Short and To The Point says DEBATE ME

2.3

FYI: my draft got deleted at 11PM last night so this is a rewrite. There are likely excessive typos even by my expansive standards. Apologies.

This Week in Our Dumb World

To Lose A Debate In Public

I have two thoughts when I read this. Ok, I have three thoughts. The first thought being that it is hilarious to see a racist have to say, in explicit terms, what he believes out loud. It’s incredible when people have to explain why white’s are the supreme race to a skeptical audience because it becomes clear to everyone just how fucking ridiculous it is. So that’s obviously the first thought.

The second thought is that this show exactly why it’s important to note debate white supremacist in this day and age. Yes, it seems to be saying the exact opposite, but bear with me. Debate is fun and it’s always fun to imagine that good ideas triumph in any clash of ideas, but that’s not generally what happens. This didn’t change anyone’s mind. It was fun and it heartened supporters of equality, but no one’s mind was changed. None of the myriad white supremacists in power suddenly gave up and stepped down because DuBois won this debate. It’s a powerful moment in hindsight and it served as a chance for DuBois to get exposure to ideas that might not otherwise find their audience.

Lastly, this is a story of powerful white supremacists who helped shape the world in which we live. These are some of the most powerful people in the world from not even 100 years ago. Imagine being so foolish as to think that the influence of their ideas died with them.

Du Bois steps to the lectern. He begins by asking what exactly “Negroes” are, what “cultural equality” is, and how anyone can be “encouraged” to seek it. He asks why Negroes or anybody else should not be encouraged to seek cultural equality. He allows that maybe in the past Negroes couldn’t have reached it, but since emancipation they have come wonderfully far, an accomplishment that “has few parallels in human history.” For this they had expected to be applauded, he says; but instead white America feared them and said their advance threatened civilization—as if culture were some fixed quantity, and Negroes’ having more of it would mean less of it for others.

Du Bois points out that such a view imagines culture as if it were material goods, the best of which belong to only the few who have leisure to enjoy them; and then these people begin to see the universe as made specially for them, and elect themselves as the “Chosen People”; and then they think that if the darker races come forward they “are going to spoil the divine gifts of the Nordics.” But there is no scientific proof that modern culture came from Nordics, or that Nordic brains are better. “In fact,” Du Bois says, “the proofs of essential human equality of gift are overwhelming.”

He says that if Nordics believe themselves to be superior, and do not want to mingle their blood with that of other races, who is forcing them? They can keep to themselves if they wish. 

The People Actually Left Behind

So I wrote a deleted a few introductions here. I considered writing all the ways that we fail to adjust our policies to account for a new economy built on white collar workers and the service industry. I wrote something about how we fail, as a culture, to really see service people except in the context of temporary workers with plans to do something else. I wrote about my personal experience with waiting tables. I even wrote about how I personally believe that every American should be required to spend a year in the service industry in order to learn good manners. But I hated all of them so instead, I will leave you with some context and a number comparison.

I want you to think about how much time, effort, and energy goes into thinking about the concerns of coal miners. I want you to think about all the times that you have seen articles laying out the personal and policy concerns of coal miners. I want you to think about every time you have seen and heard a politician pander to miners. I want you think about the fact that New York Times has tags for “Coal” and “Miners and Mining”. I just want you to think about the all the oxygen that is expended on the concerns of this particular workforce.

There are about 50,000 coal miners in America. There are about 3,000,000 people waiting tables.

Waitresses are emblematic of the type of job expected to grow most in the American economy in the next decade--low-wage service work with no guaranteed hours or income. Though high-paying service jobs have been growing quickly in recent months, middle-wage jobs are growing more slowly and could decline sharply in the event of a recession, says Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody’s Analytics. Those who lose their jobs in a recession usually move down, not up, the pay scale. Jobs like personal-care aide (median annual wage $24,020), food-prep worker ($21,250) and waitstaff ($21,780) are among the fastest-growing occupations in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They have much in common with the burgeoning gig economy, in which people turn to apps in the hope of getting shifts delivering food, driving passengers and cleaning houses.

This “sometimes” work has put the stress of earning a weekly wage, paying for health insurance and saving for retirement squarely on the shoulders of workers. Munce is on food stamps and Medicaid, and many days doesn’t make it to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. One of her recent paychecks read $58.67 for 49 hours worked. Add in the $245 she took home in tips, and she made about $6.20 an hour. She wants to work 40-hour weeks, but some days the diner is slow and she gets sent home early. “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, all I do is save money,” Munce says.

The Gunsmith Of Maine

First of all, this is the guy who created the “Vagenda of Manoicde” sign that was/is amazing nonsense. I even made t-shirts with that slogan and the logo of a witch on the back that I never got around to sending to people (except for one industrious person who asked me directly for one). So, if you reply to this email with an address and a size request, I promise on my dog that I will ship you a shirt. They look like this (with a non-copyright with logo):

BUT, beyond the shirt, I mostly enjoy this story for a trip into weird Maine because most people don’t know that Maine is secretly our weirdest state. It lacks the hooligan style violence of Florida, but I have met more weird people in Maine than I ever have in Florida. For comparison, Florida elects norm core awful Republicans like Rick Scott, but Maine elects legitimately insane people like Paul LePage. I’m just saying that GunGuy isn’t the only person with one of these signs in Maine. There are kind of a lot of them.

Maine’s culture and “western civilization”, also known as “white people” are not facing a dire threat from several hundred refugees. There are 1.3 million people that live in Maine and 95% of them are white. But fear is a powerful tool, and Bill is a perfect example that you don’t need social media, Trump, or “algorithms” to believe fear mongering narratives. These stories are deeply rooted in all levels of our society, from the White House to a remote town in Maine.

“Raymond is a small town. We still run things based on town meetings,” Jani, a retired school teacher of 38 years and lifetime resident of Raymond told me. She currently sits on the school board for the district. A few weeks ago, Bill posted about education on his billboard: “universities are home to mentally barren professors that indoctrinate libtards.” In person, Bill had mentioned to me how “all college professors should have to wear 100 volt shock collars to keep them in line.” 

“I used to get so mad at every sign he posted,” said Jani. “But now, I just ignore it. It’s just background noise. We’ve seen him (Bill) show up to town meetings for years. Usually he wears full camo gear to meetings. There are ex-Navy seals that come to these things and they wear polo shirts.” 

Jani let out a long sigh.“We’re just like, ‘okay, man’.” 

The Second Best Baseball Card Ever

Look, I have nothing but respect for the genius of making a baseball card of a guy getting hit in the nuts, but I’ll be damned if anything ever beats Billy Ripken holding a bat that says “fuck face”

Then I found the Super Glue. Back in the day, we pitchers used it to cover our blisters. The trainer had the glue in his little kit, so I grabbed it. I didn't want to ruin my game pants, so Todd ran to the clubhouse and got a pair of old ones. I squeezed the Super Glue tube over half the ball. I doused it. I put on the pants, pressed the glued-up ball to them, then tried to let go.

The ball was stuck to my hand. I tried to pull it off, but the ball was about to peel off my pants. I moved my hand and the pants moved. I thought, I am not taking this photo with my hand on my crotch. Someone grabbed a tongue depressor from the trainer's kit and slowly started to pry my fingers off the ball. It took a while, but my hand finally got free. Now I just had to get the photographer.

I walked up with the ball stuck to my pants, and the guy was like, "No-no-no." I was expecting that. I told him that I had a clubhouse full of players who weren't going to sign their card contracts unless I got a ball in the nuts. I looked as serious as possible. The photographer stared at me for a second, trying to figure out if I really meant it. "Son of a bitch," he finally said. "Go ahead."

H/T to the like… 9 people who sent me this. I love all of you for knowing me so well.

The Thing

No, not the movie. The first generation listening device that the soviets gave to the US Ambassador hidden inside a gift. The one invented by the guy who invented the theremin.