Friday, September 30, 2011

'Tintin in the Congo' racism trial opens

AFP: 'Tintin in the Congo' racism trial opens: ""If we censor 'Tintin in the Congo' by banning it or forcing the publisher to put a sign on it, it is all of world literature that will end up in courts, from (Belgian writer Georges) Simenon to the Bible," said one of their representatives, Alain Berenboom."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

quote of the day: Buffett

“There’s class warfare, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” —Warren Buffett, the 2nd richest person in the USA and 3rd richest in the world

quote of the day: Milton

"Unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book; who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye." —John Milton

Explaining the Universal Basic Income

Explaining the Universal Basic Income | A Democratic & Green St. Johns: "In the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 per cent. Fewer people went to the hospital with work-related injuries and there were fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse. There were also far fewer mental health visits."

"a photo negative of KKK racial thought"

Obama's bridge too far - Barack Obama News - "Furthermore, unless you're black, you can't possibly understand. Yada, yada, yada. This unfortunate obsession increasingly resembles a photo negative of KKK racial thought. It's useful for intimidating tenure committees staffed by Ph.D.s trained to find racist symbols in the passing clouds. Otherwise, Harris-Perry's becoming a left-wing Michele Bachmann, an attractive woman seeking fame and fortune by saying silly things on cable TV."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bake sale's racial pricing rocks campus

Bake sale's racial pricing rocks campus: "The original Facebook post for the event said pastries sold at the event would be priced at $2 each for white customers, $1.50 for buyers of Asian descent, $1 for Latinos, 75 cents for black customers and 25 cents for American Indians. All women would get a 25 cent discount."

from racefail to identity fail

I keep being tempted to stop writing about fandom and identity politics, but I keep learning new things. What began with the teapot tempest called Racefail got me researching cults, anti-racism, and neoliberalism. As the nature of scifi fandom's fails kept changing, my subject kept expanding. I should have recognized long ago that the real issue is identitarianism, the insistence that minor differences should divide us.

Monday, September 26, 2011

a sniper in the class war

I've changed the name of this blog. I don't know how long the name will last; whenever I change it, I soon go back to "it's all one thing." But the class war is growing, so my commitment to my side has to grow, too. If anyone is still following me who's uncomfortable with politics, it's time to go in peace.

Mind you, it won't be class war all the time. As Emma Goldman is often paraphrased, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be in your revolution."

quote of the day: Aveling

"You will ask: ‘Will you not have a frightful struggle and will it not end in bloodshed?’ Possibly. I do not know. ‘Is it not setting class against class?’ Yes; and Socialists mean to devote their lives to setting class against class. We preach class warfare. We hope it may not be a warfare of bullets and steel, but if it is class warfare even this, alas! is possible. It is a warfare of the labour class against the capitalist class." —Edward Aveling

South Korea: Kids, Stop Studying So Hard!

South Korea: Kids, Stop Studying So Hard! - TIME: "consider Finland, the only European country to routinely perform as well as South Korea on the test for 15-year-olds conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In Finland, public and private spending combined is less per pupil than in South Korea, and only 13% of Finnish students take remedial after-school lessons."

Natalie Merchant: Which Side are You On?

Natalie Merchant: Which Side are You On? - YouTube:

At Sea with the N-Word

At Sea with the N-Word: "I don’t know how The N-Word of the Narcissus is selling, but the radical change of title does seem to be a pointless move. If the book’s original name is considered too offensive to use, then why not simply publish it under the alternative title Conrad chose for it, The Children of the Sea? As a matter of fact, this is how the novel was first issued in the U.S. because the publisher, Dodd, Mead and Company, felt no one would be interested in a book with the word “nigger” in its title. Did the US publishers display a racial sensitivity that was ahead of their time? Hardly. They simply thought that a book about a black man couldn’t possibly sell."

'via Blog this'

Saving the Rich, Losing the Economy

Saving the Rich, Losing the Economy: "US wages are about the lowest in the developed world. They are far below hourly labor cost in Norway ($53.89), Denmark ($49.56), Belgium ($49.40), Austria ($48.04), and Germany ($46.52). The US might have the world’s largest economy, but its hourly workers rank 14th on the list of the best paid. Americans also have a higher unemployment rate. The “headline” rate that the media hypes is 9.1 percent, but this rate does not include any discouraged workers or workers forced into part-time jobs because no full-time jobs are available."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pierre Berton on Guaranteed Income

"Will a guaranteed annual wage kill incentive among the poor? If a man is given a certain amount of security, won't he quit working? Exactly the same contention could be made about the sons of the wealthy who are left large fortunes. Yet the evidence suggests that, given economic freedom, people will generally choose to do that which interests them most. It is up to society to see that these interests are widened and that too requires investment." —Pierre Berton

From Livable Income For Everyone - The Smug Minority

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Malinda Lo's incomplete statistics and how to change an industry

People are very fond of pointing to I have numbers! Stats on LGBT Young Adult Books Published in the U.S., which is a fine piece of work. However, it doesn't have a crucial bit of information: how many LGBT YA books were submitted? Is the acceptance rate for LGBT YA higher or lower than it is for general YA?

One fact stays clear: Science Fiction and Fantasy YA novels with Major LGBTQ characters exist. If you want publishers to publish more, buy more. It took the success of the ipad to convince the computer industry to sell tablets. That's just how capitalism works.

Generate a Random Name - Fake Name Generator

Generate a Random Name - Fake Name Generator

Friday, September 23, 2011

quote of the day: Tolkien

"If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world." —J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

socialist Bible verse of the day: Mark 12:17, Matthew 22:21, Luke 20:25

"Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s." —Mark 12:17, Matthew 22:21, Luke 20:25

Brother Will says: There are two ways to interpret this verse:

1. Everything belongs to God, so nothing belongs to Caesar. If everything belongs to God, who should the wealth go to instead of Caesar? To God's children, the poor who will inherit the earth.

2. Pay the taxes that are required by good governments. How do you recognize good governments? They do God's work: they feed the hungry, heal the sick, free the prisoners, and help the poor inherit the earth.

The first argument is the anarchist's, and the second is the socialist's. I like both, but I think the second's more practical. Which Jesus had in mind, no one can guess. My belief is we have free will so we can work out the details ourselves.

Recommended: Render unto Caesar... - Wikipedia, which includes this:
Mennonite pastor John K. Stoner spoke for those who interpret the parable as permitting or even encouraging tax resistance: “We are war tax resisters because we have discovered some doubt as to what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God, and have decided to give the benefit of the doubt to God.”

gaslighting vs. gasbagging, and revising the past

coffeeandink: More on #YesGayYA:
Another thing that contributes to the issue: gaslighting. Gaslighting makes the people who are complaining feel crazy, or discredits them in the eyes of other parties: it prevents fixing the problem because it doesn't admit that a problem exists. Gaslighting explains away any example of the problem (whether logically or not), and explaining away one example is taken to explain away all of them. An example is considered discredited if the complainant can't provide irrefutable documentary evidence of the issue, which is seen as the same thing as disproving the issue --or (this one is my favorite)--they can provide documentary evidence, but if it is presented in full gaslighters will find it too confusing to parse, and if it's presented in brief gaslighters will find it too simplified or subjective to credit.
I love, in the way I love cult logic, the notion that when your concepts don't gibe with reality, you should assume people are trying to trick you. The reason gaslighting can work is that sane people first consider the possibility they're mad. Only mad people begin with the assumption that gaslighters are at work.

deepad | In which I am derailing and contrary and also unsupportive of the Market:
Some of you may remember an extended online 'discussion' we had in 2009 regarding the failure of white writers to adequately represent the chromatic characters that they thought they were portraying so ably.
A discussion about white writers writing folks of other hues would be interesting. To make this personal, I'm rather proud that the FSFwiki says of me, "His work features strong women characters and people of color." Now, are they wrong? Could be. I wrestled for a while with the question of whether Ethorne in Dogland is a magical negro; I concluded that he's not. (I won't spoiler the book with the reason here, but if anyone asks, I'll put it in the comments.) All of the writers attacked in Racefail 09 have written "chromatic characters." But where's the discussion of how well or how poorly they wrote? The only "discussion" was about how people who disagree with neoliberal antiracists are racists. If I missed the links to the discussion Deepad mentions, please, share them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Susie Bright on class, women, and porn

Before there was YouPorn - Pornography - "What novice female viewers wanted, without being able to say it, was class-conscious reassurance that one could be a nice, well-dressed, well-kept woman, and indulge in "erotica" while maintaining your dignity and marriageability."

my simple attempt to define class in the US by wealth and income

Note: This post is only about the US. I'll tackle world wealth and income in the near future.

The US's richest 1% own as much as 50% of the country's wealth, the richest 5% own more than 50% of the wealththe richest 25% own 87% of the wealth, and the poorest 40% own 0.3% of the wealth. The national median net worth is $86,000.

To compare wealth with income, here are income quintiles via Wealth and Poverty: Who's Got How Much?:
in the year 2000:
20 percent of U.S. households had incomes of $18,000 and under
20 percent had incomes between $18,001 and $33,000
20 percent had incomes between $33,001 and $52,300
20 percent had incomes between $52,301 and $82,000
20 percent had incomes above $82,000

...5 percent of households had incomes of $145,500 and higher. (This 5 percent is also counted in the top 20 percent.)
Many people have tried to combine wealth and income to identify the US's class system, and all have acknowledged that any system will have many exceptions. Making that same acknowledgment, I propose this:

In the US, the working class is the bottom 50%. Effectively, they own nothing. They fit Marx's definition of the proletariat: they have little or nothing to sell but their labor.

The middle class are the upper 45%. Based on income quintile, call them lower (third quintile), middle (fourth quintile), and upper (fifth quintile) middle class. They make some money from investments.

The top 5% are the upper class, the rich, the bourgeoisie.

And the top 1% are the super-rich, the capitalist class, the people who decide what choices everyone else may have at the polling place and the market place.

Recommended: Why income distribution can't be crowd-sourced. - By Timothy Noah - Slate Magazine

ETA: There are problems with this system. See the discussion at G+. Where do you put sports stars making millions of dollars a year who have to sell their talent? It's why I ultimately like Marx's definitions: Do you own the means of production? If no, you're part of the working class, the proletariat. If yes, you're in the bourgeoisie, the marketers who were the middle class under feudalism who have become the upper class under capitalism. If you're somewhere in between, you're in the petite bourgeoisie, the little imitators of the people who own most of the wealth.

cartoon: the Contextualization Fairy from SMBC

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Nobody likes rich people."

A line from my new favorite TV show, Justified. (I'm only six episodes in, so please, no spoilers.)

Primed to shop

How Whole Foods "Primes" You To Shop | Fast Company: "Ever notice that there's ice everywhere in this store? Why? Does hummus really need to be kept so cold? What about cucumber-and-yogurt dip? No and no. This ice is another symbolic. Similarly, for years now supermarkets have been sprinkling select vegetables with regular drops of water--a trend that began in Denmark. Why? Like ice displays, those sprinkled drops serve as a symbolic, albeit a bogus one, of freshness and purity. Ironically, that same dewy mist makes the vegetables rot more quickly than they would otherwise."

'via Blog this'

a decent essay on class in the US

PEOPLE LIKE US: Social Class in America: "If you feel no need to explicate your allusions or in any way explain what you mean, you are probably talking with someone in your class. And that's true whether you're discussing the Rams and the Forty-Niners, RV's, the House (i.e. Christ Church, Oxford), Mama Leone's, the Big Board, "the Vineyard," "Baja," or the Porcellian."

Friday, September 16, 2011

how I make ebooks on a Mac for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords

1. Use Pages to create an epub file. Load it at Pubit! for Barnes and Noble. That's the easy part.

2. Open the Pages file and create a Table of Contents with no page numbers. (If one or more items in the TOC have page numbers even though you've turned off the page numbers, don't worry about it. You can fix that in a later step.)

3. Copy and paste everything in the Pages file into TextEdit. This will strip much of the code that confuses Amazon and Smashwords' converters. If your Table of Contents needs changes, you can make them now.

4. Open NeoOffice. (Or OpenOffice or LibreOffice.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

essential update on the Rachel Brown and Sherwood Smith story

The Swivet [Colleen Lindsay]: Guest blogger Joanna Stampfel-Volpe responds to a recent PW article on LGBTQ YA

All worth reading, but if you're feeling lazy, read this:
Because this piece was printed in PW, I felt safe in assuming that the facts of the story had been checked. In the spirit of righteous indignation, I retweeted the story. Almost immediately I was contacted by several well-respected agents - a couple of whom had already read and rejected the manuscript in question, based on the same editorial concerns - who called into question the facts behind the blog post. I later discovered that not only did I know the agent in question, but that this person was actually a dear friend of mine, someone who most certainly wasn't homophobic. The more I learned about this incident, the angrier I became at myself for reposting it and inadvertently hurting someone whom I respect and admire as a colleague, and whom I care about personally as a friend. This story has now moved beyond the book community online into the mainstream press; every new media outlet that picks up the story is a further insult to this agent's reputation; for that, each and every one of us who helped spread this story should be ashamed.

As a queer woman and a former agent who has happily repped - and sold! - YA with LGBT themes, I think we need to step back, take a deep breath and look at an important fact, one that hasn't yet been discussed.

FACT: Both these writers already have their own agents. At least one of those agents reps YA books. So what does it say when the respective agents for both these well-established writers advise them to find a different agent for the book in question because neither of them wanted to rep it themselves?

It tells me that homophobia was most likely not the reason that this book has thus far not found representation.

Any agent looking at this manuscript - knowing full well that these two writers already had their own respective agents who did not want to rep the project - would see this as a giant red flag and approach the book with a very critical editorial eye.

Does there need to be a conversation about lack of diversity in YA? Yes. Is this the incident to hang it on. I don't think so.
ETA: Two more good pieces (of, I'm sure, many):

How hard is it to sell an LGBT YA novel?

De-gaying YA | Dystel & Goderich Literary Management \

ETA 2: I made another post about this: cult logic at #yesgayYA: Rose Fox, Rachel Manija Brown, K. Tempest Bradford.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

quote of the day: Saadi

To worship God is nothing other than to serve the people.
It does not need rosaries, prayer carpets, or robes.
All peoples are members of the same body, created from one essence.
If fate brings suffering to one member, the others cannot stay at rest.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

who is saying "no" to gay YA f&sf?

There's something odd about Authors Say Agents Try to “Straighten” Gay Characters in YA « Genreville. It's not hard to find gay characters with prominent roles in YA. People have made lists:

Poking Badgers with Spoons - Science Fiction and Fantasy YA novels with Major LGBTQ characters

megwrites | Don't mind me and my big gay book spam!

Now, I've been lucky in my career, so maybe I just haven't run into the homophobes who would've told me to de-gay "Secret Identity" or Elsewhere. I would love to know if Francesca Lia Block faced obstacles selling the Weetzie Bat books, or if anyone told Holly Black to de-gay her work.

In my experience, understanding publishing is easy: it's a business. The notion that YA publishers don't want the next Holly Black is very, very strange.

ETA: The story is more complex: failfandom: essential update on the Rachel Brown and Sherwood Smith story

Monday, September 12, 2011

if I don't post anything for a bit

I'm just trying to get some work done.

The Real Recovery Challenge: Basic Income Security

The Real Recovery Challenge: Basic Income Security: "In this very Tory view, all the freedoms that matter – freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press – they all depend on the core twin freedoms that shape the nature of any community, society, region, country or world – the “Freedom from Fear” and the “Freedom from Want”"

socialist Bible verse of the day: 2 Corinthians 8:9

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." —2 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV)

Brother Will says: Whether you read the Bible as literal or metaphorical truth, Jesus set an example with his choices: give up your wealth to help others.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

For 9/11: Joan Baez singing Finlandia

Joan Baez singing (unofficial anthem) Finlandia film Slacker Uprising - YouTube: ""

socialist Bible verse of the day: Deuteronomy 23:24-25

"If you go into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, as many as you wish, but you shall not put any in your bag. If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain." —Deuteronomy 23:24-25 (ESV)

Brother Will says: This one can be hard to interpret for socialists, but it's harder for capitalists. It says take what you need, and no more. Don't strip the vineyard or the field, because others need to eat.

Here's a modern version to show why it's harder for capitalists: "If you go into a restaurant, eat your fill, as much as you wish, but don't get a doggie bag."

Based on other verses, you may take some home if that's the only way to feed people who couldn't eat otherwise. But essentially, this says what your parents should've taught you: Waste not, want not.

Or it's Louis Blanc again: From each according to ability, to each according to need.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

If Orson Scott Card made you think Shakespeare pastiches were a bad idea

"Gertrude talks back" by Margaret Atwood


socialist Bible verse of the day: Isaiah 65:21-22

"And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands." —Isaiah 65:21-22

Brother Will says: Isaiah's commie streak is second to none. No one will profit from another's labor when "They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat."

a quick point about socialism and democracy

Marx said, "Democracy is the road to socialism." The attempts after his death to create socialism without democracy proved that totalitarianism is wrong, but they proved nothing about socialism. The socialist objection to capitalist democracy has nothing to do with democracy—it has to do with the fact that capitalist democracy is a government by capitalists for capitalists, as anyone who looks at the average wealth of US Presidents, Senators, or Representatives should be able to tell.

Here's Tommy Douglas's "Mouseland" to show how it works. (This version is in English with Spanish subtitles.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

when I said Batman should have a glider cape and a flying batmobile

I wonder if I had a dim childhood memory of this?

via Golden Age Comic Book Stories

And this:

The Flying Batman

the latest "whites who criticize blacks are racist"

Identitarians scream racism whenever a white opponent criticizes a black who shares their ideology, so here's something they should like:Balloon Juice » The Modern Negrophobists reaction to the President’s speech.

I'm not sure which rhetorical failure is involved here. Ad hominem? Strawman? It almost deserves a category of its own: when you have nothing, cry racism or sexism.I especially admire Dennis G. combining Obama's critics on the right and left as "firebaggers". I wonder if Herbert Hoover's defenders wished they could accuse his critics of racism?

Though Dennis G.'s logic is wacky—were critics of Condi Rice and Colin Powell racist?—I like the old cartoon that he found:

Harpers cartoon from Civil War_drowing man

via Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy: Opposing Obama = racism

socialist Bible verse of the day: Galatians 6:2

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." —Galatians 6:2

Brother Will says: For conservative Christians, here's the King James Version: "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." So pay attention. Carrying other people's burdens ain't a suggestion. It's the law.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Orson Scott Card, do you like this idea for my next novel?

After reading Outcry over Hamlet novel casting old king as gay paedophile, I've got a plot for a novel:

The events in Hamlet are explained when Joseph Smith travels back in time to marry Hamlet's mother and rule as king. Because he's a heterosexual pedophile (he did have two wives who were fourteen), he rapes Ophelia and tells Gertrude that he's taking a second wife, which results in his murder by Polonius.

Unasked-for advise: just because an idea is unique does not mean it is good.

PS for folks who think it was common to marry young in the 19th century, no, it wasn't.

ETA: Lest anyone think all Mormons are homophobes: Mormon-Chronicles: Orson Scott Card adds homosexuality to Hamlet.

quote of the day

"The rich would have to eat money if the poor did not provide food." —Russian Proverb

socialist Bible verse of the day: 1 John 3:17

"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" —1 John 3:17

Brother Will says: Capitalists argue that verses like these should be purely voluntary and have no affect on human law. Like all capitalist arguments about the Bible, it ignores the obvious: if you close your heart against those in need, God's love does not live in you.

Or in other words, people who say that sort of thing should stop talking about what they don't understand. This verse is very, very simple: if you have things and others don't, share.

Or to be blunt for those who are hard of caring: This verse says that if you're rich when others are poor, you're godless.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Scientific American on groupthink

Following the Crowd: Changing Your Mind to Fit In May Not Be a Conscious Choice: Scientific American

socialist Bible verse of the day: Isaiah 55:1-3

 1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
   come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
   and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
   and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
   listen, that you may live. 

—Isaiah 55:1-3

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

socialist Bible verse of the day: 2 Corinthians 8:13-15

"For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, 'Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.'" —2 Corinthians 8:13-15

Monday, September 5, 2011

Prince of Darkness performed by Ed Miller

lyrics nicked from elsewhere:

i was born in the village of cockenzie, and my father was an elder of the kirk,
and by the time i reached thirteen, he looked me in at the een, and told me it was time i was in work,
for employment was the way to fight the devil and i must challenge him wherever he was found; but if i wanted decent pay, there were five different ways, north, south, east, west or down! Chorus: i used to battle with the prince o' darkness
i used to steal away his heart through a four foot seam; and when they asked if i was poor, i'd tell them "aye, sure"
but they never had to teach me how to dream
the first time i went under i was shakin', i was just a laddie frightened o' the dark
but wi' a cutter in ma hand, i soon became a man, and i was surely never frightened o' the work
i learned to listen for the creakin' o' the timbers, tae watch the air around the candle flame,
and in every sweated turn i learned the risks that were run, and the danger was a miner's middle name

i went down at newtongrange and kirkcaldy, sweatin' blood for seven bob a week
and in the shuttle and the cage, i learned the spirit of the age from men who never turned the other cheek. and when my father asked if i was still for jesus, was he my help and my saviour doon the mine,
and i said i'd bow my head in prayer if i turned and found him, at my shoulder on a union picket line
now i work in the mining meuseum, and show the tourists what ma job used tae be,
and when they ask aboot ma clan, i tell them i'm a workin' man, an' the union was clan enough for me.
it gave me brothers frae, the reddin' tae the rhondda, comrades frae the rockets tae the rand,
for there's nae colour, creed or race when ye're sweatin' at the face, wi a pick or a shovel in yer hand

but now we've got a government in london, and the new labour party's won the day,
and they come back tae find their roots in their sharp italian suits, and when the cameras are gone, so are they
and they whisper that socialism's diein', ye cannae sell it at the supermarket till, but where there's fifty left like me, we'll make bloody sure they see, that ideas are the hardest things tae kill.

Ry Cooder ▬ No Banker Left Behind

Ry Cooder ▬ No Banker Left Behind | (Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down /01) NEW - bytera - YouTube: ""

'via Blog this'

Cracked on Understanding Cults

#4 in 6 Bullshit Facts About Psychology That Everyone Believes | is a surprisingly good little bit about cults. Useful if you want to understand failfandom's commitment to notions that crumble under scrutiny.

The International Sweethearts Of Rhythm " Jump Children " !!! - YouTube

The International Sweethearts Of Rhythm " Jump Children " !!! - YouTube:

"The International Sweethearts of Rhythm was the first integrated all women's band in the United States."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

class and college news of the day

College students living in the lap of luxury -

Excellent introduction to Universal Basic Income

The one thing I would add to A Basic Income for All, after reading it quickly, is my usual question for those who object to giving money to people who didn't work for it: Do you want to abolish inheritance also? If anyone deserves to be given a share of the world's wealth, everyone does.

John Stuart Mill on Guaranteed Income

From A Basic Income for All:
John Stuart Mill published a new edition of his Principles of Political Economy, which contains a sympathetic presentation of Fourierism ("the most skillfully combined, and with the greatest foresight of objections, of all the forms of Socialism") rephrased so as to yield an unambiguous UBI proposal: "In the distribution, a certain minimum is first assigned for the subsistence of every member of the community, whether capable or not of labour. The remainder of the produce is shared in certain proportions, to be determined beforehand, among the three elements, Labour, Capital, and Talent."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Archbishop Tutu on Guaranteed Income

Archbishop Tutu on Basic Income - YouTube: "

working-class superheroes

In 2005, a list of working-class superheroes was begun at the WORKING-CLASS HEROES PROJECT. It hasn't been expanded, and comments have been turned off, so I'll see if anyone wants to expand it here.

Their list had these caveats:
Masked adventurers and comic-strip stars welcome. Please note: for the purposes of this list, I am only interested in heroes with working-class jobs (ie, blue-collar/pink-collar/"proletarian"). I will accept tradespeople, factory workers, farm workers, unemployed/poor, craftsmen, etc. NO white-collar workers, rich people, politicians, government agents, or cops. I will accept Private Eyes and small business owners ("petit bourgeois") in a pinch.
Since I'm taking this on, I'd prefer a traditional definition of working-class: people who sell their labor because they don't own the means of production. So I'm dividing the list into three: blue collar, pink collar, and white collar.

I like this 'cause it makes me happy to add an essential working-class superhero: Clark Kent. Sure, Superman's got the ultimate hideaway in the north, but from everything I've read, he's squatting there. Who could he have bought the land for the Fortress of Solitude from?

Blue collar:

Shoeshine Boy/Underdog -- shoeshine boy
Luke Cage/Powerman --Hero for Hire
Johnny Chambers/Johnny Quick --newsreel camera operator
Fred Drake/Stuntman --stuntman and movie double/extra
Pat Dugan/Stripesy --chauffeur to rich kid Sylvester Pemberton (Star-Spangled Kid)
Freddie Freeman/Captain Marvel JR --crippled newspaper delivery boy
Buford T. Hollis/Razorback --truck driver
Kato --limo driver
Hollis Mason/Nite Owl I --mechanic
Obelix --menhir delivery man
Peter Parker/Spider-man --photographer
Penrod Pooch/Hong Kong Phooey --janitor
Popeye --sailor
Chuck Taine/Bouncing Boy --delivery boy
Ted Grant/Wildcat: boxer
Patricia Patrios/Pat Patriot: assembly line worker
Kip Burland/Black Hood: policeman

Pink collar:

Barbara Gordon/Batgirl --librarian
Louise Grant/The Blonde Phantom --secretary to P.I. Mark Mason
Ma Hunkel/Red Tornado --housewife/mother/grocery store owner
Dinah Lance/Black Canary --florist

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman --princess who works as nurse

White collar:

Clark Kent/Superman: farmboy/reporter

ETA: I agree with Bryan Munn that the list of white men who have white collar jobs is kind of boring, so no need to need to add more of them. Clark Kent should be mentioned for three reasons, though: he was the first superhero, he grew up on a small farm before he became a reporter, and in the 1930s, no one expected to get rich as a reporter.


Suggestions from James Veitch:
Would small business owners count? Jack "Starman" Knight has his collectibles shop.

Cliff "Rocketeer" Secord is a Depression Era pilot, stunts, barnstorming.
Johnny "Ghost Rider" Blaze makes ends meet as a stunt cyclist.
Guido "Strong Guy" of X-Factor, besides being a PI in Jamie "Multiple Man" Madrox's agency, is also a rock star's body guard and legbreaker.
Cliff "Robotman" Steel was a racecar driver, and as working class as you can get.

Peter Parker is an advisor with Reed Richards' Future Foundation and has worked in a scientific capacity for Stark International. He's no longer blue collar.

John Henry "Steel" Irons was a construction worker when we first met him, though he was already an inventor and weapons designer.

Most superheroes are scientists, inventors, military, police, or relies on a trust fund. That limits it a bit.

Kyle "Green Lantern" Raynor, commercial artist. 
Buddy "Animal Man" Baker, stunt man.
Grace Choi of the Outsiders was a bouncer.
Dan "Blue Devil" Cassidy, stunt man.
Jeff "Vortex" Murphy, Coast Guard helicopter pilot.
Wally "Flash/Kid Flash" West, mechanic 
And three members of the MysteryMen, associates of The Flaming Carrot, are blue collar:
The Sphinx, busboy in a TexMex restaurant.
Mr Furious, repo man (comics), junkyard breaker (movie).
The Shoveler, ditch-digger and quarryman (comics), tunnel construction (movie)
Suggestions from Isaiah Harrison:
Dick Grayson became a police officer.
John Stewart was a Marine. (ETA: Who became an architect.)
Guy Gardner is a Barkeep.

Sir Ian McKellen, On Acting

Sir Ian McKellen, On Acting - YouTube: "

quote of the day

"A large section of the idling classes of England get their incomes by believing that Jesus was born of a virgin and that Jonah swallowed a whale; and with the progress of science they were naturally finding this more and more difficult. A school of ingenious Bible-twisters arose, to invent symbolical and literary meanings for fairy tales, in order that people who no longer believed could continue with good conscience to collect the salaries of belief." — Upton Sinclair

another US victim of the class war

Say what you will of Arizona, its health care system let me get a bad tooth pulled. Sure, it would've been nice to have been able to get a root canal and save the tooth, but at least I wasn't at risk of dying.

class and advertising

Jim Hightower on mass marketing | "Advertising Age, the marketing industry's top publication, has curtly declared that "mass affluence is over." Nearly half of consumer spending today is done by the richest 10 percent of households, and the richest of these richies are deemed to be the most desirable of consumers."

class and comic books: the cost of comic books

I noticed that comics were no longer working class entertainment and were now entertainment for folks with a lot of disposable income, but I hadn't bothered to break down the figures. That's been done at Minimum Wage and the Prices of Comics | Von Allan's art, comics and graphic novels. The writer notes:
The Federal Minimum Wage was signed into law in early 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act. At almost the same time, Action Comics #1 hit newsstands featuring, of course, the first appearance of Superman. In other words, comic books and the US Federal Minimum Wage have existed at the same time since the birth of the Golden Age.
There are graphs and all kinds of fun for anyone who cares about class and comics.

Friday, September 2, 2011

F.A.Hayek on Guaranteed Income

From @livable4all:
F.A.Hayek on guaranteed #basicincome “[The first kind of security is] security against severe physical privation, the certainty of a given minimum of sustenance for all;”

“There is no reason why, in a society which has reached the general level of wealth which ours has attained the first kind of security [minimum sustenance for all] should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom.”

“...but there can be no doubt that some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and capacity to work, can be assured to everybody.”

“Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision.”

pg.120 Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom; Published 1944, 1976 paperback edition by University of Chicago Press.

Milton Freedman on Guaranteed Income

From The Other Milton Friedman: A Conservative With a Social Welfare Program - New York Times:
Market forces can accomplish wonderful things, he realized, but they cannot ensure a distribution of income that enables all citizens to meet basic economic needs. His proposal, which he called the negative income tax, was to replace the multiplicity of existing welfare programs with a single cash transfer — say, $6,000 — to every citizen. A family of four with no market income would thus receive an annual payment from the I.R.S. of $24,000. For each dollar the family then earned, this payment would be reduced by some fraction — perhaps 50 percent. A family of four earning $12,000 a year, for example, would receive a net supplement of $18,000 (the initial $24,000 less the $6,000 tax on its earnings).

Mr. Friedman’s proposal was undoubtedly motivated in part by his concern for the welfare of the least fortunate. But he was above all a pragmatist, and he emphasized the superiority of the negative income tax over conventional welfare programs on purely practical grounds. If the main problem of the poor is that they have too little money, he reasoned, the simplest and cheapest solution is to give them some more. He saw no advantage in hiring armies of bureaucrats to dispense food stamps, energy stamps, day care stamps and rent subsidies.

Eric Fromm on Guaranteed Income

"The fact is that most men are still geared psychologically to the economic facts of scarcity, when the industrial world is in the process of entering a new era of economic abundance. But because of this psychological ‘lag’ many people cannot even understand new ideas presented in the concept of a guaranteed income, because traditional ideas are usually determined by feelings that originated in previous forms of social existence." --Eric Fromm, The Psychological Aspects of the Guaranteed Income, a chapter in the book 'The Guaranteed Income' edited by Robert Theobald, 1967

cartoon: nominating God as president-for-life

Jared Diamond gets his commie on

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race: "Besides malnutrition, starvation, and epidemic diseases, farming helped bring another curse upon humanity: deep class divisions. Hunter-gatherers have little or no stored food, and no concentrated food sources, like an orchard or a herd of cows: they live off the wild plants and animals they obtain each day. Therefore, there can be no kings, no class of social parasites who grow fat on food seized from others. Only in a farming population could a healthy, non-producing elite set itself above the disease-ridden masses."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

a note on class and science fiction: robot

File:Capek play.jpg

"Robot" means worker. From Wikipedia:

The word robot was introduced to the public by the Czech interwar writer Karel Čapek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), published in 1920.[31] The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people called robots, though they are closer to the modern ideas of androids, creatures who can be mistaken for humans. They can plainly think for themselves, though they seem happy to serve. At issue is whether the robots are being exploited and the consequences of their treatment.
Karel Čapek himself did not coin the word. He wrote a short letter in reference to an etymology in the Oxford English Dictionary in which he named his brother, the painter and writer Josef Čapek, as its actual originator.[31]
In an article in the Czech journal Lidové noviny in 1933, he explained that he had originally wanted to call the creatures laboři ("workers", from Latin labor) or dělňasi(from Czech dělníci - "workers"). However, he did not like the word, and sought advice from his brother Josef, who suggested "roboti". The word robota means literally "corvée", "serf labor", and figuratively "drudgery" or "hard work" in Czech and also (more general) "work", "labor" in many Slavic languages (e.g.: Slovak,Polish, archaic Czech). Traditionally the robota was the work period a serf (corvée) had to give for his lord, typically 6 months of the year. The origin of the word is the Old Church Slavonic rabota "servitude" ("work" in contemporary Bulgarian and Russian), which in turn comes from the Indo-European root *orbh-.[32] Serfdomwas outlawed in 1848 in Bohemia, so at the time Čapek wrote R.U.R., usage of the term robota had broadened to include various types of work, but the obsolete sense of "serfdom" would still have been known.[33] It is not clear from which language Čapek took the radix "robot(a)". This question is not irrelevant, because its answer could help to reveal an original Čapek´s conception of robots. If from the modern Czech language, the notion of robot should be understood as an „automatic serf“ (it means a subordinated creature without own will). If from PolishRussian or Slovak (Karel Čapek and his brother were frequent visitors of Slovakia which in this time was a part of Czechoslovakia, because their father MUDr. Antonín Čapek from 1916 worked as a physician in Trenčianske Teplice.[34]), the word robotwould simply mean a „worker“ what is a more universal and neutral notion. The aspect of pronunciation probably also played a role in Čapek's final decision: In non-Slavic languages it is more easily to pronounce a word robot than dělňas or laboř.

socialist Bible verse of the day: Ephesians 4:28

"Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need." —Ephesians 4:28

This verse was cited by someone who claimed it supported capitalist Christianity: "let him labor". As is typical of people who think Christianity and capitalism go together, he ignored the reason: "that he may have something to give him who has need."

Or, as Louis Blanc said, "From each according to ability, to each according to need."