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.”

Oct 3rd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

On this day of sorrows, we discuss a VR ‘experience’ with a message; deadly street pills; and whether this latest sick tragedy will FINALLY lead to action.

Aug 31st, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

As for-real football season commences, an area high school tries to “go goth.” We also observe a new purse for the female-identifying Seahawks fan; more complaints about the school-funding deal; how an Idaho town de-Nazified itself; and the pre-gentrified days of Bumbershoot.

Aug 11th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Our big weekend MISCmedia MAIL leads off with the discovery of ginormous magma pools beneath the Cascades, just ready to spew forth. Among our other (NOT necessarily lighter) topics: the future of Nikkita Oliver and her movement; a suit against Ride the Ducks’ owner; fiscal trouble for our “other” local, woman-founded, sex-toy retailer; and Cobain-related blather re-purposed as Cornell-related blather.

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.

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.

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).

Jun 20th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

MISCmedia MAIL’s not the first to note that the police slaying of Charleena Lyles came the day after the dedication of Jimi Hendrix Park. In other topics: some Wall Streeters think Amazon/Whole Foods means trouble for Costco; little to no progress toward a state budget; and the sudden revival of Tonya Harding media mania.

6/7/17: THE LAST REEL?
Jun 6th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Wednesday’s MISCmedia MAIL doesn’t know any more than you about the sudden closure of the classic Guild 45th and Seven Gables cinemas. We do know a little about another police-brutality settlement; the International District’s “upzone” moving forward; what white liberals don’t “get” about the whole Evergreen State College to-do; and our big, boistrous birthday party (tomorrow, Thursday 6/8/17, at the tony Two Bells!).

5/31/17: NOT SO ‘CRUDDY’
May 31st, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Wednesday’s MISCmedia MAIL starts with a great honor for one of my fave cartoonist/novelist/playwrights. It goes on to mention the “dirty” aspect of cleaning up Lake Washington; big-big plans for the UW; the apparent end to one of our era’s most famous couples; and five years after the Cafe Racer slayings (so many senseless slayings ago).

May 24th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Could the Black Dog Forge’s Belltown building, and the legendary band-practice basement space within, be rescued from redevelopment by a crowdfunding campaign? In other MISCmedia MAIL topics today: Why people don’t listen to facts; ambitious plans for the state’s schools; Starbucks’ employee-motivation program backfiring; and preparing for our new computer overlords.

May 19th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

As you’d expect, we talk a lot in today’s MISCmedia MAIL about Chris Cornell’s life, death, and legacy. Plus: more on the “My Family’s Slave” controversy; Ed Murray’s accuser wanting a trial anywhere but here; Mount St. Helens memories; and the usual plethora of weekend events.

May 17th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

It’s that time of year again. That occasion when we’re reminded of larger-than-life sights, sounds, and dramatic spectacle. MISCmedia MAIL denotes this today, as well as: the recent uproar over a local, modern “family slave” saga; Kshama Sawant’s “Socialist muscle”; another Seattle federal judge striking another blow against bigotry; and a bear in a tree.

May 16th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

As the “other Washington” moves ever closer to who-knows-what, here we’ve got still more rain to deal with. Well, that and the “Big One” earthquake coming any century now. MISCmedia MAIL also deals with the end of a legendary local bar (as we’ve known it); a suit against a tiny record label that got itself some unreleased Prince songs; the local literary legend who was a mystery to his bio-dad; and two women of color vying to either change or keep the Legislature’s status quo.

May 9th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Ed Murray’s out—or rather he will be out as mayor, in December. ‘Til then, he’s here-but-not-here. We also look today at a big scare at Hanford; a women’s shelter getting a big donation; just how big microbeers are here; and Steve Jobs: the Opera.

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