Re: The Pauline Kael Bubble -- It's Awfully Nice In Here

1

"Literally ever other conversation is someone asking if they're allowed to use the n-word."

So she's the one with the permission slips for that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:10 AM
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The surest sign of living inside the liberal bubble is assuming that everyone outside of it is a racist monster.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:20 AM
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the black and hispanic kids feel free to be kind of assholes to each other about race, while the white kids have a tendency to mind their manners

Also IM limited E this totally rings true. When my kid was at the 80% hispanic, 20% black school the kids were definitely into pointing out racial differences in a way that (almost) no white parent or teacher would find OK. It wasn't particularly hostile, except inasmuch as friend groups tended to break down by race to some extent, and I'm generally in favor of acknowledging race and talking about it instead of treating it as the great unspeakable taboo, but still.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:24 AM
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Oh yeah? Well charismatic and fun black gay New Yorkers are the real racists because...well, just because.


Posted by: Opinionated Slate commenter | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:24 AM
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One could reasonably describe my adult life as an unceasing effort to cocoon myself inside the liberal bubble. If not for relatives and Facebook (and especially the combination of relatives and Facebook), I would have succeeded.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:34 AM
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What gets really strange is when you hear people talking about how they could never live in a big city dominated by liberals and elitists and they're talking about Lincoln, Nebraska.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:39 AM
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I think 2 is actually the reverse. The surest sign of not having lived outside the bubble is being able to pretend that the area outside is largely defined by horrible horrible racism.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:42 AM
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Er, "isn't."


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:42 AM
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Well, right, 6 is silly. But the fact that Lincoln is inside the bubble does not tell you much about say Chambersburg PA. My current college town is obviously super liberal, but 15 minutes away you get places where the non-white students are literally afraid to stop for gas because of how strangers treat them.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:45 AM
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Give 7/8 another shot? I'm still not sure how it comes out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:45 AM
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6: Sure. Like "Go big red" isn't a veiled pro-communist slogan.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:45 AM
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I guess if I had a point, it's that it seems as if we spend a lot of time talking about how provincial and closed-minded white-bubble-dwellers are about the white people outside the bubble. And I'm sure we are, and I'm sure we're contemptibly smug about it. But the liberal bubble does have some benefits for people who aren't smug white liberals.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:47 AM
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I think 2 is actually the reverse of the truth. The surest sign of not having lived outside the bubble is being able to pretend that the area outside isn't largely defined by horrible horrible racism.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:48 AM
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9: I don't really think that Lincoln is inside the bubble excepting for people who live in the land of opposite bubbles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:49 AM
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When I want to see what life outside the liberal urban bubble is like, I watch The Hills Have Eyes on Netflix.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:50 AM
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I don't even own a tv.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:52 AM
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Also it's supposed to get up to 96° on the godforsaken outside of the bubble today.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:55 AM
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My brother was genuinely astonished by our bubble, a few years ago. It isn't that he doesn't know or hear liberal views: I know his friends and I know he does, and that he—quietly— shares some of them, though not all.

What was amazing and alien to him was a place, a circle where those views are the default.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:57 AM
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Calling the advantages for an (on a national scale) ethnic minority of being in New York city an advantage of being "in the liberal bubble" is itself kind of white-oriented and racist. The reason why "minorities" in the US generally feel more comfortable in large urban settings is that they are places with lots and lots of other minorities, for reasons that have almost nothing to do with white liberalism.

Indeed, it's sort of the opposite of liberalism that has made the big cities more minority-dense (and thus "friendly"). Massive income stratification combined with immigration patterns has set up a dynamic in which a relatively few very rich white people and relatively very many minorities live in large American cities. These places then tend to vote Democratic through a combination of poor/minority and well-educated urban professional vote, but the very reason that these places are both (a) politically liberal and (b) home to tons of ethnic minorities is that we have an insanely stratified caste and race system that's kept (many) minorities poor in large cities while simultaneously making them attractive to white symbol-manipulators who can do very, very financially well, which sometimes (as in housing costs) puts them directly at odds with the minorities in the large cities. Cities are nicer places to live than exurbs or most of the country IMO but white UMC liberals shouldn't pat themselves on the back for taking advantage of a class structure that allows them to be simultaneously winners in a massively rigged an unequal game AND at the same time pat themselves on the back for their virtuous tolerance of pluralism.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 10:59 AM
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My mother remembers a time on a plane where she was next to a young woman from somewhere other than Austin, and the conversation turned to politics. She expressed some of her views in what by her standards was fairly mild and non-dogmatic. Her seatmate paused and then said, wide-eyed, "You're a Democrat, aren't you?

I don't like the term or concept "bubble", though. I'd bet the majority of the population either lives in these areas or is non-white.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:02 AM
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Oh, if white UMC people can't pat themselves on the back, what else can they (fine, we) do?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:02 AM
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I've spent time inside and outside the bubble. Inside is nicer. Certainly the food is better there.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:02 AM
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I don't think you can conflate cities in general with being in a liberal bubble. At least, I wouldn't advise it if you lived where I did.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:02 AM
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The surest sign of not having lived outside the bubble is being able to pretend that the area outside isn't largely defined by horrible horrible racism.

I will confine my commentary to: oh, for fuck's sake.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:03 AM
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24 was me.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:04 AM
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"The Real Racists" would be a good name for a band.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:07 AM
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It would also work for a Skynnard cover band.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:09 AM
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Live from the liberal bubble.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:10 AM
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There are a few places in the US that are genuinely set up as white "liberal bubbles" without the dynamic described in 19 -- college towns, maybe Portland Oregon -- but they also tend to be lilly-white. I certainly believe that you're better off growing up as a black kid in one of those towns than in, say, Sunnyvale Texas, but white liberalism has in general very little to do with the attractiveness of cities for minority groups -- it's all about population density.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:14 AM
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I don't think anybody said white liberals were what made cities attractive for minority groups.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:18 AM
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I think what people were saying was that white racists make large parts of the country unattractive for minorities.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:19 AM
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It's kind of inherent in thinking about the attractions for minorities in a big city as being part of the attractions of a "liberal bubble."


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:19 AM
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31 -- yes, but in those kinds of places once sufficient numbers of minorities move in it's (relatively) fine for them, or at least the problems aren't problems that derive from it being unusual to be a minority. E.g., inner-ring suburbs in tons of US cities.

It's not about white people or the good intentions of white liberals. It's about power and numbers.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:21 AM
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On another note: the whole "I didn't realize that white people could be racist" thing is interesting, as I tend to assume that all white people everywhere at all times are reinscribing racism - consciously or not - through microaggressions and general assholeishness, and that this is virtually unstoppable. It's nice to see that at least this one kid seems not to be experiencing that. Maybe there's a threshold below which being slightly stupid/wrong about race becomes invisible most of the time, so even if you're a well-meaning but clueless white person rather than a perfectly self-actualized anti-racist you're not necessarily constantly causing everyone around you pain.

On the other hand, I really had hoped that at least on the northern East Coast we as a society had outgrown the "can I use the n-word? Why not?" conversation, which is surely one of the dumbest conversations it's possible to have. I mean, I grew up in a very provincial and racist suburb and believed many kind of stupid things, but "white people should be able to say n*****" was just not a common belief. Maybe that had more to do with the idea that racial slurs were trashy, so it was more about class than sensitivity, though.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:21 AM
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I think the point was how it's nicer to be a white liberal in a place where there are enough minorities around that white people don't usually act like assholes on race when they are talking aloud.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:21 AM
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35 to 32.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:22 AM
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And before seeing 33.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:23 AM
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I can't quite parse 32.

Anyway, the point was not that white liberals are what make cities so awesome. If there was a point, it was that the social norms that get made fun of as smug white liberalism, but which are largely accepted among residents, regardless of race, of the places that get referred to as liberal bubble, do have some value in making life more tolerable for people other than smug white liberals.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:26 AM
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I mean, I grew up in a very provincial and racist suburb and believed many kind of stupid things, but "white people should be able to say n*****" was just not a common belief.

I think it might be a bigger complaint now because thirty years ago, racists who wanted to say "n*****" just said "n*****" and nobody much corrected them in an all-white setting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:27 AM
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33: That's interesting, but of course it's a counsel of total despair -- that there's nothing other than majority or plurality status that can improve racial relations.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:29 AM
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It's only a counsel of despair if you think there's nothing you can do to affect the material conditions that lead to people being concentrated where they are.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:32 AM
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42

On the other hand, I really had hoped that at least on the northern East Coast we as a society had outgrown the "can I use the n-word? Why not?" conversation, which is surely one of the dumbest conversations it's possible to have.

This is the thing about (the gratingly self-lovingly self-termed) anti-racism that gets under my skin. Yes, it's stupid once you've given it some thought, but if you are, as in this example, some average kid from some average town, and you're hearing the word used in an apparently neutral way, it's not hugely surprising that you're going to wonder why you can't use it, too. People don't automatically have reason or opportunity to think things through fully by the time they've taken the PSAT and it doesn't make them dumb or contemptible. (Unless you are a holy internet anti-racist for whom everything is an opportunity to prove the thesis "white people suck except for me.")


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:32 AM
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If there was a point, it was that the social norms that get made fun of as smug white liberalism, but which are largely accepted among residents, regardless of race, of the places that get referred to as liberal bubble, do have some value in making life more tolerable for people other than smug white liberals.

I think the norms inside the bubble and the bubble-ness are perhaps separate issue that you're a little bit conflating here. OH WAIT Or maybe not! I've talked myself out of that! your point is that the bubble quality is in itself a boon for people of color inside the bubble--it's an extra bonus to quality of life in itself to be able to feel that these norms are normal, to be expected. Plausible! That said, I never do know quite how to square the Pauline Kael effect of not really believing in Republicans (or whatever) because you've never met one with the corollary belief that everywhere else on earth is going to be intolerably full of awful people. That's not a very reassuring belief!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:34 AM
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In the absence of concentration, though, national minorities won't have "power and numbers". Concentration of minorities is certainly not inevitable, but under what seems to be Halford's theory is going to mean that minorities are all going be stuck in white-supremacist environments. I don't think this is true, but I'd be depressed as anything if I did.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:35 AM
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45

44 to 41.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:35 AM
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the whole "I didn't realize that white people could be racist" thing is interesting

I assumed that the girl meant she didn't realize that white people were allowed to be racist -- like, in her previous school, only other black or Latino kids were allowed to give each other shit, but in her new school white kids would say something about black kids and not be called out.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:36 AM
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That said, it's not the norms themselves that get made fun of (at least in an unfoggetariat audience), it's some kind of second-order thing about the beliefs about what norms are broadly normative.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:36 AM
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(Humorless reminder that that isn't what Pauline Kael was actually saying.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:36 AM
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I know! I know.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:37 AM
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3: When my kid was at the 80% hispanic, 20% black school

Where's your kid now? It was the fancy private school, then the "ghetto" school which was ahead of the fancy school academically. A new place?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:41 AM
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I know! And LB probably knows too, as probably does everyone else! Humorless!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:41 AM
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So, Kael did vote for Nixon?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:42 AM
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How does 33 account for e.g. Ferguson? Majority minority inner ring suburb with plenty of racism.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:45 AM
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Serious question. I have lived in liberal bubbles for my entire life, including the 20 years spent in one in hyper-racist Wisconsin, and I have not the faintest idea why white people who are courteous enough to ask permission would want to use, rather than mention, the n-word. Do they just want to know if they have permission because they can't stand the thought of the double standard? (Frankly I don't even understand that one. It's an exceedingly shitty word.) What on earth do people want to say with it?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:48 AM
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46: Yeah, what I was trying to get at was "I am not experiencing these white people as being racist to me", whereas my assumption is that everyone experiences all white people at all times as being racist.

42: Two thoughts: first, "can I use the n-word" is a pretty well-answered question by now, widely discussed, the subject of many comments on tumblr, etc. If anything, when I was growing up, provincial white people first encountering hip-hop would have had more reason to wonder why they couldn't say it, since not only had that conversation not been had ten million times in the media but we had only the papers, television and the radio rather than the miracle of the internet.

Second: what should one call anti-racism other than anti-racism? Believe me, this is a question that has vexed many people for my entire adult life, and I can well remember when "anti-racism" was the commonly used term. "Opposing white supremacy" was in use for a while; "being an ally" has pretty much been denigrated as being white liberal weasel words but was the appropriate term for a few years recently; people tried to make "race traitor" a thing back in the nineties (which I found ridiculously overblown and smug); my local YWCA alleges that it is "dismantling racism". I've read essays by writers of color who like "co-conspirator", but the white people I know who use that term are almost uniformly smug assholes.

Personally, when I want to describe a group or a project as working against racism, I find "anti-racist" to be the best term. It's simple, it's accessible to movement people and non-movement people alike, it doesn't pat white people on the back any more than one is patted on the back by saying that one is against racism; it doesn't confuse people who think of white supremacists as neo-nazis.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:49 AM
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I think it's the "unfairness." People really have a hard time with the idea that it's ok for someone else to do something but not them, even if it's not worth doing. Kids are always only wanting to do something because someone else got to do it.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:52 AM
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What about "normal"? There's a lot to be said for sticking a flag right on top of normality.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:56 AM
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the subject of many comments on tumblr, etc

Since you seem to have referred to tumblr a lot recently (I'm sure this is in part an illusion)—not everyone reads anything on tumblr, and there are many, many things you can read on tumblr where you will find no mention whatsoever of the sort of thing with respect to which you've been citing it, so I don't really see why this is given (apparently) so much weight.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:57 AM
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59

Huh that sentence ended up not being grammatical.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:58 AM
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I'm not sure I think people need a name for trying to think more clearly and act more fairly and I'm not sure how much sense it makes to think of it as a movement.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:58 AM
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Oh! Good grief. Somehow reading the OP I had the mistaken idea that the person under discussion was Sally's friend's mother, not her teenage friend. I can think of use cases for teenagers, yes. Totally thought this was a bunch of white suburban moms and I was flabbergasted. They're... out of rhymes for "Tigger" in the limerick cycle or something?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:00 PM
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I'm going to switch my registration and vote for Ben Carson as a measure of healing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:06 PM
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54: There are two interpretations of the question, I think, and a lot of the people asking it will really be asking something in a kind of vague middle ground between the two. The first is what you'll get from a lot of relatively small-white-community young people who are having trouble piecing together the complicated set of norms that go along with it. A whole bunch of them are absolutely hearing it in private contexts, like when they're at home and only white people are there. But they've also learned that saying it outside of that context is really really not done. And then they'll hear it in a bunch of songs or something, or used in a colloquial/friendly way between people in movies - usually between black people but also sometimes between black and white people. And in those cases it's fine as well. I mean, if you're relatively unexposed to the complicated history and racial dynamics of the country (which they definitely will be because if someone tried to teach it in school they'd be run out of town on a rail) that's got to be a really complicated/confusing set of norms. ("So, it's ok if my penis is out when I'm alone or in the bathroom/shower and maybe if it's with someone I'm really intimate with but definitely not in public generally or if I just take it out in front of someone I don't know that well even if no one else is in the room but also there are a bunch of super respected people who wander around with their penises hanging out and in some movies people are doing that too and it's all a kind of friendly cool thing but definitely not if I did it unless....")

The other people are just whining because black people are saying that it's their word or something when damnit it used to be our word and now how are we supposed to express contempt or threaten them because they're black without people thinking we're bad people or something.

And since the former group is largely being raised by the latter group they kind of muddle together a lot as well, because the people who should be answering the first question are still asking the second one.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:07 PM
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64

Or just retract the question after I wrote all that. Jerk.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:08 PM
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Because I'm down, let me note that black people almost never say "nigger," either. They say "nigga," which has a different sense.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:14 PM
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60: I generally don't talk about an anti-racist "movement", although I would describe, say, Jane Elliott as an anti-racist activist, Black Lives Matter as (among many other things) an anti-racist movement, the YWCA as concerned with anti-racism, etc.

Racial justice - that's the phrase that seems to be in use right now, now that I think about it. But that doesn't seem to solve your particular problem with any of these terms, right, since your problem is with pointing to specifically anti-racist/racial-justice politics as such?

You could certainly make a case that people shouldn't make grand statements - one might be an anti-prison activist, or a civil rights activist, etc, or might be part of an organization that campaigned against police brutality, etc, and thus avoid grandiose claims. I guess what I worry about there is that this suggests that there's something racially neutral about the prison system or police brutality and that there isn't systemic racism in back of all those things.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:23 PM
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It is truly a wonder that I manage to wake up every day and face the world. Did you know that minorities in Texas have never seen a violin?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:25 PM
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65: This seems to me to be splitting hairs, pronunciation-wise. I can't imagine being sure how someone was spelling the word from how they said it unless it was hyperexaggerated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:26 PM
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Good, a politics post. I didn't read the comments. I don't usually post political stuff at the Other Place, and don't write much in general, so until I do over there, I'll say it here. Israel cannot even pretend any longer to be among the ranks of civilized nations, whatever that may mean. The liberal bubble nations.
The situation here right now is horrifying and I can only ask you all to contact your political representatives and somehow take a stand on that. I'm probably going to cry helplessly for a bit and maybe spam the blog with links tomorrow.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:26 PM
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67: And they are at higher risk of being bitten by a snake.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:34 PM
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Did you know that minorities in Texas have never seen a violin?

All the more time for the viola da gamba then!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:40 PM
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This seems to me to be splitting hairs

And we wouldn't want that. What I mean is that the premise of "why can't I say 'nigger'?" is flawed, because black people rarely say it. And if you google nigger vs nigga, you'll find yourself in a sea of links about the difference.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:40 PM
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73

72: White people really can't say either word.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:41 PM
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Good, a politics post. I didn't read the comments

<3


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:42 PM
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White people really can't say either word.

But I say "viola" all the time!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:43 PM
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76

So whenever AAVE-using black people say rhotic-final words like "water", these words are separate and distinct in meaning from their dominant-pronunciation counterparts, if not unrelated?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:43 PM
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69 spam the blog away, Awl. I don't know what else to say. Things do look utterly horrific there at the moment and there appears to be no way out.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:43 PM
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What I mean is that the premise of "why can't I say 'nigger'?" is flawed, because black people rarely say it.

But then you'd be left with the question "Why can't I say 'nigga'?", and I'm sort of figuring that for anyone asking the first question, there still aren't an circumstances where the answer to the second would be "No reason, of course you can." The distinction doesn't do anything to answer the question. Or what Heebie said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:45 PM
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I suspect that it would be disappointingly futile to ask the "Why can't I say...?" people whether Jesus Christ would be pleased by their wish to call people hateful names, but I've got that chambered with a sorrowing gaze for my next visit to Texas.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:48 PM
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69: Wow, that does look petty grim. Somehow I'd missed hearing about any of that, probably because it looked like the nationalist far-right might win yesterday's elections here (they didn't, thankfully) and that was distracting me from most other news. How awful.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:48 PM
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72: You may also find yourself in the office of the Director of Human Relations.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:48 PM
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Oh hey I have totally played viola da gamba IN Texas. This thread turns out to be about me!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:48 PM
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76: if there's a lot of specific meaning associated with them, sure.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:48 PM
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The distinction doesn't do anything to answer the question

I don't think that's true. Whatever your explanation is for why whitey can't say it, it helps to establish that "nigger" is so offensive that even most black people won't use it, and there's this cousin-word that's used because...[however you want to explain it]. Anyway, gotta run.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:49 PM
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73: I can! I just said it! So there!


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:50 PM
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86

Possibly I am mostly reacting to people who term themselves anti-racist. I certainly after the last ten years don't have any illusions regarding racial neutrality/the prison system.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:52 PM
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82: Surprise! It's an intervention. We're concerned that you need more cats.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:52 PM
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I somewhat uncharitably think of one slice of this issue as the Gwenyth Paltrow problem (she who tweeted "N***as in Paris for real!" when hanging out with her good friend Jay-Z and then got richly-deserved flack for it).

Which is to say -- it's ONE word. It's just not a big deal to not use it. I see dozens if not hundreds of tweets across my timeline every week with this word and it takes ZERO effort not to retweet them. If I want to communicate the concept the tweet is conveying -- guess what, I have an entire English language to do that with.

And IME white people who ask (especially more than once) why they can't use That Word are jerks. Either oblivious jerks or malicious jerks.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:56 PM
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Black people in Paris for real (not talking about James Baldwin- It is an allusion to a popular Kanye West/Jay Z collaboration of a similar name.)



Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 12:59 PM
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White kids in NYC must have asked that question at some point. 5th grade maybe? 3rd grade? Hopefully they asked a white adult and not a black kid, but they didn't magically know the historical context without being told.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:00 PM
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Werewolves in London.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:01 PM
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84: it helps to establish that "nigger" is so offensive that even most black people won't use it, and there's this cousin-word that's used because...[however you want to explain it].

Actually, I've run into a lot of black people who won't use "nigga" either. I overheard a 40-something black woman lecturing a couple of teenagers who'd been telling each other a story about some guy who they referred to as "this nigga", and she emerged from the house to yell at them, at which point they said, "Yes, ma'am. So anyway, [they continued the story] this guy was telling this other guy that blah-blah-blah, and then the other guy said ..."

Not a great idea to assume all black people speak in the same way and are totally cool with it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:03 PM
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I've never actually heard a black person use the word either. I mean a real one, not one of the made-up ones you get on TV.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:04 PM
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Sorry to sound all lecture-y there, but really, "Can I say "nigga"?" is a question for everyone, not just whites.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:05 PM
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Also, for all of the very real racism that exists within the liberal bubble, there is a special kind of on-edge-ness that I have experienced when traveling with non-white friends or colleagues in areas outside the bubble. Having the entire restaurant turn around and stare, and go dead quiet, when you walk in, puts you on an adrenaline edge, as does the speed with which a pleasant interaction can escalate into virulent racism.

I have gotten pretty practiced at trying to turn the conversation around quickly before it goes over a cliff, but sometimes you just can't stop it. (Oh wow...he found out I work with immigrants...now he's talking about how hardworking they are, not like ...oh my God red alert I have to resteer this....too late. He's in full-blown anti-black bigotry.)

Even being able to see this coming does not do anything to prevent it (oh my God she is reaching over -- she is touching her hair -- she is comparing it to a dog's -- oh my God).

In conclusion: The bubble comes with all its own racism, but at least as a white person I don't feel the same edge of danger and imminent threat as often as I do in other places.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:06 PM
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I have actually heard black people say it!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:06 PM
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Also it's supposed to get up to 96° on the godforsaken outside of the bubble today.

If it makes you feel any better liberal bubble L.A. is coming off of three straight days of 100 at five times your housing prices.

Great weather forecast out east of here so we're going to go stay in Price for a couple days and do some sightseeing in Nine Mile Canyon and the San Rafael Swell.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:06 PM
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Also, for all of the very real racism that exists within the liberal bubble, there is a special kind of on-edge-ness that I have experienced when traveling with non-white friends or colleagues in areas outside the bubble. Having the entire restaurant turn around and stare, and go dead quiet, when you walk in, puts you on an adrenaline edge, as does the speed with which a pleasant interaction can escalate into virulent racism.

This is hardly what "outside the bubble" means. Maybe "homogeneously white and racist"?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:07 PM
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90: Mostly, really, no, asking "why can't I say n---r?" isn't a thing that happens. People pick up most social norms without asking about them explicitly, right?

(Trying to unpack that a little more -- I'd expect a kid in roughly my social group to have originally learned the word as basically a swear word -- something you're not allowed to say at all. And then they'd encounter it in, e.g., rap lyrics or from other people in the same way they encounter other taboo words, and different taboo words have their own rules, which can be pretty subtle, but you pick them up organically.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:12 PM
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Don't kids ask "why can't I say "shit"?" or whatever?

I don't think it would be crazy for Hawaii to ask me about the n-word, if she heard black kids say it and knew enough to know that Mom and Dad would be angry if she said it. I can't figure out what she's missing that NYC kids are exposed to.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:17 PM
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That is, Hawaii "I want to be a slave when I grow up" Geebie. ("I want to help people without getting paid." We spent some time explaining that one.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:19 PM
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Black teenagers totally say it on the bus.

Humans absorb so many nuances of of communication without much fuss as they grow up, so when I run across assertions that something like this is completely mysterious to whole swathes of people, older than about 12, born and raised in this country not within completely isolated insular communities (Amish?), I'm a bit skeptical of the claimed ignorance.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:20 PM
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Either oblivious jerks or malicious jerks.

There are people who argue that racism necessarily involves malice, and that if one is oblivious about, say, the history of the Confederate flag, then one is not being racist by flying it.

For example, Charles Murray burned a cross but insists he's not a racist because he didn't know the significance of that behavior. When I googled around to link that incident, I came across his profile at shameproject.com, which looks like a fun site.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:21 PM
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Don't kids ask "why can't I say "shit"?" or whatever?

It's not that it seems impossible to me that they might, but I don't think I've encountered it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:34 PM
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My kids ask why they can't say certain words. (My wife proactively explained the n-word, right when it first started appearing in songs my daughter listened to.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:39 PM
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This seems backwards - I'm sure the white kids at the new school are being deliberate jerks, but part of the reason that they're being jerks is that race is taboo to talk about, and their parents assumed they'd organically pick up cultural norms about who gets to say what.

My understanding is that the current thinking on being a good white parent is to talk to your kids bluntly about race and racism, because letting them figure it out on their own doesn't work very well.

Also, "homogeneously white" keeps getting tossed around interchangeably with "outside the bubble" which is irritating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:43 PM
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On the A train I would hear black and Latin kids use it in literally every sentence of a conversation somewhat frequently.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:45 PM
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I guess, come to think, I'm not sure of what exactly I told my kids when they were little and asking questions -- there might have been a "Mommy, what does 'fuck' mean? And why can't I say it to Mrs. Johnson at school?" that wasn't memorable. But teaching the kids not to say the n-word wasn't more of a deal than teaching them not to say 'cocksucker', which I also don't recall doing but they don't seem to say it in front of me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:45 PM
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107: If you're implying that black and Latin kids speak in really long sentences, that's a bit strange.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:48 PM
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"I had no idea white people could be racist."

Okay, mind if I just say what the fucking fuck to this? It's lovely having the privilege of living in a relatively-benign liberal bubble and all, but this is more in the lines of "I have never heard about or interested myself in the experience of any other black person on the continent ever." That's straight-ahead fucked up.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:49 PM
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"Sweetie, words mean different things in different contexts, and even if you're not trying to summon the old ones from the cursed cthonic darkness when you say 'Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!' you might do it by accident, and that can be very hurtful."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:49 PM
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110: She's a kid, and she was talking about interactions with other kids her own age -- not the best phrasing, but I'm pretty sure she meant people as in 'perfectly normal classmates! not politicians or people in power or people out there someplace, but right there in the room with you.' If you see what I mean.

I am sure she didn't mean it literally, which would be nuts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:52 PM
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I currently have conversations all the time about which words are okay to say in which contexts, so. Not that they're memorable, but it would be weird for this one word to not require any conversation.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:55 PM
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Yeah, like I said in 108, it's that it didn't require anything memorably different than any other taboo word.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 1:57 PM
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Also, "homogeneously white" keeps getting tossed around interchangeably with "outside the bubble" which is irritating.

Yes, sorry, I contributed to this. That was really my parochialism talking. I was mostly remembering incidents from Central PA, as well as upstate New York and quasi-rural New Jersey. In those contexts there really weren't any substantive numbers of black or Asian people around, and the Latinos were in very circumscribed roles.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:07 PM
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Also, I'm kind of gobsmacked by 93. I thought you had military experience?!

I'm pretty sure if I made a hashmark for every time I heard a black person use the N word in a given week it would eclipse 100 most weeks. But a lot of that is riding public transit and being around teenagers.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:09 PM
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115.2: No noticeable Native American populations?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:11 PM
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In those regions? Probably not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:13 PM
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Ha, I just remember that I actually did have to be told once not to say "Negro." I was 7 or 8 and had read it in a 1950s/60s biography of George Washington Carver. I was confused when my parents said I couldn't say it, since it was perfectly clear to me that the book used it in a respectful context. (But not *too* confused, since once they corrected me I realized I had never actually heard anyone else say it aloud.)

Thank goodness I didn't actually say it in public. Just at home.


Posted by: ttiW | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:13 PM
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117: No way. I'm pretty sure I've never encountered even one Native-identifying person in upstate NY or rural NJ, and they are vanishingly rare in the parts of PA I know.

The only time I've actually been around any noticeable number of Native people has been in entirely different areas of the country (Alaska, Washington state, Minnesota).


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:16 PM
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116: well, I don't interact with teenagers much. And Multicultural London English uses blood, brother, bruv or cuz much more than nigga (and people don't talk much on public transport anyway).
As for the military, there are very few black British soldiers - far fewer than their share of the population.
Also, depressingly, I didn't say I'd never heard it - just never from a black person.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:23 PM
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110: It makes plenty of sense to me. Back in high school, my mostly Asian-Am friends would let racial generalizations fly, but the white kids would mostly keep their mouths shut along those lines. If you were counting up spoken expressions of stereotypes, you'd get most of them from the Asian-Am kids, about each other.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:24 PM
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119: what kind of jerk were you? Also I think it's hilarious that you chose your backwards pseud for that confession.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:38 PM
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As for the military, there are very few black British soldiers - far fewer than their share of the population.

Bad day for my parochialism. I was totally assuming Britain was like the US. (As of a few years ago, African-Americans were 13% of US population and 17% of active-duty military.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:40 PM
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The other day, several (white) Californians thought it was strange that I didn't know that Vincent is a primarily Asian-American name.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:41 PM
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121.first: You could apply to the Woody Allen Foundation for a grant if you wanted to change that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:43 PM
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124: overall the army is less white than the British general population, but you have to remember that quite a lot of the non white soldiers are Commonwealth (Fijians, especially) or Gurkha. Actual British-born non white soldiers are rarer.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:49 PM
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Be sure to not accept cookies from that web site.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 2:54 PM
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102 - It's true that people pick this stuff up naturally, but I think what happens is that a lot of the mostly innocent* white kids in outer whitelandia can tell perfectly well perfectly well that the norms don't make any sense because they're picking up one set of norms from the people around them, and seeing another set of norms entirely from the general cultural products they're consuming and don't know how to reconcile them. If someone youngish asked me I would assume that asking whether it's ok to use the n-word would be less "I'm unfamiliar with the rules regarding this word" and more "Ok, so this rule seems to say X and this other one ~X so which one is right and when?"

You don't need to be too isolated to end up with this sort of problem, too. You just need people growing up in a mostly-homogenous population, which could be isolated/rural/white but couldmean as little as 'the black/latino/native american/etc. people all live on that side of town and go to that other high school and we only ever see them on the other side of the bleachers at football games'.

*Mostly. I've definitely seen newer students whose prior exposure to the Twin Cities was probably State Fair related say racist things with total innocence, I mean, in that when it was pointed out they weren't even defensive (let alone defending it) so much as deeply, profoundly embarrassed because once someone said "ok you see that's racist as hell right?" they actually did it's just that they'd never had that pointed out to them and it was just a casual/innocent thing to say as far as they knew.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 3:12 PM
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I'm surprised to hear there are "quite a lot" of people from countries other than Britain in the British armed forces. What about Canada? Australia? Do they still contribute troops to the Empire?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 3:44 PM
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I'd imagine it's more of a draw from the lower-income Commonwealth countries where it's a better job opportunity than a lot of others available. (Guam contributes more people than any state to the U.S. military, and American Samoa is #6.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 3:53 PM
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More people per capita, obvs.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 3:53 PM
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130:

In a word, no.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 3:54 PM
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The French Foreign Legion is still a thing, and that doesn't even have the 'commonwealth' excuse going on. I guess some people just like to war, but don't have any real attachment to one country or another?


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 4:02 PM
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The Foreign Legion gives you a shot at French citizenship, so there's incentive above and beyond just liking war.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 4:09 PM
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How far does the bubble extend in NYC, etc? Here in enlightened Boston it struggles to match the T. Once, at a Malden Chinese place, a helpful biker looking dude once attributed our long wait for our respective tables to the fact that they "don't like our kind". That's 6 miles out, edge of the subway.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 4:14 PM
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135: I think if you do have French citizenship, you get forgiven up to two car thefts and any number of drunk & disorderly arrests.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 4:29 PM
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135: Based on my knowledge derived from bad pulp fiction, I thought that it was being on the run from the law in one's home country that motivated people to join the Foreign Legion.

Re: the N word and white kids from homogeneous environments, I grew up in Orange freaking county*, which is about as white and conservative as it gets, and I knew from a young age that this was something that simply wasn't said. And it wasn't just me, my general age cohort got it as well.

Of course this was before the 70s era conscious raising aspects of early education had been completely eradicated from the curriculum, and also before before hip-hop made white people aware that rap artists were using the word. The "but why can they say it but not me?" question would never have occurred to me growing up because I assumed that no one said it.

*The white Reagan worshiping part.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 4:33 PM
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My son once told me that the "n-word" is "nincompoop." I did not disabuse him of that notion.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 4:52 PM
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You do get the odd Kiwi joining the British Army, I think on the grounds (a) you get to go overseas and (b) there's much better odds you'll end up doing "actual soldiering" or whatever. (You hear about these people because "actual soldiering" is one of those things that leads to being in the papers via "actual dying".)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 4:54 PM
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135: I think you have to get injured for it though.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 4:59 PM
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Don't you get to apply after a few years? But you get it automatically if you're injured? I'm sure I learnt this from Forsyth or someone similar.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 5:08 PM
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That's where all my knowledge of the French military derives -- thrillers written in the period 1950-80. Charles de Gaulle is still President, right, or is it Pompidou these days?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 5:10 PM
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135: In the late 90's there was someone who went through the chunnel on foot whose goal was to join the French Foreign legion.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 5:22 PM
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I think it's that you get to apply if you're injured.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 5:23 PM
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The Pompidou Center was a great Ludlum novel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 5:27 PM
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My understanding is that you get French citizenship automatically if you complete your full term in the Foreign Legion, and you can join up from any country. But that's no joke -- it's much more like joining an extremely abusive, physically demanding version of the Green Berets than it is like joining the regular US Army, and tons of people get kicked out and can't do it.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 5:32 PM
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This was a good read.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 5:34 PM
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This is a good watch.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 5:42 PM
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My knowledge of the French Foreign legion is entirely derived from an article I read by a guy who joined and hated every minute of it. Apparently it's an exercise in humiliation and abuse with the occasional chance of getting killed. Also stupid hats. But if you survive you get to be French. Not my kind of bargain, but I do not judge.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 5:42 PM
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Actually, no, it's not, that's a lame read. Let me see if I can find the article I was thinking of. This one is better. The Foreign Legion is truly the most hardcore of the hardcore. Do you want to get repeatedly punched in the face by a not-even-quasi fascist Moldovan NCO and be considered more expendable than your rifle? Then the Foreign Legion is the place for you.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 5:54 PM
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It's not as hardcore as the academic job market for humanists, pansy.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 6:09 PM
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This is a good watch.

I was hoping that nosflow had linked to a picture of a watch, for no reason other than the pun (and that it was good).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 6:31 PM
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134, 144, 152: "Who are these men who are so fond of death?"


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 7:28 PM
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117: To someone who's lived the last 30 years in these regions, that question is so incongruous, I thought it was a put-on. You'd be no more likely to encounter an Inuit than a Native American.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 7:49 PM
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No more high iron Mohocs? No-one from the tribe that, if recognized, could run a casino in the Hamptons?

(I believe y'all, I'm just a little surprised at *none*. )


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 7:55 PM
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I don't have a specific memory of the conversation, but I'm pretty sure that Iris was confused to hear kids (peers) using this word she already knew was bad. This would have been circa eight, I think?

From the OP, I kind of suspect that (some of) the asking kids were mostly confused about the hip hop aspect: Can I sing along with this lyric? Why not? In a homogeneous white context, I can see where that would be baffling (but not baffling enough to send the interlocutor to Tumblr).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 7:57 PM
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I'm sure if you ask around you could find somebody. But the closest I've seen any reasonable concentration of Native Americans was while driving up toward Buffalo.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 7:59 PM
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Somewhere on the way to Buffalo, the Seneca Nation has a sign that says you are leaving New York State. And the pavement gets really bad for that stretch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 8:01 PM
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Don't forget Turning Stone Iroquois Casino near Syracuse, notable for having a giant, rotating stone in front of it.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 8:01 PM
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The touristy areas of suburban Buffalo were all about using the power of Native American stereotypes to sell tobacco products.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 8:03 PM
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And there was a casino, but I didn't go.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 8:04 PM
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156: I suppose that there must be a few around (although my region has had no sizable population since before the French & Indian War; disease wiped out most, and adjacent tribes essentially left it no man's land. There were some trading villages, but not many. AFAIK, there are no reservations within 100 miles), but I can't say I've ever been aware of being in a room with one in the East, aside from planned events. Obviously, some of that is my (in)ability to recognize them out of context, but now you're into a chicken and egg situation.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 8:06 PM
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156: The Mohawks are way up at the other end of the state, and partly in Canada. There are a handful of other Iroquois reservations scattered around Upstate NY, some of which have been mentioned in previous comments, plus a couple small Algonquian groups on Long Island, but in general if you chose a location in NYS at random you would be exceedingly unlikely to pick one with any noticeable Native population. (And that's not even getting into the relative size of the Native populations even where they do exist.) PA and NJ are even more extreme; no reservations whatsoever, and Native populations even tinier than NY's. There are historical reasons for this situation, as JRoth notes, but the upshot is that the Mid-Atlantic is the region of the country where you are probably least likely to encounter a Native person, although the Ohio Valley gives it a run for its money. (Pennsylvania straddles both regions and is probably the non-Nativest state ever as a result.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 8:55 PM
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my region has had no sizable population since before the French & Indian War; disease wiped out most, and adjacent tribes essentially left it no man's land

This is very true, to the extent that we don't even really know who the tribes that occupied it beforehand were, or that disease was the only or main reason they were wiped out. Warfare and population movement were also very prevalent in the area during the seventeenth century.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 8:57 PM
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I thought the Iroquois drove out everybody because of the invective structure created by the British.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:02 PM
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166: That's one distinct possibility, yeah.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:03 PM
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And on that note, Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:04 PM
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I learned that in a visitor center.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:06 PM
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Cultural resource interpretation: it works!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:07 PM
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Let's just say it's the theory put forth by the State of New York.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:07 PM
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They don't call them the Empire State for nothing.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:07 PM
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My kid's class had a visit today from a blonde white guy named "Steve" who claimed to be a Chumash and told them about the ways of the Chumash.

They're doing a unit on our local native people, and I must say that (normally very liberal and good on these kinds of issues) Grandpa did NOT help when he explained that the tribes who lived here were boring "Digger" Indians and that the more interesting Indians lived in other places.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:13 PM
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The Chumash are actually super-interesting in a lot of ways, so hopefully Steve was able to overcome Grandpa in shaping her views of Indians.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:22 PM
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(I deleted a longer comment about the pernicious ideology that the "digger" term represents since I don't know that much about the details and I think we've discussed it before anyway.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:25 PM
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Maybe it's that most of the time I've spent in the US outside of the west has been in biggish cities, and I often passively pass as entirely white* in the US, but I don't remember ever feeling in the US the kind of discomfort you hear many non-white people talk about having in situations where they're the only non-white person.

In Europe, on the other hand, I definitely have had experiences that are similar, although still not as extreme as restaurants stopping talking. Being the only person whose passport is checked, yes. Having kids point at me, yes. Having been made to empty my pocket by security in a ferry gift shop who I guess thought I was shoplifting, that too. Come to think of it, most of those experiences have been around the Baltic Sea.

*That is, I'm not trying to pass as white but there are lots of contexts where people assume I am, often revealed by their surprise at learning that my parents aren't both white.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:29 PM
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On the other hand, I went to 99 Ranch Market today and the cashier took one look at me and immediately switched to English. I kind of wanted to ask her if she did that because she thought I was white or because she that I was one of those American born second or later generation immigrants too lazy to learn non-English languages. I should learn how to say "a little bit of both" in Mandarin.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:32 PM
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175 -- yes, that wasn't in any way an approval of the term, just an expression of annoyance that usually very reasonable Dad had apparently swallowed this super pernicious bit of California culture without reflection.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:38 PM
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Yeah, that was pretty apparent in 173, which is another part of why I deleted the comment.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:41 PM
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180

Anyway, yeah, the Chumash. Complex hunter-gatherers! What's not to like?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:45 PM
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181

Although the Seneca are largely north of the border in and around Salamanca, they did have land south of it until the 1960s, when white people decided a flood control reservoir was more important than a historic land grant.

The Seneca Reservation is the only place I've been to outside of New Jersey with mandatory(?) gas station attendants.

But yes, essentially no Natives here. Ditto in non-Philly Eastern PA. I wouldn't be surprised if the Native proportion of the university student population was higher than among the city or state as a whole, as they could not be lower.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 9:53 PM
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182

130: There are some Canadians, Australians etc on exchange (and indeed some Americans) and vice versa, but as 131 suspects most of the ones in the British Army proper are from the poorer countries. Including two recent VCs: Willie Apiata and Johnson Beharry.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:02 PM
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Wait, sorry, Willie Apiata was with the NZSAS. My mistake. Apologies, Keir.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-12-15 11:05 PM
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Not sure how many Natives there are in MA. (I know one who lives in my town. One.) There are enough to lobby for casinos and tribal recognition, now that we've accepted our role in the NE beggar-thy-neighbor competition. (One of the big arguments in favor of permitting casinos was "People from MA go to Mohegan Sun [in CT]! We need that money here!")


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 5:08 AM
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In Maine I saw more people who I identified as having Native Heritage than I do in MA but mostly they were not people who would qualify to live on a reservation - more like 50/50 French/Native descendants.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 5:18 AM
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BG, I'd be surprised if there's any Native nation where 50% is insufficient for full membership.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 5:21 AM
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186: There are tribes tightening up membership and throwing out members right now so as to concentrate the casino money. I'm not sure if any of them require more than 50% indigenous blood, but there are people who've lived their entire lives as tribe members getting tossed out on their asses based on the flimsiest of excuses.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 5:30 AM
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Further to 182, quite a few US soldiers are not actually US citizens. About 35,000 of them, across all four services. Mexico and the Philippines are the commonest.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 5:31 AM
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I thought they were residents even if not citizens.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 5:32 AM
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187 -- Well, right, but 50% would be pretty high. Of course, it's not just the quantum of indigenous "blood" but of a particular nation. My paralegal gets no credit for her Metis (ultimately Ojibway?) heritage among the Assiniboine Nation of which she's a member.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 5:38 AM
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Speaking of Indigenous Peoples Day, have I never mentioned the time I walked past a group of protesters to visit a replica Santa Maria on Columbus Day in Columbus, Ohio? That's pretty much the whole story.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 6:23 AM
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The boat was really small, even when placed in the less than mighty Scioto River.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 6:30 AM
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Of course, it's not just the quantum of indigenous "blood" but of a particular nation

nothing in the least bit creepy there!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 6:36 AM
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Mobes, aren't the other two replicas in your town now? I think one of my facebook friends took her kids and thought the narrative was handled fairly well or something. They were here a week or two ago but we didn't go.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 6:49 AM
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They were recently, which is probably why it was on my mind. I don't know if they are still here or not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 6:51 AM
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But it's not the same when it isn't in Columbus, Ohio.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 6:51 AM
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The boat was really small, even when placed in the less than mighty Scioto River

But would it be small on the Olentangy, Alum, Walnut, or Darby?

I've always been fond of the statue of C in front of city hall. So thoughtful, pensive, so much gravitas. And pigeons on his head.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 6:54 AM
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I don't remember the others, but on the Olentangy, it would be medium.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 6:54 AM
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Actually, I'm not sure how deep the Olentangy is. It would look pretty big if there wasn't enough depth to float it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 7:04 AM
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Anyway, Columbus has shitty little rivers compared to some places.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 7:07 AM
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This is very true, to the extent that we don't even really know who the tribes that occupied it beforehand were

I'm hella glad to read this, since, as I was writing it, it seemed so implausible that I found myself doubting, even though I've read it in a number of sources, and it certainly comports with what I know about local history.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 7:10 AM
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194, 195: I think they leave today. I'm kind of annoyed not to have gotten the kids to at least bike past, but things have been busy, and yesterday Iris was off (teacher conferences, not IPD) but has a sprained ankle that wouldn't let her ride.

Interesting thing about the ships: one is an exact replica, the other is, for some reason, enlarged.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 7:13 AM
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Laydeez.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 7:18 AM
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186, 190: Ahimsub my young friend and former employee (she's now a professor!) who is the child of two Native people from different tribes, each of whom is enrolled based on having exactly 50% heritage in that tribe, but of course she is not able to be enrolled in either one, as they each consider her only 25% Native. Mostly, I just try to ignore Native/Reservation politics, despite the preponderance of campaign signs for tribal offices in my neighborhood, because it's just way too corrupt and depressing. Mostly.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-13-15 8:08 PM
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