Day: February 19, 2017

Tap Class Personalities

Day 19 of black history month, I’m sharing this wonderful James Van Der Zee photo of a tap dance class in Harlem in 1928. I don’t know whether any of these little girls grew up to be famous dancers, but I’d pick them over Degas’ ballerinas any day of the week (meaning no disrespect to Degas). Such distinct yet marvelously universal personalities captured in a single frame. Absent knowing the true details of their lives (please tell me if you do know), I hope somebody will write a middle-grade adventure story inspired by them. I want so many wonderful things for the children in this picture, and don’t know whether they ever got them.

james-van-der-zee-5

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#LastNightInSweden

Grateful to Pres. Trump for inventing a Feb. 17 terrorist attack in Sweden (never happened), because Swedish twitter has run with it. Many, many riffs on the horrors of IKEA, herring, Abba, and the Swedish Chef. (Also, I have just found out from Joseph that Sweden has an official Twitter account that is handed off to a new randomly-selected citizen weekly. I love that.)

Per the BBC, the Swede on deck was school librarian Emma Johansson.

Mind you, there WAS a horrific terror attack by Daesh on February 17. In Pakistan. At a Sufi shrine. It killed at least 88 pacifist Muslims who were engaged in dhamaal, a meditative ceremonial dance (which you’d maybe recognize in the west as “whirling dervishes“).

Town Hall Hullaballoo

Responses to sustained, swarming protest, ranked in descending order of intellectual honesty (paraphrased):

1. “Wow, a lot of my constituents are upset about this. We should have a dialogue.” (Rep. Mark Sanford, R-SC)

2. “A lot of my constituents are upset, but I don’t think they’re a representative sample. We did just have an election in which they seemed to have voted for what’s happening, so probably a minority viewpoint has gotten really loud. I should listen to them but not assume they’re the majority.” (Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT)

3. “A lot of my constituents are upset about this, but I think that will flame out quickly so I don’t need to consider their viewpoint at all.” (Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY. Sidebar, how awkward must it be that the two Kentucky senators, McConnell and Rand Paul, are probably on planes together a lot and probably hate each other.)

4. “Nobody is upset except a conspiracy of very wealthy people who are paying millions of actors to pretend to protest, in order to end tax cuts to themselves and preserve healthcare for poor people. There’s a HUGE wealth gap in this country which makes this possible, but I support the wealth gap, and am going to protect those rich conspirators from themselves! Stop spending your money on this weird kind of conspicuous consumption, shadow secret conspiracy! Bribe me directly if you want to buy access.” (Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa)

Steve King’s going to have a pretty interesting next year or so. Solipsism is fun and all, but reality being what it is, it’ll assert itself pretty quickly, no matter what somebody’s news sources are. To put it another way, you can trust the weather forecaster or not, but water will or won’t fall from the sky.

I am the government. You are the government. We are the government. The fact of our bodies fills up more space than fingers in la-la-la ears. It’s our job to bring change or not.