Quick Things

1. You know I’m right so stop fighting with me.  A party like the TNGOP can only for so long manage to make every racial faux pas known to human kind before a person starts to believe that they aren’t faux pas-es, but actual real pas. At this point, I’m just hoping that they break down and run through the streets screaming “There are black people!  Oh, dear god, there are black people everywhere!” and finally get it out of their systems.

2. It’s hard work single-handedly ruining The Nashville Scene.  But I hope to set my sights higher.  First by ruining the whole city and then by ruining the whole state.

3. There are two things I don’t understand about May Town. One, everyone knows this idea that people will drive to May Town by getting off I-40, rolling through three traffic lights, going up Briley, getting off at an exit, meandering past the prison complex, and then over a bridge into our second downtown is a farce, right?  For May Town to work, there has to be an I-40 exit and a bridge where the ferry used to be.  That’s part of what makes Cool Springs work–easy interstate access. Without easy interstate access, we’re looking at a disaster of a ghost town. And two, and this is something everyone may know and I may have missed it, is the May family saying that they’re going to sell that land, period?  Because if the question is May Town or farms, I pick farms.  But if the question is May Town or giant unweildy subdivisions or dump or whatever, I pick May Town.  But it’s not clear to me what we’re talking about as the alternative.

51 thoughts on “Quick Things

  1. Interstate access isn’t a guarantee at all. Ever been to Bellevue Cente. It’s Nashville’s only shopping center with open spaces at Christmas.

  2. Obviously? The only thing obvious, Uncle, is that you’re willing to extend them a lot more interpretive slack than I am. If an entity makes it their stock in trade to make stupid racist “jokes,” that shapes a reasonable person’s understanding of what they publish subsequently. But it’s nice that men with their Mighty Penises of Infallability are around to set us little ladies straight.

    Betsy, don’t worry. I also singlehandedly wrecked the last paper I did op-ed for, so much so that it won a couple of national awards while I was there. You’re fine.

  3. Yeah, Jim, that’s one thing I don’t understand. Well, I mean, I understand it now, but I don’t understand why Bellevue Center didn’t work to begin with. It seems located exactly right in a part of town that’s growing. What’s with that?

  4. So, bridgett, the TNGOP has to mind what it says because stupid people might have their delicate sensibilities offended by assuming they obviously have racist intent? Uh uh.

  5. Cool Springs and a rejuvenated Green Hills Mall killed Bellevue Mall. The Avenues in the Boro along with new retail in Smyrna and Mt. Juliet will kill Hickory Hollow.

  6. ‘But it’s nice that men with their Mighty Penises of Infallability are around to set us little ladies straight. ‘


  7. The Avenues in the Boro along with new retail in Smyrna and Mt. Juliet will kill Hickory Hollow.

    Perhaps you’re right, but in my view, crime killed Hickory Hollow.

  8. I won’t speak for Bridgett, but I’m not saying that the TNGOP has to do anything. In fact, I find it hilarious, so I hope they don’t shape up.

    But here’s the thing. If you’re going to be the party of “traditional values” and your argument is that the way we’ve always done things is the way that things should be done, you’re making the implicit argument that you are the folks with the sense of history.

    So you can’t then turn around and argue “What? A white guy can’t call a black guy ‘Uncle’ without invoking the history of the word?” and have me not find it hilarious because you’ve already staked your claim as the folks who care about history.

    If you don’t want to be insulting to black men and seen as an evil idiot by me, you don’t call a black man “uncle” or “boy” or “my nigga” if you are a white guy. That’s just a fact. You also don’t associate them with crows or insinuate that their race makes them an appropriate politician for Memphis but not for east Tennessee. All of which the TNGOP has done in the past year.

    How many coincidences have to coincide before they seem like on-purposes?

  9. As stated before, calling him uncle indicated no racist intent in the manner it was used. The issue, for me, is that people are quick to assume racism when it isn’t warranted. For instance, we’ve had brouhahas over people getting their wittle feewing hurted because people in the spotlight have used the terms tar baby, niggardly, mighty white of you, and yard ape. these people need to buy a dictionary or hit wikipedia before they get all butthurt. Well, except maybe mighty white of you. It used to mean one thing but now seems to mean the racist thing exclusively.

    obviously, we need a list of words people can’t say!

  10. I can’t see why else I’d be asked to accept your interpretation over my own, Uncle. You haven’t put forth a damn bit of evidence for your “oh, they didn’t mean nothing by it” interpretation. You just insist it’s so because it’s “obvious.” That’s what’s called “arguing with your penis” in my neck of the woods and I’m not persuaded by it. If there’s a case to be made, do it. Otherwise, stop waving that thing around. You could poke somebody’s eye out.

  11. Okay, I recommend that, if racists regularly use the terms to demean black men, people who don’t intend to be perceived as racist should not use those terms to refer to black men.

    Ta da!

    List compiled.

  12. So “tar baby” isn’t a racist term? Yard ape? Really? Next, you’ll be telling me that calling someone a coon or a shine or a spade or a porch monkey is also value-neutral, as they are all just nouns absent historical referents that might have preceded the advent of Wikipedia….

    I suppose “towelhead” refers to a young lady who has just stepped out of the shower, right? You see how this strains credulity?

  13. Bridgett, read a book.

    Aunt B., you’re not seriously advocating that people should limit their speech on account it might offend someone? I mean, then we couldn’t talk about cooters!

  14. Uncle, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me all day. Just for that, I’ll get off your ass.

  15. Pingback: Two Things About May Town : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  16. awright… i’m an immigrant to this country; i’m about as white as a guy gets, coming from a nation that’s pretty much uniformly white going back as far as you care to trace it, and i currently live in a very homogenously white part of the USA, way up in the north far away from the troubles of Tennessee and parts similar.

    yet even I know perfectly damn well the historical, racist, background of terms like “yard ape” and “mighty white of you”; i know the term “uncle” has ties to the history of racism in this country going back to the days of one famous novel SayUncle might want to read for himself; and though i do know how the term “tar baby” came to be and what it originally meant, it’s also perfectly obvious to me how it might have been (which is to say, just about certainly was) misappropriated by racists, and should therefore be used with great care.

    (one of my neighbors has a lawn jockey in their front yard, and it embarrasses me painfully to be living anywhere near them. in my native country, the thing would be a curious sort of object mostly because of its innate tackiness, but here in the states — well, even up in the northwoods it’s racist. simple as that.)

    so what’s with SayUncle? i didn’t think he was bloody effing stupid; could he really be this tone-deaf, unobservant, and incurious without being dumb as well? after all, it’s not like it’s hard to spot racism in the USA — it’s shot through the culture, through and through. you just about have to make an effort not to see it, in fact. but why would anybody do that?

  17. Nomen, the righteous indignation might have more meat if allegations were about topics other than the TNGOP calling Obama an uncle with an obvious slant toward uncle sam. And, of course, the clear ignorance that I was talking about illustrated so beautifully by Bridgett. Words/terms can have multiple meanings and not always the racist one. We default to that out of political convenience.

    ‘it’s not like it’s hard to spot racism in the USA’

    Yes. So why start clutching your pearls when there’s not any?

    ‘i didn’t think he was bloody effing stupid; ‘

    Well, thanks, I guess. But I have to wonder about you since you seem to be in the camp of making people watch what they say because the audience may be too stupid to know what you mean?

    We should be niggardly with our accusations of racism.

  18. Still waiting for the answer to my question. Also wondering why the racist context of the Uncle Remus stories isn’t to be considered part of what “tar baby” means.

  19. Um, SayUnc, I think you’ve missed my point. You’re going to have to explain why all the racist antecedents one can find by googling aren’t racist. Maybe I was being too subtle for you?

  20. Typical right-winger. Well, if I’m not offended, then the term must not be offensive to anybody else.

    News flash to Uncle: You don’t run the world. Other people can be offended by whatever the hell they like and you don’t have the right to tell them what is and isn’t offensive.

    You can think we’re stupid – hell, the feeling’s mutual – but I don’t get what you achieve by coming here and telling us what we can and can’t believe.

    (Right. And TNGOP has no history of any race-tinged actions whatsoever, from its hiring of Bill Hobbs as communications chair to its Call Me advertisement.)

  21. ‘Typical right-winger. Well, if I’m not offended, then the term must not be offensive to anybody else.’

    Typical left-winger. Presumes I care if they’re offended. Or that someone else should. I don’t. But I don’t like that ignorance plays such a part in identity politics.

    I never said I ruled the world. I’m not telling you what you can and cannot ‘believe’. But I can tell you that I believe it’s stupid.

  22. Oh, what the fuck ever. This is exactly the spot where people on the left and right do the exact same thing and then claim they don’t.

    I have an idea. Let’s all sit around and argue that context and intent matter and then all sit around and argue that they don’t. Then we’ll all finish it off by saying that we don’t care what you do, we just reserve the right to make fun of it.

    And it’ll be the same exact rhetorical strategy, by both sides, but we’ll continue to pretend like it’s not. It’ll be great fun. You know, unless you’re the one person somewhat obligated to read the whole thing.

    There’s a wide internet for folks who want to sit around shouting “typical lefty” or “typical righty.” But if you feel the need to begin any piece of writing here with “typical…” anything and you don’t mean it in jest, please reconsider.

  23. ‘This is exactly the spot where people on the left and right do the exact same thing and then claim they don’t. ‘

    And which side have you called out?

    And I’m pretending nothing. I made my case pretty effectively, I thought, particularly with the assist of bridgett. And I’m not exactly the one who started throwing out the ‘typical x’ bits here. I mean, that would denote prejudice. I responded with it because it was amusing.

  24. Here’s the thing. It really doesn’t matter if the individual terms the TNGOP are using were intended to be racist. Let’s say that every single one COULD be used in a non-racist context (though seriously, I fail to see how some of those listed could). The individual use of a term says less about intent than a pattern of usage. One racist statement may have been misunderstood or taken out of context. By the time you reach the 15th or 16th “unintentionally” racist comment, you have to start wondering just how unintentional it really is.

  25. By the time you reach the 15th or 16th “unintentionally” racist comment, you have to start wondering just how unintentional it really is.

    See also: Lee Atwater’s interview with Alexander Lamis, “The Two Party South.” While we’re talking about context vis-a-vis GOP political speech, that is.

  26. I made my case pretty effectively

    Well, no, you didn’t. You claimed that things are not historically racist that are, you claimed that the context of a historically racist phrasing being used by the TNGOP doesn’t matter, and then you claimed that the context that makes some remarks racist does too matter, after all. Not convincing, on the level of logic. Now, this: Presumes I care if they’re offended is convincing, but then don’t claim not to offend. Just admit that you don’t care.

  27. To paraphrase, they should have just called him big brother obama. Seems what they meant to me.

    ‘I fail to see how some of those listed could’

    I think it was bob corker who called the GM bailout a tar baby. Meaning that it was like the story about Br’er Rabbit (i.e., throwing money at GM kept the .gov beholden to GM). and the usual racism nonsense was thrown about.

  28. then, nm, i can’t really help you. i’ve given you a clue with respect to one. You can figure out others on your own. Hint: white has many definitions. Yard ape is a derogatory term for something other than blacks. And niggardly means stingy.

    But whatever. I’ll go talk to this wall behind me. It has better comprehension.

  29. You’re right about niggardly. Not racist, never been racist, not coined with intent of disparaging others. Not frequently used with racist intent, either. You’re wrong about the rest of them, especially that “mighty white of you” thing I asked you about upthread. But hey, why not ignore what I did ask about and defend what I didn’t? It’s a good way not to have to answer.

  30. To paraphrase, they should have just called him big brother obama.

    Not to be obtuse, but since we’re talking about possible misinterpretations, perhaps “brother” might not be the most suitable either…

  31. So if racists start using the term niggardly incorrectly, we all have to stop using it?

    So we all become controlled by the biggest dopes.

    Sounds about right for leftists.


  32. At what point can I just cry ‘uncle’ to make the fighting stop?

    *FYI the term ‘cry (or say) uncle’ has its roots in Irish Gaelic.

  33. I though we’d already decided she permanently won the Internet awhile back. The bar charts of outrage ought to have cemented her firmly as High Queen Of The Nets.

    Which kind of sounds like a trapeze artist now that I think about it.

  34. Welllllll … I don’t use the word “disinterested” in casual conversation any longer because too many people think it means “uninterested.” Jane Austen complained about having to give up the word “nice” because it had lost its important (to her) meaning of “highly refined” and had become a mere term of general approbation conveying no substance. And efforts by medievalists to save any of the original meanings of “feudal” or even “medieval” itself have been unsuccessful, so we tend not to use them much any more ourselves. Yeah, language can be affected by ignorance and plain old-fashioned stupidity. This is news in what way?

  35. Okay. I think we’re to the part of the thread where someone says….. Uncle, if you don’t care that lefties are offended, why are you over here yelling about it? The time spent here implies a certain level of caring.

  36. It’s not what I think it means; it’s what it did once mean, back in the mists of time, oh, a decade or so ago. It means/t “unbiased by personal interests/concerns”. It’s similar in meaning to “impartial” but stronger, because it suggests that personal interests exist but are being deliberately set aside in the higher interest of impartiality.

  37. ‘Not to be obtuse, but since we’re talking about possible misinterpretations, perhaps “brother” might not be the most suitable either…’

    Ok, you owe me a free monitor cleaning for that one.

  38. I’m late to this because I was at work yesterday. But I gotta say, SayUncle: for someone who doesn’t care about other people getting offended, you sure spent a lot of time being offended about people getting offended (and doing so in reference to an essay that wasn’t even about being offended).

    Let’s recap: the GOP, which has maintained its relevance by continuing to find new and improved ways to traffic in racism, unintentionally uses an historically racist term to describe our black President. That’s funny by itself. But then to have a right-winger get all in a huff about B. making that observation, well, that just raises the funny to 11.

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