Saturday, November 21, 2020



A long time ago I was in the information business in Washington D.C. on a more or less freelance basis.    I had a lot of casual friendships with people in who were sometimes good for information and as often just good to have a beer with.  There was this guy Smitty who worked for a very important big law firm and sometimes had a information to share  sometimes was interested in what I knew. 

We met at the usual K-Street watering hole after work and after about the second beer Smitty always made the same  little obligatory speech... "I don't  know  if  I ever told  you this," he would say, "but  I'm black."   After he told  me the first time  I noted certain facial  features that might be construed as black,  but in fact I grew up with Italian kids who had darker complexions and more arguably "black" features.  Still Smitty's family, which had a close association with the civil rights movement,  was one that could have "passed" and chose not to.  Respect.

Three books  on the subject of passing:

Sinclair Lewis, Kingsblood Royal:   Published in 1947, this scathing satire caused something of a stir.   Not unusual  for Lewis.  In this novel,  Neal Kingsblood is  a successful Minnesota businessman who discovers he is  descended from a famous American explorer.  He is not bothered by the fact that his ancestor is  black, and the can't stop talking about it.  The USA has a hard and fast rule on blackness.  One drop of blood is enough, and it pertains in Minnesota as much in Crackertopia.  It doesn't take long before our hero begins to  suffer  the consequences.

Philip Roth, The Human Stain:  A college professor has been passing all his life.  Then he makes a politically incorrect statement in a classroom and the students conclude he is a rascist. 

Karin Tanabe, The Gilded Years,  A novel based on the true story of  Anita Hemmings, the first black woman to graduate from Vassar. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020



I wrote the previous post on Wednesday.  Today, the day after election, the nightmare is real.  The GOOP could hold on to the Senate and the White House.  The House majority is diminished and we are losing seats where we thought we were safe.

I apologize for the grim projections of last week.   Nothing worse than taking credit for  bad news.  In a world where killing the messenger is a thing, I should kill myself.  I tried very hard to  brighten my mood over the weekend and nearly succeeded.   Then I saw a clip on Facedbook of the presnut on the campaign trail.   I started  getting Harry Truman vibes.  Giv'em Hell Harry!  The presnut on the  campaign trail, adoring crowds  screaming love and devotion and Kill the Liberals.   

Then there was the all-too effective advertisement for the presnut running during the Bills game.  It showed Biden in a speech from his law and order days talking about the crime bill.  Protect grandma and put them all in jail forever.  The commercial left no doubt who the people getting locked up were.  Thousands of black people, especially black men, watch NFL games every week.  Truth, if I were black I  don't know if I could have brought myself to vote for Biden.  I had a hard time talking my privileged white self into it.   This commercial took some of the glow off the weekend.  It seems to have done what it was intended to do. 

We won't win another election until we either get a lot smarter or the GOOP turns the world into a shitpie.   It's likely the later will happen before the former.