Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Accidental Politics

by Izzy Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 05:05:21 AM EST

Ok, so I admit I haven't been writing much.  Or... well, at all really.  But I have really good excuses -- divorce!  bankruptcy!  physical problems! moving! -- also, I have some really bad excuses.  I mean, if I could tell you guys all the bad excuses, you'd totally understand.  

But this is a family blog, so let's just say I've been in avoidance behavior.  Serious Avoidance Behavior (note the capital letters).  There's been carousing, romance, music, shoes -- even Paris! -- and what's turned out to be a pancake binge of monumental proportions.  In other words, everything but politics.

But reality has a way of rudely interrupting and this upcoming election is really quite insistent.  No matter how I try to ignore it, it keeps bumping into me.  Plus, years ago, I made the mistake of giving Jerome my IM information.

So I guess there's nothing for it but to write.  I have no coherent narrative, or point really, but I was asked on this very blog how things were being viewed in my "circle" here's some random observations and incidents...


First, let me just acknowledge that I've moved from Seattle back to my hometown of Los Angeles which just about everyone, on both the left and right, assures me is not really America, so I don't know how helpful my observations will be.  Still, I'm pretty sure that my 11 million or so immediate neighbors and I have a few electoral college votes, so I'll proceed.

Perhaps my out of state friends and family have more pull.  My parents are still in Seattle (although I've heard dark hints that that's not America, either).  My dad said last year he was voting for any Dem unless John McCain was the Republican nominee, in which case he'd vote for him because he thought he was an admirable, moderate man of integrity.  My dad is now voting for Obama.  

My mom is friends with a woman who belongs to one of those fundamentalist churches.  She's really quite rabid.  She and her husband devote almost all their free time to church activities and spreading 'the word.'  They LOVE Sarah Palin.  They're voting for Obama.

I'll admit that I don't know a single person who's voting for McCain.  Even my crazy Republican cousins aren't.  I was almost afraid to mention politics, but they volunteered the information that not only were they voting for Obama, but they'd already voted.  I had one brief moment of relief before commencing with an hour long argument about the various propositions.

I argued with one cousin about California's Prop 8 in particular, which is the one that wants to amend California's constitution to explicitly deny same sex marriage.  But it was sort of futile since he'd already voted.  But I'm pretty sure I won the argument.  I elicited a promise that if it passed, he'd "do whatever it takes" to fix it, up to and including volunteering as a signature gatherer for the next pro-gay marriage prop.  Or maybe some legal work with the appeal.  I don't know.  He IS a lawyer, and a pretty good one, but he was drunk when he made the promise.

Speaking of which, I tried to volunteer to help defeat Prop 8, I really did.  There's a gay church right up the street from my office and they were supposed to be doing phone banking there.  The day before, I signed up with the website and was supposed to be called within 48 hours.  The next day, I called the church itself and they said there was no more phone banking there.  For the next 24 hours, I worried about them calling me about my volunteering, since I still don't have a car here, but they never called.

Prop 8 is causing a lot of heated emotion here.  Everyone thinks California is so liberal, and it is in parts, but there's also a lot of conservatives and the polling doesn't look good.  We had a friend come over a couple weeks ago and he arrived all riled up.  He'd seen a "Yes on 8 protest" up the street from us and was infuriated.  He'd yelled out his car window "go home you fucking freaks!"  Mind you, this is a middle-aged man who runs a food pantry for the homeless, so this seemed quite... brave?  ..or foolhardy or something.  Then he admits the "protest" was 2 guys with a sign.

But still, "my circle" is pretty riled up in general.  I'm not talking about long-time friends or family, the people who we actually see at holidays and visit in each others' homes, but the ones I know through music and art and, I admit it, MySpace.  For one thing, most of them have actually registered to vote, a first so far as I can tell.  And there's almost no talk of voting for Nader.  

Myspace is full of outraged bulletins with youtube links of speeches and dire warnings about the Republicans.  There's also youtubes of late-night talk show jokes as well as homemade Obama art.  Also, one memorable Palin joke which I can't repeat.  And a bunch of people changed their myspace and facebook middle names to Hussein in solidarity with Barack.

There's lots of political talk, in places where you'd least expect it.  I was in the line at the post office a couple weeks ago to mail in my California voter registration card.  The clerk was being all friendly but I guess she was tired, because instead of asking if I was going to vote, she asked if someone was voting for me.  I laughed and assured her no one would ever vote for me.  Some woman from the line yelled "hell, I'd vote for you if you could fix the economy!"  to chuckles and agreement all around the post office.  Sounds like change is in the air.  That has to be good, right?  Obama's much more respectable than I am.

One night we were at our favorite dive club where all the bands play free, and out of nowhere, The Seeds played.  Remember The Seeds?  They did that 60s song, Pushing Too Hard.  It was a great song and they played it well.  The singer, Sky Saxon, announced they had written a song about George Bush.  It was really weird hearing The Seeds sing an anti-Bush song.  It sounded a little like Pushing Too Hard.

Which brings me up to Halloween.  Halloween is a big deal here in the states, and an especially big deal in Hollywood.  We had a busy Halloween planned -- a costume party and seeing The Damned play, which is practically an LA Halloween tradition.  At the party, there was a blonde girl dressed in a sequined red-white-and-blue Uncle Sam bathing suit (I know, I know -- just go with it).  So she comes up to us and asks if we'll hold her bottle of vodka, then drunkenly unrolls an Obama poster and asks if we're voting.  

After receiving confirmation, she then asked if we were a couple and how far away we lived, so I'm not quite sure where this line of questioning was going, but we gave her back the vodka and threw ourselves into mingling elsewhere.  

But the highlight of the evening was The Damned.  They did a great set and it was really fun.  Right in the middle, again out of nowhere, they introduce none other than Sky Saxon of The Seeds!!!  That guy is everywhere!  And he tells us to make sure to vote for Obama on Tuesday, then sort of adds, "or McCain or whatever, but you should really vote, I'm not telling you what to do..." (he seemed a bit dazed, to tell the truth), but then they launched into a really kick-ass version of Pushing Too Hard with him singing (I don't know if The Damned were offered the Bush song or not).

The towards the end of the set, Captain Sensible re-reminded us that we had a job to do on Tuesday.  He told us to go vote and that if "they" steal the election again to SMASH IT UP!

The crowd, of course, went wild.  Gotta love the Captain.

Display:
So I TRIED to capture the moment for you...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 05:13:06 AM EST
fantastic diary, funny, and goofy but real...

write on izzy!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 06:23:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're lawyer friend is an arse. I don't accept buyer's remorse over removing other people's rights. He's a lawyer, he knew what he was doing and he decided to remove from a whole bunch of americans a right he takes for granted. He has voted to create a second class of citizenship. Will he vote for laws to ban marriage between the races too ? Filth ! Scum !! Trash !!

And the weak and pathetic idea that he's gonna canvass afterwards to undo the damage. Sorry, you drop a vase  it doesn't matter how hard you stick it back together, it'll still be cracked. No matter what he does about gay right to marriage after he's taken it away an awful lot of people are gonna have something that really matters to them taken away, wedding vows that had desperate resonance will be undone at the flick of some selfish religious wankers stroke of a pen. People will leave the sate to move to places where they're welcome and accepted and their full rights as Americans are inviolate.

Most gay websites admit that if Prop 8 succeeds it's likely to be a generational defeat. It won't be back for at least a decade, probably much more. Too expensive, the activists will never be so committed and there will never be a liberal tide as high as this again. Utah will have gay marriage before California if Prop 8 wins.

That's what your scumbag lawyer friend has contributed to. I'm glad Del Martin didn't live to see the smug self-satisfed grin on your friend's face and instead died in her wife's arms.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 06:37:10 AM EST
I know.  Seriously.  Why do you think I argued for an hour with a drunk who'd already voted?  I was seriously upset/appalled that I actually knew someone who'd do that.  

But one correction:  he's not my scumbag friend, he's my scumbag relative.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 02:03:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly, relatives we don't choose...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 02:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I totally share your passion for full equality, but still cannot understand the contradiction to equality in some insults that reduce humans to their differential sexual secretions, anatomy, etc.  Insulting is perfectly natural, but an insult is meant to harm by definition, so in practice
´scum´ = semen
´bag´  = vagina.

Those are in conflict with equality because they deeply exploit people´s differences and there is no valid source that will contradict general and personal experience.  For example, when the insults are turned against a loved one, --sister, partner, mother, son, daughter,-- people naturally react with anger, or worse, because they are meant to do damage.  So, if we want equality, why do we divide?

Regardless of how outnumbered I may be, I am offended by the deep rage some of those words carry and have seen their effects:  words have power that cannot be ignored.  I try to write from knowledge with experience, not for competition, so I repeat it because it is important for discourse towards any real equality.  

I hope I have measured all words properly enough to avoid unwarranted anger.  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 12:40:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When you can't find any native speakers to back-up your interpretation of a phrase, it's time to leave it. That interpretation of scumbag is in your head, not anyone elses. Scum isn't slang for semen as far as I know, and bag isn't slang for vagina. How big a sample of far flung native speakers do you need?

You appear to be attempting to resurrect a previous argument for no reason in the face of the facts. That is trolling. Stop it.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 12:47:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the top of stagnant ponds. And bag would be a container, normally with a non-rigid shell.

Calling a person a scumbag would then be saying a person is offering the world a value equivalent to a bag of skin full of scum.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 04:31:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Urban Dictionary supports a precious-bodily-fluids interpretation of the term, rather than a reference to algae or simple aquatic plant forms.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 05:10:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently the use of 'scumbag' to mean 'used condom' dates from 1967 and the word didn't exist before. Scum is solid residue of a liquid. (source)

Long time no see, I'm glad we found a topic worthy of your interest.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 05:14:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However, that still leaves the absurd leap from that connotation of the term to the proposed connotation.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 06:43:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, DeAnander - how you been?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 05:49:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you're....alive!

thought you were investigating green scum in davy jones' locker, your blog has been so dead in the water, and no sign of you here for months!

this place has really gone downhill since you left, everyone's using capital letters so traditionally, hope you stick around and bless us with some good lowercase, full page soliloquies again, lol.

jeez, you've been missed, welcome back!

:)

does happy summersault

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 05:57:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they were calling the scumbag lawyer a "cunt", you'd have a point. Though I wonder if you'd have complained if they called him a "prick"?

They're carefully picking "scumbag" precisely because it isn't sexual in nature.

There aren't many really nasty insults left in English when you start pruning the sexual ones, and you can't have scumbag.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 12:50:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We've had this discussion and I simply don't recognise the inferences. You are my friend but you are wrong. I cannot change my language to accomodate invented offence.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 06:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hmmm .... "scumbag lawyer" ...  

I wonder ... if he were a wedding dress designer and promised to give away free wedding dresses to gay couples in atonement for his vote (an equally silly idea) ... would you have automatically used the phrase "scumbag wedding dress designer".   Probably not - it just doesn't flow.   You probably would have called him "your scumbag cousin".

We lawyers tend to notice little things like that.

by Maryb2004 on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 06:33:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or even better, maybe trying to avoid insults altogether could be an idea too, even when it's about an issue we feel passionately about (given that insults are the spoken equivalent of the slightly more physical fist in the mouth).

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 06:42:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a fine idea, however I felt like punching my idiot cousin when he told me.  That said, I refrained from name-calling in the diary (I think. I don't want to re-read) and also in the hour long argument.

That said, I haven't waded into this portion of the comments till now because I understand Helen's depth of feeling on the matter and the impulse to hurl strong words at such times.  If you can't vent among friends, when can you?  It didn't seem the time to bicker over words.

I'm not gay, but I understand having your rights violated feels very, very personal.  Like an assault.  And I do feel that organized political 'violence' is more harsh than verbal insults.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 07:51:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah but what about my own aunt Helen, a non-practicant Christian and not a gay hater, but would never agree to gay marriage (call her antique, all you like, she approaches 70). What if she reads over my shoulder, you think she deserves the kind of rants present here (or on the other thread discussing Prop.8) ? You're right, I would probably protect her from this, tell her there are all kinds of intolerant people online, probably this Helen is young, had ugly experiences blah blah. The usual excuses. Oh well.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Nov 6th, 2008 at 02:52:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have I mentioned how much I like lawyers?  Even my scumbag cousin, most of the time...

http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/relationships/37706prs20081105.html

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 07:41:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not seen them for nigh on 30 years....

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 07:56:16 AM EST
I'm assuming you mean The Damned?  You should - they're still good.  And hard working!  Looks like they're playing Cardiff in December, and tons of other places, not all of which I can place.

http://www.officialdamned.com/ODsingle/docs/dates.htm

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 02:07:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They're playing Narberth queens hall!!! it's a village hall about 30 miles from where I used to live (and it would be worth making a few days of it, as Dreadzone are playing a couple of days before)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 02:18:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the specter of a stolen election.  On Democracy Now Amy Goodman interviewed a person who said that this election could be stolen by the Republicans.  So my QUESTION:

If in 48 hours Barack Obama is NOT the Pres. elect, what then?

  1.  What do you see happening across the US?

  2.  What will Obama et al DO?

  3.  What do you recommend?  Should we all forget it and go on a shoe buying binge?  (Forgive me Izzy.  I had to type it.)

What do you say Europe?  Step up or in this case, sit down and type.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 08:59:29 AM EST
Well, I for one will enjoy reading kos yet again tell everyone that he will not sign up for conspiracy nuts being on his site.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 09:31:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, as you know, I do feel a shoe buying binge is the appropriate response to most setbacks, however... I don't know.  Or I don't want to think about it.  Or something.

My friend on the cattle ranch in N. Nevada said that if McCain wins, they're "taking to the streets."  Now, I don't know where they'll FIND streets there, but I'm pretty sure they're serious.  

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 02:12:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An interestingly light turn-out on this question. I dare not drop this stinker in the middle of today's OT; no need to get Drew involved.  But tomorrow, either way, if Obama wins or if McCain obviously STEALS the election, things are gonna change so I'll bring the music early; can't go with the alcohol this time.  RATS!!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 02:49:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My friend on the cattle ranch in N. Nevada said that if McCain wins, they're "taking to the streets."

The cattle?  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 02:53:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol, I wouldn't put it past them!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 02:55:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moobama? Yes we milk can?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 02:56:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For more info, please contact the Mooove On action committee.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 03:15:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but if it dosn't turn out that way they'll heifer party.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 02:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Churns we can believe in"

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 02:47:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're gonna milk this, aren't you?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 10:30:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will milk this thread.... until I open a new dairy

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 12:59:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry to hear about the physical problems are still there...

I hope you will be fine soon...

Divorce and bankrupcya re tough.. but it is life.. adn you get over it...if you have support.. adn you seem to have it!!!

But health is everything...so please get perfect soon!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 05:27:20 PM EST
I thought that LA was the most American part of America...
by asdf on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 10:27:32 PM EST
Thank you.  At long last, a voice of reason in this thread...

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 10:29:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]