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Headline in the Washington Post:

THE ROOT | Few African Americans at Burning Man

From the Burning Blog:

Is Burning Man a “White People Thing?” 

… My very first burn I was astonished to realize that an event that draws so heavily from the diverse San Francisco Bay would produce a population so colorless.  From camp to camp, end to end, it was a long block of white as far as the eye could see, with only occasional dots of diversity … rare enough to raise comment.  Where were the Asians?  Where were the Hispanics?  Where were the black people?

I’d be interested in how much of a Northern European v. Southern European divide there is in who attends. The whole hippie thing seems Northern European to me. My cousin, for example, is a regular at Burning Man. He takes after his outdoorsy Swiss German mother, who regrets being too old to give it a try. His sisters take more after their Italian father, and wouldn’t be caught dead there.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From Salon:

Welcome to the age of non-profit city government [link fixed]
Can NGOs run cities?

This is a long, laudatory article about some nice white lady named Sue Mosey, who heads one of those quasi-governmental Community Development Corporations invented during the Great Society. Sue is portrayed as the real power in Detroit these days, as evidenced by her getting a Whole Foods to open in the gentrifying neighborhood where she lives.

I must admit I couldn’t manage to read the whole article intently, suffering from SWPL overdose, but I didn’t see much concern for concepts like democracy, enfranchisement of blacks, and so forth. In the SWPL mind, apparently, Cheap Urban Real Estate + Whole Foods + Unelected Nice White Lady Rulers sounds a whole lot better in 2012 than more Black Self-Rule.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From a Los Angeles Times article on the extravagance of Persian weddings in LA:
Shahbal Shabpareh and his band Black Cats — a premier Iranian American pop group — have performed American hits with a Persian twist at upper-crust Iranian celebrations almost weekly for years.

They’ve seen lots of lavish weddings, but one stands out as the most over-the-top.

As guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres outside the banquet hall, the bride was placed in a glass coffin. The groom fitted on a white half-mask. Then, the carefully planned Phantom of the Opera theme devolved into chaos.

Condensation formed inside the coffin as guests delayed filtering in. When the groom finally took his cue to present the bride, the lid wouldn’t budge. Before long, he was slamming the glass trying to break through as the bride wailed inside, her makeup running down her face. It would be an hour before she was finally freed.

For Shabpareh, the night crystallized the breakneck rise in ostentation at weddings hosted in recent years by L.A.’s wealthiest Iranian Americans. For some, party hosting can be a competitive sport, with spending used as a yardstick for status. Weddings boasting guest lists almost a thousand deep with price tags nearing half a million dollars are not unheard of.

Status-striving among the kind of white people featured in Stuff White People Like comes in for some ribbing around here now and then, but I’ve got to admit that it has its upsides versus the kind of status-striving that’s increasingly common in LA.

If wealthy Portlanders obsessively compete over who has, say, the kayak with the latest high tech innovations, the world eventually gets better kayaks. In contrast, when  Beverly Hills Persians compete over who can throw the most garish wedding, the world just gets more garish Persian weddings.

I suspect the Beverly Hills Persians are behaving closer to the human default mode. The SWPL mode of status competition goes back to, I suspect, 17th Century England, and is a rarer and more productive form of behavior, one that might not last all that many more generations in the U.S.

I suspect we’ll miss it when it’s gone.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From New Geography:

Among the media, academia and within planning circles, there’s a generally standing answer to the question of what cities are the best, the most progressive and best role models for small and mid-sized cities. The standard list includes Portland, Seattle, Austin, Minneapolis, and Denver. In particular, Portland is held up as a paradigm, with its urban growth boundary, extensive transit system, excellent cycling culture, and a pro-density policy. These cities are frequently contrasted with those of the Rust Belt and South, which are found wanting, often even by locals, as “cool” urban places.

But look closely at these exemplars and a curious fact emerges. If you take away the dominant Tier One cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles you will find that the “progressive” cities aren’t red or blue, but another color entirely: white.

In fact, not one of these “progressive” cities even reaches the national average for African American percentage population in its core county. Perhaps not progressiveness but whiteness is the defining characteristic of the group.

Read the whole thing.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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In Tom Wolfe books about the denizens of the Upper East Side, English nannies are the gold standard of status. The peasants have to get by with other brands.


Tibetan nannies: Parents’ new status symbol?

In some families, the ethnic background of a nanny carries a certain cachet — and entrenched stereotypes.

“Generally speaking, what is the difference between someone from the Philippines, Tibet and the Caribbean in terms of child-raising mentality, patience, education …?,” wondered a recent poster on the popular parenting site

Such posts — and parents — are not alone in voicing their wishes to hire nannies with the “right” socio-ethnic background for their children. For the past several years, Tibetan nannies have been all the rage in New York City. On message boards and playgrounds, some parents claimed Tibetan nannies were “very balanced and Zen” and aided in children’s “spiritual development,” whereas in areas such as Dallas, for example, Latino nannies have been more in demand for their Spanish-speaking abilities.

At the Diki Daycare Center in Astoria, N.Y., demand for Tibetan nannies became so great that the preschool began offering a Tibetan nanny referral service.

“Tibetan women are well known for being caring and loving nannies,” reads the promotional literature. “They are recognized for becoming ‘one of the family’ and offer the same compassion and quality of care for their charges as they do their own children.” Furthermore, it says, “Cleanliness, organization & dedication to education are values of Tibetan culture.”

I used to read a lot of mountain climbing books, which were full of glimpses of Tibetan culture. As the highest altitude culture in the world, and one of the most isolated, Tibet has always had a certain glamor. From what I read, however, I would not characterize “cleanliness, organization & dedication to education” as values of traditional Tibet. The smell of rancid butter was something practically every climber to visit Tibet remarked upon.

In fact, Tibetan nannies have become so popular that they may have become victims of their own success as they’ve been able to request and get escalating salaries — much to the annoyance of some employers.

I love how the media has so totally bought into the Cheap Labor Is Good mindset that getting escalating salaries makes Tibetan nannies victims of their own success.

“Our nanny has priced herself out of our range and I will let her go because she guilted us into paying through the nose,” recently wrote an outraged New Yorker on the message boards of

The downturn in the economy may also be compelling some parents to shift their focus to their own financial futures rather than the “Free Tibet” movement by seeking nannies who offer more practical perks — free language instructions.

“The trends that I see are more toward education, cultural enrichment,” says Clifford Greenhouse, the president of the Pavillion Agency, a nanny and housekeepers employment agency. “[Parents] are getting realistic as to the important things in life.”

To that end, he says, the top requests are for nannies who are native speakers of “world languages,” such as Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Spanish because, Greenhouse says, parents want their children to have an educational leg up, and a free language lesson thrown in with child care seems to fit the bill.

But is learning to speak Spanish with a lower class Mexican accent really the first step into a glittering career in international business?

Licensed employment agencies are prohibited by law to discriminate on the basis of ethnic background, though if there is a legitimate cultural or educational reason behind a request for a nanny with a particular background, owners of such firms will generally entertain them.

But doesn’t all this smack of plain, old-fashioned racism? It certainly does to many nannies. …

What is even more troubling, points out Blaine, is the blatant racial profiling conducted by prospective employers, largely the mothers of nannies’ charges.

“Women who would never feel comfortable making such sweeping generalizations about anyone’s racial background in other areas of their lives, like work, somehow feel free to do it when they’re talking about hiring nannies,” she says. “People are more upfront when they’re talking about their homes and their kids because you don’t have to worry about H.R. coming to you, there’s no policing.”…

I’m shocked, shocked to hear this.

The bottom line, she says, is that race just doesn’t matter. “I can tell you, that in 18 years of doing this, I’ve never had a racial stereotype confirmed in the aggregate.”

Never …

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From the New York Times on the success of the new professional soccer team in Seattle:

Ushers who work games at Qwest stadium for the Seattle Seahawks football team and now the Sounders say they are amazed by Sounder fans standing, stomping and chanting for the full 90 minutes of play, many waving bright green Sounders scarves. Joy, underwritten by one of Microsoft’s ubiquitous sponsorships, prevails.

“They wanted this,” said Grallin Butler, an usher presiding over Section 129 on Saturday.

Even in a city that has supported professional football, baseball and basketball teams for decades, many people say that something else is at work in the instant passion for the Sounders. They say it reflects the region’s well-established affection for soccer but also its conviction that it is not quite like the rest of America. When Seattle cheers the Sounders, it cheers its civic image.

“Soccer is kind of the alternative sport for the United States,” said J. B. Wogan, 24, a reporter for a suburban weekly newspaper. “And Seattle is kind of an alternative city.”

Mr. Wogan was standing with friends in a section where a man with a megaphone led cheers of “Seattle Sounders Olé.”

The promotion plan for the team has appealed to that notion as well as to the city’s international aspirations. The FC at the end of the team’s name stands for Football Club, intended to evoke a European feel. The Sounders scarves were another idea imported from overseas. Billboards, including one near the docks where salmon fisherman still leave for Alaska each spring, say: “The world’s game comes to Seattle.”

The funny thing, of course, is that Seattelites aren’t worldly enough to realize that soccer is a prole sport in Europe.

From Stuff White People Like, #80 “The Idea of Soccer:”

Many white people will tell you that they are very into soccer. But be careful, it’s a trap.

If you then attempt to engage them about your favorite soccer team or talk about famous moments in soccer history, you are likely to be met with blank stares. This is because white people don’t actually enjoy watching soccer, they just like telling their friends that they are into it.

In fact, the main reason white people like soccer is so they can buy a new scarf.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From a New York Times story, “The Great Gay Hope,” on the latest Portland, Oregon mayor who can’t keep his hands off the teenage help:

Portland is The City That Works, a slogan not just emblazoned on official vehicles, but taken to heart by its citizens. It is perhaps the most European of American cities, literate and small-scale urban, a pleasant surprise around every corner. And it is often a city of firsts, doing things well and sensibly before any other.

Could Portland being the most European of American cities have anything to do with it being, by far, the most European-American of cities?

Nah, it’s got to be just a coincidence.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Portland, Oregon is, of course, near the top of any list of Stuff White People Like. It has it all: environmental restrictions on suburban development, trams, liberal social attitudes, bicycle trails, awareness, an upscale population, microbreweries, sterility, and so much more. Not surprisingly, white people like Portland. In fact, it was the only city in the country where reporter Jonathan Tilove found, while researching his book The View from Martin Luther King Drive, that white gentrifiers were driving blacks away from the local MLK Drive. Similarly, it’s one of the few cities in the country with a growing population of Reform/Conservative Jews.

Nonwhites, eh … not so much.

Of all the major urban area’s, Portland’s “core city” is the whitest.

For last week’s Obasm, the Portland Oregonian ran a lengthy article by Betsy Hammond lamenting, “In a Changing World, Portland Remains Overwhelmingly White.” On the printed version, the subheadline read, “The metro area is less diverse than most — even Salt Lake City.” As we all know these days, Mormons are the source of all evil.

(In reality, Mormons invite in to Utah Latin and Pacific Islander converts.)

As the nation’s first African American president prepares to take office this week, metro Portland — with its overwhelmingly white population and leadership — is demographically out of step with 2009 America.

Among the nation’s 40 largest metro areas, only four — none of them in the West — are whiter than Portland, new census figures show.

But what’s really distinctive about Portland is not that it has white suburbs, but that the core city is so white — 74%, compared to runner-up Seattle’s 68%. In contrast, Detroit is last at 8% (presumably, mostly grizzled Clint Eastwoods yelling at the damn punks to get off his lawn).

Los Angeles, which everyone in Portland despises, has the least white suburbs: only 34% white, making it the least white metropolitan area in the country.

… But since 2000, growth rates among Portland’s small minority populations have slowed from the 1990s. In the same period, more than 100,000 additional non-Hispanic whites have flocked to the Portland area. The whitest suburb — Clark County outside Vancouver — alone added 53,000 white residents.

The upshot is that the Portland metro area is startlingly white viewed against the national landscape — even whiter than Salt Lake City, according to the latest Census Bureau estimates. Metro Portland includes Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas and Clark counties.

The implications are far-reaching.

In today’s America, people of color make up more than 40 percent of a typical metro area’s population, an analysis by The Oregonian shows.

But in metro Portland, public policy still is controlled from a white point of view. Among the hundreds of mayors, city council members and state lawmakers representing metro Portland, there are just four Latino city councilors, one African-born council member and a lone African American state senator.

Portland’s lack of diversity means it is less cosmopolitan, less dynamic and at risk of being less competitive than other metro areas, worries David Bragdon, president of the Metro regional government.

Click image to enlarge

It’s a plus that Portland is a magnet for young, college-educated Americans who can choose to live anywhere, says William Frey, demographer for the Brookings Institution and a specialist in urban and suburban trends.

But college-educated Americans are overwhelmingly white, and those who migrate to Portland are disproportionately so — the “beer, bikes and Birkenstock” crowd, in the words of Portland economist Joe Cortright.

Portland-area employers competing for top talent have a hard time retaining African American hires, who often can’t bear the social and cultural isolation of a metro area that is less than 3 percent black.

“A lot of my friends and other minorities come here to Portland thinking of it as a stopover,” says Angel Anderson, an African American software engineer from suburban Chicago who was recruited by Intel. “They leave the state in a year or two.”

Anderson has stayed four years, bought a house in Tanasbourne, loves her job and calls Portland “the friendliest place I have ever lived.” But she chafes at often being the only black face in the room, longing for “somebody I could talk to who might have similar experiences to me.”

The Portland area’s nearly half-million people of color often get the message that their concerns are an afterthought, says Irma Valdez, a real estate agent who serves on the Portland Planning Commission. “Some of the stuff I hear on the planning commission would make you want to pass out,” she says.

Sustainability, downtown condos and bike lanes drown out priorities of minority residents, she says.

A MAX line to serve Latino families living near Southeast 122nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard. Naming a Portland street for Cesar Chavez. Creating affordable family housing. Calls for immigration reform.

“Those are off the table,” Valdez says. “Not because Portland is racist, but because there is always some other agenda item that is more pressing.”

Minority residents can feel left out, unable to easily find a hairdresser, a radio station that resonates, a church that feels like home, says Vicki Nakamura, who helps employers recruit and retain minority professionals.

Nakamura has taken the lead on hosting quarterly corporate-sponsored gatherings, dubbed “Say Hey,” to welcome minority professionals. Several hundred people gather to sip wine, nibble hors d’oeuvres and welcome African Americans, Asians and Latinos to town.

“You go to Say Hey, and you see two-thirds of the people are people of color and you’re pretty thrilled. Sometimes the newcomers are almost in tears,” she says.

Sam Adams, Portland’s new mayor, says white leaders must make sure they respond to challenges faced by people of color. Re-establishing the city’s human rights commission, supporting minority contractor requirements and battling what he calls “shamefully” high dropout rates among minority youths are among his priorities.

“That we are so overwhelmingly white … is neither good nor bad, but it’s a fact. So we have to work that much harder to make sure that nonwhite Portlanders have unfettered access to social and economic opportunities,” says Adams, who presides over an all-white City Council.

An all-white City Council!

Portland is predominantly white today primarily because it started out virtually all white and stayed largely that way for more than 100 years, by design.

Oregon was settled by pioneers who pushed West from 1840 to 1880, a generation much concerned with race, says Darrell Millner, professor of black studies at Portland State University. At the time, whites in the South thought the solution to racial strife was to enslave blacks, but he says whites who came to Oregon didn’t want to possess blacks, they wanted to escape them

“Conventional wisdom at the time was clear, says Millner: “If you don’t have more than one race, then you don’t have any racial problems.”

First as a territory, then as a state, Oregon passed laws banning African Americans from Oregon. In the late 1800s, Chinese laborers were admitted to mine and build railroads, but they could not bring women or children or own property — and were often victimized, such as during the 1887 massacre of 37 Chinese miners camped along the Snake River in Wallowa County.

During the African American migration out of the South in the 1920s, Oregon didn’t draw blacks mainly because it was “off the map, too remote, too far from black population centers,” Millner says. Seattle, settled later than Portland, had less overtly racist views and offered more maritime jobs. California was closer, offered railroad jobs and had better weather.

Until the 1990s, the biggest minority population surge in metro Portland came in the early 1940s, when the African American population grew tenfold as blacks were recruited for wartime work. “The traditional source of labor, young white males, was not available, and somebody had to build the ships,” Millner says.

After the war, half the black population left Oregon because “black people couldn’t find any employment, they couldn’t buy homes in most of the state and the police were extremely hostile,” he says.

Those who remained were restricted to live in North and Northeast Portland. Asian immigrants could not own homes, period. Japanese Americans were interned far from Portland during World War II and, once released, were initially barred from living within 150 miles of the coast.

“Oregon was virulently racist for much of its history,” says Bragdon, the Metro leader. “And if you don’t have a large minority population, that becomes self-reinforcing over time.”

Since 2000, the metro areas of Seattle and Salt Lake City — places nearly as white as Portland — have grown larger and more diverse, primarily by adding Latinos and Asians to their suburbs.

Salt Lake, which was as white as Portland in 2000, drew 53,000 additional Latino residents and 11,000 more Asians. Key to the growth was outreach by the county mayor, who made diversity a top goal and regularly attends minority cultural events, says Rebecca Sanchez, the county’s diversity affairs coordinator.

By contrast, in that same period, metro Portland added more white people than all minorities combined….

Longtime residents of both Clackamas and Clark counties say a reputation for redneck attitudes, along with the historic absence of minority residents, has turned away some potential residents of color.

… Latinos, the fastest-growing group, now represent nearly one of every five Oregon students. Metrowide, white students have fallen to two-thirds of the enrollment.

Among 10 year-olds born in Oregon, one in seven had parents of different races or one parent who was Latino and one who was not.

… Unlike most metro areas, Portland’s urban core isn’t a hub for minorities. Instead, Portland is the whitest big city in the nation, at 74 percent white. Seattle, at 68 percent, is No. 2.

Expensive, close-in housing continues to draw more whites than minorities, census figures show. Since 2000, Portland added 10,000 white residents, reversing a trend from the 1990s.

Portland will grow less white and more diverse — just more slowly than the rest of the country, experts say. Latinos in particular will play a much bigger role in the metro area’s future.

“We’ve got Hispanics moving to Indiana and Iowa, so they are going to come to Portland,” says Frey of the Brookings Institution. But their foothold on political power is likely to lag their numbers, he says, and white politicians will continue to call the shots for a growing Latino population for years.

Dina DiNucci, expertly forming a crepe behind the counter of her neighborhood coffee shop in Gresham, is ahead of the curve, living and working in one of the most ethnically diverse parts of metro Portland. Her customers include Latinos and Russian immigrants along with longtime white residents of the area.

“We are not just a white America anymore,” she says. “It is changing all around us.”

– Betsy Hammond;

I have this vague impression that Russians are white. Also, aren’t people name “Dina DiNucci” normally Italians rather than Hispanics?

A commenter in Portland responds:

Yes but, how else would Portlandites know how to advise urbanites on the Value of Diversity if they didn’t have protective growth boundaries that drive home prices to levels to where the poor folk (Black/Brown) can only work or visit?

De facto segregation is user-friendly and so much easier to ignore.

Similarly, I wrote about this conundrum in a 2004 article entitled “The Limits of Libertarianism,” comparing environmentalist Northern California to traditionally more free enterprise South California:

Subtle but important social differences emerged between Southern and Northern California. Which was the better mode was arguable—until recently.

Now, however, it has become clear that Northern California’s traditional elitism has helped it withstand the onslaught of illegal immigration better than Southern California’s traditional populist libertarianism. …

Northern California forestalled much of the dreariness of Southern California’s Hispanic areas by being a high-cost economy. Ferociously powerful unions kept wages high. Stringent aesthetic restrictions and large amounts of land devoted to parks kept housing costs high. Northern Californians spearheaded the environmentalist movement—which had the unspoken but not-unintended consequence of driving up property values even further.

Southern California, in contrast, was not heavily unionized or environmentalized. It encouraged developers to put up huge tracts of homes.

The longterm downside of SWPLism, of course, is dying out.

The basic strategy of the liberal whites of Portland is to use environmental restrictions and the like to keep the supply of housing down and the price of housing up so high that undesirables stay away.

It’s works great for single people and childless couples who can enjoy a very pleasant urban lifestyle in Portland free of the hassles of urban living in most American cities. The problem is that the cost of living in Portland is so high that all but the most wealthy families have to move out of the core city by the time they have their second child.

A 2005 New York Times article focusing on Portland was aptly entitled: “Vibrant Cities Find One Thing Missing: Children.”

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Pearl District in the heart of this perpetually self-improving city
seems to have everything in new urban design and comfort, from the Whole Foods store where fresh-buffed bell peppers are displayed like runway models to the converted lofts that face sidewalk gardens.

Everything except children.

Crime is down. New homes and businesses are sprouting everywhere. But in what may be Portland’s trendiest and fastest-growing neighborhood, the number of school-age children grew by only three between the census counts in 1990 and 2000, according to demographers at Portland State University.

“The neighborhood would love to have more kids, that’s probably the top of our wish list,” said Joan Pendergast of the Pearl Neighborhood Association. “We don’t want to be a one-dimensional place.”

It is a problem unlike the urban woes of cities like Detroit and Baltimore, where families have fled decaying neighborhoods, business areas and schools. Portland is one of the nation’s top draws for the kind of educated, self-starting urbanites that midsize cities are competing to attract. But as these cities are remodeled to match the tastes of people living well in neighborhoods that were nearly abandoned a generation ago, they are struggling to hold on to enough children to keep schools running and parks alive with young voices.

San Francisco, where the median house price is now about $700,000, had the lowest percentage of people under 18 of any large city in the nation, 14.5 percent, compared with 25.7 percent nationwide, the 2000 census reported. Seattle, where there are more dogs than children, was a close second. Boston, Honolulu, Portland, Miami, Denver, Minneapolis, Austin and Atlanta, all considered, healthy, vibrant urban areas, were not far behind. The problem is not just that American women are having fewer children, reflected in the lowest birth rate ever recorded in the country.

Officials say that the very things that attract people who revitalize a city – dense vertical housing, fashionable restaurants and shops and mass transit that makes a car unnecessary – are driving out children by making the neighborhoods too expensive for young families.

Has any place found a solution?

On a lighter note, last year, Stuff White People Like summarized a similar NY Times article about Portland’s lack of minorities in its continuing “White People in the News” section:


Portland struggles to figure out how to create diversity without affecting property values. It is not easy. Fortunately, things are being solved through awareness.

Best Passage

“I’ve been really upset by what I perceive to be Portland’s blind spot in its progressivism,” said Khaela Maricich, a local artist and musician. “They think they live in the best city in the country, but it’s all about saving the environment and things like that. It’s not really about social issues. It’s upper-middle-class progressivism, really.”

Ms. Maricich, 33, who is white, spoke after attending this month’s meeting of Portland’s Restorative Listening Project.

Stuff Mentioned

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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As Dennis Dale noted even before the Inaugural Kitschfest, Milan Kundera pointed out that:

Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass! It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch.

In his fine new book The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution, Denis Dutton expands upon Kundera’s insight:

The first tear is what we shed in the presence of a tragic, pitiful, or perhaps beautiful event. The second tear is shed in recognition of our own sensitive nature, our remarkable ability to feel such pity, to understand such pathos or beauty. A love of kitsch is therefore essentially self-congratulatory. In a withering critique of Sir Luk Fildes’s The Doctor (1891, Tage Gallery), Clive Bell says that this famous portrayal of a thoughtful physician with a sick child creates what he calls a “false” emotion. What the painting gives us “is not pity and admiration but a sense of complacency in our own pitifulness and generosity.”

The kitsch object openly declares itself to be “beautiful,” “profound,” “moving,” or “important.” But it does not bother trying to embody these qualities, because it is actually about its audience, or its owner. The ultimate reference point for kitsch is always me: my needs, my tastes, my deep feelings, my worthy interests, my admirable morality. …

Kitsch shows you nothing genuinely new, changes nothing in your bright shining soul; to the contrary, it congratulates you for being exactly the refined person you already are.

Sound familiar?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Mickey writes:

Went to a Halloween party dressed as The Bradley Effect. The elemental conceptual simplicity of my costume somehow failed to terrify, even in a Dem heavy Hollywood crowd. … This may be the first election where average Web-surfing, procrastinating liberal comedy writers know more about the last Insider Advantage poll in Pennsylvania than Howard Fineman does…. Unfortunately, they thought the photo of George Deukmejian on my costume** was Robert Rubin.

**–Pinned to the red half of the costume under a blue flap that–easier to show than tell–flopped over to obscure a photo of long-serving L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley, whom they mistook for an Asian man. They had been drinking. …

As a summer job in 1981, I worked for a lady who worked for Mayor Tom. I shook the Mayor’s hand once: A tall, impressive man with an unusual look to him. I thought he looked quite American Indian, much like basketball player Scottie Pippen does. Oddly enough, he also looked much like Anwar Sadat, who was half-Sudanese.

Meanwhile, Christian Lander blogs on Stuff White People Like:

Halloween is so important to white people because they have to wear a costume. It is a chance to literally show everyone how clever you are without having to say a word. … For this reason any white Halloween Party is less of a celebration than it is a contest. And as with any contest, there are a lot of rules.

The first thing you need to know that white people are the only people on the planet who will dress up as a concept. So while your initial thoughts about a costume might be “cowboy,” “policeman,” or “Count Dracula,” white people are more likely to think “math,” “the economy,” or “Post-Modernism.”

Dressing up as a concept is always a major gamble. On one hand, there is the chance that you nail it just right and everyone in the room will recognize how you not only cleverly interpreted the idea but also executed it perfectly in physical form. If you get it wrong, you will be required to spend the entire night explaining yourself. Then again, it is a good way to get white people to talk to you.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Here’s a website called, where they ask you vocabulary questions and the sponsors (e.g., UniLever) donate 20 grains of rice to hungry people somewhere or other for each word you get right. Many of the words are highly obscure, but if you know your Greek and Latin prefixes and suffixes, you’ll do okay.

I got the first 31 in a row right for 620 grains of rice, so, morally speaking, I now get to go kick a cat or something.

Here’s how to make it better so that it would be a hit gameshow on NPR or PBS.

You win one grain of rice to donate to the global poor for getting the first, very easy question right. You win two for the second, four for the third, eight for the fourth.

Get it? It’s exponential. White People love the Power of Two. (In fact, “The Power of Two” would be a good name for the show.) By getting 31 in a row right, I would have had donated 1,073,741,824 grains of rice.

Which comes out to about 37,000 pounds, or about $25,000 bucks at today’s high prices — i.e., that’s about the right amount for a guest with a good vocabulary who lucks into a hot streak like I did. In contrast, on the commercial TV “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” the prizes for a right answer rise in 15 steps from $100 to $1,000,000.

Second, vocabulary questions are good, but if you really want to drive the NPR/PBS audience wild, also include grammar questions! Nothing raise the passions of the SWPL crowd higher than disputes over grammar.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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is the “Not a Bus” concept in “#147 – Public Transportation That Is Not a Bus.” Christian Lander developed my basic point nicely:

… White people all support the idea of public transportation and will be happy to tell you about how the subways and streetcars/trams have helped to energize cities like Chicago and Portland. They will tell you all about the energy and cost savigns of having people abandon their cars for public transportation and how they hope that one day they can live in a city where they will be car-free.

At this point, you are probably thinking about the massive number of buses that serve your city and how you have never seen a white person riding them. To a white person a bus is essentially a giant minivan that continually stops to pick up progressively smellier people. You should never, ever point this out to a white person. It will make them recognize that they might not love public transportation as much as they though, and then they will feel sad.

The book is on Amazon for $11.80. I was going to mention that it’s very easy to give books as gifts via Amazon (just fill in the address of the recipient), but then I noticed “#138 Books:”

So now that you know that white people like books, you might assume that a book is the perfect gift. Not so fast. There are a few possible outcomes from giving books, and few of them end well. If you get a white person a book that they already have, the situation will be uncomfortable. If you get them a book that they do want, you will be forever viewed as someone with poor taste in literature. In the event that you get them a book that they want and do not have, they are forced to recognize that they have not read it, which instantly paints you as a threat. There is no way to win when you give a book to a white person.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Christian Lander writes:

In most of the world when a person works long hours without pay, it is referred to as “slavery” or “forced labor.” For white people this process is referred to as an internship and is considered an essential stage in white development. …

You would assume that the most sought after internships would be in areas that lead to the greatest financial reward. Young White people, however, prefer internships that put them on the path for careers that will generally result in a DECREASE of the material wealth accumulated by their parents.

For example, if you were to present a white 19 year old with the choice of spending the summer earning $15 an hour as a plumber

It’s interesting how the upper middle class has increasingly barricaded off entry into a lot of different occupations by insisting upon unpaid internships, which discourages young people who need the money from a summer job.

Now that his Stuff White People Like book has been on the NY Times bestseller list for a couple of weeks, I’ll finally mention that, not surprisingly, Christian was a veteran reader from way back.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Tim Wise describes himself on as:

Tim Wise is among the most respected anti-racist writers & educators in the U.S., having spoken in 48 states and on over 400 college campuses. He has trained teachers as well as corporate, government, media and law enforcement officials on methods for dismantling institutional racism, and has served as an consultant for plaintiff’s attorneys in federal discrimination cases in New York and Washington State. Wise has contributed essays to fifteen books, and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows worldwide to discuss race and racism.

Wise is the author of “White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son” and “Affirmative Action: Racial Preferences in Black and White.”

So, in honor of Tim Wise, it’s right and fitting to coin the term “an Uncle Tim.”

Here’s to you, Tim. Of all the Uncle Tims out there making a living off the race racket, you are the Uncle Timmiest.

(This picture by the way, was picked out by the man himself — it’s on the top of the homepage of I must compliment him on finding a picture that so epitomizes an Uncle Tim’s slightly demented combination of self-righteousness and self-satisfaction. He looks like a man who has Got The Microphone and won’t be giving it up for a long, long time.)

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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