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Posted by Fred Clark

On Tuesday here, we talked about how the 1980 presidential election was far more shaped by the Cold War than by anything like the contemporary culture war issues that later came to the fore during and after Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Reagan was overwhelmingly popular with the white evangelical voting bloc that today is preoccupied with the “social issues” that they promote as the proper concern of “values voters” — abortion, homosexuality, abortion, birth control, abortion, prayer in schools, and religious liberty (i.e., the liberty to define one’s religion as opposition to abortion and homosexuality). But culture-war concerns were far down the list of reasons why those white evangelical voters supported Reagan in 1980. In 1980, “values voters” were still mainly Cold Warriors — far more concerned with the Russians than with the gays or the baby-killers.

Sen. Jesse Helms accepts the "Proudly Pro-Life" award from the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund in 1998.

Sen. Jesse Helms accepts the “Proudly Pro-Life” award from the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund in 1998.

Abortion and homosexuality came later. They were products of Reaganism, not the other way around.

But Reagan’s 1980 campaign was not exclusively about the Cold War. As a candidate, and subsequently as president, Reagan did make one culture-war issue a major theme and subtext of his agenda. He made that clear in an infamous campaign speech in which he, for the first time, declared his support for “states rights” at the Neshoba County Fair, outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi.

That just so happens to be where the Klan murdered civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner during the “Freedom Summer” of 1964. Those murders were investigated by the FBI, not by local or state law enforcement. The Neshoba County sheriff was actually arrested and accused as part of the murder conspiracy. He was acquitted by an all-white jury in the 1967 trial which was perceived, by many white Mississippi residents, as an insulting instance of federal meddling in what should have been a state and local matter.

So it was not a coincidence that Reagan just happened to visit Neshoba County a dozen years after that trial to deliver a speech endorsing “states’ rights.” Nor was he unaware of the history and enduring use of that euphemism and all that it meant from Calhoun to George Wallace.

Here’s Emory University historian Joseph Crespino discussing that speech in the larger context of the Republican Party’s successful “Southern Strategy” to convert Dixiecrats into Republicans:

The national GOP was trying to strengthen its southern state parties and win support from southern white Democrats. Consider a letter that Michael Retzer, the Mississippi national committeeman, wrote in December 1979 to the Republican national committee. Well before the Republicans had nominated Reagan, the national committee was polling state leaders to line up venues where the Republican nominee might speak. Retzer pointed to the Neshoba County Fair as ideal for winning what he called the “George Wallace inclined voters.”

This Republican leader knew that the segregationist Alabama governor was the symbol of southern white resentment against the civil rights struggle. Richard Nixon had angled to win these voters in 1968 and 1972. Mississippi Republicans knew that a successful Republican candidate in 1980 would have to continue the effort.

On July 31st, just days before Reagan went to Neshoba County, the New York Times reported that the Ku Klux Klan had endorsed Reagan. In its newspaper, the Klan said that the Republican platform “reads as if it were written by a Klansman.” Reagan rejected the endorsement, but only after a Carter cabinet official brought it up in a campaign speech. The dubious connection did not stop Reagan from using segregationist language in Neshoba County.

It was clear from other episodes in that campaign that Reagan was content to let southern Republicans link him to segregationist politics in the South’s recent past. Reagan’s states rights line was prepared beforehand and reporters covering the event could not recall him using the term before the Neshoba County appearance. John Bell Williams, an arch-segregationist former governor who had crossed party lines in 1964 to endorse Barry Goldwater, joined Reagan on stage at another campaign stop in Mississippi. Reagan’s campaign chair in the state, Trent Lott, praised Strom Thurmond, the former segregationist Dixiecrat candidate in 1948, at a Reagan rally, saying that if Thurmond had been elected president “we wouldn’t be in the mess we are today.”

So, yeah, that happened. The Southern Strategy worked. Throughout the South, the party of Lincoln and Thaddeus Stevens switched places with the party of Calhoun and Andrew Johnson.

And that same Southern Strategy also created the space for the religious right — the large, now uniformly partisan white evangelical voting bloc. Those white evangelical voters today — not just in the South, but throughout the country — are overwhelmingly Republican. Ask them why and they’ll tell you, honestly and accurately, that it’s mainly because of the current roster of culture-war issues — abortion, homosexuality, abortion, etc.

Those issues have now replaced the original “states’ rights” issues that initially won over so many of those same voters a generation ago, before the genital-based culture war had arisen to political significance. Back then, in the years leading up to the 1980 election, the leaders of the nascent religious right were people like Jerry Falwell. And in 1980, Falwell wasn’t yet a culture warrior. He was, rather, someone better described by Retzer’s cautious phrase, a “George Wallace inclined voter.”

Here’s political scientist Daniel Schlozman summarizing how “The Christian Right changed how we talked about race“:

The Christian Right emerged from school desegregation — and forged a movement around taxes and religious freedom. In 1978, the Internal Revenue Service sought to revoke tax exemptions for schools formed as white-flight havens from the public schools. The backlash was overwhelming. The IRS received more than a quarter of a million letters against the proposed rules. Congressional hearings reframed the issue from an attack on segregation to an attack on religion by meddlesome bureaucrats. As Newt Gingrich, then a freshman representative, explained, “The IRS should collect taxes — not enforce social policy.”

Early in 1979, Jerry Falwell formed Moral Majority, the premier organization for the new Christian Right. Falwell ran a segregated academy that would almost certainly have run afoul of the IRS guidelines. In 1967, the same year the local public schools desegregated, Lynchburg Christian Academy opened its doors. As of the fall of 1979, it had an all-white faculty, and only five African-Americans among the 1,147 students.

In August 1979, Congress inserted riders into the appropriations bill for the Treasury Department to prevent the IRS from implementing the proposed regulations. A fight over desegregation had galvanized white evangelicals to oppose meddlesome bureaucrats, and the movement was born.

Today, “religious liberty” is a euphemism arguing for the right of white Christian bakers to refuse service to gay couples seeking wedding cakes. Back then, “religious liberty” was a euphemism for the right of white Christian schools to refuse to accept black students.

Reagan was elected president in 1980 thanks in no small measure to white Christian voters who supported him due to what Crespino delicately describes as his willingness to be linked “to segregationist politics in the South’s recent past.” But by the end of Reagan’s second term, he and his party enjoyed the overwhelming support of white evangelicals, including many who held little conscious regard for that old-style segregationist politics. They didn’t, en masse, become Republicans because the GOP had embraced the politics of the old segregationists. They became Republicans, en masse, because of abortion and (later) gay rights.

The anti-feminist genital-focused culture war issues seemed to have completely replaced the earlier anti-civil-rights race-focused culture war issues.

But what does “replaced” mean there? Sometimes we replace something by getting rid of it altogether and then putting something new in its place. Other times, we replace something with a stand-in, like the way golfers replace their ball on the green with a coin. That marker occupies the same place as the ball it re-placed, but it does so in order to signify the continuing presence and existence of the prior thing.

Which kind of replacing happened here? Are the sex-obsessed culture wars of the post-Reagan years a substitute for the race-obsessed culture wars of the pre-Reagan years? Or are they a proxy for that same old argument?

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Posted by Fred Clark

Since we were just talking about former President Jimmy Carter here, let’s take a moment to remember one particularly badass moment from his personal history.

Granted, Jimmy Carter isn’t generally described as “badass.” That’s a shame because building thousands of houses for Habitat should be thought of that way. And negotiating a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt involved high levels of bad-assery. Also, too, eradicating the Guinea worm? That’s so badass that Samuel Jackson should play Carter in the movie version of the story.

Jimmy Carter is also teaching Sunday school every week at the age of 90, just as he has for the past 60 years — uninterrupted by cancer treatments or by a term as governor of Georgia or a term as president of the United States. I suppose that’s not really “badass,” per se, but it’s pretty impressive — an example of what Eugene Peterson calls “a long obedience in the same direction.”

But the really badass story involving Jimmy Carter dates back to 1952, before he entered politics. Back then he was Lt. James Earl Carter, a nuclear specialist in the U.S. Navy’s Seawolf program working in upstate New York.

In December 1952, there was an explosion in the reactor of the Chalk River nuclear site in Ontario. The reactor was in partial meltdown and it was flooded with radioactive water. This was Very Bad. Even worse, it was going to have to be dismantled and shut down by hand.

Basically, somebody was going to have to make like Spock at the end of Wrath of Khan and walk into a melting-down nuclear reactor. That somebody would have to be, like Spock, both brave enough to face deadly radiation and smart enough to understand how a nuclear reactor works.

spockreactorThat’s how the job fell to Lt. Carter and his team of 22 other Navy specialists.

Here’s where the story turns into something like an epic Hollywood heist movie. The radiation level was such that, even with the best 1950s-era protective gear, no one could enter Chalk River for more than 90 seconds at a time. So it would have to be like a relay race — wade in, get as much done as possible in 89 seconds, then get out of there while the next guy in line took his turn.

The team built a replica of the whole facility on an Ontario tennis court — every hallway and door, every nut and bolt and screw and hatch. And they practiced. That’s what badass engineers do.

Here’s how Carter summarized this in a 1975 campaign biography:

When it was our time to work, a team of three of us practiced several times on the mock-up, to be sure we had the correct tools and knew exactly how to use them. Finally, outfitted with white protective clothes, we descended into the reactor and worked frantically for our allotted time. … Each time our men managed to remove a bolt or fitting from the core, the equivalent piece was removed on the mock-up.

For several months afterwards, we saved our feces and urine to have them monitored for radioactivity. We had absorbed a year’s maximum allowance of radiation in one minute and twenty-nine seconds. There were no apparent after-effects from this exposure — just a lot of doubtful jokes among ourselves about death versus sterility.

So Lt. Carter and the rest of his team ran through a radioactive flood with hand-tools and stopwatches and carried out an incredibly technical feat of nuclear engineering in 89-second intervals fully expecting that it would mean they’d all soon be dead from some horrible form of radiation sickness. And they did it. They shut down the reactor and saved the day.

Jimmy Carter is a quiet, gentle man who teaches Sunday school. But don’t forget that he’s also a quiet, gentle, Sunday-school teaching badass.


Actually, in Reverse

Aug. 27th, 2015 06:39 pm
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Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

For something that started so quickly, that cowl is totally going the other way now. The spinning and plying flew by and now…  The problem is me, like it always is.  I started knitting the cowl, charging along – following the pattern and when I had about 8cm, I realized that the gauge wasn’t working out, and that it was coming out too small, and… I ripped it back added another repeat, and kept going.

Now the astute among you will notice that I have here violated knitting rule #1, which is that I didn’t do a swatch, if I’d have done a swatch, I would have known my gauge was off, and that it would be too small, and I could have prevented the wasted knitting time. It’s a cowl though, and so I broke the rule, and when I had to rip back there was nobody but me to blame, and it wasn’t that much time wasted. The cowl is small, it’s fast knitting.  That first rip didn’t even bother me. It took two minutes, I pulled it all out, I added another repeat to the stitch count, and I started knitting again.  Now, is there anything you think I missed there? Any step that I should have taken, any technique I could have used at that moment to make it more likely that things would go better for me in the future? Yes, yes there was, my little poppets. I have here executed classic knitting mistake #2, which is that if you make a mistake, then it is likely best not to repeat the mistake and then expect the result to be different. I was in trouble because I didn’t measure, and I could have gotten out the measuring tape, and I could have seen how much it was too small by, and then I could have added an appropriate number of stitches based on that, rather than just adding “some” and feeling better about the whole thing.

That wasn’t the choice I made though, after executing mistakes #1 and 2, and so when I realized that I hadn’t added enough stitches (for the second time) and it was still going to be too small, there was nothing to do but blame myself again.  I pulled the work back, and added two more repeats, and started again.  Returning to the astute among you, we see that I have still not made any mention of a measuring tape or simple maths, even though I have now been twice punished with wasted knitting.  Inexplicable choice, that. Inexplicable. Still, I am who I am, so I added more stitches, started again, and knit until it was more than clear to me that I still had a problem. Then I knit for a while longer.

That’s right. Classic knitting error #3. I knew it was wrong, and I kept right on going while I thought about that.  I kept knitting and knitting, and the more I knit, the clearer it became that I now had not one, but two problems. First – the cowl was not going to be big enough, and second, it wasn’t going to use up as much of my handspun as I wanted. There’s nothing quite as sad as wasted handspun, so… I knit for a while longer and thought about how sad it was that I was making this mistake. I kept knitting, and knitting, and every so often i would spread it out on my leg and sigh, and think about the mistake I was making, and then do another few rounds. It was late into the evening before I decided that I couldn’t ignore it any more – so I knit another few rounds while I thought about how to solve it. This, of course, is knitting madness, brought about by brought about by an unwillingness to live in reality, and I kept knitting like knitting would solve my knitting problem. The more I knit, the bigger the problem got, and the more I knit the less I wanted to pull the work out and start again.  I thought about alternate ways to solve it while I knit. I thought about living with it (obviously, I was leaning that way), I thought about doing some increases and making a weird shaped thing. I thought about knitting socks instead.

rippingmeasuiring 2015-08-27

Once I’d sighed several times, and spread it out again, and the problem was still there (despite all the times I’d tried fixing it by doing nothing) I finally took the needle out of it, and got a tape measure, and went to the scale, and faced a few facts.  First, yes. It was too small.  I wasn’t getting gauge, and it wasn’t going to be big enough. Not quite. Second, after weighing the thing, it was plain that I wasn’t going to use up the handspun. I was more than halfway through it, and there was way more than half the yarn left.  I think that was when I poured myself a decent size glass of wine, reminded myself that I had nobody to blame but me, wondered absently how it is that I never learn my lesson, and ripped the thing all the way back.

Now I’ve started again. I’ve done the math, I’ve used a measuring tape, and I’ve (once more) sworn that I this is the last time that I’ll ever screw up in this particular way.

redocowl 2015-08-27

I’m 12 rounds in, and I vow, this will be a cowl. There’s no other mistakes left for me to make.


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Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

A child that was 7 years old when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans will be 17 today. When the storm hit, he would have just started 2nd grade. Today, that 17-year-old is more likely than his same age peers in all but two other cities to be both unemployed and not in school. He is part of the Katrina generation.

(September 3, 2005 New Orleans) -- Evacuees and patients arive at New Orleans airport where FEMA's D-MATs have set up operations.  Photo: Michael Rieger/FEMA
(September 3, 2005 New Orleans) — Evacuees and patients arive at New Orleans airport where FEMA’s D-MATs have set up operations.
Photo: Michael Rieger/FEMA

When the city was evacuated, many families suffered a period of instability. A report published nine months after the storm found that families had moved an average of 3.5 times in the first nine months. One-in-five school-age children were either not enrolled in school or were only partially attending (missing more than 10 days a month).

Five years later, another study found that 40% of children still did not have stable housing and another 20% remained emotionally distressed. 34% of children had been held back in school (compared to a 19% baseline in the South).

(September 3, 2005 New Orleans) -- Evacuees and patients arive at New Orleans airport where FEMA's D-MATs have set up operations.  Photo: Michael Rieger/FEMA
(September 3, 2005 New Orleans) — Evacuees and patients arive at New Orleans airport where FEMA’s D-MATs have set up operations.
Photo: Michael Rieger/FEMA

With so much trauma and dislocation, it is easy to imagine that even young people in school would have trouble learning; for those who suffered the greatest instability, it’s likely that their education was fully on pause.

At The Atlantic, Katy Reckdahl profiles such a family. They evacuated to Houston, where they suffered abuse from locals who resented their presence. At school, boys from New Orleans were getting picked on and getting in fights. So the mother of three kept her 11- and 13-year-old boys at home, fearful for their safety. Indeed, another New Orleanian boy that they knew was killed while in Houston. The boys missed an entire year of school.

“An untold number of kids,” writes Reckdahl, “probably numbering in the tens of thousands—missed weeks, months, even years of school after Katrina.” She quotes an educator who specializes in teaching students who have fallen behind, who estimates that “90-percent-plus” of his students “didn’t learn for a year.”

When the brothers profiled by Reckdahl returned to New Orleans one year later, they were placed in the correct grade for their age, despite having missed a year of school. The system was in chaos. Teachers were inexperienced thanks to charter schools replacing the public school system. One of the boys struggled to make sense of it all and eventually dropped out and got his GED instead.

No doubt the high number of unemployed and unenrolled young people in New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities devastated by Katrina is due, in part, to the displacement, trauma, and chaos of disaster. Optimistically, and resisting the “at risk” discourse, the Cowen Institute calls them “opportunity youth.” If there is the political will, we have the opportunity to help empower them to become healthy and productive members of our communities.

For more, pre-order sociologist Alice Fothergill and Lori Peek’s forthcoming book, Children of Katrina, watch an interview about their research, or read their preliminary findings here.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

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Posted by April Stevens

By Stephen Fried (Guest Contributor)

When I set out to write a book about Fred Harvey–who all but invented the American hospitality industry at his trackside restaurants and hotels between Chicago and Los Angeles along the Santa Fe–I thought I’d be writing a business biography set in the late 1800s, with some nice historical touches of the Wild West. It didn’t occur to me until about six months into the process that the story would actually have to extend two generations beyond Fred—all the way through the 1940s (when the physicists from Los Alamos used the Fred Harvey hotel, La Fonda, as their regular Santa Fe watering hole for successes and setbacks.) So instead of a historical biography, the book would need to be, for lack of a better term, a biographical history (which is why it took six years and not the two I promised my publisher.)

Fred, his son Ford, their top managers and the generations of their beloved waitresses, the “Harvey Girls” were afforded a birds-eye view of an enormous number of events in U.S. history that we often take for granted, and sometimes learn about pretty dryly. So I decided to recreate as many of the events that Fred and his employees experienced as I could, based on a new reading of original newspaper accounts (some on microfilm others, mercifully, now available on ProQuest) and then cross-referenced with the cache of never-before-seen Harvey family datebooks, correspondence and business files, as well as Santa Fe railroad archives.

From the manhunt for the escaped “Billy the Kid” in 1881 (a local celebrity in Las Vegas, New Mexico, where Fred had two restaurants and two hotels, which Billy sometimes patronized), to the Oklahoma Land Rush in 1889 (which left from the Arkansas City, Kansas Harvey House and Santa Fe depot), to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 (for which Fred helped cater the biggest lunch in American history for the opening ceremonies and parade).

There’s also the Rough Riders reunion in 1899 (held at the new Fred Harvey resort hotel, La Castañeda, in Las Vegas), and the development of the Grand Canyon as an international tourist attraction (Fred’s son Ford ran all the hotels at the canyon, and was a major player in the development of the national park system).

And, we can’t forget Teddy Roosevelt’s famed environmental address at the Canyon edge (which turns out to have been prompted, in part over a fight concerning the placement of the Harvey hotel there), or the first transcontinental air flights in 1929 (Fred’s grandson Freddy, a WWI pilot, was an original partner with Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, Glenn Curtiss and others in the company that became TWA; the first transcontinental air passenger meals were Harvey meals), or the Kansas City Massacre in 1933 (which took place in the Union Station where the Harvey company was headquartered, with bullets flying over the heads of Harvey Girls), … well, the list really does go on.

Probably my favorite historical recreation was Albert Einstein’s 1930 visit to America, which was highlighted by the day he came to the Grand Canyon, and was greeted by Hopi Indians he thought just liked him—and didn’t realize they worked for Fred Harvey. They wanted to make him an honorary chief—as they did for all visiting dignitaries—but they didn’t know who he was.

“What’s his business?” they asked their boss, Herman Schweizer, who ran the famed Harvey Indian art business.

“He invented the Theory of Relativity,” he replied.

All right,” they said, “we’ll call him ‘Great Relative.’”

Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West - One Meal at a TimeStephen Fried is an award-winning investigative journalist and essayist, and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism. He is the author of the highly praised books Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia, Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs, The New Rabbi, and Husbandry: Sex, Love & Dirty Laundry—Inside the Minds of Married Men. A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award–the Pulitzer Prize of magazine writing–Fried has been a prolific writer of feature stories and personal essays for various other publications. His new book, Appetite for America: How Visionary Business Man Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West, is available now (Bantam). To read more about the book and the author, please click here.

IMAGE: Albert Einstein at the Grand Canyon with Fred Harvey employees, courtesy of El Tovar Studio, Fred Harvey Collection, Grand Canyon National Park



OMG put to good use

Aug. 27th, 2015 06:36 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

I was following the natural flow of people as we all got off the elevator. Joe and I always get off last when the small space is crowded so there were several people ahead of me, all going towards the lobby and outside. The flowing line passed by a woman, with a walker, slowly walking on our right. As we neared the lobby a woman and her friend stopped to chat, interrupting the flow and suddenly blocking me as they stood right in my way.

They saw me and indicated to the woman with the walker to get out of the way. She wasn't in the way, I was nearly by her. THEY were in the way. When the woman with the walker didn't immediately respond, one of them reached forward, past me, and grabbed the sleeve of her coat pulling it, again indicating the she was in the way. She now noticed, saw me, and moved a quarter inch to the right, she was right by the wall, she had no room to manoeuvre but she tried anyway.

The two women looked at me, apologizing for the other woman's behaviour, and then headed out. Joe was right behind me. We got out and I was fuming. I swung my chair around and said to Joe, with the loudness that anger gives voices, "Did you see that? Did you see that?" The two women who had blocked my path stopped at their car, looking back at me, questions in their eyes. They had no idea why I was upset.

"There is the assumption, always the assumption, that the disabled person is in the way. IN THE WAY|!!! That poor woman with a walker was made to feel as if she was the problem, that she was in the way. I know exactly, EXACTLY how she feels. Those two women," who were still listening, "stepped into the flow of traffic, expected everyone to move for them, never thinking that maybe it was they who were creating the problem. No they identified a disabled woman who WASN'T IN THE WAY as the problem. They TOUCHED| her, PULLED AT HER, made her the problem. What the hell is wrong with non-disabled people anyways. Why do they assume all space is theirs and any we disabled people take up is somehow STOLEN FROM THEM?"

Somewhere in that rant they got in their car. But they didn't drive away. They sat there talking animatedly with each other.

I don't know what they said to each other.

I probably don't want to know.

But I hope it was anything that follows first realization and then the words, "OH MY GOD ..."
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

When tourists returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, there was a new site to see: disaster.  Suddenly — in addition to going on a Ghost Tour, visiting the Backstreet Cultural Museum, and lunching at Dooky Chase’s — one could see the devastation heaped upon the Lower Ninth Ward.  Buses full of strangers with cameras were rumbling through the neighborhood as it tried to get back on its feet.

Reader Kiara C. sent along this photograph of a homemade sign propped up in the Lower Ninth, shaming visitors for what sociologists call “disaster tourism,” a practice that is criticized for objectifying the suffering of others. It read:

Shame On You
Driving BY without stopping
Paying to see my pain
1,600+ DIED HERE

Imagine having lost loved ones and seen your house nearly destroyed. After a year out of town, you’re in your nastiest clothes, mucking sludge out of your house, fearful that the money will run out before you can get the house — the house your grandmother bought and passed down to you through your mother — put back together.

Imagine that — as you push a wheelbarrow out into the sunlight, blink as you adjust to the brightness, and push your hair off your forehead, leaving a smudge of toxic mud — a bus full of cameras flash at you, taking photographs of your trauma, effort, and fear. And then they take that photo back to their cozy, dry home and show it to their friends, who ooh and aah about how cool it was that they got to see the aftermath of the flood.

The person who made this sign… this is what they may have been feeling.

Originally posted in 2011. 

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. She writes about New Orleans here. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Fred and Me

Aug. 26th, 2015 06:44 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Photo Description: Fred Flintstone holding a steaming foot after he'd used as brakes for his car.
It was colder than we expected it to be. The skies threatened rain. But we were undeterred, we headed off to  Santa's Village for our annual pilgrimage. We've been going since the Ruby was a toddler and Sadie a babe in arms. We got there and found that there were fewer people than in previous years, kept away by the cold I imagine, and we and the other families there had the run of the place. We started with the girls taking 16 rides on the roller coaster in a row. They'd get off, get in the short line up, and go again and again. It's wonderful seeing kids so happy.

I love going there for a couple of reasons. First, and most importantly, it's an amazing place to take kids. The admission pays for the rides so there's no fuss, no line ups to buy tickets, no hassle with keeping track of or counting out payment once inside. Second, it's a lovely place for adults. It's like taking a stroll through a beautiful park while the kids burn up energy darting from place to place.

We crossed over to Elves Island and found that they'd installed a new climbing devise and Ruby and Sadie were braving it. We watched as they traversed various challenges ten feet up in the air. They were completely absorbed. And that's when the rain finally began to fall. This was our last stop in the park anyway so we were about to head back to the van. We spoke to Mike and said that we'd head back and get in the van, as it takes time, and he could follow with the girls once they'd done their adventure.

At the gift store there is a longish ramp down to the walkway out. I've done this every year, no problem. But this year, I didn't take into the equation that the ramp might be slippery. I headed down as I usually did, and about half way down, I lost control of the chair, it tipped forward off it's back wheels, and I began to slide. Panic took over and I shot my leg out, being tipped over I could easily reach the ground with my foot. I Fred Flinstoned the chair using my foot as a break. Now, I don't wear shoes, only socks, so I could feel every bump on the ramp, Pain shot through my body but I kept my foot there until it had slowed the slide and my chair fell back into proper position.

When I was at a stop, Joe rushed up to me, having watched all this, which took only seconds to happen. I told him my foot was screaming with pain. The friction between my sock and the ramp must have been hot because steam was rising like from a bonfire from my foot. My sock had been worn through and my toes were peeking out trying to figure out what just happened.

Once back in the van and transferred into my manual chair, which I use for riding in, Joe took a good look and I manage to loose a sock but sustain no injury to my foot. Just then the family arrived back at the van and it filled with stories of the day. I listened, glad to hear the chatter and the laughter and the excitement of discussing what comes next.

Me, I was just pleased to be reminded that in an emergency, even with panic, I still can rely on my wits and my body to help me through. My feet may not walk much, but I can put the brakes on when necessary.
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Posted by Fred Clark

The current Republican field of 17 candidates seeking the presidency includes two preacher’s sons, one ordained minister, and several other devoutly religious officials who can speak the Christianese dialect of white evangelicalism with the fluency of a native. Yet the candidate now leading the field, by a wide margin, is Donald Trump — a brash, foul-mouthed, thrice-married billionaire who seems unable to mention any form of non-Mammon religion without saying something painfully awkward (“When I drink my little wine … and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness”).

Trump is blurring many of the lines for the way conventional wisdom is used to thinking of factions in the Republican Party. The GOP has long been understood — mostly accurately — to include a Wall Street wing of mainly secular, anti-regulation big-business/small-government types and a separate wing of religious right “values voters” who think of America as a “Christian nation” and think of Christianity as a faith centered on legal opposition to abortion, feminism and LGBT existence. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see a barely nominally religious businessman like Trump riding a wave of support among Wall Street types over against the religious-right faction whose support is scattered among a half-dozen emphatically religious candidates.

But that’s not what seems to be happening with Trump. He seems to be getting more support from the “values voters” than from the anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-SEC-EPA-FDA-OSHA Wall Street crowd. He is, at least for now, the preferred candidate of the white evangelical voting bloc.

My sense is that this is — horrifyingly — due to Trump’s policies and his rhetoric. It seems like an ugly accusation, but I think we should take these white evangelical voters at their word and accept what they’re telling us: They really do like Trump’s ideas, his tone, and his language.

But before we get into that, I want to discuss Amy Sullivan’s interesting suggestion that Trump’s popularity among white evangelical voters also reveals something else. It shows us that these voters might actually prefer a candidate who is not one of their own. “Why are white evangelicals supporting Trump?,” Sullivan asks. “It goes back to Jimmy Carter.”

Well, to Jimmy Carter and to George W. Bush. Carter, Sullivan argues, was Strike One. W. was Strike Two.

Carter, Sullivan says, was the first born-again candidate supported by white evangelicals who saw his devout Christianity as a sign he was “one of us” — just as they believed the same thing decades later about George W. Bush. She argues that white evangelical disappointment with these two white evangelical presidents means that they’ve developed a more skeptical view of candidates who share their sectarian outlook, and that they’re thus more open to supporting a guy like Trump, even though his faith isn’t anything like theirs.

More than that, perhaps. White evangelical voters’ disappointment with the experience of Carter and Bush may mean that they now view candidates who share their sectarian language with a greater skepticism than they direct to non-evangelical candidates who claim to share their agenda despite not sharing their particular forms of religious expression.

I suspect Sullivan is right about that. I think the presidency of Jimmy Carter was seen by white evangelical voters as an initial warning that this kind of religious-affinity voting might not always work out. But they gave it a second chance in 2004, only to be even more greatly disappointed by the multiple disasters of Bush’s second term.

Sullivan’s thesis of “disappointment” with such sectarian affinity voting is supported by white evangelical voters’ overwhelming support for Mitt Romney in 2012. And it might, perhaps, help to explain their apparent willingness to support a guy like Donald Trump today.

"There's a bear in the woods," Ronald Reagan reminded voters in 1984. That bear was not abortion or gays. It was Russia (and black people).

“There’s a bear in the woods,” Ronald Reagan reminded voters in 1984. That bear was not abortion or gays. It was Soviet Russia (and black people).

But while Sullivan’s overall theory may be true, her description of why white evangelicals were disappointed in Bush is a bit off, and her description of their disappointment with Carter is almost completely wrong.

White evangelicals — like Fox News viewers — were disillusioned by the lack of results from all the years of a Bush presidency and GOP majorities in the House and Senate. As Sullivan says, white evangelicals are angry that their party didn’t defund Planned Parenthood and pass a double-plus DOMA banning gay marriage while enjoyed control of both Congress and the White House.

But while they may be disappointed in George W. Bush for not giving them everything they wanted, they’re far more disappointed — and far angrier about — all the things Bush did give them and all the things he did with their full and enthusiastic support.

Bush invaded Iraq for no good reason, creating one of the worst military debacles in the history of this or any other nation. And Bush let go of the reins on Wall Street, creating the reckless, unregulated era of speculation that crashed the global economy in the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. Those disasters define the Bush presidency, and Bush created those disasters with the full and specific support of white evangelical voters.

Even worse, white evangelical voters still support those same positions. They want the next Republican president to do the same things, twice as hard — repealing Dodd-Frank and going to war with Iran. These voters don’t resent Bush for his wanton invasions or his reckless deregulation of big business. They resent him for making wanton militarism and reckless deregulation look bad.

This is Donald Trump’s sales pitch. He’s not telling these voters that he would pursue a different agenda from the one George W. Bush pursued. He’s telling them that he will somehow do all those same things and, this time, make it all work this time because he’s Donald Trump and he’s a winner and it’s gonna be classy and yooge and America.

Which brings us to Sullivan’s discussion of white evangelical voters’ disappointment with Jimmy Carter. That disappointment was real, but the reasons Sullivan suggests for it are simply anachronistic  – a projection of the present back onto the past to see things there that did not yet exist.

She suggests that white evangelical voters in 1980 were disappointed in Carter due to his support for abortion rights and civil rights for LGBT people. But neither one of those Big Deals was yet a Big Deal. White evangelicals in 1980 were not yet the genital-issue culture warriors they would be transformed into during the following decade. They were Cold Warriors, not culture warriors.

Carter’s support for abortion rights was not a surprise or a departure. The white evangelical voters who supported him in 1976 knew where he stood and never expected that to change. It just wasn’t a thing yet. Culture-war issues were very much second-tier concerns for those voters, but even at that lower-level of concern those issues were not the ones that would come to preoccupy and define the voting patterns — and the very substance of religion itself — for white evangelicals a decade later. In 1980, school prayer and the Equal Rights Amendment were both a far bigger deal in the culture wars than abortion had yet become.*

But, again, white evangelicals’ disappointment in Carter wasn’t mainly about that. It was about the Russians. They worried that Carter made America look weak against the Soviet Union. The Iran hostage situation played out as a metaphor for that concern. And even Carter’s greatest triumphs — like the Camp David Accords or the Panama Canal treaty — reinforced the sense that this was a president who preferred diplomacy and conciliation to the muscular militarism and expansion of power abroad that these voters preferred (and that Ronald Reagan promised to deliver).

I’m speaking here partly from memory, because I am Old and I can do that. I can remember 1980. Maddox, Taveras, Flynn, Mazzilli in the Mets infield; Henderson, Morales, Youngblood right-to-left; Alex Trevino catching; Swan, Zachry, Burris, and … rats, I forget the rest of the starting rotation.

But the point there is that 1980 is not a distant, unknowable world lost in the mists of ancient history. It is possible for many of us living now to remember living then — and even to remember, despite years of Orwellian propaganda saying otherwise, that 1980 was not 1988. I remember being a white evangelical supporter of Ronald Reagan attending a church filled with white evangelical supporters of Ronald Reagan and a private Christian school filled with even more of us. It wasn’t a culture war election. Abortion and LGBT rights weren’t anywhere near the first page of anyone’s list of priorities. It was about the Russians.

But don’t take my word for it. Memory can be unreliable. And it can be anecdotal and thus misleadingly idiosyncratic. Maybe I happened to attend a white evangelical church and private school that both coincidentally were detached from and unrepresentative of the rest of the white evangelical subculture of the time.

Fine. We also have written records and documentation from 1980. We can look it up even if we don’t personally remember it. (Pete Falcone and Mark Bomback, for the record.) Alas, it’s not quite as easy to Google the past as TV shows make it seem. White evangelical magazines and newsletters haven’t been digitized and posted into searchable online databases any more than most newspapers have. But libraries have stacks and you can visit them to read contemporary white evangelical accounts and commentary on the 1980 election to contest my memory of that time.

I’ll just offer one example here — “Christianity and Democracy,” the 1981 manifesto/declaration written by then-Lutheran minister Richard John Neuhaus. It’s about the Cold War, not the culture war. It’s an argument that everything should be about the Cold War — an argument and a conclusion widely hailed and endorsed by white evangelical leaders at the time.

Neuhaus’ journal, First Things, reprinted the declaration 15 years later. By that time, the Cold War had ended and the culture war had risen to such central prominence for its constituency that some apologetic introductory explanation had to be offered for that now-strange-seeming emphasis: “At that time the Cold War was the dominant fact in international affairs and largely shaped domestic politics.”

In 1996, as in 2015, it seems strange to read a religious right manifesto that never mentions abortion or feminism or Teh Gay — a manifesto that insists something else was far more important, something else was of paramount importance. But there was nothing strange at all about such a document in 1981 or in 1980.

- – - – - – - – - – - – -

* There was one other culture-war issue that had a far greater impact on the 1980 election – the one Ronald Reagan made the central subtext of his campaign from day one. And on that point, Jimmy Carter really was perceived to have not just disappointed, but betrayed, the white evangelical Christianity of white evangelical voters. But that’s too large a topic to include here, so let’s come back to that later.


General Roundup

Aug. 25th, 2015 08:14 pm
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed
Couple of things, all of them small, but generally neat.

1. There's an interview at i09 about Hamster Princess!

2. We sold Bulgarian rights to the first three Dragonbreath books. I have never sold Bulgarian rights to anything, so I am thrilled!

3. I found a snakeskin in the garden! It was partway up a tree, as if the snake hooked itself on the tree bark and then slithered up, out of the skin. It was so perfect that it still had eye scales! It's probably a black racer.

4. Bob has a pollen problem. The hive is very worried about him.

[syndicated profile] wonders_and_marvels_feed

Posted by April Stevens

By Michael K. Johnson (Guest Contributor)

A former slave, Irvin Smith, travelled up the Missouri River and eventually landed in 1880 in White Sulphur Springs, Montana Territory, where he owned and operated a blacksmith shop for twenty years.

Millie Ringold came to frontier Montana after the Civil War as a servant, but soon set off on her own to the town of Yogo, where she discovered a sapphire in a goose that she was preparing for dinner. She quickly staked a claim and became something of a rarity in the American West: an African American woman prospector.

Oscar Micheaux

Oscar Micheaux

Nat Love wrote an autobiography about his life and adventures as a cowboy. Era Bell Thompson wrote about her experiences as a member of one of the few African American families homesteading in North Dakota, and Oscar Micheaux wrote about his homesteading experience in South Dakota.

When I tell people that my primary research interest is the African American West, the response is usually surprise. Even though African Americans currently live in all areas of the American West, and even though people of African descent have participated in every frontier expansion (from a 1528 Spanish expedition that included the slave Esteban to the Oklahoma land rush), we seem to have trouble including black people in the histories of and the stories we tell about the American West.

When I tell people that I’m particularly interested in the African American West in literature, film, and television, they’re really surprised. “You mean, like Blazing Saddles?”

220px-The_Bronze_BuckarooWell, yes, and more recently, Django Unchained, but, as I explore in my book Hoo-Doo Cowboys and Bronze Buckaroos, those two relatively recent films are just a small sample of a wide range of African American westerns and other stories of black life in the West. The birth of African American independent filmmaking took place in the West and emphasized western stories: Noble Johnson’s The Realization of of a Negro’s Ambitions (1916) and Oscar Micheaux’s (based on his memoir) The Homesteader (1919). Throughout the “race film” era (films made specifically for black audiences in segregated theaters), filmmakers often returned to the American West as a setting—culminating in a series of all-black-cast sound westerns featuring Herb Jeffries as singing cowboy Bob Blake (and including films such as The Two-Gun Man from Harlem and The Bronze Buckaroo).

African American characters were frequently featured in the first sound-era westerns of the 1930s, and as westerns came to dominate the television landscape of the 1960s and early 1970s, series westerns such as The Rifleman, Rawhide, Bonanza, and Gunsmoke offered episodes that focused on African American characters (played by stars such as Sammy Davis Jr., Woody Strode, and Louis Gossett Jr.).

And there’s a literary tradition of African American writers telling western and frontier stories that stretches from John Marrant’s 1785 captivity narrative to Percival Everett’s novel Wounded (2005).

Hoo-Doo Cowboys and Bronze Buckaroos takes a journey of discovery into the African American West, exploring the fascinating range of ways black western experience has been imagined, represented, and performed.

Michael K. Johnson is Professor of American literature at the University of Maine at Farmington. He is the author of Black Masculinity and the Frontier Myth in American Literature (University of Oklahoma Press) and Hoo-Doo Cowboys and Bronze Buckaroos: Conceptions of the African American West (University Press of Mississippi).

[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam


  • TechFestNW: Zoe Quinn on turning her body into a cyborg lab | Malia Spencer at Portland Techflash (21 August): “Quinn, an independent video game reviewer (many know her as one of those harassed in the Gamergate debacle) has two elective implants. One is an NFC chip in her hand, a procedure she did herself. The other is a magnet implanted into her left ring finger.”
  • Women in Tech: It’s Complicated | Natalie at The Bias (18 August): “Now, despite the fact that most of my work does involve writing some sort of code to manipulate and display or transform information, I usually don’t feel like I’m a “”woman in tech.”
  • Nerd Culture Has a Problem | Justin Denis at Everyday Feminism (20 August):”Because nerd women have been around for as long as nerd men have been around. They’ve just been shoved to the sideline and not included in anything as the result of some very systematic misogyny. The gaming industry and other parts of nerd culture have, by and large, been run by and for men. And when you act surprised that a woman is into something nerdy, you’re insinuating, whether intentional or not, that it’s unusual or weird.”
  • On Queer Deadpool and Bisexual Erasure in Comics | Megan Purdy at Women Write about Comics (20 August): “What we talk about when we talk about a queer Deadpool, queer Storm, or queer Hercules, is the pattern of bisexual erasure in comics; the foreclosure on the possibility of inclusion. For all the on page proof-of-queer that readers and even other creators assemble, there is always a counter-narrative working against it. Sometimes it takes the form of a straight-wash side-step in the form of a sudden and definitive heterosexual romance, designed to crowd queer romance off the stage. Sometimes it takes the form of a speech from on high, a reminder from creators or editors that they decide who lives and dies.”
  • Interstellar Cinderella | Meg Hunt (2015): “Interstellar Cinderella is a galactic riff on the classic fairy tale in which the magenta-haired heroine dreams of being a space mechanic who fixes robots all day. Inspired by classic sci-fi and couture fashion, the world of Interstellar Cinderella is filled with rich details. There’s a fairy god-bot, cute aliens, a dashing prince, and stars and galaxies swirling around. Throughout it all Cinderella zips throughout the story with a can-do spirit, a DIY attitude, and loads of charm.”
  • Women In History | craftykryptonitealpaca: “I grew up believing that women had contributed nothing to the world until the 1960′s. So once I became a feminist I started collecting information on women in history, and here’s my collection so far, in no particular order.”
  • Exquisite Corpse | New Criticals (30 April): “Nonetheless the potential of the Internet, as a past proposition or future projection, is still very much up for grabs. Online, women are still subjected to many of the inequalities that exist ‘in real life’. In fact the Internet may not ‘leveled the field’ but in many ways intensified, accelerated, and extended material embodied inequalities into a so-called immaterial disembodied Internet.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Gwen Sharp, PhD

Trigger warning for racist language and discussions of racial violence.

After the storm had passed, while New Orleans was still in a state of crisis, residents of a predominantly white neighborhood that had escaped flooding, Algiers Point, took it upon themselves to violently patrol their streets.

“It was great!” says one man interviewed below. “It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it!” According to one witness testimony, they were looking for “anything coming up this street darker than a paper bag…” At least 11 black men were shot.

Here is a short interview with two of the men of Algiers Point, from the documentary Welcome to New Orleans:

This next video, sent in by reader Martha O., includes some of the footage above, but focuses much more on the experiences of several African American men who lived in the neighborhood and were shot or threatened by their White neighbors.

The men talk about the panic and terror they felt during these incidents. Toward the end, Donnell Herrington watches footage of the White residents bragging about their exploits. It’s brutal to watch this man listening to the militia members talk about shooting African Americans casually and with obvious enthusiasm and pride.

The video is part of an in-depth story about the Algiers Point shootings featured in The Nation in 2008. And as Martha explained, it’s a harrowing example of how swiftly organized violent racism can emerge when external constraints are even briefly weakened.

Originally posted in 2012. Watch the full documentary here.

Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

The Cancellation

Aug. 25th, 2015 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Photo Description: A flock of birds forming a heart springing from a woman's hands.
Sometimes my rides to work are very, very, very early. When a morning person uses the word early, they mean it. When I'm picked up somewhere after 5:30 I know that I'll be sharing part of my ride with a wonderful woman, a delight to chat with, who goes to the gym on a near daily basis. She uses a scooter and talks very frankly about her experiences as a woman with a disability, as a scooter user and as someone with a serious and complicated and life threatening illness. She has fought hard to have the life she has, she has lived longer than anyone ever said she would and she bridles as the idea that it's 'inspirational' to want to live and to want to live well.

I like her.

This morning when I was on my way to work, early, I asked the driver if we were going to pick her up next. He told me that she was indeed on the route and would be picked up next. I leaned back in my chair and enjoyed the ride. I had a story all lined up to tell her, and a question I wanted to ask her. I like the moments shared with others who have a disability and who consider, like I do, that the disability community is a rich resource and who are proud to be part of it.

About ten minutes before the turnoff from the freeway towards her place the driver announced, "I'll be taking you straight to work. The next pick up has been cancelled." I thanked him for letting me know but ...

... my heart dropped out of my chest.

Was she OK?

She's never cancelled before. I didn't want immediately to go to 'health' as a reason because I hate when people do that to me. But then, I don't have the same kind of medical issues, she shared with me quite openly about her battles for good health and against disease. I wondered if she was battling now.

I didn't know what to do.

We have never shared phone numbers.

We have only ever shared rides.

It's none of my business. Except for the fact that 'Mankind is my business," to paraphrase Dickens. I care about her. I wanted her to know what she would never know, that I was on the bus. That I was thinking about her. That I thought she was a wonderful woman. That I enjoyed every minute of our rides together. That I wanted more rides with her. That I want her to win and win and win her battles for health like she's won and won and won.

I wanted her to know that she enters a space and brings warmth and light and welcome.

I wanted her to know that on a dark morning ride, someone was praying for her.


And hoping she didn't mind.
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

• “Armed ‘Patriot’ Guarding ‘Muslim-Free’ Gun Store Accidentally Shoots Himself.” The name of the store is the “Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear Store.” I lack the imagination to invent a funnier or more apt name for it.

• “Call me sheltered, but I don’t waste my time watching junk on television when I could be making intercession, reading the Word, worshipping God, preaching the gospel, healing the sick or casting out devils.” Jennifer LeClaire did not care for John Oliver’s segment on “prosperity gospel” televangelist hucksters.

I'm not sure that Ted Cruz's new campaign slogan is a winner.

Ted Cruz’s new campaign slogan doesn’t seem like a winner.

• A few years ago, Older Daughter started dating a guy who, she said, was a big fan of Batman. I asked if he liked Batman for the right reasons or the wrong reasons and we had a good discussion of what that might mean.

A couple weeks later she said she broke up with the guy. “What happened?” “Turns out he likes Batman for the wrong reasons.” This has become a useful shorthand phrase in our household.

I think Donald Trump likes Batman for the wrong reasons.

Related: I’m not sure it’s possible to like Rorschach for any right reasons.

• Me: It often seems that the “pro-life” movement is far more driven by the presumption that women are untrustworthy and morally incompetent than by any notion of “protecting the unborn.” What do you think?

Christianity Today: John Piper is leading protests against Planned Parenthood!

OK, then. Let’s call that Exhibit F.

• Miranda Blue on “The Planned Parenthood Smear and the Right’s ‘Abortion Industry’ Lie.”

Earlier: Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins, Rayford Steele and Hattie Durham on the very same topic.

• Ruth Krall on “How to smell a rape-prone campus” (via Bill Lindsey). See earlier: Samantha Field on “Pensacola Christian College and Sexual Violence.”

• Miss Piggy and Captain Tightpants: These Nathan Fillion promos for the new Muppet Showpart 1, part 2, part 3 — are a pretty good gag, setting up the tone and subplot for the new version. But to really work, the show needs some outside help to take this joke to the next level. Kudos in advance to whichever supermarket tabloid pretends to run with this as “real” celebrity gossip.


Aug. 24th, 2015 08:50 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Whoosh, that’s the sound that the last week made as it blew right by me. I’ve been so determined to enjoy what’s left of the summer, before everyone gets all the way back to work, and the weather turns. There’s only a little time left for sailing and bike riding, and going outside without layers on, and I haven’t wanted to miss a minute of it – so that’s where I’ve been, making hay while the sun shines.  A very busy September looms right around the corner (I’ll be in Lethbridge, and Calgary, and Downsville, Wisconsin, and there’s another one I’m just about to add in Boston) and that month will be all hotels and airplanes and knitting and writing. Since I saw you last I’ve snuggled Frankie, and read a story to Luis, been for a very long and lovely bike ride (I can’t believe I just typed that about a ride that was 110km long. I don’t even know myself anymore) and ate peaches in the sunshine, and been to about 4 meetings, and worked (almost) every day and KNIT and SPUN.  Yay verily, the time of the big yarning is upon me, and I can barely stand to put down the needles or step away from the wheel.  It feels fantastic. I had a big attack of startitis last week, and managed to rein it in enough that I only started one thing.

babydress 2015-08-24

I know. It doesn’t look very exciting, but it is.  It’s the little dress on the cover of this book, and it’s miles and miles of tiny knitting that culminates in a ton of – wait for it… crochet.  I know, I know. I’ve said I don’t like it, and I meant that, but this little dress is worth it, and crochet is the perfect thing here and, well. We’ll see how I feel about it when I get there. I saw this dress all knit up the last time I was at StevenBe, (I bet they still have all the parts, if you were to ring them) and I think it’s just about the most charming thing. I feel like this dress is the whole reason that I have a little niece, and wing of moth, she will own it, no amount of crochet can stop me. (Again, let’s note the date and time I said that, and correlate it with the actual action of crocheting, and its attendant swearing later on.) For now, it is miles and miles of plain stockinette, and that leads me to what I needed to do to break that up a bit.

I’d gone into the spinning stash with every intention of coming out with another two rovings so I could try the gradient experiment again, and inexplicably came down with this braid of roving instead. It’s a gorgeous bit of business from Western Sky Knits, and I’d forgotten it was even in there.  What happened after that was so fast that I barely noticed what was happening.

westernskyroving 2015-08-24

In the blink of an eye I had a full bobbin…

westernskybobbin 2015-08-24

I blinked again and there was two…

westernskybobbinstwo 2015-08-24

Then a skein…

westernskyskein 2015-08-24

Which I tried to put away…

westernskyskeintwo 2015-08-24

Somehow while I was putting it away I wound it.

westernskyball 2015-08-24

And now it’s becoming a Hudson Lace Cowl.

westernskycowlnot 2015-08-24

Actually, that last picture is a lie.  I’ve ripped it back since then and started again. As is so often the case with handspun, I wasn’t getting anything that was remotely like gauge, but I liked my fabric, so ripped back, added another repeat, and went for the do-over. I’m in love, and I don’t know why. The colours aren’t me – but I loved it when I bought the roving, and I freakin’ love it now. Every once in a while there’s just no explaining that kind of thing, and I’m just going to roll with it. (I may rip it back again. I still think it could be bigger.)

Finally, in between all the knitting and spinning and fun I’ve been having, I got a pattern finished.  When I knew that Frankie was coming, and that he would be born in hospital, I decided he should have a very special outfit to wear home. I wanted something perfectly sweet, and unisex, and simple, but charming.  I designed what to me, is the perfect layette.

frankiewhole 2015-08-24

A sweet little top-down, seamless sweater, with a matching bonnet and bootees, and trimmed with plain, good ribbon and four perfect little buttons.

nouveaunewhole 2015-08-24

It’s mostly plain, with the bonnet, bootees and sweater all adorned with an old favourite of mine, Bee Stitch.  Bee stitch is a “knit one below” stitch pattern. Instead of knitting the stitch on the left needle, you knit into its mother, below. It collapses the stitches atop each other, and makes it extra cozy and sculptural.  I love it for so many things. (I used it on Luis’ blanket, and I use it for washcloths all the time.)

frankiefeet 2015-08-24

I made the neck big (because of the way that babies sort of don’t have a neck) and the sleeves a little short, so they don’t fall over their tiny hands and get chewed on, and the sleeves and armholes are nice and wide, so that it’s easy to get on and off.

nouveaunesweater 2015-08-24

When I was done knitting it, it was everything I’d hoped for – to my way of thinking, the perfect newborn layette.  I wrote it up, waited for Frankie to be born so he could model it, and voila.

nouveaunebootees 2015-08-24

Nouveau-né, that’s French for newborn, and it’s the name of the design.  I hope it warms many a wee one.

frankieface 2015-08-24

I think Frankie liked his.

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Mary Kate Waymon was a Methodist minister and housemaid who lived and preached in North Carolina in the first half of the 20th century. She was a revivalist — an evangelistic preacher who taught conversion and spiritual renewal.

If that were all we knew about her, we would guess that as a revival-meeting preacher, she was squarely within the white evangelical tradition of American Christianity. She was, after all, an evangelist who preached less than 100 miles from where the great white evangelical icon Billy Graham first began preaching around the same time in the same state of North Carolina.

But the Rev. Waymon was an African-American revivalist preacher, and that means that her theology, her gospel, and her understanding of revival was very different from the theology, gospel, and meaning of revival taught by the many white evangelical revivalists who preached throughout the Jim Crow South of the early 20th century.

To illustrate that difference, consider the following recording of one of those revivalist songs. This is Nina Simone’s version of “Sinnerman” — a song that Simone, born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, said she learned as a child playing piano and singing in her mother’s revival meetings:

Click here to view the embedded video.

This song is thought to date back to the early years of the 20th-century, circulating for decades in churches and revival meetings — both black and white — before it began to be recorded by folk and jazz musicians in the 1950s. The lyrics, warning sinners against judgment day, bear all the hallmarks of revivalist Christianity and the escapist form of apocalyptic belief that has shaped white evangelicalism in America from Scofield to Tim LaHaye. It’s based on a passage from the book of Revelation — a portion of scripture known to fans of the Left Behind series as the “Wrath of the Lamb” earthquake:

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and there came a great earthquake; the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree drops its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll rolling itself up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the magnates and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

In a white revivalist meeting, the apocalyptic message here would have been otherwordly. It would have served as a warning to save your soul from judgment and Hell in the afterlife. You, as an individual sinner, face eternal damnation unless you, as an individual sinner, ask God to forgive your individual sins.

For a sense of what that might have sounded like in a white revival meeting, give a listen to this recording of “Sinner Man” by Les Baxter’s Balladeers. It’s not just the music there that sounds, well, whiter. It also reflects a distinctively white theology  – a white gospel, white biblical narrative, and a white interpretation of apocalypse. It offers a white understanding of salvation based upon a white understanding of sin.

Same words. Different sermon.

Same words. Different sermon.

The lyrics of the Les Baxter version are almost identical to the lyrics sung by Nina Simone. Almost. But notice the word that’s missing here — the central, endlessly repeated refrain in Simone’s rendition: Power. “Power,” she sings, “power, power, power.” It’s an invocation and an implication.

Now look again at that passage from the biblical Apocalypse and who it is that John of Patmos says will be crying out to the rocks: “the kings of the earth and the magnates and the generals and the rich and powerful.” Yes, and also “everyone, slave and free,” because the whole system is coming crashing down and this cataclysmic day of wrath will upend the entire world. That revolutionary upheaval affects everyone, but the focus of that wrath, John says, is on the kings, on “the rich and powerful.”

It seems, then, that Simone — and her mother, the Rev. Waymon — have retained something vital from that biblical vision of judgment day that the white revivalist tradition has forgotten or distorted.

That difference was underscored in another reinvention and reincarnation of this old revivalist song, when Peter Tosh translated it into a liberationist anthem, “Downpressor Man.”

Click here to view the embedded video.

“Downpressor” is the Rastafari term for oppressor — a biblical word that is as pervasive in the scripture as it is absent from white evangelical pulpits. Peter Tosh’s Rasta sermon on Revelation 6 has no patience for the pieties of white evangelical revivalism. He doesn’t allow anyone to mistake this for an altar call urging sinners to repent from drinking and dancing and cussing and fornicating. His warning of judgment day keeps the focus squarely on those named in John’s Apocalypse — “the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men.”

Tosh’s “Downpressor Man” thus conveys a warning that was far, far different from the warning preached by the white revivalists of the early 20th century who called “Sinner Man” to repent and be saved from his sins. But I don’t think his message is at all different from the meaning of “Sinnerman” as it was sung by Nina Simone — not when she performed it as a music legend in the 1960s, and not when she performed it as a little girl at her mother’s black church revival meetings in the 1930s and ’40s.


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Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

This is what it looks like when government fails to protect its citizens:

New Orleans, LA 9/4/05 -- School buses have been swamped by the floodwaters following hurricane Katrina. Photo by: Liz Roll
New Orleans, LA 9/4/05 — School buses have been swamped by the floodwaters following hurricane Katrina. Photo by: Liz Roll

When Hurricane Katrina hit, more than a quarter of people living in New Orleans in August of 2005 lived below the poverty line. Many of the poor in stayed at home to weather the storm. Why?

27% of New Orleanians didn’t own a car, making evacuation even more difficult and expensive than it would otherwise be.

People without the means to leave are also the most likely to rely on the television, as opposed to the radio or internet, for news. TV news began warning people how bad the storm would be only 48 hours before it hit; some people, then, had only 48 hours to process this information and make plans.

Poor people are more likely than middle and upper class people to never leave where they grew up. This means that they were much less likely to have a network of people outside of New Orleans with whom they could stay, at the same time that they were least able to afford a motel room.

For those who were on government assistance, living check-to-check, it was the end of the month. Their checks were due to arrive three days after the hurricane. It was also back-to-school time and many were extra cash poor because they had extra expenses for their children.

A study of New Orleanians rescued and evacuated to Houston, described here, found that:

…14% were physically disabled, 23% stayed in New Orleans to care for a physically disabled person, and 25% were suffering from a chronic disease…  Also,

• 55% did not have a car or a way to evacuate
• 68% had neither money in the bank nor a useable credit card
• 57% had total household incomes of less than $20,000 in the prior year
• 76% had children under 18 with them in the shelter
• 77% had a high school education or less
• 93% were black
• 67% were employed full or part-time before the hurricane

The city failed to get information to their most vulnerable residents in time and they failed to facilitate their evacuation.  The empty buses in flood water, buses that could have been filled with evacuees prior to the storm, is a testament to this failure.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. She writes about New Orleans here. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Closing the Border

Aug. 24th, 2015 01:59 pm
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Posted by PamelaToler

By Pamela Toler (Regular Contributor)


Concerns that immigrants flooding across the border threaten the nation’s basic institutions. Construction of armed posts to defend the border. Passage of new, more restrictive immigration laws. Sound familiar? Welcome to Mexico in 1830.

The story began when Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821. At first the newly independent country welcomed settlers from the United States. The government signed contracts with immigration brokers, called empresarios, who agreed to settle a set number of immigrants on a set piece of property in a set amount of time. In exchange for the right to buy land, settlers agreed to obey Mexican law, become Mexican citizens, and convert to Catholicism. At the same time, the US Congress passed a new land act that made emigration to Mexico even more appealing. Public land in the US cost $1.25/acre*, for a minimum of eighty acres and could no longer be bought on credit. Public land in Mexico cost 12 1/2¢/acre and credit terms were generous. Not a hard choice for anyone who was cash-poor and land hungry.

Some empresarios brought in groups of settlers from France or Germany. More, including Stephen Austin,** brought in settlers from the southern United States. Most new colonists settled in new communities east of modern San Antonia. By the mid-1830s, Anglo settlers outnumbered native Tejanos by as many as 10 to 1 in some parts of Texas. These settlers brought the culture of the American South with them, including slaves and slavery.*** In addition, many Anglo settlers traded (illegally) with Louisiana rather than with Mexico.

Concerned about growing American economic and cultural influence in the region, the Mexican government passed a law banning immigration into Texas from the United States on April 6, 1830. They also assessed heavy customs duties on all US goods, prohibited the importation of slaves, built new forts in the border region and opened customs houses to patrol the border for illegal trade.

The law didn’t have the intended affect. Instead of re-gaining control over Texas, Anglo colonists and the Mexican government were in constant conflict. The law was repealed in 1833, too late to staunch the wound. The first shots in what would become the Texas War of Independence were fired on October 2, 1835.

*$31.44 in today’s currency. Still a bargain.
** Hence Austin, Texas. (I don’t know about you, but I’m always curious as to how a town got its name.)
***Outlawed in Mexico is 1829–so much for obeying the laws.

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Posted by Timmi Duchamp

Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Alice Bradley Sheldon, aka James Tiptree Jr., aka Raccoona Sheldon (August 24, 1915 – May 19, 1987). Since the revelation in late 1976 that James Tiptree Jr. was a 5' 8" sixty-one-year old woman, Tiptree has been a figure of interest more for what Tiptree biographer Julie Phillips calls Sheldon's "double life" than for Tiptree's work. I'm always a little sad to re-discover that many people who know what the Tiptree Award is haven't actually read Tiptree's work. And so I'd like, on this occasion, to quote Jo Walton on that work:

Tiptree was constantly pushing the boundaries of science fiction. “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” (1973) prefigured cyberpunk—it’s one of the three precursor stories, with John M. Ford’s Web of Angels and John Brunner’s The Shockwave Rider. “Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death” made a space for Octavia Butler’s later writing about aliens and sex and identity. “And I Awoke and Found me Here” did the same for Varley—-- for a lot of the writers who came into SF in the later seventies and the eighties Tiptree was part of their defining space, and the genre would have been very different without her. Science fiction is constantly a dialogue, and her voice was one of the strongest in the early seventies, when everything was changing. She wasn’t a New Wave writer, and in many ways she was very traditional, “And I Have Come Upon This Place” could have been written by Murray Leinster, except for the end. She wrote what she wrote and expanded the possibilities for all of us. Science fiction would be very different without her. (What Makes This Book So Great, p. 318.)

To mark the centennial of this great writer, Twelfth Planet Press is releasing Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce.The volumes includes contributions from 35 persons (who, by the way, number several Aqueduct authors), archived letters from Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, and James Tiptree Jr./Alice Sheldon, excerpts from The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms by Helen Merrick, an excerpt from The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction by Justine Larbalestier, and an essay by Michael Swanwick.

The Kiss

Aug. 24th, 2015 07:31 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Photo Description: Two men kissing in a photo booth in the 1950's.
I remember, many years ago, sitting in a bar with a group of people I knew from work. The mood was tense. Our beer sat on the table slowly going stale. None of us were in the mood for drinking. We were here because none of us wanted to be alone. We all worked for the same human service agency, we all had a passion and life vision to work with people with intellectual disabilities, but we were all, at that moment, reconsidering who we were, where we were and what our future might hold. Two of our number had been fired that morning. Called in, accused, fired. The union didn't care. In negotiations the year before it had bargained away the demand that would have made sexual orientation a prohibited grounds for dismissal. We were, utterly alone. All of us terrified that we might be next.

They were dark times.

It might be difficult to imagine this now. For those who didn't live through it, it may sound almost unreal. For those who didn't live through it, it may be difficult to imagine what it was like to speak without pronouns, to have to lie to live, to have the magical ability to be amongst your co-workers while being completely apart from them. To listen to their truths and respond with lies or silence.

They were dark times.

Last week I ran into a woman with an intellectual disability that I hadn't seen for a long time. Since the dark years, in fact. She still lived with the agency I worked for back then. An agency  that would now never think of firing or, better, not hiring, someone who was LGB. (I've left the T off because I'm not so sure that Transgender Rights have kept pace. There is so much yet to be done. Still so much darkness.) I approached her to say, "Hello." It took her only a second to recognize me. I'm fatter, balder and in a wheelchair so I was surprised she recognized me at all."

"DAvid," she said. She had always put such emphasis on the first portion of my name. We talked a bit and she caught me up with her life. She introduced me to her support worker, a nice looking young man of about 20. He was very good as support, he stood aside while we talked and only entered in when she asked for his help in remembering something. He was a 'support' worker. Then I asked what they were doing there. As I came by it seemed like they were waiting.

Her support worker spoke up, "It's my fault, I forgot my keys at home and I'm waiting for them to be delivered to me." Just as he finished speaking another young man, of about the same age, showed up. He shyly passed the keys to the support worker, leaned over, gave him a quick, affectionate peck on the lips, and waved goodbye as he left. I said to the blushing support worker, "husband or boyfriend." He laughed and said, "Fiance."

The woman I knew said, "I can't wait for the wedding, I'm giving one of the toasts!" She and I talked for a moment more. I wished her well. I said goodbye to the support worker and congratulated him and wished him well on his wedding.

It was simply nice.

I happened near noon.

On a Saturday.

In the open.

In the light.

I left thinking about the two women who had been fired. The one's that were the cause of us gathering in the bar. The one's who had been invited but did not come that evening. The one's who had had their careers cut short, their lives battered by the trauma of being targets of hatred and bigotry. I never heard from them again. Don't know where they are.

But I hope, where ever they are, they are in the light.

Being kissed.

But What's THAT Guy's Story?

Aug. 23rd, 2015 10:03 pm
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Ads by Project Wonderful! Your ad could be here, right now.

I like Bubbles.

This is the final week (hopefully) of packing stuff for my big move to Canada. There may be comic interruptions but hopefully not! Thank you for your patience.

It's Okay About The Hugos

Aug. 23rd, 2015 06:03 pm
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed
So here we are, at the day after the ceremonies, when the nomination numbers have been released and…yep. Jackalope Wives was kept off the ballot by the Puppy Slate.*

Well. I started to suspect that might be the case around the point where it got the World Fantasy nomination. And honestly? It’s okay. I’m okay. I have 37 years of experience not being nominated for a Hugo. I’m really good at it! I have mad not-being-nominated skills!

Ok…I wasn’t expecting it to be the first story below the fold—the highest nominated unslated story of the year. That was…that was a surprise.

In some ways, yeah, it would have been easier to have missed by a mile. But hell with it. I’ve got a Hugo already. The buff does not stack. You don’t get to have “Hugo Squared” or something, or else Connie Willis would be deep into scientific notation by now.

And you know, I’m very proud of that story. And I’m so very honored that so many of you liked it and nominated it.

But you know what was a surprise?

Toad Words would have been #8. It wouldn’t have made the ballot, so it didn't get bumped but…I put that on Tumblr. I self-published it in an anthology. That was the on-line equivalent of me whispering a weird little story into the wind and having people hear it. And roar back.

We live in a world where that is possible.

That is a good world. Whatever weird crap gets thrown at us by people who want to burn it down…it’s still here, and still good.

I went to bed feeling strange and proud and hopeful and sad.

I got up (with a raging hangover, thanks to the bit where I killed the bottle of wine halfway through the Hugo ceremony and started pouring soju into my wineglass—don’t try this at home, kids) and my friend Mur Lafferty was texting me. And then she called me, because text was slow, and that is love because she was on the third or fourth day of con and her voice sounded like a mile of hard road.

And it turns out...George R. R. Martin rented out a mansion for the Hugo Loser’s party this year. And he handed out his own awards at them—the “Alfies.” And I don’t know if there was one for everybody bumped by the Puppy Slate or what—that would be very cool, but also a lot of trophies--but he gave me one for Jackalope Wives, and Mur was called up to accept.

And then she walked around for the rest of the night holding it, and getting people to take photos with it for me. And she sent me the photos, and she got Scalzi and Ann Leckie and the Foglios and Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch and Connie Willis and a bunch of others and GRRM himself and…

So yes. I cried at Waffle House over my phone and drank bad coffee and ate hangover food and basically, I love you all. I will put that Alfie with my Hugo and my Nebula and I will be as honored by it as anything else I've done.

There are things in life that it is not possible to be worthy of. You simply take them as a gift and are grateful for them.

A nomination for an award like this is also a gift people give you. It’s a bunch of people saying “We loved this, and we think it can stand toe-to-toe with the best of the year.” It’s not a thing which is yours by right and how dare someone take it from you. It’s an act of kindness. It’s applause for a job well done.

And I still got that. Because a bunch of you did feel that way. You applauded.

I still feel loved.

Here’s a link to the nomination numbers, including others kept off the ballot. Some of those authors may feel differently than I do, and they are not wrong to feel that way. Please read their stories. I would have been proud to stand on the same stage with any of them.

Likewise, a number of people discovered that they were on the ballot because of the slates and asked to be taken off. That was a hard choice, and a good choice, and all honor to them for sticking to their principles in the face of extreme temptation. (GRRM handed out Alfies to some of them as well.) That is character at work, and if the day ever comes when we are on a ballot together, I will be equally proud to stand beside them.

Here is an article about it all, and it ends talking about GRRM and the Alfies.

Note: Because of the extremely high possibility of sea lioning in the comments, I will be running a tight herd on them and deleting anything that gets excessively hostile. Please, stay positive. There's enough awful going and I don't want to deal with it here.

Should it get out of hand, I'll lock the whole thing, so if you have comments you are particularly proud of and wish to re-use elsewhere, please make copies.

*If you’ve been following, then…what a long strange trip it’s been. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky. There are many good sources on-line, and I don’t want to get into it here.

Sunday WTF?

Aug. 23rd, 2015 05:58 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

Genesis 4:23-24

FirstMurderBalladLamech said to his wives:
“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
   you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:
I have killed a man for wounding me,
   a young man for striking me. 
If Cain is avenged sevenfold,
   truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”

A feminist case for shoplifting

Aug. 23rd, 2015 02:27 pm
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

In this two minute clip, comedian Kate Berlant casually makes the case that women should steal cosmetics because, to paraphrase Berlant, no one should have to constantly pay for their own domination.


Thanks Letta!

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Stairway to heaven

Aug. 23rd, 2015 12:46 pm
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Posted by John Finnemore

When I was little, one of my grandmothers lived in a bungalow, and the other lived in a house, with a staircase. And one day, I remember one of my parents - I don't remember which - casually saying that this was sensible on the part of bungalow-Gran, as it meant she would be able to carry on living there even when she was very old. (It must, by the way, be one of the strange hazards of being a parent that, while the vast majority of everything you say to your kids, especially concerning teeth-brushing and room-tidying, is instantly forgotten; every so often you'll say something utterly unremarkable which your kid will NEVER FORGET.)

In this case, I think the reason it made such a big hit with me was it was the first time it had ever occurred to me that old people could get even older. I knew about death, of course, and I knew, without really believing it, that I would be a grown up one day, and my parents would get old. But this idea that either of my grans were not yet as old as they were ever going to be - as old, indeed, as it was possible to get - was completely new.

And I remember having two distinct reactions to the stairs thing: on the one hand, following my parent's lead, I too solemnly commended bungalow-Gran's foresight and good sense. But, at the same time, I secretly rather admired stairs-Gran's daredevil recklessness - her apparent refusal, not that I would have put it this way at the time, to go gentle into that good night...

Stairs-Gran would at the time, I think, have been about 65.

My Mouth and I Get Tea for Two

Aug. 23rd, 2015 04:22 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Photo Description: Tea being poured from a glass pot into a glass cup.
Odd encounters come unexpectedly. They catch you off guard. Let's face it, for disabled people, and I imagine but do not know that it's the same for anyone considered different, it's gets harder and harder to be caught unaware. Silly comments, inappropriate intrusions, and downright bigoted interactions aren't, like, um, rare. But, even so, I was caught off guard.

Joe and I were out for breakfast. He was over at the 'order eggs and hashbrowns' place and I'd gone over to a separate 'order tea and coffee' place. I waited in line up. Money crushed in my hand, like an excited 4 year old waiting to pay. I ordered our usual. Yep, 'usual' we come here often. I ordered one large cup of black tea and one large cup of green tea.

The woman brought them to me individually and I asked her if she could put them in a tray so that I could easily carry them. She did, cheerfully, and said, "So you like having both kinds of tea." I was confused, "No, I drink the green tea the other tea is for my husband." "Oh," she said, "I thought you were on your own." She thought I was alone. I buy two freaking teas and she thinks I'm alone, her assumption is that someone like me is alone. Evidence for two becomes a pity party for one. I practise my 'happy place' imagery while my calm yourself breathing strategy isn't working my breath comes ragged like I about to give birth to twins.

She didn't blink at the word 'husband' score one for her, but she said, "He lets you get tea by yourself? You could drop it!" She shook her head. SHOOK HER HEAD!! What kind of man must I have married that he'd let me, all on my own, without his ever present help, carry two teas on a tray across a room? She continues sarcastically, "Must be quite a guy you've got there."

One the teas were snugly in their tray, I was backing up in my power wheelchair, I stopped at her 'my guy' statement. "Yeah, in fact, after a blistering, passionate Friday night, I can't walk for days!!"

I couldn't read her look. Shock? Horror? Envy?

I didn't care.
[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon

chinook bottle

LAMALA = “bottle”.  I’ve already blogged today on another subject, and I’ve already blogged about the word that’ll be in focus here — so this will be brief.

KW issue 4 front page

Looking at issue #4 from the very beginning of the longish life of the newspaper Kamloops Wawa (it’s date August 1891), I’m reminded that Father Le Jeune launched this publication by cleverly making the first several issues a primer in Chinuk pipa shorthand.

On this issue’s front page, which we can number as [13], Le Jeune shows the newly literate how to join shorthand letters together.  Because this is a cursive alphabet, you see.  We’re presented, in the first many lines, two columns with several examples of letters getting joined into nonsense syllables for the sake of illustration.

Then, for more useful writing practice, Le Jeune appears to decide to give us examples of actual Jargon words.  Third line from the bottom, then, we have ANA (“oh my!”), MAMA (“mother”), KANADA “Eastern Canada”, KANAKA “Hawai’ian/Pacific Islander”, and…LAMALA!  I went back to Samuel V. Johnson’s 1978 dissertation to make sure whether this word is in his lexicon compiled from many CJ sources.  Nope.  He has four other words for “bottle”, including a mistaken one where he read “kottle” where John B. Good (1880) actually wrote “kettle”.  But no LAMALA.

This word is known from the Lillooet Salish language, with the super-frequent Salish noun prefix s- on it: slamála, sləmála.  (See page 170 of Jan van Eijk’s marvelous freely published dictionary.)  Following the Chinook Jargon loan lam “alcohol”, it’s got a Lillooet suffix -ala meaning “container/holder” (see page 430 of the same dictionary).

We’ve previously encountered this word LAMALA in the Jargon and outside of Lillooet territory.  Finding Le Jeune using it without a second thought in a list of what he considered readily identifiable CJ words…well, that’s what I’m going to call confirmation.

Add this to your dictionaries, at least as a regional CJ synonym for “bottle”.

And for the curious:

  1. The neutral Jargon word is laputay.
  2. In the Kamloops area, “bottle” was also understood.
  3. In the early history of the Jargon, around the lower Columbia River, lawulich was known — and I have been developing a suspicion for years that this is really again lam “alcohol” in disguise — we know for certain that /m/ received highly variable pronunciations in that region — plus a Tsamosan (perhaps Lower Chehalis) Salish suffix for “container” that we also find in CJ t’amulch <tamolitch> “barrel”.  So this would be an older synonym but formed in quite a parallel way to LAMALA.

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Posted by Fred Clark

GeekAesthete, “ELI5: Why is it so controversial when someone says ‘All Lives Matter’ instead of ‘Black Lives Matter’?”

Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don’t get any. So you say “I should get my fair share.” And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, “everyone should get their fair share.” Now, that’s a wonderful sentiment — indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad’s smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn’t solve the problem that you still haven’t gotten any!

Samantha Allen, “Bigots Lose It Over Target’s Boy Toy Policy”

If gender is a universal, biological, and God-ordained constant, then why do children need cultural reinforcement from a retail chain to figure it out? In the bizarro world of far-right logic, gender is at once the strongest force on the planet and the most fragile. The God of Genesis may have created male and female but unless Target puts these words on signs for action figures and Barbie dolls, all of His hard work will be undone. The protests seem to be motivated by the paradoxical fear that children will grow up genderless without Target’s help even though their biology should supposedly guide them into pink and blue aisles without any intervention.

But Target is not attacking gender itself, only the outdated idea that girls and boys should play with certain shapes and colors of molded plastic and not others.

David Roberts, “Carly Fiorina did a 4-minute riff on climate change. Everything she said was wrong.”

The trick for the aspiring Republican moderate is to acknowledge the scientific consensus on climate change while maintaining opposition to any policy that might penalize fossil fuels or advantage renewable energy.

Jeb Bush has tried to do this, with little success. But Fiorina seems to have pulled it off, at least in the eyes of conservatives.

There’s just one problem. After acknowledging the science at the outset, literally everything Fiorina says subsequently is false or misleading. And yes, I know what “literally” means.

Margo Kaplan, “Fertility clinics destroy embryos all the time. Why aren’t conservatives after them?”

In contrast, all my husband and I had to do was sign a form. Our competence to choose the outcome of our embryo was never questioned. There were no mandatory lectures on gestation, no requirement that I be explicitly told that personhood begins at conception or that I view a picture of a day-five embryo. There was no compulsory waiting period for me to reconsider my decision. In fact, no state imposes these restrictions — so common for abortion patients — on patients with frozen embryos. With rare exceptions, the government doesn’t interfere with an IVF patient’s choices except to resolve disagreements between couples.

The disparity between how the law treats abortion patients and IVF patients reveals an ugly truth about abortion restrictions: that they are often less about protecting life than about controlling women’s bodies. Both IVF and abortion involve the destruction of fertilized eggs that could potentially develop into people. But only abortion concerns women who have had sex that they don’t want to lead to childbirth. Abortion restrictions use unwanted pregnancy as a punishment for “irresponsible sex” and remind women of the consequences of being unchaste: If you didn’t want to endure a mandatory vaginal ultrasound , you shouldn’t have had sex in the first place.

Rebecca Traister, “The Big Secret of Abortion: Women Already Know How It Works”

The average age of menarche in the United States is 12; the average age of menopause, 51. During the intervening decades, most women bleed regularly, and if you think we emit that chlorinated blue water in the maxi-pad ads, you are incorrect. I was in high school the first time a friend joked about a “period chunk.” I was also in high school when I first heard that an acquaintance had had a grapefruit-size dermoid cyst removed from an ovary; as is not uncommon with those cysts, it contained teeth, hair, and skin.

Welcome Hands

Aug. 22nd, 2015 05:45 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

When I am about to receive service from someone, as a person with a disability, for issues regarding my disability, I am filled with anxiety. I do not trust, and I don't think I'm alone in this, that the person, who will be randomly selected to serve me from the cadre of people on shift that day, will be:

1) happy in their job
2) free of prejudice against disabled people
3) free of bigotry against fat people
4) have a core value of kindness
5) able to understand my fear and how to handle it

Some of that list may surprise you. "What? Someone working with people with disabilities who is prejudiced against people with disabilities? How can that be?" I assure you it can be and I'll leave you to speculate how that comes to be as it's a question I wonder often, in my many capacities around the subject of disability.

The other day I received service from someone. I felt the anxiety. Didn't know how I'd be treated, didn't know if I'd be respected, didn't know if I'd come out the other end battered or bettered. But the service I got was simple, quietly reassuring, gentle and even a bit playful. No one thing was exceptional in and of itself, but the service was offered in a way which had me feeling relaxed only a few minutes in.

My brain said: I'm safe here.
My heart said: I'm safe here.
My body said: I'm safe here.

I left struggling to figure out exactly what "behaviours" were done. I couldn't really find any. I've received this service before, and will again, and there wasn't anything really unique this time.

Then I thought of the "attitude" with which I was served and then it was easier to figure out there was an attitude of:

1) welcome
2) competence
3) warmth
4) shared humanity
5) understanding of my sense of vulnerability

These attitudes shaded the work that was done. It filled the tone of voice, it put a cushion of careful gentleness between those fingers and my body, it communicated reassurance through demonstrated competency.

Two hands can touch, in the same way, doing the same thing, but the touch can be received in very different ways. Both hands doing the same job, but one pair of hands can leave me feeling supported, the other pair of hands can leave me feeling judged.

I was lucky.

I received wonderful support - from someone for whom welcome was an art.

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Posted by chinookjargon

In 2012, Andrew Nelson and Michael Kennedy published a good article in the highly readable journal, BC Studies, that they titled “Fraser River Gold Mines and Their Place Names”.  (BC Studies 172 (Winter 2011-2012):105-125.)  It comes recommended.

Anybody that reads about, or works with, the post-contact history of the Fraser stands to benefit a good deal from these guys’ assiduous compilation of these “old-time” toponyms.  Obviously we don’t mean ancient traditional names of places — you’ll more readily find that sort of information in a dictionary of any of the tribal languages.  But these ones in N&K’s article are handles that could really help you locate where some important later historical currents, so to speak, flowed, and which in many cases, so to speak, have been eroded by the currents of time.  There are more “bars” and “flats” here than in a symphony in A minor!

I’d like to reference the topnotch map that N&K created to accompany the article (you can order a paper copy of that, or download and print it out), to talk about Chinook Jargon and “The” Gold Rush.

frgm legend

The most important of the many gold rushes of Pacific Northwest frontier times was the cascade of discoveries and stampedes along British Columbia’s Fraser River and its tributaries that we conveniently pin on a timeline at 1858, ongoing to roughly 1900.

In an unpublished study, a colleague of mine convincingly argued that Chinook Jargon was not a fur-trade language of BC.  That’s an important distinction to make; you see, the Hudsons Bay Company types sustained an active presence in BC starting shortly after the beginning of the 19th century.  And in a popular socio-linguistic myth, the HBC was reputed to have concocted Chinook Jargon (which we find in documents starting about that same time) intentionally.  Thus, you’d expect to find CJ in BC from the get-go.

You don’t.

There’s scarcely more than a shred of documented BC Jargon, even at an important entrepot like Fort Langley — let alone any farther north — until the mid-1800s.

A couple of obvious stimuli could help account for CJ’s late and sudden appearance north of the current border.  The HBC moved its headquarters from Fort Vancouver to Victoria in 1849.  (We know for a fact that Jargon was huge at and around Fort Vancouver during its whole existence.)

And soon after, The Gold Rush prompted enormous non-Aboriginal immigration to the Fraser and other promising streams.  Coming into a country where they were much outnumbered by the Native people, would-be miners seem to have brought along what looked like the obvious tool: published Chinook Jargon word lists.  Already in wide circulation in the Oregon Territory and northern California, these newspaper clippings and booklets were quickly repurposed to negotiate labor assistance with BC Indians.  It was to the advantage of the latter to play at that game, learning enough of this easily acquired language to profit nicely from the uninvited influx.

Bringing our focus back to N&K’s article, my first broad realization was a surprise; Sides C and D mapping the more northerly reaches of the Fraser really contain no evidence of 1800s Chinook Jargon.  There is a Jawbone Creek, and “jawbone” was a typical word for Kamloops Chinook Jargon in the 1890s, but I see no reason to conclude that the earlier stream name is CJ.

The reason this contradicts my own suppositions is that we’re talking about the core of “The Cariboo” gold rush region, which in stereotype saw plenty of colorful (“rollicking”?) Jargon-slinging.  Yet, on reconsideration, my searches of old documents and periodicals has turned up remarkably little from the areas of Barkerville, Quesnel and so on.  And so, yes, it may make perfect sense that Jargon hadn’t effectively penetrated that far up the river yet, though I have in my possession Chinook Jargon letters written by Native people with a Barkerville dateline later on, towards 1900.  (What you do find is that a huge majority of Chinese claims were in this northern reach of the river, and this correlates with the Chinese pidgin English I find in documents.  But that’s a separate story.)

frgm kanaka bar siwash creek

As you’ll see, though, from the following images, Chinuk Wawa left its mark in the form of place names in the southern reaches of the Fraser River drainage.

mameloose bar boston flat siwash bar

There were plenty of places called “Siwash Bar”.

two more siwash bars

Five separate ones, in fact!  And two Siwash Creeks, and a Siwash Flat to boot.  I infer that these mining locations were likely so named because they were possessed and worked by Native people, who perhaps didn’t always formally file their claims.  White and Chinese people’s gold spots, for instance, typically carried the filer’s personal name, nickname, or corporate name.  Further research is needed on this whole question.

index siwash

There was also a Mameloose Bar, probably “Dead Man’s” Bar, judging by the frequency of the latter as a place name element in interior BC and Washington.

You’ll also find a Kanaka / Canaka Bar, and a Boston Bar, which are potentially at least half Chinook Jargon in origin.  Kanaka was CJ for Hawaiians, many of whom were still in the Northwest after having served in the fur trade for years.  Boston was CJ for Americans, who numerically dominated the Gold Rush population — just take a look at some of the other place names on the map, like Fifty Four Forty Bar, Texas Bar, Puget Sound Bar, Ohio Bar, and similar.  I’m the first to point out, though, that Kanaka and Boston were pretty much naturalized into regional English by 1858.

Let me be really clear, I’m not claiming that there’s a treasure trove of Chinook Jargon in the place names that N&K have compiled.  There’s only a handful of words involved.  But their distribution and dating help us to understand the role that the Jargon played as it spread upriver into British Columbia during the Gold Rush period.

And a postscript: a number of the place names mapped by N&K went on to be important in Chinook Jargon as used in BC.  For example, I have CJ letters datelined Chapman’s Bar, Tecoulous, Spuzzum, Boston Bar, High Bar, and Lytton.  And when you grasp that the typical BC Gold Rush place name was either X Bar (sorry linguists) or Y Flat, you can understand things like an Aboriginal person datelining a CJ letter “Liluit Flat Ilihi” — an otherwise little-documented place name, “Lillooet Flat Village”.

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillars!

Aug. 22nd, 2015 12:04 am
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed

They are glorious monsters. They are ravenous. They are chewing through my Woolly Dutchman’s Pipe at a truly shocking rate. If you stand beside the vine, you hear this steady feeding sound, which is both cool and deeply, deeply creepy.

Check them out!

I re-located a couple to another pipevine a few yards away which hadn’t gotten colonized, to try and spread the carnage out a bit. This is the first year that I’ve ever had them, despite planting pipevine for at least five years and they are magnificent and I am extremely honored.

(Truth is, I'd almost given up. Now I have to plant more next spring!)
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  • SF Women of the 20th Century: Introduction | tansyrr.com (18 August): “[W]hile 20th century science fiction is so often framed as a masculine genre, as a sexist genre, as a boys club, and as a hub of male geekery, male childhood, male second childhood and a world peopled by old white men, it was always a place where women existed, and worked, and played, and created wonderful things.”
  • No, I don’t trust your conference without a Code of Conduct | Perpendicular Angel Design (14 August): “A clear, transparent, well-written code of conduct is step 1 of winning my trust. Enforcing that code of conduct *with the biggest burden affecting those who do wrong* is step 2. If there is a step 3, it’s that you communicate to the industry what you did, why, and what you might do differently in the future.”
  • Signal Boost: GG attacks SXSW panels on online safety, harassment, and VR. | Jacqueline Wernimont (18 August): “[T]he South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin uses a crowdsourced approval method for its panels, taking into account online voting to see which proposed panels get approved. Three panels proposed for SXSW Interactive — about gaming and interactive media — are being attacked by GamerGate right now. One of them, a panel about VR, isn’t even related to feminism or social justice issues but is being targeted anyway because Brianna Wu is on it.”
  • [Trigger Warning: Examples of harassment discussed in detail] Almost No One Sided with #GamerGate: A Research Paper on the Internet’s Reaction to Last Year’s Mob | Superheroes in Racecars (17 August): “The results of this project suggest that the vast majority of people do in fact equate GamerGate with online harassment, sexism, and/or misogyny. More people see GamerGate as a toxic mob rather than a legitimate movement worthy of respect.”
  • Teen girls play video games, but they minimize their contact with other players. Boys, on the other hand, use games to socialize. | Slate (18 August): “No one should blame women and girls for choosing to play games in a way that renders them invisible to the larger gaming community, but an unfortunate side effect of this is that many guys who play are under the impression that it’s therefore a male hobby.”
  • [Trigger Warning: Brief description of harassment]How To (Accidentally) Build A More Female-Friendly Game | Medium (18 August): “In Ingress, by the time you learn someone’s gender, you’ve already seen how they play. Eventually as you get into hangouts and communities, people are going to learn you are female — but they are also going to be meeting you in real life at the same time and also see you as a valuable contributor. It humanizes that interaction. So the would-be trolls don’t have that time period where the only piece of information they have about you is that you are a woman, which makes it harder to troll. ”
  • [Trigger Warning: Brief description of harassment]Why Stack Overflow is a Good Workplace for Women | Medium (11 August): “Be careful with “Cultural Fit”. This is often a catch-all for a vague sense of “would not fit in”, which can come to mean “is like me”. If you feel someone is a good or bad cultural fit, you must explain what you mean.
    Valid “Cultural Fit” things: self-motivated, passionate, gets stuff done, cares about open source / giving back to the community, likes “default open”, hates office politics / meetings, pragmatic attitude towards tools / best practices, etc.
    Invalid “Cultural Fit” things: obvious stuff like race, gender, sexual orientation, religion but also softer things like age, personality or hobbies (does not have to like Magic the Gathering to be a good dev). Assume that your bias is to hire people you “like” and be very careful of that.”

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Posted by Fred Clark

Yesterday I wrote about Zachary King, the latest in a long line of self-professed “former Satanists.” King is a liar and a con artist, but whatever, he doesn’t really interest me all that much. The problem isn’t con artists like King. The problem is their audience.

King is just the most recent “Satan seller” stepping up to meet the unmet demand for this shtick ever since Mike Warnke was exposed as a liar and a fraud. There’s a huge audience desperate for someone to come along and take all the money and adulation they used to shovel at Warnke, and we can hardly blame a guy like Zack King for taking advantage of that opportunity. Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, grifters gotta grift.

When I say that King is exactly like Mike Warnke, that’s not a criticism of him — or even of Warnke.*

SellingThe problem is not the fraudsters “selling Satan.” The problem is the huge market of good Christian people eagerly buying Satan.

I love the book Selling Satan: The Evangelical Media and the Mike Warnke Scandal by Mike Hertenstein and Jon Trott. It’s a terrific piece of investigative journalism — one that any would-be journalist would benefit from studying because of the way the authors’ earnest evangelical piety makes them reluctant skeptics. Hertenstein and Trott are instinctively nice — they’re inclined to be trusting, forgiving and gracious. It clearly pains them to apply the skeptical tools of the journalist to others they regard as brothers and sisters in Christ. But they do it anyway, and the result is something like reading All the President’s Men as written by Rod and Todd Flanders.**

But Selling Satan only tells half the story, and it is, by far, the less interesting half.

The authors provide extensive, ironclad, thorough documentation proving that Warnke is a liar and a fraud. The compilation of that evidence is a valuable service. But Mike Warnke’s story, ultimately, is fairly bland. Why did he lie? For money. Yawn.

That’s all you need to know about Mike Warnke and all you need to know about Zack King. They are men who are willing to lie in pursuit of money, and men who are willing to lie in pursuit of money are, frankly, not all that interesting or original. There isn’t much more we need to learn about them, and there isn’t much more we can learn from them.

But their audience … ah, those folks are interesting. They’re not chasing money. They’re after something else — something they value more than money, or integrity, or truth, or reality. And that is worth exploring.

I read Sarah Zagorski’s article on Zachary King at LifeNew.com and I am, frankly, bored by Zack King. But I am fascinated by Zagorski, and by her bosses at LifeNews.com, and by the huge audience of “pro-lifers” who create the demand-driven market for clichéd con-men like Zack King.

King is telling Zagorski and her audience what they want to hear. And what they want to hear — what they want, they desire, they wish for and hope for — is a horror story:

There was a woman in stirrups about to have a baby who was surrounded by 13 top members of our coven, which were all high priests and priestesses. I was inside the circle with the woman and the abortion doctor. All the adult members of my coven were there. There were several women kneeling on the floor, swaying back and forth chanting “our body and ourselves” over and over again. Off to the side were several male members of our coven all chanting and praying. …

The doctor reached in, ripped the baby out and threw it onto the floor where these women were swaying. The women looked like they were possessed, and when the doctor threw the baby out to them, they cannibalized the baby.***

I have, for years now, attempted to explore what it is that would make anyone want to believe that such things really happen, routinely. I have proposed and supported and defended several theories about why it is that so many millions of American Christians want or need such stories to be real.

Those theories, obviously, are not flattering to those millions of American Christians, because how could they be? How could there be any healthy, admirable, faithful, loving explanation for why people would desperately want to believe in cannibalistic Satanic baby-killers?

But let’s not worry about those explanations or those motives just now.

Here let’s just note, yet again, the sheer fact we have just encountered. Not the fact that a guy like Zack King is claiming to have witnessed and perpetrated outrageous horrors, but the fact that Sarah Zagorski is happy and eager to report them, and the fact that LifeNews.com considers such horrors a story “too good to check.”

And the fact that millions of “pro-life” American Christians have just shown us, yet again, that they prefer this monstrous fantasy to reality — that they cannot tolerate daily life a world that doesn’t include cannibalism and Satanic baby-killers killing babies for Satan.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

* We can, however, criticize Zachary King for his shoddy craftsmanship. He’s got the hair and the look, but apart from that he seems like a hack. Most of his patter is lifted, verbatim, from stuff written decades ago by guys like Warnke and Bob Larson. There’s no originality, no flair, no sense that he’s moving the story forward or making it his own. That’s just lazy. And it makes him the con-man equivalent of a joke-thief.

King’s only innovation seems to be his decision to focus on a less-tapped-out niche audience. Warnke’s and Larson’s shtick played well among white evangelicals, so King seems to be testing how it works among far-right Gothic Catholics. That’s shrewd, but he doesn’t seem to have fully explored the different approaches needed to milk that audience. Warnke raked it in from evangelicals through the collection plate and scary direct mail fundraisers, plus he sold books and albums and VHS tapes. King, likewise, is working the speaking circuit and selling DVDs and, eventually, books. (He needs to get his butt in gear and finish those, even if that means hiring a ghostwriter — that’s what Larson and Hal Lindsey did and it worked for them.) But King doesn’t seem to appreciate the difference between the shlock for sale in your local Family Christian Book Center and the shlock for sale in your local St. Jude Shop. If a crafty pro like Warnke had been working the Catholic angle, he’d have been pulling in five figures a month just in candles and rosaries and prayer cards.

** There’s so much to read, so if I can’t convince you to add the entire book to your nightstand pile, let me just urge you to read, at least, Hertenstein and Trott’s final chapter. That surreal coda finds these good evangelical guys enjoying the hospitality of Anton LaVey — founder of the “Church of Satan” and longtime bogeyman of white evangelical Christians. The bogeyman serves them tea. He plays the piano and sings some Gershwin standards.

*** That bit about the Satanic baby-killing cannibal women chanting “our body and ourselves” is the one glimmer of originality that makes me wonder if, perhaps, Zachary King is more than the two-bit, derivative huckster he otherwise appears to be. That line is so transparently over-the-top that King seems to be winking broadly at the camera. This suggests two possibilities. One is that King simply has such contempt for the rubes he’s fleecing that he can’t resist pushing the limits of how much he can get them to swallow.

But there’s another possibility — one which might also explain why he hasn’t yet finished those books he’s supposedly writing and why he’s been so lackadaisical in exploiting other ways to monetize this shtick. It’s also possible that King is playing a long game of performance art — something in the vein of Andy Kaufman or Lucien Greaves. It’s possible that “Former Satanist Zachary King” is a character created by an artist (who may or may not also be named Zachary King) in order to explore the very questions I’m discussing here about the nightmare-desiring audience for this sanctimonious horror story.

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Flashback Friday.

Jenn F. found herself faced with a “Lucky Taco” at the end of her meal at a Mexican restaurant.  It contained the following wisdom: “Paco says, ‘A bird in hand can be very messy.'”

The Lucky Taco is, of course, a “Mexican” version of the Chinese fortune cookie with which most Americans (at least) are familiar. Jenn also sent the link to the company that makes them, the Lucky Cookie Company, and they have two other versions, the Lucky Cannoli and the Lucky Cruncher (meant to be, respectively, version inspired by Italians and the “tribal” [their term, not mine]). Behold:

So this company took the Chinese fortune cookie and re-racialized it…. three times over. Is this is an appropriation of Chinese culture?


The fortune cookie isn’t Chinese. As best as can be figured out, it’s Japanese. But, in Japan, the fortune cookie wasn’t and isn’t like it is in the U.S. today. It’s larger and made with a darker batter seasoned with miso (instead of vanilla) and sprinkled with sesame seeds. This is a screenshot from a New York Times video about its history:

This drawing is believed to depict Japanese fortune cookie baking in 1878:

According to the New York Times, it was Japanese-Americans in California who first began making and selling fortune cookies in the ’20s. Many of them, however, served Chinese food. And Chinese-Americans may have picked up on the trend. Then, when the Japanese were forced into internment camps during WWII, Chinese-Americans took over the industry and, voila, the “Chinese fortune cookie.”

So the “Chinese” fortune cookie with which we’re all familiar isn’t Chinese at all and is certainly of American (re-)invention. So, insofar as the Lucky Taco, Lucky Cannoli, and the Lucky Cruncher are offensive — and I’m pretty sure they are — it’ll have to be for some other reason.

Originally posted in 2010.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Originally posted May 13, 2005.

Left Behind, pp. 92-96

Left Behind is filled with moments of accidental honesty in which Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins admit that the Christians aren’t just “Raptured,” they’re dead. We find two such passages in this section, first in Buck’s phone conversation with Hattie Durham, and then again in his talk with the late Lucinda Washington’s teenage son.

Buck pulled out the number the beautiful blonde flight attendant had given him and chastised himself for not trying again to reach her earlier. It took a while for her to answer.

“Hattie Durham, this is Buck Williams.”


“Cameron Williams, from the Global –”

LaHaye & Jenkins never seem confident that they’ve established Buck’s nickname, so they keep having him re-establish it.

“Mr. Williams, what did you call yourself?”

“Buck. It’s a nickname.”

“Well, Buck …”

This is the third or fourth such scene in the book, and it won’t be the last. It reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live sketch in which Dana Carvey reimagines the moment at which Gordon Sumner informs his mates that, from now on, he wishes to be called “Sting.” Or of Paulie Shore’s insistence that we refer to him as “The Weasel.” Buck and his creators seem not to realize that nicknames are bestowed, not asserted.

Buck tells Hattie he has “good news” for her:

“Oh, thank God! Tell me.”

“Someone from my office tells me they reached your mother and that she and your sisters are fine.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

By “fine” what Buck means is that Hattie’s family are not among the disappeared/dead. They both regard this as good, even joyful, news, which for Hattie it certainly is.

L&J, however, do not consider this good news. The fact that Hattie’s mom and sister are “fine” means that they, like Hattie, were not raptured. They were “left behind” and that, to L&J, is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. Worse even than having your life end in a flash as you’re zapped right out of your clothes.

After the obligatory discussion of the state of the phone lines Hattie asks Buck about his family. This gives her a chance to fill in the Greatest Investigative Reporter of All Time about the fact that all of the prepubescent children in the world having gone missing, a detail which, again, the GIRAT hadn’t yet noticed himself, having spent most of his time since the event meditating in a men’s room stall:

“I got word that my dad and brother are OK. We still don’t know about my sister-in-law and the kids.”

Jesus love the little children. Which is why they will all be disintegrated at the Rapture.

Jesus loves the little children. Which is why they will all be disintegrated at the Rapture.

“Oh. How old are the kids?”

“Can’t remember. Both under 10, but I don’t know exactly.”

“Oh,” Hattie sounded sad, guarded.

“Why?” Buck asked.

“Oh, nothing. It’s just that –”


“You can’t go by what I say.”

“Tell me, Miss Durham.”

He’s still not putting this together, even with help.

“Well, you remember what I told you on the plane. And on the news it looks like all the children are gone, even unborn ones.”

Even unborn ones. That, for L&J, is the most significant — almost the only significant — implication of all the children being taken. God has a special love for the unborn, a special love he demonstrates at the beginning of the book by slaughtering/rapturing them all.

L&J are so enamored of how this scenario reinforces their politics that they scarcely consider any other implications from the elimination of this entire demographic slice. Thus we’re told and retold about pregnant women suddenly no longer being pregnant (abortion via divine intervention is, apparently, OK), but never about the scenes that would have played out in every elementary school classroom in the world. They pay no more attention to this event, or to its impact on others, than Buck does.

In the year 2000, about 30 percent of the world’s population was under the age of 15. That’s about 1.8 billion people — a larger group than the roughly 1 billion Christians on the planet.* But Buck doesn’t notice that they’re gone until Hattie points it out to him. Twice. Some guys just aren’t good with kids, I guess.

Buck makes one more phone call before heading to Waukegan:

Buck checked the phone log in his laptop for Lucinda Washington’s home number and dialed. A teenage boy answered …

Yeah, poor kid’s a teenager, so he got left behind. Once you start growing hair around your naughty bits, God doesn’t want you anymore. Fourteen-year-olds will be tried as adults.

“My mom’s not here,” the young man said.

“Is she still at the office? I need a recommendation where to stay near Waukegan.”

The timeline isn’t very clear — with one protagonist seeming to sleep the night away while the other is sequestered in the men’s room — but less than a day has passed since global catastrophe struck. And this is how Buck talks to people on the phone?

“She’s nowhere,” the boy said. “I’m the only one left. Mama, Daddy, everybody else is gone. Disappeared.”

“Are you sure?”

“Their clothes are here, right where they were sitting. My daddy’s contact lenses are still on top of his bathrobe.”

“Oh, man! I’m sorry, son.”

“That’s all right. I know where they are, and I can’t even say I’m surprised.”

“You know where they are?”

“If you know my mama, you know where she is, too. She’s in heaven.”

Lucinda Washington, we are told, is in heaven. That’s where Christians believe they will go when they die. So doesn’t this mean, again, that Lucinda is dead? What else could it mean?

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

* So how many people were raptured at the beginning of Left Behind? All the children and all the Christians, we’re told, which comes out to about 2.8 billion people, or around 46 percent of the world’s population.

That figure, however, is too high for several reasons. First, there’s the matter of overlap — some of those 1.8 billion children are also Christians, and we shouldn’t count them twice. Also, that figure for children is based on age 0-14, and L&J seem to want to set their “age of accountability” somewhat lower than that. Finally, that figure of 1 billion Christians includes an awful lot of people whom L&J would say don’t really count as their kind of Christians — such as Russian Orthodox, mainline Protestants or Democrats.

I can’t precisely account for these factors, but we can take a shot at a ballpark guess. Let’s be optimistic and say that half of the church makes the cut, so let’s say 500 million Christians. Since most of the church is in the developing world, we’ll guess at a very high percentage of these Christians being children — say 30 percent, or 150 million. So we’ll take that 150 million from the total number of children, which we’ll reduce to an even 1.5 billion to leave behind the 13 and 14 year olds, and we’re left with: 0.5 billion + 1.35 billion = 1.85 billion.

That’s still about 30 percent of the world’s population. Gone. Poof. And what’s Buck doing? He’s sparing no expense so that he can get to New York in time to cover “a conference of Jewish Nationalists.”

Update/correction: Andrew Cory provides a more accurate figure for the number of Christians worldwide — which is more like 1.8 billion. So, if we still guess that half of these are deemed acceptable as “real” Christians according to L&J’s standards, that changes our Rapture Total to about 2.25 billion, or roughly 37 percent of the world’s population. (thanks, AC)

The Gift

Aug. 21st, 2015 07:50 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

When I got to work this morning there was a nice little present for me. Someone had written in to subscribe to Service, Support and Success: The Direct Support Workers Newsletter, and had attached to the subscription request a short note as people often do. She told me that she had heard me lecture many, many years ago and was shocked, at the time, at what I said about sexuality, relationships and the right to love in relation to people with intellectual disabilities.

Her background, she described, was very conservative and the things I said shocked her both because of the subject of sexuality and frankness with which it was spoken of but also because of the idea embedded in the presentation that people with intellectual disabilities had a right to, and would inevitably grow to adulthood. At the time she brushed off my presentation, saw me as another 'all talk' presenter.

Part of the reason for her reaction was because she and her husband had had a young son with intellectual disabilities and as they struggled to teach him some basic skills, they couldn't imagine him in a relationship, living on his own, being a fully contributing adult. My talk had shaken her up but not enough to change her views.

I didn't need to do that.

Her son did.

She said that he did eventually and inevitably grow into adulthood and he did have expectations of living a large life, much larger than she and her husband ever imagined. She said that today, he's going to ask his girlfriend to marry him. She is excited for him, her husband, she says with a couple of lols can't talk about it without crying.

I've written her back and asked her to let me know if her son's girlfriend says, "Yes."

I really want to know.

The email made me realize that those of us who provide education and training regarding people with intellectual disabilities need to realize that the real teachers, the real change-makers are the courageous and bold and strong people with intellectual disabilities who will live the life they want and will make their way in the world.

At the very end of her email she said, "If you want to write about this on your blog, please do." People know me so well.


commodorified: My hair, flying in the wind, and my right arm, in sunlight (Default)

August 2015

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