There was a post a while back, 10 Conversations On Racism I’m Sick Of Having With White People. The original started at The Chronicle, but LiveJournal is kind of weird, so a mirror image will have to do. There are comments, at the sourced post, that illustrate some of the points covered today.
I got to thinking about “10 Conversations”, and a reply began to take shape. I started a list of conversations the I am tired of having, and before you could say affirmative action, there were a dozen items. Many of these incidents have involved people of color, or POC. Many others have not. Often, the ethnicity of the other person has little importance to the discussion. Therefore, the title of this feature will not be racially specific. This monolog will probably not go viral, or even bacterial. Washing your hands might be a good idea when you are finished reading.
Meetings where one person does all the talking The word conversation implies that more than one person says something. Often, this does not happen. One person will talk for a while. Before person two finishes a sentence, person one will interrupt them.
This does not work. When the other person is talking, shut up and listen. Don’t be thinking of your clever comeback, but pay attention to what the other person is saying. What the other person says is just as important as what you say.
Listening is not valued in our culture. It is seen as a loss of control, a sign of weakness. It is really a sign of strength. If you are weak, you don’t want to allow the other person to say anything. Have you ever heard anyone boast about the clever things that they say to someone? Of course you have, just like you never hear anyone talk highly about himself because he is a good listener.
My question is not an excuse to make a speech. Some people have an agenda. Whatever you say is an obstacle to the message they want to broadcast. When you ask a question, some people think you are handing them the talking stick, to do whatever they want. When your eyes glaze over, they plow on, in total disregard to your discomfort, and lack of comprehension. It is almost as if they are talking to hear the sound of their own voice.
I’m not talking to you. If you are screaming something, anyone with earshot can hear you. Do not get offended if there is a reaction to your words, especially if it is subtly directed at the person you are not talking to. This applies to the internet as well, where all of humanity is *privy* to your innermost thoughts. Keep the farmyard meaning of *privy* in mind when sharing your innermost product.
Conversations should be with people. If you are a business, and you want to tell me something, send me a written message. Please refrain from using robocall machines. I feel very foolish talking to a machine, especially one that doesn’t understand southern english.
You don’t have to shout. The amount of truth in a statement is not increased by the volume of expression. If you are standing next to me, the odds are I can hear you in a normal tone of voice. If you are across the room, come stand next to me, rather than shout across the room. If your normal tone of voice is shouting, then you have a problem.
The same principal goes to controlling your temper. When you choose not to control your temper, you show disprespect to yourself, and the person you are talking to. There is no situation that cannot be made worse by angry speech.
Privilege Racial polemic is getting more subtle these days. We are not quite post racial, although there are rumors of a PostRacial apartment complex in Dickhater. The phrase that pays these days is Privilege. This is always something owned by the group you do not belong to. Last summer, I heard this quote in a discussion, and nearly fell out of my chair.
From the N word to POC. Labels for groups of people can cause problems. I have expressed myself on the N word before, and don’t have much to add. As for POC, that is even sillier. Colored people is an insult, but people of color is preferred. I am sure some of you have a terrific speech to ‘splain this, but I am not interested. My neck may be red, but that is a color. PWOC is an insult to my humanity, whether you are talking to me or not.
This is getting longer than the attention span of many readers. It might be continued at a later date. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
Andrew Sullivan had an uplifting feature, the other day, about obituaries. As is his custom, he found an article at another site, threw out a juicy quote, and moved on. It is up to Chamblee54 to provide more detail, and put up pictures for the text averse. These pictures today are from the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church cemetery. This is a repost.
It is a common practice to look at the obituaries (aka “Irish sports page”) first thing in the morning. If the reader is not included, then the day can proceed as normal. This custom does not take into account the possibility that you have died, and your family it too cheap to purchase a notice.
The article in question is THE DEAD BEAT CLUB Ten things you don’t know about the obit biz. It starts off by saying that the family members are usually happy to help the obit scribe. They have stories about the recently deceased, like ” Eddie “Bozo” Miller boasted of regularly drinking a dozen martinis before lunch, yet he lived to age eighty-nine.”
Newspapers take different approaches to obituaries. Some assign rookies, or use the death beat as punishment for troublemakers. Others give the job to their best writer. The paid notices are usually written by family members, with the help of the undertaker.
Of course, there is the occasional oddball. Alana Baranick, obituary writer for Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer and lead author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers , likes to visit every municipality in the United States named Cleveland.
One oft repeated saying is that obituaries are about life, not death. As the source puts it: “The British “quality” newspapers — The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Independent, substantiate the old chestnut about obituaries being about life, not death. These papers rarely mention the cause of death, focusing instead on presenting a vivid account of a lived life. American papers have an unhealthy fixation on death. It’s common for “complications of chronic pulmonary disease” or “bile duct cancer” to show up in the story’s lede, never to resurface.”
Only one obituary has won a Pulitzer prize. ” Leonard Warren, a Metropolitan Opera baritone, dropped dead mid-performance in 1960. Sanche de Gramont (who changed his name to Ted Morgan), a young rewrite man at the New York Herald Tribune, banged out the obit in under an hour and won a 1961 Pulitzer in the Local Reporting, Edition Time, category.”
There is an The International Association of Obituarists. The headquarters is in Dallas TX, presumably near a grassy knoll. They have an annual convention, which is said to be a lively affair. The 2005 conference was in Bath, England. The 2007 conference was in Alfred NY. There is also the Society of Professional Obituary Writers. (Many of the links, from the original edition of this post, are no longer working. No information is available about the IAO convention for 2014.)
IAO was founded by Carolyn Gilbert, the lady who puts the bitch in obituary. Ms. Gilbert collaborates on a page, Remembering The Passed. RTP has a series of podcasts. They require an apple app to listen, which is too much work for PG.
Death is a part of life. Every language has a word for it, and English has a number of slang expressions. An incomplete list would include : ““passed on”, “are no more”, “have ceased to be”, “expired and gone to meet their Maker”, “are bereft of life”, “have ceased to be”, “rest in peace”, “push up daisies”, “whose metabolic processes are now history”, “are off the twig”, “have kicked the bucket”, “shuffled off their mortal coil”, “run down the curtain” or “joined the Choir Invisible”
Columbia Journalism Review (Motto: Strong Press, Strong Democracy) has a feature about Obit. “Krishna Andavolu is the managing editor of Obit an online magazine intended for those interested in obituaries, epitaphs, elegies, postludes, retrospectives, grave rubbings, widow’s weeds, and other such memorabilia of expiration. Part eulogistic clearinghouse, part cultural review, Obit purports to examine life through the prism of death. Founded in 2007 by a wealthy New Jersey architect who sensed an exploitable niche after seeing a middle-aged woman distraught over the death of Captain Kangaroo, the site is a locus for enlightened morbidity.”
OM is worth a visit. The top story features a picture of Betty Ford, who survived Breast Cancer, Alcoholism, and The White House, to die at 93. The site has an ad from Newlymaid.com, with the creative suggestion to Trade In Your Old Bridesmaid Dress & Get a New Little Black Dress.
OM has a popular feature called Died on the same day. Grim reaper recruits on January 30 include Betsy Ross (1836), Orville Wright (1948), and Coretta Scott King (2006).
No google search is complete without someone trying to make money. Obituaries Professionally Written says ” … we believe in honoring a life with respect, dignity and integrity. When needed, euphemism is used liberally. “
OPW content provider Larken Bradley says “”Obituary writing is an honor, a privilege, and great fun … I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.”… After she dies she expects her obit headline will read, “Obituary Writer, Six Feet Under.”
PG listened to a radio show featuring John Lukacs, discussing his book The Hitler of History. The book has a lot of footnotes, and probably is not much fun to read.
LAMB (Brian Lamb, the host): All right. Here’s another one I wrote down. He was a thigh slapper.
Mr. LUKACS: Oh, well, that’s a very minor thing, but it has something to do with something very interesting. There is a photograph of Hitler that’s reproduced everywhere in history books. He’s dancing a jig. When the news comes to him that the French had surrendered, capitulated, that picture is fake. Long story behind this. There was a film strip with somebody faked up, you know, and so it gives the impression–makes him ridiculous, makes him jump up and, you know–no, he did not do this. He had a habit occasionally when he was very enthusiastic, very …slapping his thigh, you know. He didn’t do this very often. But that thigh s–slapping, through editing, through racing of the film, became a jig, and this enters many history books that Hitler couldn’t control himself, he was dancing a jig at this news. Not true. …
LAMB: How tall was he?
Mr. LUKACS: He was about–I can’t tell you exactly–I think 5’8″ or something like–5’9″. I tell you something that’s not in the book. I knew two people–don’t ask me who they were–who knew him rather intimately, two women. I knew other people who knew him, but they are very intelligent women. One of them’s a scholar, the other’s not, and don’t ask me their names. Both of them said, `You know, he had very ugly feet.’ This was news to me, a kind of feminine instinct. Independent of each other, they told me that.
There are some other things. Mr. Hitler never allowed himself to be photographed wearing glasses. Mr. Lukacs thinks the Winston Churchill had a great understanding of Adolph Hitler, which kept the allies from losing the war. Pictures for this post are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
The bosslady gave permission to leave at 1:30. The first problem was getting off the complex. There was a line of slow moving cars, going out the back door. Going up the hill, PG felt the beginnings of a skid. Atlanta is a city of hills. This did not look good.
Turning right onto Spring Road was the start of more waiting. It took about a half hour to get a few blocks away from the retail giant headquarters, across I285, and onto Cumberland Parkway. A decision was made to stay off I 285, and take Highway 41 over the river. It was a very slow go, with a few cars stopped completely in the road. After you got past Mt. Paran, the traffic cleared up a bit, and it was a smooth ride to West Paces Ferry.
West Paces was smooth going, until you got to Northside Drive. Then the cars were moving very, very slowly. It was a bit mysterious why. There was not much snow, and with all the cars on the main roads there was little ice. Of course, in Atlanta, GA, a snowstorm is time to panic. It is what we do.
When PG got to the Governor’s Mansion, he started to take pictures. It was 2:47 pm. A lady near Peachtree said that cars were not moving there either. The radio said that as bad as the surface streets were, the interstates were much worse. If that wasn’t enough, there was a fire at the Marta five points station. The passengers were going from Civic Center to Garnett Street on buses. When the trains started to roll again, it was single track on the north south lines.
West Paces Ferry became East Paces Ferry, and PG looked for a way to get to Peachtree Road. The side road took a long time to negotiate, but by that time the clock was a non issue. Peachtree was slow and sticky through Peachtree Dunwoody, although arguably not much worse than a regular rush hour. After crossing Peachtree Dunwoody, Peachtree mysteriously cleared up. PG went through the Redding Road underpass, over a few more roads, and far enough into his driveway to avoid the sliding cars. It was 5:00 pm. Three hours longer than usual.
One day in the eighth grade, PG had a sore spot in his eye. They called it a stye. One afternoon, he got out of school, walked to Lenox Square, saw a doctor, and got some eye drops.
When he left the doctor’s office, there was a man, standing in front of Rich’s on the sidewalk, selling a newspaper. He had blond hair down past his shoulders. PG asked what the newspaper was. Mostly politics, he said. PG gave him fifteen cents for a copy of “The Great Speckled Bird”.
The Bird was an underground newspaper. It was so bad, it needed to be buried. If you are under fifty, you have probably never seen one. These papers flourished for a while. The Bird was published from 1968 to 1976. The April 26, 1968 edition was volume one, number four. This was what PG bought that day.
The Georgia State University Library has a digital collection. Included in it are copies of The Great Speckled Bird. Included in this collection is edition Number Four. PG went looking for that first copy. He needed to be patient, for the GSU server took it’s time. Finally, the copy he asked for came up. It was mostly politics.
When PG saw page four, he knew it was the edition from forty four years ago. “Sergeant Pepper’s Vietnam Report” was the story of a young man sent to Nam. It had a paragraph that impressed young PG, and is reproduced here. The rest of the article is not that great, which is typical of most underground newspaper writing.
A couple of years later, PG spent the summer working at the Lenox Square Theater. The number two screen was a long skinny room. If you stood in the right place, you could hear the electric door openers of the Colonial Grocery store upstairs. The Bird salesmen were a feature at the mall that summer, which not everyone appreciated. This was the year of the second, and last, Atlanta Pop Festival. PG was not quite hip enough to make it. He was back in the city, taking tickets for “Fellini Satyricon”. The Bird was printing 26 pages an issue, with lots of ads, pictures, and the distinctive graphics of the era.
Stories about hippies, and the Bird, can be found at The Strip Project.
Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library” .
This is a repost, written like H.P. Lovecraft.
The link on facebook was a call to action. Anne Hathaway’s Reason For Leaving Acting Makes Me So Sad And It’s All Our Faults. This was puzzling to PG. He has little idea who Anne Hathaway is. It is a stretch to say that her career choice is his fault.
The linked article told a story. It seems that compared to another actor, Miss Hathaway is not very cool. After a year with two big roles, she only had a cameo last year. “Well, anyway, Hathaway listened and opted to step back, as one sometimes does when faced with thousands of people tell you that you suck in every possible way. In an interview with the Huffington Post, this brief response made me sad: [HuffPo:] You were very much part of our lives in 2012, but we didn’t see you much in 2013. I think people miss you. Hathaway: My impression is that people needed a break from me.”
The seminal feature, in a facility called The
Gross Gloss, did have a link to the quoted HuffPo feature. Miss Hathaway has not left acting. The HuffPo piece was written to promote a new film of Miss Hathaway. “I met Hathaway and first time director Kate Barker-Froyland here in Park City, Utah to discuss their new Sundance film, which had been five years in the making…”
The “needed a break from me” quote is included in the HuffPo. After “me,” the bracketed word [laughs] appears. Someone does not get the joke.
Later in the Gloss piece, there is a curious quote: “However, what really bums me out: in the past year, Hathaway was voted more annoying than Chris Brown.” This is based on a “poll,” Star magazine’s 20 Most Hated Celebrities in Hollywood.
There is good news in all of this. For those who say America is irredeemably racist, it is comforting to know that the top nineteen spots in the poll were taken by People With Out Color. Number twenty is Chris Brown. The fact that an African American can only be number twenty, on a list of the most hated celebrities, is an indication of racial progress. Taking Star magazine seriously is not as encouraging.
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
A couple of facebook friends put up a link to a post, “If I can’t accept you at your worst, then maybe you should stop being so horrible.” The post is about the cult of self esteem. Lots of folks have oodles of confidence in themselves, which is based on having oodles of confidence in themselves. This is an annoying way to live, and PG agrees with the author of the post.
Part of the problem is Jesus worship religion. As the bumper sticker says, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” Of course, many Christians are much better at being forgiven than they are at forgiving. If Jesus can die for your sins, why worry what a common sinner thinks?
The narrative drifts off course before long. The author discusses a quote… “If you can’t accept me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.”… “the original quote is from Marilyn Monroe. It’s even more vapid and nauseating when taken in its full context: “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Out of all the profundities ever uttered, what does it say about our society that THIS is the quote we’ve decided to take to heart?”
As veteran readers know, PG is suspicious of internet quotes. He went to the wikiquotes page for Miss Monroe, and did not find the quote. The next step is to google the quote. One of the results was Marilyn Monroe: That’s (Not) What She Said.
No one seems to know when Miss Monroe said this. The site linked above said the quote was out of character for Miss Monroe. This quote seems to be another figment of the digital imagination.
This makes the paragraph quoted above rather poignant. “It’s even more vapid and nauseating when taken in its full context … Out of all the profundities ever uttered, what does it say about our society that THIS is the quote we’ve decided to take to heart?” Maybe we should learn how to think critically.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
Christmas Bliss is the latest offering from Mary K. Andrews. CB is the continuing adventures of Weezie Foley and BeBe Loudermilk, BFF ladies in Savannah GA. The story is a page turner, and you will finish it before you want to. It is a book about South Georgia, where part of the story is a blizzard.
One of the ladies is about to have a baby. The other one is about to get married. Yes, there is a bit of confusion in that formula. Add previous marriage complications, well meaning family and friends, and New York City into the mix, and you have a very entertaining story.
Parts of the story are a bit over the top. The trip to New York is full of adventure, but really did not need to happen. The story of the previous husband is just not believable. The reality quota is helped by the baby shower from hell. That comes off as being just a bit too accurate. The reader goes along with it, and it is a good ride.
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The event is a fashion show, at “Mendel College for Fabric Knowledge.” The show was held April 21, 1969.