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Posted by chinookjargon

We haven’t given Robert Brown (b. 1842) his due.  I mean, he was a well-regarded Scottish botanist and explorer of our Pacific Northwest region, and certainly I’ve already praised his Chinook highly, but he remains pretty unknown in our little world.  Let’s remedy this.

Robert Brown Chinook Jargon scholar

Start with John Hayman’s book “Robert Brown and the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition“, which relates vivid Chinook Jargon-connected events from Brown’s adventures.

For example, on page 49 we learn (referring to Thursday, March 9, 1864) that among the Vancouver Island tribes, “few understood any Chinook or English”, while the Chinook/Iroquois interpreter/hunter “One-Armed Tomo” had a grasp of various local languages there.

Yet Brown intersperses plenty of Chinook Jargon into his telling of daily events among the Salish people of southeast V.I., such as his having engaged chief Kakalatza for an agreed sum “and the promise of a cultus potlatch(a gift) (page 50).  “We were chiefs of King George they said & if cultus men did pay as much surely we ought…”

Page 51 speaks of a place known as the “mowitch illale” (an editorial misreading for “illahe”) — “deer trail”.

I think on page 56 Brown is protesting too much, but showing a genuine command of Chinuk Wawa learned on the ground and not from books, when he brings up a place whose “Indian name is Squitz [Skutz] which means in the Cowichan language the fall or the end of the swift places though in the Chinook jargon it comes under the same category as Shella untranslatable to ears polite.”  My Google Books preview of the book excludes me from checking the footnote to this statement, so I don’t yet know what this Shella means, but Brown is connecting (mistakenly I think) Squitz with a Chinuk Wawa term for female genitalia.

Page 72 is great because here Brown conveys a couple of full sentences he recalls from discussions with the boy “Lemon” who has been employed on his expedition: “…turning to one of our party, whom he supposed had cast certain sly glances at some damsel of his acquaintance ‘Nika wawa Mary copa mika’ (‘I will speak to Mary for you’) & turning to another ‘Spose Mary halo tiki yaka nika[…]hiyu wawa copa mika’ (‘I hope Mary want him. I want will speak plenty for you’…”

Brown tells on this page also of giving each of his Native employees a ” ‘hyas paper’ or memorial of their character as I found it on the expedition (these papers when true are very useful, but you find them scattered all over the coast full of the most absurd nonsense and untruths”.  This is a mighty neat lexical discovery in Chinook Jargon, another term for what were known farther north as skookum papers.

There’s a bit more of this solid Jargon in Brown’s memoir; enjoy tracking it down for a colorful read.

In his lifetime, Brown was considered a noted authority on Jargon. His obituary in the journal The Academy (Nov. 2, 1895 — No. 1226) refers to him as such.  It’s just a twist of fate that Brown published little in his lifetime that would have cemented that reputation for subsequent generations of Jargonists.

My good turn today, I hope, is to start fixing that gap.

His papers appear to reside at UBC, and they will be worth a closer look into.


It hurts down here on Earth, Lord

Feb. 11th, 2016 01:26 am
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

• Are you a novelist looking for character or place names? Are you in an as-yet nameless rock band, or in a band looking for the name of your next album? Maybe you’ve simply grown tired of your current arsenal of insults and you’re looking for some choice new epithets to hurl at those who deserve it. In any case, the British Mycological Society may have just what you’re looking for.

RIP Max Stackhouse.

Eliel Cruz’s “Faithfully LGBT” project is introducing us to our brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s a beautiful collection of beautiful faces — the faces of real people whose existence and reality too much of the church is still failing to acknowledge or comprehend. Part of the reason I started compiling the “Xn QUILTblogs” list in the tab at the top here was just to remind the larger church that, yes, LGBT Christians are real people, committed believers just like the rest of us. Faithfully LGBT shows that. It bears witness. It testifies.

Screen shot 2016-02-10 at 6.00.46 PM

Anyway, Eliel is more than halfway to his fundraising goal for the project. It’s beautiful, good, and true, and worthy of support from those in a position to offer it.

• “Flint Residents Demand State Do More as Snyder Releases His Budget.” Snyder, there, refers to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who surprisingly has not yet been impeached, indicted, chased out of state by an angry mob, or struck down by lightning in a miraculous sign that we live in a universe ruled over by some kind of just or benevolent deity.

“I’m here for my children.”

That’s why Nakiya Wakes, a mother of two children who stays home to take care of her daughter’s epilepsy, took time out of her life to travel the hour’s drive between her home city of Flint and Michigan’s state capitol in Lansing on Wednesday.

If “pro-life” meant what that term would seem to mean — or if it meant, really, anything at all — then Snyder and the rest of his pals poisoning the people of Flint should have replaced Planned Parenthood as pro-lifers’ Public Enemy No. 1.

John McCain wants to believe that, in 2016, it’s still possible to be a Republican while opposing torture. He notes that torture is illegal, immoral, counter-productive, and disgraceful. He’s right about that. Whether or not he’s right that it’s still possible to be a Republican while believing that is yet to be determined.

• “Evangelical Christians helping Syrian refugees resettle in Georgia” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That’s good news about evangelicals. But the fact that it’s news at all is not so good.

When mainline Protestant churches continue their decades-long efforts to sponsor and resettle refugees through Church World Service, it never makes the paper. That’s a dog-bites-man story — mainline Protestants are expected to be decent people who help others in need, so it’s not “news” when they do. Some white evangelicals have also been doing this for a long time, through organizations like World Relief, but it’s still surprising enough to most of their neighbors that “evangelical Christians helping Syrian refugees” qualifies as a man-bites-dog anomaly that constitutes “news.”

• It’s Ash Wednesday, so I thought about quoting T.S. Eliot. Decided to go with this instead:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Against Endorsements

Feb. 10th, 2016 05:31 pm
[syndicated profile] tanehisicoates_feed

Posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This morning I went on Democracy Now to discuss my critique of “class-first” policy as a way of ameliorating the effects of racism. In the midst of that discussion I made the point that one can maintain a critique of a candidate—in this case Bernie Sanders—and still feel that that candidate is deserving of your vote. Amy Goodman, being an excellent journalist, did exactly what she should have done—she asked if I were going to vote for Senator Sanders.

I, with some trepidation, answered in the affirmative. I did so because I’ve spent my career trying to get people to answer uncomfortable questions. Indeed, the entire reason I was on the show was to try to push liberals into directly addressing an uncomfortable issue that threatens their coalition. It seemed wrong, somehow, to ask others to step into their uncomfortable space and not do so myself. So I answered.

My answer has been characterized, in various places, as an “endorsement,” a characterization that I’d object to. Despite my very obvious political biases, I’ve never felt it was really my job to get people to agree with me. My first duty, as a writer, is to myself. In that sense I simply hope to ask all the questions that keep me up at night. My second duty is to my readers. In that sense, I hope to make readers understand why those questions are critical. I don’t so much hope that any reader “agrees” with me, as I hope to haunt them, to trouble their sense of how things actually are.

It’s really no different with Senator Sanders. The idea that anyone would cast a vote because of how I am casting my vote makes my skin crawl. It misses the point of everything I’ve been trying to do in my time at The Atlantic. The point is to get people to question, not to recruit them into a religion. Citizens are not sheep. They do not need shepherds, and even if they did I would be poorly qualified. I have thought quite deeply about the problem of racism in American society. I have thought somewhat deeply about inequality and the social safety net. I have though only modestly about foreign policy and the environment. And I haven’t thought much at all about net neutrality. I voted for the first time in 2008, following years of skepticism about electoral politics. Whatever. The point is that this is not the record of someone who should be telling other citizens how to vote.

I know what I know, and not much more. And one thing I learned while The Horde was active was to never confuse the perch I enjoy here, one that is as much a matter of chance as anything else, with broad knowledge. So I am no position to offer an “endorsement” to Sanders—one he did not seek, and does not need.

It is important to say this not just as a writer, but as a black writer. Too often individuals are appointed to speak for black people. I don’t want any part of it. Black voters deserve to be addressed in all of their beautiful and wonderful complications, not through the lens of unelected “thought-leaders.” I was asked a question. I tried to answer it honestly. And that’s really all I have.

Against Endorsements

Feb. 10th, 2016 05:31 pm
[syndicated profile] tnc_atlantic_feed

Posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This morning I went on Democracy Now to discuss my critique of “class-first” policy as a way of ameliorating the effects of racism. In the midst of that discussion I made the point that one can maintain a critique of a candidate—in this case Bernie Sanders—and still feel that that candidate is deserving of your vote. Amy Goodman, being an excellent journalist, did exactly what she should have done—she asked if I were going to vote for Senator Sanders.

I, with some trepidation, answered in the affirmative. I did so because I’ve spent my career trying to get people to answer uncomfortable questions. Indeed, the entire reason I was on the show was to try to push liberals into directly addressing an uncomfortable issue that threatens their coalition. It seemed wrong, somehow, to ask others to step into their uncomfortable space and not do so myself. So I answered.

My answer has been characterized, in various places, as an “endorsement,” a characterization that I’d object to. Despite my very obvious political biases, I’ve never felt it was really my job to get people to agree with me. My first duty, as a writer, is to myself. In that sense I simply hope to ask all the questions that keep me up at night. My second duty is to my readers. In that sense, I hope to make readers understand why those questions are critical. I don’t so much hope that any reader “agrees” with me, as I hope to haunt them, to trouble their sense of how things actually are.

It’s really no different with Senator Sanders. The idea that anyone would cast a vote because of how I am casting my vote makes my skin crawl. It misses the point of everything I’ve been trying to do in my time at The Atlantic. The point is to get people to question, not to recruit them into a religion. Citizens are not sheep. They do not need shepherds, and even if they did I would be poorly qualified. I have thought quite deeply about the problem of racism in American society. I have thought somewhat deeply about inequality and the social safety net. I have though only modestly about foreign policy and the environment. And I haven’t thought much at all about net neutrality. I voted for the first time in 2008, following years of skepticism about electoral politics. Whatever. The point is that this is not the record of someone who should be telling other citizens how to vote.

I know what I know, and not much more. And one thing I learned while The Horde was active was to never confuse the perch I enjoy here, one that is as much a matter of chance as anything else, with broad knowledge. So I am no position to offer an “endorsement” to Sanders—one he did not seek, and does not need.

It is important to say this not just as a writer, but as a black writer. Too often individuals are appointed to speak for black people. I don’t want any part of it. Black voters deserve to be addressed in all of their beautiful and wonderful complications, not through the lens of unelected “thought-leaders.” I was asked a question. I tried to answer it honestly. And that’s really all I have.

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Charismanews editor and sex-with-demons beat reporter Jennifer LeClaire endorses Ted Cruz for president, saying “The Lord wants to raise up Cruz, 45, as an Ezra in this generation.”

The reference there is actually somewhat apt. The biblical figure of Ezra was also a callous, racist prick. The conclusion of the book of Ezra, and the culmination of Ezra’s own story, is a nationwide mass-divorce and mass-deportation of foreigners: “to send away all these wives and their children.” No alimony, no child support — just cast them out like Hagar and Ishmael.

Ezra’s male followers deported so many women and children — their own children — that the process took days to carry out.

In Ezra’s mind, this was the only way for his people to return to obedience:

We have forsaken your commandments, which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering to possess is a land unclean with the pollutions of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations. They have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness. Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity.”

You won’t find a footnote cross-referencing that citation of nameless “prophets” back to an actual passage in one of the books of the prophets. And if you actually read those actual prophets, you won’t have a hard time finding lots and lots of passages where those actual prophets contradict what Ezra is attributing to them there. Jeremiah, for instance, told the people of Israel to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” And Isaiah has whole strings of chapters anticipating the glorious day when people of all nations — the icky, unclean, pollution-people Ezra can’t stand — will come to worship in Jerusalem.

BTE

Click for link.

Ezra’s story doesn’t get discussed as much as it should. When “pro-family” preachers turn to the Bible to collect proof-texts on divorce, they always seem to forget the “clear biblical teaching” of the final chapters of Ezra. For Ezra, divorce is not merely permitted — it’s mandatory. Divorce is commanded by God. And so is the abandonment of racially impure children.

Like I said, Ezra was a prick. He was such an abusive, wrong-headed jerk that whole chunks elsewhere in scripture go out of their way to repudiate his ideology and behavior. That’s why Ruth is in the canon. It’s why Ruth is in every story of David and why Ruth is in the genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels. Oh, and pretty much everything the Gospels and Acts have to say about Samaritans.

I realize that for many of my evangelical friends this — Ruth vs. Ezra — is a terrifying, headsploding matter. They can’t look at it — can’t allow themselves even to peek at it. But you can’t read both the book of Ruth and the book of Ezra and not see that what you’ve got there is a direct, explicit, intentional conflict. It’s Ruth vs. Ezra. Pick one side or the other, you can’t have both.

And, by the way, there’s a right answer and a wrong answer here. I mean, you can sign up for Team Ezra if you really want to insist that David and Jesus are polluted and tainted by the uncleanness of a Moabite garbage-person, but the idea that the anointed king’s great-grandmother should have been deported and his grandfather abandoned as an infant isn’t something you’re going to find much support for in the rest of the canon.

But, yeah, OK, Ted Cruz as Ezra. Scapegoat foreign women, insist that the solution to all our problems is just getting rid of the wrong kinds of people, and never give a second thought to what this means for any of those women and children because you don’t think of them as real people. Kind of fits.

 

[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
This is information for SFWA members, some of whom may read this blog. It isn't pertinent to anyone else, so the rest of you may skip it.

I was notified last night that the Nebula rules committee has determined Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen to be eligible to be nominated for the 2015 Nebula Award. Not, as many have assumed, 2016, which won't go to a vote till this time next year. This is I gather consequent to the eARC going on sale to the public in October of 2015. I was extended the opportunity to appeal the decision, which I declined.

2015 nominations close on February 15th, just five days from this posting, so any SFWA members interested in the book might like to know about this year-shift before then.

bests, Lois.

(No, I do not wish to chat about this further till after Feb. 15th, thanks.)

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on February, 10

The Real Gidget

Feb. 10th, 2016 10:52 am
[syndicated profile] advancedstyle_feed

Posted by Ari

Kathy "Gidget" Kohner in Malibu circa 1956. ErnstLenart
I was having lunch with some friends at Duke's Malibu the other day, when the most bubbly and charming woman came over to greet us. It turns out that she was Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, the inspiration for the Gidget book, film and television series. Kathy started surfing in Malibu in the late 1950s and her father, Frederick Kohner, chronicled her adventures as a model for the beloved character Gidget. If you happen to be driving through Malibu, Kathy is now the ambassador of aloha at Duke's, and is there every Tuesday and and Sunday.

Frederick Kohner's, Gidget, has been re-released and is available on Amazon HERE.

Freedom?

Feb. 10th, 2016 09:25 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Image description: Angie Nethercott and myself posing beside each other each holding a framed award. 



Last night at the banquet hall of a large hotel here in Toronto, Angie and I represented our respective agencies, Hands The Family Help Network and Vita Community Living Services as we received an award for the Direct Support Worker newsletter that we co-edit. It was nice to receive the recognition but it was even nicer to roll around and chat with people, some of whom I have known for 30 years and hadn't seen for 29. Catching up with people, seeing how they are doing and where they are now in their lives was so much fun. Neither Joe or I are highly social people but we both talked and laughed and 'made rather merry.'

So, before the awards were even handed out, we'd had a great time. Both Angie and I ate our meals with a bit of anxiety because it's not easy to get up and get an award and say something meaningful in just a couple of seconds, I freely admit that Angie managed that much better than I did. But we got the award and were able to thank our agencies that support our work on it and continue to believe in the importance of making the information freely available.

I don't often use WheelTrans for other than going to work. I don't often stay up after 8. So I was tired when it was all over, well past bedtime, and we waited in the lobby for the bus. When it pulled up we went out and were loaded on by a driver who was fast, and fun and funny. We were out of there as quick as safety allowed.

There was already someone on the bus heading off somewhere and on the way we stopped an picked up someone else who had been out for dinner with friends. Everyone was quiet on the bus, including Joe and I, all alone with our own thoughts. I was thinking about the evening and how nice it was to receive recognition for the work that we had done. On the top of the award were the words, "Making a Difference." I hope I do. I think we all hope we do.

When we arrived at home, the driver was equally quick and equally funny when getting us off the bus. Joe got off first and I followed. Once down the ramp I turned to him and said, "Thanks for doing what you do, you make my life freer." He looks startled and then said, jokingly, "We're all free, man, we're Canadians." I was on my way into the building as he said this so I just waved and continued on.

But I had meant what I said. His job does make me freer. People need to understand that though work in any kind of human service is a job, it is work, the work has a powerful meaning. In fact, his service does make me freer. WheelTrans isn't just a company, it's a company that makes a city accessible, it grants a freedom to people with disabilities that we wouldn't otherwise have.

And Canada may be Canada but there are many who are not free. Many who still live in institutions, many who, because of lack of services or support, don't have a freedom of movement, many who, in one way or another, are held captive for the crime of needing supports.

I hope he thought about it.

I hope all that do the work to free people, to make community, to create change remember that we are in one huge vast civil liberties movement. We are continually working towards a better freer society. Canada, indeed there isn't a single country in the world, that is presently free ... and no matter how loud we sing our anthems proclaiming our freedom that won't be changed.

But what he did made my life freer.

Because freedom comes in the doing.

From Our Archives: Valentine’s Day

Feb. 10th, 2016 02:07 pm
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

3Cultural and Historical Variation

Race/Ethnicity

Heteronormativity

Compulsory Coupling:

Gender

Marketing:

Consumption:

Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. Find her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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

[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by eren

Valentine’s Day used to be a big day for me when I was a teenager. While the original “cupid” is more than a little problematic and the capitalist, gendered and heteronormative nature of the holiday is absolutely real, in urban middle-class Mexican society it was often considered an “opportunity.” An opportunity to make your feelings for someone else known, whether they were your partner or not.

February 14th was a much anticipated day in both my junior high school and my high school. There was the year that a boy gifted me a Winnie-the-Pooh stuffy holding a heart that read “Be mine” (my dad laughed so hard). There was the year that my platonic love wrote me a poem and made me a painting. And there was the year that my 17thyear-old boyfriend got me an engagement ring (much to my parent’s dismay). Most of my memories of the holiday while I lived in Mexico are happy ones (or at least funny).

But then I moved to Canada, I met a Saudi and I became Muslim (all of those three things completely unrelated to each other). Having grown up in Saudi Arabia, where the holiday is “banned,” my partner had no idea what Valentine’s was about… of course he had seen it in the media and such, but he had never “done” Valentine’s. The first year we were together we tried it… and it just went badly. He got me heart-shaped chocolates and a stuffed bunny (I hate stuffed animals), and I got him a mini-cake and a card, that, in my opinion, was extremely cute… it had two piggies kissing… Again, being Saudi and Muslim, he was extremely offended by the pig-reference in the card, I was upset that I had to explain myself, and the day ended by some of our Saudi classmates reminding him that there were fatwas against Valentine’s and that it is “haram” to celebrate it.

That was the last time I did Valentine’s. After entering Islam there was a whole aspect of “haramness” (as I like to call it), that was very difficult to navigate. In fact, numerous Muslim sites have articles on why is it that Valentine’s is haram (here, here and here).

In addition, these opinions get promoted through images, memes and social media in an attempt to remind us that Valentine’s is an invention, an innovation and a danger to Muslim identity.

Yet, it is not only that some Muslim communities self-exclude from Valentine’s celebrations (which may be a completely legitimate religious or political decision), but that mainstream Western societies also exclude Muslims and other minorities, or use the holiday to “make a point” about the “barbaric” ways in which the rest of us practice love and romance.

For example, last week an acquaintance of mine contacted me regarding Valentine’s because the organization she works for wanted to publish a piece on violence against immigrant women by February 14th. I initially agreed to talk to her about immigration and gender-based violence, since it has to do with much of the academic work I do. She sent me a few leading questions, which I felt sought to have me demonstrate how men of color are the primary abusers of immigrant women. I immediately felt uneasy and told her so.

The reality of things is that gender-based violence is not only a “brown” problem, and immigrant women (and women of colour in general) tend to experience institutional and systemic violence where whiteness acts as a form of privilege. My acquaintance replied by sending me an image featuring potential immigrant women and Valentine’s (below).

She wanted to make a point of the fact that she was not the only one who thought that violence against immigrant women, including Muslims, was perpetuated primarily by how men in “those” communities understand love and relationships. The stereotyping in this image is incredibly racist and othering, but this image was created as a “feminist” Valentine’s card.

I conducted a search of “feminist Valentine’s cards” just to discover that the majority of feminist cards feature white-Western feminists and their interests… very few feature women of colour… let alone Muslim women. And even though we know that Muslim women partake in the holiday either through hijab tutorials, card making or taking the “opportunity” to express their feelings, main media sources, and more importantly, mainstream feminist “pro-Valentine’s” movements have failed to include Muslim women and generally women of colour in the celebration without questioning their understandings, experiences and desires around romance and relationships. So let’s ask the question: what would an inclusive feminist pro-Valentine movement look like?

[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam

  • the problem of language | b. binaohan on Medium (February 8): “All of this, at the end, has me thinking about instruction, leaky pipelines, and diversity in tech. In a lot of ways, I represent a perfect example of the convergence of socio-economic factors that make pipes leaky. Based on my age and interests, I *could’ve* been one of those “I taught myself how to code as a teen and spent two years in college then dropped out to make lots of money” types. But I was poor, trans, gay, not-white-enough, and life got in the way”
  • Meet Marvel’s Newest Comic Series About a Badass Superhero You Already Love | PopSugar (February 8): “”I have an 11-year-old daughter. She is a huge comics nerd,” said Cain. “There are a ton of girls her age who read comics. But the industry loses a lot of them in middle school. Maybe because they’re generally mortified. Or maybe they catch on that there’s not as much for them as they thought there was.” Hopefully Mockingbird is just what they need to retain their love of comics.”
  • FilterScout | Civic Workbench: “FilterScout is a browser extension allows User to set rules for content display, muting unwanted content on the Web, including social media websites. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, newspapers, blogs can be filtered.”… “We’re mitigating one vector for abuse so that people can continue to engage with communities and (we hope) build communities where abuse isn’t normal.”
  • Library publishing and diversity values | College and Research Libraries News (February): “What are the consequences of this lack of diversity in publishing, librarianship, and faculty? We know already that privilege can bias access to material, which is part of why the open access movement exists, to alleviate the barriers that cost can create for researchers. However, one possible consequence is a feedback loop in scholarship that privileges and publishes the majority voice, which is often white and male.”
  • An R update | Adventures in Data (February 2): “what I need is the confidence that the system will work not just forme, who knows some of the R Foundation and Core folks in a passing way, but for people who don’t. That we actually have a way of handling these kinds of problems in the future, that is scalable and generalisable and not based on who you know.”
  • When life gives you lemons, make science | Adventures in Data (February 5): “If you’re going to harass people for science bear in mind that they may science your harassment. Happy browsing to all. And remember, kids: nobody likes total strangers offering their very important opinion about how you are totally wrong. So, please: don’t be that stranger.”

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Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Planting Peas Journal

Feb. 10th, 2016 01:55 am
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed


And honestly, even if these don't make it, I have more seeds than I know what to do with.

I do not care for primary season

Feb. 9th, 2016 10:04 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

I am not a fan of presidential primary season.

This may be partly due to my being a Jersey guy who then moved to Pennsylvania. Both states have primaries so late in the process that the race has almost always been settled by the time we get around to voting, so for us primaries tend to be sort of an opportunity to register our opinion after the fact. I’ve voted in primaries from 1988 (for Jesse) through 2008 (for Obama), but I don’t think I’ve ever cast a primary vote that still mattered by the time my state went to the polls.

Mainly, though, my problem with primaries is that elections tend to get silly, and counter-productive, when the difference between candidates isn’t as stark. This is something that we can see most clearly in presidential primary debates.

IvorySoapI like presidential debates for the national race — debates between the nominees of the two parties. They often go off the rails with dumb questions, evasive answers, and media spin that focuses on irrelevant verbal tics or mannerisms — all the many things that can make a debate less than edifying and useful. But the basic idea of those debates is good: Two candidates with opposing ideas square off to defend their opposing views about policy, programs and priorities.

In primary debates, though, you wind up with two — or many more — candidates who can’t really square off because they mostly agree about policy, programs and priorities. And when the opposing candidates aren’t really opposed on those substantial matters, the debate — and the rest of the campaign — shifts its focus to less substantial matters. The debate and the campaign become an illustration of Freud’s idea of the narcissism of small differences. The process requires mountains, so it makes mountains out of molehills.

And that’s actually the best-case scenario. What tends to happen more often is that, in the absence of major differences on policy, programs or priorities, a primary shifts its focus to purity.

The overcrowded Republican primary campaign for 2016 is a good illustration of what I mean by that. Much of that campaign has nominally focused on the matter of immigration. That focus is strange when you consider that nearly all* of the 17 candidates seeking the Republican nomination agreed on this subject. There has been some disagreement on the priority of the issue, but with regard to the substance of what they believed the policy and law ought to be, the candidates are basically unanimous. (In my view, they are unanimously wrong, repugnantly so, but that’s a separate complaint.)

It would have been useful and constructive — for Republican primary voters and for our democracy in general — if the campaign could have acknowledged that unanimity and, therefore, moved on either to other topics on which there might be more substantial disagreements and distinctions between the candidates, or else shifted focus to the question of where this issue ought to rank among the priorities of the next president.

But that’s not what happened. That almost never happens in primary elections. What happens, instead, is that given the field’s unanimity on the substance of policy, the debate and the campaign becomes about their respective purity — or lack thereof — with regard to this agreed-upon orthodoxy. And this focus on purity is almost always meaningless, pointless, and insubstantial.

Purity disputes are where primary candidates get into heated back-and-forths over votes cast or speeches given many years ago. Those past votes and words are cast in the worst possible light by opponents, the political context and particularities of the time in which they occurred are disregarded, and a bunch of candidates who unanimously agree about immigration angrily pretend that their opponents don’t really agree 100-percent, because seven years ago they once said something vaguely qualified or cast a vote for a half-measure that wasn’t 100-percent pure according to the now-current standard of purity on the issue.

Purity disputes, thus, are largely play-acting and pretense. As a result, we’ve now witnessed more than six months of Republican campaign “debate” nominally focused on immigration, but actually focused on accusations and counter-accusations aimed at portraying opponents as failing to maintain a perfect score of adherence to what they’ve all actually agreed is the only acceptable approach and goal for immigration policy. They’re not debating different views. They’re arguing over who is the purest representative of a single view.

That dynamic encourages candidates to push the agreed-upon orthodoxy in an ever-more extreme direction. Once it’s established that everyone agrees, the purity debate starts in an attempt to show that opponents’ don’t really agree 100-percent. And as that purity argument heats up — with everyone angrily demanding that their 100-percent purity be recognized, the next step is for candidates to try to start differentiating themselves by declaring 110-percent or 120-percent agreement. I’ll see your mass-deportation and raise you a coast-to-coast Great Wall of Trump, etc.**

Fnyeh. This is not useful for Republican primary voters and it’s unhealthy for democracy as a whole. Among other things, this tendency for primary campaigns to devolve into purity disputes also makes compromise and negotiation more difficult for anyone in either party to pursue or achieve. Support anything that carries a whiff of anything less than total victory with unconditional surrender and you’re providing fodder for a future primary attack against your 100-percent purity.

On the Democratic side, well, let’s just say I’ve muted a lot of people’s Twitter accounts until after the convention. I’m still following lots of people who support Hillary Clinton and lots of people who support Bernie Sanders, but the ones who fiercely pursued purity disputes have gotten muted (or unfollowed) because life’s too short for that.

Screen shot 2016-02-09 at 4.50.08 PMMy other complaint about primary elections has to do with the nature of the game itself. In theory, primary campaigns are a democratic process (sometimes more, sometimes less democratic) in which candidates strive to win the support of delegates. And it takes a lot of delegates to win the nomination — something like 4,800 on the Democratic side in 2016. Iowa and New Hampshire are fairly sparsely populated, and thus supply a total of only 84 delegates between them. Here in Pennsylvania, we have more than 200 delegates, but our votes have never counted as much as the votes of those in Iowa and New Hampshire. Why?

Well, because the early primaries provide candidates with “momentum.” What does that mean, exactly? Well, mumble mumble mumble. This “momentum” shapes and defines the primary race every four years, so it must mean something, right? But why should it and how does it?

Momentum, I think — Iowa and New Hampshire — refers mainly to two things. And the significance of Iowa and New Hampshire, despite the measly number of actual votes at stake in those races, shows that those two things matter more in primaries than our votes matter. Momentum means a media narrative and it means a corresponding influx of money. And neither one really has much to do with reflecting the interests or choices of voters.

If the primaries were really a democratic contest for voters, then the votes of the people in Maryland (118 delegates) would count at least as much as the votes of the people in Iowa and New Hampshire (84 delegates combined). But they never do, and that stinks. The whole thing strikes me as a bunch of people looking at a 6-2 first-quarter basketball score and declaring one team the pre-emptive winner.

That’s absurd even before you realize that half the time the team they declare the winner is the one with only 2 points, because they scored the last basket and therefore have “momentum.”

Again, fnyeh. I dislike primary season.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

* The exception, I think, is Jeb(!) Bush, who still seems to advocate some path to citizenship along the lines of the comprehensive immigration reform that many Republicans publicly favored as recently as his brother’s administration and that the 2012 post-election GOP “post-mortem” endorsed as an approach that might broaden the party’s appeal.

Alas for Jeb, the Republican base of primary voters hates this idea, and so he’s barely spoken up to distinguish himself from the field by asserting and defending his substantial distinctive on the issue.

Plus, and more importantly, it turns out that Jeb Bush is Very Bad at running for president — so Very Bad at it that he seems to have convinced GOP voters that he’d be just as bad at actually being president. I don’t know that even a preternaturally skilled campaigner could, at this point in history, overcome and redeem the last name Bush, but poor Jeb seems utterly incapable of doing so.

** The effect of purity disputes in primary races is something like watching a bunch of used-car salesmen arguing over who’s best at haggling with customers.

“I’ll get the best price,” one says, “because I’ll start by asking for $1 million for that ’93 Honda Civic.”

“Oh, yeah? Well I’ll get an even better price for that Civic because my starting ask will be $10 million.”

The fact that these increasingly absurd prices will make it nearly impossible for any of these people to ever sell any cars does nothing to deter their insistence that citing ever-higher standards of purity corresponds to their being ever-tougher negotiators. And it doesn’t help that horse-race election “journalism” plays along with that pretense.

Eric Cantor and Mike Castle are out of office today because they sold too many cars — proof to GOP primary voters that neither of them understood how to drive a proper bargain.

Randomly on a Tuesday

Feb. 9th, 2016 09:30 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

1. I am leaving for Madrona tomorrow.  After a wicked sprint this last weekend, everything for the workshops and classes and (almost) the Teacher Talent Show for Charity (You’re coming, right?) I am pretty much packed and ready.

2. That’s a lie. Everything for work is packed and ready, but I haven’t packed clothes or anything personal, like knitting or… anything.

3. I am sitting here at my desk, surrounded by piles of paper and post-it notes and the little baby sweater I was so sure would be done on Friday is sitting here too, and still isn’t anywhere near done.

sweatersleeve 2016-02-09

Progress has, in fact, slowed to a crawl – which is what happens when you don’t really knit on something – or in this case, don’t knit on it for hours a day. I keep picking it up to do a row here and there, but the gauge is 32 stitches to 10cm, and that’s not a quick knit anyway you slice it, and I don’t know what I was thinking when I thought it was.  I am a lunatic. (Note to self. Pack buttons.)

4. I’m doing a book signing at Madrona – Saturday between 5-6.  Swing by and say hello if you’re around. I’d love to see you, and you can even bring a book if you like. (I don’t think there are any for sale in the Marketplace, so maybe plan ahead if you’ve got your heart set.)

5. Debbi and I busted a move, and the Strung Along April Retreat is open! We don’t have tons of spots, but there’s quite a few, and we’d love it if you came.  If you want, there’s more information on the retreat page.  The theme is Colour and Texture, and Judith MacKenzie will be there to teach spinning, and it should be really amazing. We’re excited, and can’t wait to share everything we’ve got planned.

6. Earlier today I was booking my shuttle to and from Madrona, and I was giving the very nice lady my flight information, and I told her I was arriving on Wednesday the 10th, and leaving on Monday the 14th. There was a pause, and then she said “You mean, Monday the 15th?” I scanned the flight information, found the date and read it out loud to her.  “Nope, it’s definitely the 15th. I’m looking right at it.”  I paused here to read it aloud to her (although I’m super unclear on how that would be proof, since she can’t see it)  “Flight XXXX, leaving Monday, the 15th of March. It’s the 15th for sure.”

There was this long silence, and she said “March?” and I said “That’s right.” Another pause… “Your textile conference is a month long?”  I boggled at the thought of that, and was just about to say something about how great a month long textile retreat would be, when It hit me like a ton of bricks.  My flight was wrong. I got off the phone just about hysterical, and called the airline and it’s all fine and I’m not staying in Seattle for a month, and there were absolutely flights free on Monday (this Monday) and the change was fine, and after I had it all sorted, I wondered what happened.  “Man, I can’t believe I did that” I said to the airline lady. “Wishful thinking?” She said.  “Maybe… ” I said, and then I imagined a month just for knitting and was momentarily disappointed.

7. I am super glad I discovered this today, instead of at the crack of dawn on Monday morning at the airport.

8. I am not a morning person.

Suzan Pitt

Feb. 9th, 2016 11:22 am
[syndicated profile] advancedstyle_feed

Posted by Ari


I was thrilled when artist Suzan Pitt invited me to come visit her Los Angeles studio. I have been following her work ever since I first discovered her brilliant hand painted raincoats and couldn't wait to see them in person. Suzan first started to make one of a kind, painted coats as part of a show with NYC artist group COLAB in the 1980s. After spending several years painting and directing a number of critically acclaimed animated films, Suzan has begun a brand new series of graphic wearable art.

“I think of my painted coats as animated objects which can move about in the world- walking in the street, sitting at a bar, coming through a doorway, emerging from a car... Each coat is like no other- they are one of a kind artworks you can wear or hang on the wall. I'm inspired by images from popular culture (comics, advertising, historical paintings, trash and lettering found everywhere)and images from my films and watercolors. I love to juxtapose multiple images to create a chain of association to the viewer, much like my paintings but simpler- and I hope a coat will make someone happy- that the positive energy from the coat will surround the wearer and surprise those who see it.”-Suzan Pitt

Check out more of Suzan Pitt's extraordinary work HERE.

A Visitor Comes To Ruby's School

Feb. 9th, 2016 08:22 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Image description: A blackboard, surrounded by an orange border with the alphabet inscribed on it and with an apple and a pencil at the bottom right corner. On the blackboard in white letters are the words SCHOOL DAYS.
I was on the phone to her mother when Ruby arrived home from school. She called out, "Is that Dave and Joe?" Her mother told her that it was and, I think, was just as curious as to why Ruby was so excited. A call from us isn't uncommon but her excitement over it was. She came rushing on the phone.

She started, "I told my teacher about your blog!" she said, and then stopped herself. We've been playing this game for quite a while now, as I am a story teller, and the girls like hearing 'Ruby' stories, or 'Sadie' stories ... I want them to tell me stories too. So without even prompting, Ruby took a pause and told me a story.

"At school today we had a visit from a boy and his mom. He had a disability and he talked to us about what happened to him. He had something happen to his brain and he was in a coma for a long time. Now he has some tubes and he told us about how the tubes have to be changed really fast when he goes to bed. His mother was there too and she showed us how some of the things worked. He was really nice and it was fun to listen to him. When it was over, I told my teacher that you had a blog and that you write about being in a wheelchair. I told her that she should check out your blog and that she can even watch you get married. She said that she would read your blog."

So, in the happenstance that you are visiting to read my blog, welcome Ruby's teacher.

Ruby and I talked a bit more with Sadie filling in from the background. She was really glad that they had had a visitor come to the school and to talk about disability. I remembered back to Ruby's first day of school, when she went to Junior Kindergarten. I asked her that day if there were any kids in her class who used wheelchairs. She sighed a deep sigh and said with great disappointment, "No they all just walk." Ruby likes and welcomes diversity and notices it's lack.

It was a fun phone call, I was pleased and proud that she wanted the teacher to read my blog and that she recognized that the young boy in her classroom, talking for himself about his disability and me here writing this blog about my disability are members of the same community. That she sees the community and sees the connection pleases me no end. So many refuse to acknowledge the community, the kinship and the connection between disabled people - even many with disabilities, that her immediate, without question, ability to see how what that boy did there and what I do here are connected.

We rung off with Ruby's excitement in my ear.

Congratulations to the school for creating this opportunity for their students and for their visitor. Congratulations to the boy's mom and if I may speak to you for a second let me tell you why ... because Ruby spoke of you and your voice too but primarily she spoke of your son and how he represented himself, that is remarkable parenting.

Change comes.
[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by nurulsyahirah

Writing (for Muslimah Media Watch and other platforms elsewhere) has opened up many opportunities to collaborate with other activists from around the world. In particular, some articles I wrote on female circumcision (and also male circumcision) a few years ago attracted a lot of attention from activists and filmmakers, and a fresh round of conversations about these articles prompted me to gather and reflect on these transnational interactions.

A few years ago, while I was still living in the Netherlands, a Dutch non-government organization contacted me. They were looking for a gateway into the homogenized ethnic group of “Islamic Indonesian or Malaysian background”. Even though I specifically identified myself as being a Malay (ethnic group) Singaporean (nationality), they mistook me for an Indonesian. Indonesia and Malaysia are two different countries, and Indonesia alone has over 15 ethnic groups – facts that I would have hoped an NGO would be aware of if they were targeting this demographic.

Dispersing the misconceptions about ethnicity, nationality, and diasporic communities was work enough. Then they asked me to help them find other recent immigrants who “may not be informed about the consequences if they have their daughter circumcised.” Their assumptions about immigrant Muslim women and their culture(s) were ominously foreshadowing the recent Dutch policy to teach “gay rights” in refugee centres. Both parties paint immigrants and refugees as being inherently misogynist and homophobic.

Can we get #NotallMuslimwomencircumcisetheirdaughters trending?

Soon after, I received a request from an American filmmaker working on the issue of routine male infant circumcision (MC). She was looking for doctors or parents in either Malaysia, Indonesia, or Singapore (though anyone from “Africa or Asia” would do) who supported the less invasive forms of female circumcision (pricking, slitting) – and she wasn’t planning on portraying them in a negative light. The purpose of juxtaposing FC (which is normally considered abhorrent) in other countries to male circumcision in the US was to help point out to Americans of their “cultural blind-spots” and “double standard”.

However, it would make more sense to change just one variable instead of two. For example, how about comparing “American” forms of genital cutting such as labioplasty/vaginoplasty to male circumcision? Instead of you know, using the rest of the world as a setting to help Americans learn more about themselves.

Most recently I was asked, by an Indian photographer-filmmaker, to find some women or girls who had been through FC. More specifically, she wanted to film the procedure and some interviews – keeping all parties anonymous. Then: “They can wear their burqas if they want to.” #NotallMuslimwomenwearburqas

In all of the above interactions, I felt conflicting emotions. On one hand, I wanted to raise awareness about FC and MC. However, on the other hand, I felt like the person’s interpretations of the topic were being forced on me. In the case of being asked to provide contacts, I felt like they were forcing their way into an extremely intimate subject – information which had required time and emotional effort on my part to obtain – making me feel like an unwilling ‘native informant’.

As a result of feeling coerced, I curiously started to become defensive. In my mind, I even wanted to defend these practices – FC in particular because of the ‘milder’ nature more prevalent in Southeast Asia – against the onslaught of eager activists. It was a wholly reactionary defense mechanism.

Multiracial alliances can fail or be productive. As in all relations of power, there are lines of privilege to consider. I feel that immortalising representations of Muslim women through the making of media (books, films, policy papers) is something to be especially careful about. What would make me want to collaborate? What would make it worthwhile?

There was one more request by an Italian activist, who requested me to answer a series of questions on FC. Initially suspicious (seriously you can’t blame me though), I asked her many questions about her background, work, motivations and objectives, to get a better idea about how she was planning to represent the situation in Southeast Asia. In the end, our interactions were open, pleasant and productive, so I ended up contributing my experiences.

In her book Power Lines: On the Subject of Feminist Alliances (2008), Aimee Carillo Rowe writes:

“There’s the colour of the body, and then there’s the colour of the commitment that burns like hot blue flame in our hearts… Our work is to turn ourselves inside out. To locate ourselves through our loyalty and our bravery and our willingness to fight for radical visions.”

The only project I ended up contributing to was one that I felt I had the most control over. Not only did the collaborating activist ask mostly open-ended questions, the published text is also made up mostly of quotes. This shows a willingness to let people speak for themselves (as far as it is possible in a textual form). I suppose then, what makes a collaboration worthwhile is if we can control our own representations and get our message across at the same time.

PS: I almost forgot about the random white male law student who had written a paper about FC and was looking for my feedback. When I asked him why he wanted to send it to me, he said he thought it would be ‘as much for my benefit’ as others had been ‘extremely appreciative’. I think I forgot to give him any feedback.

 

Image source

BOOK LAUNCH DAY!

Feb. 8th, 2016 11:22 pm
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed
ravencoverfinal.jpg

IT'S HERE, IT'S HERE, IT'S FINALLY HERE

It's the Snow Queen book I've been promising you guys! Launching today! A day early, because Amazon updated really fast!

Amazon

Smashwords


It's still updating to Kobo, Nook, and iBooks. Check tkingfisher.com for links (and I'll update here, as well.)

As always, if you want a PDF version, please e-mail me at ursulav (at) gmail.com to purchase (or, if you're in Europe and subject to VAT tax, to work something else out.)
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 307-310

So far in the Great Tribulation, CNN is crushing the competition. The cable news channel has established itself as the one and only reliable source for breaking news in the earth’s last days. The living creatures about the heavenly throne have broken the first four seals of God’s wrath, pouring out calamitous judgment in the form of the four riders of the Apocalypse, and only CNN has the story.

We saw this yet again in the final pages of the previous chapter, as Rayford Steele only learned of the third and fourth seals of the Great Tribulation thanks to catching a CNN report on an airport television. That’s odd for several reasons. First, you’d think that agents of divine wrath “given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and pestilence, and by the wild animals of the earth” would’ve been something Rayford might have noticed without having to learn about it from cable news.

CNNApocalypseYou also might think that Rayford should have learned about these things due to his professional role as the personal pilot of the global potentate and thus a close personal assistant to the Antichrist himself. He’s got an eavesdropping system rigged up in the Antichrist’s plane that makes him privy to all of Nicolae Carpathia’s highest-level conversations, but even that apparently doesn’t provide him with the kind of information that CNN is regularly providing its viewers in the Last Days.

This isn’t entirely unreasonable. The Great Tribulation, after all, would be filled with the kind of big breaking news stories that CNN has always been pretty good at. The 24-hour news channel’s problems usually tend to be from the long stretches during which there aren’t any big breaking news events for them to cover. That’s when they wind up flailing about with Crossfire-type punditry and commentary, or with D-Day-level coverage committed to stories that shouldn’t merit and can’t withstand that level of reporting (missing white women, OJ, etc.). The seals and trumpets and vials of Revelation would actually be the kinds of stories CNN is good at.

What about CNN’s competition? Well, the Fox News Channel didn’t launch until 1996 — after the first two books in this series were typed. The emergence of Fox as the exclusive news source for these books’ target audience was just one of many, many developments the authors failed to prophesy. But if Fox News had already arisen to its current status as the only trusted news source for conservative white Christians, it still wouldn’t make sense to have Rayford and Buck learning about the Great Tribulation from Fox reporters. That’s partly because breaking news isn’t Fox’s forte — their specialty, after all, is filling and killing all the time in between the big breaking news stories that everyone clicks over to CNN for. But it’s mainly because everyone at Fox News would’ve disappeared in the Rapture.

(Let’s not dwell on it too much, but keep in mind that all the real, true Christians were raptured right out of their clothes. Thus Irene Steele and Pastor Billings and all the rest would have found themselves, in the twinkling of an eye, transported to Heaven, where some of the first things to appear before them would be the naked bodies of Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, and Bill O’Reilly. Heaven, in other words, might seem like some kind of Bohemian Grove/Eyes Wide Shut nightmare.)

But even though it was pre-Fox News, the Christian readers of these books did have another dependable cable news source back when Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins were first starting this series of books. There were a host of Christian broadcasters all over the dial — from Pat Robertson’s CBN network to the plethora of televangelists and “Bible prophecy” preachers whose syndicated programs seemed to fill the early morning hours on most of the basic cable channels. Some of them — including John Hagee and Jack and Rexella Van Impe — even had cameo roles in the original Left Behind movie, appearing as passengers on Rayford’s plane who later disappeared in the Rapture.

The “Bible prophecy” racket involves meticulous branding for every preacher in the biz, with each carving out a distinct market niche by arguing for tiny variations in the basic prophecy outline they all share. Tim LaHaye would thus insist that his competitors — guys like Hagee and Van Impe — are mortifyingly wrong about certain details of the Rapture or Great Tribulation timelines, and he would warn readers not to be led astray by their errors (i.e., Buy my books, not theirs). But as those movie cameos showed, these disputes never quite rise to the level of suggesting that the others would not also qualify as real, true, Rapture-worthy Christians. If you want to squander several precious hours, feel free to Google terms like “mid-Trib” or “Pre-trib vs. Post-trib” or “secret Rapture” and you’ll find dozens of websites full of heated, contentious arguments between various competing factions of “Bible prophecy” enthusiasts. Yet as angry as those arguments can get, they retain a kind of professional courtesy that concedes that even the benighted mid-Tribbers will still be Raptured with the rest of the RTCs and not left behind with the accursed ungodly atheists, pagans and seminary professors.

“They all disappeared in the Rapture” is probably the main reason none of those “Christian broadcasters” appear here as competition with CNN in the post-Rapture pages of this series. But it’s also a bit more complicated than that.*

The other main source of competition for CNN in this story ought to be the proud media empire of Global Weekly, which is now led by the Greatest Investigative Reporter of All Time, Cameron “Buck” Williams himself. But Global Weekly seems to be a non-entity when it comes to keeping abreast of breaking news during the Great Tribulation. Buck Williams seems to have no idea about, and no interest in, any of the huge global stories CNN is covering. Not the outbreak of World War III, or the global famine, or the pestilence now threatening the lives of one out of every four people on earth. The only reason Buck has even a vague sense of any of that happening is due to Rayford filling him in second-hand based on what he saw on CNN.

Buck hasn’t even checked in with anyone at Global Weekly in several days. When the Antichrist started randomly nuking all of the world’s major population centers, Buck’s only work-related response was to send everyone at his Chicago office home indefinitely. He then traveled to Israel — the one place in the world where the Antichrist’s civil war against himself was not happening — and went into hiding, cut of from all communication, so that he could help to smuggle Tsion Ben-Judah into Israel and then back out of it.

This is, apparently, what the GIRAT does whenever some world-altering massive story begins to unfold. He runs in the other direction, pursuing some irrelevant subplot involving an unrelated set of villains who subsequently disappear from the rest of the story just as abruptly and confusingly as they were introduced.

Since arriving back in the (former) United States, Buck still hasn’t bothered checking in with his office. Global Weekly has likely missed yet another deadline, failing again to publish its news magazine in the wake of a huge news story, but Buck hasn’t given that a second thought. Instead, he’s hunkered down at Loretta’s house, getting ready for Bruce Barnes’ funeral the next day.

Buck felt the presence of God as clearly as he had during his escapade in Israel and Egypt. He realized his God was not limited by space and time. Later, when he and Chloe went up to bed, leaving Rayford alone in the dining room to put the final touches on his memorial service message, they prayed that Verna Zee would follow through on her promise to attend. “She’s the key,” Buck said. “Chloe, if she gets spooked and says anything to anybody about me, our lives will never be the same.”

This is what Jerry Jenkins’ leans on as a source of “suspense” throughout the following chapter: The worry that this sensibly shod, ambitious career woman will spill Buck’s secret identity as a closeted Christian. This comes immediately after the meeting in which Buck and his friends commissioned Tsion Ben-Judah by telling him that their goal as a group was to “spread the good news of Christ to others.” So far, Buck has shared this news with precisely one person, Verna, and now he regrets having done so, dreading the possibility that she might share this news with anyone else.

Verna, of course, is Buck’s co-worker at Global Weekly — or, as he would insist on putting it, his subordinate there. We readers have absolutely no reason to believe that an up-t0-date edition of Global Weekly arrived on newsstands or in subscriber’s mailboxes this week, while Buck was off escapading through the Sinai. We have no reason to believe its website has been updated since before the Global Community’s nuclear attacks on itself began. We have no reason to believe that all of its former readers have not given up on it as a news source and, like Rayford and the authors and Buck himself, come to rely exclusively on CNN as their only reliable source of information. But if Global Weekly does still exist, in any respectable form that’s not hopelessly three-Seals behind the times, it could only be because of Verna Zee.

If you’re waiting for Buck to acknowledge that or to express any gratitude to Verna for keeping his enterprise afloat, well, you’ll be waiting a very long time.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

* After all, Tim LaHaye himself does not seem to exist in the fictional world of Left Behind — not because he disappeared in the Rapture back in the first book, but because in order for this story to unfold the way the authors want it to, everyone in the fictional world needs to have never heard of people like Tim LaHaye — or people like Hagee or Van Impe, or Hal Lindsey, Harold Camping, Edgar Whisenant, John Walvoord, etc.

As we’ve discussed before, there’s a sense in which all of the End Times events predicted by these wildly popular proponents of “Bible prophecy” depend on them never becoming so wildly popular. In our world the general outlines of LaHaye’s “Rapture” folklore have permeated popular culture. His books were among the best selling volumes of the 1990s and 2000s, just as Lindsey’s were among the best-selling of the 1970s and Scofield’s were among the best-selling of the early 20th Century.

And that ruins the plot. In order for the End Times to play out the way that LaHaye et. al. claim the Bible prophesies, the world needs to be made up of a small group of true believers surrounded by an overwhelming majority who are completely unaware of their ideas about the Rapture, the Antichrist, the Tribulation, etc. And that’s what the world of these novels seems to be like. But our world is not like that at all. In our world — the real world — the majority of unbelievers already know the basics of this Rapture-Antichrist-Tribulation story. They don’t believe it, but they’ve heard it before.

That’s why the Rapture and it’s aftermath could never play out here in the real world the way they do in the pages of Left Behind. All of us non-believers — i.e., nonbelievers in the infallibility of Tim LaHaye — wouldn’t be wandering around mystified, latching onto half-baked talk of “some kind of electromagnetism.” We’d all, instead, recognize what we’d just seen: Holy crap, that was the freakin’ Rapture. And our response to that initial event would be informed by that recognition, thereby derailing many of the subsequent steps of LaHaye’s prophecy. Those prophecies, as described in Left Behind, depend on a world populated by people who are not genre-savvy to stories like Left Behind. The success and popularity of these books therefore ensures that these books can never “come true.”

That’s an ironically self-refuting aspect of Left Behind, but it is not, of course, the biggest reason the events prophesied in these books could never come true. The biggest reason for that is simply that God is, actually, not a ginormous cosmic douchebag.

** We still haven’t gotten a complete list of all the cities destroyed or any attempt to tally any kind of global death toll. We readers don’t even know if the bombing is still going on or if Nicolae has decided to end these attacks on himself as abruptly as he started them. Our only hope for learning such things, apparently, is to wait for the next time Rayford wanders past an airport TV tuned to CNN.

B&N summation

Feb. 8th, 2016 11:25 am
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
There's a nice summation up on the B&N blog about starting the Vorkosigan series,

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sc...

but alas they mix up the novella "The Borders of Infinity" with the collection Borders of Infinity, the way you do, you know. If I'd known back when how much confusion those two similar titles were going to create in the future, I'd have named the collection something else, but, too late now.

The link the poster was trying for was this one: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/borde...

Feel free to correct it in the comments, I suppose. It wouldn't let me log on without signing up for stuff.

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on February, 10

Adrien and Kamen

Feb. 8th, 2016 10:45 am
[syndicated profile] advancedstyle_feed

Posted by Ari

Kamen and Adrien
"I was being a "naughty boy" needing to meet a good guy as I was getting older - met Kamen - fell in love with his dog Bau Bau - and unexpectedly fell deeply in love with him. Kamen makes me be the best I can be - I'm styled by him especially my hair EVERYDAY! I am blessed."                              - Adrien Yakimov Roberts

I met Kamen and Adrien at this year's Alta Roma events. It turns out that although they are a bit too young for Advanced Style, Adrien follows the blog regularly and even uses it as an example for his students at the Accademia Costume e Moda. I was thrilled when they allowed me to take their photograph and share a few words above.

The language of God

Feb. 8th, 2016 04:09 pm
[syndicated profile] wonders_and_marvels_feed

Posted by Helen King

by Helen King (monthly contributor)

Bible_primer,_Old_Testament,_for_use_in_the_primary_department_of_Sunday_schools_(1919)_(14759086696)I’m fascinated by the automatic fill-ins which search engines provide. For ‘Am I still…’ ‘Am I still a virgin?’ is a classic, along with ‘Am I still pregnant?’ and ‘Am I still in love?’ In all these cases I suspect that, if you need to ask, the answer is probably ‘No’. I was recently doing a little research into bilingualism in the ancient world, and typed in ‘What language did…’ in order to get a quick and dirty overview of ‘What language did Jesus speak?’ However, a suggested auto-fill was ‘What language did God speak?’

I’d never thought about that – I’m not at all sure that it’s worth asking the question – but I decided to spend a few minutes on it. Well, Hebrew comes out as a front runner, not surprisingly. Then there’s the ‘It’s God we’re talking about, he’s omniscient, so that must include knowing all languages’.

Let’s leave that question aside for a moment and consider Jesus, around whose language competence there’s a rather more useful debate, although scholars remain divided as to which language, or languages, he would have spoken. I’m not sure who first came up with the line about the King James Bible, ‘If it was good enough for Jesus it’s good enough for me’, but one certainty is that he didn’t speak English, for the very good reason that the English language didn’t even exist at his time!

In the first century AD, in the area around Lake Galilee, Aramaic was spoken. How do we know that? Well, we can’t know for sure – there are no documents or inscriptions from Nazareth, and even if they were they’d show us the language or languages used for documents and inscriptions, rather than what people used for chatting to each other. The gospels are written in ancient Greek, but there were both Greek and Aramaic traditions about Jesus in circulation before the gospels we have were written down. In Mark 5:41, Jesus raises the daughter of Jairus from her apparent death with the Aramaic words ‘Talitha cumi’ meaning ‘Little girl, stand up’. Despite the occasional devout person trying to make out these words are from some special spiritual language, or even (worryingly) advising ‘Rely on the spirit of God for revelation, not on what you can find out by research’, it’s Aramaic. This young girl is the daughter of the leader of the synagogue, who would have been fine with Hebrew – so, is Jesus tailoring his language to his audience, or is this evidence that Aramaic was his first language? Or is the notion of a ‘first’ language entirely inadequate when we look at the multilingualism of the ancient world? Furthermore, embedded Aramaic words like these in the Greek text may not be ‘closer’ to the original words of Jesus, but simply show that the gospel-writer is using an Aramaic source here. And there was more than one form of Aramaic: Biblical Aramaic is not the same as Galilean or Palmyrene or Natataean. There were seven different Western Aramaic dialects at the time of Jesus.

And then there’s Greek, or at least the koine or ‘common language’ that was a simplified form of classical ancient Greek. The entire Greek Bible is now online for those who’d like to drill down into the meaning of the various translations. When Jesus talks to a Roman centurion, or to Pontius Pilate, this seems the most obvious language to use.

And what about Hebrew? It’s the language of most of the Dead Sea Scrolls, although some were written in Aramaic, but the community which produced the Scrolls wasn’t a mainstream group. However, in the gospels (Luke 4:16), Jesus ‘as was his custom’ attends the local synagogue and reads from the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament). So he was fine with reading it. When Jesus was crucified, the notice on his cross – ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’ – was written in Greek, Latin: and Hebrew (John 19:20). Some modern translations give instead ‘Aramaic’ but the word used is hebraisti. There’s not much point writing it in Hebrew unless someone could read it. But no Aramaic, then? No language of the ordinary people? Should we read this as all Highly Symbolic – some Bible commentaries go for Latin as the language of politics, Greek as the language of the intellect and Hebrew as the language of religion – or as further evidence that Hebrew, or a version of it, was commonly understood in this part of the world?

But back to God. An anecdote told about the sixteenth-century Holy Roman Emperor Charles V goes like this:

The Castilian language is the finest of all Spain. Charles the Fifth said, that if he were to speak to God, he would speak in the Spanish tongue, by reason of its Gravity; to men, in French; to ladies, in Italian; to horses, in the German. Some Castilians have dared to say, either through a gayness of spirit, or as a Rodomontado, that God spake Castilian to Moses on Mount Sinai.

This comes from A New Survey of the Present State of Europe … by Gideon Pontier, done into English by J.B. Doctor of Physick, (London: W. Crooke, 1684, p.297); a rodomontado is a boast. As for French for men and Italian for women, presumably this reflects the language of the meetings the emperor attended (French) versus that of the social events which he also enjoyed (salons, literary events in which women could take part, used Italian).

So there you have it. God speaks the best language; of course!

 

Further reading:

Sang-Il Lee, Jesus and Gospel Traditions in Bilingual Context (de Gruyter, 2012)
Jim Adams et al. (eds), Bilingualism in Ancient Society (Oxford University Press, 2002)

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

On Mardi Gras mornings before dawn, members of the North Side Skull and Bones Gang prowl the streets. It’s a 200 year old tradition belonging to African American residents of the city. They first prowled in 1819.

Members of the gang dress up like ominous skeletons. At nola.com, Sharon Litwin writes:

Because the origins of the Gang were with working class folk who had little money for silks and satins, the skeleton suits are made from everyday items and simple fabrics. Baling wire (to construct the shape of the head) along with flour and water to bind together old newspapers, create the head itself.

Their message is to “warn [people] away from violence” — says the North Side Chief, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes — especially young people, and especially gun and domestic violence. He explains:

The bone gang represents people… waking people up about what they’re doing in life, if they don’t change their lifestyle. You know. We’re like the dead angels. We let you know, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re gonna be with us.

Up before most residents, members of the gang cause a ruckus. They sing songs, bang on doors, and play-threaten their neighbors.

Here’s some footage:

Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. Find her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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

Over Easy

Feb. 8th, 2016 08:16 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Image description: A yellow ball with the words 'over easy' the over is written upside down and placed atop the word easy.

On Friday, my mind was full of concerns and questions and worries. Joe and I were driving off to the hotel where we would stay the night before the Saturday presentation to parents. We didn't chat much, which is unusual for us, we rode quietly together. I had told Joe that I was tired, and, at the time, thought that I was telling the truth, I was, indeed tired. But the real truth for my silence is that my mind was fiddling with worries and toying with questions and attempting to find ways through concerns. I may have looked like a man relaxed into a car seat going for a ride, but I wasn't. I was highly active.

When we turned the corner and first saw the hotel, I also noticed a small outlet store about a block away. Joe pulled in to place and said that he'd get my wheelchair out, I asked him if he could just take the luggage to the room and then we'd go back to the outlet store. Joe isn't a shopper, it's not something he enjoys like I do, I could see that he was tired and he didn't want to go but he sighed, he won't admit to that, and said that he'd be back as quick as he could.

Next we parked at the outlet store and laughed at the accessible entrance. They had everything they should have; a cut curb, wide doors, an electronic opener, but they were all in the wrong places. It would be impossible for someone, even in a power chair, to easily make it in, but between the two of us we got in the mall. I started shopping immediately. Joe wandered along with me, and like many husbands, would often sit on a bench in the mall while I was in a store looking at stuff.

We were there just shy of an hour, I picked up a couple of things, got Joe and new shirt for a big event on Tuesday, and we made our way back into the car, over to the hotel and into the room. Once there, I thanked Joe for the trip, and then, I told him that I just needed to be distracted from what was going on in my head. I explained a bit and as I did Joe got this strange look on his face.

He said, "If you ever need to go do something just to distract yourself from stuff like this, just tell me. I didn't want to go and I know that I let you know that I didn't want to go, but that's because  I didn't know it was what you needed. Next time, just tell me."

I agreed.

It is so easy to just stop talking, stop communicating, isn't it? It's so easy to have resentment build where it need not even lay a brick. It's just so easy, years into a relationship, to assume that someone knows what you need.

It is so easy to just stop talking.

It is so easy to just stop communicating.

It is so easy to just assume your needs are understood.

I realized if I don't get over easy, life could become really hard.

The Enduring Solidarity of Whiteness

Feb. 8th, 2016 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] tnc_atlantic_feed

Posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Tulsa burns in the race riots of 1921. Wikimedia

There have been a number of useful entries in the weeks since Senator Bernie Sanders declared himself against reparations. Perhaps the most clarifying comes from Cedric Johnson in a piece entitled, “An Open Letter To Ta-Nehisi Coates And The Liberals Who Love Him.” Johnson’s essay offers those of us interested in the problem of white supremacy and the question of economic class the chance to tease out how, and where, these two problems intersect. In Johnson’s rendition, racism, in and of itself, holds limited explanatory power when looking at the socio-economic problems which beset African Americans. “We continue to reach for old modes of analysis in the face of a changed world,” writes Johnson. “One where blackness is still derogated but anti-black racism is not the principal determinant of material conditions and economic mobility for many African Americans.”

Johnson goes on to classify racism among other varieties of -isms whose primary purpose is “to advance exploitation on terms that are most favorable to investor class interests.” From this perspective, the absence of specific anti-racist solutions from Bernie Sanders, as well as his rejection of reparations, make sense. By Johnson’s lights, racism is a secondary concern, and to the extent that it is a concern at all, it is weapon deployed to advance the interest of a plutocratic minority.

At various points in my life, I have subscribed to some version of Johnson’s argument. I did not always believe in reparations. In the past, I generally thought that the problem of white supremacy could be dealt through the sort of broad economic policy favored by Johnson and his candidate of choice. But eventually, I came to believe that white supremacy was a force in and of itself, a vector often intersecting with class, but also operating independent of it.

Nevertheless, my basic feelings about the kind of America in which I want to live have not changed. I think a world with equal access to safe, quality, and affordable education; with the right to health care; with strong restrictions on massive wealth accumulation; with guaranteed childcare; and with access to the full gamut of birth-control, including abortion, is a better world. But I do not believe that if this world were realized, the problem of white supremacy would dissipate, anymore than I believe that if reparations were realized, the problems of economic inequality would dissipate. In either case, the notion that one solution is the answer to the other problem is not serious policy. It is a palliative.

Unfortunately, palliatives are common these days among many of us on the left. In a recent piece, I asserted that western Europe demonstrated that democratic-socialist policy, alone, could not sufficiently address the problem of white supremacy. Johnson strongly disagreed with this:

Coates’s sweeping mischaracterization diminishes the actual impact that social-democratic and socialist governments have historically had in improving the labor conditions and daily lives of working people, in Europe, the United States, and for a time, across parts of the Third World.

There is not a single word in this response relating to race and racism in Western Europe or anything remotely closely to it. Instead, Johnson proposes to bait with race, and then switch to class. He swaps “labor conditions and daily lives of working people” in for “victims of white supremacy” and prays that the reader does not notice. Indeed, one might just as easily note that the advance of indoor plumbing, germ theory, and electricity have improved “the labor conditions and daily lives of working people,” and this would be no closer to actual engagement.

This pattern—strident rhetoric divorced from knowable fact—marks Johnson’s argument. Reparations, he tells us, do not emerge from the “felt needs of the majority of blacks,” a claim that is hard to square with the fact that a majority of blacks support reparations. Instead, he argues, the claim for reparations emerges from a cabal of “anti-racist liberals” and “black elites” seeking to make a “territorial-identitarian claim for power.” In fact, the reparations movement runs the gamut from the victims of Jon Burge, to those targeted by North Carolina’s eugenics campaign, to those targeted by the same campaign in Virginia, to those targeted by “Massive Resistance” in the same state, to the descendants of those devastated by the Tulsa pogrom. Are the black people of Tulsa who suffered aerial bombing at the hands of their own government“black elites” in pursuit of “territorial-identitarian claim?” Or are they something far simpler—people who were robbed and believe they deserve to be compensated?

Johnson denigrates recompense by asserting that the demands for reparations have not “yielded one tangible improvement in the lives of the majority of African Americans.” This is also true of single-payer health care, calls to break up big banks, free public universities, and any other leftist policy that has yet to come to pass. For a program to have effect, it has to actually be put in effect. Why would reparations be any different?

But ultimately, Johnson doesn’t reject reparations because he doesn’t think they would work, but because he doesn’t believe specific black injury through racism actually exists. He favors a “more Marxist class-oriented analysis” over the notion of treating “black poverty as fundamentally distinct from white poverty.” Johnson declines to actually investigate this position and furnish evidence—even though such evidence is not really hard to find.

(The Washington Post)

Courtesy of Emily Badger, this is a chart of concentrated poverty in Americathat is to say families which are both individually poor and live in poor neighborhoods. Whereas individual poverty deprives one of the ability to furnish basic needs, concentrated poverty extends out from the wallet out to the surrounding institutions—the schools, the street, the community center, the policing. If individual poverty in America is hunger, neighborhood poverty is a famine. As the chart demonstrates, the black poor are considerably more subject to famine than the white poor. Indeed, so broad is this particular famine that its reach extends out to environs that most would consider well-nourished.

As the chart above demonstrates, neighborhood poverty threatens both black poor and nonpoor families to such an extent that poor white families are less likely to live in poor neighborhoods than nonpoor black families. This is not an original finding. The sociologist Robert Sampson finds that:

….racial differences in neighborhood exposure to poverty are so strong that even high-income blacks are exposed to greater neighborhood poverty than low-income whites. For example, nonpoor blacks in Chicago live in neighborhoods that are nearly 30 percent in poverty—traditionally the definition of “concentrated poverty” areas—whereas poor whites lives in neighborhoods with 15 percent poverty, about the national average.*

In its pervasiveness, concentration, and reach across class lines, black poverty proves itself to be “fundamentally distinct” from white poverty. It would be much more convenient for everyone on the left if this were not true—that is to say if neighborhood poverty, if systemic poverty, menaced all communities equally. In such a world, one would only need to craft universalist solutions for universal problems.

But we do not live that world. We live in this one:

Patrick Sharkey “Neighborhoods And The Black White Mobility Gap

This chart by sociologist Patrick Sharkey quantifies the degree to which neighborhood poverty afflicts black and white families. Sociologists like Sharkey typically define a neighborhood with a poverty rate greater than 20 percent as “high poverty.” The majority of black people in this country (66 percent) live in high-poverty neighborhoods. The vast majority of whites (94 percent) do not. The effects of this should concern anyone who believes in a universalist solution to a particular affliction. According to Sharkey:

Neighborhood poverty alone, accounts for a greater portion of the black-white downward mobility gap than the effects of parental education, occupation, labor force participation, and a range of other family characteristics combined.

No student of the history of American housing policy will be shocked by this. Concentrated poverty is the clear, and to some extent intentional, result of the segregationist housing policy that dominated America through much of the 20th century.

But the “fundamental differences” between black communities and white communities do not end with poverty or social mobility.

In the chart above, Sampson plotted the the incarceration rate in Chicago from the onset imprisonment boom to its height. As Sampson notes, the incarceration rate in the most afflicted black neighborhood is 40 times worse than the incarceration rate in the most afflicted white neighborhood. But more tellingly for our purposes, incarceration rates for white neighborhoods bunch at the lower end, while incarceration rates for black neighborhoods bunch at the higher end. There is no gradation, nor overlap between the two. It is almost as if, from the perspective of mass incarceration, black and white people—regardless of neighborhood—inhabit two “fundamentally distinct”worlds.

The pervasive and distinctive effects of racism are viewable at every level of education from high school drop-outs (see pages 13-14 of this Pew report, especially) to Ivy league graduates. I strongly suspect that if one were to investigate public-health outcomes, exposure to pollution, quality of public education or any other vector relating to socio-economic health, a similar pattern would emerge.

Such investigations are of little use to Johnson, who prefers ideas over people, and jargon divorced of meaningful investigation. The “black managerial elite” are invoked without any attempt to quantify their numbers and power. “Institutional racism” is presented as a figment, without actually defining what it is, and why, in Johnson’s mind, it is insignificant. “Black plunder” is invoked in Chicago, with no effort to examine its effects or compare it to “white plunder.” Johnson tells us that “universal social policies” and an expanded “public sector” built the black middle class. He seems unaware that the same is true of the “white middle class.” A useful question might arise from such awareness: Has the impact of “universalist social policies” been equal across racial lines? Johnson can not be bothered with such questions as he is preoccupied with —in his own words—“solidarity.”

I am not opposed to solidarity, in and of itself, but I would have its basis made clear. When an argument is divorced of this clarity, then deflection, subject-changing, abstraction, and head-fakes—as when Johnson exchanges“laborers” for the victims of white supremacy—all become inevitable.

Bombast, too. In Johnson’s rendition, black writers who trouble his particular “solidarity” are not sincerely disagreeing with his ideas, they are assuaging “white guilt” and doing the dirty work of interpreting black people for “white publics.” Johnson lobs this charge as though he is not himself interpreting for white publics, as though he were holding forth from the offices of The Amsterdam News. And then he lobs a good deal more:

...Coates’s latest attack on Sanders, and willingness to join the chorus of red-baiters, has convinced me that his particular brand of antiracism does more political harm than good, further mystifying the actual forces at play and the real battle lines that divide our world.

This not the language of debate. It is the vocabulary of compliance. ​In this way, a strong and important disagreement on the left becomes something darker. Critiquing the policies of a presidential candidate constitutes an “attack.” A call for intersectional radicalism is “red-baiting.” And the argument for reparations does “more political harm than good.”

The feeling is not mutual. I think Johnson’s ideas originate not in some diabolical plot, but in an honest and deeply held concern for the plundered peoples of the world. Whatever their origin, there is much in Johnson’s response worthy of study, and much more which all who hope for struggle across the manufactured line of race might learn from. Johnson’s distillation of the Readjuster movement, his emphasis on the value of the postal service and public-sector jobs, and his insistence on telling a broader story of housing and segregation add considerable value to the present conversation. His insistence that airing arguments to the contrary is harmful does not.

It is not even that a solidarity premised on the suppression of debate—a solidarity of ignorance—is wrong in and of itself, though it is. It is that a solidarity of ignorance blinds one to complicating factors:

Social exclusion and labor exploitation are different problems, but they are never disconnected under capitalism. And both processes work to the advantage of capital. Segmented labor markets, ethnic rivalry, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and informalization all work against solidarity. Whether we are talking about antebellum slaves, immigrant strikebreakers, or undocumented migrant workers, it is clear that exclusion is often deployed to advance exploitation on terms that are most favorable to investor class interests.

No. Social exclusion works for solidarity, as often as it works against it. Sexism is not merely, or even primarily, a means of conferring benefits to the investor class. It is also a means of forging solidarity among “men,” much as xenophobia forges solidarity among “citizens,” and homophobia makes for solidarity among “heterosexuals.” What one is is often as important as what one is not, and so strong is the negative act of defining community that one wonders if all of these definitions—man, heterosexual, white—would evaporate in absence of negative definition.

That question is beyond my purview (for now). But what is obvious is that the systemic issues that allowed men as different as Bill Cosby and Daniel Holtzclaw to perpetuate their crimes, the systemic issues which long denied gay people, no matter how wealthy, to marry and protect their families, can not be crudely reduced to the mad plottings of plutocrats. In America, solidarity among laborers is not the only kind of solidarity. In America, it isn’t even the most potent kind.

The history of the very ideas Johnson favors evidences this fact. At every step, “universalist” social programs have been hampered by the idea of becoming, and remaining, forever white. So it was with the New Deal. So it is with Obamacare. So it would be with President Sanders. That is not because the white working class labors under mass hypnosis. It is because whiteness confers knowable, quantifiable privileges, regardless of class—much like “manhood” confers knowable, quantifiable privileges, regardless of race. White supremacy is neither a trick, nor a device, but one of the most powerful shared interests in American history.

And that, too, is solidarity.


Related Video

The Enduring Solidarity of Whiteness

Feb. 8th, 2016 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] tanehisicoates_feed

Posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Tulsa burns in the race riots of 1921. Wikimedia

There have been a number of useful entries in the weeks since Senator Bernie Sanders declared himself against reparations. Perhaps the most clarifying comes from Cedric Johnson in a piece entitled, “An Open Letter To Ta-Nehisi Coates And The Liberals Who Love Him.” Johnson’s essay offers those of us interested in the problem of white supremacy and the question of economic class the chance to tease out how, and where, these two problems intersect. In Johnson’s rendition, racism, in and of itself, holds limited explanatory power when looking at the socio-economic problems which beset African Americans. “We continue to reach for old modes of analysis in the face of a changed world,” writes Johnson. “One where blackness is still derogated but anti-black racism is not the principal determinant of material conditions and economic mobility for many African Americans.”

Johnson goes on to classify racism among other varieties of -isms whose primary purpose is “to advance exploitation on terms that are most favorable to investor class interests.” From this perspective, the absence of specific anti-racist solutions from Bernie Sanders, as well as his rejection of reparations, make sense. By Johnson’s lights, racism is a secondary concern, and to the extent that it is a concern at all, it is weapon deployed to advance the interest of a plutocratic minority.

At various points in my life, I have subscribed to some version of Johnson’s argument. I did not always believe in reparations. In the past, I generally thought that the problem of white supremacy could be dealt through the sort of broad economic policy favored by Johnson and his candidate of choice. But eventually, I came to believe that white supremacy was a force in and of itself, a vector often intersecting with class, but also operating independent of it.

Nevertheless, my basic feelings about the kind of America in which I want to live have not changed. I think a world with equal access to safe, quality, and affordable education; with the right to health care; with strong restrictions on massive wealth accumulation; with guaranteed childcare; and with access to the full gamut of birth-control, including abortion, is a better world. But I do not believe that if this world were realized, the problem of white supremacy would dissipate, anymore than I believe that if reparations were realized, the problems of economic inequality would dissipate. In either case, the notion that one solution is the answer to the other problem is not serious policy. It is a palliative.

Unfortunately, palliatives are common these days among many of us on the left. In a recent piece, I asserted that western Europe demonstrated that democratic-socialist policy, alone, could not sufficiently address the problem of white supremacy. Johnson strongly disagreed with this:

Coates’s sweeping mischaracterization diminishes the actual impact that social-democratic and socialist governments have historically had in improving the labor conditions and daily lives of working people, in Europe, the United States, and for a time, across parts of the Third World.

There is not a single word in this response relating to race and racism in Western Europe or anything remotely closely to it. Instead, Johnson proposes to bait with race, and then switch to class. He swaps “labor conditions and daily lives of working people” in for “victims of white supremacy” and prays that the reader does not notice. Indeed, one might just as easily note that the advance of indoor plumbing, germ theory, and electricity have improved “the labor conditions and daily lives of working people,” and this would be no closer to actual engagement.

This pattern—strident rhetoric divorced from knowable fact—marks Johnson’s argument. Reparations, he tells us, do not emerge from the “felt needs of the majority of blacks,” a claim that is hard to square with the fact that a majority of blacks support reparations. Instead, he argues, the claim for reparations emerges from a cabal of “anti-racist liberals” and “black elites” seeking to make a “territorial-identitarian claim for power.” In fact, the reparations movement runs the gamut from the victims of Jon Burge, to those targeted by North Carolina’s eugenics campaign, to those targeted by the same campaign in Virginia, to those targeted by “Massive Resistance” in the same state, to the descendants of those devastated by the Tulsa pogrom. Are the black people of Tulsa who suffered aerial bombing at the hands of their own government“black elites” in pursuit of “territorial-identitarian claim?” Or are they something far simpler—people who were robbed and believe they deserve to be compensated?

Johnson denigrates recompense by asserting that the demands for reparations have not “yielded one tangible improvement in the lives of the majority of African Americans.” This is also true of single-payer health care, calls to break up big banks, free public universities, and any other leftist policy that has yet to come to pass. For a program to have effect, it has to actually be put in effect. Why would reparations be any different?

But ultimately, Johnson doesn’t reject reparations because he doesn’t think they would work, but because he doesn’t believe specific black injury through racism actually exists. He favors a “more Marxist class-oriented analysis” over the notion of treating “black poverty as fundamentally distinct from white poverty.” Johnson declines to actually investigate this position and furnish evidence—even though such evidence is not really hard to find.

(The Washington Post)

Courtesy of Emily Badger, this is a chart of concentrated poverty in Americathat is to say families which are both individually poor and live in poor neighborhoods. Whereas individual poverty deprives one of the ability to furnish basic needs, concentrated poverty extends out from the wallet out to the surrounding institutions—the schools, the street, the community center, the policing. If individual poverty in America is hunger, neighborhood poverty is a famine. As the chart demonstrates, the black poor are considerably more subject to famine than the white poor. Indeed, so broad is this particular famine that its reach extends out to environs that most would consider well-nourished.

As the chart above demonstrates, neighborhood poverty threatens both black poor and nonpoor families to such an extent that poor white families are less likely to live in poor neighborhoods than nonpoor black families. This is not an original finding. The sociologist Robert Sampson finds that:

….racial differences in neighborhood exposure to poverty are so strong that even high-income blacks are exposed to greater neighborhood poverty than low-income whites. For example, nonpoor blacks in Chicago live in neighborhoods that are nearly 30 percent in poverty—traditionally the definition of “concentrated poverty” areas—whereas poor whites lives in neighborhoods with 15 percent poverty, about the national average.*

In its pervasiveness, concentration, and reach across class lines, black poverty proves itself to be “fundamentally distinct” from white poverty. It would be much more convenient for everyone on the left if this were not true—that is to say if neighborhood poverty, if systemic poverty, menaced all communities equally. In such a world, one would only need to craft universalist solutions for universal problems.

But we do not live that world. We live in this one:

Patrick Sharkey “Neighborhoods And The Black White Mobility Gap

This chart by sociologist Patrick Sharkey quantifies the degree to which neighborhood poverty afflicts black and white families. Sociologists like Sharkey typically define a neighborhood with a poverty rate greater than 20 percent as “high poverty.” The majority of black people in this country (66 percent) live in high-poverty neighborhoods. The vast majority of whites (94 percent) do not. The effects of this should concern anyone who believes in a universalist solution to a particular affliction. According to Sharkey:

Neighborhood poverty alone, accounts for a greater portion of the black-white downward mobility gap than the effects of parental education, occupation, labor force participation, and a range of other family characteristics combined.

No student of the history of American housing policy will be shocked by this. Concentrated poverty is the clear, and to some extent intentional, result of the segregationist housing policy that dominated America through much of the 20th century.

But the “fundamental differences” between black communities and white communities do not end with poverty or social mobility.

In the chart above, Sampson plotted the the incarceration rate in Chicago from the onset imprisonment boom to its height. As Sampson notes, the incarceration rate in the most afflicted black neighborhood is 40 times worse than the incarceration rate in the most afflicted white neighborhood. But more tellingly for our purposes, incarceration rates for white neighborhoods bunch at the lower end, while incarceration rates for black neighborhoods bunch at the higher end. There is no gradation, nor overlap between the two. It is almost as if, from the perspective of mass incarceration, black and white people—regardless of neighborhood—inhabit two “fundamentally distinct”worlds.

The pervasive and distinctive effects of racism are viewable at every level of education from high school drop-outs (see pages 13-14 of this Pew report, especially) to Ivy league graduates. I strongly suspect that if one were to investigate public-health outcomes, exposure to pollution, quality of public education or any other vector relating to socio-economic health, a similar pattern would emerge.

Such investigations are of little use to Johnson, who prefers ideas over people, and jargon divorced of meaningful investigation. The “black managerial elite” are invoked without any attempt to quantify their numbers and power. “Institutional racism” is presented as a figment, without actually defining what it is, and why, in Johnson’s mind, it is insignificant. “Black plunder” is invoked in Chicago, with no effort to examine its effects or compare it to “white plunder.” Johnson tells us that “universal social policies” and an expanded “public sector” built the black middle class. He seems unaware that the same is true of the “white middle class.” A useful question might arise from such awareness: Has the impact of “universalist social policies” been equal across racial lines? Johnson can not be bothered with such questions as he is preoccupied with —in his own words—“solidarity.”

I am not opposed to solidarity, in and of itself, but I would have its basis made clear. When an argument is divorced of this clarity, then deflection, subject-changing, abstraction, and head-fakes—as when Johnson exchanges“laborers” for the victims of white supremacy—all become inevitable.

Bombast, too. In Johnson’s rendition, black writers who trouble his particular “solidarity” are not sincerely disagreeing with his ideas, they are assuaging “white guilt” and doing the dirty work of interpreting black people for “white publics.” Johnson lobs this charge as though he is not himself interpreting for white publics, as though he were holding forth from the offices of The Amsterdam News. And then he lobs a good deal more:

...Coates’s latest attack on Sanders, and willingness to join the chorus of red-baiters, has convinced me that his particular brand of antiracism does more political harm than good, further mystifying the actual forces at play and the real battle lines that divide our world.

This not the language of debate. It is the vocabulary of compliance. ​In this way, a strong and important disagreement on the left becomes something darker. Critiquing the policies of a presidential candidate constitutes an “attack.” A call for intersectional radicalism is “red-baiting.” And the argument for reparations does “more political harm than good.”

The feeling is not mutual. I think Johnson’s ideas originate not in some diabolical plot, but in an honest and deeply held concern for the plundered peoples of the world. Whatever their origin, there is much in Johnson’s response worthy of study, and much more which all who hope for struggle across the manufactured line of race might learn from. Johnson’s distillation of the Readjuster movement, his emphasis on the value of the postal service and public-sector jobs, and his insistence on telling a broader story of housing and segregation add considerable value to the present conversation. His insistence that airing arguments to the contrary is harmful does not.

It is not even that a solidarity premised on the suppression of debate—a solidarity of ignorance—is wrong in and of itself, though it is. It is that a solidarity of ignorance blinds one to complicating factors:

Social exclusion and labor exploitation are different problems, but they are never disconnected under capitalism. And both processes work to the advantage of capital. Segmented labor markets, ethnic rivalry, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and informalization all work against solidarity. Whether we are talking about antebellum slaves, immigrant strikebreakers, or undocumented migrant workers, it is clear that exclusion is often deployed to advance exploitation on terms that are most favorable to investor class interests.

No. Social exclusion works for solidarity, as often as it works against it. Sexism is not merely, or even primarily, a means of conferring benefits to the investor class. It is also a means of forging solidarity among “men,” much as xenophobia forges solidarity among “citizens,” and homophobia makes for solidarity among “heterosexuals.” What one is is often as important as what one is not, and so strong is the negative act of defining community that one wonders if all of these definitions—man, heterosexual, white—would evaporate in absence of negative definition.

That question is beyond my purview (for now). But what is obvious is that the systemic issues that allowed men as different as Bill Cosby and Daniel Holtzclaw to perpetuate their crimes, the systemic issues which long denied gay people, no matter how wealthy, to marry and protect their families, can not be crudely reduced to the mad plottings of plutocrats. In America, solidarity among laborers is not the only kind of solidarity. In America, it isn’t even the most potent kind.

The history of the very ideas Johnson favors evidences this fact. At every step, “universalist” social programs have been hampered by the idea of becoming, and remaining, forever white. So it was with the New Deal. So it is with Obamacare. So it would be with President Sanders. That is not because the white working class labors under mass hypnosis. It is because whiteness confers knowable, quantifiable privileges, regardless of class—much like “manhood” confers knowable, quantifiable privileges, regardless of race. White supremacy is neither a trick, nor a device, but one of the most powerful shared interests in American history.

And that, too, is solidarity.


Related Video

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Posted by sobia

In a recent VICE News short documentary, The Kohistan Story: Killing for Honor, producers Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Saad Zuberi, along with host Hani Taha, tell the story of five young women and three young men who were killed in Kohistan, KPK, Pakistan in an apparent “honour killing.” As VICE explains:

“In May 2012, a grainy cellphone video emerged in a remote and deeply conservative village in northern Pakistan. The video showed four young women singing and clapping in a room as two young men danced to the music. The village elders saw the celebration as a blatant defiance of strict tribal customs that separate men and women at gatherings, and a decree was issued for those in the video and their families to be killed as their actions were deemed ‘dishonorable.’

The women and one of their sisters, aged just 12, were allegedly imprisoned for a month and tortured before being killed. The men went into hiding but three of their brothers were shot dead.”

In the documentary we follow Taha as she travels to northern Pakistan to speak with one of the brothers of the men killed, Afzal Kohistani, about his quest to get justice for his brothers. The Tribune has a good summary of the film.

There is no doubt that the whole story is heartbreaking. Seeing the pain of Afzal and his family is very difficult and one can only pray that he and his family get justice, insha’Allah. However, as I watched the film I had a few nagging thoughts.

Who is this for?

Scene from The Kohistan Story.

Scene from The Kohistan Story.

Ok, so the answer to this is obvious. Since it’s VICE News, the target audience is mainly a Western, white, English-speaking audience. Not Pakistanis, not Muslims (though many would fall under the main audience umbrella, they were not the target audience). This documentary about brown Muslims and honour killings was made for the white gaze and that made the doc difficult and uncomfortable to watch. It came across as tragedy-porn for a privileged, Western audience to once again desire saving “helpless” brown-skinned women and not at all as an attempt to create social change within the society that needs it. And the ways in which language was used helped achieve this age-old narrative.

The film was in Urdu and English. Most of the interviews in the film were in Urdu with English subtitles, and Taha’s conversations with the audience were in English. The dichotomy of languages, and how and when they were used, made it clear who the intended audience was, who was excluded from the audience, and how the dichotomy of languages was being used to maintain a particular narrative.

When conversations were in Urdu, a language I speak, I felt like I was involved in the conversation. Taha’s switch to English was jarring as it was a sharp reminder that I, a multilingual Pakistani-Canadian, was not the target audience, despite having roots in Pakistan, including in KPK. It is obviously clear that I speak English, but the English comes from both my colonized (by the British) and Canadian identities. My speaking of English is associated with my Western identity, and that is for whom this documentary is intended. One especially jarring example was when Taha interviews Afzal’s brother and loosely translates his words for the audience, as his brother is uncomfortably kept in the shot, next to her, like a prop. This, despite the fact that subtitles were inserted while he was speaking. As if his words alone were not clear enough. As if he needed the help of this English-speaking, Western-focused host to communicate, incapable of explaining his own situation. As if it wasn’t clear enough that he did not speak English.

However, even the use of subtitles can be problematic if the translation is not done well. Take for example the scene in which Taha first meets Afzal Kohistani. She asks if they can go elsewhere to talk. His response, in Urdu, is “Haan, chalte hain, peeche ek hotel hai”, which translates to, “yes, let’s go, behind here is a restaurant.” (Restaurants are commonly called hotels in Pakistan.) The subtitle translates it to “Yes, let’s go to my hotel.” That means something very, very different to a Western audience. The English speaking translator is given the power to manipulate the narrative to the story they wish to tell. That made me weary of the all the translations.   

How many times have we seen this dynamic? Brown and black peoples have consistently been excluded from forming their own narrative when confronted with a Western audience, especially those who are not fluent in English. English in a postcolonial place like Pakistan isn’t just a language; it’s a status symbol, accessible mainly to the privileged and a vehicle to greater opportunities and success. To be unable to speak it is a reflection of marginalization and, often, ridicule from those with power, while being comfortable and fluent in it is a sign of power and privilege. And that leads to my second thought on this film.  

What’s the position of those who made it and why it matters?

Privilege. That’s the position. And lots of it.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is a famous Pakistani filmmaker known for her documentaries about Pakistan for Western audiences. She is also extremely privileged, not just because she is now a filmmaker, but also because of the opportunities she has had because of the class privilege her family enjoys in Pakistan. She was lucky enough to have the rare opportunity to come from Pakistan to study at a private university in the United States (Smith College) as well as Stanford University. She hails from the metropolis of Karachi and has connections to Canada as well.

Hani Taha, a Pakistani journalist, shares similar privilege, as does Saad Zuberi, also a Pakistani journalist.

All three come from a world very different than the people they speak to in the documentary. To properly understand and engage with the content of the film the viewer must be made aware of the lens through which the filmmakers are viewing and presenting the participants in the film.

It is to be expected that documentary filmmakers, because of the resources to which they have access, will have more privilege than the marginalized peoples they highlight in their films. (Academic researchers are usually in a similar situation). However, it is vitally important that the privilege be made explicit and that every effort be made to keep that privilege in check so that it is does not colour one’s work. The power and privilege of the filmmakers was made obvious to me, but unintentionally, through a demonstration of said privilege.

Take the scene in which Taha, who has reached the town in which Afzal Kohistani lives, exits the van in which they are travelling and immediately explains the stares from the men around the area as being due to her being a woman – because they’re not used to seeing women on the street. And that is most likely true. But they’re probably even less used to seeing a woman with a camera crew on the street.  

Or let’s go back to the example of Taha’s interview with Afzal’s brother. Despite the subtitles, Taha translating his words for the audience, while he is kept in the shot, was a reinforcement of her power and privilege over him. Knowing what it means in Pakistan to not be able to speak English versus being fluent in the language, it appeared especially cringe-inducing to see Taha continually demonstrate (i.e., rub in) her privilege.

All this isn’t to say that documentaries on such topics cannot be made. However, all efforts must be made to ensure that the subjects of the documentary control the narrative and that the privilege of the filmmakers is always kept in check, from the planning stage to post-production.  Those who are to be the subjects of the documentary must be involved in the planning the project – what is the end result they envision, what do they hope the project will accomplish, and how do they expect it will help their cause?  

During filming the use of English around those who do not understand it should be eliminated, instead using English subtitles or voice-overs, if needed. This English commentary should only supplement the words of the interviewees, and not explain them.

Finally, in post-production, those who were the subjects of the documentary must be consulted about the final result to ensure they are satisfied with the documentary. Their input must to be incorporated if they request changes.

What about the women?

This tragedy is rooted in patriarchy and the misogyny so essential to its survival. That the women who were sitting and clapping while men danced were viewed as engaging in an act so dishonourable so as to deserve death (though local authorities deny this, insisting the women are still alive – a claim disputed by many, including human rights groups) can only be understood within the context of patriarchy. Patriarchy insists that women are the property of men and this demand is enacted differently in different parts of the world. The outrage over the video was that the women were in the same room as unrelated men, not that men were dancing in front of women. However, we don’t learn much about the women.

I was more sympathetic to this. I would imagine it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to speak with the women’s families. We do learn more about the process of trying to find the women (to determine if they are alive as their family claims) during Taha’s conversation with Haseeb Khawaja, the Pakistani journalist who has been investigating the case, while facing threats to his own life. However, I really wish that during that conversation they hadn’t shown the pictures of the women to the camera.

I would also imagine it would be difficult to speak to any women in the region. Many women themselves would most likely be very uncomfortable appearing in a documentary made for a Western audience. That discomfort is completely understandable and as such I’m not surprised with how limited the conversation on the women in the video was and how few women were interviewed in the film.

Conclusion

Violence against women is a disturbing reality of patriarchy and misogyny all over the world. We absolutely need more conversations about it, including violence against Muslim women, which is blamed on a woman’s supposed dishonouring of her family. We need more actions taken to end it and to protect all women. Documentary films can be a powerful tool in addressing the issue by starting or adding to conversations and demanding change. However, documentaries focused on violence against women, Muslim women, in places like Pakistan, that are aimed at Western audiences often end up serving as pity-porn or tragedy-porn, regardless of the intentions of the filmmakers and often because of the unawareness filmmakers have of their position of privilege. Therefore, it is vital that filmmakers be aware of their own privilege so that those who face the violence, and those who the filmmakers desire to help, may control their own narrative.

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Posted by PamelaToler

By Pamela Toler (Regular Contributor)

Battle of Gettysburg

As the official superintendent of the Union Army’s newly minted nursing corps, Dorothea Dix had a clear vision of what her nurses should look like. Only women between the ages of thirty or thirty-five and fifty would be accepted. “Neatness, order, sobriety and industry” were required; “matronly persons of experience, good conduct or superior education” were preferred.

Dix turned away many able applicants because she thought they were too young, attractive, or frivolous. Twenty-three- year-old Cornelia Hancock, for instance, was preparing to board the train to Gettysburg with a number of women many years older than she was when Dix appeared on the scene to inspect the prospective nurses. She pronounced all of the nurses suitable except for Hancock, whom she objected to on the grounds of her “youth and rosy cheeks.” Hancock simply boarded the train while her companions argued with Dix. When she reached Gettysburg, three days after the battle, the need for nurses was so great that no one worried about her age or appearance. Too inexperienced to help with the physical needs of the soldiers, she went from wounded soldier to wounded soldier, paper, pencil and stamps in hand, and spent the first night writing farewell letters from soldiers to their families and friends. When wagons of provisions began to arrive, Hancock helped herself to bread and jelly, then divided loaves into portions that could be swallowed by weak and wounded men.

She quickly became accustomed to the realities of the battlefield, telling a cousin in a letter written on her second day in the field “I do not mind the sight of blood, have seen limbs taken off and was not sick at all.” In fact, she proved to be such a dedicated nurse that the wounded soldiers of Third Division Second Army Corps presented her with a silver medal inscribed Testimonial of regard for ministrations of mercy to the wounded soldiers at Gettysburg, Pa. -—July 1863. (She also had a dance tune named after her, the Hancock Gallop–a tribute that I suspect none of Dix’s middled-aged matrons received from the soldiers under their care.)

Hancock worked as a nurse for the rest of the war, tending the wounded after the battle of the Wilderness, Fredericksburg, Port Royal, White House Landing, City Point and Petersburg. She was one of the first Union nurses to arrive in Richmond after its capture on April 3, 1865.

After the war, Hancock helped found a freedman’s school in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, where she taught ex-slaves for a decade. (At one point those who objected to the concept of education for black children riddled the schoolhouse with fifty bullets.) When she moved back north to Philadelphia, she helped found the Children’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania.

Hancock became a posthumous best-selling author in 1937, when her charming and insightful letters from the battlefield were published under the title South After Gettysburg. They are now available under the title Letters of a Civil War Nurse–well worth the read if you are interested in Civil War nurses or daily life in a Union army camp behind the lines.

We have several copies of The Heroines of Mercy Street to give away. Sign up below before 11:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on February 29 for a chance to win.

Sunday favorites

Feb. 7th, 2016 03:13 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Habakkuk 2:4-8

Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the just live by their faith.

Moreover, wealth is treacherous;
the arrogant do not endure.
They open their throats wide as Sheol;
like Death they never have enough.
They gather all nations for themselves,
and collect all peoples as their own.

Shall not everyone taunt such people and, with mocking riddles, say about them,
“Alas for you who heap up what is not your own!”
How long will you load yourselves with goods taken in pledge?
Will not your own creditors suddenly rise,
and those who make you tremble wake up?
Then you will be booty for them.

Because you have plundered many nations,
all that survive of the peoples shall plunder you—
because of human bloodshed, and violence to the earth,
to cities and all who live in them.

 

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The priest explains capitalism

Feb. 7th, 2016 02:39 am
[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon

I thought this extended selection, where Father Le Jeune of the Kamloops Wawa responds to a reader’s complaints about his newspaper’s price, was a really great illustration of the kinds of education you can do in Chinook Jargon.

(There is other stuff of note going on in this passage — but I’m keeping the focus on how expressive this pidgin language can be in the right hands.)

Read on:

Father Le Jeune explains capitalism (2)

Pus ukuk man komtaks kata hwait man mamuk klaska pipa,
If this gentleman knew how the white men make their newspapers,

pi kata nsaika mamuk ukuk Chinuk pipa, wik kata iaka
and how we make this Chinook newspaper, there’s not a chance he 

mamuk cim kakwa.
would write such a thing.

Nanich hwait man iaka pipa. Iht pipa klatwa kopa <1 000>
Look at the white man’s newspaper.  [If] one newspaper goes out to 1,000 

tilikom, aias makuk ukuk pipa, klunas tlun tala iht sno
people, that newspaper is expensive, maybe $3 a year.  

Pus pipa klatwa kopa <2 000>, klunas mokst tala iht sno
If a newspaper goes out to 2,000, it might be $2 a year [for] 

ukuk pipa Iht pipa klatwa kopa <10 000> tilikom, klunas
that paper.  Another paper goes out to 10,000 people, it might 

 

Father Le Jeune explains capitalism (3)

 

iht tala iht sno ukuk pipa. Iht pipa klatwa kopa
be $1 a year [for] that paper.  Another newspaper goes out to

<25 000>, iht pipa kopa <70 000> tilikom, kakwa kopit
25,000, another paper to 70,000 people, so it’s only

sitkom tala iht sno, pi iaka tolo ayu chikmin. Iht pipa
a half dollar a year, and it earns lots of money.  Another paper

klatwa kopa <100 000> tilikom, klunas sitkom tala
goes out to 100,000 people, it might be a half dollar

iht sno, pi chako aias ukuk pipa, kopa ukuk drit ayu
a year, and that newspaper grows big, from those numerous

tilikom piii kopa ukuk pipa.
people subscribing to the paper.

Nanich ukuk pipa iaka klatwa kopa <50 000> tilikom
Look at the paper that goes out to 50,000 people,

iht man sitkom tala iht man sitkom tala. Ukuk kanamokst
a half dollar per person, another half dollar per another person. This together

kanawi chako <25 000> chikmin. Klunas ukuk man iaka
all comes to 25,000 dollars of money.  Maybe this person

lost <350> tala iht Sondi kopa ukuk pipa, pi <52>
loses $350 in one week on this newspaper, and there are 52

Sondi kopa iht sno kakwa iaka lost <18 000> tala kopa
weeks in a year so he loses $18,000 on

ukuk pipa, pi iaka tlap <25 000>, kakwa iaka tolo
that newspaper, but he gets $25,000, so he earns

<7 000> tala kopa ukuk.
$7,000 out of this.

Iht pipa chako kopa Chikago. Drit aias ukuk pipa, wik
There’s one particular newspaper that comes out of Chicago.  This paper is really big,

saia iht pawn iht pipa. Klaska mamuk kakwa pipa kanawi
nearly a pound [in weight] per copy. They issue a paper like that every

Sondi. Ilip ayu kopa <100 000> tilikom iskom ukuk pipa
week. Over 100,000 people take that paper

pi klaska piii mokst tala iht man kopa iht sno. Kakwa
and they pay $2 a person for a year. So

<200 000> tala iht sno iaka tlap ukuk pipa Wiht
that’s $200,000 a year that that newspaper gets. In addition,

ukuk pipa iaka kanamokst iht pipa iaka klatwa kanawi son
that newspaper is partners with another paper that goes out daily

kopa <75 000> tilikom, pi klaska piii kopa ukuk
to 75,000 people, and they pay for that

siks tala iht man kopa iht sno iaka chako <300 000>
$6 a person for a year, which comes to $300,000

tala wiht. Wiht ayu chikmin iaka tolo ukuk pipa pus
more. That newspaper also earns a lot of money when

iaka mamuk cim ikta kopa hwait man  Hwait man tiki sil iaka
it writes things for the white people.  A white man wants to sell his

ilihi, iaka mamuk cim kopa ukuk pi[pa] iaka piii klunas <5>,
land, he writes it in that paper, he pays maybe 5

klunas <10> tala kopa ukuk pipa pi aiak iaka sil iaka ilihi
or 10 dollars to the newspaper and he’s able to quickly sell his land.

Drit ayu <1 000> tala iaka tolo ukuk pipa.
That newspaper earns quite a few thousands of dollars.

Pus ayu tilikom kakwa iskom ukuk Chinuk pipa, aiak
If lots of people like that took this Chinook newspaper, soon

msaika nanich drit aias tlus pipa kopa drit tanas chikmin,
you folks would see a really excellent paper for really little money,

pi wik kata pus ayu tilikom kakwa iskom ukuk pipa, klunas
but it’s not going to happen that lots of people like that are going to take this paper, maybe

wik saia <1 000> Sawash tilikom iskom ukuk pipa alta;
about 1,000 Indian people take this newspaper currently;

pi ayu klaska ilo aiak piii klaska pipa, klunas klaska ilo
and many of them are slow to pay for their paper, maybe it’s that they can’t

aiak tlap chikmin, klunas klaska lisi pus piii …
easily get money, maybe they’re too lazy to pay…

Le Jeune’s explanation goes on on the following page of his paper, but you can see how methodically he explains the ideas involved — and I think with real success.

This isn’t the first post I’ve done about education in Chinuk Wawa, and rest assured there will be more. This is a theme that has enormous relevance in these modern times of revitalization, both of the Jargon and of other Indigenous languages of the Northwest.

Stay tuned.

Cheers from

David Douglas ROBERTSON, PhD
exploding myths about Chinook Jargon & Indian languages since 1998 :)


Russian fan art for GJ&RQ

Feb. 6th, 2016 04:56 pm
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
My long-time Russian fans sent me this last night...

"Dear Lois

Many thanks to you for the new marvelous novel!

We are glad to present you the Russian fan cover to GJ&RQ

http://barrayar.slashfiction.ru/wtfc-...

PS Its artist stays anonymous till the end of the large multi-fandom fest (March 20 2016).

----
on behalf of yours affectionately Russian fan club,
jetta-e"

When the artist is revealed, I will pass it along. Meantime, enjoy...




Oliver looks wonderfully Russian in this version, which is, of course, just right for a Barrayaran.

Not all of the best rewards of a writing career are financial.

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on February, 10

Hello Saturday! It's Meaning Time

Feb. 6th, 2016 07:57 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Image Description: Test Reading GOOD MORNING Saturday, with flowers and sunshine and bees flying about.
It's Saturday morning and I'm up and nearly ready to head out and do my first presentation of the year. Today it is to a group of parents and I have to say I'm wildly excited about it. I enjoy presenting to parents, especially ones who get up on a Saturday morning and drive somewhere to hear some guy they probably haven't ever heard about, talk about sexuality and abuse prevention. I am prepared and hoping for a lively discussion and maybe even a little bit of friendly debate.

It's been some while since my last lecture, which was in early December, and I've enjoyed the down time at home. In fact it was a bit of a shock rolling into a hotel room last night. It was a 'oh, yeah, this is what I do!' As January is typically a really slow time of year for lectures and training, it's a welcome break from life on the road. Now I've done a few webinars, but I can do them from home, in my housecoat if I want, I don't but I could. I'm still mistrustful of technology and am sure that I can be seen.

As Joe and I settled into the routine we began talking of the places we will go this year, the people we will meet, and what new adaptions we may need to make to our life together on the road. It was a pleasant conversation and we're both looking forward to travelling the breadth of both Canada and the United States.

But, this is the start of a new year.

And I'm feeling blessed to be able to do this work.

I met with a professional, much younger than myself, much smarter than myself, who is mid career and we spoke about what we both do. He said that he's got to a point that he now wants to think about his career in terms of resume but instead in terms of impact. He wants his work to have real meaning. I understand that goal entirely.

I think we all do.

And for me, meaning, right now, is going out on a Saturday morning to talk to parents about their adult children with disabilities.

How cool is that?

new podcast interview is up

Feb. 5th, 2016 06:26 pm
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
More of Me, if you can stand it. (But also book talk.)

A recorded podcast interview of me by editor Tony Daniel, discussing Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen and the Vorkosiverse generally. It wasn't easy to avoid spoilers, though we tried not to give away everything.

http://www.baen.com/podcast

Runs about an hour; my part is in the first half of it.

When I am being verbally interviewed, I always sound totally incoherent to my own ears, but somehow it comes out OK. Maybe because there's more noise in my head than comes out of my mouth? Anyway, Tony is generally pretty soothing to talk with.

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on February, 10
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

I suppose we should blame Larry Norman for this. This particular bit of wretched exegesis originated before the godfather of Jesus Rock was even born, but Larry was the one who set it to music. And he’s the half-baked genius who amended the words of Matthew’s Gospel, adding that fateful phrase “left behind.”

Life was filled with guns and war
And everyone got trampled on the floor
I wish we’d all been ready
Children died the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we’d all been ready

LarryNormanThere’s no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind

A man and wife asleep in bed
She hears a noise and turns her head he’s gone
I wish we’d all been ready
Two men walking up a hill
One disappears and one’s left standing still
I wish we’d all been ready

There’s no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind

That’s poetry. “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” is an affecting, haunting song. The fact that it endures is testament to that. This is a song that survived being covered by DC Talk in their NSYNC phase, a song that survived Jordin Sparks’ rendition and its association with the Nic Cage version of Left Behind.

This is a song that survived the Fishmarket Combo*:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Theologically, though, Larry Norman’s song is an irredeemable mess.

The first two verses above illustrate how Norman had absorbed the cut-and-paste hermeneutics of the Scofield Reference Bible and the premillennial dispensationalist scheme beloved by End Times enthusiasts and “Bible prophecy” scholars. Thus we get the first verse, which is Norman’s version of Revelation 6 and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, followed immediately by that verse disastrously paraphrasing — and inverting — an apocalyptic passage from Matthew 24.

For Norman, and for generations of white evangelicals steeped in this Scofield/Darbyite End Times tradition, this sequence makes perfect sense. In their view, those paragraphs from the ending of Matthew 24 naturally and properly follow the opening verses of Revelation 6. How else would one read the Bible?

The arbitrary decision to insert a chunk of Matthew into the middle of Revelation is not an auspicious starting point for those seeking a clearer understanding of either passage.

What I want to highlight here, though, is how completely upside-down and bass-ackwards Norman gets this passage from Matthew’s Gospel. This chapter — sometimes referred to as a “mini-apocalypse” — starts with Jesus predicting the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem:

As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. Then he asked them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”

That leads some of us to imagine that Jesus is actually talking about what he’s talking about, and that this chapter describes the cataclysmic destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. (Whether this is an account of Jesus’ foretelling that event or it’s a ret-conned description of Jesus discussing it written after that event by those struggling to make sense of it is a separate question that needn’t distract us here.) It’s rather strange that those of us who read this chapter by taking Jesus at his word — accepting that he’s really talking about the thing he tells us he’s talking about — are condemned for doing so by those who say they insist on a “literal” reading. That “literal” reading leads them to the conclusion that when Jesus tells us he’s talking about the destruction of the Temple, he actually means something else (most probably the Rapture of white Christians 2,000+ years in the future on a far-off continent that neither Jesus nor any of his disciples even knew existed).

But this anti-literal literalism is not the worst feature of Norman’s garbling of this passage. For that, we need to look at the specific verses his song paraphrases. This is Matthew 24:37-42**:

For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

The analogy here is Noah’s flood. “The flood came and swept them all away,” but Noah was left behind.

Being left behind, in other words, is a Good Thing. “One will be taken and one will be left.” You do not want to be “taken” — to be swept away in the destruction. You want to be left behind.

That’s underscored by the next verse in Matthew 24: “If the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.” Having your house broken into is a Bad Thing. “Keep awake,” Jesus says, so that this Bad Thing does not happen to you — so that you do not get swept away in the flood. Keep alert and watchful so that you can avoid being the one taken. Keep alert and watchful so that you wind up being the one who gets left behind.

There’s nothing ambiguous at all about this passage as written. Getting taken, or robbed, or swept away is Bad. Being left — left alone and left behind — is Good.

Absolutely nothing in the text itself suggests reading it the other way around. That reading — Norman’s interpretation, and Hal Lindsey’s and Tim LaHaye’s and John Hagee’s and Rafael Cruz’s — would never occur to anyone approaching this text unless that person were already, prior to reading it, committed to the Rapture mythology of PMD “Bible prophecy” folklore. Only someone like Irene Steele, caught up in the fantasy of “Jesus coming back to get us before we die,” could come away from this text thinking that getting swept away was something desirable and that getting left behind was something grim.

This is one of the two cornerstone biblical passages cited as teaching the “Rapture,” but as you can see, it teaches nothing of the sort. You can’t read the idea of the Rapture out of this text, you can only try to read the Rapture into it. You simply cannot go to Matthew 24 and find there any credible support for the idea that Christians should wait and long and pray for the day when they get swept away in the flood, just like all those favored with destruction and death in the days of Noah.

But what about the other key “Rapture” text? What about that bit in 1 Thessalonians with the trump sounding and the dead rising and all the rest of that?

Well, we’ll get to that next. I’d intended to get to that here, today, but then I spent an indefensible amount of time this afternoon Googling around trying to figure out whatever became of the Fishmarket Combo. (Did they ever record anything else? Where are they now? If you’re out there, please let us know.)

- – - – - – - – - – - -

* I surely can’t be the only person who really wants a Fishmarket Combo 1972 World Tour T-shirt. Why hasn’t the Internet made this happen for us?

I’m not picking on those groovy Iowans here. Their rendition of “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” is vastly superior to my own attempt to perform the song, several years later. My sixth-grade teacher signed me up for the middle school talent show because she’d heard I was taking piano lessons and, thus, mistakenly assumed I had some show-able talent. I did not. I practiced this song for weeks, during which it seemed to get progressively worse, so finally I took the only honorable course of action and faked having the flu, thereby avoiding the talent show and my impending artistic and social death. (I did not really have the flu, but after weeks of dread and anxiety, I quite honestly was physically ill on the day of the talent show. That wasn’t a lie.)

** Norman’s “man and wife asleep in bed” image is probably taken from the parallel passage in Luke’s Gospel — Luke 17:34-35. But that passage doesn’t give us a man and wife, it gives us two men. The King James translation of these verses seems particularly awkward for the sort of anti-LGBT Christians who insist on the KJV these days:

I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

OK, then.

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  • Computer Science, Meet Humanities: in New Majors, Opposites Attract | Chronicle of Higher Education: “She chose Stanford University, where she became one of the first students in a new major there called CS+Music, part of a pilot program informally known as CS+X.Its goal is to put students in a middle ground, between computer science and any of 14 disciplines in the humanities, including history, art, and classics. And it reduces the number of required hours that students would normally take in a double major in those subjects.”

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