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Random thoughts on political matters - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Random thoughts on political matters
Just on and off thoughts on things happening, since I feel like giving a little commentary, but don't have anything specific to go on about.

I'm happy to say that the Democrats have been exemplary visitors so far. With the exception of the random vitriolic slurs on Republicans (on the street, not the convention floor), which are hardly unique to the DNC around here, everything is going swimmingly. So many people took the week off that the extra people from out of town aren't actually making anything more crowded.

People are largely being polite, and we've had loads of visitors in the library.

I'm unfortunately still not inspired by Kerry and I've never been inspired by Bush, so I'm just not jazzed up about the election. Of the personalities, I'm rather enjoying the acerbic Mrs. Kerry, and the Clintons are usually good for a smile. (I know, bad Republican; I'm supposed to hate and fear them. I don't. I wouldn't want to know them personally, but as celebrity pols go, I think they're cool, and at least more personable and charismatic than anyone actually in this year's race.)

And speaking of celebrity pols... how 'bout Ah-nold?
Oooo. The Governator said "girly-men." How outrageous and insensitive. How dare he make fun of...

...his own public persona.

Good Lord, we on the right are supposed to just smile politely (or even offer a belly laugh) when Al Franken calls us "lying liars" and so on, but when Arnold Schwartzenegger makes a comment referencing a sketch that lampooned him in the past, everyone is supposed to be terribly affronted and offended. He's joking, for crying out loud, and the joke is at his own expense, just like the Governator joke. If, at leaving the legislature, he winked and said, "Ah'll be bahk," there might rightly be concern that he wasn't being solemn and somber enough, but at least people would get the damned joke.

As I understand it, he referred to the people who disagreed with him as "girly-men," a la the old Hans-and-Franz sketch about two none-too-bright Austrian body builders who idolized Ah-nold. If he had said in all seriousness, "Anyone who disagrees with me is lying/stupid/weak," then there would be a case for being terribly offended, because that's meant. But using "girly-men"--part of a long-running and very well-known Schwartzejoke--is basically winking and grinning at the notion that he's The Terminator. It's like "Republicans for Voldemort" or "Democrats for Dolores," except funnier, because it's himself he's spoofing. If he seriously intended to shut down the opposition, he wouldn't have done it by making a joke. The fact that he did make a joke suggests that he has no such plans.

It's sort of like if, as a forum moderator, I said, "Yeah, right. I have the ultimate power of the ban! Disagree with me at your own risk!" I promise, no mod who actually would misuse banning power would actually say that, nor would I if the issue really was seriously bannable. I might say that in a TFN story forum, just joking around--"You don't like my story! How dare you? BAN!!!!" And you might notice that you're still logged in to see it, ya know? ;) (If I really meant to ban, I would give a private warning, a serious public warning if the behavior continued, and finally an enforced vacation for a specified amount of time... but I wouldn't be joking about it.)

What kind of a world is it when a person can no longer spoof himself without shrill demands for apologies? I mean, if it were people saying he needed to take things more seriously, at least I could make the case for it. :eyeroll:

Boston and race
Well, the Rev. Jesse Jackson has slammed Boston over racial issues, because hey, there's nothing like coming into a city as a guest and insulting it in the worst way you can think of. And he wasn't winking.

It is true that running demographics in Boston through the thematic maps at http://www.census.gov produces a kind of "donut effect," with concentrations of people of different ethnicities (though the census only accounts for race) in different places. But coming up with, "And that's because Boston is still racist, just like in those days when Southie refused to go along with mandated busing," is a bit of a stretch. Boston neighborhoods have always tended to be ethnic, like a lot of port towns--people come in and settle, and the neighborhoods start to develop a character, and that draws in more people, and so on. So South Boston is famously Irish, the North End is Italian, Brookline (not part of Boston, though it's right in the middle of same) is developing a heavy Russian community, which also is coming into traditionally Irish Brighton (which is a part of Boston, despite being beyond Brookline). Chinatown, unsurprisingly, is heavily Chinese. The center of town (with the exception of the trendy Copley neighborhood) is a bit lower in rent (not much), and has been attractive to more recent immigrant groups for that reason--groups including Haitians, Cape Verdeans, Puerto Ricans, etc--and those groups are putting their claims and identities on it. It's not something that's planned or enforced; it's just the way port cities tend to be, and I think it's likely to stay that way even if economics change--neighborhoods with distinct personalities and histories tend to become gentrified eventually, but not to lose their identity (as the Rev. Jackson would notice if he looked at his own New York City).

I guess that's about it.
7 comments or Leave a comment
buongiornodaisy From: buongiornodaisy Date: July 28th, 2004 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
What did Rev. Jesse Jackson say specifically about Boston? Surely not that its ethnic communities suggest segregation? That's a little rediculous. Peoples of different ethnicities rallying around each other does not signify racism, otherwise the HBCUs are the most racist colleges in the country. It's just like a clique in high school: Floks need to be around people like them.

I agree about Kerry. I have not seen him speak nor have I payed much attention to the DNC, but nothing anyone at the DNC has to say about Kerry makes me want to jump on his bandwagon. And Bush? No. I'd be all for Kerry if he wasn't so trendy with his morals.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2004 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
What he said was "Look at the city--it looks like a donut around the suburbs with a hole in the middle." (To be fair, on the thematic maps, that's pretty much what it does look like, albeit a very weirdly shaped donut.)
lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: July 28th, 2004 08:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're in luck there's no "Boston Seven" to upset the apple cart in your town this time.

I happen to really like Bush, so the only way I'd switch teams is if the DNC nominated Georgia senator Zell Miller, which is less likely to happen than Hayden calling me now with a marriage proposal. Heck, even with Joe Lieberman I wouldn't have to worry about our national defense.

I don't hate the Clintons either which is why I'm a little freaked by the deep, personal hatred many on the left have for Bush or any Republican, for that matter. I don't care for most of their policies, Hillary's blatant power grubbing, or for Bill's lack of decorum during his presidency. He's got a lot of character flaws. But hatred? Nah.

Re Gov. Arnold: much ado about nothing. Most normal people realize he was being facetious, making folks laugh while making a point that those who opposed his budget were hiding under their desks.

Re "Rev." Jackson: a media showhorse, a phony, and a con man.

prettyveela From: prettyveela Date: July 28th, 2004 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooo. The Governator said "girly-men." How outrageous and insensitive. How dare he make fun of...

...his own public persona.

Word! I talked about this in my journal. We take everything so dang serious sometimes.
maidenjedi From: maidenjedi Date: July 28th, 2004 10:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Were any people on the right offended by Arnold?

Thinking about it now, I guess you're referring to the wacko California Dems who demanded an apology from the Governator. Because I know we (my rightie friends and I) have been vastly amused by "girlie men". Also Teresa Heinz-Kerry - "shove it" is going to be our new comeback when liberals go on the verbal attack.

(she's fun, incidentally - I kinda liked her speech the other night, and I agree about the Clintons, though Bill still puts me to sleep)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2004 10:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's funny how many friends TH-K actually made with that "shove it" comment. She'd been trying that painted-on smile routine and it just wasn't working for her.

Now, if only John Kerry would admit that he's a rich Massachusetts intellectual--I'd totally respect him for that. That's what the man is.


Wishing for an actual Boston Brahmin. I saw the appellation applied to Kerry earlier and I'm thinking, "Huh? Since when did a Brahmin ever pretend or try to convince someone that he wasn't a Brahmin?" I'm not quite of that caste, but they are the upper echelons of my own tribe, and the proper behavior of a Brahmin accused of being financially successful and well-read is, "My finances are my affair, not yours, and of course I'm well-read and decently educated. Do you have something substantive of which to accuse me, or are you just wasting my time?" The proper Brahmin president is self-confident, well-educated, and very, very stuck in his ways. "Senator Flip-Flop" is not a proper appellation for a Brahmin, though Senator Stick-in-the-Mud might be. Think John Adams. Then look at John Kerry. Then call Kerry a Boston Brahmin with a straight face.

(While I'm on a related topic, fellow Republicans... since when is it a Republican position that being rich is a bad thing?)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2004 10:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
(To be fair, the Brahmin designation started occurring considerably later than Adams, to denote the old families that had roots--and, they supposed, divine rights--in the area, as opposed to the wave of 19th century immigrants. Still, the culture is old New England culture.)
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