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Archive for the ‘stuff’ Category

Johnny Cougar: I Need a Lover

Remarks:

This was the first and still by far the best song of his I have heard. I love the two-and-a-half instrumental intro. You think he is about to sing but then it keeps going. I loved that. This went to #5 in Australia in 1978 when he was still known as Johnny Cougar and to #28 in 1979 in his native US when he was known as John Cougar. In 1983 he changed his stage name to John Cougar Mellencamp and then to just John Mellencamp, his birth name, in 1991.

See also:

Lyrics:

I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
Some girl that knows the meaning of a
Hey hit the highway

Well I’ve been walkin’ the streets up and down
Racing through the human jungles at night
I’m so confused, my mind is indifferent
Hey I’m so weak, won’t somebody shut off that light

Electricity runs through the video
And I watch it from this hole I call home
All the stony’s are dancin’ to the radio
And I got the world calling me up here
Tonight on the phone

I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
Some girl to thrill me and then go away
I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
Some girl that knows the meaning of a
Hey hit the highway

Well I’m not wiped out by this poolroom life I’m living
I’m gonna quit this job, go to school, or head back home
And I’m not askin’ to be loved or be forgiven
I just can’t face shakin’ in this bedroom
One more night alone

I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
Some girl that knows the meaning of a
Hey hit the highway

I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
Some girl to thrill me and then go away
I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
Some girl that knows the meaning of a
Hey hit the highway

You bet cha

Source: AZ Lyrics.

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Harriet Tubman’s hymnal

“Gospel Hymns No. 2: as used by them in gospel meetings” (1876) by P. P. Bliss and Ira D. Sankey was a hymn book owned by Harriet Tubman. Her copy (pictured) is now in Washington, DC at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the Black history museum of the Smithsonian, the nation’s attic.

Harriet Tubman was the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad, helping hundreds of runaway slaves reach freedom from 1849 to 1860.

Piety: She was also a devout Christian who loved to sing. But, according to the Harriet Tubman Historical Society, it was more than mere piety or love of song:

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was one of her favourites. It was sung at her funeral. The Society says it was used in slave times to say the Underground Railroad (“sweet chariot”) was coming south (“swing low”) to take a slave to freedom (“carry me home”). Since the Railroad was secret and few Blacks could read, coded songs were needed for its operation, like “Go Down Moses”, “Steal Away”, “Follow the Drinking Gourd”, and “In Wade the Water”. Songs were used even in place of maps. Teaching Blacks to read was outlawed in many states to prevent runaway slaves and slave uprisings. So songs became all the more important.

The hymnal has 112 pages with 132 songs, both words and music. She could not read or write, at least not for most of her life, so presumably the songs would have been read or sung or played for her.

Pious fable? Even though she could not read, “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects” (2013) by Richard Kurin says the book falls open to certain songs more easily than others, among them “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of NMAAHC (now the head of the Smithsonian as a whole), told “60 Minutes” that the hymnal has that song and “Steal Away”.

Huh?

That same edition of the hymnal is online at hymnary.org. It has pictures of its pages and a list of its songs. Neither “Steal Away” nor “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” appear. Nor any of the other Underground classics for that matter. At least not under the titles given here. It does have “Amazing Grace”, “Onward Christian Soldier” and stuff like that.

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” does appear in the book, a song that has appeared on this blog as a favourite of Olaudah Equiano. He was a slave and abolitionist in the 1700s, famous for his autobiography.

On the inside cover of the hymnal is her name where it says “Harriet Tubman Davis Book” (Davis was the name of her second husband):

Some say it is her handwriting, but others say she never learned to write, not even later in life.

The hymnal comes down to us by way of Meriline Wilkins, Tubman’s great-great-niece who died at age 92 in 2008. My own grandfather was alive at the same time as Harriet Tubman, who died in 1913. It was not so long ago as people think.

– Abagond, 2022.

Source: 60 Minutes (2.5 minutes), hymnary.org, Harriet Tubman Historical Society, Smithsonian magazine (2010); “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects” (2013) by Richard Kurin.

See also:

561

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James W.C. Pennington

James W.C. Pennington (c. 1807-1870) was a US abolitionist, a runaway slave from Maryland turned anti-slavery preacher, teacher, writer, and activist. He officiated at Frederick Douglass’s wedding in 1838. A year later he joined Lewis Tappan in organizing help for the slave mutineers of the Amistad. He took part in Elizabeth Jennings Graham’s fight against the racially segregated streetcars (trams) of New York, having been thrown off one himself.

Books:

  • 1841: A Text Book of the Origin and History, etc, of the Colored People
  • 1859: Fugitive Blacksmith

Even though Steven Spielberg did not seem to remember him in “Amistad” (1997), Harriet Beecher Stowe did in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (1852):

“In all states of the Union we see men, but yesterday burst from the shackles of slavery, who, by a self-educating force, which cannot be too much admired, have risen to highly respectable stations in society. Pennington, among clergymen, Douglas and Ward, among editors, are well known instances.”

Education: Once he escaped Maryland in 1828 to the free state of Pennsylvania, Quakers took him in and started to teach him how to read and write. He later went to night school and became a schoolteacher in Newtown, Long Island (now Elmhurst, Queens). He was the first Black student accepted to Yale Divinity School – but he had to sit in the back row, was not allowed to borrow books from the library, or be listed as a student. The Congregational Church ordained him as a pastor all the same.

Religion: In his experience slave masters let slaves have Sundays off but did nothing to bring them to Christ. Religious instruction was accidental, by way of spirituals, songs doing for Black slaves what stained glass did for European peasants. He credits the “sad degradation” of Africa in the 1800s, despite its promising beginnings in Egypt and Ethiopia (Nubia), to pagan darkness, the worship of many gods. Unlike Christendom, it lacked the right foundation.

“A Text Book of the Origin and History, etc, of the Colored People” (1841) is not so much a history as an argument against racism. Chapter 1, for example, is spent arguing against the Curse of Ham, a blatant misreading of the Bible that was used as the main defence of Black slavery. He also has to argue that Blacks have the same intelligence as Whites:

“But why put him [the coloured man] under the same law, and thus punish him with the same hand, if he is not equally intelligent with the white man? …

“the records of legislation from Maine to Louisiana [North and South], will show a balance of severity against us. So that here the conduct of our opponents turns against their theory.”

It is sobering to read how little some things have changed in 181 years.

This [racial] prejudice hates the truth. And this is not all, but it hates to be pushed with the truth. … It is opposed to truth religiously, morally, and politically, nor will hear truth. And hence the more you show the truth the more objectionable and obnoxious you are.”

You see the same today in the outcry against critical race theory and “The 1619 Project”.

– Abagond, 2022.

See also:

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Lulu: To Sir, With Love

Remarks:

This was the #1 pop song in the US in 1967, but in her native UK it was a B-side, never released as a single in its own right. The music director, John Paul Jones, joined Led Zeppelin a year later.

This is the song I most associate with Sidney Poitier, who starred in the film of the same name. Poitier passed away last week at 94.

Requiescat in pace.

See also:

Lyrics:

Those schoolgirl days of telling tales and biting nails are gone
But in my mind I know they will still live on and on
But how do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to perfume?
It isn’t easy, but I’ll try

If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters
That would soar a thousand feet high ‘To Sir, With Love’

The time has come for closing books and long last looks must end
And as I leave I know that I am leaving my best friend
A friend who taught me right from wrong and weak from strong
That’s a lot to learn, but what can I give you in return?

If you wanted the moon I would try to make a star
But I would rather you let me give my heart ‘To Sir, With Love’

Source: Songfacts.

 

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Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier (1927-2022) was by far the biggest Black film actor in the US in the 1950s and 1960s. He became the first Black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor in 1963, an honour not extended even to Stepin Fetchit or James Baskett (Uncle Remus). Poitier proved, but Hollywood did not learn, that White audiences will watch movies with a Black hero.

Some films he appeared in:

  • 1947: Sepia Cinderella – his first film, a Black musical where he appeared as an extra
  • 1950: No Way Out
  • 1955: Blackboard Jungle – made his name
  • 1958: The Defiant Ones –  with Tony Curtis
  • 1959: Porgy and Bess – racist
  • 1961: Raisin in the Sun – anti-racist
  • 1961: Paris Blues – with Diahann Carroll
  • 1963: Lilies of the Field – helps nuns build a chapel, wins an Oscar
  • 1965: A Patch of Blue
  • 1967: To Sir, With Love
  • 1967: In the Heat of the Night
  • 1967: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – his most famous film
  • 1968: For Love of Ivy – he gets a love scene!

Some films he directed:

  • 1974: Uptown Saturday Night
  • 1975: Let’s Do it Again
  • 1977: A Piece of the Action
  • 1980: Stir Crazy
  • 1990: Ghost Dad

He appeared in the first three of these.

Stepin Fetchit 2.0: Poitier’s characters were a step up from Stepin Fetchit, the most successful Black actor of the 1930s. Poitier’s characters spoke in Standard English, had an inner dignity unimagined by Stepin Fetchit, even yelled back at White people. His characters seemed way less stereotyped, sometimes they seemed an ideal of middle-class respectability – and yet it was often just an old stereotype repackaged: the Tom, as in Uncle Tom, that goes back to the happy, loyal slaves of pro-slavery propaganda.

Reconfigured to the greater good of Whiteness is how bell hooks would put it. Poitier always seemed to be helping White people – building a chapel for White nuns in the middle of nowhere, being the seeing-eye dog for a blind White girl, educating White schoolchildren in some neglected part of London, sacrificing himself for a White character, etc. Not till “In the Heat of the Night” in 1967 did he slap one back! Even the “controversial” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” did not come out till six month after mixed-race marriage had been made legal coast-to-coast (in Loving v Virginia).

Neutered: And, despite being clear leading-man material, he did not rate a love scene till 1968. Instead he was paired incongruously with nuns or Ruby Dee or only got a kiss. No scenes with Dorothy Dandridge and her long legs for him. He was paired with Diahann Carroll, Barbie to his Ken, in “Paris Blues”, but sadly that film fizzled.

To his credit, though, he did openly support the Civil Rights Movement – Hollywood did not write all his lines – and in the 1970s he made films by and for Black people that were not blaxpoitationist.

Bahamian American – born in Miami, he grew up in the Bahamas where his family is from. There were so few White people he did not think of himself as Black. He was sucked back into the US by Miami’s construction boom of the 1940s. He later travelled to New York, got rid of his Bahamian accent, and joined the American Negro Theater.

Requiescat in pace.

– Abagond, 2022.

See also:

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Bible chronology

A Bible chronology tries to match events in the Bible to years AD and BC (= CE and BCE). The following is nearly all based on “Asimov’s Guide to the Bible” (1981). He notes:

“Many of the dates given in the table are approximate, or controversial”.

Asimov was an atheist, so his information would come mainly from secular Western historians. In other words, even an atheist admits at least this much is true – approximately.

Rulers in red are those the Bible uses to date events: “in the first year of Darius the Mede” and all that.

  • -2000 (= 2000 BC): beginning of the patriarchal age in Canaan (Abraham)
  • -1900
  • -1800
  • -1700
    • -1650 Israelites in Egypt (Jacob, Joseph)
  • -1600
  • -1500
  • -1400
    • -1370 kingdoms of Moab, Ammon, Edom established
  • -1300
    • -1211 possibly time of Exodus (Moses)
  • -1200
    • -1170 Israelites enter Canaan; Philistines settle coast (Joshua)
    • -1150 Deborah and Barak defeats Sisera; period of judges
  • -1100 Gideon defeats Midianites
    • -1080 Philistines defeat Israelites at Aphek; Shiloh destroyed
    • -1040 Samuel judges the tribes
    • -1028 Saul rules Israel
    • -1013 David rules Judah
    • -1006 David rules united Israel-Judah
  • -1000 David establishes capital at Jerusalem
    • -973 Solomon rules united Israel-Judah
    • -962 Solomon completes First Temple
    • -933 Jeroboam I rules Israel; Rehoboam rules Judah
    • -928 Shishak of Egypt loots Jerusalem
    • -915 Asa rules Judah
  • -900
    • -875 Ahab rules Israel; Jehoshaphat rules Judah; career of Elijah
    • -853 Battle of Ramath-gilead, death of Ahab
    • -852 Jehoram (= Joram, son of Ahab) rules Israel; career of Elisha
    • -851 Jehoram (of Judah) rules Judah
    • -843 Jehu rebels and rules Israel
    • -837 Jehoash (Joash) rules Judah
  • -800 Jehoash (of Israel) rules Israel; death of Elisha
    • -797 Amaziah rules Judah
    • -780 Azariah (Uzziah) rules Judah
    • -760 Amos prophesies
    • -750 Hosea prophesies
    • -740 Jotham rules Judah; Isaiah begins to prophesy
    • -737 Pekah rules Israel
    • -736 Ahaz rules Judah
    • -732 Hoshea rules Israel
    • -730 Micah prophesies
    • -722 Assyria carries off Israelites into exile. The kingdom of Israel is gone. Only Judah remains.
    • -720 Hezekiah rules Judah.
    • -705 Sennacherib rules Assyria, makes Nineveh the capital
    • -701 Sennacherib lays siege to Jerusalem
  • -700
    • -693 Manasseh rules Judah, now a tributary of Assyria
    • -638 Josiah rules Judah
    • -630 Zephaniah prophesies
    • -626 Jeremiah begins to prophesy
    • -615 Nahum prophesies
    • -608 Pharaoh Necho defeats Judah at Megiddo; Josiah killed, Jehoiachin becomes king; Jeremiah delivers Temple Sermon
    • -605 Nebuchadnezzar rules Babylonia, crushes Assyria; Habakkuk prophesies
  • -600
    • -597  Nebuchadnezzer crushes Judean revolt. First Babylonian Exile. Zedekiah governs Judah.
    • -593 Ezekiel begins to prophesy in captivity.
    • -587 Zedekiah rebels against Babylonia
    • -586 Nebuchadnezzar takes Jerusalem and destroys First Temple. End of Davidic Dynasty. Second Babylonian Exile
    • -562 Evil-merodach rules Babylonia
    • -556 Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar rule Babylonia
    • -538 Cyrus takes Babylon; Jews allowed to return to Judea
    • -521 Darius rules Persia
    • -520 Haggai and Zechariah prophesy
    • -516 Second Temple dedicated
  • -500 Obadiah prophesies
    • -486 Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) rules Persia
    • -465 Artaxerxes I rules Persia
    • -460 Malachi prophesies
    • -459 Ezra in Jerusalem
    • -440 Nehemiah in Jerusalem
    • -437 Walls of Jerusalem completed
  • -400
    • -312 kingdom of the Greeks (Seleucid Empire)
  • -300
  • -200
    • -142 Simon the high priest begins Maccabean rule of an independent Judea
  • -100
    • -63 Rome (Pompey) takes Jerusalem, Maccabean kingdom comes to an end
    • -37 Herod the Great takes Jerusalem
    • -4 Birth of Jesus; death of Herod the Great
  • +1
    • 7 Census in Judea
    • 14 Tiberias Caesar becomes emperor of Rome
    • 18 Caiaphas high priest (till 36)
    • 26 Pontius Pilate becomes Procurator of Judea (till 36)
    • 27 Herod Antipas marries Herodias; John the Baptist begins to preach
    • 29 John the Baptist imprisoned and executed; Jesus crucified.
    • 34 Stephen stoned to death
    • 37 Paul converts
    • 48 Council of Jerusalem
    • 64 Nero persecutes Christians, Peter and Paul executed.
    • 66 Jews rebel against Rome
    • 70 Second Temple destroyed
  • +100

– Abagond, +2022.

See also:

544

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books I read in 2022

Last updated: January 2nd 2022.

Some of the books I have read so far in 2022 (to be updated throughout the year):

(none so far)

What I am reading now:

The 1619 Project (2021) – a chapter a week with a post on each chapter.

Harriet Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) – also a chapter a week, in this case to match its serialization 170 years ago. I hope to do a post on the whole book when I finish in April!

Bible (367) – both the New Testament and Psalms, a chapter a day each.

James W.C. Pennington: A Text Book of the Origin and History, etc, of the Colored People (1837) – one of the earliest Black histories written by a Black person that I could find.

What I hope to read: These are mainly from my autumn reading which I made little headway on:

Frederick Douglass: Speeches (1841-52)

Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre (1847) – I read this way back when. I am bound to get way more out of it now.

Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1849) – same as what I said about “Jane Eyre”.

Josiah Henson: Life (1849) – this is who Uncle Tom was based on!

Sojourner Truth: Narrative (1850) – one of those books I am embarrasssed not to have read.

Melville: Moby-Dick (1851) – I read half of it in high school. I need to read it all the way through once and for all.

Martin Delany: The Condition, elevation, emigration, and destiny of the colored people of the United States. Politically considered (1852) – sounds good to me. And looks pretty thorough.

Suggestions: If you want to suggest or recommend a book, please leave it in the comments below! Thanks.

– Abagond, 2022.

See also:

555

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Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata

Remarks:

This is Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14, better known as the Moonlight Sonata, looped to last two hours with rain and thunder added. He completed it in 1801 when he was already starting to go deaf. He later dedicated the song to Julie Guicciardi, one of his piano students, an Austrian countess. Some say he was in love with her, but her cousin doubted it.

I generally do not like Beethoven’s music because it gets too quiet and then too loud, whatever that is called in music theory, but this one is not so bad.

See also:

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For January 2022 I am going on a digital detox, where I use digital technology as little as possible and only according to rules that I write down (listed below).

Background: The idea comes from Cal Newport’s “Digital Minimalism”. The aim is to gain perspective on one’s use of digital technology to limit it in a sensible way after the detox. By digital technology Newport means the Internet, smartphones, video games, and video streaming. I would throw in television, radio, newspapers, and magazines – the older parts of the attention economy that try to distract you for the benefit of advertisers.

The rules:

Note: The detox does not apply to work or emergencies. Otherwise:

  1. Smartphone: only for voice, email, text and to get the time.
  2. Internet: only for banking, shopping, date, time, weather, music, covid information, and this blog.
    • This blog: I can freely use the Internet or anything else to research and write posts. And, of course, I can read, comment on, and administer this blog.
    • No: Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads or anything with a feed and likes, except for:
    • YouTube: but only for music.
  3. Video games: only socially.
  4. Video streaming: only socially.
  5. Television: only socially (except PBS).
  6. Radio: only socially (except NPR).
  7. Cinema: allowed (but there is no way I am going to one during a pandemic).
  8. Magazines: none
  9. Newspapers: none.
  10. News: only covid-related news.
  11. Books: only printed books. No Kindle or reading online.

This is somewhat like when I lived like it was 1979 in the first two weeks of August 2020, but this will be for a whole month. And it is less Luddite, making it easier to produce posts. The aim is not to get rid of digital technology altogether, but to use it mindfully.

PBS and NPR are allowed because they have no ads. Same with books. Printed books have the added advantage of keeping me offline or mindlessly watching television.

YouTube is my great addiction. I allow it for music because, unlike Spotify, I can get it to play music without ads.

News: I will probably know about the big stories second-hand, but if there is some story you want me to do a post on, please suggest it in the comments, either here or anywhere else on the blog. Thanks!

– Abagond, 2022.

See also:

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2021

US, December 21st 2021: waiting in line for covid testing. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP, via ABC News)

The pandemic: the world remains sunk in the covid-19 pandemic that spread worldwide in early 2020. Some 5.4 million are now dead, over 800,000 in the US alone. There are vaccines now but not everyone can or will take them. The Delta variant swept over the world in the middle of the year and now it is Omicron. No end in sight.

January 6th in the US is now a day like July 4th or September 11th: it names an event in history: the Capitol Riot, President Trump’s failed coup attempt after losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden. Trump was impeached but not found guilty: Republicans remained solidly behind him.

Voter suppression laws: 18 states passed stricter voting laws, Texas’s SB1 being the strictest. Without the Black vote, Trump would still be president.

Critical race theory: Republicans (and John McWhorter) have been painting critical race theory as a threat to the nation. Teachers in Texas are no longer allowed to use The 1619 Project. Like critical race theory, it sees the US as being built on slavery and racism.

Texas: The Deep Freeze of ’21 knocked out much of its power grid, killing over 200.

Found guilty: Derek Chauvin, Travis McMichael, Kim Potter, R. Kelly, Jussie Smollett, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Found not guilty: Kyle Rittenhouse, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump.

Afghanistan: The US ended its War in Afghanistan (2001-21), its longest war ever. Afghanistan quickly fell to the Taliban. ISIS-K wants to turn the region into the Khorasan of a future Caliphate.

Iceland has had repeated volcanic eruptions at Geldingadalir.

China landed Zhùróng (祝融) on Mars, the first rover ever to rove the red planet that is not from the US.

Betelgeuse still shines.

Space tourism is now starting to become common. William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on “Star Trek” in the 1960s, was shocked to find how near and how dead outer space is.

Olympics: The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were delayed a year due to the pandemic. My favourites fizzled out one way or another: Sha’Carri Richardson, Caster Semenya, Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka.

The Doomsday Clock: is now 100 seconds to midnight.

Global temperature average: 14.49°C in April (NOAA), the ninth hottest since 1880. That is 0.79°C above the average for the 1900s (13.7°C).

Word of the Year: vax (Oxford), short for vaccine or vaccination.

Time’s Person of the Year: Elon Musk, an already overly hyped billionaire, now the richest man in the world at $280 billion (= 13 billion crowns or 15 million talents). He heads Tesla (electric cars) and SpaceX (space transport, laying the groundwork to colonize Mars).

Top US R&B song: Silk Sonic: Leave the Door Open

Top Hollywood film: in the US: “Spiderman: No Way Home”.

World map: 

De facto world map for February 2021 from galacticpasta (click to enlarge).

Top images (on Google Images):

the most beautiful woman: Bella Hadid:

the most gorgeous man: Robert Pattinson:

car: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray:

computer:

phone: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max:

president: US President Joe Biden:

In memoriam: Daunte Wright, Andrew Brown, Jr, Bob Moses, bell hooksMary Wilson, Cicely Tyson, Biz Markie, Desmond Tutu, Hank Aaron, Michael Collins (Apollo 11), Walter Mondale, Paul Mooney, Michael K. Williams (The Wire), Melvin Van Peebles, Anne Rice (The Feast of All Saints), Joan Didion (Salvador), Ed Asner, Colin Powell.

– Abagond, 2021.

See also:

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John McWhorter: Woke Racism

“Woke Racism” (2021) is a book by John McWhorter subtitled, “How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America”. Since 2020, wokery has become a “scourge” in the US, “an ideological reign of terror”. It is performative virtue-signalling that styles itself as anti-racist, but is itself racist in how it babies Black people to not pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Amy Chua is a fan.

Electism: What others call “the woke mob” or “social justice warriors”, McWhorter calls the Elect, their religion Electism. It comes out of critical race theory.

Its three testaments are:

  • “Between the World and Me” (2015) by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • “White Fragility” (2018) by Robin DiAngelo
  • “How to Be an Antiracist” (2019) by Ibram X. Kendi

Kendi, Coates and DiAngelo are its high priests. Its aim is to accuse White people of racism and get them to admit their White privilege.

Huh? The Kendi and Coates that I know have, like me, given up on most White people.

McWhorter:

“You are in Russia under Stalin. You no more question KenDiAngelonian gospel than you question Romans or Corinthians [in the Bible]. The Elect are not about diverseness of thought. Eliminating it, on race issues, is their reason for being.”

As an anti-racist blogger, and even as a Christian, this bears no resemblance to anything in my experience.

A religion: He calls Electism a religion because of “contradictions” like this one:

  • On the one hand: “When whites move away from black neighborhoods, it’s white flight.”
  • Yet on the other hand: “When whites move into black neighborhoods, it’s gentrification, even when they pay black residents generously for their houses.”

Electism is therefore irrational, therefore a religion. That allows him to take nothing it says seriously. And to argue that, as religion, it has no place in schools or universities.

A threat: He smears the Elect as a threat in just the same way Islamophobes smear Muslims and White racists smear Black men: by holding up the worst among them as representative. In this case it is the cancel-culture Twitter mob.

All the hits: The book abounds in racist tropes: Black-on-Black crime, bootstraps, welfare queens, ethnographic studies, Black pathology, acting White, anti-racists are the real racists, and even an update to the race industry argument. He says the War on Drugs was not racist and that White teachers are no longer racist. Black people are held back more by their culture than by racism or police brutality.

Racism does still exist, but:

“A lot today’s victimhood claims on race are fake.”

After all, Black students are more likely to report experiencing racism at university than at high school. Proof that they are being coached (presumably by left-wing professors).

Three Planks: The one ray of sunshine in this “screed” (his word) are policies to help Black people:

  1. End the War on Drugs.
  2. Teach phonics.
  3. Push trade schools as an alternative to university.

Racism and police brutality, which the Elect like to bemoan, are too much a part of the social fabric to uproot any time soon.

Just say no: As to the Elect, McWhorter says stand up to them and get used to being called racist.

– Abagond, 2021.

See also:

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Remarks:

This was the number one song on the US R&B chart this year, 2021. It went to #1 in the US on both the R&B and pop charts and made the top 20 on pop charts throughout the Anglosphere. Silk Sonic is made up of Anderson .Paak  and the omnipresent Bruno Mars. The song, or at least the Bruno Mars parts, would not be out of place in the early to middle 1970s when Philly soul ruled.

See also:

Lyrics:

Say baby, say baby, say baby

What you doin’? (What you doin’?)
Where you at? (Where you at?)
Oh, you got plans? (You got plans?)
Don’t say that (Shut yo’ trap)

I’m sippin’ wine (Sip, sip)
In a robe (Drip, drip)
I look too good (Look too good)
To be alone (Woohoo)

My house clean, uh (House clean)
My pool warm (Pool warm)
Just shaved (Smooth like a newborn)

We should be dancing, romancing, in the east wing
And the west wing of this mansion, what’s happenin’?

I ain’t playin’ no games, every word
That I say is coming straight from the heart, uh
So if you tryna lay in these arms

I’ma leave the door open
(I’ma leave the door open)
I’ma leave the door open, girl
(I’ma leave the door open, hopin’)

That you feel the way I feel
And you want me like I want you tonight, baby
Tell me that you’re coming through

Ooh, you’re so sweet (So sweet)
So tight (So tight)
I won’t bite (Uh-huh)
Unless you like (Unless you like)

If you smoke (What you smoke?)
I got the haze (Purple haze)
And if you’re hungry, girl I got filets (Wohoo)

Ooh baby, don’t keep me (Waiting)
There’s so much love we could be making (Shamon)

I’m talking kissing
Cuddling
Rose petals in the bathtub, girl lets jump in
It’s bubblin’

I ain’t playin no games, every word
That I say is coming straight from the heart, uh
So
(If you tryna lay in these arms)
If ya’
Tryna
Lay in these arms

I’ma leave the door open
(I’ma leave the door open)
I’ma leave the door open, girl
(I’ma leave the door open, hopin’)
Ooh-ooh

That you feel the way I feel
And you want me like I want you tonight, baby
Tell me that you’re coming through
(C’mon girl)

La, la, la, la-la-la-la
I need you baby

La, la, la, la-la-la-la
I got to see you baby

La, la, la, la-la-la-la
Girl, I’m tryna give you this
Ah

Hey, hey
I’ma leave my door open, baby
(I’ma leave the door open)

I’ma leave
I’ma leave my door open, girl
(I’ma leave the door open, hopin’)
And I’m hopin’

Hopin’, that you feel the way I feel
And you want me like I want you tonight, baby
Tell me that you’re coming through, woo

(La, la, la, la-la-la-la)
Tell me
(Tell me that you’re coming through)

Woo, woo-woo, woo, woo-woo, woo, woo-woo
Woo, woo-woo, woo, woo-woo, woo, woo-woo

(La, la, la, la-la-la-la)
La, la, la, la-la
(Tell me that you’re coming through)

Girl, I’m here just waiting for you (Ay)
Come on over, I’ll adore you (Girl, gotta know)
(La, la, la, la-la-la-la)
I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for you

(Tell me that you’re coming through)
Girl, I’m here just waiting for you
Come on over, I’ll adore you

Source: AZ Lyrics.

 

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Star of Bethlehem

The Star of Bethlehem (circa 5 BC) was the star that appeared at the birth of Jesus Christ. Our only source for this is the gospel of Matthew – there is no word of it anywhere else in the Bible.

Matthew 2:1-2:

1. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Key words:

  • “star” (ἀστέρα, astera) – in the original Greek this can mean any bright heavenly body, even a meteor. The word becomes vaguer still in Matthew, which was written some 70 years after the fact, reportedly by a Jewish tax collector who would know next to nothing about astronomy or astrology (the same thing back then, seen by Jews as heathen idolatry either way).
  • “wise men” (μάγοι, magoi) – aka magi. These were Zoroastrian priests from Babylon and Persia (Iraq and Iran). They were experts in astrology and astronomy, among other things. Thus “wise men”.  Nowhere does the Bible call them kings.

Applicable astronomical events: Jesus was born under King Herod who died in 4 BC or -4. Here is what we know was in the sky near the time of his birth that might interest an astrologer:

  • -12:
  • -11: Halley’s comet
  • -10:
  • -9:
  • -8:
  • -7: conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter
  • -6:
  • -5: a broom star
  • -4:

Because Jesus died in his early 30s under Pontius Pilate, he is more likely to have been born towards the end of this period, probably -6 to -4.

Remarks:

  1. Halley’s comet – comets were generally regarded as a sign of doom, of coming war or plague or some other dis-aster. But magi might have different ideas.
  2. Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter – in the constellation of Pisces on May 29th, September 30th and December 5th. These two planets (which look like untwinkling stars in the sky) passed close to each other three times, but not close enough to look like a single bright star. It would be rare enough, though, to draw the attention of astrologers.
  3. A broom star, aka 彗星 or huì​xīng, in the constellation of Capricorn appeared for 70 days in the spring of -5 according to Chinese records. Most broom stars are comets but, because its direction was not recorded, some argue that it was a nova or supernova – an exploding star that suddenly shines brightly for weeks or months and then winks out.

The huge flaw with all this, of course, is Matthew 2:9. After the wise men arrive in Bethlehem, Matthew says:

9. … and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

Stars, comets, and astronomical events generally, are too high in the sky to stand over a particular city, much less a young child or a house. Either Matthew is wrong or it was something other than a star.

– Abagond, 2021.

See also:

526

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Kim Potter

Kim Potter (1972- ) is the White American police officer who killed Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man, during a Routine Traffic Stop on April 11th 2021. That was in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota – just miles away from where Derek Chauvin was standing trial for the murder of George Floyd! And just miles away from where Philando Castile was also killed during a Routine Traffic Stop.

Potter is now on trial for manslaughter – for whether her negligence or recklessness led to Daunte Wright’s death. Despite her 26 years of experience, she says she mixed up her Taser with her handgun. She is a good person! And a mistake is not a crime. And blah blah blah blah blah!

The jury, after three days of deliberations, seems to be badly split. It is made up of 6 White men, 3 White women, 2 Asian women and 1 Black woman. Potter took the witness stand, crying White women tears. If she walks free, that will almost certainly be why.

On April 11th 2021, the department told officers to avoid making unnecessary arrests because of the heightened tensions caused by Derek Chauvin trial. The governor had already called out the National Guard (state militia) fearing the streets could turn violent. Despite that, Potter apparently wanted to show her trainee, Anthony Luckey, how to escalate a Routine Traffic Stop into a life-or-death situation in less than a minute.

Routine Traffic Stop: They stopped Wright for “air fresheners hanging from his rear-view mirror” – aka DWB: Driving While Black. They found out he had a warrant for his arrest for missing a court date for a misdemeanour weapons charge from a year ago. But then he was resisting arrest! She was afraid he had a gun.

Potter:

“[Officer Mychal Johnson] had a look of fear on his face. It’s something I’ve never seen before. It just went chaotic.”

Wright was trying to drive away!

Police are not supposed to shoot on fleeing suspects. Even the US Supreme Court can see what is wrong with that – or could in Tennessee v Garner (1985). And you are not supposed to use a Taser (stun gun) on anyone trying to drive a car since it temporarily paralyses them.

Despite all that, she shouts:

“Taser, Taser, Taser!”

She shoots and nothing happens. Then: “Holy shit, I shot him.” With her handgun. Right through the heart.

Instead of trying to save his life, she breaks down in tears saying she was afraid she was “going to go to prison”. She resigned two days later.

Police Tim Gannon testified that he saw “no violation” of “policy, procedure and law”.

Taser and handgun – spot the difference!

Tasers: The use-of-force instructor said that no one in his 16 years with the police department had ever mixed up a Taser with a handgun. Tasers are much lighter, have a different grip, are brightly coloured, are drawn from the opposite side of the body, and so on. Potter had been trained on their use every year since 2002.

Race did not come up during the trial. But her disproportionate use of force (or panic) was almost certainly because Wright was a Black man, which White people in the US have an overblown fear of.

– Abagond, 2021.

Update (21:47 GMT): Kim Potter has been found guilty of manslaughter! The jury did not hang!

See also:

537

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Digital Minimalism

“Digital Minimalism” (2019) by Cal Newport lays out the whys and hows of living a life less consumed by digital technology –  the Internet, video games, video streaming and, most of all, smartphones. Although Newport is fascinated by the Amish, he is not for getting rid of digital technology – just for using it mindfully.

The attention economy began in 1830 with the penny press. From there it has spread to magazines, billboards, radio, television, the sides of buses, the Internet, and worst (best) of all, smartphones. It sells your attention to their customers: advertisers. You are the product! Your time is turned into their money. It reached a particularly ugly milestone in 2014 when Facebook began to make most of its money from smartphones. Money they used to make smartphones yet more addictive. Your urge to check your phone is no accident. It is by design. And, unlike billboards or television, a smartphone is always with you, eating up yet more of your time.

Digital detox: Newport recommends going on a digital detox for 30 days. During that month you limit your use of digital technology to the bare minimum, to only what is absolutely necessary. And only according to “operating procedures” – rules you write down that lay out the when, what and how. Only after a month can you possibly have the perspective needed to rebuild your digital use from the ground up.

Recommended practices: Some suggestions he details in the book:

  1. Spend time alone – leave your phone at home, go for long walks, write letters to yourself, etc. Anything where others cannot interrupt you.
  2. Don’t click “like”. Instead of clicking “like” on your cousin’s baby photos maybe you should visit her. Or at least call her up. “Like” is a big thing that makes social media addictive.
  3. Consolidate texting. Do it at set times. Do not let yourself be endlessly interrupted. Likewise:
  4. Hold conversation office hours when people know they can talk to you at length.
  5. Fix or build someting every week. You know, like in the physical world.
  6. Schedule your low-quality leisure. If you are going to mindlessly scroll through the Internet, at least limit it and do it on purpose.
  7. Join something. The real world awaits!
  8. Follow leisure plans.
  9. Delete social media from your phone. The computer versions are way less addictive.
  10. Turn your devices into single-purpose computers. Zadie Smith said she would not have had the time to write her novel “NW” if she was unable to turn off the Internet while writing on her computer.
  11. Use social media like a professional. They are purposeful in how they use it.
  12. Embrace slow media. Breaking news on Twitter is low-quality and often misleading. Better to read about it in the Times the next morning. Let paid professionals chase down the story.
  13. Dumb down your smartphone. Some hedge fund managers use flip phones like it was 2005 so that they are not distracted and misled while at work.

The book most reminds me of “The Plug-In Drug” (1977), written by Marie Winn a generation ago. It was about an addictive technology that seemed to be warping the youth and replacing real life: television.

– Abagond, 2021.

See also:

536

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