Nov 19th, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

  • Another nightclub shooting. This one was at Sugar, near the Comet Tavern on Capitol Hill. Three patrons were injured. Apparently the shooter was celebrating “National Ammo Day” one or two days early.
  • Mars Hill Church hasn’t opened its new Belltown branch yet, but the SeaTimes sez its five current locations, with 5,000 average total weekly attendance, make it “Seattle’s largest congregation.” And with growth has come the controversial firings of two pastors.
  • Reps. Norm Dicks and Adam Smith say we’ve still really got to get the heck outta Iraq.
  • Today’s online scare story comes to you from the state Attorney General, who wants us all to be deathly afraid of strangers offering Wi-Fi connections.
  • Dino Rossi apparently was raising campaign funds before he officially announced he was running for Governor again.
  • The bigot billboard near I-5 in Lewis County is still out there, with “Uncle Sam” spouting one cruel “joke” after another.
  • Did ya know Washington State Ferries still actively uses 80-year-old boats? They are, and yeah, they’re showing their age.
  • Caffe Vita is making documentary videos about the lives of coffee growers in various countries.
Oct 29th, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

…some less than flattering words about the church that’s moving into Belltown’s Tabella nightclub space. Essentially, Lanham accuses the church and its leader of preaching hatred, homophobia, and misogyny under the guise of a youth-understanding hipster.

Sep 6th, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

…to remember when Lou Dobbs was a square-but-sane weekend news anchor on KING-TV, what with his recent string of silly anti-immigrant, anti-brown-skin, faux-populist tirades.

Aug 31st, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

I used to say that upscale, whitebread Seattle’s favorite “minority groups” were (1) upscale white women, (2) upscale white gays, and (3) dead black musicians.

When I said that, I’d forgotten about a fourth ethnic fave–the mythical Native American Symbol-Person.

Nearly every Seattle Caucasian loves this fantasy figure, in one pose or another.

Athletes and corporate-motivation fans love the Warrior.

Stoners and ex-stoners love the Wise Philosopher attuned with the Earth.

New Agers love the Healing Shaman.

Art collectors and interior decorators love the Anonymous Artisan. (I once met a young white sculptor who griped that no local tribe would let him buy his way into membership.)

All these groups tend to be somewhat less fond of actual, living, flesh-n’-blood indigenous men and women; particularly those who fail to live up to the symbols.

All this is a prelude to a plug for Native Seattle, a new UW Press book by UBC historian Coll Thrush.

Mary Ann Gwinn’s
Seattle Times review covers Thrush’s basic plot points well. To summarize: Amerindians weren’t just icons and muses. They were real people. And they still are. And they’ve remained a vital part of the city’s life, whether whitey’s aware of this or not.

Native Seattle is an important book, despite its shortcomings. Thrush has a stilting, academic writing style; he repeats the same arguments over and over. He admits to gaps in his research, particularly in finding actual living native folk willing to talk with him. And in the introduction, he audaciously compares his own “outsider” existence as a gay man with that of the First Peoples. (In real life, there’s no comparison. Trust me on this.)

In one sense, Thrush also stereotypes the local native people, as Tragic Colonial Victims whose story requires a Brave White Liberal to tell it.

But if Thrush fails to fully grasp the human side of his tale, the research-wonk side still fascinates.

He vividly depicts the seasonal camps and full-time settlements in and near the present-day city. He’s particularly fond of discussing the topography of these places, before Seattle’s great regrades, landfills, canals, and drainage projects changed it all.

And he rightfully notes that natives didn’t just “go away,” peacably or otherwise. They were integrated (sort of) into the urban economy from the start, as mill workers, cannery workers, sailors, cooks, maids, hookers/mistresses, etc.

Even as the reservation system developed, local Amerindians continued to live and work here, full-time or seasonally, through all of Seattle’s 156-year history.

They intermarried with whites and Filipinos. They came here from outlying tribal communities. They worked for Boeing, for construction companies, and for fishing fleets.

And they’re still some of us. Not ghosts, not apparitions, but actual humans, who live and die and think and feel and love and try to muddle through somehow.

May 18th, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

  • Worked the orthodontists’ convention. Long, tiring, dull, but at least I don’t have to look into strangers’ mouths all day.
  • Found myself photographed in the current Seattle magazine, in a piece about the local Drinking Liberally meetups. (The pic’s on the mag’s Web site, and is one of the least dorky pics of me in a drinking situation in some time.)
  • Felt indifferent about the end of Jerry Falwell, the mainstream media’s favorite pious bigot. As I do whenever a left-wing celeb of stature similar to Falwell’s dies, I asked myself just what Falwell had actually accomplished, beyond his media image.As a “televangelist” he was second-tier in viewership. His Moral Majority political organization never had the “millions” of dues-paying members that he claimed, and which too many liberals readily believed. As a religious-right mover-n’-shaker he was also somewhat less influential than he put himself up to be, compared to the likes of Ralph Reed and James Dobson.

    He did create one of the first big suburban megachurches, establishing a model that would be further developed by more mass-audience-acceptable successors around the country.

    And he successfully snookered the news media, and many of his ideological opponents, into believing that he, Falwell, personally led a mass groundswell of reactionary fervor out in the vast expanses beyond the U.S. media capitals. For nearly a quarter century, millions of non-right-wing Americans accepted this concept.

    Falwell was a man who made people believe.

May 1st, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

…got hounded off the air due to a particularly dumb racist “joke,” some of us wondered if other hate talkers would get the spotlight shone on their own dubious antics. Sure enough, the king of haters himself, Mr. Limbaugh, is drawing attention for airing a Barack Obama minstrel song, performed by a white guy impersonating Al Sharpton.

Apr 24th, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

…serve up a heapin’ helpin’ of “racist spokescharacters,” from Aunt Jemima to the Frito Bandito. (What, no Darkie toothpaste?)

Feb 12th, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

Author Marybeth Hamilton claims blues music, from its first appearance on 78 rpm records, has always been a vehicle for white intellectuals and curators to fantasize about the supposed primeval “authenticity” of ethnic folks. And it has continued to be so, on to the recent fad for Paul Simonized “world” music and the thug stereotypes deliberately perpetuated by gangsta rap.

WELL-DUH DEPT. #2: The TV show 24 is produced and written by pro-war Republicans. Who else would so lovingly depict torture as an act of heroism?

Oct 26th, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

…of mine believes Democrats should respond to right-wing race baiting ads.

Oct 14th, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

…do on the air, if you’re a playoffs baseball announcer: #3. Hurl an ethnic slur at Lou Piniella.

Oct 9th, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

…tried to appeaal to the sleaze-talk radio audience with a promotional tie-in to Sean Hannity, it’s now trying to appease progressives. A new TV commercial tries to extend Chevy’s “all-American” brand image by featuring images of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Nixon’s resignation, 9/11, and Katrina; all done to an original jingle performed by John Mellencamp (who, when he was more popular, publicly scoffed at oldies-rock stars selling their songs for commercials).

May 23rd, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

(via Arthur Marriott):

The piece in the P-I about the “white-ification” of the neighborhood surrounding the Jimi Hendrix memorial is rather coincidental with a photo in the Sunday Times accompanying an article about several local high-school jazz bands’ participation in the national “Essentially Ellington” competition. It showed the Garfield band, and except for Clarence Acox (the director) everyone on stage was white.

May 22nd, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

…a Jimi Hendrix park in Seattle, some two-decades-plus after it was first proposed. Oh yeah, and the immediate neighborhood of the place—now all white.

May 3rd, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

…about the Supersonics’ threatened move to the suburbs: It could, if it goes through, symbolize the Sowetoization of metropolitan Seattle. Our city built on seven hills is becoming a Mounds city—white on the inside, chocolate on the outside.

As my ex-Stranger colleague Charles Mudede has noted several times, Seattle’s housing hyperinflation has caused the geographic center of its African-American community to move south, from the Central Area to the Rainier Valley and now to the ol’ Green River valley ‘burbs of Renton, Kent, and Tukwila. So they’d be a perfect new home for NBA basketball, the semi-official Official Sport of Black America.

Given that, I still want the team to stay here in town.

Though I don’t go to many games, I like the fact that they’re here. I like the noise and energy their fans add (even in a lousy season like this past one) to Seattle Center and lower Queen Anne. I take civic pride in the inevitable Space Needle shots accompanying the sponsor billboard every time ESPN or TNT comes to telecast a Sonics game. The season the team spent in Tacoma just wasn’t the same.

I’ve been reading the usual screeds of the usual sports-hating hippies who not only don’t want to pay to keep the Sonics, but might possibly pay ’em to leave. I disagree. As I’ve written before here, I believe an amenable resolution to the team’s latest demands can be found, in the context of a larger Seattle Center redo that preserves the Center’s multi-use, multi-generational spirit.

Yes, that resolution will require the team to be responsible capitalists and not rely on heavy public subsidies and favors. But I’d demand the same from the oil companies, the drug companies, the insurance companies, etc. etc.

May 2nd, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

Here are my shots of the big May Day march for, and by, Latino immigrants.

This upcoming Friday, white America will use a minor Mexican holiday as an excuse for one of the top five amateur drinking days of the year. But on Monday, Latinos and Latinas themselves did the celebrating. They honored themselves, and all the immigrant workers and their families from all over the world who came before them.

More thoughts on the local march below; as well as here, here and here.

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