Category Archives: not racism

July 25, 2012, 6:20 pm

Theodore Roosevelt: less racist than Mitt Romney’s advisor.

Someone on Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team told a reporter about the US-UK special relationship, “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage … The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.” Get it? The black guy doesn’t appreciate shared Anglo-Saxon history. Because he’s black. No, I don’t think you understand: he’s b-l-a-c-k. Not like our guy. Get it? Let me try it again …

Theodore Roosevelt had this to say about our alleged shared Anglo-Saxon history:

… I have always insisted that we [Americans] are not Anglo-Saxon at all – even admitting for the sake of argument, which I do not, that there are any Anglo-Saxons – but a new and mixed race – a race drawing its blood from many different sources … My own view is, that if a man is good enough for me to profit by his services before the election, he is good enough for me to do what I can for him after…

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December 12, 2011, 12:05 pm

What is an anthology?

Helen Vendler’s review of the Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, edited by Rita Dove, is quite a piece of work. (It’s been widely noted in the blogosphere, e.g. here, by I think the same Anderson seen commenting on likeminded blogs.)

Dove’s response is well worth reading. But not having been gored directly, the rest of us may wonder if Vendler hasn’t just missed the point. Do we expect of an anthology that it will supply a complete and final list of the “poems to remember?” That’s from the headline, but it does reflect Vendler’s thinking –

No century in the evolution of poetry in English ever had 175 poets worth reading, so why are we being asked to sample so many poets of little or no lasting value?

How flatly she equates “lasting value” with being “worth reading”! For me, these are pretty different categories –  especially for recent work, part of whose…

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July 29, 2009, 5:09 pm

Department of Over-Broad Generalizations

Dwight Garner reviews Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West. (The Times seems to go in for this sort of alarmism lately.) Garner concludes:

It is hard to argue with his ultimate observation about Europe today: “When an insecure, malleable, relativistic culture” (Europe’s) “meets a culture that is anchored, confident, and strengthened by common doctrines” (Islam’s), “it is generally the former that changes to suit the latter.”

Hard to argue with, because no specific examples are provided. But is there any “culture” more “insecure, malleable, relativistic” than that of the United States? Surely our success in reducing any immigrant strain to three-day weekends and Taco Bell should be grounds for optimism in this regard.

July 24, 2009, 9:31 am

Still astonishing.

Holy Smokes Update (aka, still astonishing but now for different reasons)

Harvard Scholar Disorderly

If you just watched the Cambridge police union* press conference, I’m pretty sure you heard the spokesman claim there was no influence of the bad history between cops and black people in Cambridge. At least, that’s what I think I heard; we’ll have to wait for a transcript. Stand by.

… So far, very little, but already sounds pretty bad. I stick by my original prediction.

Police unions call for apology from Obama, Patrick

By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff

Cambridge police unions today called on President Obama and Governor Deval Patrick to apologize to “all law enforcement personnel” for their comments about the arrest of an African-American scholar last week at his home near Harvard Square.

Speaking in at a press conference packed with local and national media, the union officials also said that the…

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June 12, 2009, 6:00 pm

It’s the “and White” that seals the deal.

I guess Neil’s “Naming Fail” says it all.

June 5, 2009, 8:44 pm

Are announcers with degrees in broadcast journalism better in the booth than former players?

In the early days of radio and television, baseball announcers fell into their jobs. Mel Allen, “the Voice of the Yankees,” was a lawyer by trade; his partner, Red Barber, caught his break while working as a janitor at a college radio station. (A professor scheduled to read “Certain Aspects of Bovine Obstretics” never showed, so Barber picked up the microphone and read it himself.) Jimmy Dudley majored in chemistry, got drafted and, like Harry Kalas, began his broadcasting career calling intramural games in the South Pacific during WWII. Although all four of them belong to the Baseball Hall of Fame, they were amateurs.

The first great professional announcer, Vin Scully, studied broadcast journalism at Fordham. Following Scully’s success on both coasts, team owners and network executives decided that games were best called by people whose sober, understated delivery betrayed an…

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June 4, 2009, 8:31 am

Now it’s personal familial.

Sotomayor unfit for the Court because she agrees with Rauchway.

March 18, 2009, 3:01 pm

He kept his shoes on.

On his authority as Admiral of the battlestar Galactica, Edward James Olmos addresses a crowd in the United Nations chamber and gets them to condemn the use of the constructed term [edited] “race” with a shout of “So say we all!”

Apart from the, I believe, indisputable general awesomeness of this moment, I’m not sure there’s that much else to say. The poor UN official who set Olmos off by using the word “races”—in quotation marks—was pretty good-humored about it.

Links explaining the occasion here.

February 27, 2009, 4:41 pm

A brief cultural history of blacks and watermelons

Via Sadly, No! I learn that the mayor of Los Alamitos—a city whose proximity to Los Angeles disqualifies its citizens from claiming they live behind the Orange Curtain—recently sent the city council an email entitled “No Easter egg hunt this year.”  It contained this picture:


When questioned as to the propriety of sending poorly-executed racist photo-shops to government employees, the mayor claimed to be “unaware of the stereotype that black people like watermelon.”  Putting the issue of what exactly is “funny” about the picture in the absence of said stereotype aside, there are some conservatives who claim that the real problem here is hypersensitive blacks and their “rat-fink” instincts:

The fink who ratted him out was a black woman who sacrificed friendship to the motto, “Never Fail to Be Offended.”

His commenters agree:

How dare [defenders of the rat-fink] be offended at…

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