I am a Nickname Jerk

Coble has a name. I don’t call her it. Coble’s husband has a name, the defining part of which he brought into the marriage and yet, to me, it’s Coble and Coble’s husband. Not for great feminist reasons, but because I’m a midwesterner and in my culture, when you like someone and kind of like their swagger, you call them by their last name as a term of endearment.

Unless you’re a gym teacher, then you just call everyone by their last names.

But the Professor. She introduces herself, “Hi, I’m the Professor.” Everyone calls her “The Professor.” I call her “Proffy.” And I cringe when I do it, but I still can’t break myself of it.

Tonight, I found out that the Butcher, who I have obviously known since he was a suckling babe, whose pee I failed to wipe off the ceiling when we were both children, who my other brother and I wanted to name Bubbles when we thought he was going to be a girl, would much rather be called by his full name. Basically, he would like to be The Butcheropolis… No, that’s not long enough to give you the flavor of what he wants, because “the Butcher” is longer than his actual name. If we’re keeping it proportional, he would rather be called The Mega Monster Butcheropolisapocalypse, which is how he introduces himself, and then everyone proceeds to call him “The Butcher.”

I never knew this. But my insistence on calling him “The Butcher” has, apparently, contributed to an atmosphere where no one seriously ever calls him The Mega Monster Butcheropolisapocalypse. And I feel bad about that.

But not bad enough that I’m going to be able to break myself of it.

One Eye and No Better View of Fate

I finally decided today, upon coming back to work after being out of the office since Thursday noon, that there’s something not quite right with my right eye. I don’t know if it’s my contact or my eye or what, but it’s not working.

The thing I find most intriguing, though, and I can’t stop fucking with it, is that, when I look out of both eyes, I have the sense that something isn’t right. I don’t know how to explain it. I feel like something’s wrong, but everything looks fine.

But here I am, my normal distance away from my computer and when I shut my right eye, I can see the screen fine, though maybe the letters look a little thin. When I shut my left eye, things are blurry, some things are slightly doubled, and I can actually start to see the blackness in my shared field of vision, I actually notice what my left I would normally see. I don’t really see this with my left eye. It isn’t missing the contribution of my right.

But what really freaks me out is that, say I’m sitting here, as I am, facing forward. When I shut my left eye, I can see that things in my peripheral vision to the right are blurry, as they are, because my right eye is fucked. But when my left eye is open, they are not. Same with this text. I can see–left eye clear; right eye strange blurry mess; both eyes open, fine.

Which means part of why I’m off-kilter is that I somehow am aware of how much my brain is just making shit up. Somehow, my brain is showing me a clear world, and also somehow signalling me that something is amiss with my vision, which causes me to frequently wink to convince myself, yep, something’s fucked.

It’s amazing. My brain is hell-bent on showing me what I expect to see–clarity.

It’s sometimes a little scary to realize how illusory our perceptions are. I mean, I can prove to myself I’m not seeing what I know I’m seeing, but I’m still seeing it. I see clearly out of both eyes, even though I don’t.

Anyway, I’m hoping she can just clean this lens and give me some drops or something and we’ll be good as new. But I’m worried that my eye is producing toxic sludge that eats contacts, which is really just a step down from needing blood in order to grow another pair of legs.

White People Jokes

I make ’em, both because I think they’re funny and there is such a thing as white culture (or cultures), other than just being “default” American culture, and the only way to bring that into focus (other than just letting the racists define what white culture is) is to articulate it.

Anyway, go laugh over at Pith. Or don’t laugh if you don’t find it funny. Either way.

I Have Complaints

I have complaints. And anxieties. Oh, so much fucking anxiety. I am a joy to be around this weekend, let me tell you. And I’d have liked to spend more time outside in the garden, where, after about ten minutes, you can’t think about whether your dreams are stupid and unreachable for reasons you don’t quite understand and have no control over.

That’s what’s nice about the garden. In the garden, there is no hope. No dreams. Just you and the dirt and the stuff that’s growing there.

But, you know, when it’s not 100,000 degrees out, there are ticks. Last night, I pulled two seed ticks off me. You know what a seed tick is? It is literally, for real, not making this shit up, a baby tick that needs your blood so that it can grow another pair of legs. Maybe this is my anti-bug bias showing, but I don’t care how tiny you are, if you need blood in order to add fucking appendages, you are a monster, a hideous monster.

I’d like to Sevin dust the whole yard, but I don’t want to fuck up the bees and butterflies.

So, I’m sulking inside instead.

The Park and More Hollyhocks

I wonder if it would be wrong to tear up all the grass in the yard and just live in a field of hollyhocks?

So Long, The Modernity Ward

Jo is closing up The Modernity Ward. I used to be kind of sad when blogs I like shut down, but it really is a different world. People email me and ask “How do I get in touch with the bloggers?” and I’m now asking back “What bloggers are left?” Everyone’s been coopted or gone to Facebook or Twitter or just moved on.

And I don’t know. That seems right to me. There was a great moment when everyone was like “What the fuck? Let’s try a bunch of stuff and see what works!” and now we know what works, and by and large, it’s not for lone individuals to do this.

Which is also not to say that I think this isn’t awesome, because you know I do.

But I think it’s understandable that it shakes out this way. That seems to be the shape of the thing.

Still, it feels like it’s getting empty.

So, I hope the kids come up with something cool to occupy all our times.

Ha ha ha.

Hermitting Up My Weekend

I got the big bed weeded and planted, though I am running massively late in that regard and am not sure if anything will come up. I also accidentally pulled up a coneflower, which, ugh.

The dog stayed inside all morning, which concerned me, because if there’s anything she loves, it’s baking herself on the driveway. But her back leg is hurting her, the one we paid all the money to have them fix. I gave her some baby aspirin and a bath and that seems to have helped her mood.

Also, she ate an M&M that fell on the ground, which is apparently the weirdest, most awesome thing ever.

I drove around Robertson county trying to sooth my soul a little. It seemed to work.

I have a bunch of marigolds to get in. I thought it wasn’t quite hot enough for them yet, but I saw baby marigolds in the big bed, so it must be. Oh, and my astilbe has a bloom. Not quite the spires I expected but I’m wondering if it’s too crowded. I think I should put one at the end of the bed this fall. I think I’d also like to put some lilies of the valley in the big bed.

Anyway, gardening is just a constant fight to keep the ratio of things you like to things you don’t like in correct proportion.I easily pulled ten, fifteen pounds of weeds out of there over the past two days, but that’s much less than last year.

I also read this post, which I really liked. The only minor quibble I have is that I don’t think the spiritualist crazy was just a bunch of hooey until the end. I think at first the crushing weight of being silent and proper often made these women unaware of their own con, since they so desperately needed for it to be true in order to be allowed to speak and move freely. In that way, I’d say they were closer kin to Maud Gonne, selling herself to the Devil in order to have control over her own life.

Shoot, I want to read Yeats’ memoirs now.

Are These the Best Photos My Camera Has Ever Taken?

It’s a crappy little camera, but I guess the stars aligned. I mean, shoot, it even caught a bee at the lavender.

And my new Tennessee coneflowers are blooming! And they look great.

And my white sage was all acting like it’s ready to go outside, so I’ve started hardening it off. Boy they are not kidding about it not being easy to get from seed to seedling. Out of all those seeds, I’m going to have five plants. I hope at least one of them survives.

A Perplexing Thing

I’m about halfway through Sings, Cures, and Witchery: German Appalachian Folklore  by Gerald C. Milnes and I have mixed feelings. I think his ear for what is important information from his informants is spot-on. And whew, he’s hearing some really interesting stuff. But his history… ugh… I don’t trust it. And I don’t think his interpretations of historical events are exactly right, either.

But I wanted to show you the strangest thing, because I can’t be alone in wondering at this.

So, the premise of the book is that Germanic culture is just as vital and long-lasting and shaping of Southern Appalachian culture as Scots-Irish culture is, and evidence of that still reverberates in Appalachian folkways.

And on the last page of front matter, right across from the first chapter, is this headstone from 1834 (sorry, the picture isn’t that great. I shot the page with my iPhone). The caption says “Tree of life gravestone, Old Probst Church cemetery.”

I keep waiting and waiting and waiting for Milnes to make the obvious point about the headstone, but it’s not in the caption and, like I said, I’m over halfway through the book and there’s been no discussion. And I’ve flipped through the rest of the book and I don’t see it.

So, I cropped so you can see it. And I’m open to suggestions that these are not what they look like.

And again, I apologize for the quality, but is that not Ehwaz there on the left and Laguz on the right? I am dying to speculate about how proto-German runes got onto a German-American’s gravestone in 1834. But it perplexes the shit out of me that it’s not even mentioned. The thing is–I don’t know of any runic systems being used in Germany that had a symbol shaped like Ehwaz. I’m no expert, but I’m flummoxed. But you’d think it would make for an interesting bit of evidence when arguing for a direct European origin of folk symbols and beliefs in Appalachia.

And yet, no mention.

Anyway, I think it would be irresponsible not to speculate. So, here’s my speculation–the Germans who came to America were, in the most non-perjorative way I can use the word, religious fanatics with some beliefs considered odd and somewhat heretical by religious authorities. We know they saw nothing contradictory about Christianity and magic, all were a part of a belief in a rich supernatural world. We also know that the Germans got along with (let’s make that a qualified “got along with) and adopted and adapted the magical practices of people they encountered, thus the overlap in magical herb lore between them and Native Americans and  black people.

We also know that a lot of these Germans were coming in through Philadelphia. And we know Swedes, in small number, were here in New Sweden in the 1600s, with New Sweden being sort of between Wilmington, Delaware, and Philadelphia. And the Swedes had some Germans with them. The Swedes were in the middle of one of their “Remember how great we were before we were Christian?” cultural moments, which makes it plausible that some of them might have been using Runes, especially for occult reasons.

So, when the Germans who were also into occult crap encountered Swedes into occult crap, there was some transference. Tada!

Of course, that’s what I’ve come up with at the end of a long day, while just talking out my ass. And maybe the Germans would have had knowledge of runes most popular in Scandinavia,

But man! It tickled and perplexed me to see runes on that headstone. And then perplexed me that they weren’t mentioned at all.

Edited to add: It occurs to me that, if that’s not Laguz on the right, but another, albeit broken, Ehwaz, that would be a rune used in German-speaking areas. No Swedes necessary.

Gardening Joy

An Open Letter to Stacey Campfield

Dear Stacey Campfield,

You know I think you’re a giant douchebag of historic proportion. You know I think you never met a “fuck you, bitches” bill you wouldn’t champion because I think you hate women. And you know I think your a massive creep.

But this is painful to watch, even for me, who thinks the outcome we ended up with is lovely.

So, let me hop the fence just a second and make sure you’re clear on something.

When Ramsey and Harwell say, “The confusion surrounding the language in the budget regarding Planned Parenthood has been unfortunate. The Office of Legal Services advised House and Senate leadership that it is unconstitutional to amend general law through the appropriations bill (Article II, Section 17), an interpretation which would have put the entire budget document in jeopardy,” they are admitting they knew that second amendment was going in the budget. Do you get this? Because that subtext could barely be called subtext.

So, if they knew that language was going in the budget and have a reason why it had to go in the budget and undo what you’ve done, they KNOW WHO DID IT. In fact, I would interpret those sentences as meaning they worked with that person to make it happen.

Posting a list of all of the people who told you it wasn’t them? All it does is make a nice list of all of the people who might have lied to you. You can’t honestly believe it means anything other than that.

As for what anti-choice folks they might be working with, IT DOESN’T MATTER. If it’s not the guys who are working with you, that’s because the guys who are working with you can’t swing an election. Their endorsement didn’t get Cobb elected in District 62, so everyone now knows the bag has a cat, not a pig, even without the poke being opened. They don’t need to work with the Tennessee Right to Life until the Tennessee Right to Life’s giving or withholding of an endorsement hurts Republicans. And they’re probably relieved about that, because those guys are total jerks.

The Tennessee Right to Life needs you, not because you’re some great champion of the unborn, but because you’re the fool with the biggest platform who will still pretend (or believe) that they decide elections.

Bless your heart. If I liked you, I’d advise you to get a little more cynical about shit and then maybe you won’t be blindsided by this stuff.


Edited to add: While we’re speaking frankly, let me add that most Republicans don’t actually want to end abortion, some of them because it’s a perennial drum to beat on at election time, and some of them because if their wives or daughters were raped or if their mistresses got pregnant, they’d be sitting at Planned Parenthood next to them quicker than you can say ‘Jack Robinson.’ They are fine with it being inconvenient and expensive and dangerous for the rest of us, but believe me, they will always want abortions for their women, and they won’t let you stop that.

One Disturbing Thing

During one of the presentations yesterday, we got to see this Youtube video of Kellie Pickler on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?

I can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t know. I find it so upsetting. I mean, first of all, there’s a moment, shortly after Pickler looks like she would like to run off stage and go die in her dressing room, when you can see that she gets that Foxworthy is not her ally in this moment, and, whew, is she sharp and fast at him. The thing about that moment is that it’s clear Pickler isn’t dumb, right? She pretty much instantaneously gets that Foxworthy is a misogynistic fuck, right? That he’s not even using her situation to make fun of her at her own expense, but that he’s turning her into an example of how women are. That’s a lot to get in a short time. She is as quick-witted as they come.

And so, it’s not like I can comfortably watch that and feel like “Oh, Kellie Pickler, what a dumbass.” She’s clearly sharp. So, I sat there watching, thinking “How the hell does a bright woman end up not knowing that France is a country?” The presenter alluded to her very troubled home life growing up, so I was thinking, “Well, maybe she was just in and out of school a lot.” But she graduated from high school, according to Wikipedia.

Someone just fucking failed her, and failed her big, along the way.

But that’s not the part that sticks with me. The part I can’t let go of is that there were a lot of people who thought this, this moment, was a good idea. Nobody at her label said “Hey, you know, you had a shitty education. Maybe you don’t want to get up there and embarrass yourself.” or “You know, Foxworthy can be an asshole; maybe you don’t need to subject yourself to that.” Nobody said “If you can’t get to $25,000, you won’t have any money for your charity. Are you sure you can get that far?”

Instead, all along the way, folks thought this seemed like a good idea, would make for good entertainment–that watching Pickler be publicly embarrassed, that letting everyone have a good laugh about what a dumbass she is and how funny it is when she panics–and then letting Foxworthy tell her that it’s because she’s a woman–would be great television.

Oh, look at the stupid, babbling woman, who babbles and is stupid because she’s a woman.

I wanted for Pickler a “Help Me, Mary” moment, where she gets famous enough that she can burn all those fuckers down. I hope Dolly Parton teaches her that.

I don’t know. It’s one thing–and I’m sure it’s true throughout the music industry, throughout history–but I’m thinking a lot about it because I’ve been listening to people discuss country music for two days straight. It’s one thing that seems a constant: find these desperate folks, who are smart enough to realize they need something more from life than what it’s about to hand them, who have the intellectual gifts that let them connect with an audience, either through their song writing and/or their performance, and keep them compliant by constantly reminding them of how stupid they are, and exploit them because they don’t know to even be suspicious of you.

And you’d hope that it wouldn’t… I don’t know… be so blatant now.

And then there’s this.


Another Long Day

But towards the end of it I heard this song, the Delmore Brothers doing “Nashville Blues.”

Which, of course, put me in the mind of Steve Earle’s “South Nashville Blues” and I wanted to listen to them together to decide if I could hear an actual connection and, really, I don’t know.

But I love, love, love that we have this old pool, which is not so deep, that we can, if we want, go and pull these long strands of meaning out of.

I like when art makes me feel like I’m standing at an intersection of like six different roads, each going off someplace interesting, and I have just a hint of what those interesting places might be like.

Brief Geneological GRRRR

As you know, I’ve been trying to find any siblings or parents for Luke Phillips, who says he’s from New York, but seems to have sprung out of Michigan fully formed in 1828. I noticed him living near Jay W. Phillips’s family at one point, Jay also being from New York and right about the same age.

And I have found that Jay’s kids–George, Frank, Helen, Bruce, and Flora–appear to have named their children the same or similar names to Luke’s kids–Alfred/Fred, Charles/Charles, Maria/Mary–and that my ancestor (Frank) could have gotten his name from Jay’s son.

I know that’s kind of confusing, but basically, if Jay and Luke are brothers, as I suspect, the cousins were all naming kids after each other.

But how to prove it?

I’m having no more luck finding Jay’s family ascendent family than I am finding Luke’s.


Updated to add: To add to my desire for Jay’s family to be our family, I also have an uncle Bruce, though my dad swears it’s not because it was handed down through the generations.

He Does It All for the Nookie

You know how I told you I hoped to show you the most awesome thing I saw today?

I now have permission to show you the most awesome thing I saw today.

God damn, I love my readers. Please keep in mind this isn’t mine, so don’t steal it. Don’t steal from me, either, but you know, it’s especially egregious to steal from someone’s guest.

Edited to add: The only drawback to this is that I now have the overwhelming urge to tickle our Governor’s belly.

Long Day

I went into the office for approximately five seconds this morning and then packed up and headed over to the International Country Music Conference. I hadn’t been in a little bit, since my job has changed, but it was like old home day. I saw a ton of people I’ve known forever and it was awesome.

I tell you, I like academics in general, but I think the two nicest bunches are the country music scholars and the Hispanists. I mean, get this about the Hispanists. When I started my job, I was assigned to deal with the Hispanists because I had a literary background and Hispanists love to talk and write about literature. But literally, that was my only qualification–I knew a little about literature.

People, I don’t even speak Spanish.

And yet, did I ever encounter anything but gracious, generous, interesting scholars who work on awesome stuff I loved to read about?

I did not.

Those were also the only academics I ran with that, as a matter of course, would literally lay curses on fuckers in their departments, but I never heard of a curse that wasn’t heartily deserved.

The country music scholars don’t run around laying curses–at least as far as I know–but they do know how to throw a conference. The food is delicious (We had cookies at lunch and then brownies in the middle of the afternoon!), the people friendly, the music great, and the presentations interesting.

I won’t bore you with details of everything, but Jewly Hight gave a presentation about different ways that religious imagery is used in mainstream country music and Americana. She mentioned something about Gillian Welch liking to really play with these really mythic words that put me in a mind of the album cover I shared with y’all yesterday, so I found her later outside the bathroom and tried to describe it to her. I could see she was not quite getting the wonderful absurdity of it, so I later-later showed it to her and, people, it was the second best thing I saw all day (I’m hoping I get permission to show you the first best thing I saw today) to see her face as she tried to process what, exactly, she was seeing.

I want to say that it was just a lovely day, but the other day I used “lovely” on Facebook and my dad called me to chastise me about sounding like an old maid and then he called me back to try to apologize and said, instead, that he was just thrown by my nice tone.

I’m half tempted to start making up a bunch of shit and posting all of my fake sexual exploits–and I mean awesome shit: fireworks, dudes named Todd who ride bicycles naked around my bed before leaping into it, curvy gals who wear Christmas lights slung low on their hips so that all you see in the dark as they make their way to you is that glow of anticipation, Jake Gyllenhall who just shows up because he heard Mumford and Sons would be performing at halftime (Yeah, I’m going to have to invent formal sex halftime, but y’all know what I mean.), CIA spies and the New York Times reporters who love them, pregnant women who bellydance, and on and on and on–just to reassure and embarrass him.

But I will not.

Scarier: NES or Lightning?

After the winds came roaring up Clarksville Pike, we lost power in the weirdest way. Usually, when we lose power, it’s like “click” and the power is out. This happened, somehow, just a hair slower than that. It was almost as if the electricity said “bah, fuck this” and within the span of “bah” went out. I was trying to sleep, which was difficult, because I couldn’t breath, because we had no power.

But I was half-dozing, listening to the thunder, when all of a sudden, my whole room was filled with flashing lights. I thought at first I was caught in some kind of lightning tornado, with blinking swirling around me.  I sat bolt upright in bed, squinting to see… well… blinking lights.

And then the power came back on.

So, I think it was just an NES guy checking the wires before they made them live again.

Whew, but that scared the shit out of me.

I fully expected every tree in the yard to be down, but everything is fine.

Is Governor Baby Scolding the Chamber?

For a man elected for his business acumen, Governor Baby’s tone towards the Chamber of Commerce–remember, made up of businesses in Tennessee–is… um… daring:

Haslam noted that the state Chamber of Commerce didn’t turn against the measure until after he signed it into law, and said businesses should have voiced their concerns earlier.

“You know, you had a chance to engage in this during the legislative process, and it passed with over 70 percent majorities in both houses,” he said. “And to kind of change tracks on Monday felt a little late to me.”

And yet, Chamber of Commerce, he has a point. You lobbied for this and you have to live with it as much as he does. Hope that sucks for you.


Could I be more excited? I could not be. I hope it’s good. It’s been so long since she’s had an album out. And the cover makes me hope this is some kind of full-on pagan tribute to The Wicker Man or something. I am almost positive this is deliberately in they style of a deck of Tarot cards I’ve seen, but I can’t find what’s in my mind on Google. But she’s got herself all set like the Hierophant or the Devil in Ryder-Waite, facing forward, right hand raised in some kind of pointing gesture (though I think only the Magician points only one finger and he points it down). I love how there’s the suggestion of the moon behind her hand, the birds on her head like horns, and the owl, symbol of wisdom, over Rawlings’ head who is whispering in her ear.

That’s some archetypal stuff there, anyway.

Campfield is Being Played

I should unequivocally enjoy watching Campfield get his ass handed to him by one of his colleagues. So, yes, when I read that Campfield’s budget amendment to defund Planned Parenthood had been undone by another amendment Campfield tried, but failed, to remove from the budget, I laughed. Oh, I laughed long and hard.

But this concerns me (yes, sorry, the link goes to Senator Douchecanoe’s blog):

He said he originally took it out when we requested him to do it but later a member came back and had him put it back in. I asked him who it was and he said he could not tell as it would violate lawyer client privilege.

How can any state legislator have attorney/client privilege with a state attorney over the state’s business from a state senator? Plus, Campfield isn’t a court of law (thank god). The lawyer isn’t being called to testify about what he and his client were talking about, nor is Campfield asking for the ability to listen in on the lawyer’s conversations with some other legislator. Campfield, who (terrifyingly enough) is an elected official is merely asking which other elected official fucked him over.

I’m not sure it’s right for the lawyer to keep that from Campfield (though I find it hilarious). But it’s definitely not right for the lawyer to lie about why he’s keeping it from Campfield.

That just doesn’t sit right with me.

And that pisses me off. Because I’d like to be able to enjoy this moment of Campfield realizing he’s been dicked over by some high ranking Republican, some member of his own party, possibly someone who’s pretended to his face to be just as upset about this as Campfield is without a second of hesitation. I would like to be gloating over Campfield like Cartman over Tenorman, back before Cartman learned Tenorman’s dad was his dad as well.

But this is kind of ruining it for me a little bit.

The Hardest Lesson

Braisted has a long, but important, post up today about the struggles within our state Democratic party to actually be a party of the people who consider themselves Democrats–which means not just letting women and black people and Hispanic people and gay people and young people and people with disabilities and on and on come to stuff and participate at the level of being bossed around, but making room for them to lead.

Unfortunately, it appears that there are some folks within the party’s executive committee and outside of it that don’t support such goals.  At the TNDP Exec Committee meeting this past Sunday, the committee voted to create a new committee to review the plan instituted by the affirmative action committee (Democrats sure do love their committees).  Luckily, Chairman Forrester put in charge of this committee a co-chair of the Affirmative Action committee, Chris Anderson, who was instrumental in getting these youth inclusion goals to where they are.

This new delegate selection committee will meet tomorrow to make recommendations on the plan.  My understanding is that some of the old guard is fighting to either reduce or eliminate some of the youth inclusion, disability, or LGBT goals.  This is the wrong path to be taking.

Of course it is. I don’t often praise Forrester, but I will in this case. Good thinking on his part to put someone from the affirmative action committee in charge of this committee.

But I have to slightly disagree with Braisted about why this is happening. Yes, I think the excuse many Democrats tell themselves is that tired old affirmative action canard about promoting unqualified minorities over well-qualified white people (to which I say, Exec Committee, if you’ve been hiding well-qualified straight white male Dems, fuck you! Do you not see what trouble we’re in? But shoot, if your complaint is just that some unqualified minority might get a spot instead of the usual unqualified straight white dude? I can’t sweat that shit.), but I think there’s something deeper.

Yesterday, over at Feministe, Jill linked to this post by a woman who used to try to help feminist organizations diversify. And the conclusion this woman comes to also hints at the structural problems the Tennessee Democratic Party faces:

More often, however, splits emerge along racial lines — the white women simply aren’t receptive to the core ideas put forward by the women of color.  Those ideas are “too expensive” in money, time or resources.  They’re outside the boundaries of “the purpose of the organization.” The white women “don’t think they’ll work” or don’t feel they’re “fair.” The donors might object. And so on. White rejection is usually passive aggressive, and resembles the Transactional Analysis game of “Yes, but…”  The women who attempt to bridge are shut down by both communities because the women of color feel that “it’s happening all over again,” and the white women experience the list of proposals as some kind of “attack.”

This is the moment when personal prejudice can be coupled with power to enforce discrimination at an institutional level:  this, in short, is where racism lives.  It is a small group of 4-5 women who really control all the decisions and resources of the organization, and who will set a tone of cooperation or poison the atmosphere.  501(c)(3)s — especially the small ones — are personality driven.  This means that a small group of women pour their hearts and souls and much of their financial resources into building the organization, and feel a strong proprietary interest. They are comfortable with each other, often because they are all the same race and class, etc.  Mary and I eventually came to realize that unless the core group wants the change, no change will ever happen.  Short of voting with their feet (which many feminists do), the members of the organization have no instrument with which they can force positive change that the Powers That Be don’t want to make.

This, I believe, is where we are as a Party. Not just in terms of race–though there’s that–but in terms of everyone who might be new or different. The Party just isn’t very receptive to the ideas of people who aren’t already in the in-group and the things the “outsiders” want feel like they are outside of the purpose of the Party.

But I think this also explains why, even though bloggers have been begging, pleading, and cajoling the Democrats for years to just articulate what being a Tennessee Democrat means so that we can decide if that’s for us or if we want to work to change it, they refuse to do it. It’s because, in order to actually say what being a Democrat means to people on the Executive Committee and in office, it means saying out-loud “Being a Democrat in Tennessee makes me feel good about being me, first and foremost, and doing good for the state and how we might do that is something that comes far second.”

And, don’t get me wrong. I don’t say that as a criticism of Democrats. I think that’s a part of being human. But it’s not something we can lie to ourselves as a party about. If being a Democrat is just a feel-good club for people who don’t like the feel-good club of the Republicans, then everyone who thinks it’s a political party needs to know that so that we can do something else with our time.

But if it is indeed a political party–which it occasionally still shows signs of being–then there’s something we have to face: If we are achieving our goals, we should become unnecessary.

If we want young people to be excited about the Party. If we want more black people to show up for shit. If we want Hispanics to turn out to vote for us. If we want these things and work for these things, eventually, the Party won’t need us. That will be a sign of success when we look around and say “Wow, who are all these women? Shoot, I didn’t even know we had thirty wheelchair basketball players in Jackson, let alone thirty who would come out and phonebank for our candidates!” or whatever.

It’s hard, believe me, I know. You care about something. You pour your whole life into it. And when you see that, if you maneuver just right, you can be grand marshal of a parade of people who love you, it’s hard to resist not sitting on the back of the car and practicing your wave.

But the future isn’t for us. We set the route as we can, march as long as we are able, and then, if we want the parade to go on, we have to accept that other people with different ideas are going to take up deciding where we go.

And that’s what success looks like.

But if we can’t let go of “leading means succeeding,” we’re never going to see that.

Just When You Thought Governor Baby Couldn’t Get More Vile…

Check out what he says in this story by Tom Humphrey:

“I don’t think many Tennesseans feel like we don’t have enough mandates on businesses,” Haslam said after he signed legislation that prohibits local governments from creating anti-discrimination laws that are stricter than the state’s rules. “This had the concurrence of 70 percent of the Legislature.”

Despite opposition from some businesses and Chambers of Commerce, Haslam said he doesn’t think the measure will hurt the state’s business or visitor recruitment.

It’s okay to require Nashville to not hold it against businesses if they discriminate against GLBT people because only a minority of Tennessee legislators think it’s wrong and no one will give a shit anyway. He’s hiding behind the legislature and then sneering at the people he’s fucked over.

I was worried yesterday that a boycott could really hurt Nashville, which is, of course, the city that tried to do the right thing, but this really makes me think it’s going to happen anyway and probably should.

Anyway, I don’t see any coverage of what other groups this might affect–does anyone know? The language isn’t gay specific (probably to try to skirt lawsuits), so does this potentially hurt people with disabilities or veterans or other folks cities might have given a little ‘help’ to?

Governor Baby Explains It All

See here:

Governor Haslam responded to the controversy during a stop in Chattanooga saying “We are not in favor of discrimination — I want to be very clear about that. We are in favor of businesses deciding within federal laws what their policies should be. We just don’t think that local governments should set H.R. policies for businesses. “

I’m sorry. This literally made me laugh out loud. We, as a state, aren’t in favor of discrimination, but it’s important to make sure businesses can discriminate without local government interference. How is that not being in favor of discrimination?

Face it, Governor Baby. You have failed to save these jackass Republicans from themselves, and you’ve made the state of Tennessee once again synonymous with discrimination codified into law.

And it’s only May. Of your first year of your first term.

This must be a proud, proud moment for you.

Friends, You are Not Allowed to Get Sick

There is one person I have known my whole life who I am not related to. The Other Minister’s oldest son was born in January and I was born Sunday. Anyway, he’s in the hospital with something that necessitates calling in the CDC.

I told his brother to tell him that, if he doesn’t get better, and soon, I’m coming to kick his ass. And I mean it.

The Butcher suspects he’s turning into a zombie.

That would be just like him, get all survival-trained and then become a zombie.

Ugh. It is scary, but I’m also excited about the CDC. I wonder if they came up from Atlanta on a secret jet or if they have people all over the nation ready to deploy the minute someone is struck by a mysterious thing?