Tea & Crackers, or Tea-Partying as Crackers

29 09 2010

. . .not to mention unchristian and unconstitutional.

Rolling Stone Magazine
October 15, 2010

Tea & Crackers:
How corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party monster

by Matt Taibbi
(Pinky-crooked cock of the snook to Rolfe Schmidt for the link.)

The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about . . .

So how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby for lower taxes for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street? That turns out to be easy.

. . . A loose definition of the Tea Party might be millions of pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid by the handful of banks and investment firms who advertise on Fox and CNBC.

Belief in gods isn’t being served up for tea, but isn’t that the real issue as always? I’m a American southerner raised on the Christian Bible and church suppers rather than tea and crackers, and I remember a verse that explains both the economic crisis and our crisis of faith that America can overcome it:
Timothy 6:10.

Three out of 10 children in the nation’s capital were living in poverty last year, with the number of poor African American children rising at a breathtaking rate, according to census statistics released Tuesday.

Is there anything in anybody’s holy book condemning willful ignorance and useful idiocy? If there isn’t, there oughtta be.

Tea Partiers expound at awesome length upon their cultural victimhood, surrounded as they are by America-haters like you and me or, in the case of foreign-born president Barack Obama, people who are literally not Americans in the way they are. . . they’re shockingly willing to believe . . .white people in the age of Obama are some kind of oppressed minority. That may not be racism, but it is incredibly, earth-shatteringly stupid.

. . .You look into the eyes of these people when you talk to them and they genuinely don’t see what the problem is. It’s no use explaining. . .

But if public education hasn’t COMPLETELY failed our nation, not this dramatically and dangerously at least, then surely even the earth-shatteringly stupid can grasp and employ the ecumenical ethic of “do unto others?” And if not, well, we Americans of any religion and no religion, of much and little intelligence, we’re all still okay as a people, yes? — we’re united by the unbreakable bonds of Read the rest of this entry »

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More Than Muslims, Remember Real Threat Today

11 09 2010

I’m a Southern girl born and bred. So I know a lot about burning — of books and flags and bridges, with passion and anger, repressed resentments and expressed bigotry. In my childhood culture, the resident gods saw everything in black and white and stayed too busy punishing teen sex with babies or at least shunning and damning Yankee carpetbaggers to hell from morning to night and twice on Sundays, to kindle culture war against furriner infidels.

The first book I loved enough to make me hate those who would burn it or ban it, was a bible as worth living by and dying for as any other, by god, the SOUTHERN bible — Gone With the Wind!

You never read it because it’s not your bible? Oh well, maybe you saw the movie, or at least a clip of the ignorant yet self-aggrandizing Prissy “don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ babies” as played by Butterfly McQueen, who as a real woman in real life read from many books and learned not to take its real meaning on faith:

What is the “faith of our forefathers” and how much faith does it have left in what’s right? Which identity is it we’re fighting to save, and which “them” is the real threat to it?

Their first class discussion was about the complex meaning of identity, thinking critically about how (and why) you define who you are as an individual within any society — or mob — relentlessly pressing individuals to conform with (often quite radical) norms.

Stubborn symbolic belief in “who we are” beyond all reason and science is all some folks have, the only story with any power to put them on top of a social group, and so they are willing to turn the sciences of larger society upside down, on the basis of that belief.

On this notorious day as Americans remember, reconstruct and reject both the best and worst of our national identity all at once — because whatever else we the people may be, we’re never easy! — the images of hate in my mind aren’t of burning towers but burning books, burning flags, burning bigotry and yes, burning flesh. Read the rest of this entry »





Which Vulnerability Do You Feel Most Keenly?

9 09 2010

“This is a battle over which vulnerability you feel more keenly,” he said.

Yikes, these words could apply to SO many aspects of current American life! Talk about Power of Story. Everything all at the same time even. Maybe challenge yourself and guess which, before you click through to see.

Have you stopped to really sort out which vulnerability YOU feel most keenly these days, and how that feeling is affecting your thinking? (I do this a lot because it keeps changing, hmmm. . .)





Believer or Not, You Won’t Believe This

5 09 2010

UPDATE Friday 3:42 pm: This is How the Media Embarrass Themselves

UPDATE Thursday early am: President Obama himself “as commander in chief” says the pastor needs to understand that this “stunt” could “greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform” and “it’s a recruitment bonanza for al Qaeda.”

UPDATE Wednesday 8 pm:

Deputy Chief Tim Hayes of the Gainesville Fire Dept., however, said that his department’s denial was not related to the content of the books but on a city ordinance which prohibits the burning of “newspaper, corrugated cardboard, container board or office paper, which are akin to books.”

No doubt, attendees from the Sarah Palin/Dr. Laura School of Law would regard it as an infringement of the Dove Outreach Center’s First Amendment rights, should a group of concerned citizens peacefully surround these book burners, whom Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe describes as a “tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community,” holding up signs which quote [Heinrich] Heine’s “Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people.”

UPDATE Wednesday 2:07 pm: He’s going forward. City of Gainesville says all yard book-burning is banned because the ink is toxic when burning and releases into the atmosphere. How poetic!

UPDATE Wednesday at 1:58 pm: TV news conference coming up, in which Pastor Jones reportedly “might” announce God has told him to back off the holy book-burning, waiting to see now, which is no doubt what he wants . . .

UPDATE Wednesday: Mrs C. has some thoughts on hate speech cloaked with religion Christian or Muslim, American or not: Burning the Koran

*****************

My hometown in Gainesville FL — one religious tax-dodging nut-job
there, to be more accurate — has ignited a state department-level
international incident! Seriously, thousands rioting in the streets
against America, or at least against what’s wrong with our right and its
abuse of our rights.

See full news below. Read it and weep.

But first a little background: last year at back-to-school time, Snook was blogging about school dress codes and uniforms, etc. I compared it all to my unschooled children’s freedom to dress as they pleased, thinking about and discussing the god-and-government control memes behind such clothing issues.

One of the stories I riffed about was from my hometown, in the school
system where I worked as an administrator and literally wrote the policy manual for everything, including dress as speech and conduct. Remember those t-shirts that screamed, “ISLAM IS OF THE DEVIL” in the first discussion? Read the rest of this entry »





Bipartisan Anger: Hyperbolic rhetoric threatens to swamp our politics

12 07 2010

(Comparing Britain’s fall from supremacy on the world stage, to America’s now)

“. . .America in 2010 hasn’t reached the self-deprecating Monty Python stage yet, but it’s not much of a stretch to see in Glenn Beck’s tirades, Lou Dobbs’s anti-immigrant screeds, and Sarah Palin’s faux nostalgia for the sunshine days, the nastiness and anger. . .
The offsets that used to restrict rage’s reach have started to break down; the walls sealing the anger off to a specific community or locale, or around a specific issue, have started to crumble. As a result, rage is becoming an ideology unto itself.”

CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION
July 11, 2010
Look Ahead in Anger:
Hyperbolic rhetoric threatens to swamp our politics

By Sasha Abramsky





Why Educate Our Kids? Dystopic Reality Burning Down Our House

17 06 2010

Do you love America?

Here’s a Thinking Parents’ introduction to America’s real power of story now that as a country, we collectively miseducate our kids about value (as in the value of college, competition, hard work, health, free markets, firearms, friends and family.)

Speaking of the value of family, it offers a whole new perspective on “family values” — how valuable in literal economic terms is your family to your children, and just how valuable is our American family to all the children? Do those answers reflect what Americans consider “family values” and what Howard Gardner describes as a curriculum of “truth, beauty and goodness” and if not, our own education couldn’t have been very valuable no matter how much we paid for it or can collect from it:

None of this is any news to anybody who works for a living. But almost nobody thinks about — or really wants to know — where this is taking us as a nation. . . . if those hideous expenses are what it takes just to give your kid a shot at a professional career so they can afford an increasingly expensive “normal ” life, whose kids are going to get those professional careers?

Rich kids, that’s who. And without picking on kids who were born into rich families through no fault of their own, going forward, all this boils down to an America with fewer and fewer career jobs parceled out to more and more people with better and better backgrounds, while more and more people have to make do with less and less.

It leads, in fact, to an America with a handful of people living what we now consider a “normal” life in gated communities with armed guards, and millions of people cast out of the corporate world and left to shift for themselves; a sort of sci-fi dystopia right out of RoboCop.

Politically, this is firewood stacked under the whole idea of America — a place where you’re judged by what you can do, and not who your grandparents were. And the worst part? This has nothing to do with left/right politics . . . we need to find ourselves a solution that allows most Americans to live like, well, Americans.

This will have to be a conversation that avoids comfortable bromides about the can-do American spirit, the greatness of the American People, or sneering at people “who won’t take jobs they think are beneath them”. We have to acknowledge the problem, find common ground, focus on practical solutions — and make them happen.

If we don’t, it will all go up in flames, eventually. That’s what happens when you’ve got a few people with everything, and millions with nothing to lose.

So the question is: Do you love America?





“Identity More Fluid” as Schooled Kids “Come Together in New Ways”

12 05 2010

What do you think, hope or horror?

Teenagers today have a dramatically different perspective on race and ethnicity than their parents did. Their views are driven by pop culture, by their moment in history and by virtue of having grown up in culturally diverse schools. . .

“It’s not to say that racism has gone away or disappeared,” said Milagros Peña, a sociology professor at the University of Florida. “It’s that kids have different ideas about race and diversity, and are coming together in new ways.”

. . .“Identity is a lot more fluid for this generation,” [Harvard doctoral student Anthony] Jack said.