them, When, and Why. And Churches Are Burning Again in America.

President Obama’s extraordinary eulogy in Charleston, SC.

A black man and a white woman switch mics, and show us a thing or two about privilege.

Using music in political campaigns: what you should know.

SCOTUS_SpideyThis is actual content from the Supreme Court decision by Elena Kagan in Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, Inc., decided June 22, 2015.

Bobby Jindal’s bizarre hidden camera announcement to his kids that he’s running for President.

Meh, cisgender, jeggings, and other new words added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Arthur shares the Father’s Day message from Upworthy.

For Adults, Coloring Invites Creativity And Brings Comfort.

This School Was SHOCKED By What They Found Hidden Behind The Chalkboard. Might I say, though, that the phrase “my mind is blown” is highly overused.

Anti-Slavery Hamilton Gets Pushed Off The $10 Bill, While Genocidal Slaver Jackson Stays On The $20 and Here’s Why Andrew Jackson Stays and Alexander Hamilton Goes. I’m not happy about it, especially since I’m a member of the church Hamilton once attended. And I’m still pulling for Harriet Tubman to get on some bill, preferably on the larger denomination.

Serena Williams Is America’s Greatest Athlete. It was true last September when the article was written, and after her French Open win, still applicable.

Now I Know: It’s Not Pepto Bismol Lake and King Friday XIII.

Jaquandor loves waffles.

Meryl explains Beanworld.

Two Weeks of Status Updates from Your Vague Friend on Facebook.

Evanier points to the 27 shows have been announced for the coming season featuring Audra McDonald, Bruce Willis, and Al Pacino.

Comedy Central in the Post-TV Era: “What’s the difference between a segment on a TV show and the exact same segment on a YouTube channel? Tens of thousands of dollars.”

Comedy Central is running every Daily Show since the day Jon Stewart began, on January 11, 1999, in a 42-day marathon over on this site. It started on June 26.

Eddie rambles about his health & Emmylou Harris’ cool award, among other things.

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Evanier’s Patrick MacNee stories.

Farewell, James Horner, who composed a lot of music for movies I’ve seen.

Jim Ed Brown of the Browns singing trio (“The Three Bells”) passed away at the age of 81.

From 2012: The making of Disraeli Gears, my favorite album by Cream.

SamuraiFrog ranks Weird Al: 50-41.

Tosy ranks the songs of U2’s Songs of Innocence.

Bohemian Rhapsody on a fairground “player” organ that is more than 100 years old.

Just for you, Dan: The Tremeloes, who covered Good Day Sunshine.

A Stevie Wonder cover: Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing – Jacob Collier.

Muppets: Thor, God of Thunder.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

Bloggers ADD has met, including yours truly.

Arthur takes the ‘I Side With’ quiz.

SamuraiFrog’s dad and Carly Simon.

GOOGLE ALERT (not me)

Roger Green lost both of his children, Amanda and Lance, in separate DUI crashes. “Green and his wife Anita raised their children in rural Oklahoma.”

Seeing it another way

I didn’t “get” the “what color is this dress” thing.

colorI read this joke recently. I’d seen it before:

As a man was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him, “Frank, I just heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way on the Interstate. Please be careful!”
“It’s not just ONE car,” said Frank. “It’s HUNDREDS of them!”

It doesn’t ALWAYS happen, but I do TRY to see things from other people’s perspectives. Sometimes, I get a compelling narrative that butts up against my own.
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For whatever reason, I never warmed to the Oscar Best Picture-winning movie Birdman. One of my oldest friends came out of a screening of the film the same day I saw another film, and she had exactly the same reaction as I did.

Yet, in my visit to one of the ABC Wednesday folks, Anita from India, wrote: Five Lessons from Birdman film. Among the observations: not resting on your laurels, and dealing with your inner voice. The piece is a wonderful contemplation, and I liked it much more than the film it touted.
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I didn’t “get” the “what color is this dress” thing. Fortunately, my colleague sent me this story from Wired, which describes the science.

Another colleague noted, regarding the picture above: “Put your finger in the middle – Both panels are same color. It is the fact that the angle and highlighting make you believe the top is in the light and must be darker and the bottom is in the shadow and must be lighter.”
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As a result of our conversation at church about white privilege in January, led by two of our members who are, not incidentally, white, one of my white church friends decided to engage his work colleagues about the topic; the result of this is that they looked at him as though he had three heads. Perhaps another reason why our white friends don’t talk about race.
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The article in Salon with the provocative title Why the right hates American history has some really interesting notations about the change in in the American English language, which were instructive:

Living in the 18th Century, the Founders never would have actually used the word “privacy” out loud or in writing… The reason is simple: “privacy” in 1776 was a code word for toilet functions…
Instead, the word of the day was “security,” and in many ways it meant what we today mean when we say “privacy…”
Similarly, “liberty” was also understood, in one of its dimensions, to mean something close to what today we’d call “privacy.”

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I’m still not going to read the book, thanks to SamuraiFrog’s painful and detailed review. But Jaquandor applauds EL James’s writing process for 50 Shades of Grey. Here’s a defense of its grammar.
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As a business librarian, I am somewhat concerned that Tougher ozone standards could snuff out the recovery, businesses warn. Yet as a human being, I’m very concerned that weaker ozone standards could snuff out life as we know it, scientists warn. What to do, what to do?
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Saturday Night Live had its 40th anniversary special last month. Haven’t watched more than seven minutes of the three-and-a-half-hour program, and I probably won’t. Didn’t watch the weekly show much in the past decade.

Yet I found myself reading several stories ABOUT the special, e.g., ‘Saturday Night Live’: 20 Personal, Funny Tales. Not only is former cast member Gary Kroeger’s observations interesting, so is the rest of his blog; he MAY run for Congress as a Democrat from California.

I enjoyed Norm MacDonald’s tweets; my, he did not fare well in the ranking of all 141 cast members.
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Dustbury cannot decide whether he’s impressed or depressed by the number of YouTube scenes he recognized.
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A favorite quote of the week, from Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock Taught Us Acceptance Is Highly Logical:
“As a young black man and science fiction fan, I strongly identified with Spock’s struggles to fit in with his human coworkers as I struggled to fit in at mostly-white schools and workplaces. And I wouldn’t be surprised if other fans struggling to fit into their communities for different reasons felt the same bond.”

The dinner guide to white privilege

They show up to try and calm him down and offer their help (rather than barking orders, screaming threats, and beating him up,)

good-foodI had recently suggested that, because of the new Jim Crow, it is good when white people point out white privilege. But I realized that this was an unfair request since some folk need a nutritionally balanced meal to help in defining and explaining it.

As an appetizer, start with this delectable cartoon.

A most unusual but satisfying salad: What riding my bike has taught me about white privilege. As someone who rides a bike, it’d doubly meaningful for me.

Sample a medley of vegetables in 5 Lessons to Remember as Ferguson Fades into History.

How about a side dish of Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person.

For a palate cleanser, try The Economist Admits Slavery Was Pretty ‘Evil’ After All. Almost comic in its tone-deafness.

Here’s the main course: The Daily Show’s Race/Off segments. The heart is at the end of the ten-minute segment when Jon Stewart said that if you’re tired of hearing about racism, imagine living with it.

Then this most unexpected dessert: SamuraiFrog’s reviews of old Marvel comic books, of all things. In his take on Journey Into Mystery #101, he writes:

[Thor’s] so enraged that he’s throwing the Asgardian version of a fit.

It’s so bad that his fellow Avengers–Iron Man, Giant-Man and Wasp–show up to try and calm him down and offer their help (rather than barking orders, screaming threats, and beating him up, which is what they would have done had it been the Hulk, just saying).

Right there, a simple, unambiguous description of white privilege.

Wash it all down with a video can of diet racism.

A scrumptious meal.

Dealing with that “white privilege” conversation with humor

These are examples of showing, in a satirical way, how white privilege is so ingrained. As Hayes points out at the end, if you had substituted “black” for “white”, it would sound like normal American media chitchat.

One of the things that many right-wing Americans are fond of saying, and there are variations in the wording, is that there are a bunch of “professional black people” stirring up trouble between black and white people. By “professional black people,” I don’t mean black people who are doctors and lawyers and the like. Rather, their profession is BEING a black person. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are ALWAYS cited, and Barack HUSSEIN Obama has been recently added to the mix.

The general narrative is that, racially, things are FINE in America, that we have a post-racial society. I mean, we have a President who’s black! What more proof does one need? Well, none for the Supreme Court, which decides to gut the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action.

Every suggestion that things are NOT hunky-dory has a pushback. The difference in unemployment, wealth, and health care? That’s black laziness, and it’s self-victimization to even discuss it. Trayvon Martin’s shooting? He was a thug. Etc, etc.

In the last forty or fifty years, I’ve been to a number of talks, workshops, etc., in which the notion of “white privilege” shows up, and almost invariably, the air goes out of the room. White privilege, Wikipedia says, “refers to the set of alleged societal privileges that white people benefit from beyond those commonly experienced by people of color in the same social, political, or economic spaces (nation, community, workplace, income, etc.). The term denotes both obvious and less obvious unspoken advantages that white individuals may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice. These include cultural affirmations of one’s own worth; greater presumed social status; and freedom to move, buy, work, play, and speak freely. The concept of white privilege also implies the right to assume the universality of one’s own experiences, marking others as different or exceptional while perceiving oneself as normal.” You can find a whole category on the topic in the Huffington Post.

The reason it sucks the air out of a room, particularly early on, is that it has led to either a rejection of the notion altogether or a wallowing of white guilt with nowhere to go with that. Here’s a decent list about privilege (and no, it’s not just racial).

A popular trope out there is that the (non-monolithic) black community, or Muslim community, is need of Rising Up and Keeping Its Folks in Line. Even black people, such as Bill Cosby, say it. But the great thing about white privilege is that no one would be ridiculous enough to say that about white people.

Until now.

If you’ve heard too much about the “pathology” of black people, you might appreciate Cord Jefferson of Gawker.com showing this Video of Violent, Rioting Surfers Shows White Culture of Lawlessness. But it was astonishing when Jefferson is interviewed on an episode of All In With Chris Hayes on MSNBC to discuss that video. They play it straight, like any other “talking heads” interview on the news programs. It works on multiple levels for me.

These are examples of showing, in a satirical way, how white privilege is so ingrained. As Hayes points out at the end, if you had substituted “black” for “white”, it would sound like normal American media chitchat.

Related: I was touched by this story: I have experienced what it is like to be a “sort-of white” person because of my racial background, my upbringing, and the way I look.