Wednesday, August 31, 2011

quote of the day

"Throw your heart into the picture and then jump in after it." —Howard Pyle

how to deal with failfans #4

the twisted vision of identity politics: Andre Carson

In Democratic Rep: Tea Party Would Love To See Black People 'Hanging On A Tree' (VIDEO), a spokesman for Rep. Andre Carson said, "The Tea Party is protecting its millionaire and oil company friends while gutting critical services that they know protect the livelihood of African-Americans, as well as Latinos and other disadvantaged minorities."

The first part of that? Totally true. But the rest? Well, the Carson camp is blind to the fact that "disadvantaged minorities" include twice as many poor whites as poor blacks, and social services do nothing to "protect the livelihood" of richer African-Americans, Latinos, or anyone else. The Tea Party's about class, not race.

Really, how else do you explain Herman Cain Emerges Tea Party 2012 Straw Poll Winner?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

rich people euphemisms #1: "most densely-populated neighborhood in the US"

I was listening to NPR in the car, and the announcer mentioned that he had grown up in the most densely-populated neighborhood in the US. I made a comment about rich assholes, and Emma called me on it, so I googled: it's the Upper East Side, once known as the Silk Stocking District.

As I told Emma, I didn't mean "asshole" in an especially malicious way. As far as I can tell, people use "asshole" these days like I used "jerk" as a kid--it can just mean mild annoyance. But then again, NPR smugness is at least as annoying as the Fox News version.

Hmm. Is it National Privilege Radio? It sure ain't programming for the public.

giving Obama a little credit

As noted in Obama: The catastrophe president, Obama has, this year, made a record 181 FEMA disaster declarations. He is willing to say that the government should be there to help.


I may want much more from the guy, but at least he isn't trying to convince us the government is the enemy.

my skull is too tight

I have the Armadillocon Crud: fever, headache, cough, exhaustion. Still, it was a great time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Class Issues in Science Fiction and Fantasy

A panel at Armadillocon. Will Shetterly, moderator; Joe Lansdale, Scott Lynch, Marshall Maresca.
Marshall Maresca offered my favorite moment. He said his wife, who is from Mexico City, once said everyone there had servants, and he had to point out that was mathematically impossible.
The panel was a lot of fun, partly because Joe was very willing to talk about his childhood and what he learned about people's expectations of a guy with a southern working class accent. Scott talked about how his desire to write about con artists in a fantasy setting led him to writing about class. I'm sure there were a few mentions about class and literature, but the focus seemed to be more about people's experience with class in the US and how to write about class. Since I was the moderator, I tried to ask questions rather than make statements.
Though I'm not sure what we accomplished, I thought the panel was big fun, and the audience seemed to enjoy it. My lesson from this panel is to start off being prepared for trouble: I noted in my opening statement that cons have been doing race and gender panels for decades, but class is a new subject that is sometimes characterized as the US's last taboo, so if anyone wanted to leave the panel, they were welcome to. I think my seriousness made it easier for people to say, Dude, we know the subject is dangerous; now let's run with it.
Because I suspect there are readers who will note that this panel consisted of four men who look white, I'll add what I pointed out to Marshall when he offered his reservations about being a good person to speak about class: Marx and Engels were middle class white guys. It isn't what you are that matters in class issues; it's what you do.


Class Issues in Science Fiction and Fantasy

A panel at Armadillocon. Will Shetterly, moderator; Joe Lansdale, Scott Lynch, Marshall Maresca.

Marshall Maresca offered my favorite moment. He said his wife, who is from Mexico City, once said everyone there had servants, and he had to point out that was mathematically impossible.

The panel was a lot of fun, partly because Joe was very willing to talk about his childhood and what he learned about people's expectations of a guy with a southern working class accent. Scott talked about how his desire to write about con artists in a fantasy setting lead him into writing about class. I'm sure there were a few mentions about class and literature, but the focus seemed to be more about people's experience with class in the US and how to write about class. Since I was the moderator, I tried to ask questions rather than make statements.

Though I'm not sure what we accomplished, I thought the panel was big fun, and the audience seemed to enjoy it. My lesson from this panel is to start off being prepared for trouble: I noted in my opening statement that cons have been doing race and gender panels for decades, but class is a new subject that is sometimes characterized as the US's last taboo, so if anyone wanted to leave the panel, they were welcome to. I think my seriousness made it easier for people to say, Dude, we know the subject is dangerous; now let's run with it.

Because I suspect there are readers who will note that this panel consisted of four men who look white, I'll add what I pointed out to Marshall when he offered his reservations about being a good person to speak about class: Marx and Engels were middle class white guys. It isn't what you are that matters in class issues; it's what you do.

Wiscon and Elizabeth Moon: What Happened and What Can We Learn from it?

A panel at Armadillocon. Emma Bull, moderator; Stina Leicht; Scott Lynch, Lawrence Person, Cat Rambo, Lee Thomas.

Emma took her moderation duties very seriously: she began by presenting a timeline of events, then told the audience that she would not call on anyone in the audience for forty-five minutes so the panelists could have time to make their statements and respond to each other. The following is my take on their positions:

Lee Thomas seemed to be most sympathetic to Wiscon's handling of the affair. He asked a question that did not get answered: how far may an invited guest's statements go before a con should uninvite a guest?

Scott Lynch's position was similar. He proposed, "My con, my rules"—if Wiscon wanted to uninvite a guest, that was their right.

Stina Leicht, Cat Rambo, and Emma all objected to what Moon had said about Muslims and Fox News' deceptive label of "Ground Zero Mosque" for a community center that was nearer to strip joints than the 9/11 site, but were also troubled by Wiscon's decision not to honor its invitation of a guest. Emma noted that Wiscon had changed its definition of feminism in order to justify its actions; she said that feminism does not have a political orientation, and though she's a socialist, she recognizes that when conservative women do things like serving on the Supreme Court, they are making progress as feminists that will help women who do not share their politics.

Lawrence Person proposed that Moon's comments on Muslims had been misinterpreted, that she had not been saying that Muslims should be treated badly, but that they should be prepared to face discrimination because every immigrant group has faced discrimination.

When Emma called upon audience members, reactions ranged from full support for Wiscon to an emphatic declaration that institutions should not censor under any circumstances.

In discussion after the panel, someone with great familiarity of conventions and contracts said that Wiscon was very lucky when Ms. Moon accepted their decision. By announcing her as their GoH, they established a contract, and when they withdrew the offer, they put themselves in the position of being in breach of contract.

two 1950s cowgirl comicbook stories

Dead men--and women--tell no tales

dead men tell no tales

via http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bvrFEyTktME/TejM7-YeFPI/AAAAAAAAWHU/EpxwimZJeyg/s1600/SJ06-DEAD%2BMEN.jpg

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Abe Lincoln vs Ronnie Reagan

"I am glad to know that there is a system of labour where the labourer can strike if he wants to." – Abraham Lincoln, 1860


Insert a quote from Ronald Reagan about breaking the air traffic controller strike.

Friday, August 26, 2011

life is hard, and sometimes it's harder

Someone that Emma and I love has died, and someone else we love is dying, so I'll probably be off the web for a while. Commenting has been turned off to simplify life. Tell somene you love that you love them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

playing with anonymice

The brave li'l mice spinning tales in does the very thought of this fill anyone else with dread? helped me see something clearly: Their lack of concern for accuracy is no different than that of racists who attack Sikhs thinking they're Muslims.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

what do failfans think "conversation" means?

I just had the following twitter exchange:




Stephanie Leary
ArmadilloCon comm: clueless or hilarious? They've put Shetterly as the moderator of the Class Issues In SF/F panel.



Will Shetterly

 I proposed it. The identity politics gang doesn't get to claim class is your issue, 'cause y'all usually ignore it.


Stephanie Leary
 ... I'm part of a gang? This is news to me.


Will Shetterly
 Then why are you amused at the idea of a panel about class?


Will Shetterly
 You're not among the folks who invoke "intersectionality" and then ignore class?


Stephanie Leary
 Oh, I'm not amused by the panel's existence. I'm amused at the idea of your being on it, much less moderating it.


Will Shetterly
 Yes, because you're among the folks who prefer to slight class issues. No worries. I'm amused by neolibs, so all's cool.


Stephanie Leary
 No, I just think your history shows that you're the last person to lead a useful discussion on this topic.


Will Shetterly
 Yup, 'cause neolibs hate people talking about class who know anything about it. Y'all are all about shutting down discussions.


Will Shetterly
 Given y'all's history of banning, black lists, and censoring con guests, what do you think "discussion" means?

Naturally, she ducked that question. Can anyone answer it?

Chris Cutrone on race and class

anti-black racism » The Last Marxist: "There is a great historical paradox in that the worst, most thorough-going historic racism in modern history, that of the condition of blacks in the Jim Crow-era Southern United States, coincided with the historic height of working class political movement and empowerment."

Monday, August 22, 2011

American Extremists on gay rights and Democrats


the conflicted soul of the antiracist: more Barry Deutsch

I was googling for cartoons criticizing antiracism, but I didn't find any I liked that I haven't already posted. (Not saying they don't exist. I got bored fast and stopped looking. Cartoons by antiracists tend to be painfully didactic.)

But in the search, I came across this, by Barry Deutsch, aka Ampersand. I like some of his work—I like his art a lot and I think he can be amusing when he moves away from identity politics. Like any antiracist, he wants to live in a fairer world.

But his love of identity politics keeps him from seeing the world clearly. This seems to be a recent piece:


It would've had some bite if he had been willing to cast Obama. Instead, he made a cartoon that might've been scripted in the 1930s. Maybe he was afraid his antiracist friends would tell him using the president of the USA would be racist.

Or maybe antiracists would just explain that Obama has no choice when he caves repeatedly to the demands of the right.

Hmm. Have a bonus cartoon about the conflicted soul of the Democrat.


how the US's Democrats think


Penny Arcade: Racist? Not racist?


Dinosaur Comics: "Hey, that's racist!"


SMBC: anti-sexism cartoon

did this song make me a socialist?

Theme Song to The Adventures of Robin Hood - YouTube:


I had the .45 and I played it over and over and over....

Who is going to church? Not the class you think.

Who is going to church? Not who you think - Health - Behavior - msnbc.com: "While religious service attendance has decreased for all white Americans since the early 1970s, the rate of decline has been more than twice as high for less educated, lower and lower-middle class whites compared to more educated and presumably more affluent whites, according to a study presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas."

When I was going through hard times, church became an expense that could be cut.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

why do anti-racists like this cartoon?



It's by Barry Deutsch of Amptoons fame. I think it has a lot of truth in what it says about rich white conservatives, but the last panel hints at something that should make anti-racists wince: their philosophy doesn't offer any help to poor blacks either.

Anti-racists aren't in favor reparations, perhaps because reparations raise the next question: if generational poverty applies to one group, why doesn't it apply to all?

They're not in favor of redistributing wealth—that would be communism, and anti-racists tend to be rich folks whose idea of justice preserves the privileges of the upper classes, but seeks to make the class system racially proportionate.

So, what am I missing?

Hmm. I may see the answer: the cartoon assumes all white people got ahead thanks to blacks being in slavery. It omits the Africans who sold slaves and the black Americans who became slave owners. It leaves out the poor whites who were also used by the rich in their efforts to become richer. So anti-racists may like this because the first panel reinforces their world view, and the question that the last panel raises for me slips past them entirely.

Still, if anyone can tell me what anti-racism offers as a solution to black poverty, I'd be grateful.

Friday, August 19, 2011

why do people respond to failfans?

In a private discussion, someone asked, "If you're an author who's actually gotten books published, why interact with these freaks at all? I don't really see where Jim Butcher's career, or anyone else's, has suffered for not living up to the Failiarchy's standards. Is there really anything to be gained from responding to their spitball attacks?"

I answered, "The reason people respond is that until the last year or so, they initially seemed like people who honestly cared about oppression, instead of crazy people who think they're Jesus with a sex change. The right response to them is none at all."

racist or not racist? Black people offended by stereotypical joke. from Sherif Hedayat

Jon Stewart on class warfare


why I'm a socialist, not an anarchist

"In a word, we reject all legislation, all authority, and all privileged, licensed, official, and legal influence, even though arising from universal suffrage, convinced that it can turn only to the advantage of a dominant minority of exploiters against the interests of the immense majority in subjection to them."—Mikhail Bakunin, Anarchist

"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." —Grover Norquist, Republican (USA)

"The poor object to being governed badly, while the rich object to being governed at all." —G. K. Chesterton

Anarchists and radical conservatives want to end the state. Anarchists think that means everyone will be free. Conservatives think that means the rich will be free. History says the conservatives are right.

The people need to take control of the state because the state can be a sword or a shield, and someone's going to wield it.

PS. As a libertarian socialist, I want a very limited government, but my very limited government is large enough to provide basic needs for everyone, so most anarchists consider me a statist. Anarchists think we can jump from capitalism to anarchism. Socialists think we need to build a ship to take us there, and that ship is socialism.

I wrote this in response to a post at one of my favorite anarchist blogs, The Crow's Eye: And with corruscative splendor, we arrogate an illumination

Monday, August 15, 2011

I have to take a blogging break, so here's a pretty picture

"Mud Maid, Cornwall - England"


via Jake Phoenix - Google+

a comment to Richard Seymour about race and class

In the comments at LENIN'S TOMB: The competing common senses of the riots, I wrote:
There's a reason why "diversity" is a capitalist buzzword. I doubt there's a corporate web site that does not mention it. But look for a reference to class, and you won't find it. People like Tim Wise make big bucks going to the private universities of the rich and teaching them that the reasons for oppression are racism and sexism...but they don't talk about class injustice. On identity politics in general, I'm with David Harvey and Adolph Reed Jr. That doesn't mean racism and sexism aren't problems. It means they're problems that capitalists are willing to acknowledge, because they know they can find an Obama or a Clinton to serve them in the name of diversity.

There's a very simple test for whether a riot is about race: who joins in? If the vast majority of the folks arrested in the riots have dark skin, I'll happily agree that the key to this riot is race. I've been trying to find out what the racial mix of the arrested are. So far, this is the best I've got. It's from the Telegraph, which explains why it's a surprise to them, but shouldn't be a surprise to a red: "Most interestingly of all, they were predominantly white.”

a good article about race and the London riots

London burns - causes & consequences of the riots - an anarchist perspective

quote of the day

"The real problem is what to do with the problem solvers after the problems are solved." —Gay Talese

Sunday, August 14, 2011

search words Sunday

Search terms that brought people to this site recently:
  1. will shetterly
  2. black female superheroes
  3. interracial kissing
  4. apocarteresis
  5. zatanna reboot
  6. come come again whoever you are come
  7. how many presidents have we had
  8. shetterly coates
  9. tony babino
  10. whitesplaining
Most surprising is apocarteresis, which I mentioned back in 2009.

Sweetest are #2 and #3.

#6 refers to a UU hymn that I love.

Most baffling is #7; I suspect it's because I sometimes talk about the failures of the electoral college.

#8 must be because I respect but often disagree with Coates, whose values are those of your typical financially-comfortable liberal.

Tony Babino did the awesome version of the Internationale which I've posted and, clearly, not enough people have.

As for "whitesplaining," I suppose I get charged with it, but it's a silly concept, no more useful than femsplaining and blacksplaining. The only splaining I'm interested in is splaining how rich folks oppress the rest of us.

search words Sunday: "out in the failfan sense"

The most interesting search term that brings people to this site is "out in the failfan sense". It only brought four people here, or the same person used it four times, but clearly, someone else is struck by the way failfans use "out".The other terms are about Kynn or failfans.

Louis Armstrong - Mack the Knife

Louis Armstrong - Mack the Knife - YouTube: ""

What Keeps A Man Alive - From The Threepenny Opera

What Keeps A Man Alive - Recording for Mack The Knife (1989) - From The Threepenny Opera - YouTube: ""

Tom Waits- What Keeps Mankind Alive

Tom Waits- What Keeps Mankind Alive - YouTube: ""

Saturday, August 13, 2011

if you want to understand failfans: links about deindividuation

Anyone who wants to talk about pseudonymity online should address disinhibition, a concept I found looking for evidence that anonymity and pseudonymity contribute to worse behavior:

Deindividuation « You Are Not So Smart

Online commenting: the age of rage | Technology | The Observer

Anonymity and pseudonymity in cyberspace:

Pseudonymity, Anonymity, And Accountability Online | Wired Science | Wired.com

Deindividuation and Pseudonymity

Anyone who wants to talk about pseudonymity online should address disinhibition, a concept I found looking for evidence that anonymity and pseudonymity contribute to worse behavior:

Deindividuation « You Are Not So Smart

Online commenting: the age of rage | Technology | The Observer

Anonymity and pseudonymity in cyberspace:

Pseudonymity, Anonymity, And Accountability Online | Wired Science | Wired.com

Kynnfail? Rapefail? Allyfail? Compassionfail?

What should the Kynn Bartlett Affair be called? Failfans love to name fails when they're on the attack, but I doubt they'll come up with a name this time. What's appropriate?

Kynnfail '11? I like that because there are so many Kynnfails, but because there have been so many, the name's too general.

Rapefail? This is, I believe, the first fail involving charges of rape in failfandom, but again, it's too general.

I like Allyfail, because this one is all about denying any association with Kynn, now that she's been found a politically inconvenient friend or ally.

I also like Compassionfail '11. It's true that every fail of failfandom has been a case of Compassionfail, but this is the first time they've turned on one of their own. If the charges against Kynn are true—and I'm inclined to believe they are, because Jack and Alexandra seem sincere and Kynn's deleted posts and comments seem to acknowledge some awareness of having gone too far—you would think Kynn's friends would be trying to help Kynn get therapy.

Instead, if the charges are true, they've cast a rapist from their midst to rape again. They've chosen punishment instead of treatment, ostracism instead of understanding. They've—

Well, they've been remarkably consistent. Compassion is something they only offer to the ideologically pure.

So, is there a better name for this? If the histories of fandom need to include anything, they need to include this.

Nick "Slave to Peer Pressure" Mamatas wins the "most efficient disavowal of an ally" award

nihilistic_kid: New way to be banned from this journal revealed!

Friday, August 12, 2011

socialist Bible verse of the day: Nehemiah 5:10

"I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let the exacting of usury stop!" —Nehemiah 5:10 (New International Version (©1984)

bomb theory: how failfans appropriate spoon theory

Many people with chronic illness are fond of The Spoon Theory, a metaphor for limited strength to deal with the ordinary events of the day.Failfans have appropriated it. In their use, it refers to how much strength you have to attack people. If anyone else had appropriated it, the opponents of appropriation would be howling.But since you can't stop appropriation—it's just a thing humans naturally do—in this case, I suggest a more accurate name: bomb theory. On a bad day, you can only throw one or two bombs; on a good one, you can throw many.

Glorious Socialism: Chinese Ladies in Propaganda Posters

It's hard to pick a favorite from Dark Roasted Blend: Glorious Socialism: Chinese Ladies in Propaganda Posters, but I'll go with this:

the difference between a POW and a homeless person?



Thursday, August 11, 2011

K. Tempest Bradford is dancing as fast as she can

Community, Trust, Responsibility, Consequences | K. Tempest Bradford. I dunno why I enjoy watching people desperately trying to dissociate themselves from former friends who shared their habits, but I do. There's an art to evasion that I admire. and while Tempest isn't a Nixon or a Clinton, she does the Not-Me Shuffle better than many pros I've seen.

quote of the day

"An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics." — Plutarch

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

how to deal with failfans #3

"Don't worry about people talking 'behind your back.' It just means you are one step ahead of them, and they are exactly in the right position to kiss your posterior."—Old Vaquero Saying (according to Bob Boze Bell, anyway)

"Harlem" by Langston Hughes is pertinent now

Harlem by Langston Hughes



What happens to a dream deferred?



Does it dry up



like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore -

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over -

like a syrupy sweet?



Maybe it just sags



like a heavy load.



Or does it explode?



via On the London Riots: Langston Hughes "Harlem" ~ THE ONCOMING HOPE

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

why rioters riot, and what good it does

They riot because they have nothing. Middle-class people cannot understand this. They ask, "How can they destroy their own neighborhoods?" But those are not their neighborhoods. Those are neighborhoods rented or lent to them by people who have seized the lion's share of the world's wealth.

Middle-class people ask, "But what good does rioting do?" Here's one answer:

"Yes," said the young man. "You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you?"

"Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you."

Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ‘’’

That's cited in http://pennyred.blogspot.com/2011/08/panic-on-streets-of-london.html

a question about the definition of rape

littlebbob's TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE mocks the way some feminists use "rape." The post makes me uncomfortable because whatever your definition of rape may be, Jack's feeling of violation is sincere, and based on the pieces of Kynn's account that have been posted, Kynn knows she went too far, even if she rejects the idea that what she did was rape.

Traditionally, a charge of rape is a call for the law or the community to act. Men of all hues have been lynched after being accused of rape. Mention rape in a police station or a lawyer's office, and everyone will assume you think the offense calls for legal action, and the only question is whether the accused can be successfully tried.

There are feminists who think Julian Assange should be prosecuted for rape because he initiated sex in the morning with a sexual partner who has said she did not want sex then but "did not bother" to say no. I believe this is the first case I've heard of in which feminists argue that a person should be charged with rape even if a sexual partner had consented and then gave no indication of withdrawing consent.

Kynn's case is more extreme than Assange's. Jack has said that he used their safeword to withdraw consent. So, if the benefit of the doubt should always be with the person who charges rape, under an ideal feminist legal system, what would happen to Kynn now?

why rich people hate looters

Because rich people are supposed to get luxuries with little effort, while poor people are supposed to get them by working long hours under lousy conditions for little pay. Really, is that so hard to understand?

2.  No, this does not mean I approve of looting. However, people who complain about looting are missing the important question.

3. This was inspired by reading about UK riots. I don't always agree with Richard Seymour--I think he's too susceptible to neoliberal arguments about identity politics--but I respect him, and this post is very good: LENIN'S TOMB: A crisis of ideology and political leadership.

4. In the comments, I found this map: Initial London riots / UK riots - Google Maps

In another discussion, I found a fellow arguing that police provocateurs don't exist--there are just one or two bad cops.

But provocateurs have existed for as long as there have been movements against bad governments. They exist for two reasons:
  1. Provocateurs make protests look like vandalism.
  2. Provocateurs make the police look necessary to protect nice people who accept the government from bad people who reject it.
I hope I don't have to do a post explaining false flag actions. Well, if you're not familiar with the concept, you could start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_flag

5. No one knows how much violence in riots is done by police provocateurs, but here, they were caught in action.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

the selective acknowledgment of class by anti-racists, part 2

At my previous post on the subject, an Anonymous left two links:

How the Great Recession Has Changed Life in America | Pew Social & Demographic Trends

Affluent African-Americans Live in Poorer Neighborhoods Than Middle-Class Whites - The Wealth Report - WSJ

They're both useful, but neither takes the second step in analyzing race and class in the USA: they provide stats on class and stats on race, but they don't compare people by both. Here's what socialists and capitalist anti-racists agree on: because of the US's history of racism, the class system is racially disproportionate.

But that doesn't mean the class system is racist today. To address that question, you must compare working-class blacks with working-class whites, middle-class blacks with middle-class whites, and upper-class blacks with upper-class whites.

When leaving those links, the Anonymous said:
vs. the selective acknowledgement of race by people like you who want to be selectively racist and who never want to acknowledge that it's impossible to talk about class in America without factoring in past effects of racism on the present
My reply:
Actually, Anonymous, I constantly talk about race when talking about class. Something I regularly quote from Thandeka's The Whiting of Euro-Americans: A Divide and Conquer Strategy: "...we must not forget that white racism was from the start a vehicle for classism; its primary goal was not to elevate a race but to denigrate a class. White racism was thus a means to an end, and the end was the defense of Virginia’s class structure and the further subjugation of the poor of all "racial" colors."

In fact, whenever I talk about class and the past, I stress that the reason modern poverty is racially disproportionate is because of the history of racism

However, here's something anti-racists can't answer: How do you solve the problem of poverty without redistributing wealth for people regardless of gender or race? After all, as has been true since Martin Luther King's day, there are twice as many white people living in poverty as black people.

Now, I do appreciate those links. Two things I'll point out:

1. In "Affluent African-Americans Live in Poorer Neighborhoods Than Middle-Class Whites", that choice is a choice. People who are more concerned with ethnicity than class will choose ethnically similar neighborhoods. That's true for Asians and Jews and others, as well as black folks. But as people like Obama and Condi Rice and OJ Simpson show, many rich blacks choose neighborhoods where class matters more than race.

2. "How the Great Recession Has Changed Life in America" does the breakdown by race, but it does not do a class breakdown within race. Because blacks and Hispanic-Americans come disproportionately from poverty, they have less wealth, and so they suffer more than richer folks. But do black newcomers to the middle class suffer more than white Americans who recently came out of poverty? Do upper class blacks suffer more than upper class whites? Do lower class blacks suffer more than lower class whites?

There's one fascinating stat in there: the proportion of whites and blacks who identify as part of the upper class is now the same, 20%.

In Norway, Start-ups Say Ja to Socialism

In Norway, Start-ups Say Ja to Socialism: "Norway is also an exceedingly pleasant place to make a home. It ranked third in Gallup's latest global happiness survey. The unemployment rate, just 3.5 percent, is the lowest in Europe and one of the lowest in the world. Thanks to a generous social welfare system, poverty is almost nonexistent."

Friday, August 5, 2011

saying of the day: democracy, wolves, and lambs

"A democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch." —Unknown. A version has been credited to James Bovard, but it appeared earlier on the internet. Right-libertarians like that version because they think they're the lambs.

A more accurate version? Capitalist democracy is two wolves and ninety-eight lambs voting on which wolf will decide what's for lunch.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Do bingo cards go just above or just below the Ad Hominem level?

a sweet review of Nevernever

Even Between-Places Have Between-Places: Nevernever | Tor.com

how to deal with failfans #2

Oh, do I wish I'd learned not to give a fuck much sooner, but I'm content to be an object lesson to anyone who is targeted by failfans. Shoot for Level 1. Any  engagement at all will make them treat you as if you're in at least level 4. If you doubt that, look at some of the names on their "shit lists".

mad-internet

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

socialist Christian of the day: St. Ambrose

"Nature furnishes its wealth to all men in common. God beneficently has created all things that their endowment be common to all living beings, and that the earth became the common property of all ... Only unjust usurpation has created the right of private property." – St. Ambrose

Monday, August 1, 2011

if the Klan didn't silence me, why do you think you will?

Because I know how failfans think (though I confess, they invariably find new depths that I could never imagine), I'll link to Julia's Liminal and Loving It - A lesson in good vs. bad irony thanks to Amanda Palmer. That's history I grew up with, but apparently it was new to Julia and her friends.

Much of my novel, Dogland, is autobiographical, though I compressed things that happened as late as '65 into '63 for what seemed like good artistic reasons at the time. I was beaten for speaking out for civil rights. My family could not get fire insurance because word was out that the Klan would burn us down. And still, I continued to march in protests and to speak up in school, because I knew that you should not cower before cowards.

So, when I invoke the Klan, I do not do this lightly. I do this because I've paid dues that most failfans are incapable of imagining.

Now, I don't mean that I'm not at all afraid of failfans. After all, they use tactics that the Klan would approve. Here's the short list that springs to mind:

  1. Death threats, delivered to people's work places (see the terrorizing of Rachel Moss) and transmitted electronically (anonymous phone calls then, anonymous email now).
  2. Black lists.
  3. Ostracism.
  4. Threatening the family and friends of their targets.

I completely understand why most of the people they attack will dive for cover. They've never faced a self-righteous mob, and they fear that if they don't submit, they'll pay a professional price.

That's a price I'm happy to pay. Compared to the Klan, failfans are pikers. They're children of privilege whose definition of privilege preserves their own privilege. They hide behind anonymity and pseudonymity because they love to hurt and hate to accept responsibility for what they do. They mock because they are afraid to engage. They should be beneath anyone's notice, and most of the time, they're below mine.

But when they do something especially egregious, I'll document it here. There's a book someone should write about subfandoms gone feral. I may not write it, but I'm happy to keep the notes.

if you want to observe failfans in their natural environment

Misery loves company's Journal: Unfunny Fandom

Fail. Fandom. Anon.

What amazes me most about failfans in their anonymous and pseudonymous forms is their delight in quoting things out of context and subjecting them to bizarre interpretations. Actually, what amazes me is not that they do this, but that they do this with absolute certainty they're right. It's that conviction that makes them so useful for anyone interested in cult dynamics.

I warn you, if you visit, this theory will be confirmed:


If I rebooted Zatanna (or, and DC wonders why women think DC doesn't respect women?)



That's an alternate universe version of one of my favorite, but admittedly goofy, female magicians, Zatanna, whose original look is classic female stage magician:

Zatannain her fishnets. Artist: Murphy Anderson.

If I was rebooting her, I would go for Marlene Dietrich in drag:


But I have to say that this cosplayer could sell me on keeping the old costume and making her Asian or black:



(photo from here)

Breivik's Christianity by Martin E. Marty

Breivik's Christianity by Martin E. Marty: "Q: What do the following have in common? Anders Behring Breivik, killer of scores of innocents in Norway; assassins Lee Harvey Oswald (JFK) and Sirhan Sirhan (RFK); serial killers: Dennis Rader (Kansas, murdered 10); Charles Starkweather (Nebraska, 11); Jeffrey Dahmer (Wisconsin, 17); and Dylan Kiebold (Columbine, CO, 13).

Answer: they were all Lutheran Christians."

how to deal with failfans

The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck