Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Monday, November 15, 2004
Moving sucks. Packing sucks. Dismantling this life that I'm quite happy with sucks. The payoff will be worth it but the interim period is depressing. I don't want to move out of my many-windowed tons-of-woodwork conveniently-located nest and into a basement. Deciding which belongings I can do without for close to a year and boxing them up is not a motivational task. How on earth did I acquire this much stuff and how can I live without it?

The upside is that we'll be debt free and have both money and time to travel this winter. I'm having visions of sunny beaches. Or possibly snowy Rhode Island. We're starting the winter off right in freaking ALASKA over the winter solstice. (Things can only look better from that starting point. 5 hours of daylight!) We're also considering Mexico redux. We'll have to see about prices. If nothing else, we're going to take a roadtrip.

In the meanwhile I don't know which way is up and my house is total echoey chaos. Wyclef is using my empty office as a kitty pool table, skittering around with 4 recently unearthed balls. My mom's out of town so I'm going to mix some of my plants in with hers and see if she notices. I should start packing up the kitchen, but WHAT IF I WANT TO COOK SOMETHING? I might suddenly be seized with the need for a bundt cake. You never know. This process is hard.

posted by Rachel 11/15/2004
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More
jaw-dropping vitriol.
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In cities all over America, distressed liberals are talking about fleeing to Canada or, better yet, seceding from the Union. We can't literally secede and, let's admit it, we don't really want to live in Canada. It's too cold up there and in our heart-of-hearts we hate hockey. We can secede emotionally, however, by turning our backs on the heartland. We can focus on our issues, our urban issues, and promote our shared urban values. We can create a new identity politics, one that transcends class, race, sexual orientation, and religion, one that unites people living in cities with each other and with other urbanites in other cities. The Republicans have the federal government--for now. But we've got Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City (Bloomberg is a Republican in name only), and every college town in the country. We're everywhere any sane person wants to be. Let them have the shitholes, the Oklahomas, Wyomings, and Alabamas. We'll take Manhattan.
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If red-state dads aren't concerned enough about their own children to put trigger locks on their own guns, it's not our problem. If a kid in a red state finds his daddy's handgun and blows his head off, we'll feel terrible (we're like that), but we'll try to look on the bright side: At least he won't grow up to vote like his dad.
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We officially no longer give a shit when family farms fail. Fewer family farms equal fewer rural voters. We will, however, continue to support small faggy organic farms, as we are willing to pay more for free-range chicken and beef from non-cannibal cows.
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It's no secret what the urban population is against--the Bush administration and its red armies have done us the favor of making it a cinch to identify: We oppose their sub-moronic, "faith-based" approach to life, and, as stated above, we hereby relinquish our liberal tendency to sympathize with their lack of, say, livable working conditions, a family wage, and a national health care program. We no longer have to concern ourselves with the survival of the family farm, nor do we have to concern ourselves with saving fragile suburban economies from collapse. They're against us; we're against them. This is a war.

But if liberals and progressives want to reach out past our urban bases, it might be helpful to identify some essential convictions, thereby allowing us to perhaps compete on "values." Identifying and articulating our core convictions, as opposed to compromising and downplaying them in search of some kind of non-urban appeal, might actually attract voters in exurbs and rural areas who understand the importance of cities to the national economy. But even if it doesn't, ours is a superior way of life. Wherever people choose to live in this country, they should want to live as we do.

So how do we live and what are we for? Look around you, urbanite, at the multiplicity of cultures, ethnicities, and tribes that are smashed together in every urban center (yes, even Seattle): We're for that. We're for pluralism of thought, race, and identity. We're for a freedom of religion that includes the freedom from religion--not as some crazy aberration, but as an equally valid approach to life. We are for the right to choose one's own sexual and recreational behavior, to control one's own body and what one puts inside it. We are for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The people who just elected George W. Bush to a second term are frankly against every single idea outlined above.

Unlike the people who flee from cities in search of a life free from disagreement and dark skin, we are for contentiousness, discourse, and the heightened understanding of life that grows from having to accommodate opposing viewpoints. We're for opposition. And just to be clear: The non-urban argument, the red state position, isn't oppositional, it's negational--they are in active denial of the existence of other places, other people, other ideas. It's reactionary utopianism, and it is a clear and present danger; urbanists should be upfront and unapologetic about our contempt for their politics and their negational values. Republicans have succeeded in making the word "liberal"--which literally means "free from bigotry... favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded"--into an epithet. Urbanists should proclaim their liberalism from the highest rooftop (we have higher rooftops than they do); it's the only way we survive. And in our next breath, we should condemn their politics, exposing their conservatism as the anti-Americanism that it is, striving to make "conservative" into an epithet.

Let's see, what else are we for? How about education? Cities are beehives of intellectual energy; students and teachers are everywhere you look, studying, teaching, thinking. In Seattle, you can barely throw a rock without hitting a college. It's time to start celebrating that, because if the reds have their way, advanced degrees will one day be awarded based on the number of Bible verses a person can recite from memory. In the city, people ask you what you're reading. Outside the city, they ask you why you're reading. You do the math--and you'll have to, because non-urbanists can hardly even count their own children at this point. For too long now, we've caved to the non-urban wisdom that decries universities as bastions of elitism and snobbery. Guess what: That's why we should embrace them. Outside of the city, elitism and snobbery are code words for literacy and complexity. And when the oil dries up, we're not going to be turning to priests for answers--we'll be calling the scientists. And speaking of science: SCIENCE! That's another thing we're for. And reason. And history. All those things that non-urbanists have replaced with their idiotic faith. We're for those.
...


Read the whole thing if you can stomach it. It reminds me of what this person said: "Your attitudes, language, and behavior toward people like me: reasonable, thinking Christians who are quite moderate politically and who are just as well-informed as you are (yes, I've read all the PNAC essays, too, and yes, they scare me, too) is reminiscent of nothing so much as an abusive ex-lover, a crazy and drunken stalker. "I'll make you love me, or you'll regret it, you worthless bitch! Come here and let me beat you over the head and tell you how stupid and worthless you are! Then you'll see it my way!"

I would also like to add that while I am fleeing the "enlightened city of Minneapolis", it is not out of fear of disagreement and dark skin. I'm the epitome of the left liberal urban enlightened multicultural blah blah voter. And I voted for Bush. And the more of this crap I see, the more my reservations about doing so seem to melt away.

The people of my acquaintance are so diverse as to seem staged. In high school, my friends parents included: one in a wheelchair, one who was deaf, one who didn't speak english, two who had immigrated here, single moms, single dads, gay couples, heterosexual life partners who refused to get married, a practicing witch, the list goes on and on. My husband's trainee/replacement at work is one of them thar Lesbians. My family lawyer is black. My first boss was muslim. My dad's family was from the Dakotas. My mom's family was from the south. These people aren't identity or diversity trophies to me. They're my friends and acquaintances. I don't care about WHAT they are, I care about WHO they are. Yet I voted for Bush. When the opposition party can understand me, they'll have a good chance at my vote. As long as they go on screaming about how they'll 'make you love me you ignorant bitch' I'll go on voting for the suboptimal but rational position.

posted by Rachel 11/15/2004
. . .
I really hate J-Lo but I have to say, her butt has certainly improved my
shopping experience. I'm really not sure where the notion that black and latina women have big round butts while white women are flat came from. My grandma was flat as a board with no butt and no hips but she was unusual even in her family. I, on the other hand, inherited copious amounts of scandahoovian booty from my dad's side of the family. Honestly, it seems like women with small flat behinds are the unusual ones. Even my ectomorph friends in high school had round butts. Why did it take this long for the fashion industry to catch on?

posted by Rachel 11/15/2004
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