ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY EIGHT

A surprising little gem from Terry Eagleton in Adbusters.

“A jazz group which is improvising obviously differs from a symphony orchestra, since to a large extent each member is free to express herself as she likes. But she does so with a receptive sensitivity to the self-expressive performance of the other musicians. The complex harmony that they fashion comes not from playing from a collective score, but from the free musical expression of each member acting as the basis for the free expression of the others. As each player grows more musically eloquent, the others draw inspiration from this and are spurred to greater heights. There is no conflict here between freedom and the good of the whole, yet the image is the reverse of totalitarian. Though each performer contributes to the greater good of the whole, she does so not by some grim-lipped self sacrifice but simply by expressing herself. There is self-realization but only through the loss of self in the music as a whole.

Though I have to admit that I think this excerpt stands better alone, rather than sandwiched between lines of blunt force political commentary. Via friend and co-conspirator Gonzo Nieto.

ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY SIX

Jill Filipovic on the “trigger warning.”

“But generalized trigger warnings aren’t so much about helping people with PTSD as they are about a certain kind of performative feminism: they’re a low-stakes way to use the right language to identify yourself as conscious of social justice issues. Even better is demanding a trigger warning – that identifies you as even more aware, even more feminist, even more solicitous than the person who failed to adequately provide such a warning.”

ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR

Pure gold from Michael Mark Cohen on “The Douchebag: The White Racial Slur We’re All Been Waiting For.”

Do we really need a white racial slur? Is the vision of equality that we should aspire towards a world without the N-word or Douchebag? Maybe. Maybe it is. But as everyone who is not colorblind can plainly see, this is not yet that day.

For the time being, this is the vernacular critique of whiteness that we’ve always needed, and its been right before our eyes all along. The term douchebag, again used as we already use it, has the power to name white ruling class power and white sexist privilege as noxious, selfish, toxic, foolish and above all, dangerous.

Since the coming of colorblindness as the official ideology of neoliberal racism, we have needed a precise term with which to recognize and ridicule white privilege when we see it. So we should sharpen our critical swords and wield this insult with a new rapier like awareness, and thereby give the racists, the conservatives, and the 1% something they are always imagining anyways: reverse discrimination.

ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY SEVEN

Migizi Pensoneau on the 1491s appearance on The Daily Show.

“I think back to the tailgate: the man blowing cigar smoke in my face, the man who mockingly yelled, “Thanks for letting us use your name!”, the group who yelled at us to “go the fuck home,” the little waif who threatened to cut me, the dude who blew the train horn on his truck as I walked by the hood. I think of all of that, and I think back to O’Dell crying and trying desperately to get out of the room full of calm Natives. I thought she was crying because she was caught unawares and was afraid. But I realized that was her defense mechanism, and that by overly dramatizing her experience, she continued to trivialize ours. It was privilege in action. And as I realized these things, something else became incredibly clear: She knew she was wrong.”