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Friday, August 12, 2016

Ru Paul: "I'm A Realist"

From E. Alex Jung's great Vulture interview with Emmy-nominated RuPaul: 

What do you think about what's going on with Donald Trump and the Republican Party?

When you break it down, this is about mankind moving forward and the people who are resisting that forward movement. When a butterfly makes a metamorphosis from being a caterpillar, there's a violent exchange between caterpillar and butterfly. And what we're witnessing is this violent exchange and a rejection of the movement forward. It's so uncanny, and it's so clear that that's what's happening, even as it relates to what's happening around the world, with these horrible tragedies. There are people who are rejecting the forward motion of mankind. And they don't want to be present for what's happening because they don't want to change, because change would mean they'd actually have to look at themselves and go, "Who am I? What am I? And how do I relate to this world?"


What do you think about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats?

[Laughs.] I fucking love them. I have always loved them. And let me just say this: If you're a politician — not just in Washington but in business and industry, you have to be a politician — there are a lot of things that you have to do that you're not proud of. There are a lot of compromises you have to make because it means that you can get this other thing over here. And if you think that you can go to fucking Washington and be rainbows and butterflies the whole time, you're living in a fucking fantasy world. So now, having said that, think about what a female has to do with that: All of those compromises, all of that shit, double it by ten. And you get to understand who this woman is and how powerful, persuasive, brilliant, and resilient she is. Any female executive, anybody who has been put to the side -- women, blacks, gays -- for them to succeed in a white-male-dominated culture is an act of brilliance. Of resilience, of grit, of everything you can imagine. So, what do I think of Hillary? I think she's fucking awesome. Is she in bed with Wall Street? Goddammit, I should hope so! You've got to dance with the devil. So which of the horrible people do you want? That's more of the question. Do you want a pompous braggart who doesn't know anything about diplomacy? Or do you want a badass bitch who knows how to get shit done? That's really the question.

How would you describe your political ideology?

I'm a realist. Drag says, "This is all bullshit." Drag says, "You're playing a role, and I'm here to remind you: Don't get it twisted. I'm not buying it. I understand what's really real, and what's really hood, and I'm living my life that way." I see politics the same way. Everybody's playing a role. And don't try to make me believe that you are what you say you are. I can see behind that mask.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. -- Oscar Wilde

There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender... gender is performatively constituted by the very expresssions that are said to be its results. -- Judith Butler

I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community. I hope that my being real with you will help empower you to step into who you are and encourage you to share yourself with those around you. -- Janet Mock


jimf said...

> What do you think about what's going on with Donald Trump
> and the Republican Party? . . .

Donald Trump Is Making America Meaner
Nicholas Kristof
AUG. 13, 2016

FOREST GROVE, Ore. — ALL across America, in little towns like this
one, Donald Trump is mainstreaming hate. . .

“People now feel that it is O.K. to say things that they might not
have said a year ago” . . . “Trump played a big role.”

Donald Trump is rending [the social fabric] with incendiary talk
about roughing up protesters and about gun owners solving the
problem of Hillary Clinton making judicial nominations. . .

We need not be apocalyptic about it. This is not Kristallnacht.
But Trump’s harsh rhetoric tears away the veneer of civility. . .
He has unleashed a beast and fed its hunger, and long after
this campaign is over we will be struggling to corral it again. . .

The tension reflects deep resentment among some white working-class
families. They are angry at immigrants who have taken over some
jobs, at the way communities they cherish are changing demographically
and linguistically, and at what they perceive as a stifling
political correctness that leaves whites accused of racism when
they speak up.

Many of my old Oregon farm-town friends are strong Trump supporters,
and they will completely disagree with this column. Their headline
would be, “Big Media Suffocates Real Americans With Political
Correctness.”. . .

I wrote a column recently exploring whether Trump is a racist,
and a result was anti-Semitic vitriol from Trump followers, one of
whom suggested I should be sent to the ovens for writing
“a typical Jewish hit piece.” In fact, I’m Armenian and Christian,
not Jewish, but the responses underscored that the Trump campaign
is enveloped by a cloud of racial, ethnic and religious
animosity -- much of it poorly informed. . .

So far, Trump has arguably benefited from his fondness for
over-the-top rhetoric. He gets attention and television time and
is always at the center of his own hurricane. But in November,
after the ballots have been counted and the crowds have gone home,
we will still have a country to share. . .

Inflammatory talk isn’t entertaining, but dangerous. It’s past time
for Trump to grow up. . .

This is a wrenching, divisive, polarizing time in America, and we
have a major party nominee who is sowing hatred and perhaps violence.
Let’s not succumb. . .

jimf said...
Donald Trump Courts the Gun Zealots
AUG. 13, 2016

The mutual embrace of Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association
grew tighter last week with Mr. Trump’s incendiary suggestion that
Second Amendment advocates could “maybe” find a way to deal with
Hillary Clinton and her gun safety agenda if she reached the
White House.

Whether calculated or clumsy, Mr. Trump’s ugly pronouncement left
a whiff of lethal intimidation in the air.

The N.R.A. stands almost alone now with Mr. Trump, as one of
his few remaining stalwarts in the Republican coalition. Mr. Trump
cynically cast aside his earlier pro-gun-control position and
successfully pandered this year for the group’s endorsement
during the primaries. And while Mr. Trump denies any intent to
cue up gun-packing psychopaths, his new best friends in the
N.R.A. have begun a $3 million TV attack campaign against
Mrs. Clinton. . .
A Playboy for President
Ross Douthat
AUG. 13, 2016

. . .

[I]t’s Trump rather than Clinton who has confirmed the full
triumph of the sexual revolutions. . .

Trump and Hillary are both children of the ’60s — but of its
opposite ends, the Brat Pack era in Trump’s case and the
flowering of boomer liberalism in Hillary’s.

Much of what seems strange and reactionary about Trump is tied
to what was normal to a certain kind of Sinatra and Mad Men-era man --
the casual sexism, the odd mix of sleaziness and formality,
even the insult-comic style. . .

The men’s sexual revolution, in which freedom meant freedom to
take your pleasure while women took the pill, is still a potent
force, and not only in the halls of Fox News. From Hollywood
and college campuses to rock concert backstages and Bill Clinton’s
political operation, it has persisted as a pervasive but
unspoken philosophy in precincts officially committed to
cultural liberalism and sexual equality. . .

[A]mong men who were promised pliant centerfolds and ended up
single with only high-speed internet to comfort them, the men’s
sexual revolution has curdled into a toxic subculture, resentful
of female empowerment in all its forms.

This is where you find Trump’s strongest (and, yes, strangest) fans.
He’s become the Daddy Alpha for every alpha-aspiring beta male,
whose mix of moral liberation and misogyny keeps the
Ring-a-Ding-Ding dream alive.

There aren’t nearly enough of these fans to win him the election.
Steinem’s revolution (Clintonian complications and all) should
easily beat Hef’s at the ballot box this year.

But the cultural conflict between these two post-revolutionary
styles -- between frat guys and feminist bluestockings,
Gamergaters and the diversity police, alt-right provocateurs and
“woke” dudebros, the mouthbreathers who poured hate on the all-female
“Ghostbusters” and the tastemakers who pretended it was good --
is likely here to stay. . .

jimf said...
The Decline of Unions and the Rise of Trump
AUG. 12, 2016

THE white working-class men who are planning to vote for
Donald J. Trump this November have been called many things:
xenophobic, racist, misogynist, dangerously naïve. . .
[But] they might have been out front in the fight against Mr. Trump --
if only the American labor movement weren’t a shell of its former self.

When we think about unions, what typically come to mind are
interest groups concerned with wages, benefits and working conditions. . .
[But u]nions are also political organizations that. . . can powerfully
channel the working-class vote.

[S]ociologist Seymour Martin Lipset[, i]n a 1959 paper, . . .
demonstrated that while the working class in most countries favors
economic liberalism, it also displays an authoritarian streak.
Using evidence from surveys, Mr. Lipset found blue-collar workers
to be less committed to democratic norms like tolerance for
political opponents, preference for rational argumentation over
charismatic appeals and support for the rights of ethnic and
racial minorities.

These tendencies, he claimed, were a function of lower levels
of education and the isolation of many workers (for example, coal miners)
from people who were different from them. Authoritarian attitudes
also owed something to the work itself. Controversially, he suggested
that manual work was at odds with the abstract thinking required
to appreciate complex, pluralistic solutions to political problems.

Yet in Mr. Lipset’s view unions had the potential to counter such
tendencies. . .

In Europe, as in the United States, working-class men are a key
constituency for the far-right political parties that are now ascendant.
Yet. . . a study published last month. . . found that union membership
helps inoculate workers against the far right’s message. . .
(It is not an accident of history that Hitler abolished German trade
unions as part of his consolidation of power, or that farmers and
small business owners were more sympathetic to the Nazi cause than
were industrial workers reared on unionism.) . . .

unions have been profoundly weakened. . . by decades of
assaults against them by the Republican Party.

In the post-World War II era, one in three American workers belonged
to a union; now it’s down to one in 10. In terms of representing the
traditional working class, the number is even smaller, since a large
and growing share of union members consists of public sector employees
with college degrees (like teachers).

Union decline has left the working class politically and economically
vulnerable, and it’s this vulnerability Mr. Trump has been able to exploit. . .
If unions had anything like their former influence, how many workers
would buy the empty economic promises Mr. Trump is making -- a man whose
recently announced economic advisory team is made up largely of
fellow billionaires, and who has said that hourly wages are too high? . . .

American unions have a checkered history and are far from perfect.
But as an institution, unions are an essential bulwark for democracy.
We’ve allowed them to wither at our peril.


Neil Gross, a professor of sociology at Colby College, is the
author of “Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care?”

jimf said...

> THE white working-class men who are planning to vote for
> Donald J. Trump this November

But what about the white upper-middle-class men who are planning
to vote for Donald J. Trump this November?
He Likes Trump. She Doesn’t. Can This Marriage Be Saved?
AUG. 13, 2016

In early May, when Dr. Thomas Stossel told his wife, Dr. Kerry Maguire,
of his plan to vote for Donald J. Trump in the general election,
she hit him with an ultimatum.

“If you vote for Trump, I will divorce you and move to Canada,”
she recalled telling him. He tried to laugh it off.

“I’m serious,” Dr. Maguire told him.

Before this spat, through nearly 20 years of marriage, politics
had never caused much friction between Dr. Maguire, a dentist
who is the director of the children’s outreach program at the
Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and Dr. Stossel, a]
hematologist and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. . .

[I]n an interview on July 28, Dr. Stossel restated his support
for the Republican nominee.

“I’m reasonably convinced that Hillary is handcuffed to the
economic progressive populism that has totally taken over the
Democratic Party, a.k.a., socialism,” said Dr. Stossel, a
visiting scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
“I think that if she gets power and the party gets power,
there is a good likelihood that the agendas of that movement
will be enacted. To me, that counters what I consider to be
what brings us prosperity, which is entrepreneurship.”. . .

Soon after learning that her husband was not backing away from
his decision to support Mr. Trump, Dr. Maguire picked him up at work. . .
In the car she asked him how he could actually vote for
Mr. Trump after everything that has happened. . .

Dr. Stossel replied that checks and balances were in place that
would keep a President Trump from putting the country in any real danger. . .

jimf said...

> What do you think about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats?
> "I'm A Realist"
The Perfect G.O.P. Nominee
Maureen Dowd
AUG. 13, 2016

SPEAKING of crazy. . .

All these woebegone Republicans whining that they can’t rally
behind their flawed candidate is crazy. The G.O.P. angst, the
gnashing and wailing and searching for last-minute substitutes
and exit strategies, is getting old.

They already have a 1-percenter who will be totally fine in
the Oval Office, someone they can trust to help Wall Street,
boost the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cuddle with hedge funds,
secure the trade deals beloved by corporate America, seek
guidance from Henry Kissinger and hawk it up -- unleashing
hell on Syria and heaven knows where else.

The Republicans have their candidate: It’s Hillary.

They can’t go with Donald Trump. He’s too volatile and unhinged.

The erstwhile Goldwater Girl and Goldman Sachs busker can be
counted on to do the normal political things, not the abnormal
haywire things. Trump’s propounding could drag us into war,
plunge us into a recession and shatter Washington into a thousand
tiny bits.

Hillary will keep the establishment safe. Who is more of an
establishment figure, after all? Her husband was president, and
he repealed Glass-Steagall, signed the Defense of Marriage Act
and got rid of those pesky welfare queens. . .

Hillary often seems more Republican than the Gotham bling king,
who used to be a Democrat and donor to Democratic candidates before
he jumped the turnstile.

Hillary is a reliable creature of Wall Street. . .

Unlike Trump, she hasn’t been trashing leading Republicans.
You know that her pals John McCain and Lindsey Graham are secretly
rooting for her. . .

Another neocon, James Kirchick, keened in The Daily Beast,
“Hillary Clinton is the one person standing between America and the abyss.”. . .

Politico reports that the Clinton team sent out feelers to see
if Kissinger, the Voldemort of Vietnam, and Condi Rice, the conjurer
of Saddam’s apocalyptic mushroom cloud, would back Hillary.

Hillary has written that Kissinger is an “idealistic” friend whose
counsel she valued as secretary of state, drawing a rebuke from
Bernie Sanders during the primaries: “I’m proud to say Henry Kissinger
is not my friend.”

[T]he specter of Kissinger, the man who advised Nixon to prolong the
Vietnam War to help with his re-election, fed a perception that
“the Democratic nominee has returned to her old, hawkish ways and is
again taking progressives for granted.”. . .

Hillary. . . understands her way around political language and
Washington rituals. Of course you do favors for wealthy donors.
And if you want to do something incredibly damaging to the country,
like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder
in U.S. history, don’t shout inflammatory and fabricated taunts
from a microphone. . .

As Republican strategist Steve Schmidt noted on MSNBC, “the candidate
in the race most like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a
foreign policy perspective is in fact Hillary Clinton, not the
Republican nominee.”

And that’s how Republicans prefer their crazy — not like Trump,
but like Cheney.

Ouch! ;->

Dale Carrico said...

I do wonder if online communication has made me meaner.