July 26, 2017

Can the Democratic Party Survive the Rift?

SW Rift of Kilauea Volcano HawaiiMuch has been made of the rift in the Democratic Party, the one between the establishment wing represented by Hillary Clinton and the progressive wing represented by Bernie Sanders. With regard to the party's strategy for the future, the rift is being presented by many in the news media as involving the difficult decision of either trying to appeal to the predominately White working class voters the Democrats lost to Donald Trump or doubling-down on identity politics and attempting to better cater to almost everyone else.

I admit that this strikes me as something of a false dichotomy. For decades, the Democratic Party managed to be both the party of the working class and the the party of various minority groups. Just because this is no longer the case does not necessarily mean that they could not pursue both portions of the electorate in future campaigns. The challenge in doing so, though, is a difficult balancing act that requires them not to go too far in either direction. And I fear that the party has indeed gone too far in the identity politics direction, alienating many White working class voters from middle-America in the process.

July 24, 2017

The N-Word

Nigger by Randall KennedyI often laugh when I hear adults referring to "the F-word" when no children are present. It strikes me as more than a little silly that adults wouldn't either say the word they want to say or replace it with something more appropriate if they are in a situation where that would be of concern. And yet, referring to "the N-word" seems entirely different. I'll admit that I've even been guilty of using this phrase in order to quote others without actually quoting them. And while I have no desire to say the actual word, I do sometimes wonder whether using "the N-word" as an alternative has been a mistake.

I know the arguments against using the word this phrase replaces, and I generally agree with them. In civilized society, we generally try to avoid using racial epithets. That's a good thing. We do this out of respect for others, but we also do it because we do not want to risk being labeled as racist. The dreaded "N-word" in particular is to be avoided because it is widely regarded as hateful and hurtful in a way few other words are. There are a host of other racial and ethnic slurs most of us learn to avoid, but none seems to have quite as much power as the "N-word." At least, that seems to be what many people seem to believe.

July 22, 2017

Blogging More Efficiently

WritingI had an idea that other day about one way I might approach blogging so that it requires less time than I've been devoting to it. Since I know some of you are bloggers or have been bloggers in the past, I thought I'd run it by you and see if you've ever tried it. There's nothing original about it, so I'm guessing some of you have done something similar. For those who have, I'm curious to hear whether you found it helpful.

I'm thinking about giving myself a specific allocation of time (e.g., 10-15 minutes) to write a post. The idea would be that I stop when time expires no matter what. If I'm truly unsatisfied with what I have, I might come back and finish another time; however, the hope would be that I could train myself to finish the post in the allocated time. I would not try to do this with every post because that would prevent me from being able to write some of what I'd like to write. It would be more of a method to utilize when I was feeling especially pushed for time or just wanted to write something fairly brief.

July 20, 2017

An Unholy Alliance

Muslim women in Kuwait City.jpg

When the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was trying to censor heavy metal music in the 1980s, who empowered them? They were highly influential women, so-called "Washington wives," with the sort of impressive connections that allowed them to weild real power. But it was not like they had the idea to go after metal out of nowhere. At least in part, they were responding to grassroots pressure. And what was the source of this pressure?

Not surprisingly, evangelical fundamentalist Christians were a big part of it. They are the ones most of us remember stirring up much of the drive to go after metal. Who else played a major role in this nonsense? Feminists.

Several years later, there were similar efforts aimed at gangsta rap. Once again, much of the pressure came from a combination of evangelical fundamentalist Christians and feminists. Both groups opposed both types of music (albeit for somewhat different reasons) and sought to limit the access the rest of us had to it. That is to say, they were confident that they knew what you should be listening to better than you did.

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