Reading George Fox

Of European Anti-Judaism & America Racism

One thing I’ve thought about recently is how perhaps European anti-Jewish1 prejudice is a close analogue of our anti-black racism.2 The struggles of the British Labour Party with actual anti-Jewish prejudice feels so weird from this side of the pond. An MP openly blames Jewish financiers for the slave trade and a huge swath of the party supports him. While our Democrats freak over criticisms of Israel than many American Jews also make.3 It feels a bit akin to how folks like Biden can still wax poetic about working with segregationists.4 I was also listening to a podcast discussing Marx and Bakunin, which mentioned their anti-Jewish writings. The historian made the point that to a first approximate everyone openly hated the Jews—that it was a central identity dividing line. Just as, to a first approximately, every white American was racist. And pogroms seem pretty similar to Tulsa 1921 or Colfax 1873 or the hundreds of others—often drummed up pretexts for lynchings to justify stealing their land. Of course, the Shoah marks a big divergence. Germany actually paid reparations and has confronted their crimes to an extent unimaginable anytime soon in our country. Anti-Jewish prejudice is still around, but there hasn’t…

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Flag Aesthetics

Also, I hate to admit it, but my first reaction on seeing the intersection flag was, “They made the flag ugly.” My friend replied that she thought it was beautiful, and she was right—the idea is beautiful. But the aesthetics? Not so much. The problem was rolling around in my head on the subway ride home, so I took a shot at improving it: It’s a quick and rough job, so the proportions of the stripes are off. But I do feel like it is an improvement. In the Philadelphia version, the flag feels unbalanced with the black and brown sitting atop the bright rainbow. By interleaving the stripes, the flag becomes more cohesive. I also think the symbolism of this version works better too—POC are within the broader LGBT community/rainbow.

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All the Colors of the Rainbow

All the Colors of the Rainbow

I feel uncertain about the added stripes to the Pride Flag. I completely understand the initial impulse in Philly—clearly the gay community has a huge problem with racism. On the other hand, POC are not the only marginalized group in the LGBT community. Trans women made up a significant proportion of the rioters during Stonewall, yet they were quickly erased from the mainstream narrative. Less than four years after Stonewall, Sylvia Rivera had to grab the mic at a rally to shout that they would not be erased. An artist has tried to incorporate that history into a flag, but as the article says it’s a design disaster. Moreover, this point about the history and connotations of rainbows feels important: [Gilbert] Baker1 described the rainbow’s universal, all-embracing resonance best: “The rainbow came from earliest recorded history as a symbol of hope. In the Book of Genesis, it appeared as proof of a covenant between God and all living creatures. It was also found in Chinese, Egyptian and Native American history.” It may not be possible, but I wish there were a way to reclaim the flag for all. The problem of racism is very real and needs to be acknowledged…

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Expanding the trope?

I wonder if the people calling out Congresswoman Omar would be as upset if she said that Sheldon Adelson massive donations to Trump played a large part in his decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem? Because I don’t remember an uproar about the New York Times leading an article about the move with: Ten days before Donald J. Trump took office, Sheldon G. Adelson went to Trump Tower for a private meeting. Afterward, Mr. Adelson, the casino billionaire and Republican donor, called an old friend, Morton A. Klein, to report that Mr. Trump told him that moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be a major priority. While the article also acknowledges the influence of evangelicals, it doesn’t mention them until the fifth paragraph and it clearly stresses Adelson’s money (and AIPAC) as the leading motivation. The anti-Jewish trope is about shadowy Jewish Financiers secretly controlling politics. There’s nothing secret about AIPAC sponsoring congressional trips to Israel or major politicians from both parties making a pilgrimage to speak at their annual conference. Calling criticism of AIPAC anti-Jewish is expanding the trope to any Jewish use of money in politics.

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“All About The Benjamins”

Here’s the chorus from Puffy’s 1997 hit, It’s All About The Benjamins: It’s all about the Benjamins baby Now, what y’all wanna do? It’s all about the Benjamins baby Wanna be ballers, shot-callers It’s all about the Benjamins baby Brawlers — who be dippin in the Benz wit the spoilers It’s all about the Benjamins baby On the low from the Jake in the Taurus Anyone see any anti-Jewish tropes1 in there? ‘Cause I don’t. Yes, there is one reference to Jews: “You should do what we do, stack chips like *Hebrews*.” But there are way more references to Italian Mob films. The song is about enjoying the life of the wealthy, not using money for power. ↩

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Of Filibusters & Magical Thinking

After listening to Dahlia Lithwick on 2038 today, I had to write her a note. It’s hard to believe someone so smart and incisive can be so blind to political reality. Dahlia, I was just listening to you on the new 2038 podcast. Your support of the Democrats reinstating the judicial filibuster is simply magical thinking ignoring the current reality of the Republican Party. The Democrats simply cannot shame them into re-establishing norms. They already tried to do it once. The Republicans got rid of Blue Slips during the Bush years; Democrats brought them back during Obama’s term; and the Republicans immediately dropped them after Trump was elected. The only thing the Blue Slips did was help McConnell keep spots empty for Trump to appoint more judges. I have no doubt if the filibuster is brought back, the Republicans will get rid of it again when they control the White House and the Senate. Their behavior over the past two decades has not given any reason to believe otherwise. The Democrats are stuck in a prisoner’s dilemma and continually compromising doesn’t work when the Republicans refuse to reciprocate. It’s tantamount to conceding defeat. The correct strategy for the current situation…

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Moral Monsters & Non-Hollywood Endings 🎥

Spoilers Ahead Moral Monsters After sleeping on my thoughts about A Star Is Born, I’m still struggling with my reaction. I truly enjoyed the film, but it also sits really uneasy with me, terrifyingly so. And I think that clench in my stomach stems from Rez’s actions at the end. I have struggled with my own suicidality and the dark thoughts that all I do is hurt the people I love. Those thoughts are disconnected from reality—even as they spiral in my head I know that they are fundamentally irrational. But that knowledge does nothing to lessen their power or shake my belief in them. If, in my worst moments, someone close to a loved one told me that I was hurting them, that my loved one would never tell me, but they would be better off without me…I’m not sure what I would do. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t self harm, but I’d probably need to go to an inpatient psych ward to be safe. Watching Rez do that to Jack—a man who had just begun to face his trauma—shredded me. At that moment, Rez became a moral monster: he is so ruthlessly selfish that he’s willing to emotionally…

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“A Star Is Born” is Too Easy 🎥

Spoilers Ahead. I really enjoyed A Star Is Born; the music is fabulous, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga kill it, and the ending crushed me. But the main dilemma, Ally’s choice between a famous pop career or a smaller1 indie career, is too easy. There’s really not much to recommend the more famous path: Ally’s producer is a mercenary and disregards anything she wants, she doesn’t seem happier performing on pop stages, and it keeps her away from Jack, whom she dearly loves. Her troubles with Jack stem from his alcoholism and drug abuse, not any desire on her part to pursue the kind of independent career she does. I could easier she her being happier if she signed with whomever produced Jack. After all, Jack was the one who helped her get comfortable in the recording studio. If she had taken a more indie path, I could easily see him continuing to support her in recording sessions and otherwise. Moreover, by the end. Jack seems to have come to terms with Ally’s career. He kills himself after Rez convinces him that he’s holding her back. In doing so, Rez moves himself beyond any sort of sympathy: to him Ally’s…

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Lively Porn vs. Deadly Meditation

Or I’d Rather Be ‘Dick Drunk’ Than Be Masturbated Like Clockwork Content Warning: Explicit description of sex. I picked up Emily Witt’s Future Sex after a friend reviewed it. I haven’t finished yet, but I couldn’t help but notice the discomforting comparison of the chapter on Kink.com (obviously very, very NSFW) and the one on Orgasmic Meditation. Perhaps contrary to our cultural expectations the porn shoot is much more connected, alive, and joyous than the “well-lit room” of a female-led San Franciscan blend of orgasms and transcendentalism. In the chapter on Orgasmic Mediatation, Witt visits OneTouch, a program1 founded by Nicole Daedone that teaches a very particular form of partnered masturbation: “So if her clitoris were a clock” (the room found this hilarious) “it would be in the one o’clock position. And you’re just going to stroke there, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down.” (Kindle Location 733)2 This clitorial time keeping lasts for exactly 15 minutes—the stroker sets a alarm on their iPhone. To me, this sounds like the most deadly and boring sex imaginable.3 Daedone claims to want to free women from the male-centric concept of sex, but drains all the life out of the act in…

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