Archive for the ‘Race and ethnicity’ Category

Come a long way, long way still to go

September 24, 2020

Things have improved, but still we’re far from the goal (and there are constant threats to take back the gains). The hymn for this time begins:

Lift ev’ry voice and sing
‘Til earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
… Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on ’til victory is won

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Latinx

September 22, 2020

From the Vox site “Latina, Latino, or LatinX? Here’s how the term came about: The gender-neutral term that’s supposed to be for everyone, well, isn’t” by Terry Blas on 10/23/19

The occasion for this posting is a net conference yesterday on latinx — referring to an orthographic form; also to its various pronunciations by speakers of Spanish; and especially to its choice as an racial/ethnic/cultural (self-)descriptor.

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The police

August 30, 2020

Yesterday on Facebook, Jeff Shaumeyer with a currently hot meme:

Inexplicably, there are still people in America who believe this is always true!

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED
THE POLICE LEAVE YOU ALONE IF YOU
AREN’T DOING ANYTHING ILLEGAL

A chain of responses followed (including a long unhappy response by me). Highlights below (reproduced here with permission).

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A diverse holiday

March 14, 2020

(Mostly an essay on American social practices and traditions, but with major helpings of manflesh and mansex, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

St. Patrick’s Day is the holiday. In the US, where its celebration is especially significant, it has taken on something of a carnival character, so of course there are gay porn sales for the holiday; gay men are ever bent on putting the carnal back in carnival, after all.

Meanwhile, at least in America, the saying is that on St. Patrick’s Day everybody is Irish. And in the US, we conspicuously — though very erratically — celebrate our diversity. So it’s not entirely a surprise that a brand of gay porn (the playfully and crudely named Peter Fever) devoted to the “highest quality Asian men, pants down” should undertake a big sale for St. Patrick’s Day. A sale including a bdsm porn flick set in the world of Japanese gangsters.

Now, that is diversity: go green, kinky queer yakuza!


(#1) Suit and Tied: Yakuza Control (“Submission, Obedience, Love, Deception”), with bdsm furniture in the background: dom Duncan Ku, subs Caged Jock (CJ), Tyler Slater

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NO PENGUINS

December 4, 2019

A generic penguin ban sign (sold on Amazon, a CD Visionary no-penguins button):


(#1) What’s banned? Spheniscid birds. Why? Who knows. (They smell. They steal fish. They get underfoot. Whatever.)

and a ban — in a list of prohibitions against public vice or indecency — on the door of Loretta’s Authentic Pralines on N. Rampart St. in New Orleans (photo from the TripAdvisor South Africa site):


(#2) What’s banned? Who knows. Why? Because they’re a vice (like drinking or smoking) or are indecent (like profanity or nudity), presumably the latter.

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Chocolate-covered amidst the statuary

September 21, 2019

Today’s Zippy takes us to the shore of Lake Erie, in the roadside realm of Dolly Dimples (but, startlingly, it will end with the minstrel-show character Rastus and the Cream of Wheat box; you never know where things will go these days):

(#1)

DD is actually selling chocolates, statuary, and tchotchkes, not hamburgers. Her head is indeed unrealistically gigantic, but even with this selling point she’s probably not going to leave Silver Lake NY to pursue a failed movie career in L.A. (note the whimsical tense-aspect-mood semantics of intending to pursue a failed career).

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The outrage of a new menu

September 18, 2019

Today’s Zippy takes us to the banks of the Connecticut River in Chicopee MA, to a historic diner, and to the bizarre foods that Zippy fancies:


(#1) If you’re Zippy, everything goes better with a dollop of Valvoline on it — and, maybe, some canned beets:

(#2)

Zippy and Gladys are in Al’s Diner, a well-known feature of Chicopee, a northern industrial city that took advantage of the falls on the Connecticut to drive mills — which then entangled the place in the slave economy of the early 18th century.

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Segregation in the soapy comics

September 15, 2019

Today’s Zippy takes us into the world of soap-opera comics, specifically those by Nick Dallis (with various collaborators):


(#1) Realistic cartoon characters from three Dallis strips: Rex Morgan, M.D.; Judge Parker; and Apartment 3-G (among other well-known soap opera strips: Mary Worth, Brenda Starr)

The characters in realistic cartoons are stylized sketches from life, while those in cartoony worlds are grossly exaggerated, some not even humanoid in form. Zippy himself is human (a Pinhead rather than a Roundhead) but cartoony — though as other Zippy strips have demonstrated, he can be made even more so (cartooniness is a recurrent theme in Bill Griffith’s world).

Then there’s the segregation theme, with realistic cartoon characters mostly taking the position that realistics and cartoonies shouldn’t mix in any way: stick / keep to your own kind! (Note the meta move of having cartoon characters espouse beliefs and attitudes about cartoon characters.) With the predictable tragedy of prejudice against mixed couples, joined by bonds of affection, sexual relationship, or matrimony.

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Giovanni in Ferragamo

September 11, 2019

In the NYT Style Magazine (Men’s Style) on-line on 9/5/19 (in print 9/8), a remarkable piece by Hilton Als, “‘Giovanni’s Room’ Revisited”, with the subtitle: “James Baldwin’s 1956 novel is a layered exploration of queer desire — and of the writer’s own sense of self”. The cover:

(#1)

Als’s text comes with an artful photo-essay illustrating a reimagining of the story of Giovanni’s Room as an interracial gay love story, each photo also serving as a men’s high-fashion spread, displaying extraordinarily expensive clothing from famous brands.

A jarring moment in modern culture.

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More dream linguistics

September 2, 2019

Every so often I have a spectacularly vivid dream in which the solution to some linguistic puzzle that’s been deviling me explodes in my mind. All I have to do is save it, in my mental cloud storage, until I can enter it into my computer. The idea is not only good and true, it is also very beautiful. Unfortunately, when I shake myself fully awake, I see that it is in fact crackpot crap.

So it was yesteday morning, after a sleep primed by a moving performance of Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times, Come Around No More” on my iTunes. The conviction that yes, that was it, that song was the answer to everything, persisted through three hazy toilet breaks, until I actually woke up and faced the hard truth that I didn’t even know what the question was. But, having had Anonymous 4 and Bruce Molsky take me to 1865 and into the world of the song, I was deeply sorrowful: hard times would surely come around again, and my linguistics was helpless against that bleak future.

I ended up spending the morning with Foster’s “Hard Times”, specifically mourning the tragedy of American chattel slavery, disasters of the 1850s, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the poverty of Appalachia and the Ozarks, but then dissolving into free-floating anxiety over everything from the Babylonian captivity to the madness of our king (and there’s an awful lot to weep over in between).

All this driven by the music.

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