Man, we are living in interesting times. I am a happy wog living in the best country on earth - Oz, natch - and watching the U.S.A have one heck of a big ol' discussion about race, whether some folks want to realise it or not. Atchally, the discussion is about black grievance whining of the Reverend Pussy variety in an age when it has been 140 years since slavery ended and 40 years since segregation ended.
I find the apologia for his black-centric idiocy, whether it comes from blacks or whites, pretty impressive, in an unscaleable-wall-impenatrable-force-of-stupidity kinda way. I mean, no other group in the US was enslaved as blacks were. So blacks are unique and it is a godawful uniqueness. But then there hasn't been a slave in the US for 140 odd years so the uniqueness is irrelevant. No other group was singled out for segregation laws like blacks so that is a uniqueness and it is also godawful. But then segregation ended 40 years ago. Every other group in the US has been singled out for prejudice in some form altho' no other group had to endure the cretinous and murderous Klan, so blacks have a definite and godawful uniqueness again there.
Truth is, but, time passes and in 2008, in fact for the last 40 years, blacks are not any more oppressed than any other ethnic group in the US.
The Italian community gets along and it has been stereotyped for yonks as a bunch of goomba-crotch-grabbing-mafiosi-types and excluded from polite white society. The Asian community, as broad as is it in the US, has managed to get along well too, stereotyped as it is as a bunch of weird-food-eating-nunchuckin'-swots. Heck, even the Mexicans seem to get along stereotyped as gang-member-low-riders-who-eat-too-much-corn.
Blacks can be angry about their history Stateside - why not? Good grounds, seems to me, if you can be bothered keeping it up 40 years after the event. But, leaping from anger to lunacy is plain ol' lunacy at the end of the day and, like Andrew Sullivan, I think it does not deserve any patience or politeness and should be called out and challenged head on.
Bin busy today, a part of which was spent in the company of politicians (do not ask, I have only just washed off the stink of it). Anyhoo, opening remarks by politico number 1 was an acknowledgement that the Four Seasons hotel in the Rocks in Sydney "is on original tribal land of the somethingorother people", no disrespect, I just could not understand the names.
Look, I am not having a go at Aboriginals, I am not. Sweet heavenly Lord, surely they do not think the mezzanine at the Four Seasons is connected in any way with tribal land much less with any tribes. Back in 1776 the land, the earth on which it is built, it definitely was. By 1788 it was not - it was all Brit, Irish and wog (I am including everyone who was not Brit or Irish, so yeah, Chinese etc) built.
And 230 years later in 2008 the tribe(s) has even less to do with modern Sydney.
I am with Bolt on this - the bullshit "recognition" of tribes of people in places where they have very obviously not contributed to the modernity that now appears there (like the Four Bloody Seasons Hotel in the Rocks in Sydney) is sad.
It is "acknowledging" the happenstance of folks who lived someplace before others came along. They lived someplace without impacting on it before other folks came along and did some serious impacting like building on it, irrigating it, powering it up etc, all the things that make it possible and even desirable for wogs to come from far and wide into the place and start new lives, which, as you might gather from the name of this blog, is something rather dear to my heart.
The "acknowledgement" of Aboriginal tribes of some place into public speech to my ear highlights all the people who are going unacknowledged - every skippy and every wog who has actually built that place into a modern lively place in Oz.
It very politely and with sincere deference commits Aboriginals into the national language and psyche as nothing more than a bunch of pre-1776 boomeranging tribesmen.
Damn sad shit this. Cos Aboriginals are around right now, and they can be as modern as anyone else.
:: WB 4:39 a.m. [link+] ::
Tim Blair links to the slapping-crying cricket incident in India. Read the comments in the YouTube thread. Apparently Punjabis do not get along with Mullases. They are like the Croats and Serbs of the subcontinent. Who knew?
:: WB 9:45 p.m. [link+] ::
Reverend "Pussy" is back in the limelight, with all the class and scholarship that we have come to expect of a man who likes to pass off a 2 month "Doctorate of Ministry" course as if it demonstrates his academic chops when it is just barely one step up from an frickin' internet "university degree".
The man is a fabricator, an obfuscator, a self-aggrandizer, can I get an amen. Oh yeah. Them blacks do like the aliteration, what with their right-side rythmic brains and all.
Seriously. That is what Reverend Pussy reckons. Blacks learn differently.
I will go out on a limb here and say he is wrong. They do not learn differently at all. Some of them just behave differently, because people like Reverend Pussy give them licence to think of themselves as victims at exactly the same time as thinking of themselves as exceptional people via the idiotic Black Liberation Theology.
Exceptional? Exceptionally tolerant of nutjobs like Wright, maybe. Whatever.
Who would not be hard to teach with their heads so full of such crap.
Check the transcript of his National Press Club appearance.
As Barack Obama bloviatingly pointed out in his big speech about the black race in America, slavery was abolished 140 years ago and there has not been segregation for 40 years. Reverend Pussy has never been enslaved nor has been in chains. He is such an exaggerating conman.
His speech has probably set back black and the rest relations in the US altho' maybe in days to come some blacks will come out and just call Wright as they see him - an embarrassing nutjob on the lunatic fringe.
I certainly hope that happens.
But jeez, what a pezzo di merda, eh? I am sure he capisces that.
:: WB 7:28 p.m. [link+] ::
Here she goes now - opens by patronising her audience, natch:
...I am keen to address some of the misunderstandings about the ideas which emerged.
Um, we understood just fine. Artists at 2020 have their hands out for cash and relevance.
One of the key issues of the summit was the need to communicate what artists contribute to society.
Key, right? What is this contribution then?
There are many examples of situations where the involvement of artists can make a difference. Take the built environment - what role could artists play in making sure that the concrete monoliths of the past are not repeated in the future? Artists have rallied to climate change issues - how can complex ideas be communicated visually to more people? What about the role of the arts in mental health? There is evidence that involvement in creative projects can actually save money.
Wha'? What the heck is she asking questions for? Give us some examples if there are so "many".
As a board member of the Australian Children's Music Foundation, I am proud to have witnessed the success of the provision of musical instruments to young people within the criminal justice system.
Oh. An example. Teaching kids music. And it is a 'success' because...what...juvenile crime reduced? Who knows. She is not saying. Not much of an example of "contributing" then.
There are many examples of the role of the arts in dealing with social issues, where people who feel alienated can be given the confidence to move on through an engagement with the arts.
So name some. Jeez, if there are so "many".
What about the role of literature and film - the telling of stories, ours and others?
Orunno. What about it? Never mind your questions, lady, we are all just waiting on some clear examples of the arts doing good for society. Ya got any?
When we discussed the idea of a 1 per cent dividend, it was not about a hand out. It was not even necessarily about new money but about asking government departments to identify things that they already spend money on which could be improved by the involvement of artists (in all disciplines).
Right, so mandated spending. They were asking for mandated spending of existing money...on them, artists...but that is no handout, how exactly?
It's not about what can government do for artists but what can artists do for government - to help them achieve their objectives.
Exsqueeze me? This is priceless. She believes in forcibly taking taxpayer money and commissioning artists with it and this is somehow not the govt "doing for artists" but the other way around? The receiver of the largesse becomes the giver in this woman's head. Incredibile, eh?
By working with businesses, arts organisation can find ways in which artists can contribute to the things that business wants to do - not a subsidy, an active contribution.
Hang on. "Find ways...to contribute"? Wasn't the opening of this piece a statement that artists already do? Whatever - it was a bullshit premise to begin with. What she is contemplating here is the insertion of artists into business. As with the govt mandated spending and commissioning, she thinks business should commission artists too.
Hmmm. Wait a minute. I think I get it.
You station a poet-in-residence at, say, the Road Traffic Authority registry or at the bank or at the factory, yeah? In the office kitchen where people gather away from their desks. The breakout room. Her role is to launch into spirited readings of her poems whenever someone puts the kettle on or puts something in the microwave or the toaster.
Get the heck outta there and get back to work.
Or the artist will start "contributing".
Not sure that is quite what Ms Macgregor has in mind but I can see productivity going through the roof. Thankyou artists.
:: WB 10:50 p.m. [link+] ::
Another one I love is the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. They reckon that, in the 2006-2007 year, they experienced a jump in complaints of 42%. How awful eh? Except they did not. [You will be wanting part 4.3.4]. They used a lowered baseline of averages over previous years to generate that percentage jump. In reality the jump was 27%. Not sure why they have to lie about it. The jumps have been hovering around 10% for the previous three years, so 27% is a big hike.
I guess they want to make us all feel horrible about ourselves. It is definitely what the Palestinians are about.
So never mind the truth of any of it, never mind if there is even any message beyond that some folks is ugly. Just enjoy the whole tone. I have not seen Italia-as-evil and conspiracy-peddling this good since the 70s with the The Godfather and The Omen.
Looking at all these faces, they are some of them quite gruesome.
Diana Damrau as the Queen of the Night. She is brilliant, Mozart's opera is wonderful, the staging is perfect. Opera is art. And for it to be this good it ain't cheap. This is art I can get behind, funding wise I mean. You do not even need to like opera to get into this.
Thanks for this go to Andrew Bolt for putting up a bunch of opera clips on his blog of late which is terrific and has inspired me to YouTube some operastuff myself (and other stuff natch). And to my mates Droob and Magoo who shared this with me on ANZAC Day over bubbles.
When I was a toddler my parents made a decision. I think at that stage the car of choice was an FJ Holden. They got in it and drove it to a kennel in Northeastern Victoria and when they drove back home they had Duffton Massimus Caius with them, the world's greatest and most maginificent specimen of black labradorhood ever. Well, my world, anyway.
They made the decision after some consideration. Should they purchase a Dalmatian or a Black Lab? Two books were bought, both hardbacks, both the same size. They addressed the merits and pitfalls of each breed (well, pitfalls for Dalmatians, but none for Black Labs, God's most perfect canine creature - do not argue.) The books lived on the shelf of the walnut antique Canterbury cabinet we used to house the small teevee.
Inside the Labrador book was a vision of perfection such as to be seared, seared into the memory.
Pondering this memory I oiled the bolts of the internet engine and located, incredibile, his entire genealogy. Thankyou Google.
And here is an Italian site with a bunch of sensational champions including Whatstandwell Ballyduff Robin his good self. (Be warned, this site seems weirdly to have automatic bagpipe music just pipin' on through. I cannot get 'em to stop so 'mute' if like me you are allergic to that dreadful noise, pace Scots.)
The objective appreciation of physical canine perfection is a borderless thing and wog/non-wog thing.
...have 16 (UPDATE: make that 20 now that the actual report is out - there is a new agency in Productivity and a new one in Rural too and another one in Health incredibly given they already have so many, and a new one in Families, that one to do with the government insuring people against serious injury) new government agencies. That is my count from the Summit recommendations reported this p.m.
Oh, and only the very wealthy will be able to afford fags, grog and alcohol cos it will be taxed to fund the arts and Aboriginals so much.
Plus government operatives will force all of us to eat fruit. I think.
(UPDATE: and the government is gonna secure mortgages, provide more drought assistance, fund Aboriginals into the future, presumably whether they need it or not, and all our kiddies are all gonna be forced to learn about rural Oz, climate change and the arts...with lots of new funding from taxpayers including, get this, the Federal Govt has to pay for all insurances to do with the arts. The luvvies do not even want to pay for any of their own insurance premiums. The Rural stream at least ahd the decency to suggest that their insurance only be subsidised by gumment. Not the arts rorters, but. Oh no. Not really gonna be able to look at Cate Blanchett and Hugh Jackman ever again without thinking of them both as snouts in troughs of government money.)
Ignoring the motherhood overarching stuff, here we go with actual ideas - the verbs and nouns, peeps. Brace yourselves:
Productivity - set up a uniform national education curriculum.
How many bureacrats are gonna be needed for that, eh? Gumment money will be needed natch.
Aboriginal - um, this is just shite blather, but now finally, an actual thing, build capital works in Aboriginal spaces with govt funding.
More govt money to be spent on Aboriginals.
Economy - create a commission, undertake a tax review, reform regulations, set up a body for prioritising infrastructure, something else, not sure what, something about the public sector, more funding for education (this got applause, natch), law changes to remove barriers to participation (barriers to who, noone knows, bankrupts? crims? infants? who knows?).
Ah, we got 2 new adminstrative bodies and one expensive review project.
Health - create a commission, create a national health agency funded by tax on grog, fags and junk food, issue "wellness passports", partner with Asia on scary Asian infectious diseases, allocate money according to 'cost effectiveness data', putting traffic lights on food and limit ingredients in food and bann junk food, introducing something called 'fast fruit' which presumably means govt funded fruit delivery and forced eating, delivering fresh food to Abos and presumably forced eating, making Australians have a healthbook/facebook with all their helath details in one vulnerable IT space. Yah. And something about a "wellness footprint" measuring the impact of lifestyles on health (presumably smoking drinking folks to be shamed about their "footprint"), set up some volunteer force to teach first aid including mental health first aid to all Australians and presumably forcing them to learn, change organ donation arrangements from the current 'opt in' system to one where you have to 'opt out', and all jobs to include half an hour of enforeced exercise. Sackable offence if the worker refuses? I wonder.
So we have 2 new govt bodies, more admin for 'wellness passports' and 'wellness footprints', more taxes, more funding, enforced education and eating and exercise.
Future Security - develop a plan for Asia literacy in Oz, set up an agency for partnerships with Asia, develop a confederation entity with pacific states, set up a regional energy forum with US China Japan, India, force Aust govt to report on US relations every 4 years, set up 4 centres, set up a Oz Jap regional peacekeeping centre, establish a council.
Hmmmm, I make that 1 plan and 9 new govt entities. O yeah, no cost there.
Sustainability & Climate Change - establish a national climate change agenda, conduct an audit, establish national sustainable cities program, more money for public transport, change building standards to address water, establish a system for Australians to "manage" their "personal carbon footprint", install "smart meters" in all houses.
Sooo, we got 1 agenda, 1 audit, 1 program, more tax and interference in people's homes.
Future Government - set up a commission, conduct a plebiscite to decide whether to sever ties with UK, conduct a referendum on the form of an Ausralian Republic, develop an internet site called ourgov.com. That is it.
That is, 1 commission, 1 plebiscite, 1 referendum and a website all funded by govt. Seriously. That is it. And Maxine McKew who is insufferably self-congratulatory for this rubbish, just called her crew "The Red Brigade" and laughed. They kidnapped and killed Italian PM Aldo Moro in 1978. No laughing matter for wogs.
Families - develop a plan, develop a national development index to measure how many homeless there are and how trees have been planted, establish a body for giving confidence???, (obligatory jab by Tim Costell and his own brother, Liberal party member and former Treasurer), set up a foundation for microloans ($30m funding from National Australia Bank therefore Costello calls this a no cost policy), establish a foundation for homelessness using 0.5% of State stamp duty revenue, permanent fund for community organisations??? instead of annually funding, volumetric tax on alcohol with revenue to alcoholism treatment, a PM's statement on creating a non-violent society.
So, that's 1 plan, 1 index, 2 foundations, more tax on grog and a $30m from NAB.
Rural Oz - Wha'? Water, climate change, urgent, research, wha'? No actual actions? Except this no cost deelio which is a good 'un: Visit somewhere in rural Oz when you go on holidays. Nice.
Presume government funding - it is everywhere else.
Creativity - make art education compulsory in the new national curriculum, set up a new agency: National Endowment for the Arts, force govt agencies to spend 1.0% of all spending on creative acts, set up a national indigenous Cultural Authority. So, what have we got?
We've got 2 new arts agencies, forced education and more govt funding of arts.
Nothing new under the sun. Bolt agrees - keep scrolling for his take. Maybe when they release the actual list of real ideas there might be something there that I can get behind.
Cripes, this has been mesmerising and I have not been able to look away.
This has ostensibly been for me. I am an Oz citizen, I am (fingers and toes crossed) gonna be around in 2020.
This vision of a leftist educated and fed and funded Australian Republic where my perfectly legal lifestyle habits are knowable to all areas of govt and subject to their interference is a frickin' vision of hell to me.
Hell, I tells ya.
This 2020 Summit has been just all government, all good. That is what these 1000 people have damned the rest us to to. No mockery? No pisstaking? No larrikinism?
The Sustainability stream of the 2020 summit. It appears to have a consensus to ignore nuclear energy as a sustainable future energy source. Seriously. But this cannot be right, can it?
Gonna just let this thing go on and comment later in the week cos this process, day 2, is absurd. The Health stream has just proposed taxing fags, junk and grog to fund ...something about ....oh, who cares. How utterly predictable to tax those things. And they want a traffic light system on food - red, amber and green. Why not skull and crossbones on burgers and fried chicken? Sheesh.
I reckon these folks are sincere - not just in Sustainability but every other stream, I mean, who would bother to go to Canberra if they were not? But really, there has not been a genuine fresh idea yet and this thing is winding down.
Get this, from the Sustainability stream:
By 2020 all Australians will have the tools to measure their carbon footprint.
What is this then? A frickin' bump on a log? I got it offa a google seach for 'measure carbon footprint'. We got the tools already. We hardly need 12 years to develop and implement this.
This is what has made me so "angry". The people at this thing are earnest but they seem to me to have little to no idea of how my world works, by which I mean how the actual world works and what it has to offer.
Another example - some fellow earlier just getting interviewed somewhere in Parliament house, said by 2020 his idea was that we would be able to send Australians to study in Asia.
Why would we want to "send" anyone anywhere? What worldview leads someone to think it is a good idea, an aim, for this country to be treating its citizens as foodder to be moved around at the government's will? Well, I think we know the answer - it is a hardcore fascist worldview dressed up as a lefty mush that really cares about "engaging" with Asia and does not actually care a whit about individual Australian's liberties. (And no, drug use is not a liberty, if any of youse were thinking that. It is illegal and it is rubbish and you do it around me, I will shop you to the coppers, friend or stranger, as soon as look at you. First rule of criminal behaviour, peeps. Never do it front of witnesses unless you are sure they on your side. On this issue, I am not a witness who's on your side. Doubtless there may be some in your life, but not me. Whatever, I digress.)
What worldview leads someone to think it is a good idea, an aim, for the Australian government to interfere with people's decisions about what food they eat by sticking a big red light on certain food? A nanny worldview that just has to interfere.
[NOTE: Link to The Australian's report on the legalise drugs idea. Somewhere on the Oz site they should address the food nazis.]
Nannys at Work, eh?
Cannot get idiots off drugs using current methods so, instead, the medical stream of the 2020 summit wants to legalise all drugs and set up a whole system so that government workers can anaesthetise members of the population with those now-legal drugs.
But junk food, bad. Natch.
Isn't this sort of thinking just so tired? I got your solution to drug problems. An amnesty. An amnesty so all the folks who have never taken drugs get to beat to death those who have.
You watch and see the drug use disappear. Drugs are not addicitive. Junk food is not addictive. People just get into habits that they know they shoud stop but they lack an incentive to do so. How do I know this is true? If you stuck a fat person in the jungle being chased by something for days and days they would not eat and they would get lots of exercise. They would lose weight. They would not have a 'slow metabolism' and 'big bones'. They would eat less and move more.
If you stuck a junkie in the jungle, getting chased or not, for days, he would walk out of the jungle at the end of it having gone healthily and happily without his stinking drugs, thereby proving that his body will not breakdown if he does not get his 'hit'.
There. That is my big idea. An amnesty. Yes.
:: WB 11:24 p.m. [link+] ::
As if they are devalued now, or not valued at all.
[NOTE: The link is to Bolt's thread about the Summit. Scroll for the bits about Aboriginal stuff.]
Aboriginal people are people, no different to any wog in the country, no different to any skip and if all they are is pissed or diddling their kids then they are disgusting wastful people who deserve our contempt and will not be valued while they persist in that behaviour. Desist with the behaviour? Feel the valuation grow. And if they are living their lives as mates, family members, and lawful already, or they strat to, then what's not to value? Of course they are or will be valued. We do not even need to think about it. Of course they are valued, just as wogs are, and skips. Cripes, how much self-pity do you have to harbour to make a statement like "By 2020 Aboriginal people must be valued".
Just heard another speaker say "we are not looking for short term ideas, just long term, big picture, vision" or words to that effect.
Which is code for "Ignore the Aboriginal grog and kiddy diddling problems, and the shit behaviour of drunkenness in public in cities, ignore all that and focus on gifting them seats in parliament and mining royalties and forming a treaty."
[NOTE: Link is to The Australian's page for the Summit. Bound to be something on there in due course about this arts bullshit.]
That is the 2020 ideas Summit arts stream introduced by the retarded Cate Blanchett. She is such a honey to look at and such an egomaniac with no idea how stupid she is it is...how you say...sad.
Cate could not resist a pissy anti-Bush remark in her opening blather, and told the story of meeting US President Bill Clinton and him telling her about how much he likes arts. She said, and I quote: I really appreciated being appreciated".
It is all about her. Love me, I am actor. Love them, they are actors, Love us, we are actors. The Arts:Centre of life in Australia.
Here is the vision of 2020 in Oz viz "the arts" groud:
In 2020 artists will all make a living doing whatever they do, they'll have support in the form of mandated spaces to presumably make and display their art and administrators to take care of the office-type stuff needed to support their endeavours, and everyone who is not an artist will appreciate what the artists are doing.
You see it? The wish?
No competition in the arts. No actual appeal to audiences. Just compulsory arts funding and compulsory arts appreciation. What a fucking a vision of hell - kill yourselves if this country ever looks like such a fascist bloddy hellhole. I say 'fascist' cos it is an integral part of the Oz character to know a "wanker" when you see one, and to call him out on it.
And what the arts luvvies want is to outlaw ever being called or even thought of as wankers, even though that is exactly what the vast bulk of them are.
Oz has a "tall poppy syndrome" by which we happily engage in harping against and criticing folks who do well in their chosen fields, whether locally or heading overseas. But the thing to understand about the "tall poppy syndrome" is that the accent there was never on the "tall", that is "succesful". It is not about slamming someone for succeeding. The accent was on the "poppy". That is, the precious egomaniac. There is a big diff.
To my mind Cate Blanchett, who is very successful in her field, is a wanker and a bit of "tall poppy" criticism is warranted. When she went to Cronulla to call for "peace", when there was no war, she was behaving like a wanker. Had to have a camera on her. Had to save the wogs from the 'war'. When she wrote that arts needs to be the centre of Oz life, she was thinking like a wanker.
She is a "poppy".
Oz is not continental Europe where art truly is the centre of life.
Oz is big skies and future and youth (and I do not mean people, we got plenty of oldies and more to come. I mean no hangovers of history like in Italy where you cannot move a metre without encountering some serious history, all of it well-documented and most of it in need of preservation, so much so that every step taken by Italians is heavier than most cos of the weight of all that collective past that each of them, old or young, just lives with day to day) and it is now free of all that wankery.
I do not want to envision an Oz in 2020 or anytime in the future where the word "wanker" is not an intertal part of our national language. It is what makes us so outstanding at a whole bunch of stuff that we do, that we do not take ourselves seriously, but we do take what we get up to very seriously indeed.
Call it ANZAC spirit. Call it whatever.
But the one sector of Oz that persistently lets us down is the one whose members almost uniformly lack ANZAC spirit. The arts sector is replete with whining wankers always asking for more money and rarely delivering anything audiences actually want to see. Sad sacks of shit who create left-wing (uniformly, there is no right-wing or even libertarian arts community; there's just left and lefter) rubbish desired by hardly anybody outside of mates, family and rusted on critics who self-censor out of some misguided philosophy that crap art should be celebrated so long as it is crap Oz art.
That is just the opening for this arts 'discussion' at 2020.
Milo, give me strength.
:: WB 8:55 p.m. [link+] ::
Why assert that Aboriginals were horribly abused as medical guineapigs in the recent past if it is not true, there is no proof?
Cos self-pity and victimhood are just how some people like to live their lives. By which I mean perpetualy feeling victimised about something and filled to the brim with self-pity cos of the victimisation they think they are laboring under. yeah?
That is why.
Nothing more to it than that.
Oh, except attention seeking. Cos that goes with self-pity. No point feeling self-pity if no one can see it and say "aw".
:: WB 4:41 a.m. [link+] ::
Man, that is so true. I stopped getting The Economist cos it was just rubbish about Italy, so inanely biased against Silvio that it was not worth crediting. That, plus it's stupid coverage of Oz under PM John Howard, again biased against, made me realise their journo product could not be trusted on two topics I know fairly well. So chances are it is prolly rubbish product about everything else too.
Creativity is at the heart of every successful nation. It finds expression in great visual art, wonderful music, fabulous performances, stunning writing, gritty new productions and countless other mediums.
Not that kind of "arts" creativity, it isn't.
The lasting value and evidence of a civilisation are its artistic output and the ingenuity that comes from applying creativity to the whole range of human endeavour. Yet all too often the arts are pushed into a box that says entertainment, icing on the cake, when they are a key ingredient.
Arts is peripheral. It is. It just is. Get over it, Cate. If you and everyone else stopped acting it would not matter a shit.
The 2020 Summit is an opportunity to put creativity and the arts back into the centre of Australian life both here and abroad. This is how a middle power can exercise its soft power in a positive and stimulating way - that shows the world that we are much more than the cliched images that come readily to mind.
Oh fuck off. It was never in the centre. And the 2020 summit is a talkfest of wankers and money down the the arts wankers attending will argue for more funding for arts. Nothing new, not a creative synapse among them - just more money.
An Australia Council survey in 2000 found this is something most people want. Australians love music, drama, dance, books, television dramas, edgy digital installations and exhibitions, just as they love sport.
Link please. There is no way anyone in their right mind would say Australians "love...edgy digital installations and exhibitions" at all, let alone "just as (much) as sport". And if there is a report to that effect it is obviously fucked.
They want it to be a part of their lives and are proud when Australian creativity is recognised internationally. At the same time we know that grassroots arts and culture can create neighbourhoods, build social connections and provide people with an interest and passion that can last a lifetime.
Wha'? these two sentences do not go together. And it is utter bullshit to argue that grassroots art creates neighbourhoods. Neighbours create fucking neighbourhoods, all over Australia, with nary an artist among them.
The centrality of creativity to living full and rich lives is what will define the deliberations of the creative stream this weekend.
You get that? The deliberations will be based on the utterly false premise that arts is central, even though it is peripheral and the nation will not grind to a halt if every theatre shuts and the children stop tumbling at Circus Oz.
The fact that we have economists, business leaders, educators, researchers as well as actors, directors, musicians, writers and many others in the group will put flesh on the bones of this truth.
Hmmmm. Beginning to get it now. The conference is based on the lie that arts in Oz matter and is stacked with like minds from arts and other sectors to perpetuate the lie, or as Cate tells it "this truth".
And if there is any doubt that this will not be about new ideas here is cate's kicker:
By drawing this diverse group of people together, and the submissions from many others who were unable to be included, we hope we will be able to tap into the considerable knowledge and expertise that has been built up over time. The great opportunity of the summit will be to mix this with the perspectives that come from unexpected directions, or from people whose voices have not previously had a national audience. Artists are not just entertainers or courtesans, but highly skilled people able to give expression to many of the pressing issues that trouble us.
Run for your frickin' lives. The artists are going to tell us about "pressing issues".
Cate Blanchett has not got even a scintilla of creativity in her lovely frame. Not a single new idea will perforate that bunker mentality. She's all about the more money and the listen to the artists cos they really roolly matter.
I was in Italy a few years back and staying with a fab pal. She was driving and we were chatting. About Iraq. She was all in favour of Saddam staying put. She did not say it like that, but. Natch. When I asked her how she felt about the fact that Iraqis had held 3 elections to get a government of Kurds, Shia and Sunnis she said, and I quote:
I don't care.
Do not ruin Iraq for me, indeed.
:: WB 7:47 a.m. [link+] ::
I know, I know, the sky is blue, breaths must go in and out, walking forwards needs one foot in front of the other. Actors are idiots. But this Cate Blanchett is a rolled gold arts snob. Good looking, top at acting, prolly nice lady, fine wife, caring mother, maybe even good mate and drinking buddy (when she is not up the duff) but whoo, she is a "artist" and she's the centre of the frickin' universe, and all youse are gonna have to pay for it, if Cate gets her way.
... arts and creativity - the makings of culture - are in fact the central endeavour of our species.
No, they are not. You can be sure that when our Cate says "arts" she means theatre, writing, poetry, opera, sculpture, painting, and maybe lets in film and maybe even television (but not much) and prolly even extends it out to those wank "arts" like installations and photography and graphic design.
Rest assured she does not include AFL or the nags, trots or dogs or Bathurst or pubs.
How can we be sure of Cate's insufferable snobbery? She calls it "arts and creativity". Only folks who work at stuff that is not artistic or even remotely creative bother to so carefully develop a worldview and habit that applies that moniker to their pursuits.
The rest of us just get on with having it in our lives everywhere. Art I mean. On the walls of the house, on the stereo, in the blog, it is the car we drive, the coffee maker we choose, the clothes we wear, how we speak etc.
None of Cate's stuff is even remotely near the centre of man's endeavours. It is somewhere out on the fringe, where it belongs. Do not get me wrong. I do not advocate banning arts. I do, however, advocate constant mockery of artists. Maybe even an amnesty to allow folks like me to deliver a smackdown to folks like Cate just for one night - a great melee if you will. Now that would be performance art, alright! And I am certain Oz would pay to see it. Roll up, roll up.
The centre is firmly held by the desire to be better and to share joy.
Because it is there. That's one man's endeavour (two, atchally with Tenzin).
Finding fire, inventing the wheel, building houses, bridges and roads, and being in the company of folks who you love, specially if some of them are genuinely fall down funny and generous with it. Travelling, using blogs to meet folks whatever. That is the centre.
Going to the theatre or the opera is not. It is an imitation of life where you sit in the dark for a couple hours so wankers on stage can get a hardon over everyone watching them. If it all stopped right now, here today, if every actor in Oz was just cryovacced for one frickin' year, no one would give a shit (except the wankers themselves). Do not get me wrong - I do not hate the "arts", not at all. I like 'em. I am for 'em. Well, I am for orchestras and operas and painters. Theatre...do not care, cannot be asked to care. Sculptors, mmmm not sure. Photographers? Gi. Fa. Oh, except maybe this guy.
Scientific enquiry flows out of and is inspired by them, wars are fought in their defence, cities, trade and complex economies are enabled and facilitated by them.
No war is ever going to be fought over the Sydney fricking Theatre Company's latest tedious production of something that was super dull to start with? Zif. Cate wishes anyone anywhere gave a shit to war about it. As it is, she cannot get bums on frickin' seats for her circlejerks. Her work is irrelevant to most everyone. Out on the fringe, changing nothing, delivering nothing. Not even innovation. New theatre script? Who cares. It will be as boring as the last script.
The 2020 summit is an opportunity to dream of a co-ordination between the many important strands of our densely packed society.
I believe cultural vitality and real engagement are central to many of them.
If by this she means the many wogs in Oz have their own culture and like it a lot, then yeah. Wogs like art. Wogs live art. Your point being, Cate?
Generally, how can we encourage lateral, creative and fresh thinking? On the day, the creative stream will grapple with issues like evolutions in practice, our role in Asia, the relationship between access to the arts and pursuit of excellence, examination of youth arts, broadcasting and media reform and the ever-present issue of Australian content.
Christ on a stick, "the creative stream"? And how about "able to formulate its own opinions"? Who the heck else's would they hold?
As this is a collaborative process, the participants' ideas will form the specific agenda which is still taking shape. This summit demands we imagine and then create the future. Creativity and the arts are as elemental to that future as they are to the past. They are a link between us all and an expression of our differences.
Hmmm. It certainly is a difference that most "arts" in Oz are shithouse and the population does not spend time or money visiting, watching, listening or even remotely experiencing it. So, yeah, that is a 'link' I suppose.
My driving question will always be how do we consolidate and deepen all Australians' cultural engagement so that regardless and in fact because of personal preferences we are contributing socially and rewardingly to a broad and sustainable future?
You got that? She will never stop asking how to get more Australians engaged in culture so that everyone is contributing to the future.
Never stop. Cannot envisage a point at which there will be adequate engagement by others in her worldview. Quite the fascist, isn't she? Just like Louise Adler, only way prettier.
What she dreams of is a future where even though the movies are made but not seen, the theatre is held but not attended, the opera goes on, the orchestra plays, and it only happens through taxpayer burden but still hardly a soul cares, etc etc the folks who want to devote themselves to these essentially unwanted pursuits can still pursue them without ever being realistic about their popularity.
To put it accurately without hiding behind the bullshit overblown prose, Cate will always be asking:
How can the government force more Australians to fund her theatre and her friends boring films etc etc?
It is a "idea" straight out of the 70s and there is nothing "creative" or "innovative" or "fresh" about it.
I am all in favour of a bit of funding for "the arts". I would simply ask in return that artists not behave as if they really matter when they so evidently do not. They can think they are the centre of the universe. Think whatever you like. But we should all be at liberty to take the piss.
It is the Australian way.
I'll wager Cate will not consider it "creative" or "innovative" to conclude that the reason the arts is not well attended in Oz is cos it is shite, and it is shite because it is subsidised and never has to earn its way into the "centre of man's endeavours".
Me? I got a call in to cousin Fausto. He'll tell me the score. And cousin Renato too. He of the huge Alfa Romeo saloons. No point calling cousin Rita, she and her husband are soooo voting red it does not matter. Once, just to spice things up, she invited her pal Vincenzo over to dinner, while I was staying with her. Vincenzo was a full on commie. Incredible. They had a bottle of coca-cola on the table - I don't drink it when I am in Italy - there's wine to be imbibed, dammit. And coffee.
So, why was the coco-cola there?
It was there specifically so that Vincenzo the commie and his wife who refuses to wear makeup (presumably because it is for the borghesi bourgoisie) could both declare adamantly that they would never ever dream of drinking the stuff cos it is imperialist Yankee slime, or some such.
Hilarious fellow. Insisted that we not discuss the appalling legacy of actual communism - the political philosphy he chose to follow - and focus instead of wanky Florentine-Bolognese Euro-communism. Which has never killed anyone, of course. Except maybe by boring them to death with tales of how they are friggin' descended from the Medici.
Anyhoo, truth is, the lefties are never happier than under Berlusconi. Gives them all a chance to despair about the future. And really, that is what lefties do, yeah? They think everyone of us is in need of their aiuto (that is help, for you non-Italian readers) but since they are not much chop at delivering, they prefer the whining.
Here is ol' Barack Obama, again with the bloviating, this time describing middle Americans to a bunch of SanFran supporters.
Ripe for another parsing, eh? Urgh. I do and do for youse.
OBAMA: So, it depends on where you are, but I think it's fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people feel most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre...I think they're misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to 'white working-class don't wanna work -- don't wanna vote for the black guy.' That's...there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today - kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.
Dems and my campaign specifically have to address cynicism, not some implication that racisim is stopping us getting votes.
Here's how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by -- it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laugher), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter).
People in Ohio and Pennsylvania are beaten down. They are cynical about government. They also have a problem with blacks. Hilarious.
But -- so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What's the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is -- so, we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing -- close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama's gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we're gonna provide health care for every American. So we'll go down a series of talking points.
People in Ohio and Pennsylvania ask about health and tax for them.
But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives.
Dems and my campaign specifically have to get voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania to vote for us and our promises even though the voters there are cynical because their votes in the past have gone to politicians who have made the same or similar or maybe totally different promises that I am making but have delivered bugger all of what they promised.
You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
Pennsylvania and the Midwest are fucked.
So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
So it is not surprising people from Pennsylvania and the Midwest are onedimensional gun-totin'-religion-believin'-foreigner-hatin'-free-trade-hatin' folks. You folks here in San Francisco have to understand that that is the inevitable state of being for folks from Pennsylvania and the Midwest. Cos those places are fucked.
Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background -- there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing.
Some people in Pennsylvania and the Midwest are Obama fans and some are not. I have to keep campaigning.
What on earth was the empty suit thinking? Given that he was speaking without a teleprompt I would wager he was thinking that he was not saying anything untoward. He really does think Middle Americans are cynical and they are fucked and they are running to guns n god and hatred of "the other".
He might as well have gone on with it. ...they cling to...appalling architecture, and tracksuits and McMansions and they never go the theatre and blah blah.
He is an empty suit, a patronising toerag, elitist to the core. And before any of youse start up with the 'Hillary is from Yale too, and she's richer, and McCain has 8 houses so he is richer" let us get something straight.
For the hard of thinking.
"Elite" is in the thinking, not in the wallet and not in the school.
Had a parsing of Obama’s big race speech up and it wrecked my blog. I have had to rebuild the thing as well as redo this post. Disastro! Except but, from this horror has come the benefit of cleaning up my template, tidying links, and, thank Jebus, working out how to collapse posts so’s youse do not have to read this whole bloviator race stuff on the front page, scroll scrolly. Nice, eh?.
Anyhoo, my original post worked offa Drudge’s purported ‘transcript’ which was posted before the speech was given. I have checked a transcript of the speech after it was given and I am reusing my old post. Drudge had 4868 words to answer the question “How come you have picked some guy who comes off as a black racist bigot as your pastor?”.
More words. Bloviator is still right on the money.
Take it away, ya empty suit:
“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”
Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.
America’s Constitution was formed in 1787.
The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.
It could have abolished slavery expressly but it didn’t.
Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.
By not abolishing slavery but instead mentioning equality the Constitution was ripe for amending to expressly abolish slavery.
And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States.
Until amended slavery continued.
[Youse gluttons for punishment? Yeah, whatever. Click the button.]
What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.
It took America’s Civil War of 1861 to 1865, 80 years after the Constitution was formed, to achieve the Thirteenth Amendment which did amend the Constitution to expressly abolish slavery on 18 December 1865. Segregation, however, that is, official sanctioned racial separation and subordination of blacks, continued for 103 more years. It took the civil rights movement of Martin Luther King Jr et al to achieve, in 1968, the US Supreme Court ruling that all such segregation and subordination is unconstitutional.
This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America.
My campaign is a continuation of efforts from Lincoln, King Jr, abolishing slavery to outlawing segregation, only my focus is on a more just, equal, free, caring and prosperous America.
I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.
America cannot improve itself without unity. I am running now to deliver than unity. Now is the time for this run because we can’t meet challenges without unity.
This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.
I believe I can delivery unity because of myself.
I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.
I am half black and half white. My white grandparents raised me. My wife is all black. We raise our kids to know about slavery. Only in America could I be doing as well as I am.
It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.
I am not like Hillary. I embody genetically the unity I think we need.
Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.
I have more delegates, more popular vote and more primaries from whites and blacks and I am winning because I transcend race.
This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.
The press and Hillary’s campaign have mentioned race.
And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.
The attention to race lately has been divisive i.e not about unity
On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.
Geraldine Ferraro spoke. My pastor has been shown speaking.
I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
I condemn my pastor’s words.
But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.
His words are really awful.
As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.
My campaign is about unity and his words do not fit.
Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way
You ask, how come I chose a pastor who says such awful things?
But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
I chose him because even though he is a bigot he is also a good guy.
In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:
“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”
My first time at a black ministry was moving and fun.
That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.
Black ministry represents the black experience in America.
And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.
You have to understand that my pastor may be a black racist bigot but he’s my black racist bigot. And he can be a really good guy.
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.
I can’t disown him because the black community is just like him. And I am half black remember.
I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
You don’t know this but my white grandmother has racist views and is bigoted too. But she loves me and I love her so I won’t be disowning her either.
These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.
I regard my pastor with as much affection as I do my granny. They are Americans. I like Americans.
Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not.
I am not justifying or excusing my pastor’s comments or the racism of my granny.
I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.
I am being politically brave by not deserting my pastor. I am not dismissing him as a crank and I am not dismissing Geraldine Ferraro as a racist.
But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.
I am addressing race rationally and if I shied away from doing this I would be no better than my pastor who addresses it irrationally by peddling racism.
The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect.
My pastor’s comments and Geraldine Ferraro’s comment and the furore around them shows that race viz black Americans is a live issue in America.
And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.
We must unify now or we will never be able to.
Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.
Slavery and segregation, which ended 180 and 40 years ago respectively, are directly responsible for black inequality today.
Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.
Black schools really are rubbish even after 50 years.
Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.
Not letting blacks participate in unions and borrowing in the period before 1968 has directly prevented black success.
A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.
Blacks in the 50’s and 60’s were deprived of economic opportunity and local councils in black areas were lousy.
This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.
My pastor experienced this. I have had a better life because of his and others’ successes in the fighting to outlaw segregation.
But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination.
Some blacks failed to make a success of their freedom but it was not their fault.
That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future.
Hookers and crims in jail are a direct legacy of segregation.
Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years.
Segregation still rankles, 40 years after ending.
That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table.
All blacks feel this way.
At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.
Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson have played on black anger.
And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning.
My pastor’s bigoted racist anti-American blather is quite common in the black community.
That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change.
I know he behaves and speaks like an idiot.
But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.
But he’s sincere and he is not going to change so the better course is for you to acknowledge that he has a reason for his blather.
In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.
Whites and white immigrants do not think they are privileged as against blacks and are angry that blacks are getting a leg up for things that happened 40, 100, 180, 221 years ago, which they did not cause. And the whites are angry that they cannot point out black criminality without being called racist.
Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition.
White anger shapes politics.
Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends.
The Willie Horton ad sunk the Dukakis campaign.
Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.
White people won’t discuss race openly but try to shut down discussion.
Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.
Blacks have to understand white anger because it is sincere and whites are not going change so it would be the better course for blacks to acknowledge it.
This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.
We have a stalemate and my elevation to president will not resolve it although I want to be elevated.
But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.
But we have no choice but to resolve it.
For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.
Blacks need to do three things: stop the victim mentality, stop the self-imposed ghettoisation and integrate with all America, and start taking responsibility for failures.
Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.
My pastor preaches point 3.
The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
But he cannot get past points 1 and 2, even though America has not segregated anyone for 40 years. Folks like him need to get with 1 and 2 if we are to move forward.
In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed.
Whites have to acknowledge black disadvantage is real.
Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations.
Whites have to pay for black schools and communities.
It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.
In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.
Bottom line, unity.
For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.
We can do that.
But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.
That is one option.
America can notice my pastor and Geraldine Ferraro, call them out for their comments and engage in some robust back and forth about it. Same old, same old.
Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.
Or it can stop noticing and focus instead on my policy platform: education.
This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.
Health care, Washington lobbyists.
This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.
This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.
I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country.
I believe most American’s will vote for my policy platform.
This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.
Children are our future.
There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.
There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.
And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.
She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.
She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.
In 1994, when Bill Clinton had been in power for the first two of his eight years as a Democrat President a woman with cancer lost her job and had no health care of her own. Her daughter helped as much as she could.
Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.
The daughter could, as a 9 year old, have blamed blacks or Hispanics for her mum’s lack of health care. But she didn’t. Nor has she done so as an adult.
Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”
“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough.
Unity is what we need although it is not enough on its own.
It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.
But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.
Perfecting America for means health care, jobs and education. For the unity. Vote for me.
That is it.
The empty suit gets sprung keeping company with a guy who purports to be a Reverend, and who uses the word "Pussy" in his sermons, and what does Obama do? He blathers on and bottom line, blames whitey and calls for votes.