Tag Archives: Southern Beale

White Guilt

John Derbyshire is racist, but I’m not. This isn’t just me talking, it’sScience!

I tookthis survey, called the Implicit Association Test, whichDerbyshire told Gawker’s Maureen O’Connor he had taken to determine if he’s really racist. He calls it “the best quantifier we have to date” on peoples’ attitudes toward race, because it flashes pictures of black people and pictures of white people, and then words that are positive and negative, all in rapid succession. You are supposed to push a particular button on your keyboard as quickly as possible in response to the images. It’s supposed to test your reflexive responses, for example: do you instinctively recoil in horror at the sight of a black person? I am glad to say no, I do not.

I found it more a test of manual dexterity and knowing your right hand from your left, something I tend to confuse when I’ve had a couple glasses of wine, which is what I had done before deciding to take the test. This is against protocol: the instructions say to be “free of distractions,” and not only was I imbibing my evening chardonnay but I was on my porch keeping one eye on the dogs. Oops.

Be that as it may, Derbyshire released his test results, which showed he has a “strong automatic preference” for European Americans. It also showed him to be highly neurotic — big shocker there. My test results indicate that, at least after a couple glasses of wine, I am definitelynot racist. Also, I really hate Ron Paul:

Your data suggest little to no difference in implicit preference between Black People and White People.

Your data suggest a strong implicit preference for Barack Obama compared to Ron Paul.

Well, that is a tremendous relief. Considering what a racist old crank Ron Paul is, by all rights any preference for Paul qualifies as a racist trait in my book.

When you get your test results they tell you this:

As such, the score should serve as an opportunity for self-reflection, not as a definitive assessment of your implicit thoughts or feelings. This and future research will clarify the way in which implicit thinking and feelings affects our perception, judgment, and action.

It appears John Derbyshire used his opportunity for self-reflection to conclude, Fuck yeah, I’m racist! To the core, bay-beee! This is news to no one, and as heinous as was his column for Stormfront Monthly — or whatever the fuck online rag published his final diatribe — at least he was honest about it.

Far more pernicious is the racism we have here in Nashville, which is so deeply ingrained that people here will honestly claim not to be racist while using the N-word. Actually, what usually happens is theywhisper the N-word, like that somehow is okay.

Nashville is the most segregated city I have ever lived in. You simply do not walk into a restaurant in affluent West Nashville and see large numbers of black customers. I’m not even talking F. Scott’s or Sunset Grill, I’m talking Cracker Barrel and Panera. Maybe at Waffle House, I don’t know, we don’t eat there. Where are all the black people? For the most part in North Nashville, the “black” neighborhood. When we go to that part of town to eat we aren’t the only white faces, though. There is a freedom of mobility among Nashvlle’s white residents that its African American citizens do not enjoy. Black people caught out of “their part of town” are suspicious and might, like Trayvon Martin, get shot, because it is assumed they are up to no good. And this is how a large number of white Nashvillians like it, especially people who grew up here.

People, I have lost friends over this issue, in particular one very good friend who, after like the gazillionth time of telling me “everything was fine” in X neighborhood “until the blacks moved in,” I finally told her she was racist and to STFU already. And she told me I had “white guilt.” We do not speak any longer.

“White guilt” is another one of those things racists think gives them a pass. Like this idiot who says“black pain is no different from white pain” — the kind of intellectually lazy justification you would expect from an asshole who equates having his bike stolen to hundreds of years of cultural and institutional oppression. Maybe that’s my “white guilt” talking but what the hell? You better believe I feel guilty. My question is, why the hell don’t you? To pretend that America does not owe its place in the world to the legal exploitation of black, brown, yellow and red people whom we oppressed for generations is the sort of willful stupidity that makes me want to scream. We built this nation on cheap labor and theft. You don’t feel bad about that? I do.

I grew up in a family that’s half Jewish and half Catholic, so trust me when I say: I’ve got this guilt thing down cold. I cut my milk teeth on guilt and, like political correctness, I don’t see why it’s such a bad thing. Guilt to me is just empathy in an ugly dress. Everyone could use a little more guilt, without it you’re a sociopath. Which is where a lot of conservatives seem to wind up, big surprise there. But the truth is, that side of the aisle doesn’t want to feel guilty and they don’t want to have to worry about being “politically correct” because they’re tired of being told they’rewrong all the time. Just once in their lives they want to be right.

I don’t know what to tell those folks, the ones who were wrong about slavery and wrong about civil rights and wrong about women’s rights and wrong about the Vietnam War and wrong about the Iraq War. Why are these people wrong all the time? Because they lack the cultural relevance to be the decider on such things. Ouch that hurts, but then, the truth often does.

Perhaps I should feel guilty that 27% of America is chafing under its cultural irrelevance but I don’t. They have Christian music, Victoria Jackson and Kirk Cameron movies to give them the illusion of cultural relevance. They will have to be satisfied with ersatz relevance while the rest of us march bravely into the future.

Look who’s Left Behind now. Bwaaha.

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Top 5 Things I Thought Were April Fool’s Jokes (But Weren’t)

1- Anne Romney sayingMitt isn’t stiff, just unzip him and see for yourself!

I just … I’m sorry, there simply isn’t anything to add to that.

2- The announcement that Sarah Palin isco-hosting the Today Show today in a “face off” against Katie Couric, who is co-hosting Good Morning America.

Yes, this is really happening. I realize the morning snooze is to real journalism as pink slime is to actual beef, but I thought these people at least pretended to be more serious than a junior high school cafeteria. I mean, really? And Washington Post, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Viewers will cast their votes with their clickers Tuesday.

Yes. Yes, I will. I’ll be tuning in to the BBC World Report on my XM radio. Because people are dying, wars are waging, the planet is heating, and we don’t have time for your stupid teenage bullshit.

3- The Romney campaign’ssad attempt to humanize Mitt by releasing video of their April Fool’s joke: bringing him to a “campaign event” in Wisconsin, which turned out to be an empty ballroom. So awesome, you guyz!

They even got Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and U.S. Senator Ron Johnson in on the joke.

I don’t get why this was supposed to be funny. Republicans have thrown up every creepy crawly hiding beneath the conservative rock in a pathetic attempt to find a candidate — any candidate — who isn’t Mitt Romney. Herman Cain? Hello? I’m thinking an empty banquet hall is not a joke but an entirely plausible scenario.

That they lack the self-awareness to understand this makes me think the problem isn’t just Mitt but every one of the Mitt-wits. This isn’t a tin ear. This is Pod People From Another Planet.

4- Arlen Spectorhad a hissy fit on a conservative talk radio show because host Jason Lewis didn’t ask him about the book he’s hawking:

“I have one final comment, I gave you 10 minutes. You’ve been over every subject except for my book. I’ve listened to two rounds of your commercials. I think it’s insulting. I’ve been in a lot of interviews in the course of the past 30 years and you are absolutely insulting!”

I don’t know who Jason Lewis is, for all I know he’s a gigantic asshole entirely deserving of a righteous tongue-lashing. But not over this. Dry up, you big baby. You’re a former U.S. Senator. No one is under any obligation to help you sell your damn book, no, not even a conservative talk show host. Buy an ad if that’s what you want.

5- Mary J. Blige’s adfor Burger King’s chicken snack wraps. So much fail.

[UPDATE]: Universal Music Group pulled the Blige video but I found itover at VH-1.


Thank You Failure, ACA Edition

It’s day two of healthcare reform’s trial at the Supreme Court — I know, I know, but that’s what this whole circus looks like. And honestly I’m feeling relatively Zen-like about the whole thing. I think we win either way.

I can honestly see SCOTUS ruling the individual mandate unconstitutional, which would empower a Teanut-led Congress to completely shred the law, instead of their current piecemeal approach. I can see this happening not because I understand squat about Constitutional Law but because I know the Supreme Court has a long history of making really crappy, stupid decisions. We’ve survived. Slavery was abolished despite Dred Scott, in fact, it probably hastened the Emancipation Proclamation.

In Buck v Bell, SCOTUS allowed the state to forcibly sterilize those it viewed as “genetically inferior.”Explained the New York Times on Saturday,

In 1924 Virginia ordered Ms. Buck, 18 years old, unmarried and pregnant, to be forcibly sterilized. Her legal guardian appealed, and the case made it to the Supreme Court. The winning argument blamed her pregnancy on hereditary weaknesses — in particular, her presumed feeblemindedness. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s majority opinion entered history: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Let me just say: SCOTUS giving the government the authority to permanently sterilize people sure makes them telling us to buy health insurance look tame by comparison. But what do I know.

Anyway, here’s the thing. The Affordable Care Act was a crappy law, we all knew it. I think I called ita “shit sandwich.” But it was a starting place. It did a couple of good things, like end pre-existing conditions and lifetime benefit caps and yada yada. But really, it’s a Band-Aid on a serious problem which has had massive repercussions across the landscape of America’s economy and competitiveness. That’s the thing no one is really talking about: the problem is real. No one made up the50.7 million uninsured or the fact thatthe U.S. spends moreon healthcare than any other industrialized nation yet we have less to show for it. These are very real issues and they have very real ramifications. And they won’t go away by calling Obama a socialist.

Typically, Republicans are in denial. Take Mitch McConnell, for instance: all in favor of repealing “Obamacare” .. and then what?

But he doesn’t favor comprehensive legislation to replace it. “We would want to more modestly approach this with more incremental fixes,” he told me. “Not a massive Republican alternative.”

Two ideas McConnell mentions are allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines and reforming medical-malpractice laws. Neither idea would do much to increase coverage, and McConnell didn’t mention one idea — changing the tax treatment of health insurance — that would, perhaps because his party hasn’t reached a consensus on it.

These tweaks the Republicans continually mention are not solutions to our massive healthcare crisis. They are baubles to corporations. They are not up to the task of solving a massive problem 100 years in the making and they will solve nothing. In some cases, they will make things worse.

If healthcare reform is repealed, there is no reset. We aren’t going back to the good ol’ days when doctors made housecalls and people didn’t have to choose between buying heart medication or paying the light bill. No, we’re going back to a really sucky, unworkable, crisis situation. This is obvious to anyone doing business in this country. I see repeal making “Medicare For All” that much more inevitable, and that will be a shiv in the heart of the private, for-profit insurance industry. They will only have themselves to blame for working so hard to undercut what was really a lifeline Congress threw their dying industry.

Mind you, I’m not hoping for failure. I want a win because I think Obama and the Democrats need this win, and I also think the law does some good things that people really, desperately need. But it’s just postponing the inevitable. Our healthcare system is massively fucked up and the private, for-profit insurance model is unsustainable. It’s going to change because it has to. Like the Dred Scott decision, a SCOTUS ruling against the Affordable Care Act could be the impetus that drives the change we didn’t get from Congress.

So, if we lose, fine. I’ll be singing this song:

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So Sorry We’re Troubling You

So yeah, the Romneys are trying to“court women put off by the contraception debate,” according to the New York Times and, Oh My God. I’m so fucking sorry this debate makes some Republicans feel all icky.

You know what? There’s a cure for that. It’s called, keep your goddamned hands off our birth control and we’ll shut up about it.

Got that?

God. I’m so sick of you people. What the fuck is wrong with you? I’ll start being “angry about the entitlement debt that we’re leaving our children” when you stop trying to take away rights thelast generation burned their bras and marched in the streets to get for us.

The paternalistic pats on the head have been getting increasingly obvious over the past week. And I’ve got news for all of you: we’re not shutting up. This clock ain’t rolling back, people. It’s justnot happening. Got that? As long as state and federal governments ratchet up their attacks on women’s reproductive rights, we’re going to scream and holler about it.

So if you want it to stop, thenyou’re gonna have to be the ones to stop provoking us. Stop what you’re doing. It’s that simple. Jesus, how much more obvious can it be?

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Nobody Could Have Anticipated This

Honestly, I haven’t known what to say aboutthe Trayvon Martin case because there’s just so much hurt there, but I can’t get this family out of my mind. We’ve got a young black kid going to 7-Eleven to get his little brother some Skittles and a trigger-happy wannabe hero with a history of seeing boogeymen behind every bush, plus a completely fucked up Florida state law that makes it nearly impossible to prosecute gun crimes, and a local police chief who mangled the case eight ways to Friday. It’s just a perfect storm of suckitude all the way around.

No, scratch that, it’s not a perfect storm, this was absolutely, 100% predictable. Because young black teenagers will walk to the store to get candy. And trigger-happy neighborhood watch captains with a hero complex will shoot innocent people. Stupid redneck cops will look the other way. Every piece of this story played out exactly as we all said it would. Somehow “told you so” just doesn’t feel adequate to the situation.

So now the Dept. of Justice and the FBI are getting involved. Finally, finallya grand jury is being convened.Finally I’m hearing calls for Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee to resign.

The Sanford PD doesn’t have a good track record, by the way; their last police chief resigned in 2011 after a police officer’s son with a history of violence was filmed attacking a homeless man. That police chief didn’t do anything either, until public outrcy demanded justice. Sanford, I think you have a cop problem. Just sayin’.

Predictably, the gun loons and Teanuts are circling the wagons. So far their best argument is that this can’t possibly be a hate crimebecause George Zimmerman was Hispanic. Right, of course, only white people are suspicious of male black teens, all of those other brown folk are just kinda lumped in together into one big happy chocolate soup, amiright people? /sarcasm.

I’m pretty much an open book regarding my strong dislike for guns. Every time I write a blog post expressing my intense dismay at another wingnutty piece of legislation putting ever more people into unsafe contact with guns, the gun loons troll my place en masse telling me I need to read my Constitution. Or else I’m misinformed, and here are these reams of data showing states or countries with really liberal gun laws, and see how they have fewer gun accidents? So I’m just wrong and hysterical, blahbedy blah.

And you know what? I don’t fucking care. Just shut up. You own a gun to kill things. Killing is wrong. Isn’t that the “pro-life” position? People arestupid andirresponsible and can’t be trusted with guns. Rednecks in particular are bad with guns. And also, you know what? Sometimes, shit just happens and innocent people die. This shit happens every single day in this country. And it seems logical that if there are fewer guns out there, fewer accidents like this will happen. But the gun loons live in a fear-based world, where everyone needs to be on high alert because some black kid might try to steal their laptop.

And really, is this the argument? I need a gun to protect my shit? I don’t get that. Take the fucking laptop. Unless you’re transporting gold bouillion and bearer bonds on a regular basis, you don’t need a gun to protect your shit.

I don’t buy the “I need to protect myself” argument, either. Unless you actually know someone who wants to kill you, and that has to be a very, very small number of people, then there are other ways of defending yourself. You know, if all you have is a gun then everything looks like a target.

And please don’t tell me we need an armed populace to protect against tyranny. Seriously? You think your collection of AK-47s is going to match the entire U.S. arsenal that we’ve spent billioins of dollars building? Hilarious. In this day and age, a piece of computer code will do more damage than all the militia nuts in Georgia and Montana combined.

Nothing was stupider than seeing the Teanuts assemble at their little rallies with their guns strapped to their hips, like they were such a threat. If you guys were anything remotely close to threatening you’d have been rounded up and hauled off to jail like the Occupy protesters were. The Tea Party threatens no one in power, they’re tools and half-wits recruited by the powerful to support the status quo. Hilarious. The fact that they were able to wave their guns out in the open unmolested is proof of how toothless they were.

And finally, this is a main reason why I won’t go to Florida. Ever. Most of my relatives think it’s because I’m still pissed about the 2000 election, but that’s not it. It’s this “shoot first, ask questions later it’s MAH RIGHT” attitude that completely permeates Amygdala America. I don’t want to be around it. Florida’s law is so nebulous, anyone can claim they felt “threatened” by anything — a cross-eyed look, a liberal bumper sticker, a Sikh wearing a dastar, two guys kissing, whatever. No one reads the statute before they decide it’s their right to blow some kid away. People are stupid, I’ve already said that. They’re fearful and reactionary and it takes cases like this one to wake some folks up.

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Game Change Or, Now I Want To Claw My Eyeballs Out

We had a hockey game Saturday night and so we DVR’d “Game Change” and I’m just now watching it.

Lots has been written about it, mostly of the “I never thought I’d feel sorry for Sarah Palin” variety. I don’t feel sorry for her. I’m appalled, outraged and pissed off all over again! What the hell? The absolutelast emotion I feel for anyone involved in this debacle is sympathy. Holy shit, this woman didn’t know the basics of contemporary history, let alone the nuances of American foreign policy.

What really gets me is not that the McCain campaign foisted someome so unfamiliar with basic current affairs onto the national stage, but that she was made governor of the state of Alaska in the first place. How the hell did that even happen? I can see the McCain campaign deciding, “well, she’s governor of Alaska, so surely she’seducated, right? She can add two plus two, right?” They completely underestimated the vast dumbing-down of America that has occurred over the past 30 years.

And therein lies our problem. I look at the idiots in Tennessee’s state government and I see crackpots like Rep. Rick Womick, last seen peddlingJohn Birch Society black helicopter conspiracy theories in our state legislature. Somehow these clueless, uninformed blockheads become mayors and then state representatives and state senators and then governors, and before you know it, some desperate fuck decides to put them on a national ticket because it needs some sex appeal. And God help us if next time they get elected. That scares the crap out of me.

I realize this isn’t any earth-shattering revelation, but I feel like until we start expecting better from ourselves we’re not going to get anything better from our political leadership. This fish is rotting from the tail up.

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Dispatch From Tennessee

Greetings, First Drafters! First of all, a big thanks to Athenae and everyone else for the warm welcome and the opportunity to share my rantings over here. I look forward to meeting some new friends. Also, please bear with me: I’m a TypePad newbie.

Let me start out by introducing myself. I grew up in Montclair, N.J. and Los Angeles, CA — two of the country’s most liberal cities. But I’ve spent most of my adult life in Nashville, TN, rural Kentucky and rural Pennsylvania — among our most conservative areas. (Let me debunk some regional stereotypes right now: I met more rednecks whose family trees had no branches in Pennsylvania than I ever did in Kentucky. Just sayin’, y’all.)

I have an undergraduate degree in environmental science. My professional career has been divided between the music industry and communications in environmental ed and resource management. I devoted years to a progressive church, where I coordinated outreach activities like monthly congregational letter-writing campaigns — but I’m so sick of Christians ramming their religion down my throat all the time that I haven’t walked through a church door in three years.

So, I’m a riddle wrapped in a contradiction tied with a flip-floppy bow. Most of my posts over at Southern Beale are written in a fog of outrage over some pile of stupid that’s been inflicted on the world, and Ido take this shit personally, so expect some cuss words. I think, as a longtime reader and commenter over here, that this won’t upset too many people.

I like living in Tennessee but a lot of stuff pisses me off here, and honestly there are days when it’s all I can do to keep from packing up the dogs and cats and telling the husband to meet me in California. The last few years have been particularly horrid. We’ve got every wretched piece of wingnutty legislation coming out of Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma, with a special Tennessee twist: crap like our“Don’t Say Gay” bill, or how our Republican-dominated state legislaturedecided to override Nashville’s non-discrimination ordinance last year, because small government! And local control! Except when we don’t like it!

Democrats in Tennessee are an anemic, demoralized bunch but they do exist, and occasionally they come up with a good idea or two. One was a bill that would force legislators to disclose the special interest groups behind “model legislation” of the kind coming from ALEC and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sadly, last week the Influence Disclosure Actwas killed in a subcommittee, but not before Republicans kicked it in the teeth:

“This is a bad bill … horrible bill, really,” Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, said during the House State and Local Government Subcommittee meeting. “I know what it’s getting back at. It’s getting back at ALEC.”

Curry Todd … Curry Todd … why does that name sound familiar? Oh yeah:he’s the Tennessee state chair of ALEC, as well as an ALEC board member. How convenient! ALEC sure got their money’s worth!

But there’s something else, something nagging at the back of my head … oh yeah: back in the fall Todd, who sponsored our notorious “guns-in-bars” bill, was arrested for DUI with his loaded .38 special wedged between his seat and the car’s center console. Click on the link, the mug shot alone is priceless. Todd was so shitfaced he literally could not walk straight, let alone drive, let alone be trusted with a loaded handgun.

If this were a Demcorat there would be manufactured outrage all day and all night until the poor sucker was run out of the legislature and sent home with his tail tucked between his legs. But Curry Todd is a useful idiot for the corporatocracy, able to quash things like the Influence DIsclosure Act that would let everyone know which bills were written by the Koch Bros. or Corrections Corp. of America. So we’ve all kind of forgotten about the mess at the corner of 21st Avenue South and Blair, and anyway, didn’t a prominent Democrat do something awful once, too? Move along … move along.

Because that’s how we do it here in Tennessee.

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