This is part of a (planned, i.e. possibly nonexistent) series of blog posts where I post choice ideas from stuff I’m reading.
Today’s selection comes from Lisa Sun-Hee Park and David Naguib Pellow’s The Slums of Aspen: Immigrants vs. the Environment in America’s Eden (NYU Press, 2011). Most times I don’t bother to critique capitalism, but sometimes it just needs to be said. I love the extremely clear, no bullshit approach of this passage:
Nativist environmentalism and environmental privilege are further linked and reinforced by a common view of environmental politics and social change we call “the Aspen Logic.” The Aspen Logic is a worldview that people across the mainstream political spectrum embrace, but one that is particularly prominent in liberal and Democratic political circles. The idea is that environmentalism and capitalism are entirely compatible and not in fundamental opposition. … The Aspen Logic is hard at work in the en vogue fixation with the so-called green economy. The fundamental problem with an idea like green capitalism is that it presumes that capitalism is, at root, a just system that only needs regulation and reform. We reject this premise for what should be obvious reasons: because capitalism is a hierarchical, violent system of production, consumption, commerce, and governance that inherently views people and ecosystems as variables to be manipulated for the benefit of a minority. … Therefore green capitalism does not result in a transformed society marked by ecological sustainability and social justice because (1) it is not possible and (2) because that is not the goal. (pg 14-15)
Today I was confronted with a campaign ad so racist and misogynist that it’s hard for me to find anything else to say about it. There’s little analysis to be done, because if you are confused by why portraying young black men = gangbangers (no room to doubt) yelling “give me your cash bitch” at a white woman legislator, while a faceless female ass shakes in the middle of the screen is racist and misogynist, I don’t know if I can help you understand it.
Here’s the ad on Gawker.
And here’s what Scatterplot had to say about it.
What I guess I can say about it is that the fact that such a thing can be aired in an effort to actually convince someone of something is a truly terrifying statement about politics in the United States. Just like I see from the Republican presidential primary debates, the supposed center is starting to be terrifyingly to the right. One of the few comforts for me in this climate, I guess, is to continue to seek out pockets of autonomy, moments of liberation, and keep seeing “revolution” as a constant everyday process rather than as the end-goal or single event. Because if it wasn’t clear in the 1980s and 1990s, it’s crystal clear now that the United States is not going to see any kind of truly democratic seachange anytime soon, the backlash in Wisconsin notwithstanding. Not if this discourse is the criteria for where votes go…
Let me just start by saying: I am not really a sports fan, and I am definitely not a basketball fan. I know next to nothing about the NBA and am not that interested to learn. However, when I got on the internet this morning the collective schadenfreude at the Miami Heat’s loss was unavoidable. It seemed like every other message on social networking sites was a celebration of the Mavericks’ win, and this from people who were neither from, nor live, anywhere near Texas.
Something about this immediately doesn’t sit right, since almost all of these people are white and they just seem so damn excited to demonize a Black man. Over at the Nation, Dave Zirin wrote a nice post about James’ post-game quote and how it reflects a collective decision to direct anger at an athlete rather than at, say, our politicians. What Zirin doesn’t quite spell out, but what stands out for me, is the fact that people (mostly white people, I’m guessing) seem to have an easier time enforcing moralistic narratives on Black athletes. It’s hard not to feel like James’ choice to join the Heat is not somehow related to the feeling that he should be grateful and humble for the success he’s found, which is a profoundly racialized narrative. The schadenfreude from last night’s game just seems as though people are glad to see James ‘put in his place.’
Meanwhile, over at New Black Man, David Leonard discusses the complexity involved in such situations, illustrating nicely how sports fandom isn’t just about the politics of race, but yet at the same time always is.
Updated to include this link to a post about Ohio’s decision to “honor” the Mavericks for beating Lebron James.