Outliers

Since I am a documentary filmmaker, I am always looking for interesting topics to cover and one idea I’ve had for a long time is to feature black athletes in unusual sports.  Sure we all know about Tiger Woods, or the Williams sisters but those forays into country club sports barely register. I’m talking about the black hockey players, NASCAR drivers, and Bull Riders (not to mention Motocross). But in the end, while it has a small amount of Gee Whiz! factor, it’s basically just a talking dog story (lookit! that negro makes left turns just like us white folk!). 

And while I don’t subscribe to the post-racial version of America people tried peddle for a second, I don’t think race by itself is that interesting a subject anymore- not without class. Race is still (and should remain) an important part of understanding America, its history, and why society looks and functions (for some) the way it does today. James Baldwin could have the same career today, writing basically the same stuff. It’s just that I think that class has emerged in the last few decades (since Reagan) as the real third rail and it’s something we don’t really talk about. 

A perfect example of this is Wisconsin. As soon as the elections were over, everyone said that Wisconsin was a Tea Party win. They kicked out Feingold, elected Walker. It’s a sad and disheartening fact, but also well known, that Tea Party politics rely heavily on racial animus. ‘Take Our Country Back’ is freighted with meaning dependent on the speaker. 

But it turns out, the real story of the November ’10 elections wasn’t new and had little to do with whatever the Tea Party thinks it’s politics are. No it was the well worn tale of Republicans once again using fear to get (white) people to vote against their own (economic) interests.  Once in power they show their true colors and all hell breaks loose. You don’t need me to tell you, that’s why you’ve been blowing up Mother’s Jones’ website lately.

But something awesome happened on the way to another by now rote Thomas Frank editorial in Harpers. This guy showed up. A black, gay, Tea Party republican who despises unions and self-proclaims his membership in the top 1%. 
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(video of his confrontation of Wisc protestors can be found here. or here.)

My reaction to him is probably akin to you waking up next to Megan Fox. This guy’s very existence is like Viagra to Roger Ailles & Co. If he didn’t exist, Frank Luntz would have to create him, to negate all of your leftist, progressive, claptrap and hoist you on your own petard. After all, who amongst us could be more of a social pariah than a black, gay, male? Are there any fears the republicans stoke that are not included (or inferred) in those adjectives? (I suppose he could be a Muslim but that would be like having Regan’s birthday be celebrated every December 25th, too much right-wing awesome.)

Even though the laws of physics might preclude us from being in the same space, I HAVE to see MOAR. Yes. Yes to everything from now on. This gay Tea Party HERO exists, your argument is invalid. I no longer require scientific certainty about Bigfoot, Yeti or Loch Ness Monsters. Yes. Yes. And More Yes. I now have an answer for that boring interview question about who I would have dinner with dead or alive. 

Sure, we could over-analyze him* and assume he has been seduced into believing that his affluence provides a buffer against any issues relating to his race and sexuality; that is to say, in his circles, his class status renders his blackness and gayness irrelevant*. 

But not yet, not now. For just a little bit longer, I want to believe in transubstantiation, unicorns, and that tax cuts for the rich grow economies. I’ll wake up soon.  

*it’s an excellent analysis by the way. 

Truthfully their scorn bores me


Surrounded By Your Friends by Hooray For Earth

In Bloom

mind crime
post-diluvian darling
nearly baroque or stately
minor rackets
finely tuned ruptures
Here he comes now
his breath smelling of whiskey
I remain unafraid before
their sets & their fright-wigs
Strike my deals
in the maze, then get on with
“the real work”
Even in downtowns
glittering towers of luxury goods
turned around a plethora
truthfully their scorn bores me
I awaken doubting
my ideas warrant writing down
some influence of sleep
reveals doubt itself
is the writing, the mostobvious thing– precisely
what goes by unsaid
then comes thru your tinybits of hole in wax
to gather their absurd vocation
sudden independence, casually come by
heightened attenuation
in which i house my mute affections
& notice the prominent
features of the day
birds for instance, shuffling
themselves insidea magnolia tree’s interior
get it together between people
we who visitthis coastal city
& everyone’s heads
tall the way wind illustrates
bags & faces red signs
glint amid, blooms
you slough unhealthy weight
to score direct hits of

–Jason Morris

A screaming comes across the sky.

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I really want this book. 

“Far from the bridges and cable cars, hidden away behind the famous hills, there is another San Francisco Bay Area that most people never see. San Francisco’s Hunter’s Point and Fillmore District, West Oakland and Richmond’s Iron Triangle – in the 1970s these places on the edges of this great American metropolis offered Barry Shapiro an alternate reality where he pointed his lens.” 

Maybe I’ll use some of the tax re$und I just conned my uncle in to giving me. 
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How the local news sausage is made

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yeah. mind *blown*. 

To say that on the internet, going local is hot right now, is to have said a cliche, like saying you like bacon. 

[Sidebar: remember when you could just say you liked bacon, not bacon infused cupcake frosting, just “i enjoy a slice of bacon”? Now it feels like everybody looks at you like you’re self-satisfied at finally discovering Arcade Fire this year.] 

But it is true, local news, local advertising, local reviews by local people just like you! is all anyone wants to invest in right now. And if the fancy magazines and newspapers in New York are to be believed this trend is unstoppable. 

When you read a bit more though you realize they’re just describing the kind of local blog that already exists in a lot of places: 

Patch has hired hundreds of journalists, each equipped with a laptop computer, digital camera, cellphone and police scanner.

The journalists, which AOL calls local editors, generally earn $38,000 to $45,000 annually, and work from home. They are expected to publish up to five items daily — short articles, slide shows or video — in addition to overseeing freelance writers.        

But like recissionistas flocking to a groupon (getting food poisoning w/ 25 others @ Panda Express),  maybe we should slow down a bit. Maybe local news was left uncovered or lightly covered for a reason. Or do you think that maybe we need more coverage of every bursting sewer pipe? And in case you missed those, it was also linked to by at least one other site with a local focus.*

(Maybe I’m unnaturally biased because i live in a city where seemingly everyone’s experience on MUNI is blogged/twittered/facebooked/texted  in real time to people in line at Ike’s about to go to Dolores Park.)

*shouldn’t they be working on finding someone for their (White) People’s Guide to Bayview Hunters Point?   

no justice, no peace

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The Winkelvii, in San Francisco, (via NY MAG)

“What we do expect people to do is realize that whoever you are, whatever your background is, whatever amount of money’s at stake is irrelevant to the fact that in this country, justice is blind. And people should be rooting for justice, whether it’s us or someone else.”

Maybe we can fit them in between Malcom X and Nelson Mandela?
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