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WHAT EVERY SEATTLEITE NEEDS TO KNOW
Oct 4th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The Seattle Public Library, in conjunction with my ex-Stranger colleague Charles Mudede, recently held a public workshop on the topic of “What Every American Needs to Know.”
Attendees were asked to make their own lists of subjects they want everybody to learn. With Mudede’s presence/influence, the topics nominated veered toward racial justice/awareness issues, past and present.

The event was inspired by, and named for the subtitle of, E.D. Hirsch Jr.’s 1987 book Cultural Literacy. Hirsch listed some 5,000 terms, people, historic events, popular movements, and concepts that ought to be familiar to citizens young, old, and new.

UW instructor Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University and author of the political-activism book You’re More Powerful Than You Think, recently revived Hirsch’s concept, as something to be “crowdsourced” from citizen contributions.

Since the library event, Anika Anand at TheEvergrey.com asked that site’s readers to nominate similar topics that every Seattleite needs to know.

Here are my own nominations, in 10 overgeneralized, inter-related categories:

1. Our history and heritage.

Why the Northwest is more “north” than “west”. The early explorers, missionaries, and fur trappers. The Nordic homesteaders arriving on the land-grant railroads. The Gold Rush and boosterism. How Seattle was “bourgeois from the start” (Roger Sale).

2. Our racial/cultural mosaic, past to present.

The rich indigenous heritage, and the people who fight to keep it alive. The Anti-Chinese Riots; the WWII Japanese-American internments. FIlipino cannery workers. Vietnamese refugees. The black struggle, from redlining to gentrification. Hispanic/Latinx immigrants, and their fight to stay.

3. Our homegrown pop culture.

Seattle black music/art (not just Hendrix). Seattle pop/rock music (not just Hendrix and Cobain). Seattle visual art and artists (not just Chihuly). Self-aware, self-deprecating humor, from The Egg and I to Almost Live. Twin Peaks and the “Northwest Noir” genre. Kids’ TV; drag clowning; neo-circus; performance art. Sports, from the Hawks to the Huskies to the hydros. Gone-but-not-forgotten restaurants, stores, and dive bars. Allegedly “Seattle” things we had nothing to do with (“designer grunge,” Fifty Shades of Grey).

4. Our boomin’ n’ bustin’ economy.

Timber and the original “Skid Road.” Railroads and steamships. The Alaska connection, from fishing to oil. Boeing. The Depression; hydro power as a “public works” project. WWII; “Rosie the Riveter;” Hanford. The Jet Age; the ’70s Boeing Bust. The baby-boomer entrepreneurs behind Starbucks, Costco, and the first microbrews. The early dotcoms’ rise and fall. Washington Mutual’s rise and fall.

5. Techie Seattle and its Boeing roots (really).

How a City of Engineers morphed into a City of Coders. The UW’s heritage in medical technologies. Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s “old Seattle” backgrounds. Why Jeff Bezos and Nintendo set up shop here. Video games as an art form. The “tech bro” stereotype and tech-biz sexism.

6. Our bio-region, its ecology, and threats to same.

The “natural Northwest” relentlessly reshaped, regraded, dredged, dammed, and filled in. Hanford. Trident. Clearcut forests. Depleted fish runs. Volcanoes, earthquakes, and wildfires. Climate change and weird weather.

7. Politics past and present.

Prohibition rum-runners; brothels and speakeasies. Labor radicals, and anti-radical “massacres.” ”The 47 states and the Soviet of Washington.” “Progressive Seattle” as an historically white-dominated movement. “Feel-good liberalism” vs. making the hard choices and doing the real work. Why gay marriage and legal pot were easier to achieve than economic or racial justice. The high-end housing boom; single-family neighborhoods; “Livability” vs. “affordability.”

8. “Seattle Nice” and its limits.

Why, personality-wise, we’re more like Canada than California. Nordic stoicism; passive-aggressive distancing. Why you MUST develop and use an “inside voice,” and stop screaming in public all the time.

9. Words and phrases and pronunciations.

It’s “I-5,” not “the 5.” It’s the Department of Licensing, not the DMV. There’s no “S” in “Pike Place Market.” How to pronounce “Puyallup” and spell “Weyerhaeuser.”

10. The (Real) World of Century 21

The future promised at the World’s Fair vs. what we really got. Making a better future, not just a profitable one. Saving our nation from social/political disaster. Saving our planet from ecological disaster. Saving our own corner of the planet from the side effects of its own “success.”

9/5/17: A DIFFERENT KIND OF ROCKY ROAD
Sep 5th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

A dog-daze-ish holiday weekend is done and MISCmedia MAIL’s back, with: a “decorative” way to make a stretch of city concrete un-campable; fires threatening the Portland exurbs and the “Northern Exposure” locations; the Puyallup Fair remembering when its grounds were used to detain WWII internees; Bob Ferguson vowing to protect our state’s DACA “Dreamers;” and the new Twin Peaks ending as incompletely as the old one did.

8/31/17: KINGDOME NOSTALGIA
Aug 30th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

One of the principal engineers behind the now-razed domed stadium passed away, having outlived his creation by 17 years. Our further Thursday topics: tribal rights to privately-held art works; a WSU prof decrying neo-Nazi images on campus; a fired cop’s legal settlement; and whether Amazon should spin off its most profitable asset (in order to keep it profitable).

8/18/17: NOT SET IN STONE
Aug 17th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Apparently, we have to explain (to both the far-right goons and the mayor) that the Fremont Lenin statue, in its present space and context, is a snark against the man it depicts. Our other weekend-newsletter topics include spy-cam drones vs. wildfires; solar cells in ink on plastic wrap; a lawsuit over Costco’s golf balls; and one past Republican who stood up to the hate-mongers.

8/17/17: DOWN THE PIKE
Aug 16th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Let us recall another Seattle progressive triumph, in an age of another not-all-there Republican president. It’s the late John Stamets’ 1987 pix of the restored Pike Place Market, now on display again. Among our other topics this day: wildfires rage in Grant County; concrete-truck drivers go on strike; a walking trail’s set to reopen; and more local folk have more reaction to the ongoing sociopolitical meltdown.

8/15/17: SAY THEIR NAMES, STILL
Aug 15th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

“Seattle High School Memorial Stadium” is named for the 800 names on its front wall, of locals who died in WWII. There’s a drive to make sure the names remain in any rebuilt stadium. We discuss that in our Tuesday letter, as well as the young man from our state found among the Virginia white-supremacist marchers; memories of the NW’s last total eclipse; a consumer review of one of the new bike-share systems; and Costco caught peddling mis-branded jewelry.

8/2/17: MANY HAPPY (OR NOT) RETURNS
Aug 2nd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

We’re putting a woman in the mayor’s office! Which woman remains to be seen. That’s about all we know for sure from the first primary-election results. We additionally ponder a bookstore and a bridge for sale (separately); Boeing bringing (some) previously outsourced work back in-house; the promising life and sad end to the “Jeremy” music-video kid; and brisk biz for the new bike shares.

7/27/17: GONE TO THE MOON
Jul 26th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The Boeing-built lunar rovers are still on the moon; should we move to legally protect them from anyone who might show up to trash them? We also view local reactions to the trans-soldier ban; two new attacks against Evergreen State (one more absurd than the other); a venerable used-book palace going away; and the demise of a cartoon-voice legend.

7/10/17: THE BATTLE BEGINS (MAYBE)
Jul 9th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

In Monday’s MISCmedia MAIL: Today will likely see the start of the legal skirmishes to either confirm or reject Seattle’s proposed municipal income tax. Also: Jay Inslee as a “demo singer” for the Dems’ campaign points; more doubts about the state budget deal; another anti-trans “bathroom bill” fails; and the Rep planning a grunge musical.

7/6/17: THE KALAKALA LIVES! (SORT OF)
Jul 6th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Thursday’s MISCmedia MAIL starts with good news: Pieces of the ferry Kalakala were saved, and may come soon to an art installation near you. Also: cracks start appearing in the Legislature’s state-budget kludge; STD cases are on the rise; a tiki bar gets targeted by “cultural appropriation” charges; and one guy had a really dumb idea how to get the best view of the fireworks.

6/30/17: NOPE, STILL A SECRET
Jun 29th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

We’re still waiting to know all that’s in the last-nanosecond state budget deal. As for things we CAN tell you about this Fri. morn: Ed Murray’s still not running for re-election; original Cobain-made art coming to the Art Fair; more about the young man shot by officers for holding a pen; and a proud anniversary for a proud nation (alas, not ours).

6/29/17: BACK FROM THE BRINK?
Jun 28th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

We’ve got a state budget deal! Now we wait to find out what it is. While you wait, read about the start of the city’s new anti-homelessness plan (and its discontents);  orca miscarriages; and Bezos’ non-payment of a non-extant tax.

6/26/17: NOT JUST ANOTHER SUNDAY ‘OUT’-ING
Jun 26th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The big-big-big Pride Parade couldn’t be stopped by heat, but was briefly paused by an unofficial “entrant,” a Charleena Lyles remembrance. In other MISCmedia MAIL subjects: Another needless shooting death, this time in the suburbs; the days still tick down toward a state-budget crisis; and 70 years since the first “flying saucer” sighting, right here in Wash. State.

6/23/17: PRIDE VS. PREJUDICE
Jun 23rd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The Pride Parade and rally have a different mission this year, as you probably expect. Your big weekend MISCmedia MAIL briefly mentions this, and also touches on still more Charleena Lyles fallout; local reactions to the deliberate disaster that is the health-care repeal plan; the men from our state who helped the CIA craft its torture techniques; and who a Seattle mini-park near a “dump” should be named after (one guess).

6/22/17: ‘WE’RE HAVIN’ A HEAT WAVE…’
Jun 21st, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

With summer finally, officially, among us, the hot-hot-hotness is due to arrive. And MISCmedia MAIL discusses more fallout from the Charleena Lyles shooting; the anniversary of the first foreign attack on the US mainland in WWII (in our state); still no progress in the state-budget stalemate; and what it means to be “Seattle-ready.”

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