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Jody Rosen at the formerly-locally-owned Slate has a lovely rant about the unbearable whiteness of “indie” music. Then Rosen segues into a side rant about the peculiar slant of NPR (and upscale white America) toward black music; preferably their preferences for Af-Am artists who are “Dead, Old, Retro, Foreign,” or “DORF.”
…an African American cultural activist gets in a Twitter exchange with a white actress who says Af-Ams are “more free and fun and light hearted”? A lot more than 140 characters, that’s what happens.
The ultimate tabloid celebrity was also the ultimate mess of contradictions, as you’ve long known. He was a devout student of classic R&B who had a series of nose and chin reconstructions, straightened his hair, and wore whiteface makeup on and off stage. He was a self-made sex symbol whose mark of “toughness” was to shriek in an attempt to reach the high notes of his early fame. He was a creator of effortless-sounding music whose life was rife with chaos, drug/alcohol abuse, and music-industry sycophants. He was a beloved entertainer who was accused of some of the most heinous crimes. He’d attained unlimited wealth (or the closest thing to that any African-American man has ever had), then spent the last third of his life scrambling to avoid total financial collapse.
In all the TV, radio, and online chatter in the first hours since his demise, I’ve been reading and hearing the wildest tales. Given what we know about his life, even the wildest of these rumors seem believable, whether or not they’re true.
My favorite quotation about Jackson came in a Facebook message from ex-Seattle semiotician Steven Shaviro: “MJ, in his musical genius and in his sad racial and sexual confusions, epitomized American civilization more than anybody else ever did.”
Yes, the right-wing firebrand ex-senator helped to perfect what we’ve all come to know as conservative standard operating procedure. Bash the blacks and the gays; openly appeal to fear and bigotry; proclaim a love for “America” that includes a hatred for many, if not for most, of the people living in it.
But it’s important to remember, no one politician, not even Helms with his devious genius for divisiveness, created this recipe.
Helms simply exploited and extended the heritage of intolerance and lizard-brain emotions that’s long been a part of our nation’s dark side.
Of course, there’s another side to out nation’s history. Many sides, in fact. I’ll mention them in my next post (which, thanks to the conventions of blogging, you may have read prior to reading this).
Before she was the first Asian American on the King County Council, she owned the first Chinese restaurant in Seattle outside of the Chinatown/International District. With her husband in the kitchen, she presided over the dining room as a pure diva. This name/face recognition fueled her rise to influence, both within the Asian American community and beyond. You may know of her daughter, longtime public-schools advocate Cheryl Chow. You might not know Chow was the sister of Mary Pang, whose frozen-foods mini-empire met a fiery end at the hands of Pang’s convicted-arsonist son.
Or rather, it’s finally begun.
So now what?
For one thing, there will, to quote a recent movie cliche, be blood.
No matter how lame McCain’s own speeches are, the Right’s many screeching mouthpieces will do all they can to defame the Obama campaign, by any sleazy means necessary.
The next 22 weeks will be brutal.
But they can also be exhilarating.
Let’s get started.
Klein’s own reasoning is lucid, and her documentation is voluminous. But it’s incomplete.
Economic theory is only one head of the Hydra-like monster that comprises power and privilege in this world. A more worthwhile look at the evils done in the name of America over the decades would look at the topic with more breadth, even if it meant less depth.
The National Review founder and Firing Line TV host wrote in 1986, “I asked myself the other day, `Who else, on so many issues, has been so right so much of the time?’ I couldn’t think of anyone.” Some of the issues he was “so right” on included the civil rights movement (emphatically against), Joseph McCarthy (for), the Vietnam war (for), US support for “friendly” homicidal dictators (for), and rock music (against).
His early opposition to the John Birch Society was mostly tactical and cultural; he wanted a more respectable right wing, with a clear, one-way flow of power from Wall Street to Main Street. Similarly, his latter-day opposition to the Iraq war can be interpreted as a plea to put some brakes on a conservative movement heading inexorably toward a train wreck.
Can’t anybody stage a hiphop club night without somebody firing guns outside?
…black characters in movies who don’t just exist to magically improve the lives of white heroes.
…before WashState’s Presidential caucuses, but Tim Egan’s already got one Seattleite’s perspective on the election: How does Obama sell himself as an Historic Moment in American History without mentioning race?
AS A HYPER-HUSTLING SOCIETY pressures folk to be smiling and assertive 24/7, one Eric G. Wilson dares to praise good old-fashioned melancholy.
…(other than the spendorifical live book event occurrin’ tonight at 2407 First Avenue (note corrected address)):