Thursday, October 11, 2018

On PC Culture

This piece emerged out of a Facebook discussion of an article by Yasha Mounk at The Atlantic, the headline of which reads:

Americans Strongly Dislike PC Culture

Youth isn’t a good proxy for support of political correctness, and race isn’t either.

Oct 10, 2018

According to the report, 25 percent of Americans are traditional or devoted conservatives, and their views are far outside the American mainstream. Some 8 percent of Americans are progressive activists, and their views are even less typical. By contrast, the two-thirds of Americans who don’t belong to either extreme constitute an “exhausted majority.” Their members “share a sense of fatigue with our polarized national conversation, a willingness to be flexible in their political viewpoints, and a lack of voice in the national conversation.”

Most members of the “exhausted majority,” and then some, dislike political correctness. Among the general population, a full 80 percent believe that “political correctness is a problem in our country.” Even young people are uncomfortable with it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24. On this particular issue, the woke are in a clear minority across all ages.

The conversation began with a suggestion that the Left's focus on so-called "political correctness" was a decisive factor in turning people off to the Democrats, and that of course in some case, defending the marginalized is "virtue signalling."

The media has been trashing the term "political correctness" since the '90's. It's far from surprising that the term isn't popular. Hey if 75% of Americans want to go back to calling Asians "chinks" and "ching chongs," am I "virtue signalling" if I suggest that perhaps that isn't such a good thing? "Oh but we didn't mean it like THAT. That's not okay," they will say. But it's still the same PC culture they supposedly hate so much. There is broad agreement that SOME terms aren't ok; the devil is in where you draw the line! Like: "'Ching chongs' for Asians, no, of course not. But now I gotta use the term Latinx? What the?"

Yet t's the same basic premises. "Try not to offend people." "Call people what they want to be called." I have to imagine 75% of Americans recognize that using "the N-word" against African Americans is problematic, yet we apparently reject "PC culture" anyway. This speaks to the nebulousness of the term "PC," and the relentless media reaction against so-called PC culture. All sorts of people claim to be "against PC," but they would never dream of calling American Indians "red****s," nor calling black folks by the N word. Yet refusing to do so would apparently follow the same thought process that leads to the Horrible Terrible "PC Culture." If, as the article claims, 88% of Native Americans have a beef with nebulous "PC-culture," I guess that is what it is. Sure, whatever. When 88% of Native Americans think that the calling natives "red****s," or using "the N-word" is fine, I guess we could talk.

It's easy to make PC-culture into the bogeyman, like really easy, when the term is as ill-defined as it is in the article, and when the media has been bashing it the way it has for so. Fucking. Long.

Personally I try to err in the side of inclusivity, and calling folks what they actually want to be called. I don't use "the N-word" to refer to the African American people I see around me, because I have come to understand that they don't like being called that by white folks. And pissing people off is never a great idea.

The term "Latinx" is newer to me, in speaking of my Hispanic neighbors, colleagues, students etc. While I tend to defer to Hispanic right off the bat, if someone indicates to me that they PREFER TO BE CALLED Latinx, then Latinx it will be. I have a couple of gender non-binary friends who now want to be called "they," even when speaking just about them in the singular form. While I don't always get it right, if they want to be called they, who am I to tell them they shouldn't? It's just not that hard.

There is bad behavior, of course, with any issue as loaded with complex connections, like "identity." Sure, I reckon we should try avoid Outrage Appropriation, trying to speak FOR some group of which I'm not a member.

But at the end of the day, I don't hold PC culture responsible for the Trump Presidency, and I don't think that "people just relaxing and being cooler about things" is a path toward electoral victory. The Right Wing and its allies are responsible for the ascendance of Mr. Trump. It is not the paltry and powerless left's fault.

And this article kinda sounds like it's making EXCUSES for the psuedo-fascists in the GOP. "I mean yeah Trumpsters are pure evil, but it's really the Democratic left's fault." I mean we've all got our foibles, but when it's "ends democracy in favor of autocratic dictatorship," as the down side to one part of the equation, and "too sensitive," on the other, I'll go with the too-sensitive side every damned day, and I'll do it proudly.

These people steal immigrant children from their parents, and tell us we can't curb fossil fuel emissions because "too late, catastrophic climate change is a done deal anyway," but somehow it's really, seriously, if you just stare hard enough at this one thing, the Left's fault for giving us Trump. All those frothing racists in MAGA hats, and fatcat bankers in Wall Street and fucking Vladimir Putin were all just "incidental" to the whole thing?

And what is the UPSHOT here? I mean sure, I'm a hetero white dude, so I can't claim to always "get it" when people around me talk about micro-aggressions. But I can hear them out, and try to be mindful about it. EXAMPLE: I have a friend who attended Lakes of Fire last year, and was angry that some people felt it was fine to just touch her hair. As a WOC, that bothered her somewhat; not enough to call the cops, not enough to sue anyone, but it bothered her; perhaps a "micro-aggression," if you will. Is the suggestion here that she should just, ya know, shut up about it?

The Democratic Left has spent my entire adult life trying to "win over" conservatives and independents and others who may be "turned off," by the PC bogeyman. Do you think that if we just muzzled all the stuff about micro-aggression, and cultural appropriation etc., that somehow the MAGA people would start voting for Bernie Sanders? That's hogwash.

We have been chasing moderates since Michael Dukakis said: "Well I am not a liberal," in 1988. Perhaps we ought to try actually standing up for marginalized groups we all go around claiming we care so much about.

One more thing. PC culture works two ways, ya know. I mean, we don't call them "spooks, liars and torturers," we call them "the Intelligence Community." We don't call them "racist rednecks," we call them "Trump voters." We don't (anymore) call them "Bible thumping holy-rollers," we call them "Christian conservatives." We sure as shit don't, and never really did, call them "honkies and crackers," we call them whites. This shit works two ways. But only the PC culture from the left side is supposedly a problem. Go figure.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

On Kavanaugh, this guy gets it . . .

Why the hell stick with Kavanaugh anyway?

I think Albert Burneko over at The Concourse gets it:

Brett Kavanaugh Is A Man The Right Can Get Behind

Albert Burneko, The Concourse

. . . Any number of grub-like Yale jurist-ghouls with diamond-edged ‘80s-dad hair and uniformly right-wing ideas about constitutional law could get confirmed to fill the Supreme Court’s vacant ninth seat, and once in that seat could be counted upon to plagiarize Anton Chigurh dialog into incumbent legal precedence for the next three decades. The earth contains no shortage of these. And so, in the aftermath of the discovery that Brett Kavanaugh, the one Donald Trump happened to nominate for the gig, quite likely attempted to rape a 15-year-old girl in the summer of 1982 (and, perhaps less important though no less relevant, almost certainly lied to the Senate about the use of stolen materials to aid George W. Bush’s judicial nominees) and has been living comfortably with this fact about himself for the ensuing 36 years, it should be easy enough to withdraw his nomination and move along to the next crypto-Nazi cottage cheese sculpture in the pipeline. He’d breeze through confirmation, whoever he was: You could pretty much count on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s terminally third-brained centrist Democrats lining up to play themselves. And that would be a success, theoretically: A new, arch-conservative Supreme Court justice, possibly even one not tainted by a credible accusation that he once tried to rape a child.

But that would not be enough. It has to be this guy. It has to be this guy now more than ever. It has to be this guy, now, because he has been accused, credibly, of attempting to rape a 15-year-old girl in 1982—moreover because people believe this should be considered a disqualifying blight on his record. The thing that must happen is that those people must be defeated. That is the whole point. What must be shown to the whole world is that this, even this, cannot stop him.

Aside from the fact that I'm not that familiar with Anton Chigurh, I couldn't have said it any better myself. For the Wrong Wing, it's about "owning the libs." The libs say we can't put a credibly-alleged rapist on the Supreme Court! Eff that! YES WE CAN! We can and we will! Virtually all of RepubliCon public policy in the time of El Drumpfo, (if such a collection of scattered, cockamamie half-notions could be considered a quote "public policy" unquote at all), essentially boils down to: if progressives (and independents these days) are mad, it is good. EVERYTHING, from Obamacare repeal, to gutting the EPA, to this nomination, can be viewed through the four-year old bully's mindset that comes to this, "If those people are upset, than we are happy." They don't actually willfully want dirtier air and water, but they DO want to make libs mad, and if you'll excuse the pun, that trumps everything. Therefore, gut the EPA.

It's mindless. It's devastatingly idiotic, and thoroughly anti-American . . . so you know, quintessentially Republican.

I would actually add here, that if they can confirm this p.o.s. BEFORE the Election, it might actually rile up enough RepubliCon rank and file to seriously mute the effect, electorally, to the point where a little Russian help credibly holds back the so-called “blue wave.” Owning the libs is probably a fairly effective cudgel for these bastards, strategically.

I mean to be certain, there is a parallel between conservative worldview, and the mindset of a rapist. Power is all that matters. Do anything to take it. The agency of those who get in the way should be violently revoked. But I don't think most cons think through things that much, at all.

The point is, the libs are mad. Therefore, it is good.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

I find things in strange places . . .

This comes from an interview with former Seattle City Council member Nick Licata, with the indispensable FieldOfSchemes.com, Neil DeMause's fantastic website covering, in-depth, how sports teams fleece cities in direct subsidies from "everyone else" to The Very Rich, via the use of tax dollars to build stadiums.

This is the thing: I’m somewhat of a believer that we’re never going to live in nirvana, okay? There will always be challenges; there will always be things that are not right; there will always be shortcomings to people that you elect to office. But the moment you believe that it’s not worth trying, then it’s like walking away from the game, because the people left at the table playing the game are totally going to get their way, because they’re not going to look out for your interest.

So two things I keep in mind is: One, you have a choice — you have to participate in the game of politics and the game of democracy, because if you don’t someone else is going to run your life. And secondly, you should enjoy that game. It’s like sports. You got to think about it as: This is not just good for everyone and yourself, and not only does it create good, but it’s a good process to go through. That’s why I’m a strong believer in democracy and argue that we have to, if nothing else, protect the vibrancy of our democracy.

Amen sir. Amen.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

We're Overthinking Stuff . . . .

Can we please stop acting all "surprised" and saying "Well gee whiz, how come the Evangelicals support that amoral asshole sitting in the White House?" Are we JUST NOW figuring out that it has nothing to do with Christian Values? Next time I see yet another 3,000-word "think piece" about "Here's the special secret as to why the Christian Right supports someone who doesn't reflect their values," I'm gonna puke blood on my keyboard. Four words: "They lust for power." End of fucking analysis. How are people making money pretending to have "analyzed this troubling question"-? It's as simple as could be.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

In these times . . . .

I don't know what it says about us as a nation that, while our political system craters into authoritarianism, we are concurrently in the golden age of fancy beer and excellent television shows. Similarly, there are more and more variegated flavors of Lays potato chips than ever there have been before. I make no judgments on anyone, and am probably at least as guilty as the next one. But some questions about our collective priorities are probably in the offing.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

ColumbuSCrewed: Disillusion and Loathing for American soccer, MLS, and USMNT

It's been a crap couple of weeks for American soccer fans, so if you're not among those, this post may not be for you.

The USMNT's spectacular flameout of World Cup Qualifying was one punch to the gut. Oooof.

Now this from the fevered egos that have been quote "growing the game" unquote, here at the U.S.'s professional level, MLS:

Crew SC exploring new Columbus stadium or potential move to Austin

Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt announced on Tuesday that the club is looking at strategic options to ensure the long-term viability of the club, including a new stadium in Columbus or a potential move to the city of Austin, Texas.

Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV) acquired Crew SC in July 2013 from Hunt Sports Group, the original owners of the club since its founding as an MLS charter club in 1996.

In the last few years, Major League Soccer had made at least a few strides away from the typical stadium grift that has enveloped all pro team sports in North America, as billionaire owners in the Twin Cities, Orlando, and Los Angeles had (mostly) paid for new stadiums out of their own ends. Now this.

Columbus’s (likely) move looks terrible for MLS, as if to say: “Yes we are just as greedy and short-sighted as all the rest.” Yes the black’n’yellow have had some attendance issues, but so have many teams, ahem, especially the older ones. The Crew are an Original 10 franchise, they have won the Cup, and three Supporters’ Shields, and routinely make the playoffs. Their stadium may be older than others, but it was the FIRST soccer-specific stadium MLS conceived, and it has been a stalwart home for the national team, which has always played well there.

As a Fire fan, I would miss having an organic, regional rival not dreamed up in some marketers’ coke-binge. Every single ounce of coverage from Austin seems to suggest that the glorious downtown stadium Precourt is talking about THERE is little more than a pipe dream, along with a fair amount of: “Okay so wait, what’s MLS now again?” They are clueless, and will at least be NO BETTER than Columbus is as a home for top flight soccer in the US. Sure! Let’s trade a small-market college sports town for another one, and it will somehow be ten times better! Big mistake MLS, and big mistake Precourt. You don’t shit on one of your oldest fan-bases. I don’t care if they ARE so fucking yellow.**

Sure, let’s add some more Texas franchises into the current mix. Those two in Dallas (sort of) and Houston are doing so well building the culture down there, where they are near the BOTTOM of the league in attendance and local relevance. And if Austin officials were really so enthralled with having an MLS squad locally why wouldn’t they, you know, put in an expansion bid like every other city in the whole country did this past year?

I gotta be honest . . . the more I think about this, the more it stinks. They announce this shit RIGHT BEFORE the playoffs begin? Are they DELIBERATELY trying to sink the team’s hopes and hype? It would look pretty shitty to have, say for example, an Eastern Conference Champ packing their bags for a new market. This gets particularly interesting as the Crew is now the hottest team in MLS on the pitch - 6-0-3 in their last nine games. (Just spitballing here, I want the Fire to win the Cup, although I think TFC is a way better squad than we are right now.)

At any rate the PoS Precourt can’t seem to get his lies straight. He’s been saying since he bought the club that he was committed to Columbus, except that now it comes out that when the team was sold to him, he had language inserted into the sale that says the ONLY city the team could move to was Austin, and his marketing of the team - which is tearing up MLS on the field right now, btw - has been absolute shit. Again, this has all the makings of a deliberate, longish, con. It seems everyone who cares to know is aware that one of the Crew's betst players, Federico Higuain, is out this winter. Thus will Precourt be able to claim: “Oh see? No support,” when the Columbus faithful do the rational thing and decide not to show up for this obvious tank job.

Precourt says he wants Columbus to help him build a stadium, but that he’ll join the big boys and pay for one himself if they move to Austin?- like the bigger boys in Minnesota, Orlando, and LaFC did. Sure - real “committed to Columbus,” DICK. I know Chicago is a bigger market than Columbus, but the implication is pretty clear - if this PoS can do it, so can ANY MLS owner.

I want the Fire to win the Cup, let’s be clear. But if somehow the Yellows outlast us in the Playoffs, I will be pulling for Columbus this year, just because of the glorious FU it would be to their asshole owner and MLS brass. Good luck explaining to the world why an MLS Champ has to leave town. Watching that would be delicious.

** - a riff off my favorite anti-Crew pro-Fire chant.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Chicago's Official Decompression: THE OUROBOROS: Sat 9.23 :: 5pm

Bold Urban Renaissance Network Presents

Chicago's Official DECOMPRESSION 2017:

THE OUROBOROS

This year, we are returning to our roots. Tickets are FREE and it's BYOE but you need to register for entry. SOLD OUT

Whether you went to the burn or not, we want to bring the entire community together and we are counting on YOU to help make this event amazing. Let's bring all the tribes together!

Help us by volunteering (https://goo.gl/forms/F0XwdZCw1JOFc2Pq1), bringing your art (https://goo.gl/forms/RSIY3nHI01JV826v2), performing (https://goo.gl/forms/1ZFUmHLlhasuhqB92), setting up your theme camp (https://goo.gl/forms/oGBgLi0XdCnU5EjR2) dancing and donating if you can. ( https://tinyurl.com/DonateBURN)

Come decompress with our community!

5pm-3am (Kids welcome til 10pm)

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

At a large outdoor venue in the city. (Event details will be sent with your ticket confirmation.)

PARTICIPATE

CELEBRATE

DECOMPRESS

Please use your legal name when ordering tickets - we will check ID at the Gate.

Questions? Email communications@boldurban.org.