Accidental Poetry

I love the way that Instant Messaging sometimes creates accidental poetry. For example, an IM conversation between eponymous and me from earlier today:

12:10 PM

eponymous: lunch plans?
patrick: hang on… beating my head against a wall just now
eponymous: so…the usual?

Then, there’s this scrap of Mrs. Dog telling me about a dream she had last night (I have taken out my comments because they don’t add anything interesting to what she was saying):

mrs. d: so… very strange dreams
mrs. d: i was an african man taking a train to escape a dangerous city, escaping to protect someone from our city who had gotten to the outside.
mrs. d: i had never been on the train before, i wasn’t allowed.
mrs. d: as i rode by, i could see thousands of middle eastern orphans walking next to the train
mrs. d: looking at me
mrs. d: one in particular, a little boy was carrying a white blanket
mrs. d: he would stop and sleep for awhile and then begin again
mrs. d: cute little guy
mrs. d: right before i woke up he forgot his blanket and was just a few feet away but was too tired to turn back around to get it
mrs. d: wish i could get it for him

I was still thinking about that when I found this photo on the Found Magazine site:

farawaysleep.jpg

Blog against racism day

Creek Running North’s Blog Against Racism Day has inspired me to dig through my archives and find one of my favorite blog entries. It was written after watching David Brooks cough up a seriously hackneyed reaction to Barack Obama’s brilliant speech to the Democratic National Convention of 2004.

I’ll drop you right in:

There’s an interesting thread over at Alicublog concerning David Brooks’ comments about Barack Obama during the recap of his speech to the Democratic National Convention. Brooks is doing color commentary as a representative of the reactionary simpering moron bloc for PBS, apparently.

After Obama blew the windows out of the Fleet Center, the talking heads took over to sift through the rubble and spin it for the folks at home. In the course of his comments, Brooks managed to make two wholly inappopriate sports analogies about Obama, comparing him to Tiger Woods and saying Obama should be aware that “…this is not like sports where you leap to the front, it’s a long haul…”

There are some commenters that have taken Brooks to task for talking like Spiro Agnew in 1972, others thinking that, while he’s clearly a reactionary simpering moron, he’s not a racist. There were others that felt that Brooks is using shaded language to reinforce white sterotypes about black men and their role in society. Code talking the worst of the base of the opposition, as it were. I had to wade in. Here’s my comment:

I gotta interject here- I don’t let Brooks off the hook for the sports references or the Tiger Woods comment, either, but for different reasons. Mostly, it’s just tasteless and clumsy. He may as well have said “He’s a fine boy, a credit to his race.”
If your antennae don’t go up when you hear a white man using terms like this to talk about a person of color, it’s because you’ve got a tin ear for racially biased condescension.

I don’t think that Brooks is “speaking in code to the base,” more that he is probably not blessed to have had real dialogue with people of color to point out these kind of linguistic pratfalls for him.

Black people, brown people, gay people and others who have historically been pushed back from the table in America have developed a sensitivity to the nuances of speech and action that might signal a person’s bias. You have to watch for these things in your boss, your mortgage officer, your child’s kindergarten teacher, that random Alabama cop- they affect one’s self-interests.

It’s not incumbent upon white people to parse their own speech to insure that they don’t give off these signals, but they ignore the issue at their own peril. People are listening and paying attention.

When David Brooks drolly offers these opinions in these terms, it says to someone like me “David Brooks thinks of Brack Obama as NOT WHITE and therefore OTHER and can only be evaluated within this criteria- Sports.” This may simply mean that Brooks just doesn’t have any black friends that have honestly told him “Look, David, it’s important to see Black Americans as Americans first, and it’s very Nixonian of you to prattle on about it otherwise.” It may mean something more. Anyone with their antennae up NOTICES, though.

My $.02.

Just so you know what’s behind all those loving generalizations that Brooks makes about Red State America. It’s a kind of nauseating subconscious nostalgia for the days when the only black men at the Masters Tournament were in the kitchen.

I could have almost bought it, and then…

I must say, I kind of understand how passive consumers of news get so easily duped. In the week or so since the Murtha Moment, there has been a clear and conscious pushback from the few supporters of the Iraq war who are still standing.

Even half-baked pinhead (and GA governor) Sonny Purdue has come back from Iraq with tales of progress on the ground and divisions of Iraqi National Guardsmen hungry for combat. I hear these voices and I have to admit that their arguments can be compelling if you, like me, would really like to see someone pull a rabbit out of a hat, or, more coarsely, find some way to un-shit the bed. Civil wars are bad, ‘mkay?

Then, of course, I pull my head of my ass. Wishing it does not make it so. And who are we gonna believe?

Not the President. That fucker would lie to his shoes.

As President Bush launched a new effort Wednesday to gain public support for the Iraq war, a new poll found most Americans do not believe he has a plan that will achieve victory.

I know that they think they’re doing to right thing to try and prop up the war effort by sending the Preznit out to stump for it, but a funny thing happened yesterday. I found myself secretly wishing that all of these “voices from the front” were not trying to wax a turd, as Monk put it, and then the President came out to do his bit, and I thought… “Oh, yeah. THAT turd.”

I think that a lot of us have decided that if President Bush said the sky was blue and the oceans were deep and ice cream was tasty, we’d have to check on it just to be sure.

And a heartbeat later, we get this:

Embedded TIME Reporter: Bush Lied In Speech Yesterday About Iraqi Security Forces:

TIME Magazine reporter Michael Ware, who is embedded with the U.S. troops in Iraq who participated in the Tal Afar battle, appeared on Anderson Cooper yesterday. He said Bush’s description was completely untrue:

I was in that battle from the very beginning to the very end. I was with Iraqi units right there on the front line as they were battling with al Qaeda. They were not leading. They were being led by the U.S. green beret special forces with them.

yeah. ok.