Don’t Get in a Butt-Fight With a Swedish Woman, S-Town Mike

Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike.

Where to start?

Okay, I guess we’ll start with the simple stuff.

1.  I wasn’t offering or withholding sympathy to/from you.  Are you a person who moved into a $500,000 condo downtown?  No you are not.  If you were, you would be called Downtown Mike or D-town Mike, and you are not.  Ipso facto, you don’t live downtown; I was not talking to you specifically.

2.  I was using the term “urban pioneer” in a joking fashion.  People live downtown.  They’ve always lived downtown. Maybe not a shit-ton of folks, but there have always been folks there.  There’s nothing to “pioneer.”  If we wanted to sit around and discuss the racist implications of the phrase “urban pioneer,” that would be fine.  But even using the term with its racist implications in full bloom wouldn’t cover you because, though the areas of Germantown, Salemtown, and Old Buena Vista are predominately black, they have never been completely black.  There have always been some white people there.

3.  It’s disgusting and considered bad form to use rape metaphors for the fact that you just moved to a dangerous part of town when talking with a feminist, or, really, any woman.  You say “I also did not demand your sympathy when I moved into a high crime neighborhood and chose to help start a crime watch rather than roll over and enjoy the violation.”  So, fine, on your end of the see-saw of that metaphor, you’re the brave one able to fight off the attacker, instead of the other option of just rolling over and “enjoying it.”  On the other end of the see-saw of your metaphor, you’ve just insinuated that an actual rape victim has but two choices, fight back or roll over and enjoy it.

I know that’s not what you meant, but if you want to have productive conversations with people whose own history of sexual assault you are unfamiliar with, perhaps you shouldn’t make light of it.

4.  You miss an important distinction–folks littering, stealing things, vomiting on your stoop, providing inadequate schooling–these things are all illegal.  We are talking about something, playing loud music, that is not illegal.

Let me remind you–you’re arguing that it should be grouped in with things like littering, theft, barfing on others, and providing shitty schooling for kids.  I’m arguing that it should not be.  You are, of course, free to act, when making your argument, as if all those things are of a kind, BUT THEY ARE NOT YET.

So, accusing me of being soft on actual crime, because I think it’s silly to lump loud music in as an actual crime is, at best, disingenuous and, at worse, ill-thought-out.

Of course you should rail against actual crime.  Come on.  Please.

That has nothing to do with why and whether one would want to make loud music into a crime.

5.  I have the same mayor as you, so don’t be trying to lump me in with suburbanites.  And even if I didn’t have the same mayor as you, I lived in the city proper until three and a half weeks ago.  I think I can remember what it’s like.

6.  I was not the one who linked stripping and loud music.  If you recall, it was right there in the first paragraph of Tobia’s piece.  I was merely reminded, by that paragraph, of how stupid the stripper rule is and, yes, how much many of these ordinances seem to be about regulating the fun of others.

7.  Foucault?  Ha ha ha ha ha.  Are we having some kind of philosopher show-down?

Listen, arguing that there’s nothing wrong with having a “reasonable” noise ordinance misses the point.  Do we need a reasonable noise ordinance?  What clubs and honky-tonks are too loud?  In what ways have they been unresponsive to residents’ complaints?  How will such an ordinance affect outdoor music downtown?  What about fireworks after games?  Or on the 4th of July?

That appears completely unclear to me.

And it’s on your side to more clearly explain yourself and get people to buy in.  Arguing “Oh, it’s just what Austin does,” is not going to cut it.  You’ve got to make a case for why we need it.

But I save the best for last.

You say

You would probably lose the donut bet that this bill has anything to do with the Adelicia or any other place in Midtown. On the one hand, the old law that governed the noise violations in Midtown (which is not Downtown, although it may seem that way to some surburbanites) restricted amplified music to 50 decibels (unless otherwise zoned). On the other hand, a new law was passed a few weeks ago that now covers neighborhoods like Midtown; that ordinance maintains that any noise that is “plainly audible” from the adjoining property line is prohibited. Sound meters are no longer needed outside of Downtown proper. So, Downtown’s proposed ordinance is exponentially more liberal (as I expect it should be) than Midtown’s and has absolutely nothing to do with the drama over at South Street. [Emphasis mine]

And yet let us look at the wording of the proposed ordinance, shall we?

F. Outdoor entertainment events within the downtown area.
1. No person shall operate an outdoor music and/or entertainment event that produces amplified sound which registers more than eighty-five Db(A), as measured from any point within the boundary line of the nearest residentially occupied property at the street level.
2. The provisions of this subsection shall only apply to (a) properties lying with an area zoned CC district and properties zoned CF district that are contiguous to those zoned CC district; (b) properties lying within an area bounded by properties fronting Music Square West and 17th Avenue South from Division Street to Edgehill Avenue; (c) properties along the north portion of Edgehill Avenue between 17th Avenue South and 16th Avenue South; (d) properties fronting 16th Avenue South and Music Square East between Edgehill Avenue and Division Street; (e) properties lying within an area fronting on the east side of 21st Avenue South from Scarritt Place to Edgehill Avenue; and (f) the properties fronting on the north side Edgehill Avenue to 17th Avenue South.

Hmm.  I wonder what could possibly be within those boundaries…

In case you’re wondering, I prefer my Krispy Kreme glazed.


Aunt B.

McCain’s Plan to Raise Taxes, Er… Fix Healthcare

From Hullabaloo:

“Why would they leave?” said Holtz-Eakin. “What they are getting from their employer is way better than what they could get with the credit.”


Let’s unpack this a little bit more. According to Holtz-Eakin, John McCain doesn’t actually want to dismantle the employer-based health care system. But, McCain’s plan would tax any health benefits you’d get through work. So, if Holtz-Eakin is right in saying you’d get better coverage through work than you’d get with the tax credit on the individual market (and he probably is), and if he’s right in saying most workers won’t drop their employer-based insurance for the individual market because they’re getting a better deal at work, then John McCain is simply proposing a tax on your current health care benefits without giving you anything in return. That’s the worst kind of tax increase.

I don’t even know what to say about this.

The Other Thing I’m Fired Up About

The response to Jennifer Hudson’s family’s tragedy.  I can’t even link to it, it makes me so sick.  But listen: Unless Jennifer Hudson bought her family members houses on Mars, there is no place she could have put them that would have guaranteed their safety from this guy.  Men who want to kill their partners find ways to do it.  And the blame is with no one but the killers.

Second, this was clearly the culmination of domestic abuse, so the family living in that “unsafe” neighborhood is beside the point.  The threat didn’t come from the neighborhood, it came from the killer.

Third, this is not Jennifer Hudson’s sister’s fault for bringing a dangerous man into her family’s lives.  First, abusers can be very charming and they can hide those abusive tendencies from you, and then from your family.  It wasn’t like she went out and said, “Let me find someone really dangerous who will hurt me and my family and date him!  Wow, that’d be so great!”  Also, the most dangerous time for a woman is when she leaves an abuser.  When abusers say “If you leave me, I will kill you,” it provides you with great motivation to stay.

Blaming the victims and their family is sick and gross and reprehensible.

That is all.

An Open Letter to Nashville Drivers

Dear Nashville Drivers,

I have noticed a few things now that I have the ability to drive 70 miles an hour to work in the morning, the most important thing being that you do not know how to drive on interstates.  Let me help you.  Say that we’re in this situation:

As you can see, I’m in the gray car, attempting to merge onto the highway.  You are in the blue car.  The safest thing for me to do is to attempt to get up as close as I can to speed before merging onto the highway.  I, therefore, am going about 60 miles an hour.  I am not going 70, because the on-ramp is too short, but I am going 60.  You are going 70 miles an hour.  You can see that I am ahead of you attempting to merge onto the highway.


There’s no one to your left.  Just get over.  Why the fuck would you sit in the right lane when you can see I’m trying to get onto the interstate?

God damn, that pisses me off.

Scenario Two:

This scenario is a little more complicated.  I’m attempting to merge on.  You cannot move left because there’s someone in the left lane.  But, pay attention: YOU ARE THE ONE ON THE ROAD.  I am only the one attempting to get onto the road.  I will look to you for guidance (if you are not in my blindspot).  If you slow down, I will accelerate and enter the roadway.  If you speed up, I will take my foot off the gas and let you pass.

I would prefer you slow down and let me on the highway, since I am ahead of you, but I appreciate that you might not have grown up driving in Chicago and are thus unaware of what my expectations for your behavior are.

But for the love of Christ, do something.  Don’t just trudge forward at the same speed I’m going, slowing down when I slow down and then freaking out and accelerating when I accelerate.  Let me on the god damn road.


Okay and 3:

If you are only comfortable driving 45 miles an hour for whatever reason–you’re drunk, you’re blind, you’re afraid of trucks passing you in the dark at 80 mph, you’re lost, I don’t know.  Whatever.–don’t get on the interstate.

If you must get on the interstate, and again, I don’t know why–I think it would be terrifying to get on a highway and drive half as fast as most everyone else on the road, but maybe you’re allergic to stoplights.–turn your lights on (yes, it not only makes it easier for you to see, but after dark, it makes it easier for those of us also on the road with you to see you) and stay out of the middle lane.

Thank you.

Aunt B.

Are You Calling Me a Libertarian?

I think S-town Mike is calling me a libertarian, which, just by the mere suggestion of it, ought to cause real libertarians to go into apoplectic shock.

Anyway, ignoring that, I have but two things to say:

1.  I have little sympathy for people who move into neighborhoods because they’re convenient and full of places to eat and clubs to go to and music to hear and then complain about the noise.  Yeah, guess what.  Downtown clubs that have live music can get noisy.  I’m sorry you, urban pioneer, didn’t realize that before you bought your now-worthless $500,000 condo, but I can only guess that you are an idiot.  Did you not drive around downtown?  Here’s another clue: the traffic is bad and parking can be expensive!  Also, there’s no convenient grocery store.

2.  Mike says

And contra Aunt B., one need not be labeled “Victorian” to argue for obviously sane and relatively liberal limits on urban noise. In my opinion, even linking the issue of noise overtly to the art of seduction strikes me as a bit repressed itself. There are classically based arguments for balance and moderation that have little to do with sexuality per se. In that sense, I can see nothing wrong with balancing entertainment “concepts” with community welfare, but then again, I’m not committed to a disposable Downtown.

to which I say, “Bullshit.”  And “bullshit” on just about every level.  First, we’re not talking about “the art of seduction.”  We’re talking about women being able to make a living providing pleasure and entertainment, which looks pretty damn similar to music venues being able to make an income providing pleasure and entertainment.  And this idea that outside folks…and let me be clear here…who don’t participate in those activities, should get to dictate the parameters under which those activities take place for the moral good of the people participating in those activities?

“Moderation” is the guise under which well-meaning middle-class folks impose their morality on the rest of us.  It is, quite frankly, the middle-class left’s work around for the 1st Amendment.  Oh, no, we don’t call it “religion,” we call it “morality” or “striking a balance,” but make no mistake, folks, it’s about using the weight of the State to impose your metaphysical beliefs about right and wrong onto others.

And I call bullshit.

2b. Oh, yes, Aristotle, famed for his long ruminations on the freedom and equality of women… oh, yeah, right.

2c.  Are you suggesting I’m repressed?  And why, Mr. S-town Mike, are you sitting around speculating on how willing I am to let my drawers drop to hard wood?  If that’s your idea of flirting, I must tell you, it leaves something to be desired.

Edited to add: Still, what the hell?  If you want to come over, I’ll put some very soft music on, and a long dress that covers me from neck to feet and I’ll spend the evening sitting across the room from you, slowly raising my skirt just above my ankles.  I don’t mind scandalizing the neighbors with that kind of behavior if it provides you with some pleasure.