Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Round-Up (Too Tired Edition)

I'm not really in a blogging mood right now. It's unfortunate, because there I have a bunch of thoughts on anti-Semitism that I'd like to spin out, but I can't bring myself to put them down. It's such an important topic, but sometimes I feel like I'm the only leftist who really wants to focus on it. That's a lot of pressure, and sometimes (like now) I feel crushed under the weight of it. Eventually I gather up my strength and hurl myself at the gates once more. But not today.

So, in lieu of a normal post, I'll round-up some of the interesting stuff that's floating out in the blogosphere currently.

An explanation to concerned Whites on how to be an ally of persons of color. If you wander through the comments, you'll note that I tried to point out some perceived anti-Semitism in the post opener (which tries to link White power to American support of Israel). I'll forthrightly admit that this post and its comments are what precipitated my current feeling of exhaustion. (H/T: Slant Truth)

Noam Scheiber explains the true nature of Hezbollah's threat toward Israel. It's not that they're a threat now. It's that they could easily become one that's uncontainable, seeing as they are a non-state client actor of a nation (Iran) which a) is committed to Israel's destruction and b) is on the verge of becoming a nuclear power. Destroying Hezbollah now may well be an example of try-or-die.

Two posts by Scott Lemieux on the subject of Jack Balkin (and company's) book What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said. I feel guilty saying I haven't read it, seeing as I specifically requested that the Carleton Library purchase it, but there just wasn't time to do more than skim it. Alas. (H/T: Feministe)

Eugene Volokh explains how Virginia courts are ignoring very, very clear statutory law in refusing to enforce a Vermont child custody ruling that stemmed out of a failed Civil Union between a lesbian couple.

Noting that both David Broder and Tom Friedman have begun to sound supportive of withdrawing from Iraq, Kevin Drum wonders if the tide of mainstream political punditry is finally starting to turn. I've long been a member of the Friedman-esque/TNR "liberal hawk" category, and I'll admit that I too am wavering on the value of our continued presence there--especially given the Bush administration's seeming constant ability to do no right.

Brilliant political theorist Iris Marion Young has died of cancer. Well before her time, she will be missed.

Latest Senate rankings are up. Top five most competitive seats are Republican-held.

It's a bit old, but this gem about the dismissal of an Arabic interpreter for being gay shows how deathly serious we are about the GWOT (Disenchanted Idealist).

Hill on Jackson on Cosby on Black men.

Iraq rallies for Hezbollah. I'm glad things are turning out so well over there. Incidentally, I've read that prior to the rise of Saddam, Iraq was actually a relatively friendly climate for Jews. In the space of a generation, Hussein's rabid anti-Semitic rhetoric has made it indistinguishable from the rest of the Arab League's pathological Jew-hatred. Head-bangingly frustrating (Eric Muller).

Restless Mania discusses shirts with communist themes on them. My friend Matt and I have discussed how we might each wear a Che Guevera shirt, only to mock him (what better way to subtly diss an anti-capitalist icon than turning him into a symbol of American materialism?).

Speaking of Slant Truth, the folks there lay the smackdown on the "blackfacing" of Joe Lieberman scandal. I can't tell which is more infuriating, when liberals engage in this crap, or when they try and defend it. Good for Kevin Andre Eliott for some highly justified ripping.

Tim Burke discusses the glories of LibraryThing. Like crack cocaine, it is.

Apparently, I inspired this post at Jurisdynamics. I'll give readers a hint: it's not because I have a natural affinity for the link between math and law.

3 comments:

Matthew Cole said...

David, I'm a little confused about your objection to the "blackfacing" add, just as I've been confused by the entire scandal. What is it about the depiction of a candidate in blackface that is prima facie unnaceptable in political debate? I understand that actual blackface performances are rooted in racism and usually had severely racist connotations. As such, if a candidate actually performed in blackface it would be clearly deserving of disgust, outrage, and probably confusion too since the idea of anyone actually doing that today is more than a little absurd.

But what is it about the satirical use of the blackface imagery that deserves such strong condemnation? I read your post about it's use in the Maryland race. I think there were two significant differences. (1) The image was accompanied by the "sambo" rhetoric, making it a very clear use of racial stereotyping to smear a candidate. (2) Being a contest between two black candidates, I think the "who's REALLY black?" kind of bickering is bad politics in that it ignores substantive issues, and secondly, is essentializing (it assumes there are "black" political stances).

Neither of those dynamics apply to this race.

The Lamont blogger offers two justifications for the image. (1) Lieberman's campaign engages in race-baiting, and (2) Lieberman is distorting his record to appeal to black voters. Now, I don't know enough about the details of the CT to validate or invalidate either of those arguments. But by the reaction of yourself and the diatribe that you link to, it seems that doesn't matter. Your position seems to be that even if those things are true it couldn't possibly justify the racist imagery. In fact the post you link to respons to these defenses with a rhetorical question ("I suppose this justifies what you did?!?!?"). That's clearly question-begging because the blogger's response presuposses that the imagery is not justifiable. The whole post is just that kind of blustering outrage that lacks any substantive argumentation.

So here's my question, what is it about depicting Liberman in blackface to make the satirical point that he is distorting his image and engaging in race-baiting to win black votes that is categorically reprehensible? Maybe those justifications aren't true, as I said I don't know. But assuming they are, why do we automatically condemn that particular image?

matthew cole said...

To clarify, I really do man the above question as inquisitve and not argumentative. I realize that the blog post was, at the very least, in bad taste, and not the kind of political disourse I like to see. And this may very well be a case of "Matt's lived in Texas too long and just doesn't get it" - because while I see that the post is not good, I don't understand why the blackface imagery is just 100% never justifiable in political satire.

The probligo said...

Matthew, perhaps David's objection might be the same if Lieberman used Shakespear's Shylock as a cultural and racial monotype to gain the Jewish vote.

At least, I would hope so... but then David has never expressed any opposition to Shakespear, so I wouldn't know.