Saturday, February 17, 2007

tale of two worlds - which Left are you on?

Just wanted to highlight this socio-linguistic diamond:
Sometime in early 1992 I was driving alone from Los Angeles to see some friends and celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I remember a particular stretch of Interstate 10 as I passed down from the mountains of Las Cruces into the river valley of El Paso. Off to my right, on the far side of the Rio Grande, stood Ciudad Juarez. It made for a sorry cityscape, with acres and acres of dilapidated housing. By contrast, El Paso was positively sparkling. I wondered to myself how two cities…two cities so far from anywhere, could be so different from each other. And it occurred to me that the answers lay in Mexico City and Washington DC…in the Constitution and rule of law on the one hand and incompetence and corruption on the other.

In our system of government nothing is more important than the separation of powers represented by the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judiciary.

If we lose those checks and balances it will only be a matter of time before we lose everything. There will be nothing to distinguish El Paso from Cuidad Juarez. Our country will lose its unique characteristics that have made it so successful.
& where does this vile pile of steaming racist jingosim come from? Lou Dobbs? Tom Lancredo? David Duke?

naaanh . . . that pungent leftie analysis comes from Martin, proprietor, Booman Tribune

(& note that it's total ad hominem in the piece)

how utterly clueless can one get?

Frustration with the quality and limits of discourse around racial topics, along with rampant uncritical jingoism (err, Exceptionalist Theory) of the so-called self-proclaimed 'liberal progressives', was one of the reasons I found myself responding to DtF's invite to participate here last August.

56 comments:

scribe said...

Taking the time out to review the archives here the other day reminded me, too, of the reason I accepted the invite to join this blog in the first place. I was disturbed at the time, about many of the reactions I was seeing, on more than one liberal blog, to the participation of those who were not raised as white Americans, or who were of other ethnic orgins.

It really opened my eyes wider to this whole issue of what's called American Exceptionalism and sent me on a serious inventory of my own attitudes. In fact, it was the beginning of a pretty painful journey inward to examine my own deeply imbedded beliefs, many of which I was not aware I even still held. Beliefs about being an American that yes, were still affecting my perceptions in subtle ways I did not enjoy seeing in myself.

It is next to possible to question or even think about changing a belief we may hold, if we aren't aware of having it, and that takes introspection at a pretty substantial level. Many are not yet ready to do this work.

And so it is that sometimes, even those with sincerely good intentions, such as I always had about those from other cultures, can still end up contributing to something that continues to cause harm to all concerned.

Anonymous said...

I see you guys are hot on doing that Mobetta ambulance chasing. Keep up the good work.

James said...

Kewl. The "brave" anonymi are back.

scribe said...

The what?
Oh. Got it.

(Yawn)

James said...

As for the topic at hand, good lord, Martin should take a drive through western New Mexico and Eastern Arizona on I-40, where the people living on the rez are living in dire poverty - a situation created by that very same US of A that has all these wonderful checks and balances, ad nauseum.

sjct said...

I think it was a pretty lame intro to a defense of checks and balances in US Constitutional government...

IMHO, the differences between Juarez and El Paso are more economic than governmental. And I think there's plenty of corruption and incompetence on both sides of the Rio Grande. So this does have a taint of American Exceptionism and you can chide the man for clinging to illusions.

BUT, where exactly are you getting racism from? Martin didn't describe Jaurez as "brown" and El Paso as "white." It's not even implied by what he wrote. One city is a mess and the other one isn't. He didn't attribute the difference to a larger population of whites in El Paso. I'm would guess they're a minority there.

So, to me, your main criticism is as lame as his intro.

Anonymous said...

BooMoan is crying on his front page for his girls -- he now feels the horror of being a celebrity, in his chihuaha way.

BM -- I sit glued for your call, the salt from our margaritas is staining the veneer of your sincerity.

"And I'm not entirely sure it is worth putting up with."

Big Words for a leetle, leetle chihuaha ...

Yolanda

supersoling said...

BooMan is not racist. Period.
American exceptionalism is an insidious and global form of economic and political racism because of the burden placed on, and the raping of the resources of the peoples of other, mostly brown populated countries that feed and sustain the bloated ans wasteful American way of life, and indirectly, in that sense, we are all racist.
But to say that BooMan is racist is wrong. Very wrong.

NLinStPaul said...

I'd appreciate having a discussion somewhere about how people define "racism." Whenever these kinds of words are thrown around saying "this comment is racist" or defending it as "not racist" I want to know what people mean by the word.

I think there needs to be a way to talk about what arcturus defines as racism in that post, and what scribe talks about upthread as well. Maybe "white exceptionalism" would make this kind of thing easier to talk about.

It just seems that when we use the word "racism" people get to arguing over the word without ever addressing a very real issue.

supersoling said...

My impression of Arcturus' post was that it pretty explicitly called BooMan racist. If I'm wrong about the intent then Arcturus can explain why I'm wrong, or right for that matter. I did however try to explain how I see American exceptionalism as racist. Maybe Arcturus' "racist jingoism" is another way of say American exceptionalism, but that's not how i took it. BooMan isn't racist, again, period.

Arcturus said...

No, I'd say that one doesn't have to be a racist to traffic in racist tropes that are an insidious infection in our discourse. I certainly don't claim any isight to Martin's soul. I'm very much in the middle of something else right now, & haven't time to explain how that trafficking works, or how I see it in action here, but numerous other commenters already have tried, here & at Mcat's (& one brave sole who responded directly to him today at BT). I can return later if explanation is truly needed.

& I did mean exactly what I said w/ the phrase "racist jingoism": jingoism that traffics in racist tropes & stereoptypes. You really can't hear the same words I quoted being spouted by Lou Dobbs? That, to me (& p'haps you can't hear it), is proof enough of infection.

. . . to say that BooMan is racist . . .

I don't believe I ever wrote words that say that. The assumptions relied on, the stereoptypes, & the language are to my ear.

Anonymous said...

If the nasty ambulance chasing curs here ever really caught their ambulance what would they do with it then? Probably piss all over it while waiting for the next ambulance to come along because they are only fixated on ambulance chasing. Ductape was a bullshit ambulance chaser too.

Arcturus said...

err:

The assumptions relied on, the stereoptypes, & the language are - to my ear - the raw materials of racism.

Anonymous said...

Global/shmobal. America's a hell hole b/c 10% of Mexico fled/is fleeing here for economic opportunity, and if 10% of Americans -- 30 Milion -- fled to Mexico for economic opportunity? we'd still be a hell hole. It's win-win for some

catnip said...

Somebody needs to look up "ambulance chaser" in the dictionary and move on.

catnip said...

As for his post, I still don't understand what the point of it was. The last time I looked, Mexico was a democratic country with "checks and balances" too. It's not perfect but let's not pretend there's more corruption there than there is in the US government. It's just better hidden in DC.

And as for the economic situation in Mexico, maybe we could start looking at how NAFTA has contributed to its downfall instead of pretending that everything is the fault of the Mexican government.

And I've never been to Cuidad Juarez but if it's being held up as a symbol of extreme poverty that El Paso may somehow be sliding into, I'd say head for NOLA and see the mess that's still in...or any of the other completely impoverished communities in the US. Poverty isn't just some Mexican problem that might inflict the US if the pols in DC aren't turfed. It's been a huge problem for a very long time. Why not talk about that?

dove said...

sjct,

Without getting into the specifics of what BM wrote, I wanted to respond to this.

"BUT, where exactly are you getting racism from? Martin didn't describe Jaurez as "brown" and El Paso as "white." It's not even implied by what he wrote."

Would it need to be? When white British hostel owners placed signs in their windows saying "No blacks, no dogs, no Irish" I'd suggest that their racism was directed towards both blacks and (usually white) Irish. Race and racism are both constructed -- usually in ways that are largely about skin colour, but not always. And it seems to me that nationality and religion are very often tied into racist constructions in true Huntingdonesque fashion.

Just to reiterate -- this is not an opinion on BM's writing per se (which I cannot comment on yet having not read it yet) -- just on the idea that racism is inherently (as opposed to often or usually) about colour.

supersoling said...

Well,
this one devolved into a psycho mess pretty quickly.
Arcturus, I'll reiterate that BooMan isn't racist. He's no more racist than anyone of us who lives here and feeds off the backs of the world's poor. And I don't have an insight into his soul.

But...in BooMan's front page post about this post here and others, someone is threatening to shoot any of us "loons" who happen to come in range of her. And we're the loons. That's the second physical, and this one deadly, threat to come from that blog. And we're the dangerous ones. What a fucking joke.
Think it's time to bail on this conversation.

Later

James said...

I just saw that comment by soj. That was very disturbed, "she" seemed very paranoid.

Arcturus said...

super I like & respect you & this is always a difficult subject (one always to tampting to pass on for that reason) - before you split, let me re-iterate that I am talking about his language & that I nowhere said he's a racist? I have no idea if Martin is or isn't a racist. But he's using language that relies on a lot of unspoken subtexts, & isn't that precisely one of the ways racist discourse persists in the speech & thought of a society?

can't we look at the freaking language???

my first sentence:

Just wanted to highlight this socio-linguistic diamond


& lemme 'pimp' something much more important than Martin's jingoism: Legacy of Torture & the San Francisco 8

James said...

Hi Super!

I'd strongly recommend Sherene Razack's book Dark Threats & White Knights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping, and the New Imperialism as a primer on imperialist racism. Thing about exceptionalism is that it ends up with a racist undercurrent that its practitioners may be entirely unaware of.

Anonymous said...

"here does this vile pile of steaming racist jingosim come from?"

Looks like the word racist is right there in your post, A.

supersoling said...

Arcturus,
I certainly respect you too, but i didn't see the racism in the language beyond what i see in most exceptional American's language. I saw a bad analogy used as a protctection of this system's checks and balances. To say that the Mexican city is poor because of it's government's inherant corruptness as opposed to El Paso's relative wealth as a result of this government's inherant goodness was bullshit. I just saw it as more naive at best, or ignorant at worst, than racist.

supersoling said...

I'm no longer an administrator here, otherwise I'd start deleting any anonymous posts. If you can't put your name to your thoughts, then you should just shut the fuck up. And that goes for anyone, on any side.

James said...

I've been staying fairly lenient on the posts by the various anonymi as long as it ain't spam and as long as there are no physical threats.

Otherwise, I'm with you super. If you can't stand by what you write, you're a coward. Jeez, anonymi, grow some balls or ovaries.

catnip said...

Holy shit. Has soj become unhinged? Aren't threats of violence like that a bannable offence?

Re: Meta Jesus (none / 0)
Don't ever underestimate these fuckers. They are fucking vicious. If one of them shows up where I am in the United States I will fucking shoot them. And I'm a pacifist. I'll be in Europe in about 30 days and good luck finding me there, fuckers.

I don't have a problem with someone disagreeing with me and you sure don't have to like me (or Boo or anyone else). But when you take it to the "next level" and start endangering totally innocent people, that's when it goes too far. These "paparazzi" are freaking psychos.

The difference between Boo and Britney Spears is she has the BUCKS to hire bodyguards etc. Freaking loons. It's just a fucking blog you freaks!

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian
by soj on Sat Feb 17th, 2007 at 08:20:31 PM MST


Wow. What the hell was that all about??

James said...

If that isn't a bannable offense over there, it should be. Hopefully Martin will have sufficient class to see to it that such crap doesn't pollute his place.

ondine-nyc said...

If someone wrote that piece from Ontario and looked at Detroit and said the same thing wouldn't it be seen as a racist post? Just asking.

blueneck said...

Wow. What the hell was that all about??
catnip, this my take on it: suck up much, soj?

If that isn't a bannable offense over there, it should be. Hopefully Martin will have sufficient class...
james, haven't we already seen what it takes to get banned/notbanned over there? soj won't be banned because soj hasn't pissed BM off personally. In fact soj is sucking up so hard, she probably rates a lot of "compassion" from BM and would probably get lots of chances to issue threats before he gently cajoled soj to take a lil 'ol break from posting for a few days.

James said...

Heh. I suspect you've got Martin's number. Extreme abusiveness? No problema. Threaten murder? Fuggedaboutit. As someone over at Marisacat's blog noted, soj's lunatic ravings had that eliminationist tone found in extreme right-wing writings and speeches. We'll just call it Ann Coulter's "local fascism" with a smiling face.

catnip said...

All I know is that if someone posted that kind of thing on my blog, they'd be banned faster than they could blink. I don't care who the hell they are.

James said...

I'll put up with a lot as far as the comments over at my place go - and I've seen it all. That kind of crap like soj pulled would result in that person being banned and their IP blocked. I'm not particularly big on second chances, for that matter. Comes down to wanting to make sure the space is one where folks can feel free to express whatever they want w/o fear for their safety.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you're never been to Juarez and El Paso. I know exactly what Booman is talking about, having driven past there many many times. The poverty across the river is pure squalor.

There is absolutely nothing racist or jingoistic in what he's saying here.

If you want to live like those across the river there, go right ahead.

James said...

Another anonymous straw argument. How clever.

[yawN]

catnip said...

Oh c'mon James. Everybody knows there's no poverty in the good ole US of A. That just happens "across the river" and, if you're not careful, it's going to spread from across that river real soon.

James said...

Yup. Them streets iz paved with gold in the Land of Rape and Honey.

supersoling said...

"There is absolutely nothing racist or jingoistic in what he's saying here.

If you want to live like those across the river there, go right ahead. "

Anonymous Coward

...in other words, America, love it or leave it.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the behavior you jackasses excuse and justify in yourselves while calling for the discipline of someone else displaying behavior that you don't like. Nobody said America love it or leave it either but the people here will morph whatever is tossed at them into the rhetoric best suited to justify their sick offensive selves.

supersoling said...

You start posting with your name behind it and you'll be given more creedence. Otherwise, stfu.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just not worth the effort to type in one's name here...of course, anyone who doesn't want the obsessed crowd here following them all over the internet and cutting and pasting everything they say to your site would earn the title of paranoid from whoever's turn it is to be Bill Frist today.

Maybe you should try meeting your own standards for others' behavior for a change. Just a thought.

supersoling said...

I'm talking to you, and any other anonymous coward, not any imagined obsessed crowd. I have no control over what others post here or how they choose to spend their time. It's a fucking free for all. Get it? I judge each post/poster individually. You might have noticed that I wasn't pleased with BooMan as racist. But at least that person put his name behind his words.

Anonymous said...

Maybe putting your name behind your words doesn't count for much anymore.

supersoling said...

Ah, I see where and who you are now. I've explained myself as much as I'm going to. Sorry that it doesn't pass the test. But there will be no mea culpas.

alohaleezy said...

Oh my Freaken God! Soj is threatening to kill people and that is ok with Martin? Jesus! I tried to post there and guess what? He will allow me to sign in but not comment. Hmmph! So he lets people like MilitaryTracy go off and Soj can say she is going to shoot anyone that posts here but we cannot respond at that poor excuse of a progressive blog? God, what a joke. To think that I spent two years posting there. I am looking into a lawsuit to get my name removed from being associated with BT. And Anonymous poster...grow a spine.

Anonymous said...

Alohaleezy,

You might want to check your paranoid meter today because what was written and what you have turned it into doesn't even fit in the same universe.

Anonymous said...

Supersoling I don't think you have a clue who I am because a mea culpa isn't anything I'm seeking here. That is the last thing I would ever expect to find here. If you want to clue me in though as to who you think I am and who needs a mea culpa I'll listen.

alohaleezy said...

Anonyass..Paranoid? I just know what I read by soj. Here's a reminder.

Re: Meta Jesus (1.00 / 5)
Don't ever underestimate these fuckers. They are fucking vicious. If one of them shows up where I am in the United States I will fucking shoot them. And I'm a pacifist. I'll be in Europe in about 30 days and good luck finding me there, fuckers.
I don't have a problem with someone disagreeing with me and you sure don't have to like me (or Boo or anyone else). But when you take it to the "next level" and start endangering totally innocent people, that's when it goes too far. These "paparazzi" are freaking psychos.

The difference between Boo and Britney Spears is she has the BUCKS to hire bodyguards etc. Freaking loons. It's just a fucking blog you freaks!

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Sat Feb 17th, 2007 at 10:20:31 PM EST

If you cannot debate properly but only call names then go back to Booman(miniKos)where that is acceptable practice. I take very seriously someone threatening to shoot anyone. As far as I am concerned this should be reported to the police.

supersoling said...

You're right, I don't know who you are afterall. But I do know what you seek to do here. Nice try and I'll give you an extra credit and a little sticky silver star for creativity. But it won't fly.

Leezy,
that ocean bluff is calling :o)

alohaleezy said...

thanks super..bye bye

Arcturus said...

dear super - Don't let anonymous wankers get to ya.

I see you're still saying that I called Martin a racist. While I expect that from teh BT who haven't bothered to actually read what I wrote, I'm puzzled by your repetitions. IS it simply that you think my distinguishing his essence as a person as it were (is he or isn't he a racist? boring & insignificant question, imo), & the language he employed in those grafs is a BS one?

And a second qestion for ya. You see the jingoism, or exceptionalist fantasy there. Doesn't exceptionalism itself depend & maintain itself on a backbone of racist belief: that we're better than others, that we can help those pooor dark peoples of the earth, etc? Isn't instituionalized racism built on such belief?

Arcturus said...

One more thing: I'm not saying that you're intentionally doing this, but turning the question into 'is he or isn't he a racist?' & making the conversation about that is one of the oldest diversionary tactics to avoid having open & honest discussions about racism. About what is actually said. About why that is harmful - to people & societies.

Anonymous said...

If we aren't exceptional by comparison then why are 12 million of them usually risking their lives to live in this country illegally? Duh! Sometimes you make sense and sometimes you just refuse to acknowledge the facts you don't like.

supersoling said...

Arcturus,
my apologies. I do see the racism in exceptionalist speak. I think I expressed that. My initial reaction was an overreaction as to whether BooMan is himself racist. But it was more a personal defense of him, than what he wrote or whether you directly called him racist or not. And no, I'm not doing it on purpose as a diversionary tactic. It was just a remnant of loyalty, which I'm sure will be laughed at by him and those who support him calling me a liar and saying that I've privately admitted to lying, which I have not.
I understand your post, though I thought it was over the top somewhat. I'm not trying to undermine or change the focus of your broader message, which was that esceptionalism is inherantly racist.

Have I now sufficiently explained my way out of that self imposed box that I put myself in?

Anonymous said...

Yes!!

Arcturus said...

yeppers, super

"racist" & "jingim" are certainly inflammatory words.

something nezua wrote me last night is more where I'd like to be focused (if it's at all possible now to corral this into a discussion):

fuck the term "Racist." who cares?


if we can define what it is exactly that is rotten in the doings and thinkings of those we call "racist," we are looking deeper, closer to the problem...

& james, thank you for that book cite! I hadn't heard of it & it looks right up m,y alley - thx man!

Arcturus said...

The Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa [a right-winger] called Mexico "the land of the perfect dictatorship." It is a dictatorship that has been created, propped up, anointed and rewarded by the US government for nearly a century, ever since Black Jack Pershing busted across the border in 1917, vowing to bring back Pancho Villa "in an iron cage."

We have logged their forests, drained their oil fields, fixed their elections, threatened to seize their treasury, send them our sweatshops, our drug financiers and maquiladoras. For the last decade or so NAFTA has been at work, grinding away at the Mexico's poor and indigenous people. In return, we have sealed our border against the "scourge of brown immigrants."
- Jeffrey St Clair

Because of course we don't El Paso to become like "them." & Juarez' poverty is 'cuz they have corruption unlike us. Um, yea . . .