Outer Limits — Real Life

“Today, one of the best predictors of one’s political orientation is the density of the neighborhood they live in; people who live in the suburbs are also more likely to get their news from broadcast and local television. Taken together, this means suburbanites see fewer strangers in their everyday lives, and fill that void with sensationalized accounts of ever-present, creeping danger.

This creates fertile ground for reactionary, conservative political movements. While most suburbanites still get a majority of their news from these older media sources, more of them are getting it from apps like Facebook and Nextdoor, where the ideas broadcast through outlets like Fox can fester person-to-person. In this way the suburbs get the social functions of the city street, but with suburban-style tools of control and segregation.”

—David A. Banks, “Outer Limits.” Real Life. June 20, 2019.

Something that occurs to me is that the prevalence of far-right conservative ideas among the 65 and older set in the United States might be a symptom of loneliness.

If you have few friends and little social connection, are unemployed, and are considered a marginal Other, you might start looking for belonging wherever you can find it. A Ku Klux Klan outfit might give a sense of relevance back to a person who has grown old and has no experience with being marginalized.

The Best Abortion Ever

“The abortion room was tiny and plain and clean, like a studio-apartment kitchen. I squeezed my companion’s hand through the speculum portion of things, which is fine for me, but in this context, a little more traumatic than your average Pap smear speculum, then through the Novocain shot, which was actually more pleasant than a Novocain shot you get in your mouth. “We wait a few moments,” the doctor said, in an Eastern European accent.

In a minute or so, she said, “Okay, now instrument.” There was a feeling between uncanny and mildly unpleasant, then there was pain. It was like the worst cramp ever times three, but not worse than that. “Just look at me and keep squeezing my hand; just look at me and keep squeezing my hand,” said my companion, and I did what she said, and was finally glad that she’d invested more of her personality in solidity than in wit. It lasted about ten seconds. I was just about to say, “This really hurts,” when, suddenly, it didn’t hurt anymore, and the doctor was snapping off her gloves.

“Was that it?” I said as I felt the speculum come out. The doctor didn’t say anything, but my companion said, “That’s it. You did great.”

“Holy shit,” I said. “That was hands down the best abortion I ever had in my whole fucking life. You’re amazing.”

The doctor gave me a look that I interpreted to mean, ‘Crazy ladies are all the same.’ She left. I didn’t care. I loved her.”

—Sarah Miller, “The Best Abortion Ever.” The Cut. June 19, 2019.

More about the abortion experience than I’ve ever seen anywhere before. If you think RU-486 makes much of the aboltion discussion moot, it probably helps to know that it can also be “intense”?

Also, I loved the adjective, “hippie-adjacent”. Aspirational.

Loving Day

Loving v. Virginia is a landmark civil rights decision of the United States Supreme Court which struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage on June 12, 1967.

Topic has four films on The Loving Generation that “tells the story of a generation of Americans born to one black parent and one white parent. Their narratives provide a fascinating and unique window into the borderland between ‘blackness’ and ‘whiteness’, and, in some cases, explode fixed ideas about race and identity.”

American Concentration Camps

“No, Trump is not doing any of this because of illegal immigration—an issue that had been in decline for a decade before took office. His iceboxes and dog cages are part of an explicitly nationalist project. The goal is putting the country under the control of the right kind of white people. Trump has made it clear that he wants to stifle all non-white immigration, period. And the reasons aren’t hard to figure out. His administration just got caught using a literal question of immigration to suppress opposition votes and boost “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.” The GOP simply can’t win national elections without doing that sort of thing anymore.

And as history shows, when a leader starts putting people in camps to stay in power, it doesn’t usually end with the first group they detain.”

—Jonathan M. Katz, “Concentrate on the Camps.” The Long Version. May 31, 2019.

Check out Dorothea Lange’s Censored Photographs of FDR’s Japanese Concentration Camps, if you want a point of comparison.

Open Question: Is the prison industrial complex in the United States a system of concentration camps?

Chomsky Explains U.S. Politics on Democracy Now!

“Republicans face a difficult problem. They have a primary constituency, a real constituency: extreme wealth and corporate power. That’s who they have to serve. That’s their constituency. You can’t get votes that way, so you have to do something else to get votes. What do you do to get votes? This was begun by Richard Nixon with the Southern strategy: try to pick up racists in the South. The mid-1970s, Paul Weyrich, one of the Republican strategists, hit on a brilliant idea. Northern Catholics voted Democratic, tended to vote Democratic, a lot of them working-class. The Republicans could pick up that vote by pretending—crucially, “pretending”—to be opposed to abortion. By the same pretense, they could pick up the evangelical vote. Those are big votes—evangelicals, northern Catholics. Notice the word “pretense.” It’s crucial. You go back to the 1960s, every leading Republican figure was strongly, what we call now, pro-choice. The Republican Party position was—that’s Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, all the leadership—their position was: Abortion is not the government’s business; it’s private business—government has nothing to say about it. They turned almost on a dime in order to try to pick up a voting base on what are called cultural issues. Same with gun rights. Gun rights become a matter of holy writ because you can pick up part of the population that way. In fact, what they’ve done is put together a coalition of voters based on issues that are basically, you know, tolerable to the establishment, but they don’t like it. OK? And they’ve got to hold that, those two constituencies, together. The real constituency of wealth and corporate power, they’re taken care of by the actual legislation.”

—Noam Chomsky in an interview with Amy Goodman, “Chomsky: By Focusing on Russia, Democrats Handed Trump a ‘Huge Gift’ & Possibly the 2020 Election.” Democracy Now. April 18, 2019.

Of course, the Democratic Party has the same constituency, the wealthy and corporate power but focused on removing inefficiencies that come from discrimination, i.e., racism and sexism reduce the pool of workers and ameliorating the worst problems of late-stage capitalism.