In the spring of 1963, KQED filmed a show, “Take this hammer”, about James Baldwin. The snippet in the video above seems to have been the last three minutes of the show. Here is a transcript. Mr. Baldwin discusses a six letter insult. The n-word is more about the speaker, than the spoken of. A 2010 blogger had this to say.
What resonated with me about this particular video though, is the universal experience we’ve all had being referred to, thought of as, or called something we inherently are not. Not because of something we’ve done, mind you – but because of the way others “interpret” us. Those of us that “transgress” gender norms are often given titles and names that don’t fit who we are – but are more representative of the fears and desires of others. I’ve often felt that people’s projections of me are oftentimes just that – their projections. However, Baldwin’s ending sums up a solution to this perfectly: “But you still think, I gather, that the n****r is necessary. Well he’s unnecessary to me – he must be necessary to you. Well, I’m going to give your problem back to you…you’re the n****r, baby…not me.”
It is now 2013. (All discussions of race must mention the year.) The TV show was fifty years ago. A few things have changed. To many white people, overt expressions of racism are seen as bad manners. The n-word is taboo in polite company. The overall attitudes may not have changed, but most white people are careful how they say things.
African America is keeping the n-word alive. But it is still about the speaker, not the one spoken of. When people say the nasty word, they are talking about themselves. They are now the people James Baldwin is talking about. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These men are Union soldiers, from the War Between the States.
A few weeks ago, this blog published a feature, James Baldwin And The Six Letter Word. At the center was selection of James Baldwin talking about the n word. There was a transcript available, which makes today’s exercise a lot easier.
Mr. Baldwin was discussing this nasty word, and offered an insight into who the user of this nasty word was really talking about. Now, there is another nasty word being casually tossed about these days. This other nasty word is racist. What would happen if you took Mr. Baldwin’s talk, and substituted racist for nasty? It is an interesting way to look at things. What follows is not a perfect fit, and may be offensive to some. A few times, it is very close to the truth.
Who is the racist? Well i know this…and anybody who has tried to live knows this. What you say about somebody else (you know) anybody else, reveals you. What I think of you as being is dictated by my own necessities, my own psychology, my own uhm fears…and desires. I’m not describing you when I talk about you…I’m describing me.
Now, here in this country we got somebody called a racist. It doesn’t in such terms, I beg you to remark, exist in any other country in the world. We have invented the racist. I didn’t invent him, white people invented him. I’ve always known, I had to know by the time I was seventeen years old, what you were describing was not me and what you were afraid of was not me. It had to be something else. You had invented it so it had to be something you were afraid of and you invested me with it.
Now if that’s so, no matter what you’ve done to me I can say to you this, and I mean it…I know you can’t do any more and I’ve got nothing to lose…and I know and I have always known you know and really always..…I have always known that I am not a racist…but if I am not the racist…and if it is true that your invention reveals you…then who is the racist?
I am not the victim here. I know one thing from another. I know that I was born, am gonna suffer and gonna die. And the only way that you can get through life is to know the worst things about it. I know that a person is more important than anything else. Anything else. I’ve learned this because I’ve had to learn it. But you still think, I gather, that the racist is necessary. Well he’s not necessary to me, so he must be necessary to you. So I give you your problem back. You’re the racist baby, it isn’t me. This is a double repost.
PG was listening to a podcast about atheists and religion. There was a comment about how prayer … the concept of talking to G-d … is often self aggrandizing. Duh. Why should the creator of the universe care about the budget problems at your church? One thought led to another, and soon PG remembered a series of brief conversations.
For those who are new to this blog, perhaps a bit of explanation is in order. PG is a recovering Baptist. He suspects that G-d does exist, even though the world would probably be a happier place without her. Whatever her status, G-d does not write books, or engage in real estate transactions. Jesus was killed because he was a troublemaker. The reputed exit from the grave has nothing to do with what happens to people when they die. PG is under no obligation to discuss any of these items.
At the time of these conversations, PG was in his last round of working for Redo Blue. He was based in Cobb County, making pickups and deliveries. As a mobile person operating in Cobb County, PG had frequent encounters with the Big Chicken. There is speculation that future civilizations will consider the Big Chicken to be an object of religious significance. PG decided to test the hypothesis.
When this story took place, PG enjoyed the “privilege” of making comments at PyroManiacs. One of the Pyros, Scent, was mean to PG. One day, while waiting at a red light on the Cobb Parkway, next to the Big Chicken, PG looked over at the sheet metal bird and said “G-d, what should I do about Scent?” “You should forgive him.”
A week or so later, PG was waiting at the same red light. Across the street from the Big Chicken was an “adult fantasy store” named Tantra. This combination of extra crispy poultry, and eastern sex magick, led to the next question. “Why does Jesus hate me?” “I don’t know.”
By and by on the four lane, the light turned red. PG turned down the radio. A traffic report was underway. “Hey G-d, whats happening?” “Don’t worry about me, listen to the traffic report”.
All parties must come to an end. One day PG asked a more serious question. “Are mom and dad ok?” There was no answer. PG began to feel sad, until he realized that this whole thing was becoming too serious. Even if Jesus worshipers obsess over the lifestyles of the dead, you do not need to imitate them. Just keep you seat belt fastened, and watch out for the nut behind the wheel.
This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
There is yet another internet quiz, How Southern Are You? When you get your score, you are invited to post the results on facebook. Do you add, or subtract, points for that?
There are ten multiple choice questions. The first one is “1. Which refreshing drink would you reach for on a hot summer day? Coca-Cola Sprite Sweet Tea Beer” If you are a retired drunk, who likes unsweet tea, it is ok to lie here. You have to keep up appearances. The same goes for question 2. The fact that the nearest Piggly Wiggly is one hundred miles away is of no concern.
Questions 5 and 8 are about language. Yes, the phrase “Bless your heart” means “I think you are ignorant,” but only if you are very polite. Number 8 is about Y’all, the word. The quiz only asks if you use it. It does not ask if you only use Y’all as a plural.
The first time around, PG got “You are 100% Southern.” Then he wanted to see if number 5 said “Bless your heart” or “Bless her heart.” You are probably more southern if you say the latter.
On this round, PG tried to be as unsouthern as possible. He knows better than to think a pig pickin’ is where you check out fat girls. Still, you have to do your research. On this round, the result was 3% Southern. “Well bless your heart! You don’t know the first thing about what it means to be Southern!”
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
When you publish a list like the one below, you are placing a target on your back. Above the bulls-eye is the word hypocrite. PG does not claim to take all of these suggestions. What follows is a goal to work for, not a script for situation comedy.
When in doubt, shut up.
A halo is best worn over one ear.
If you want to be forgiven, forgive. If you want to be understood, understand.
There are few situations that cannot be made worse with anger and loud talk.
You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk.
A douche is a hygiene appliance. The verb form refers to using this device for cleaning purposes. Neither the noun, nor the verb, is appropriate as an insult.
A sentence has one period, placed at the end. Do not place a period after every word to make a point. You should find another way to show that you really, really mean it.
Not everyone enjoys the sound of your voice as much as you do.
Ass is a noun. It refers to either a donkey, or a butt. It is not an adverb, nor an adjective. Do not place ass between an adjective and a noun.
Before you “call out” somebody for “racism”, drape a towel over your mirror.
The third commandment says to not use the word G-d “in vain”. The G word should only be used for worship, and respectful discussion. Improper uses include expressing anger, swearing, selling life insurance, and pledging “allegiance” to a symbol of nationalism.
Pictures are from the The Library of Congress. This is a repost.
PG is an old fogie. An example might be last night. He stayed home, listening to stuff on the internet, and working on pictures. Facebook can bring a sample of the real world into a boring life.
just another night of queens, fags and a 6 person lesbian restroom fight that resulted in a trash can catching on fire(?), shutting the bar down(?) leaving everyone to fight for their life and escape just in time to see a misplaced hetero trying to conceal the fact that he is puking his guts out in front of everyone with his beer still in his hand. …I feel so PG…
While this was going on, PG was listening to a podcast. Allan Gurganus was on yet another radio show, promoting yet another book. At 13:25 in the show, Mr. Gurganus says “I’m not an ironist. That’s why I’m worth reading.”
Twitter to the rescue. Retweeted by thefieldnegro HoodiesUpMusicLoud™ @MrMilitantNegro This is what racist dumbfuckery looks like: Was Michelle Obama really born as a man?
People in the spotlight are the target of rumors. It is part of the game. Some of them are far fetched. When the FLOTUS is a WOC, this nonsense becomes “racist.”
Here is the story: Shocking New Revelation about Michelle Obama: A Must Read, Christwire Exclusive. The story was in Christwire. CW is a satirical website, sort of like the Onion on crystal meth. A lot of people don’t get the joke.
The current edition of Christwire has a story, One Hit Wonder Cher Once a Peace Activist Now Promotes Hate & Violence. There is a picture. It shows what Cher might look like today, without the plastic surgery. She could have a new career in horror movies.
The FLOTUS story was picked up by the popup ad happy Examiner. In the best internet tradition, the comments are better than the story. “The First Yeti’s look is uncanny ~ Many wonder if she is a tranny ~ Perhaps she’s got a knack ~ To tuck her gear back ~ And carry it in her fanny?
Pictures by “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
On July 10, 2014, Tommy Lee Waldrip is scheduled to be put to death by the State of Georgia. GDC ID: 0000204612 was convicted of the murder of Keith Evans, on Saturday, April 13, 1991. Mr. Evans was 23 years old, when he was murdered 23 years ago. Murderpedia tells the story.
Tommy Lee Waldrip was convicted of the malice murder of Keith Lloyd Evans … The jury was authorized to find that appellant (Tommy Lee Waldrip) murdered Keith Evans to prevent Evans from testifying against his son, John Mark Waldrip, at his armed robbery retrial in Forsyth County. Evans, who worked as a clerk in the store at the time of the robbery, testified as the State’s sole eyewitness at John Mark’s first trial in 1990…. On Saturday afternoon, two days before the retrial was scheduled to begin, the appellant and his co-indictees, John Mark and appellant’s brother-in-law, Howard Livingston, drove to Cleveland, Georgia …That evening, John Mark called Robert Garner, who was also scheduled to testify against him at the retrial, and threatened to harm Garner if he testified.
At approximately 9:30 p.m. appellant and John Mark left appellant’s apartment in appellant’s wife’s Ford Tempo. Sometime between 10:30 p.m. and midnight, the co-indictees met Evans at a highway crossing in Dawson County. After running Evans’ truck off the road, they shot at him through the windshield. He was hit with birdshot from a shotgun in the face and neck. Since Evans was still alive, the co-indictees drove his truck, with Evans in the passenger seat, to Hugh Stowers Road in Dawson County, where they beat him to death with a blackjack. They buried Evans’ body in a shallow grave in Gilmer County and set his truck on fire.
The fire was reported at approximately 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning. A current insurance card for the Ford Tempo, belonging to appellant’s wife, Linda Waldrip, was found near the burned truck. Appellant was interviewed on Sunday afternoon and denied any involvement in Evans’ disappearance. During the interview, Linda Waldrip was asked for her insurance card for the Ford Tempo, and she produced an expired card.
John Mark’s retrial for armed robbery did not take place. On Monday morning, Keith Evans was missing and Garner refused to testify against John Mark. Garner informed the district attorney of the threats made against him. John Mark was arrested and charged with influencing a witness.
Appellant was arrested on Tuesday, and on Thursday, confessed to shooting and beating the victim and burning his truck. He then led authorities to the victim’s body, and later, to the shotgun.
The following day, appellant gave a conflicting statement, in which he contended that John Mark and Livingston murdered the victim and burned his truck, and that he was merely a bystander. Appellant gave a third statement in which he related that all three of the co-indictees participated in the crimes.
All of the people in this case are white. The last man executed in Georgia, Marcus Wellons, was black. There seems to be a pattern. Whenever Georgia executes a man, the next one is usually of a different race. It is not known if this is intentional.
David J. Kessler is an attorney. He worked on Mr. Waldrip’s case. He wrote a piece for Toledo Law Review about his experience. It is not copy friendly, so there will be few quotes here. If you have the time, and legal documents do not cause brain damage, his story is worth reading.
Apparently, Tommy Lee Waldrip is mentally ill. How this illness manifests itself was not specified. He confessed to the murder three times, but gave a different story all three times. The confession is the centerpiece of the state’s case. Outside of the insurance card, there is little physical evidence linking Mr. Waldrip to the crime.
Mr. Kessler went through thousands of pages of evidence. The authorities did not give up the documents easily. In one of the documents, Mr. Kessler found this: “Tommy was initially interviewed by [the Sheriff], however, he asked for an attorney and the interview was terminated.”
A casual observer might wonder why this case is such a big deal. While unpleasant for Mr. Evans, the crime is not nearly as heinous as many on death row. For some reason, the state pushed this one, and Mr. Waldrip is scheduled to die Thursday night.
UPDATE On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles changed the sentence to life without parole.
There will be no execution. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
People often try to justify their opinions by saying that the “founding fathers” agree with them. They often are guilty of selective use of history. A good place to start would be to define what we mean by the phrase founding fathers. This is a repost.
The FF word was not used before 1916. A senator from Ohio named Warren Harding used the phrase in the keynote address of the 1916 Republican convention. Mr. Harding was elected President in 1920, and is regarded as perhaps the most corrupt man to ever hold the office.
There are two groups of men who could be considered the founding fathers. (The fathers part is correct. Both groups are 100% white male.) The Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence, which cut the ties to England. Eleven years later, the Constitutional Convention wrote the Constitution that governs America today. While the Continental Congress was braver, the Constitution is the document that tells our government how to function. For the purposes of this feature, the men of the Constitutional Convention are the founding fathers.
Before moving on, we should remember eight men who signed the Declaration of Independence, and later attended the Constitutional Convention. Both documents were signed by George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, George Read, Roger Sherman, and James Wilson. George Wythe left the Convention without signing the new document. Elbridge Gerry (the namesake of gerrymandering) refused to sign the Constitution because it did not have a Bill of Rights.
The original topic of this discussion was about whether the founding fathers owned slaves. Many people wonder about this. If you go to google, and type in “did the founding fathers”, the first four answers are owned slaves, believed in G-d, have a death wish, and smoke weed.
The answer, to the obvious question, is an obvious answer. Yes, many of the founding fathers owned slaves. A name by name rundown of the 39 signatories of the Constitution was not done for this blogpost. There is this revealing comment at wiki answers about the prevalence of slave ownership. “John Adams, his second cousin Samuel Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Paine were the only men who are traditionally known as founding fathers who did not own slaves.
Benjamin Franklin was indeed a founder of the Abolitionist Society, but he owned two slaves, named King and George. Franklin’s newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette routinely ran ads for sale or purchase of slaves.
Patrick Henry is another founding father who owned slaves, although his speeches would make one think otherwise. Despite his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech, he had up to 70 slaves at a time. He did apologize from time to time. He knew it was wrong, he was accountable to his God, and bemoaned the “general inconvenience of living without them.”
Patrick Henry was a star of the Revolution, but not present at the Constitutional Convention. The author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, was in Europe during the convention. Mr. Jefferson not only owned slaves, he took one to be his mistress, and kidsmama.
One of the more controversial features of the Constitution is the 3/5 rule. Here are the original words “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” In other words, a slave was only considered to be 60% of a person.
This is offensive to people today. It was a compromise. The agricultural southern states did not want to give up their slaves. The northern states did not want to give up Congressional representation. This was the first of many compromises made about slavery, ending with the War between the States. This webpage goes into more detail about the nature of slavery.
The research for this feature turned up a rather cynical document called The myth of the “Founding Fathers” . It is written by Adolph Nixon. He asks : “most rational persons realize that such political mythology is sheer nonsense, but it begs the question, who were the Founding Fathers and what makes them so great that they’re wiser than you are?”
Mr. Nixon reviews the 39 white men who signed the Constitution. He does not follow the rule, if you can’t say anything nice about someone, then don’t say anything at all. Of the 39, 12 were specified as slave owners, with many tagged as “slave breeders”.
The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, have served America well. However it was intended, it was written so that it could be amended, and to grow with the young republic. It has on occasion been ignored (when was the last time Congress declared war?). However fine a document it is, it was created by men. These were men of their time, who could not have foreseen the changes that America has gone through. Those who talk the most about the founding fathers know the least about them.
A big thank you goes to wikipedia
This is a double repost from July 2008. It was repeated in 2012. They were originally posted in a red, white, and blue font. This is one mistake which will not be repeated, at least not today.
Both features are on the theme of patriotism for skeptics. America has given me a good life, and I appreciate this. The problem is crooks and liars who make patriotic noise while robbing you blind. They think that waving the flag will distract you from their thievery, and often they are right.
These features were originally posted sixty months ago. A few things have happened in that time. The economy has gone from bad to horrific. Lots of carbon dioxide has been pumped into the atmosphere, which may not affect us for a while, but probably will. The Gulf of Mexico has been poisoned. Israel killed women and children in Gaza, and is threatening to do the same in Iran. Meanwhile, Iran had a crooked election, and the people fought back. This is similar to what is going on in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria.
The US dollar, with all its problems, is still the preferred currency of the world. There was speculation a while back that the Euro would replace the dollar in this role. The Euro is in worse shape than the dollar these days. All is not hopeless.
The U S of A elected a dark skinned man POTUS. Many said that race relations would be different, but that has not worked out very well. The combat troops were withdrawn from Iraq, but Babylon is still in a world of hurt. The new POTUS discovered the wonders of robomurder eight time zones away, and has wasted many women and children. Nuclear armed Pakistan gets more edgy every day. Maybe the best thing to do is live in the past, and enjoy some repeat posts. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These images are Union Soldiers from the War Between The States.
The following is a repost . It was originally published in a red, white, and blue font. As a service to the readers, today’s posting will be in green. Yellowdoggrannie is going strong, and has not forgiven W.
I read an item at yellowdoggrannie’s place this morning. It was a link to a video about the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. (The link does not work anymore. The video is probably available somewhere.) YDG said it made her cry. It set off my BS detector. I am not a history buff. I do know that the War of 1812 was not the most glorious part of American History.
In 1812, Napoleon was on a rampage, but about to screw up. He invaded Russia on June 24, just six days after the U.S. Congress gave approval to “Mr. Madison’s War”. According to St. Wikipedia, the declaration passed by the smallest margin of any war declaration in American History.
The War was caused by several things. The British were “impressing” sailors for duty in their Navy. Among the deserters and British subjects were some Americans. The British were supporting the Native Americans who were fighting the white man. There was also some talk (in Washington) about annexing territory in Canada, either to keep, or to use as a bargaining chip with the British.
On the East side of the Atlantic, England had a change of government at this time, towards a regime that wanted peace with America. This being the early nineteenth century, word of this development did not make it to America in time to stop the War.
The War went on for a couple of years. It distracted the British from fighting Napoleon, and was a strain on the young American republic. In the Summer of 1814, negotiations were underway to end the conflict. The British launched a few military campaigns to put pressure on the U.S.A. Washington D.C. was captured and burned. The next move was the capture of Baltimore.
This is where the video begins its tale. Where the video said hundreds of British ships, Wikipedia says 19. An attorney, Francis Scott Key, was negotiating the release of an American POW. He secured his release, but they could not leave until the bombardment of Fort McHenry was complete.Here is an account of the story:At Fort McHenry, some 1,000 soldiers under the command of Major George Armistead awaited the British naval bombardment…. The attack began in the evening of September 13, as the British fleet of some nineteen ships began pounding the fort with Congreve rockets (from rocket vessel HMS Erebus) and mortar shells (from bomb vessels HMS Terror, HMS Volcano, HMS Meteor, HMS Devastation, and HMS Aetna). After an initial exchange of fire, the British fleet withdrew to just beyond the range of Fort McHenry’s cannons and continued to bombard the American redoubts for the next 25 hours.Although 1,500 to 1,800 cannonballs were launched at the fort, damage was minimal.
After nightfall, Cochrane ordered a landing to be made by medium boats to the shore just west of the fort, away from the harbor opening on which the fort’s defense was concentrated….Operating in darkness and in foul weather, the diversionary attack failed. On the morning of September 14, the 30 ft (9.1 m) × 42 ft oversized American flag, which had been made a few months before by local flagmaker Mary Pickersgill and her 13 year old daughter, flew over Fort McHenry, and Cochrane and Brooke knew that victory had eluded them
Mr. Key saw the flag the next day. He wrote a poem to the tune of a British drinking song, “To Anacreon in Heaven”. The song was made the National Anthem in 1931, and has been (badly) sung ever since. Two extra words, “Play Ball”, were added later.
On September 24, the Treaty of Ghent ended the conflict. The verdict was “status quo ante bellum”. In other words, nothing was changed by the death of those men. The war was, in effect, over when the Battle of Baltimore was fought. The word of the treaty did not reach America for a few weeks. (The Battle of New Orleans was fought after the end of the War.)
The video said the Flag at Fort McHenry was held up through the night by men, many of whom died. This might be true. It is also true that the negotiations were about to yield fruit. It would take a few weeks for word of the Battle of Baltimore to reach Europe, at which point the War was already over. Status Quo Ante Bellum.
Patriotism is one of the games that almost everyone plays. The rules seem to vary.
In 1967, JSM was flying planes in Nam, I was in the eighth grade, and BHO was in the first grade. He was in Hawaii, which might have been where JSM went for R&R if Hanoi did not have other ideas. America was about to hit a turning point about the Vietnam War. At first people were supportive, albeit without much enthusiasm. Opposition started to arise, and was frequently confused with treason. As the war dragged on, the homefront began to see things differently.
To this reporter, many of the patriots of 1967 were the ones who opposed the war. The conflict in Indochina was to cause many problems for the United States. Eventually, Richard Nixon got a fig leaf treaty that he called Peace with Honor. The early opposition was heard, but not after losing more than fifty eight thousand fine men.
That is the first way to be a patriot…to keep an eye on the government, and speak out in opposition when it is needed. Another way is to keep the United States strong and healthy. One way to do this is work hard and pay taxes. Now, the conservative windbags whine loudly about paying taxes. They want to pay for the current war by cutting taxes to make the economy grow. If we had no taxes at all the economy would grow even more.
The war in Babylon was an experiment in war without sacrifice. There was a tax cut when it was apparent we were planning an invasion. The national debt has gone out of control, and the federal reserve bank has cut the interest rates. The result is that the dollar is not worth as much as it once was. The oil market is based on the dollar. Oil is just as valuable as ever. The dollar is not, and it takes more dollars to buy a barrel of oil. This is an important factor in the rise of gas prices.
The way to keep America strong is to follow the three basic rules of the workplace: show up, stay awake, don’t kill anyone The citizens of the United States are a remarkable group of people. One way to be a patriot is to show respect for these people, and for yourself.
One way to help is to quit consuming so much. Drive smarter, and we would not need as much gasoline. We would not be so big if we ate less. Put a sweater on in the winter instead of turning up the thermostat. We are heading in this direction, but have a way to go.
Much of what you hear and read is not true. The so called conservatives are just as guilty as the so called mainstream media. Think for yourself. The freedom to think is a part of America that you are sometimes discouraged from exercising, but it is important.
This is a dangerous world, and we have a military to keep them away from our borders. We are also involved in a tough war of our own choosing. It is to be hoped that our next President will find an acceptable conclusion to this conflict.
Meanwhile, this is the fourth of july. It is a day to enjoy the good life we have here. America is a fine country. It has given me a good life. While I am not blind to the problems, there is no where else I would rather be. 2013 UPDATE The economy is marginally better today, although many people have not benefited. The American troops are out of Iraq, and that country is having problems. BHO was reelected in 2012. Race relations in America are no better, and in some ways worse. Some things have changed, some remain the same. 2014 UPDATE“It is to be hoped that our next President will find an acceptable conclusion to this conflict.”