Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ferguson Protesters to Boycott Black Friday

It's Thanksgiving, and writing about turkeys and family and Christmas shopping and anything else to distract from the protests after the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson seems cheap and disrespectful.

Protesters are calling for a Black Friday boycott tomorrow, asking shoppers to support smaller. black-owned business instead of large retailers. I think it's a great idea.

Why Blacks Are Urging A Black Friday Boycott

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Which philosopher are you?


My top ten matches:

  1. Immanuel Kant
  2. John Stuart Mill
  3. Jeremy Bentham
  4. Ayn Rand (Wha?)
  5. David Hume
  6. Stoics
  7. John Paul Sartre
  8. Thomas Hobbes
  9. Fredrich Nietzsche
  10. Baruch Spinoza

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


11/24/14: As of this writing, the grand jury's decision is expected later today. The news broke around noon, first at CNN then MSNBC. The overall tenor in my neighborhood is calm, but anxious. (Some protests are expected close to where I am.) I think most people are just weary and anxious to get it over with.

If anything good has come out of the national media attention since Mike Brown's death back in August, it's broken open something that a lot of us in St. Louis has known but rarely talk about: how racially polarized the city and its suburbs are. Yeah, it's that way all over the country, but you can literally draw a line between black and white here. The south gets the lion's share of attention when it comes to racial inequality, and sure its history can't be ignored, but in other parts of the US, even in "nice" liberal cities, racial inequality still cuts deep.

Update: Anyone shocked by the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson and its inevitable consequences, I envy you. No really, it must be nice to live in a world where racism is something we fought decades ago, and long-standing structural inequality can be overcome with enough hard work and drive. What's really surprising is that something like Ferguson took so long.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hipster Kale

It bothers me that any food could be described as a "hipster food." Trendy, sure, but deriding something as "hipster," whether it deserves the label or not, speaks of a certain privileged douchebaggery replete with enough self-aware irony to stuff a chintz sofa. Do hipsters like health food anyway? I thought they go for more camp fair, something reminiscent of 80s or 90s childhood, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch waffles with locally sourced blueberries.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Franzen, lady writers, and self-censorship

This short post is an interesting assessment of Jonathan Franzen's career, warts and all.

I can't talk about Franzen without losing what little feminist credibility I have, so I'm not even going to pretend to be unbiased. He and I share the same hometown, and, I think, we share a somewhat contentious relationship to said town. I count The Corrections, a late-20th century, pre-9/11 doorstop of a novel, among my favorites. Freedom I liked too, but books about aging gen-x'ers are candy for me, so it's not like I read it with a critical eye. (I liked Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings more, for what it's worth.) Unfortunately, most of the criticism I've read in the past few years wasn't of his work, but of his white guy entitlement, which has more to do with the lack of parity among male and female writers in the world of serious literature. Franzen is an easy scapegoat. His -- and it pains me to write such an inglorious phrase -- "lady issues" seem more foot-in-mouth than malevolent.

For this one, scan to the part about self-censoring.

It's baffling to me that a reader would think that an author would necessarily endorse her character's racist views. Call me idealistic, but I don't think readers are that daft. I've written many time about the dangers of self-censorship, particularly for novice writers, and the hell of culling through your words for even the slightest offense. I think art should be off limits -- at least in the production stage. It's not a popular opinion anymore, but I'll live with it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Links & Bits: 11/21/14

Bill Cosby's upcoming series has been canceled due to rape allegations.

Flavorwire wants you to know these 10 female outsider artists.

Are skinny women allowed to hate their bodies?