So if it seems that way about musicians to me how much more could it seem the last twenty years that have featured dance could be even less about dance as an art form? Well ... here's our first link for the weekend.
Why Are There So Many Movies About Horny Dancers Going Insane and Killing Each Other?
If you want to read no further than that title then, fair enough, and you've already gotten the gist of the article. But you can also read on. :)
politics/2019/03/southern- poverty-law-center-fires-its- co-founder-morris-dees-for- misconduct.html
The civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center announced Thursday it had fired co-founder Morris Dees. The Montgomery, Alabama–based organization, known for tracking hate groups, did not give a specific reason for the 82-year-old’s dismissal after nearly 50 years with the nonprofit group, but a SPLC statement issued in conjunction with Dees’ sacking indicates it was workplace misconduct. Dees also told the Associated Press “a personnel issue” was the point of contention.
“As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world,” SPLC president Richard Cohen said in an emailed statement. “When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.” For his part, Dees indicated he did not know the root cause of his dismissal from the organization he helped found in 1971 and that, he says, he had been less and less involved with day-to-day operations. “It was not my decision, what they did,” Dees told the Montgomery Advertiser. “I wish the center the absolute best. Whatever reasons they had of theirs, I don’t know.”
over at Slate Mike Pesca remarks that DNC bidders who are mentioning reparations are making a point of going in the opposite direction that Obama established.
In late 2016, Barack Obama dismissed the idea of reparations during an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, saying: “As a practical matter, it is hard to think of any society in human history in which a majority population has said that as a consequence of historic wrongs, we are now going to take a big chunk of the nation’s resources over a long period of time to make that right.” The president went on to note, wisely, “It’s hard to find the model in which you can practically administer and sustain political support for those kinds of efforts.”
Further, he went on to say that he was “not so optimistic as to think you would ever be able to garner a majority of the American Congress that would make those kinds of investments above and beyond the kind of investments that could be made in a progressive program for lifting up all people.”
To strip the blessedly nuanced argument to its essentials, Obama is saying that he opposes reparations because a) they would be unfeasible; b) they would be unpopular; and c) their beneficial effects can be achieved in a different, better, more realistic, and fairer ways. I agree on all counts and would add that many Obama programs were in fact doing the work of “lifting all people up.”
I can’t imagine reparations passing Congress. I also can’t imagine the specter of DNA testing to qualify for reparations, arguments over whose family immigrated from Nigeria 50 years ago, versus who could trace their lineage back 200 years—or a requirement that funding from the bottom three quintiles of white society, where the average income is $38,000, be provided in part to the top quintile of black America, where the average income is $155,000. I can’t imagine the government telling Latino Americans, “Sorry, not discriminated against enough.” I furthermore can’t imagine them telling Latino people who are black, “Sorry, your ancestors were brought to this hemisphere as part of the slave trade, but not to America.”
The candidates clearly realize these landmines are scattered about. That’s why they’re not proposing actual programs for actual reparations in the sense that the term is actually used. They are answering the question “Do you believe in reparations?” by saying, “Yes, we do, and here is my broad program to help black people.” Barack Obama answered the question, “Do you believe in reparations?” by saying, “No, I don’t, and here’s my broad program to help black people.”
As I've noted here, Native Americans could be completely ignored by such a literally and figuratively black and white conception of race relations in the United States. A recent review of a book by Jill Lepore highlighted how in 900 pages on the history of the United States Native Americans got mentioned by name a grand total of seven times. Consider that in 1924, which could be considered somewhere in the middle of the Harlem Renaissance the Snyder act, aka the Indian Citizenship Act, was ratified. The history of that is a bit complex, as could be expected.
It's not so much that the historic considerations that lead some to propose reparations aren't inextricably part of American history it's more that, as Adolph Reed Jr. has put it, the argument for reparations can fail on its own terms. It is not given that because injustices and evils were perpetrated at the level of racist ideologies that the remedy for the social and economic injustices that have been perpetuated by that range of ideologies will be effectively ameliorated by responding at the same level.
Over at National Review (which ... every once in a long while I read), there's a book review.
Michael Brendan Dougherty reviewed Timothy P Carney's Alienated America. That people who preferred Trump were and are living in regions where deindustrialization has gutted the regional job market doesn't seem ... that hard to grant.
What can be puzzling is to consider that the American dream, however that gets defined, is either a terrible con or a thing that is terrible for people to not be able to achieve depending on the electoral or socio-political goals at hand. When writing about Michael Jackson the American Dream is a positive evil.
Josephine Livingstone wrote of Jackson ... and commentaries about Jackson:
But there is perhaps another reason the chattering class has been so uncharacteristically quiet: Michael Jackson presents a case too extraordinary for the media to easily absorb and process. Jackson was not just a pop star: he was the pop star, the King of Pop, the most famous famous person. To try to cancel him would be to point out a criminal at the very heart of the entertainment industry’s belief system, and to remove the laurels of the most significant black artist of the pop age. To analyze the phenomenon of Michael Jackson properly would mean taking on the laborious task of figuring out how we—meaning society at large—ended up with the kind of entertainment industry we have. And it would mean admitting that the American dream—a rapid ascent to stardom on the basis of sheer talent—is hollow.
The work of undoing Michael Jackson’s place at the core of American culture has simply been too hard, for too long. We’d have to start with the man in the mirror, as somebody once said. That’s not easy to do. Much criticism has been leveled at the mothers of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allowed their boys to spend the night in Jackson’s bed and stay with him for days on end without a chaperone—days that were filled with ceaseless molestation. It is easiest to blame them, because they are ideal scapegoats for a universal affliction, which is that fame is so important in America that it can blind us to what is happening literally before our own eyes, to our own kids. Painting these boys’ mothers as monsters is the shortest cut to absolving ourselves.
Exacerbating our incompetence in this matter is a long tradition of racist and lazy reporting on Jackson, which undercuts the media’s basic authority on the subject. The very idea of condemning him feels like joining a rather horrible tradition. In the 1990s, it was normal to ridicule his face, even after he went on Oprah to say, “This is the situation. I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of the skin. It is something I cannot help, OK?” He told Winfrey, “I am a black American.” That didn’t matter to those who thought it was funny to say he looked like a white woman.
We are nowhere near reaching closure on the matter of the King of Pop. What l’affaire Jackson does teach us, however, is that the American dream of fame and fortune is a sick institution, with a pathological relationship to the truth. It is a problem that touches on every sphere of culture, all the way down to the most basic values that we call American: meritocracy, money-spinning, male heroism, race-blind justice. “Michael Jackson” was always a product, more than he was a man, and we were his customers. According to the principle caveat emptor, it’s up to us to figure out what we were really buying. And that is a mystery no one can solve but ourselves.
But that's not the only American dream out there. The more conventional understanding of the American dream I heard about growing up and going through adulthood was that a person could get a decently paying job, get married, have a house somewhere, and have a couple of kids who then had a pretty solid chance of, should they be diligent and socially adaptive enough, more or less be able to repeat the process in a new generation. The American Dream that artists and journalists can tend to damn as a sign of a hollow culture in cultural commentary moments is more or less the measure of whether or not social justice has been achieved if anyone outside of a well-heeled white middle-to-upper class milieu manages to attain it. In other words, The Cosby Show could be seen negatively and positively as emblematic of 1980s era assimilation into "mainstream" American culture by an African American family.
The double bind in American cultural commentary is that it can seem that from a progressive perspective the more modest American dream is a bad thing to want but an equally bad thing to not be able to get. The hip, progressive ideal seems to be that one is able to attain the American Dream but rejects (or simply seems to reject it while obtaining it in some less checklisted way). A conservative pundit perspective seems to have it that to not even want the more modestly defined American dream is bad and to not be able to get it is ... in earlier eras of commentary probably a sign that the person who didn't get the American dream is somehow to blame but in this era ... for someone to want and not achieve the American dream in its more modestly defined terms could be a shorthand for defining someone who, in editorial shorthand, voted for Trump.
In this context it might be that a failure to attain the American dream can inspire people to vote for or support someone like Trump. Why? Because, perhaps, as automation and technological advances render more and more of the "unskilled" workforce increasingly obsolete people might be drawn to someone who makes promises that there will be consequences for people who try to outsource that labor? A possibility.
Donald Trump is president because he won the votes of people who agreed with his stark, and startling, declaration: The American dream is dead. So argues Timothy P. Carney, a longtime editor at the Washington Examiner, in his new book.
In Carney’s telling, the destruction of community is not merely the product of individual vice but comes about through the deterioration of the institutions in which people exercise and learn virtue. That includes the factory and the church, which disappear in tandem. A dense network of civic life makes forming and keeping families together easier. It makes finding new jobs easier, and it sustains people during the loss of work, the common stresses of life, and even tragedy.
The disappearance of reliable jobs and the erosion of local community may look like two different things that happen in the same places. In a crucial way, though, they are the same thing. Cohesive communities and a regular workplace are both institutions of civil society. Institutions of civil society provide material resources, such as pay and a support structure, but they also provide more abstract resources such as a sense of security and a sense of purpose. If pay and family stability go together, it’s because both depend on the same thing: social capital.
Fewer reliable jobs, less marriage, and less civil society are all manifestations of the same phenomenon: Life for the working class is becoming deinstitutionalized.
While Trump supporters overall look like good earners on paper, they are heavily concentrated in places that are distressed. Drawing on the work of the journalist Ben Casselman, Carney shows that areas that have lots of subprime mortgages, people receiving disability benefits, or low earnings among full-time workers usually demonstrate higher levels of support for Trump.
Carney relies heavily on social-science research from the economist David Autor about the shock of deindustrialization on the social health of communities and even on the physical health of men without work. He draws on the work of the demographer Nicholas Eberstadt on prime-age men who drop out of the work force: They don’t just leave the work force, they vacate almost all social life entirely. Men who don’t have work tend not to be married and tend to contribute almost nothing to community life. They gaze at screens all day, get fat and sick, and die younger than working men.
Something with a bit of bipartisan support is riffing on a college admissions scandal.