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 2nd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

In Monday’s MISCmedia MAIL: What Michael Bennett DIDN’T do; ICE targets ‘sanctuary cities’; today’s Amazon compared to yesterday’s Sears; Seattle’s ‘Poetic Grid’ makes the PBS NewsHour.

Sep 21st, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The company formerly known as Madison Park Greetings won’t issue more of its hip/cute greeting cards, now that its out-of-state buyer suddenly shut the whole operation down. In further reading today: Michael Bennett’s fan base; love for the rainy season’s start; a Swedish left-activist infiltrates a Seattle “alt-right” meeting; and a local online radio station “gets real.”

9/18/17: CANNERY ‘ROW’
Sep 17th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The Salmon Homecoming Celebration had its 25th anniversary this past weekend. We glance a brief peek at that today, and also at the “Lady Jane” of Seattle mayors; big money for a fired Swedish physician; battles for two cities’ waterfronts’ futures; and the welcome return of rain. (“Eureka! The crops are saved!”)

Sep 12th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

At 11 a.m., Ed Murray was about to hold a public announcement at KeyArena. A little more than two hours later, he sent word he was resigning. We’ve got glimpses of the whirlwind from assorted angles in today’s extra-long e-missive. We’ve also got Nordstrom’s latest plan to stay un-acquired; Durkan and Moon’s very different housing-crisis solutions; and potential new ways to make a border run.

Sep 11th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Another week of MISCmedia MAIL begins with Nordstrom bringing back the concept of the old Sears “catalog store.” We’ve also got still more cities that want to pimp themselves out for Amazon’s “HQ2”; Rep. Jayapal’s respectful answer to a wingnut C-SPAN caller; and a comix legend worrying that young people these days aren’t bored enough.

9/11/17: E TU, HQ2?
Sep 10th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

While the nation’s opposite corner endures massive eco-carnage, our corner faces continuing pundit-blather about Amazon’s “co-equal headquarters” scheme. We additionally discuss visual proof of transit’s popularity; more about our corner’s own enviro-crisis (fire instead of water); the Seahawks’ opening meh; and remembering a not-so-sweet 16 years ago.

Sep 8th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Amazon wants to do for, or to, another North American city what it’s done for, or to, Seattle. That’s the top story in our big weekend e-missive. Other subjects include the resurfacing of some onetime local TV stars; Chris Hansen’s plan for KeyArena; and a reason to go to Kent (other than jury duty or junior hockey).

9/7/17: ‘FACE TO BEAK’
Sep 7th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

We won’t have Rep. Dave Reichert to kick around any more; Washington’s one of 15 states preparing to sue over the DACA decision; and wildfires continue to destroy forest lands and choke up the skies. But let’s also talk today about something REALLY important: the new Seahawks “alternate” logo, and the fun online commenters are having with it.

Sep 5th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The sky all day Tuesday was, among other colors a sickening shade of orange (how “of our time”). The other huge story today: Folk in all walks-O-life (even a couple of Republicans) bash the trashing of “Dreamers.” Plus, the UW wants to build employee housing.

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.

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 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).

Aug 23rd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

A local artist’s putting up realistic-looking street signs, to gently remind folks of their worth. Today’s other subjects include a reminder of what real “national unity” will look like; stats on Amazon’s near-complete takeover of Seattle; a major Euro automaker potentially opening a US HQ here; and a lot of apartments on a really small lot.

8/23/17: ‘VOICE,’ BOXED
Aug 23rd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

MISCmedia MAIL has to say goodbye to the original “alt weekly,” being turned from a newspaper into merely a “brand.” We also discuss why Breitbart still has (some) ads; the accidental release of a ton of “fish farm” fish into public waters; a beautiful makeover to a pivotal local park; and how a school can be segregated without looking like it.

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