Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mighty White

My computer is fucked bad. Some terrible adware virus. Stephen (who now has a job with the Nerd Herd at Buy, I mean the Geek Squad at Best Buy) brought over some program he got from work that takes 4 hours to run and ordinarily costs $400 or something. It seemed to work, but I guess it didn't get the root trojan horse. A week later, and the computer is as bad as it was before. So I've moved everything (hopefully not including the virus) onto an external harddrive, and we'll probably have to just wipe the disc clean and start over, which is such a pain in the ass! And right in the middle of the grad shows, when I have all this editing to do!

This week's This American Life is really great. It's a rerun/update from a show dedicated to the story of Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago, and it's a fascinating look at the reality of racial politics in America, which remain so much more vicious than white people (including myself) often want to believe. Coincidentally, it comes the week that the media/blogosphere has entered a long-overdue discussion about Reagan's race-baiting, particularly his 1980 stump speech at the Mishoga County Fair in Mississippi. On the New York Times editorial page, Paul Krugman brought it up, David Brooks responded, Krugman re-responded, and the blogs took it from there. Crooks and Liars has a great piece with lot's o' links, further responses, and even an mp3 of the Mishoga speech. It's really quite amazing the lengths to which people will go to downplay racism.

I'm happy to see anyone challenge the mythology that has been built up around Reagan. As far as I'm concerned, the only good thing to say about him is that he was a better president than Nixon or Bush (ie, neither a raving lunatic nor a totally incompetent boob). Well, and that he inspired some great punk songs. While Brooks makes a reasonable argument against the racial interpretation if the speech occurred in a vaccuum, the pattern of harnessing racism by the Republicans over time is pretty clear. Obsidian Wings also has a thoughtful post taking a middle path on the whole thing.

PS - I just find it funny that Giulliani's ENTIRE campaign staff is white. Every single one of them.


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