🎧 “The Daily”: The Rise of Right-Wing Extremism, and How U.S. Law Enforcement Ignored It | New York Times

Listened to "The Daily": The Rise of Right-Wing Extremism, and How U.S. Law Enforcement Ignored It from New York Times

In an atmosphere of seeming indifference on the part of U.S. law enforcement, a dangerous movement has grown and metastasized.

It’s tremendously painful that the optics of right wing extremism in the Obama administration was used as a means of allowing the alt-right, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis to rise unfettered in the United States. This is worse when one thinks of the death and destruction they have caused in relation to the obscene amounts of money that have been thrown at decreasing international terrorism within our borders.

👓 I Was Pregnant and in Crisis. All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman | Time

Read I Was Pregnant and in Crisis. All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman by Tressie McMillan Cottom (Time)
At every step of a fairly typical pregnancy for a black woman in the U.S., I was rendered an incompetent subject with exceptional needs.

I just don’t have words.

If you’re feeling depressed and angry though, I invite you to continue on with some stories I can’t help but collect: 

📺 “United Shades of America” The New KKK | CNN

Watched "United Shades of America" The New KKK from CNN
With W. Kamau Bell. WKB visits the "new" and "improved" KKK that is more concerned about its branding but still has the same hate.

I’m curious if this would look quite the same if made again now, just a bit over two years later?

I’m given some hope by Kamau’s experience in the small town with what seemed like the majority of the people there.

👓 James Watson Won’t Stop Talking About Race | New York Times

Read James Watson Won’t Stop Talking About Race (nytimes.com)
The Nobel-winning biologist has drawn global criticism with unfounded pronouncements on genetics, race and intelligence. He still thinks he’s right, a new documentary finds.

🎧 W. Kamau Bell on How He Communicates with Racists by Alan AldaAlan Alda from Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda (ART19)

Listened to W. Kamau Bell on How He Communicates with Racists by Alan AldaAlan Alda from Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda (ART19)

W. Kamau Bell, the host of CNN's "United Shades of America,” describes his show as giving people a “microphone” and “public square to tell their version of the story.” Putting it plainly, he's said his greatest gift as a communicator is in knowing, “... how to shut the f*ck up and let people talk.” Kamau is a gifted stand up comedian who delivers his comedy through a socio-political lens. In this episode of Clear+Vivid, Alan Alda asks W. Kamau Bell about his approach to comedy and how it's possible to talk with someone who you genuinely disagree with, like a member of the KKK — and still find relatable qualities, even humor. Before they finish, Kamau surprises Alan with a guest of his own!

Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda cover art

How can you not love W. Kamau Bell? This reminds me that I still ought to get back to watching his show more regularly instead of letting it fester on my DVR. This is my first episode of Alda’s podcast, but he has an excellent interview style and he’s obviously got some interesting guests. The broader topic of communication and conversation is also an intriguing one to me. I’ve added it to my podcast list to catch up on past and future episodes.

Hat tip: @sciphi

👓 Paradox of tolerance | Wikipedia

Read Paradox of tolerance (Wikipedia)
The paradox of tolerance is a paradox that states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Karl Popper first described it in 1945—expressing the seemingly paradoxical idea that, "In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance."

📖 Read Chapter 1: A Networked Public pages 3-27 of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

📖 Read Chapter 1: A Networked Public pages 3-27 of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

Book cover of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

Chapter 1 was pretty solid. This almost seems to me like it would make a good book for an IndieWeb book club.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

A national public sphere with a uniform national language did not exist in Turkey at the time. Without mass media and a strong national education system, languages exist as dialects that differ in pronunciation, vocabulary, and even grammar, sometimes from town to town.  

What I’m understanding about the text is that it was hard for Turkish to interact with one another since there was no official language and how these girls for enforced to master this one language.—beatrizrocio

I suspect that it wasn’t the case that they had trouble communicating via speech, but that the formal language was more difficult for them. Typically most languages have a “high” (proper) form and a “low” (colloquial) form. Think of it more like the King’s Standard English versus the speech of an illiterate inner-city youth. They can both understand each other, but one could read and understand the New York Times, but the other would have significant trouble.

December 26, 2018 at 12:33PM

Political scientist Benedict Anderson called this phenomenon of unification “imagined communities.”  

December 26, 2018 at 12:35PM

Technologies alter our ability to preserve and circulate ideas and stories, the ways in which we connect and converse, the people with whom we can interact, the things that we can see, and the structures of power that oversee the means of contact.  

December 26, 2018 at 12:37PM

As technologies change, and as they alter the societal architectures of visi-bility, access, and community, they also affect the contours of the public sphere, which in turn affects social norms and political structures.  

December 26, 2018 at 12:40PM

For example, in a society that is solely oral or not very literate, older people (who have more knowledge since knowledge is acquired over time and is kept in one’s mind) have more power relative to young people who cannot simply acquire new learning by reading.  

To a large extent, this is also part of the reason we respect our elders so much today, although this is starting to weaken as older people are increasingly seen as “behind the times” or don’t understand new technologies…

December 26, 2018 at 12:45PM

In her lifetime, my grandmother journeyed from a world confined to her immediate physical community to one where she now carries out video conversations over the internet with her grandchildren on the other side of the world, cheaply enough that we do not think about their cost at all. She found her first train trip to Istanbul as a teenager—something her peers would have done rarely—to be a bewildering experience, but in her later years she flew around the world. Both the public sphere and our imagined communities operate differently now than they did even a few decades ago, let alone a century.  

It’s nice to consider the impact of the technologies around us and this paragraph does a solid job of showing just that in the span of a single generation’s lifetime.

December 26, 2018 at 12:47PM

movements, among other things, are attempts to intervene in the public sphere through collective, coordinated action. A social movement is both a type of (counter)public itself and a claim made to a public that a wrong should be righted or a change should be made.13 Regardless of whether movements are attempt-ing to change people’s minds, a set of policies, or even a government, they strive to reach and intervene in public life, which is centered on the public sphere of their time.  

a solid definition of what a movement is

December 26, 2018 at 12:49PM

Governments and powerful people also expend great efforts to control the public sphere in their own favor because doing so is a key method through which they rule and exercise power.  

December 26, 2018 at 12:49PM

homophily  

December 26, 2018 at 12:57PM

If you cannot find people, you cannot form a community with them  

December 26, 2018 at 01:05PM

The residents’ lack of success in drawing attention and widespread support to their struggle is a scenario that has been repeated the world over for decades in coun-tries led by dictators: rebellions are drowned out through silencing and censorship.  

December 26, 2018 at 04:47PM

In his influential book The Net Delusion and in earlier essays, Morozov argued that “slacktivism” was distracting people from productive activism, and that people who were clicking on political topics online were turning away from other forms of activism for the same cause.  

December 26, 2018 at 04:58PM

Another line of reasoning has been that internet is a minority of the pop-ulation. This is true; even as late as 2009, the internet was limited to a small minority of households in the Middle East.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:05PM

Only a segment of the population needs to be connected digitally to affect the entire environment. In Egypt in 2011, only 25 percent of the population of the country was on-line, with a smaller portion of those on Facebook, but these people still managed to change the wholesale public discussion, including conversa-tions among people who had never been on the site.  

There’s some definite connection to this to network theory of those like Stuart Kaufmann. You don’t need every node to be directly connected to create a robust network, particularly when there are other layers–here interpersonal connections, cellular, etc.

December 26, 2018 at 05:07PM

Two key constituencies for social movements are also early adopters: activists and journalists  

December 26, 2018 at 05:08PM

Ethan Zuckerman calls this the “cute cat theory” of activism and the public sphere. Platforms that have nonpolitical functions can become more politically powerful because it is harder to censor their large num-bers of users who are eager to connect with one another or to share their latest “cute cat” pictures.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:13PM

Social scientists call the person connecting these two otherwise separate clusters a “bridge tie.” Research shows that weak ties are more likely to be bridges between disparate groups.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:18PM

As Ali explained it to me, for him, January 25, 2011, was in many ways an ordinary January 25—officially a “police celebration day,” but traditionally a day of protest. Although he was young, he was a veteran activist. He and a small group of fellow activists gathered each year in Tahrir on January 25 to protest police brutality. January 25, 2011, was not their first January 25 pro-test, and many of them expected something of a repeat of their earlier protests—perhaps a bit larger this year.  

This mirrors the story of the rape that preceded the Rosa Parks protests in Alabama several years prior and helped set the stage for that being successful.
It’s often frequent that bigger protests are staged to take place on dates/times that have historical meaning.

December 26, 2018 at 05:31PM

His weak-tie networks had been politically activated  

This makes me wonder if she’s cited Mark Granovetter or any of similar sociologists yet?
Apparently she did in footnote 32 in chapter 1. Ha!

December 26, 2018 at 05:37PM

or example, it has been repeatedly found that in most emergencies, disasters, and protests, ordinary people are often helpful and altruistic.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:53PM

However, that desire to belong, reflecting what a person perceives to be the views of the majority, is also used by those in power to control large numbers of people, especially if it is paired with heavy punishments for the visible troublemakers who might set a diff erent example to follow. In fact, for many repressive governments, fostering a sense of loneliness among dissidents while making an example of them to scare off everyone else has long been a trusted method of ruling.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:56PM

Social scientists refer to the feeling of imagining oneself to be a lonely minority when in fact there are many people who agree with you, maybe even a majority, as “pluralistic ignorance.”39 Pluralistic ignorance is thinking that one is the only person bored at a class lecture and not knowing that the sentiment is shared, or that dissent and discontent are rare feelings in a country when in fact they are common but remain unspoken.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:57PM

Thanks to a Facebook page, perhaps for the first time in history, an in-ternet user could click yes on an electronic invitation to a revolution.  

December 26, 2018 at 06:00PM

Only a segment of the population needs to be connected digitally  

Don’t forget the power of the “sneakernet”!

December 26, 2018 at 06:59PM

👓 The Racist Politics of the English Language | Boston Review

Read The Racist Politics of the English Language (Boston Review)
How we went from “racist” to “racially tinged.”

Yes, we need to be more careful with our words and move back to more specific language.

🎧 Episode 025 System Theories, Racism & Human Relationships: Interview with TK Coleman | Human Current

Listened to Episode 025 System Theories, Racism & Human Relationships by Haley Campbell-GrossHaley Campbell-Gross from Human Current

In this episode, Haley interviews TK Coleman to discuss how humans allow their conflicting mental models to influence the way they handle controversial topics like racism. TK also shares how understanding context and patterns within human systems ultimately empowers us to actively contribute to human progress.

I generally prefer the harder sciences among Human Current’s episodes, but even episodes on the applications in other areas are really solid. I’m glad to hear about TK Coleman’s overarching philosophy and the idea of “human beings” versus “human doings.”

Also glad to have the recommendation of General Systems Theory: Beginning With Wholes by Barbara G. Hanson as a more accessible text in comparison to Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s text. The gang at Human Current should set up an Amazon Affiliate link so that when I buy books they recommend (which happens frequently), it helps to support and underwrite their work.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Reality is objective, but meaning is contextual.

—Barbara Hanson, General Systems Theory: Beginning with Wholes quoted within the episode

This quote is an interesting recap of a sentence in the first two paragraphs of Claude Shannon’s The Mathematical Theory of Communication.

👓 An Interview with John O’Brien | Dalkey Archive Press

Read An Interview with John O’Brien (dalkeyarchive.com)
The following interview was conducted in-house at two different times, in 2000 and 2004. The purpose of the interview was to provide a very readable documentation of Dalkey Archive Press’s mission and history. It was amended in 2004, and likely will be amended again in the future, to reflect changes in the culture that have an impact on the work we do.

After reading this interview, how could one not want to devote their life to supporting such an institution?

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

subversive  

maybe also the word uncomfortable?

December 19, 2018 at 05:10PM

uncomfortable  

ha!

December 19, 2018 at 05:11PM

There is no sense that this particular novel has its place among-and should be evaluated against-a whole history of other novels.  

December 19, 2018 at 05:14PM

As with all of the arts, literature was once upon a time entirely made possible through patrons. This goes at least as far back as Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. They were able to write because their patrons provided them financial support. And this was of course true of all of the other arts. Beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century, however, literature and commerce got mixed.  

In some sense, there is a link between these areas of art/writing and funding and what we see in social media influencers who in some sense are trying to create an “art” for which they get paid. Sadly, most are not making art and worse, most of them are being paid even worse.

December 19, 2018 at 05:18PM

While many people say that such and such a book changed their lives, you can be sure that they could not tell you who published the book. The identification is with the book and its author, not the publisher.  

December 19, 2018 at 05:25PM

My models were New Directions Press and Grove Press.  

December 19, 2018 at 05:32PM

Michael Orthofer at the Complete Review  

December 19, 2018 at 05:35PM

Academics will probably bristle at this thought but, at least in relation to literature, all you have to do is look at the courses that are offered featuring the literatures of other countries. Not only don’t they teach these literatures, they don’t read them.  

We certainly could use an Anthony Bourdain of literature to help peel back the curtain on other countries and cultures.

December 19, 2018 at 05:38PM

I think only the philistine mind thinks that art needs a social or moral justification.  

Quote of the year.

December 19, 2018 at 05:46PM

A prerequisite for war, as well as bigotry, is that one sees a people or a country as a stereotype, as something sub-human or non-human; this is why politicians spend so much time trying to create stereotypical images for those countries they want to go to war with.  

December 19, 2018 at 05:48PM

Small publishers are oftentimes awful at getting their books out to people, even though of course the marketplace determines many of the limitations.  

December 19, 2018 at 05:51PM

👓 Doomed to fight the Civil War again | LA Times

Read Doomed to fight the Civil War again (LA Times)
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is wrong about what caused the Civil War, and wrong to give the benefit of the doubt to the slavers over the slaves.

👓 Scott opposes controversial judicial nominee | CNN

Read Scott opposes controversial judicial nominee (CNN)
Republican Sen. Tim Scott announced Thursday he would oppose President Donald Trump's nominee to be a US district judge in North Carolina, effectively ending the nomination that had been plagued with accusations that Thomas Farr supported measures that disenfranchised African-American voters.

Glad to see at least one person in the senate with a brain in their head.

👓 Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith Wins Miss. Senate Runoff After Racially Charged Campaign | NPR

Read Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith Wins Miss. Senate Runoff After Racially Charged Campaign (NRP)
Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith won the Senate runoff in Mississippi by a margin of 54-to-46 percent, according to the Associated Press, overcoming a series of missteps that brought the state's dark history of racism and violence to the forefront. Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the Senate earlier this year after Republican Thad Cochran stepped down because of health reasons, defeated former congressman and agriculture secretary Mike Espy. Neither candidate had won the requisite 50 percent in the first round of the special election on Election Day. She is the first woman elected to the Senate from Mississippi.

Even if she weren’t a virulent racist, she’s a horrible pick because she simply doesn’t seem to be able to think or operate for herself without being propped up by a staff behind her.

Too often I’m just saddened at what America is producing.