For most of the last 30 years, Democrats have been on the run.
Ever since the Reagan Revolution overwhelmed them — 525-13 in the 1984 electoral college vote; 58 new House members in the 1980 election — Democrats have been running away from the principles and programs that drove them to create the New Deal and the Great Society. Democrats have tried to become the party of “kind cruelty”: the Democrats promised to screw the poor and the vulnerable slightly less than the Republicans would.
As a practical matter, what this has meant is that political campaigns over the last 30 years have mostly been fought on Republican terms. Budgets, social welfare cuts, and strong-on-defense have been the dominant themes of the era. 9/11 and Bill Clinton’s wandering eye put the Democrats back on their heels, afraid to advance any program unless they offset their proposals with equivalent budget cuts. They played “small ball” and hoped the Republicans wouldn’t hurt them too badly.
In response, and entirely appropriately under the rules of politics, the Republicans went for the jugular. They saw an opportunity to remake the politics of the era largely unchallenged by an “opposition” party. They raised defense spending, promoted the national security state, and pushed legislation to make it difficult to unionize but easy to pass wealth across generations. All the while, it should be added, cutting taxes in ways that dramatically favored the wealthiest Americans.
But there was more to it than policy. The Republicans practiced culture war, too. Democrats became tax and spenders who wanted to give poor people all the money from hard working people, all so they and anyone else who wanted one could have an abortion. Meanwhile, the supposedly effete liberals who ran the party were alleged to care more about making the French happy and undermining “real” America in support of gays and minorities than doing what was best for America. Trust me: “death panels” was just one more in a long string of Republican efforts to marginalize the Democratic Party as dangerous and untrustworthy.
And who knows? If Bush hadn’t gone to Iraq, it all might have worked.
The last straw in this political game may well have been the election of 2010. Democrats appear to have realized that their efforts to compromise over health care, and the budget, and social programs and everything else in political life actually cost them votes and power. (To be fair, Republicans would argue that Democrats’ “compromises” weren’t real compromises.) From the Democrats’ point of view, being nice, being afraid to embrace their principles, and fighting on Republicans’ terms simply didn’t work.
Now they appear to have changed their tune. They seem to have embraced “Obamacare” and gays in the military and women’s right to choose, all while embracing a muscular foreign policy and free market economics. The basic spirit seems to be, “this is what we stand for. If you like it, vote for us. If not, don’t.”
What’s been interesting about this is that is seems to have surprised the Republicans. The Republicans seem to be playing from the “old” playbook of “scary Democrats.” But this time, rather than cringing, the Democrats seem to be embracing the ideas and attitudes that they were once pummeled with.
Who knows if this will work. Who knows if it will last more than a few weeks, or even more than one election cycle. But it is quite a change. And while I certainly don’t like everything the Democratic Party advocates, I can say I like the forthright approach. At least I — and all the rest of us — will know what we’re voting for or against.
And that is something to celebrate.
Unity Valkyrie Mitford
This somewhat misunderstood and mysterious Woman
has always held my attention at one point or another since I was a very young lad. I first remember seeing her on a show about British Fascism along with her sister Diana. And I shall tell you folks why she will ALWAYS be a part of me and my heart.
Unity Mitford was born in London, England to David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, conceived in the town of Swastika, Ontario where her family had gold mines. She came from a large family with five sisters and one brother and found life in her big family very difficult because she came after these cleverer, prettier, more accomplished sisters which made it somewhat hard to assert her individuality, and I think through the experience of trying to force her way forward among the sisters and in the family. Educated at St Margaret’s School, she began to feel suffocated and tried many times to assert her independence not only from her family, but from the societal norms then in place in Britain.
Around the the early 1930s she had found Adolf Hitler and Mussolini, due in part to her sister Diana’s affair to Sir Oswald Mosley with whom she would later be married to.
This lead to conflict early in her life: Her younger sister, Jessica, with whom she shared a bedroom, was a dedicated communist. They had many times argued over political views and as such, the two drew a chalk line down the middle. One side was decorated with hammer and sickles and pictures of Vladimir Lenin, and the other decorated with swastikas and pictures of Adolf Hitler. Mosley’s son, Nicholas, stated that: “Unity became a very extrovert member of the party, which was her way of breaking out of her shell. She joined my father’s party and she used to turn up, she used to go around in a black shirt uniform, and she used to turn up at communist meetings and she used to do the fascist salute and heckle the speaker. That was the sort of person she was”
Her Arrival in Germany
Mitford returned to Germany in the summer of 1934, enrolling in a language school in Munich close to the Nazi Party headquarters. There she had became obsessed with meeting Hitler, to the point of stalking the Osteria Bavaria, a place often frequented by Adolf Hitler and some of his close supporters. When finally her day of destiny arrived, after ten months of stalking Hitler, he asked her audience. Struck by her middle name and her beauty, as well as her knowledge of ‘Germanic culture’.
Hitler was extremely superstitious, and he believed that Unity was sort of sent to him, it was destined. Mitford subsequently received invitations to party rallies and state occasions, and was described by Hitler as “a perfect specimen of Aryan womanhood.
This meeting would change her life and set her on the path to inevitable destruction.
She would become part of his inner-circle for 5 years and would appear at various events such as the 36 Olympic, the Anschluß and the Bayreuther Festspiele, where Adolf Hitler had warned her and her sister Diana of Germany and her home country’s inevitable conflict was inevitable within weeks. Diana returned to England where she was arrested and imprisoned, while Unity chose to stay.
Her family pleaded with her in letters, to which she replied: If there was a war, which of course we all terribly hoped there might not be, I will kill myself because I in my heart cannot bear to live and see these two countries tearing each other to pieces, both of which I love and hold dear.”
The English Garden
This is one of my all time favorite Unity Valkyrie Mitford stories. One of her favorite haunts was the English Garden in Munich, which was located across from her apartment. One day some of the folks who also lived in her apartment came home to find their radios where missing, around 10 to 15 radios. Upon the realization of this, they then heard a dirge coming from the English Garden where to their discovery had found Unity laying in the sun with all the radios tuned to different frequencies making a cacophony of noise. This more or less puts her FAR beyond NON and Throbbing Gristle and countless other Industrial music and Noise bands. Unity Mitford is the first known noise musician, so take that and shove it up your wazoo boys!
When it was realized by Unity Mitford that war between her countries was a reality, Unity went to the English Garden in Munich, took a pearl-handled pistol, given to her by Hitler for protection, and shot herself in the head. Surviving the suicide attempt she was hospitalized in Munich, where she was visited by Hitler, despite the on-going war. He paid her bills and arranged for her return home.
The Return Home
While not jailed due to her injuries, she was not the same person. The injury which could not be treated had devastated all who knew her and in 1948 she had succumbed to her injuries and passed away. She was mourned “Her sisters, even those who deplored her politics and hated her association with Hitler, mourned her deeply.” She was buried at Swinbrook Churchyard. Her gravestone reads, “Say not the struggle naught availeth.”
“What began as an artistic curiosity for Deborah Willis turned into a sociological discussion a decade later.
Willis is the curator of “Posing Beauty in African American Culture,” an exhibit opening today at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport.
“I’d been interested in looking at the history of beauty in African-American culture and how it has been basically ignored as a conversation in art,” Willis said from her office at New York University, where she is the chair of and a professor in the photography and imaging department.
“I decided to look at beauty from the aspect of empowering and segregation. During the civil rights movement, there was evidence of people trying to debase black people based on difference,” she continued. “So I wanted to look at beauty in a different way, look how both black and white photographers photographed the black community.”
Willis combed through the photos in the archives of museums throughout the country, including the University of Iowa.
“When I conducted the research, I was amazed at the array of images that were there but had never circulated in a collection,” she said.
She found photographs dating to the 1890s, such as a portrait called “Desert Queen” and a beauty pageant for black women.
“Not objectifying women in terms of objects, but finding a sense of self-worth in a 30-year period after slavery,” Willis said. “People were not looking at them as desirable.”
The traveling exhibit, which continues through Nov. 4, has been touring the country for four years and spawned a book of the same title.
Willis, who will appear at the Figge to discuss the exhibit Sept. 27, said that “idealized beauty” has always been viewed “through the lens of the white woman.”
“That’s the negotiating that causes the basic trouble of how they look at the body,” she said.
The response to the exhibit, she said, has been beyond what she imagined.
“I was thrilled about it, but people were amazed. They were shocked,” she said. “Some people, in terms of blacks, said, ‘I didn’t know we looked like that.’
“It was heartbreaking to hear that.” “
This is a resource post for all the Good White Person™s out there. You know, the ones who say things like “It’s not my fault I’m white! Don’t generalize white people!”, or “I’m appreciating your culture! You should be proud!”, or “Why do you hate all white people, look I’m a special snowflake who’s not racist give me an award for meeting the minimum requirements for being a decent human being”.
Well, if you are actually interested in understanding racism and how it ties into cultural appropriation, please read instead of endlessly badgering PoCs on tumblr with your cliched, unoriginal arguments and repeating the same questions over and over.
On White Privilege
aka don’t blame me just because I’m white:
- It’s Not My Fault I Was Born White: Basics of White Privilege x
- Racial Divide x
- Endless Examples of White Privilege x
- You Cannot Know What It’s Like To Be A Racial Minority x
- Intersectional Feminism x
- White Privilege Does Not Mean White People Have Perfect Lives x
- White Privilege and White Supremacy: A Presentation x
- You Will Never Experience Racism x
- Understanding White Privilege x
- White Privilege and Double Standards x
- Systematic White Ignorance x
- The Invisibility of White Privilege x
- The Luxury of White Privilege x
- White Privilege: The Harry Potter Analogy x
- Privilege Denial Bingo x
- Privilege and Cost x
- Check Your Privilege 101 x
- Whiteness x
- Whiteness is Not A Culture x
- White Privilege and Racism x
- Deeply Embarrassed White People Talk About Race x
- When White Anti Racists Talk About ~Their Struggle~ x
- White Privilege As A System x
On Reverse Racism
aka you are being racist against white people:
- Are White People Racially Oppressed x
- White People, the new Racial Minority x
- People Don’t Value Pale Skin!! x
- There Is No Such Thing As Reverse Racism x
- Racism vs. Not Racism x
- But White People Are Discriminated Against In Foreign Countries x
- The Myth of Reverse Racism: Why Cracker is Not N**** x
- Satire: A Step Wise Guide on Being Reverse Racist x
- Racism Against White People vs. Racism Against POCs x
On Cultural Appropriation
aka I’m just appreciating your culture:
- The Basics x
- Identifying Appropriation x
- But When We Wear It … x
- Why Can’t I Wear It (Hipster Headdresses) x
- Not Yours x
- If You Take The Bindi x
- White People Do It Better x
- Multiculturalism and Appropriation x
- Cultural Appropriation and Portrayals In Print Media x
- Diminishing the Cultural Significance of the Bindi x
- The Cultural Appropriation Bingo x
- Why We’re Fed Up of Your Responses x
- Identities Are Not Costumes x
- Hinduism And Appropriation x
- Religion and Privilege x
- Bindis Are Cool x
- Exotic India x
- What’s Wrong With Cultural Appropriation x
- Racism, Bindis and Ganesh Tattoos x
- BUT YOU’RE SPEAKING ENGLISH! x
- Cultural Appropriation Trolls x
- Guide to Being An Appropriating Douchefuck x
- New Age ~Culture Mixing~ x
- In case you’re tired of the prose, here’s poetry x
- Why You Shouldn’t Wear A Bindi x
- Appropriating and Sharing x
- Our Culture is A Punchline Until It’s a Trend x
- Homage Or Insult x
- Tattoos and Appropriation x
- Bollywood is Not Synonymous With Indian x
- College Party Costumes and Stereotypes x
- Dotheads x
- Bindis and Racist Humour x
- Hindu Iconography x
- Misuse of Hindu Iconography x
- Your Appreciation Doesn’t Help Us x
Assorted Vials of White Tears and Miscellaneous Antidotes
aka I can’t change that I’m white/not all whites are racist/we are all humans:
- Unoriginal Arguments Refuted x
- Quick Checklist: You Might Be Racist If x
- Your Opinion Isn’t Necessary x
- I’m Not Responsible For My Ancestors x
- The Kumbayah Myth x
- Proud to Be White x
- Good White Person x
- We Don’t Hate White People x
- Brutality of Colonialism And Why You Can’t Tell Us To Forget the Past x
- People Who Claim Not To See Race Are More Likely to Be Racist x
- All Races are Beautiful Said the White Girl x
- Race Blindness Is A Luxury x
- Well, You’re Racist For Calling Me Racist x
- I’ve Read About Its Significance, I Know What It Means
- Angry Because Someone Called You Racist x
- We’re Not All Like That x
- People Only Care About This Trivial Shit On The Internet x
- I Can’t Apologize for Being Born White, It’s Not My Fault x
- Why Can’t You Tell Me What I’m Doing Wrong x
- It’s Easy to Be Color Blind When You’re White x
- A Diagrammatic Guide To White Tears x
- Conversations I’m Sick Of Having With White People x
- Why Do You Hate White People x
- I’m Trying To Be Cultured x
- Sisyphean Conundrum x
- What is Your Problem x
- We Are All Human, We All Bleed Red x
- It’s Just A Bindi x
- How Not To Respond To Accusations of Racism x
- I’m Italian And 0.009% Native American x
- What White People Think Racism Means: A Venn Diagram x
- White Guilt x
- White Pride!!!111!!! x
- I Like *Insert Foreign Country* I Want To Live There x
- You Have So Much Hate, Fighting Fire With Fire Won’t Help x
- BooHoo, Don’t Call Me Racist x
- Not Everything Ended With Your Ancestors x
- The Racist Reaction x
- I Don’t See Why That Is Racist x
- Crummy Apologies x
Okay. I agree. I’ve been socially conditioned not to notice racism and recognize my privilege. What can I do?
I don’t care about this bullshit; you’re making a big deal out of nothing, go home and delete your blog:
Things most people know about Nellie Bly: She has a funny name.
Things I love about Nellie Bly:
- She went to Mexico to report on the people and their customs when she was 21. Twenty-one. That’s younger than me and probably younger than you and she went to rural Mexico in 1885 to do this shit for six months. And this was a time when women did the fashion pages for the papers and not much else.
- Then she went to New York because she was bored and pretended to be mad to get into a brutal women’s asylum so she could report from the inside. That’s some hardcore journalism in a time when conditions in those sorts of places were appalling.
“My teeth chattered and my limbs were …numb with cold. Suddenly, I got three buckets of ice-cold water…one in my eyes, nose and mouth.”
- Then in 1888, presumably just to annoy Jules Verne, she went around the world. In 72 days. And had a stop over in France to meet Verne and presumably flip him the bird.
- Then she married a millionaire. You literally couldn’t make this stuff up.
- And then…just to confirm her position as a hardcore badass, she reported on the front. And not the Western Front, the Eastern front, where people were sent for ballsing up.In short, Nellie Bly is more awesome and hardcore than anyone could hope to be. Plus she’s pretty. And she has the same lame bangs as Sarah O’Brien and I wuv her too.