At some point during the presidential election, I read Achille Mbembe’s article “Necropolitics” on defining sovereignty as dictating who can be killed. Russia’s manipulation of the campaign had yet to be raised with any serious credibility except potential blackmail from watersports. Some computer scientists put forward the possibility of tampering with voting machines, but that had been dismissed.  Early on, when the Trump agenda was “The Wall” and he increased the ICE agenda, the connection to Necropolitics was clear. We already have obvious ghettos, and with ICE stomping through to deport “illegal immigrants,” these ghettos start to resemble original ghettos. The Wall’s analogs in symbol,Read More →

I now view Hillary with the love/hate of an ex-girlfriend. Bernie’s been a great disappointment. Even Jeb Bush is more appealing at this point. A wimp like him would lead the country with safe inaction. But instead, we’ve got Bernie throwing chairs, and Hillary clutching her pearls in lofty dismay. Instead of demonstrating leadership, my party is in the middle of a bad marriage. Clearly, class issues matter here, too: Uptown girls make arched eyebrows and snide excoriations at Brooklyn street kids who resort to verbal shivs. We don’t talk about that, though.   In 08, feminist philosopher Nancy Frasier criticized Hillary and her supportersRead More →

It’s the same shining city for those relative few who are lucky enough to live in its good neighborhoods. But for the people who are excluded, for the people who are locked out, all they can do is stare from a distance at that city’s glimmering towers.

– Mario Cuomo, 1984 DNC
RIP 1/1/2015

Read More →

Big Bird was almost executed in the last election, and his stay of execution was a relief to progressives and liberals. An email exchange with a colleague reminded me about using Sesame Street in a class activity for teaching about the “death of the humanities.” Introduction to Humanities that semester focused on public humanities and the democratization of the humanities through new technology. New technology meant writing, the printing press, up to the internet, of course. Maybe students would feel empowered if they could connect “great art” or “high art” to DIY art [we watched performing arts fundraiser Ben Cameron’s Ted Talk for this]. ByRead More →

In a picture, when a child touches a black president’s hair, representational politics changes the world. In the 90s when academics and television pundits were busily engaged in the culture wars, I believed mastering the politics of representation was revolutionary. Surely, transformative images would en/gender transformative politics, and that social change could come from studying and politicizing media, popular culture, language, and discourse. There had to be some momentous connection between representation in images and representative democracy. In those days, young Turks in English departments fought old white guys about the canon, which entailed fierce battles over ethnic/area studies, women’s studies, and the relative meritsRead More →

Viewing Obama’s victory on television was eye opening because it showed how much I’ve let the birthers, Tea Partiers, and 1% define my reality. On Tuesday night I watched Fox News because that is who I wanted to narrate my election returns. Call me a masochist. I couldn’t find the Fox station – a funny commentary on my news viewing habits, since I have no problems finding the channel for other shows. I settled on MSNBC. Love that Rachel. I never doubted that Romney would prevail because I’m that jaded. I lost hope early in this election. At 10:00ish on election night, I was explainingRead More →

Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free–honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just–a way which if followed the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless.

– Abraham Lincoln, Second Annual Message to the Senate and House of Representatives, 1862

Romney quoted Abraham Lincoln on the emancipation of slaves to advance an agenda for the 1%. Must be his love for bayonets and horses that inspired him.

Read More →

Today Rupert Murdoch called Obama “dangerous” according to an article in the Huffington Post: “I think Barack Obama would describe himself as a pragmatic leftist but he’s not an extremist,” Murdoch said. “I think he sees himself as a president for change and that involves bigger government. He’s made no secret of that. I think that’s dangerous.” This statement reminded me of something I read in the YWCA Dialogue on Race reading packet. I first heard this phrase of “dangerous negro” in an article called “Struggle and Transformation: The Challenge of Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Vincent Harding, written in the mid-80s. Vincent Harding isRead More →