“Everyday Americans”

It’s the little things that sometimes reveal far more about ourselves than we realize.

Or, as Bob Chipman put it on Twitter, “Most revealing quote EVER.”


To be clear, this is not about picking on one person quoted in Time. It’s about the casual assumption behind a key portion of the quote. See if you can spot it.

Shannon Goodin, 24, Owosso, Mich. A first-time voter who doesn’t consider herself a Democrat or a Republican, Goodin says Trump earned her support by being "a big poster child for change," adding, "Politicians don’t appeal to us. Clinton would go out of her way to appeal to minorities, immigrants, but she didn’t really for everyday Americans."

Shannon Goodin, 24, Owosso, Mich. A first-time voter who doesn’t consider herself a Democrat or a Republican, Goodin says Trump earned her support by being “a big poster child for change,” adding, “Politicians don’t appeal to us. Clinton would go out of her way to appeal to minorities, immigrants, but she didn’t really for everyday Americans.”

“Minorities.”

“Immigrants.”

“EVERYDAY AMERICANS.”

See the problem here?

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Fixing a Few Memes

I came across some memes and other images in the past day or so that looked like they needed some fixing. I just thought I’d share.

First, we have a meme from a Facebook page called “The Advocates for Self-Government” (h/t Jason):

"Up until 1913 Americans kept all of their earnings. Despite this, America still had schools, roads, colleges, vast railroads, subways, and an army & navy. Tell me again why people need to be extorted?"

It shows a scene from a New York City street, circa 1913*. The text offers a pretty standard revisionist history of the United States prior to the Sixteenth Amendment, suggesting that the U.S. was doing just fine without federal income tax. Then, of course, it throws in the “taxation = theft” bit, which I’m not even going to bother refuting here because the people who make that argument are incapable of feeling intellectual shame. Continue reading

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Stay on target…

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will never be as good as it is in this moment, as I sit in the IMAX theater at the Bob Bullock State History Museum waiting for the movie to start.

Right now, the movie is pure anticipation.

Soon, it will be real. Whether it’s good, bad, or Phantom Menace, this moment will be lost forever.

Savor moments like this, my friends.

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Random Thoughts on Ruin Porn

Ruin porn is one of the more interesting “first-world” developments of recent years, at least in my humble opinion. For those unfamiliar with the concept, “urban exploration” involves visiting and photographing decaying areas, usually in cities.

You are God in the hell, you are Satan in the heaven.

There’s something hauntingly beautiful about many of these images, but at the same time, it feels extremely exploitative. Many of these most popular sites for urban exploration are in ruins because of ongoing economic crises (see “ruin porn” in Detroit. Lots and lots of Detroit.)

In the course of trying to clear out blog post drafts, I cam across many half-formed thoughts on this topic, as well as links to interesting examples. I figured I’d just try to distill everything down to one post here, even if it just means listing some of the links: Continue reading

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What I’m Reading, September 21, 2015

Police Officer Fired For Racial Bias After Falsely Claiming Black Man Attacked Her With Golf Club, Andy Campbell, Huffington Post, September 17, 2015

Seattle Police Officer Cynthia Whitlatch was fired Tuesday for showing racial bias and a lack of remorse when she improperly arrested a 69-year-old black man who was using a golf club as a cane.

“I was disappointed by your failure during your Loudermill hearing to take any responsibility, or show any understanding that your conduct at issue here was inappropriate,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole wrote in her decision to fire Whitlatch. “In particular, when I asked you what if anything you would do differently in retrospect, you stated that you would do nothing differently.”

‘The narrowing of opportunity in modern America’ (And the rise of the “mandarin” class), Nick Sorrentino, Against Crony Capitalism, February 15, 2015 Continue reading

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The Immortal Bob Ross

I meant to write a post about Bob Ross—he of the “happy little trees”—back in July, but…well, stuff happened. Once July ended, it kind of went on the back burner. Last week, however, College Humor published an article by Amir Khan entitled “15 Times Bob Ross Was EXTREMELY Bob Ross,” which offers a touching tribute to the man:

Bob, you taught us how to find those little happy trees within ourselves, and for that, we are eternally grateful.

The post is definitely worth a look.

By pumpkin46654, via College Humor

By pumpkin46654, via College Humor

Bob Ross, as you may know, hosted a public television show called “The Joy of Painting.” You might not think that this would be a path to a sort of superstardom, but here we are, talking about the man. I don’t think you could find anyone on Earth who, once they knew who Bob Ross is, wouldn’t love him, at least a little bit.

The Internet has been a gold mine of Bob Ross, from memes and animated GIFs to Autotuned music videos: Continue reading

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The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

Judge Leon M. Bazile (1965)
denying the motion of Richard and Mildred Loving to vacate their conviction for miscegenation

If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made. The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn the line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line.

Rev. Jerry Falwell
“Segregation or Integration: Which?” (1958) Continue reading

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8½ Rules of Privilege

As many beautifully-snarky people have pointed out in recent years, it’s getting harder and harder to be White, male, heterosexual, and/or cisgender in this country these days without having to occasionally think about one or more of these identities in ways that might make us uncomfortable. (Full disclosure: I am all of those things listed in the previous sentence.) I have the utmost faith that we can handle it, though, and that we will emerge better for it.

I only recently (i.e. in the past 4-5 years) came to understand the extent to which I do not have to consider how my race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. affect my daily life. Other people do not have that luxury.

I’m not talking about any great epiphany that I had. Really, the most important thing that I have come to understand and accept is this: with respect to people whose lives are not like mine, I don’t understand their daily reality, and I will never fully understand. To put it another way, I get that I don’t get it.

I’ve had numerous discussions on social media and in real life (yes, IRL conversations do still happen, even with people who live glued to a computer like me) recently about how to recognize and understand our various forms of privilege, and how it can be difficult because of the way our society tends to view most of my attributes (White, male, etc.) as the “default” setting.

As a sort of confession, I used to be of the mindset that racism, sexism, etc. were not my fault, because I never owned slaves, I hadn’t even been born when Mad Men took place, and so on. It’s a seductive view for someone who wants to be on the right side of history while keeping a perfectly clear conscience, but it’s not true. Continue reading

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Water Rationing for Rich People

Rancho Santa Fe, California is about to become subject to water rationing for the first time, and some residents aren’t happy, according to this Washington Post story that really has to be read to be believed (h/t Ned Resnikoff):

RANCHO SANTA FE, CALIF. — Drought or no drought, Steve Yuhas resents the idea that it is somehow shameful to be a water hog. If you can pay for it, he argues, you should get your water.

People “should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful,” Yuhas fumed recently on social media. “We pay significant property taxes based on where we live,” he added in an interview. “And, no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.

[Emphasis added.] Continue reading

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Identity Politics and Academia

I’ve seen a number of people recently post an article published on Vox, written by an anonymous college professor*, about the threats to his career and his “academic freedom” (whatever that term means anymore) posed by today’s college students and their “identity politics” (whatever that term means anymore).

I spent quite a bit of time deconstructing the article, at least in my mind. It’s worth noting that the anonymous professor only mentions one specific incident, in which a presumably conservative student reported him to the administration for having communist sympathies or something. That incident went nowhere.

I eventually came to the conclusion that the anonymous professor has a serious problem with regard to the tenuousness of his career, but that his beef is with his university, not his students. Why are professors’ jobs so shaky, and why are universities allegedly so quick to punish professors for offending people mostly age 18 to 22 (who are supposed to be there to learn from said professors)?

One could point to the increasing corporatization of academia, or the increasing tendency to treat students as consumers. Luckily, Amanda Taub, a fellow former-lawyer-turned-writer who deserves better than to be compared to me any more than that, addressed these issues quite thoroughly in a post at Vox. She notes that not only is there a serious problem in academic employment, but that many people are all too willing to dump the problem off on a bunch of teenagers, who make an easy target, quite frankly: Continue reading

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