Friday, February 24, 2012

Shaking her Pepys

To be clear, I am not writing this particular post just because the Cheap Bohemian sent me a particularly awesome shout out on the Facebook.

It was a fantastically drawn image of The Batman, done up in the truly fantastic retro/modern mix done up in shades that some (1) have, apparently, dubbed "dark deco". Think bold outlines and simplified forms. He's pointing out through the fourth wall, jaw set, eyes narrowed. The copy reads: "Quit procrastinating. Work on your art."

And it is not simply because Ms. Bohemian has had a piece published in Creative Nonfiction about her homeboy Samuel Pepys.

It's not even because her fondness for links makes doing a post like this one so darn easy and blushingly interactive.

No, I'm writing this because La Fille Bohemian sent this tremendously ass-kicking Valentine to creativity within a day of having a piece on Pepys published in Creative Nonfiction because, honestly, she's one of the hardest working women of letters I happen to know.

I have a number of folks in my life who are experiencing great successes right now and it's kind of inspiring.

Okay, it's also sometimes envy inducing and self-esteem battering...which is why I'm also going to give a shout out to Maura Kelly and her piece "Writer Envy: Slaying the Green-Eyed Monster" (2) in this month's Poet's & Writers magazine.

But mostly it's exciting to look around and realize that -- with all the anger and rhetoric and general piles of bogusosity flying about -- you're surrounded by incredible, talented, lovely people.

And that's the truth. *thrrrrrrrrrrrpppppppppppppppppppppp*

1. By which I mean those folks that contribute to Wikipedia entries.
2. That won't actually take you to the full article. What can I say, somebody's got to get their bill's paid, eh?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In your Face(book).

So, I've mentioned my tri-cornered hat-wearing Tea Partying relative and his Holy-in-the-eyes-of-the-Lord wife.

I've mentioned the head-against-the-table and overuse-of-hyphenates their politics and their lockstep view of the world that is only happy with problems and questions that can be reduced to black or white answers inspires.

And, should you not be able to comfortably reduce an issue to black or white...they'll simply begin ranting about something completely unrelated that can be addressed as such.

What I've not said to this point is that, even if viewed only from an extraordinarily outsider position, the language and framing often used veers not simply toward the bigoted, but, I'll say it, the racist.

Complicating things, things that the extraordinarily outside outsider would not know, is the fact that my family is, in fact, part of an ethnic group that is the target of a good amount of racist language and ideology these days.

I will also say that, compared to, say, me, this particular relative does not fall into the "funny you don't look" category.

Today, however, one of those Facebook posts went up from Holy-in-the-eyes-of-the-Lord wife that makes you wonder, "Why hasn't anyone developed some kind of Facebook muzzle?" It asserted that the real racists in the world are not the Tea Party and the Republicans but the "loony liberals", which was then followed by a piece about what some are calling Rep. Allen West's "fearless" Black History Month speech wherein he says this:

"
For this reason, the Republican value of minimizing government dependence is particularly beneficial to the poorest among us," he continued. "Conversely, the Democratic appetite for ever-increasing redistributionary handouts is in fact the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today, and it does not promote economic freedom."

I won't even touch on how very much Word hates the word "redistributionary" or even raise questions about what the alternative is for those so poetically referred to as the "poorest among us". We're going to show our respect by letting them starve and have no access to healthcare or affordable housing! It's more than tough love...it's an abusive spouse approach to social issues. We're hitting you because we love you!

West's statement also ignores the fact that, as has already been illustrated time and time again, the largest percentage of those receiving the benefits that the Republican party is trying to vilify are, in fact, not Black. West's decision to make this argument as part of what is being described as a Black History Month event, as well as his use of the incredibly loaded phrase "insidious form of slavery"makes me think that he's not only attempting to further this false argument but give permission to folks like Holy Wife to assert, as she did, that Democrats (aka loony liberals) are racists. And, who could argue with that because the one that told them it was racist was a Black man.

Which all made me start to wonder about the line between racism and bigotry.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the line and I know that there is a difference between the actual functionality of these two things...but, in our current political climate, I find myself kind of marveling at the lengths some are going to to defend bigotry as either not being racist or not capable of being racist because the discrimination is being forwarded by an individual or group of individuals of color.

It's also fascinating...and horrifying...to watch bigotry and, as Holy Wife strenuously attempts to point out in other admirable-in-their-editing media clips, non-racist racism being deployed under the guise of not simply Christianity (1) but the mark of being a good and incredibly faithful Christian. In fact, these people are so very good and Godly that they are being discriminated against themselves as more and more laws are being developed to protect the targets of what, to this point at least, has been considered hate speech by most reasonable, thoughtful, civil individuals.

It seems a really funny way to be spending one's time and energy...inventing new ways to justify hate instead of trying to find ways to end it.

But what do I know. I'm just a loony.

1.
Which, let's face it, is hardly new.