WTF: July 2, 2020

Who will dominate the potatoes?

Language is a funny thing... a word that is commonly used as a perfectly acceptable man's name can shapeshift into a description of what is in his pants or of his personality. Ask any man named Richard born last century. To me, the word "dominate" is undergoing a metamorphosis right now. Once, innocently calling to mind kink, black latex and whips, its use is now a coded indicator that tells you the speaker has probably tied up and gagged (in a bad, non-consensual way) the angel on his (I'd say his or hers, but c'mon we know better) shoulder.

But language is important. Word choice is important. The difference between referring to something as a riot rather than a protest or a march is a paragraph of exposition on those involved in a tiny little four letter word.

The New York Times June 3, 2020: Trump's Favorite Word, What We Have Here is a Failure to Dominate

Just recently, while he was unveiling a program to help support agriculture during the coronavirus crisis, Trump assured visiting Virginia farmers: “We’re going after Virginia with your crazy governor. They want to take your Second Amendment away. You know that, right? You’ll have nobody guarding your potatoes...

Now, some people believe that when men go overboard with weaponry issues it may be linked to insecurity about their sexuality. Certainly isn’t always true, but here you’ve got a guy who talks compulsively both about the Second Amendment and his need to dominate.

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Wired Magazine: Mark Zuckerberg Believes Only in Mark Zuckerberg

How could a person who seems so cosmopolitan let his company effectively support the campaigns of authoritarian nationalists like Narendra Modi in India or Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines? Why does he let them use his platforms to terrorize critics, journalists, and scholars?...

Zuckerberg continued and continues to believe in the positive power of Facebook, but that’s because he believes in the raw power of Facebook. “Domination!,” he used to yell at staff meetings, indicating that everything is a game. Games can be won. He must win. If a few million bones get broken along the way, his game plan would still serve the greatest good for the greatest number.

Okay, hold up. I love Wired Magazine, but did they just call a Jewish man "cosmopolitan"? And you might say to yourself, so? Well...

Public Radio International: 'Cosmopolitan' is a dog whistle word once used in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia

“Cosmopolitan” isn’t a word that’s frequently heard in American politics (“elite” is much more common), but it wouldn’t be out of place in Adolf Hitler's Germany or Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union.

It was an “anti-Semitic fighting term,” Volker Ullrich writes in his biography, Hitler: Ascent, “used against the Jews by Nazis and Bolsheviks alike.” Ullrich writes that the Jewish diaspora in Europe was “considered not only cosmopolitan, but also rootless, and in the late 1940s the term became a code word for Jews who insisted on their Jewish identity.”

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That the words are ostensibly complimentary gives the speaker plausible deniability...

The Root: 'He's So Articulate,' What That Really Means

In that context, the underlying message is clear: We (a white-dominant society) expect black folks to be less competent. And, speaking as a white person, when we register surprise at a black individual’s articulateness, we also send the not-so-subtle message that that person is part of a group that we don’t expect to see sitting at the table, taking on a leadership role...

What does all this have to do with calling a woman bossy, or a black friend articulate? By calling a woman bossy, we’re reminding her that society expects her to back down, be a follower and not be too aggressive or loud. When we call a person of color articulate, it can suggest—either intentionally or unintentionally—that she’s exceptional, whereas, by contrast, it can suggest that white people are automatically assumed to be articulate.

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Ugh. Bossy. But I guess it doesn't fit the mold here... it's not like it's a good word that could be passed off as a compliment, is it? I guess we still don't have to cloak misogyny.

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Why does Trump keep referencing the 'silent majority'? Is that code for something? (Professor Glaude is more diplomatic on this one, to me, it sounds like he is talking about those who had to hide their hate and ugliness and grievance for years until he made it acceptable again.)

Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie Glaude Jr.

Much is made today of the necessity to reach out to the disaffected Trump voter. This is the latest description of the 'silent majority,' the 'Reagan Democrat,' or the 'forgotten American.' For the most part, we are told these are high-school educated white people -- working-class white people -- who feel left out of an increasingly diverse America. But to direct our attention to these voters, to give our energy over to convincing them to believe otherwise, often takes us away from the difficult task of building a better world. In some ways, they hold the country hostage, and we compromise to appease them.

It's frustrating to cede control or cease usage of perfectly good and descriptive words once you understand their provenance and usage in certain circles, but the English language always has an alternative for you, so just go ahead and find it. Thesaurus.com will help.

Alas, no one has ever been able to successfully dominate the English language, an expressive, sophisticated assortment of words that has influenced the world.

See how easy that was?

The Sideshow: Hate

Trump calls Black Lives Matter a 'symbol of hate' as NYC plans mural on 5th Ave.

President Trump blasted Black Lives Matter as a "symbol of hate" on Wednesday and claimed the city would ruin the "luxury" of Midtown by painting a mural of the famous rallying cry in front of his most prized skyscraper.

Trump Attacks a Suburban Housing Program. Critics See a Play for White Votes.

Proponents of the policy saw the move as an attempt to shore up the president's sagging support among white suburban voters by stoking racial division. WASHINGTON - President Trump has taken aim at an Obama-era program intended to eliminate racial housing disparities in the suburbs, a move proponents of the policy see as an attempt to shore up his sagging support among white suburban voters by stoking racial division.

Building Resilience & Confronting Risk in the COVID-19 Era: A Parents & Caregivers Guide to Online Radicalization

We've known for years that it can be all too easy for people to become radicalized without even leaving home. The proliferation of extremist spaces and content online has created new and powerful avenues for radicalization, especially for young people who are often the targets of radical-right propaganda.

Unless Daniel Snyder changes Redskins' name, RFK site is off the table, officials say

There is no scenario in which Daniel Snyder will be able to build a new Washington Redskins stadium on the federally owned RFK Stadium site unless he changes the team's name. That was the unequivocal message from Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the District's nonvoting delegate to the House of Representatives; D.C.

The Anti-Trump Movement Will Outlast Trump

What will happen to these strange bedfellows? Perhaps they will wake up in the morning, mumble some awkward goodbyes, and quickly push the evening out of memory. Or maybe they will shyly offer that they enjoyed this time together, exchange numbers, and suggest maybe, you know, if not too busy, it would be fun to see each other again.

The call our for the reviled comic sans font is actually avec comic sensibility. I think  just made a joke about fonts and French. I need to get out more. Maybe I'll check out a Vanilla Ice concert... or nah.

Protesters call out Trump by erecting statue of Jeffrey Epstein 'so we can really remember history'

Anonymous protesters in Albuquerque have "trolled" Donald Trump's defence of Confederate monuments by erecting a statue of disgraced billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The bronze statue was left outside Albuquerque City Hall on Wednesday morning by a group who identified itself only as the Antlion Art Collective.

I mean this is the work of people who hate music...

In Austin, Where Nearly All Concerts are Canceled, Vanilla Ice Set to Perform Friday

Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order last Friday closing all bars due to an expected surge in COVID-19 cases effectively put an end to those in-person concerts still taking place locally. One notable exception: Vanilla Ice at Emerald Point Bar & Grill on Friday.

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