Make this the year YOU discover a new destination!

Excellent visual argument about Palestine.  Compelling visuals, crisp juxtaposition and significant argument about the importance of graffiti.

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Filed under capitalism, colonialism, critique, do-it-yourself, graffiti, human rights, juxtaposition, media, propaganda, protest, representation, resistance, vulnerability

Cannibal Capitalism: Barbecue taster

Daniel Vaughn reviews barbecue for Texas Monthly.  Here he describes the bodily costs to him for his constant intake of meat.

I know this sounds terrible in a world full of hungry people, but to finally be hungry again is a welcome feeling. It’s not like I get chest pains while I’m driving around the state or anything, but I certainly take cholesterol medicine and I’ve put on about ten pounds since I started the job. (Let’s be honest, it’s fifteen, and it’s not coming off.) I get heartburn every time I’m sleeping in a hotel after eating barbecue all day. You wake up tired, so you drink a lot of coffee, so you get dehydrated, and then you’re driving all day, and you get hemorrhoids.

via Profile in Obsession: Daniel Vaughn | Lucky Peach.

Cheers to the Lucky Peach, David Chang’s new excellent food magazine.

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Filed under Animals, capitalism, food, health

“That comfort that you are experiencing is destroying our country!”

Welcome to W. Honky territory.  I just discovered his videos and appreciated his accusatory tone and  salty authenticity.  Turns out he has a youtube channel with his rural truck-cam post-work pov videos.

It took three videos from W. Honky before I ran into this nice gem where he calls upon white Americans to acknowledge the benefits they get from white supremacy.  Specifically he calls upon white people to film themselves articulating their understandings of white privilege.  “To get white people to take some responsibility.”

Honky is light on intersectional analysis.  Consideration of ability, sex and nationality in relationship to race sort of enter in the late part of the video.  Thinking about all layers of oppression at the get-go, what Mari Matsuda calls: “ask the other question,” foregrounding multiple frames of identity at the same time might help support Honky’s key suggestions of accountability and public dialogue.

And of course, given that the key problem is white supremacy might one try to privilege non-white speakers?  Many other persuasive people of color have made almost the same arguments and yet not had the same traction as W. Honky.  We might note that those who are most deeply to benefit from white supremacy may not be listening to thoughtful women of color, but they might listen to W. Honky.

People like Honky (and myself) benefit from white skin privilege, which means access.  A good example of W. Honky’s articulation of what to do about white privilege is his piece on the Bass Pro Shop (boycott).

It is an interesting arc and you come to wonder about the creator (Jorge Moran).  I have a suspicion that this is a character, a performance. Even if it is, I’m impressed with the quality of the arguments, the passion and the realness.  More is the accessibility – I would like to drink a beer with this guy and talk about race.  He seems honest about power and at the same time ready to think slightly out-of-the-box about class, race and identity in general.  He seems like the kind of guy I’d like on my team.

Y’know?

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Filed under class, communication, critique, learning, race

Ellen McIlwaine: calming power of music

I’m trying to finish a mixtape with two songs by the brilliant guitarist Ellen McIlwaine.  Looking at an old interview with McIlwaine archived on Ear of Newt I noticed this little vignette about Taj Mahal and the calming power of music.

Another blues artist McIlwaine raves about these days is her longtime friend Taj Mahal, who sang on a couple of Spontaneous Combustion tracks, including a reggae version of the old call-and-response ditty, “Mockingbird”. McIlwaine’s been wanting to record that song with Taj for a long time.

“I saw him do ‘Mockingbird’ with Etta James on TV once,” she says, “and I thought, ‘Goshdarnit, I’m gonna ask him to sing on this.’ ’Cause I used to volunteer at a children’s hospital, and one time there was a child in a lot of distress, and I didn’t know exactly what I was gonna do—I was still new. But I picked him up and started singing ‘Mockingbird’, and he got really quiet. I looked down at him after a couple of lines, and his little head was goin’ back and forth. So I figured it was a cool tune, and I started doin’ it on stage.”

via Johnny Winter showed blues traveler Ellen McIlwaine how to go in her own direction | earofnewt.com.

I can’t find her doing Mockingbird, but here is one of my favorite tracks, “Weird of Hermiston:”

And here is McIlwaine live at the Ottowa folk festival.

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Filed under health, music

Police violence and mentally ill: firing dissidents

Toshio Meronek has a thoughtful piece about police violence toward mentally ill people.  I appreciated the article, but one part stuck out.  Meronek writes:

Statistics and history show there’s little accountability for cops who use excessive force, like in central New Jersey, where a 2014 study by the Courier News and the Home News Tribune found that 99 percent of police brutality complaints went uninvestigated. Last year, a police officer in Monterey, California was fired not for using too much force, but for using too little. In February of 2014, Corporal Thanh Nguyen a campus officer at California State University Monterey Bay, refused to tase a mentally ill black student when prompted by officers from the nearby Marina, California police force. After the Marina police filed a complaint with the university citing “failure to act,” Nguyen was fired. (In an interview with The Huffington Post, Jeff Solomon, president of the Statewide University Police Association, the officer’s union, explains that Nguyen refused to participate in the tasing because he believed it was unnecessary. Nguyen is now suing his former employer for wrongful termination.)

via Cops shouldn’t be above the Americans with Disabilities Act | Fusion.

There is an interesting groupthink dynamic in the firing of Nguyen.  Seems similar to the Border Patrol firing border agents who humanize people who cross the border.

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Filed under communication, human rights, intersectionality, police, punishment, representation, resistance

Gamergate, autoblocker, anti-trans violence and sea lions: Katherine Cross for the win

One of the most productive commentators about so-called gamergate is Katherine Cross.  Her recent post on Feministing is so on point that it deserves some archival / expansion work.

1.  There is an autoblocking program for twitter that removes most of the posts from gamergate trolls.  For anyone out there interested in civil space, this is a big improvement.  Cross describes it this way:

What offends GamerGaters about the autoblocker, aside from the fact that a woman found a technical solution to a social problem, is that it denies them the ability to impose themselves on targets. The idea that the women, people of colour, and queer folk who’ve comprised the majority of GG’s targets might be able to curate their online spaces and have certain discussions only with those of their choosing is repugnant to many GamerGaters. In the absence of genuine legal recourse, the worst thing you can do to a bully, harasser, or troll is ignore them after all.

via Revenge of the Sealion: GamerGate’s crusade against blocking.

2.   Underscoring much of the gamergate vitriol is a toxic anti-trans politics.  Much of the visibility of the violence seems to have a direction.  Again Katherine Cross gathers enough targeted tweets and message board quotes to rile me up.   For those who are trans-inclusive, trans-positive, or simply kind human beings, it is worth marking gamergate as a particularly anti-trans moment in time.

3.  Katherine Cross introduces me to the idea of “sealioning” — a refined bullying tactic.  Cross explains:

“Polite” GGers, defined as those who do not explicitly swear or use slurs, nevertheless harry the people they target because they do not take no for an answer and come in packs. The phenomenon of “sealioning”– barraging a target with politely worded but interrogating questions asked in bad faith– gained a name under GamerGate because of how common the tactic was.

via Revenge of the Sealion: GamerGate’s crusade against blocking.

Also provided is this nice comic!

Sealion-Comic

 

 

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Filed under Animals, communication, feminism, Gay, hacking, human rights, intersectionality, protest, representation, resistance, sexism, Surveillance, technology, video games

Thinking about racist fraternities who love Waka Flocka Flame

Yesterday the noxious video of Oklahoma frat guys chanting racist stuff on a bus hit the interwebs.  The chant not only bragged about preventing “niggers” from joining the fraternity, but also threatened lynching.

The fraternity was dismantled and student members told to move out of their house (and two members were kicked out of school).  I think it is worth thinking about this moment in time not only for the accountability for racist insults (which I support) but also the redemptive narratives of those-kids-weren’t-that-bad (which I think is worth examination).

One redemption thread was that the closure of the house was going to mean that the long-time chef of the fraternity house Howard Dixon would lose his job.  Fundraisers quickly raised tens of thousands of dollars for Mr. Dixon.  In addition to brightening the reputation of the fraternity members, this also points toward the nasty preference to imagine that a ‘few bad apples’ are what spoiled the bunch.

Having attended several fraternity-rich universities, my take is that the whole system is a nostalgic white supremacist dream.  To select your friends and cloister is an invitation for toxic entitlement to blossom.   (Thinkprogress has some good context for this particular fraternity.)

My initial thought about SAE was that the interwebs were enraged because this example is such old-school bigotry that its an easy critique.  The language about gamergate or sexualized violence at college campuses seldom gets this kind of swift action.  I think we doth protest too much.   It’s easy to point as SAE as racists while ignoring larger structural injustices.

Waka Flocka Flame, an unlikely political advocate, rushed in with a quick cancellation of a show.  Initially I was wondering how many of the racist chanting frat guys on the bus ALSO had tickets to go see Waka Flocka Flame?   Quite a few it turns out.

Racism doesn’t mean that you aren’t into black culture or hip hop.  The poisonous element of this racist chant was the proud exclusionary bragging of a (mostly white) frat in keeping out black people.   Checking in with the Reddit thread on this discussion, a number of people made the same observations.  That they had known white-identified people who were into rap music and also prejudiced.   As one commenter put it: “It’s sad… they can be performers, servers or the nannies. They could be their life-saving doctor, their pastor, their therapist, their mailman, and pretty much everything else in the world. Except simply a person.”

The double consciousness of racists.  To objectify and divide marking difference to ensure that white supremacy continues.   I wasn’t surprised when someone mentioned that Waka Flocka had been hired by this very fraternity to perform at a show.   Thus the video of Waka Flocka Flame shotgunning beers and performing for what seems like a mostly white Oklahoma SAE crowd last year.

It puts Waka Flocka’s cancellation of the show in a slightly less charitable light.  We might read it as solidarity against racist injustice.  We might also call it covering your public relations.

Turns out Waka Flocka has a ton of fraternity shows on youtube. Check the Baylor video where he explains that he doesn’t like a woman in the crowd grabbing his ass.  Note his justifications at 2:05.

Let’s note that the Baylor Waka Flocka show has some visibility  of the entitled audience members who are consuming Waka Flocka Flame.  When Waka is grabbed he explains that he “feels like a bitch.”  It is dumb sexist stuff, but we can also note his refusal to be grabbed and the part about “in my community.”  I think Waka Flocka Flame probably has crazy stuff happen during his live shows (including being grabbed), but something about this rebuttal suggests that this moment is ‘beyond the pale.’

The normalcy of partying to Waka Flocka and then having a racist admission policy (and chanting about it) seems like the interesting part of this SAE duality.  Challenging racism in our day and age needs to be more rigorous and intersectional than this one example, but its a good thread to get access to some key arguments.

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Filed under academics, hip hop, juxtaposition, race, representation