Archive for the ‘Livin’ in the USA’ Category


Christians, especially evangelicals and other conservative Christians, like to pat themselves on the back by bragging about how moral they are (and by extension how everyone else is less moral). This Christian boast is obviously false, and many writers have debunked it. But today there’s no need for words. The following two maps tell the story:

THE BIBLE BELT

 

RACIALLY MOTIVATED LYNCHINGS IN THE UNITED STATES

Note the almost exact correspondence. Christian mobs committed the exceptionally vicious crime of lynching thousands of times.

So much for Christianity instilling moral behavior.

 


“Friends, let me pause here to bask in the moment. The last time Brandon Belt hit a grand slam, I was driving. I pulled my car over at the beginning of his at-bat to send a tweet that said ‘Give me a Brandon Belt grand slam or give me death.’ After which Belt, of course, hit a grand slam. As Belt came up to the plate tonight, I found that tweet and sent it out again. Not two seconds later, he hit his second career grand slam. I’m not saying I caused it, but I’m also not NOT saying that.”

–Sami Higgins, McCovey Chronicles

(writing about the G-men’s throttling of the Phoenix — not Arizona — Venomous Reptiles tonight)



“They say it ain’t guns that kill people, it’s people that kill people.
But having a gun sure helps.”

–from the novel FKA USA


Paul Krassner, editor of The Realist and a co-founder of the Yippies, died yesterday at 87. There are undoubtedly many detailed obits on other sites, so I’ll confine myself here to a brief recollection of the single hour I spent interviewing him in 1978. It was at the American Heroes Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, which was sponsored (I believe) by the producers of the godawful, and deservedly long-forgotten, movie, “A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich,” a showing of which was the main event at the conference on Saturday night.

There were several famous people at the conference, and my late friend Mike Hughes and I interviewed Krassner, William Kunstler, and Timothy Leary for our college newspaper, the BSU Arbiter, which at the time was a good, independent college paper (prior to being ruined by the journalism department). The interviews have vanished into the mists of time; I stuffed my copies into a drawer about 30 years ago, and when I finally opened it I discovered that the papers had been partially eaten by cockroaches. (It could have been by interdimensional alien visitors, but my money is on the cockroaches.)

All that I remember of the interviewees is that I liked Krassner by far the best. He was gracious, relaxed, and extremely funny.

As a way of saying goodbye, here’s probably the second most famous thing that ever appeared in Krassner’s Realist. (The most famous — which earned him the undying hatred of many — was the satirical piece he ran shortly after the Kennedy assassination in 1963, describing Lyndon Johnson fucking Kennedy’s corpse in the neck wound on the plane ride back to Washington.)

One Nation Under God Graphic from The Realist

Farewell Paul. The world is a poorer place for your passing.

 

 

 


Yes, plural: linings, not lining. Let’s begin with the most obvious:

  • Trump has laid bare the racism that is the foundation of the modern Republican Party. Since the 1960s, with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the partial demise of the Jim Crow system, the Republican Party has pursued a “Southern Strategy” that appealed to racist whites through both anti-black/anti-Latino actions (e.g., the “war on drugs” and mass incarceration) and scapegoating rhetoric. Until recently, that rhetoric was of the dog-whistle variety, the use of code words (e.g., “illegal aliens,” “food stamps,” “welfare queens,” “tough on crime,” etc.) that GOP leaders could (im)plausibly deny were racist. Now, the GOP’s racial bigotry is overt. With Trump, the festering racism that is the basis of the Republican Party’s strategy has oozed out from under its rock. In a way, it’s refreshing to see racists being racists, rather than hypocritically asserting that they’re not. (Some Republicans still make that pro forma assertion, but you can tell their hearts aren’t in it, and they don’t seem to expect any but the most willfully ignorant to buy it.)
  • One of the primary reasons the GOP got away for so long with its implausible denial that it’s a racist party is that the corporate media allowed it to. For over half a century, corporate outlets virtually always, under the guise of neutrality, balance, allowed Republican politicians and pundits to deny that their code-worded racist terms and rhetoric were in fact racist. (The way “neutrality” works can be exemplified by the following: “Some say the sun rises in the East. Others say it rises in the West. The controversy continues.”) Now, at least some corporate media outfits (e.g., AP, NBC, CNN) are calling the GOP’s racism “racism,” and some are calling Trump’s, and occasionally other GOP leaders’, lies “lies,” rather than “misstatements,” “erroneous statements,” or “untruths.” I don’t expect this to continue past Trump, but it sure is refreshing while it lasts.
  • Trump’s overt racism has laid bare the GOP’s claim to represent all of America, all of the people. By definition, racists do not represent all of the people, but rather one “superior” group. (While Trump claims to “love” his overwhelmingly white supporters, he, and the rest of the GOP. are cynically manipulating his ignorant, gullible, and mean-spirited followers, while systematically screwing them — consider Trump’s tax scam, his opposition to raising the minimum wage, and the GOP’s perpetual campaign to prevent universal healthcare, leaving tens of millions uninsured or under-insured, with tens of thousands resultant unnecessary deaths annually.)
  • Trump’s overt racism has laid bare the GOP claim to be the party of morality. (The same could and should be said about his sewer-rat personal behavior.) What’s moral about racism? What’s moral about supporting racists?
  • Trump’s racism has also exposed the gross hypocrisy of his evangelical base. Evangelicals claim to be the standard bearers of “family values,” yet Trump’s racist immigration policies resulting in deliberate separation of children from parents, children locked in cages, and U.S. Border Patrol and ICE agents literally ripping toddlers from their mothers’ arms, seem not to bother them at all. These theofascists vehemently oppose women controlling their own bodies, and they whine endlessly about abortion killing “babies” (“babies” including clumps of cells no bigger than the head of a pin), yet when Trump inflicts grievous harm upon actual babies and their parents, these hypocrites are silent, and continue to support the bullying, racist thug who deliberately hurts children. If you wanted to put the hypocrisy and amorality of the religious right under a magnifying glass, Trump’s racism has supplied that glass.
  • Trump’s racism has also exposed the sheer gutlessness, the utter lack of principles of virtually all Republican “leaders.” Since Trump took office, they’ve aided and abetted him in covering up his many and serious criminal activities, and now they don’t even have the guts to denounce his overtly racist statements and actions. Trump’s racism has shown the craven and contemptible nature of the GOP and its leaders.

In short, Trump’s racism has shattered the facade of normalcy in America. It’s pulled back the curtain on many ugly truths. Decent people are repelled by the racism and viciousness of Trump and his followers, and that racism and viciousness have shown how necessary it is to oppose Trump’s “very fine people” in the streets and to crush them at the ballot box next year.

 


The British analytical group, More in Common (“founded in memory of [British MP] Jo Cox [murdered by a neo-Nazi]”), reports that the vast majority of Americans Strongly Dislike PC Culture.

The study has design problems, such as considering no political positions to the left of “progressive activists,” and defining “PC culture” only in terms of language. (Obviously, it goes far beyond this.)

Still, the study has some value. Among other things, it reveals that a full 80% of Americans (including 75% of Afro-Americans and 88% of Native Americans) “dislike” PC language and consider it a problem. As well, the single group most likely to view PC jargon favorably — though only a third do so — is “progressive activists,” 8% of the total population, who are overwhelmingly white, earn over $100K per year, and are most likely to hold advanced degrees.

In other words, “the liberal elite,” those most likely to control “progressive” media outlets (such as, to fairly single them out, Alternet), and to indulge in the use of PC terminology.

And PC terminology is to all appearances not intended to unite the oppressed against the common ultra-rich enemy, but to give its users a warm feeling of self-congratulation on being enlightened, morally superior, above the rest of us. It’s in-group, self-identifying, and self-congratulatory jargon.

Think about it for a moment. How many people do you know who use terms like “woke,” “people of color,” “white privilege,” “privileged”? I’ve lived for nearly 30 years in a barrio where maybe 25% of the people are white, and I have never heard any of my Mexican or black neighbors, or my poor white neighbors, use these or similar terms. Never. Over damn near 30 years. Never.

“Progressive activists” are not speaking the language of the people. They may want to shame people into using their jargon, but they are not speaking the language of the people.

It’s time for the “progressive” left to stop patting themselves on the back. It’s time for them to stop using jargon that alienates people. (Try telling someone who’s making minimum wage, spending 50% of their income on rent, has no health insurance, and can’t come up with $500 cash to cover an emergency, that they’re “privileged” because of the color of their skin — see how far that gets you; see how far that goes in building coalitions to build solidarity, to improve life for all.)

The PC left is a curse, navel-gazers intent on proving to themselves how virtuous they are in comparison to us unenlightened plebes, especially through use of their in-group jargon. They’re an ongoing disaster.

If the left is ever to make real progress in this country, to make concrete policies to benefit all, it won’t be through using bizarre jargon that plays into the hands of Trump’s “very fine people.” It’ll be through talking about economic policies that benefit all of us.