Interesting press release.
I am starting to genuinely believe this country might be on the road to a second civil war. Take a second and reflect on what is happening here. The senate and house majority leaders are the leaders of the Republican party. Within one month, both of them are or have been involved with events intented to both promote one specific religious sect’s importance in government and reduce the effectiveness of certain constitutional mandates; specifically, the impartiality of the judicial branch and the dissenting party’s ability to prevent judicial confirmations. When such prominent figures in the power-holding party publicly endorse views that are so out of the mainstream and absurdly sectarian, I have to wonder how far they can go before it all comes snapping back, hard.
This country has survived such prominent wingnuttery before, and hopefully it will again. But, christ, it’s scary.
- Barbara Morgenstern – Nichts Muss
- Daniel Johnston – Continued Story / Hi, How Are You?
- Devandra Banhardt – Niño Rojo
- Lewis Black – Rules of Enragement
- Mirah – You Think It’s Like This, But Really It’s Like This
- Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree
- Of Montreal – The Sunlandic Twins
- The Rondelles – Shined Nickels and Loose Change
So every time "The O.C." releases one of their mix tapes (this is #4), it’s like The Smoking Gun digging up an old crime report on the entire indie scene, blowing the cover on 1) its feelings of isolated superiority, and 2) its supposed disdain for pop music. Hell, even in my Zen-like well-adjusted state, I mentally flinched when I noticed that fully seven of the 12 tracks on this compilation were already somewhere in my digital archives, and that most are tracks that I myself would consider putting on a mix tape.
Now do you get it?
A phrase you hear everywhere these days is "liberal elite". Conservatives have successfully used the upper middle class’s visible disdain for the great unwashed to convince red america that liberals are, as the Club for Growth put it, a "latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving… Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show". Lemme clear this up:
- Blue america is largely working class. See those little black dots in the center of the blue counties? They’re cities, and they’re filled with housekeepers, waiters, janitors, bus drivers, factory workers, security guards, and teachers.
- Hollywood, which conservatives often claim is a bastion of liberal elitism scowling at the back-asswardsness of middle america, is in fact owned by big business. The TV networks spouting punditry lamenting America’s ongoing moral decay are owned by conglomerates consisting of not just (multiple) television networks, but movie studios and record companies as well. Richard Gere and Alec Baldwin may be liberals, but the real core of Hollywood is the studios. Rupert Murdock owns not only Fox News, but also "fox attitude": remember who released Kinsey next time you’re watching Bill O’Reilly rant about Janet Jackson’s boobies. Republicans shake their fist at sex, drugs and violence in order to get your blood up, then quietly turn around and offer tax benefits to the large companies that push those things on their billboards and tv commercials.
- And here is the last and most important reason I know there is no liberal elite: I’m not elite. Let me explain.
By all rights, I am the epitome of a latte liberal. Those of you who know me know I don’t like coffee, and that I drive an Infiniti instead of a Volvo, but other than that, I have it nailed. Jewish, upper middle class, coastal, semi-metrosexual, and exceedingly liberal: one of my parents was actively communist, for christ’s sake. I live in San Francisco, consort with known homosexuals, generally dislike organized religion, and really really love sushi. And here’s the kicker: I’m not part of some liberal conspiracy. I don’t meet with a kabal of other liberals and plot the demise of this country. I’m not rich. My clout goes about as far as is needed to get a home equity loan. I wait in line at the dmv like everybody else. I’m not a mason; I wasn’t even in a fraternity. I didn’t go to an ivy league school, because my grades weren’t good enough, I’m not a legacy, and no one knows my last name. I go about my daily business like anyone else, making a living, enjoying my hobbies, and trying to find someone to start a family with. When it comes to music, I may be elitist, but when it comes to running this country, I certainly am not an elite.
Now, it’s quite possible that somewhere, the little liberal elite club is meeting right now, without me. Maybe I just didn’t make their cut. But let’s ponder another possibility. Who do we know who is rich, is a skull-and-bones, had bad grades but still went to Yale, does meet weekly with others of political influence to plan the course of the world, and has a powerful family that has been involved in politics for decades? Who is the real elite? Is Bush really a good ol’ boy from Midland because you’d like to have a beer with him? And am I elite because sometimes I drink wine instead?
So, middle america, I do disagree with many of your social and religious views. But we have more in common than you think; we both want to level the playing field for the working man or woman. We both have compassion and strong moral convictions. And consider that someone like Sam Brownback — who uses your religious views to divide and polarize us but then accepts money from pornographers and flip-flops on issues like the death penalty to suit the latest polls — might not care about your views at all. Maybe he just wants to separate you from me so he can remain a senator, and, well… elite.
It was a great last few days in Tokyo. By the time we returned to the city, the Sakura had popped like crazy, and the whole city was pink. Highlights of our second Tokyo visit included the Meiji Shrine, the sword museum, the national museum, and both Yoyogi and Ueno parks to check out the trees. I understand why hanami is such a big deal now; it only happens for about a week per year in each city and really it changes the look of the entire place. I got some outstanding pics, so take a look.
After getting to enjoy the sakura, I packed my bags and headed to Narita airport for the journey home. I’m back in the states now, and while it was an outstanding trip, it’s nice to be sleeping in my own bed again. The time difference is really messing with me in this direction, though; it feels like morning right now at about 10 pm.
I’m looking forward to catching up with everybody and finding out what I’ve missed.