Lots of Good Stuff

1. Few things move me to email strangers, but this post made me email Andrew Sullivan. Dude links to an article about American Idol’s Southerners and a lack of recording opportunities for Southerners that doesn’t even mention Nashville. Here’s my theory–and I’m right–about why there are so many Southerners on American Idol. Southerners go to church a lot more than the rest of the country, which means there are a lot more Southern teenagers in church, some of whom are singing, and some of whom are getting solos. There are more Southerners not because they lack opportunities to record, but because they have more opportunities to perform in front of a crowd. They come with some polish.

2. Cool story out of Clarksville about two men who share the family farm. I know everyone’s experience with finding their slave ancestors–or hell, even if they want to find their slave ancestors–is a kind of weird personal journey, but I swear, for the people who want to look, the responses I keep hearing and reading over and over are like Jackie Collins’s, “I was glad to find them. They had a name. They were human. They were real.” I think white people are kind of worried that, if black people find out who their slave ancestors were, they will immediately cast about for the people who enslaved them and look to be pissed at them. But you know, it’s not about us white people. We aren’t the center of every American story. A person can want to know who his great-great-great grandmother was without then turning his whole life into a revenge fantasy against the man who fucked her over.

3. An interview with Dorothy Parker. I aspire to always be so vibrantly engaged with things.

4. The Chronicle has a story about the shut-down of the University of Missouri Press. A whole lot of college administrators seem to be under the strange impression that librarians will just be able to and have the time to teach themselves how to publish books.

More on the Tennessee Democrats

Steven Hale has pretty much the definitive story on the fall of the Democrats. The only piece that seems to be missing to me is the roll of the Rosalind Kurita episode. Maybe it doesn’t, but it seemed to me at the time–and still does–as a crucial pivot point that really read differently to the Democratic Party than it did to voters who traditionally voted Democratic.

I think the Party thought it was playing hardball with someone they perceived of as disloyal.

I think a lot of voters felt that this was a clear demonstration that the Party was so corrupt and so good-old-boy-ish that it would demolish anyone who put the good of the state over the good of the party.

It’s possible that the Kurita incident would have blown up in Democrats’ faces no matter what the Party did. But what it did do sent a couple of messages the Democrats still don’t want to take responsibility for sending. One is the primacy of party interests over state interests–though it sounds from Hale’s article like they may finally get this. The other is the message it sent to women about how the Democratic party treats female candidates. If you know you live in a state where the baseline–across parties–is not very woman-friendly and one party at least puts women in leadership positions, why would you leave your loyalty with the other party?

I mean, I know why I do. But why would a regular Tennessee woman?

Until the TNDP has some good answers to that question, all they can do is wait for the Republicans to fuck up so bad (while hoping their own Democrats don’t go down with them) that women will come back to them in disgust.

I would, if that is the strategy, invite all skeletons in any prominent closets to be dealt with now. Because voters whose motivation is disgust can be easily motivated to leave you for the same reason.