About   Selected Work   

you just keep thinking, butch. that's what you're good at.

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One of the greatest triumphs of liberal politics over the past 50 years has been to completely stigmatize open racial discrimination in public life, a lesson that has been driven home over decades by everybody from Jimmy the Greek to Paula Deen. This achievement has run headlong into an increasing liberal tendency to define conservatism as a form of covert racial discrimination. If conservatism is inextricably entangled with racism, and racism must be extinguished, then the scope for legitimate opposition to Obama shrinks to an uncomfortably small space.

The racial debate of the Obama years emits some of the poisonous waft of the debates over communism during the ­McCarthy years. It defies rational resolution in part because it is about secret motives and concealed evil.

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The Color of His Presidency,” by Jonathan Chait
— 6 days ago
#Race  #Politics 
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Even [knowing Haverford’s reputation], he was unprepared for what he saw upon walking into the men’s room at the campus center one afternoon that spring. There, standing at the urinal next to his, was a fellow student reading a chemistry textbook while he peed.

With a highlighter in his mouth.

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Haverford Hoops! This story is set about a decade before my arrival at Haverford, but a lot of it rings familiar.
— 6 days ago
"Still, they try. And so we hold out hope. This is about pining for, yes, the glorious old days. But it’s also about a fractious group of individuals who might still very well have something remarkable in them. Call it irrational, dumb, a dangerous side effect of unbridled nostalgia. Then listen to Raekwon’s first boast on their last album."
Grantland on the Wu-Tang Clan, twenty years on.
— 2 weeks ago
#Music  #Culture 
“Why’s this so good?” No. 89: Matthew Power and ‘Mississippi Drift’ →

I once said (as, about, a twenty six year old) that when I grew up, I wanted to be Matt Power. This account of his float down our mighty American backbone is ninety-something percent of why that’s true. RIP.

— 2 weeks ago
#Writing  #Place  #Mississippi  #Adventure 
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Think for a second about the history of Southern music. Our Appalachian musical heritage has a long and grand tradition of what the academics call “murder ballads” and what the musicians just call “killin’ songs.” The archetype, perhaps, is “Knoxville Girl,” in which the protagonist beats a girl with a stick “until the ground around her within her blood did flow,” then drags her by her hair into the river to drown…

But when the gun in the song is in the hand of a black man, things get weird. The song becomes less cultural artifact and more an object of fear. We reflexively object. We worry about what the children will hear.

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The Bitter Southerner on Killer Mike. See also: The New York Times.
— 2 weeks ago
#Place  #South  #Music  #Race  #Privilege 
"It’s that this kind of writing is no longer reflective of the South—or, it reflects a South that is no longer. We wouldn’t think of someone writing whaling novels as quintessentially “New England” anymore, either. The South isn’t so homogenous a culture as it once was, and the societal tropes that Faulkner and Welty and even Barry Hannah grew up with and explored in their fiction are, in large part, gone. The rise of industrial-scale agribusiness, rapid suburbanization, the death of traditional industries like textiles, the corresponding growth of high-tech industries, a major increase in the Hispanic population: all these things and many more have contributed to a wildly different South than the one summoned in what we casually call “Southern writing.”"
— 3 weeks ago
#Place  #South  #Literature 
"Critchfield lived in Cleveland when she started with Upworthy and says she worked “from the perspective of a Clevelander. I was completely unexposed to New York media, so I wasn’t thinking anything like that. I would just go to the 7-Eleven and be like, Hey, what’s in the news, what are you thinking about? And whatever that person said to me, I would go home and write about.”"
— 3 weeks ago
#Internet  #Tech  #Culture 
"With around 10,000 lots scattered mostly across the Midwest and the Central Plains, Rolfe and Reynolds are about equivalent in size to a public-housing agency in a midsize city — and in an important way, they play the same role. Those living in public housing are generally required to pay up to 30 percent of their household income as their share of the rent. Rolfe and Reynolds’s tenants pay on average closer to 20 percent. And unlike the civil servants working for a housing agency, their managers know they must enforce the rules or they’re out. “We go through managers like crazy,” Rolfe says."
Trailer park investments: slumlording or essential service?
— 4 weeks ago
#Rural  #Place 
"The plight of the failing American city is not getting the money. Hartford has business in spades. The plight is how to get money to stay. Hartford may be a powerhouse of the financial sector, but on the street, there is nowhere to buy a cup of coffee. So much capitalism; such little capital. The last time the city really worked, Mark Twain lived there."
What to do with Hartford? A reflection in n+1, plus a response from The Billfold. 
— 4 weeks ago with 2 notes
#Hartford  #Connecticut  #Place  #Race  #Privilege 
"After decades of nearly uniform tribal support for Indian gambling — fighting in court and at the ballot box against state governments and anti-gambling politicians who sought to close their poker rooms — casino-owning Indian tribes have emerged as some of the most powerful and dogged opponents of new Indian casinos."
— 1 month ago
#Native