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SURE ENOUGH,…
Jan 27th, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

…the fake memoir schtick has indeed merged with the older fake Native American schtick.

ARE THE RURAL POOR…
May 18th, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

…really “the last acceptable stereotype?”

Perhaps not. There are still all the old-fashioned racist “jokes” seen on Urban Outfitters merchandise and heard on talk radio, and all the unreconstructed gender stereotypes of ditzy blondes and clueless guys.

Then there’s that perennial hipster-beloved stereotype, the stupid/evil mainstream suburban squaresville rube. You know: The supposed everybody-out-there-except-“us,” the Wal-Mart shoppers, the television viewers, the non-NPR listeners, the sports fans, the meat eaters, and especially the (gasp!) straight white males.

I PREVIOUSLY DIDN'T KNOW THIS,…
Apr 26th, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

…but “If You’re Not Picky About Color” is now a trademark (see bottom of linked page). I suppose that would prevent the phrase from being stolen as the title of an interracial porno.

SOME ANONYMOUS PRANKSTERS…
Oct 29th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

…distributed a suspicious flyer in Milwaukee, trying to scare away Af-Am voters.

THEODORE ROSZAK CLAIMS…
Oct 24th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

…American politics will only be healed when sane people take back the Republican Party:

“In a very real sense, the health of our democracy may hinge on the conscience of Republican moderates. Only they can keep their party from being hijacked by crony capitalists and gay-and-feminist-bashing evangelicals. If they stand by and let Cheney reinterpret the free market as a playground for corporations who need not worry about competitive bidding or honest accounting, if they let the fiscal conservatism that was once the hallmark of their party be drowned in red ink, if they stand by and watch the Patriot Act be used to squelch dissent, if they let neoconservative advisers hand our foreign policy over to a militarized corporate elite, then there will be no stopping the continued descent of American politics into the slough of megalomania.”

RE-CURSIVE
Oct 12th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

Glenn Stout has a long but fascinating essay debunking the “Curse of the Bambino” legend, the idea that the Boston Red Sox have gone without a World Series title since 1918 because then-owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth’s contract to the Yankees. Stout claims the “curse” myth dates back only to 1986, and that in any case what drove Ruth, and later Frazee himself, out of Boston baseball was an anti-Semitic smear campaign against the non-Jewish Frazee, led by that notorious race-baiter Henry Ford.

I'M NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORIST,…
Jul 11th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

…or at leat I didn’t use to be. But I’m a wee bit perturbed by the Republican partisans’ media leaks of supposed “terror threats” to the Presidential election, which maybe, just maybe, would give the Bushies an excuse to try to cancel or postpone the vote. That would be the end of the World’s Oldest Democracy. Period. Don’t let the GOP even imagine they could get away with it.

SO THIS COMMUNITY-COLLEGE STUDENT…
Jul 10th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

…in Ballard starts taking pictures of the Ballard Locks for a photography class, alongside dozens of shutterbugging tourists. He gets harassed, followed, and harassed some more by guys claiming to be Homeland Security agents, who’ve decided he was really staking out terror targets. Could it have possibly been because he looked brown?

JOHANN HARI CLAIMS PROGRESSIVE GAY MEN,…
Jul 1st, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

…at least in Europe, need to start paying attention to the actions of neo-fascistic gay men:

“With the exception of Jean-Marie Le Pen, all the most high-profile fascists in Europe in the past thirty years have been gay. It’s time to admit something. Fascism isn’t something that happens out there, a nasty habit acquired by the straight boys. It is – in part, at least – a gay thing, and it’s time for non-fascist gay people to wake up and face the marching music.”

YOU MIGHT NOT FEEL…
May 29th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

…very proud of the human race after glancing through the vast array of gross-out stereotype references contained at “The Racial Slur Database.”

A BIG P-I FEATURE STORY…
May 28th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

…acknowledges there are as many as 20 Seattle barber shops specializing in “hip-hop” dos. Upon which one does the paper choose to focus? You guessed it: The one that’s in the north end and owned by two white guys.

SAD NEWS IN CULTURELAND: Northwest Bookfest has thrown down its last galley of type, and won’t be back this fall. That just gives us book-lovers the opportunity to start over and launch a brand spankin’ new Lit-O-Rama weekend.

I’d say: Forget about staging it in a funky but remote location such as Sand Point. Use the new library for a scaled-down fair; or bring the neo-modern aesthetic of the new library into the Convention Center, the Trade Center, the Seahawks Exhibition Center, or Key Arena. Make it festive, celebratory. Make it a fun gathering for people who will be spending the winter curled up at home with books.

SOCIAL ACTIVIST BETSY LEONDAR-WRIGHT REMINDS US,…
May 20th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

…on her website (and soon to be book) Class Matters, that there are more “Others” in this nation besides just upscale women and upscale gays.

THE GOOD OLD DAZE
May 10th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

A fellow Stranger refugee stopped me on the street the other evening. He said he still enjoyed my writing, my vocabulary, and my sense of style.

But he also said he thought I’d limited my vision by holding to a rose-colored nostalgia for “the old Seattle,” a viewpoint that’s ill-suited toward effectively discussing today’s city of high tech and hipsters.

I beg, as I do so darned often, to differ.

You can’t really know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.

The mindset that created the Century 21 Exposition, f’rinstance, is with us still. The magnificent Space Needle was built with private money on land essentially donated by the city. The publicly-funded exhibit buildings were either cheap “multipurpose” constructions (just like most local government buildings between then and the late ’90s) or repurposed older structures that weren’t that distinguished to begin with.

The old Seattle had its progressive, even radical ideas, alongside plain old fashioned racism/sexism. Some of its citizens held both types of beliefs at once. (I’m thinking of labor organizers who appealed to anti-Chinese hysteria among their flocks, and of “New Left” rabblerousers who defined “women’s liberation” as the right to give blow jobs.)

Today, Seattle loves diversity. Or rather, it loves the idea that it loves diversity; just so long as its white female children don’t have to go to the same schools as black male children.

The old Seattle had civic leaders who tirelessly struggled to have their burg seen as “world class,” but always by someone else’s standards. (Hence the ’60s campaigns to bulldoze the Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, and large swaths of the Arboretum for parking lots, office towers, and highway lanes respectively.)

In more recent years, Seattle had civic leaders who saw every problem as solvable by a construction project. That’s why we can build new libraries and arts facilities, but can’t afford to run them.

The old Seattle’s governmental gears could grind very slowly; just as they can now. It took the “foodie” restaurant revolution of the ’70s before the city legalized sidewalk cafes. Now, we need, but are less likely to get, a similar outspoken demand before the city will allow new strip clubs.

video coverIf I may switch metaphors for a moment: Leonard Maltin’s book Of Mice and Magic, an invaluable history of the early animation business, refers at one point to the Warner Bros. cartoon studio’s desire in the thirties to “keep up with Disney, and plagiarize him at the same time.” Seattle’s assorted drives over the years to become “world class,” by imitating all the things all the other would-be “world class” burgs do, have often been just as self-defeating.

Warners conquered the cartoon world when its directors and artists stopped aping Disney and started to create their own brand of humor. LIkewise, Seattle will come into its own as it develops its own ways of doing city things.

We don’t have to have a cars-only transportation plan, or sprawling McMansions devouring the countryside. We don’t have to give in to corporate job-blackmail shakedowns. We can lead, not follow.

That’s not the “old Seattle,” but it’d be a better Seattle.

SISTERLY LOVE?
Apr 16th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

NEWSWEEK QUOTES a sorority leader who insists her organization no longer discriminates–at least not by hair color. (Scroll toward the bottom of the page.)

EBONY MAGAZINE ADS from the '80s
Mar 26th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

Symbols of empowerment or retro-kitsch?

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