the voice of humility

Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pittsfield-The place to be young, liberal, politically correct and...white.

Boston's WCVB has an evening show called Chronicle.  It is well done and the subjects are wide ranging, but always something to do with New England. Sometimes it's new business or medical advances pioneered regionally.

Often, it is a destination that one from their metro Boston coverage area might want to visit. Last evening, it was Pittsfield.


Pittsfield was a one industry small city in the Massachusetts Berkshires. General Electric dominated the town until they bugged out.  As usual, when the big employer left, hard times ensued.

Chambers of commerce and civic boosters always try different tactics to bring about a hoped for renaissance. Sometimes it works, as when a community college satellite campus can be brought in. No one in Massachusetts ever calls for a state prison as the new job provider, but in a few places there is the call for a casino.

Sometimes it just happens. It helps if there is a surplus of low cost real estate that is not derelict and in a beautiful spot.

And, it happened in Pittsfield.

The co-hosts waxed poetic about all the new shops and eateries that have opened up, and they are all attractive venues. The food prepared at Eat on North looked looked to be an pleasant dining experience.

All the residents and entrepreneurs and artists featured look youngish or at least well preserved and, shall we say it hip. Oh, and shall we say it, white

Should that matter. As a live and let live type, not to me. The folks on the Chronicle episode all appear to be people who could be trustafarians. They may not be, but the meticulous casualness of their bad clothes seems to betray that.

There is one other aspect of all these cool folks, I don't think there was one African-American among them. Usually, that seems to bother people. There was not a peep of protest from anyone on the staff or townspeople.

It would cause an emergency insertion of a pacemaker if Pittsfield were a hotbed Trumpism.

It would be the perfect place for black brunch to show up. Ain't happening in that whitopia.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Prince is gone world goes into mourning-moi, not so much

The period of mourning for David Bowie ends and almost immediately another rocker says au revoir.

What is there to say?  For the voice of humility, not all that much.

Unlike Mr. Bowie (our sparse commentary here) I was much older when our good man came on the scene and cannot even hum a few bars to save my life.

Yet I, along with the rest of the public, am being told I must celebrate his life and regret his passing.

Suffice it to say, from what little I've read, he wasn't a bad guy and his end was unpleasant enough that it is sad even to someone who knows so little of his oeuvre.  If there is another dimension, one hopes he is succored there, preferably without his guitar.

There is one of his songs, sung by the girl group, the Bangles, that I do know of.  Though not a big fan, it was a catchy tune.  When apprised of the provenance, I realized who was dreaming of "kissin' Valentino By a crystal blue Italian stream."  


Friday, February 05, 2016

SitRep 4th qtr

We cannot speak to how this fell into our hands.


Situation Report on The United States of America- Fourth Quarter 2015

To : First Commissioner
       Grand Commission
       Republic of Cubania

Sir:

I apologize that the fourth quarter report is late.  The exigencies of supporting myself as the Republic provides no subvention.

The situation to be reported in this country is the ongoing cold civil war of some of the population against a perceived class and racial enemy.

That enemy is always described as the Patriarchy.  It is characterized as a vast entity of elite caucasians.  In reality, it is the lower the middle of the middle class white males.  There is always the questioning of whether something is too white.

Though the enemy is always looked upon as the elite, they suffer few penalties.  Large banks and their less than competent management were bailed out from their disastrous policies.  Said management is almost all white but suffered nothing in real terms.  As far as is observable, there is no call for an infusion of African American corrupt bankers to level the playing field.

Out in Silicon Valley, an area of the State of California, vast wealth has been generated by men of some enterprise.  These males also tend to be Caucasian with some East and South Asians.  The men at the top are unassailable.  There fortunes are secure.

Still,  there is the hue and cry that some unfairness exists because the American hereditary non-white population and woman are not in lucrative positions in proportion to their portion of the population.

That no one stopped them is attributed to structural injustices that they had no control over.  It is considered bad form to speculate otherwise.

The great sin of the Caucasians is that they showed up.

The non-elite Caucasians are actively being replaced by South Asians who can be exploited as cheaper labor and are imported under visa programs that serve the purposes of the neo-plutocrats.

This explains the success of the Trump campaign and to a lesser extent, the Sanders effort.  Trump came out of nowhere to hijack the early season.  Up until then, there had been an unspoken non-gentleman's agreement to say nothing or speak in meaningless platitudes about immigration.

Mr. Trump swept that all aside by not merely noticing the elephant in the room, but bringing more lamps in to illuminate it.  In one moment, he changed the whole dynamic.  Hitherto, the whole dynamic of the so-called conservative movement was to collect money and get yes men elected from a swath of interchangeable blatherers who served interests alien to the party base.

One should not say the lower orders knew all along how they were being taken, but Trump's success is at least evidence that they sensed something.

Sanders is a little different.  His campaign, up until now, seems to be as Caucasian, though in the last week I have seen two black males sporting his tee shirts even though Hilary was thought to be the candidate with most appeal to African Americans.  Sans a black candidate, of course.

Whenever I've been out and Sanders' people have approached me, they have almost always been young, college age, or recent grads and female.  What this is about, I am not completely sure.  There are some thoughts however, and they are speculative at best.

The German general, Hammerstein-Equord, had a system for classifying officers: "I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief."
The system he suggested does not apply exactly to the American presidency.  As deTocqueville noted, it is second raters at best, who seek the office.
That noted, Bill Clinton, according to the Hilary character in Primary Colors, was lazy compared to Hilary. It seems he was smarter.  It seems that she is not the genius she is made out to be, but is industrious.  The combination seems to make her less than attractive to the smart young women who support Bernie.
I continue to operate without detection.  This in spite of admitting to being Cubanian.  The reaction is always something along the lines of, "My cousin married a Cuban, great food, " or "What will happen after Castro dies?"  I proceed to tell them.
On the whole, Americans are incurious about the world.






Friday, January 29, 2016

The Sanders Campaign wins the Goebbels Prize for best propaganda





During the current pre-primary campaign season, we have been bombarded by the ads for the candidates who are fighting it out in our sister state to the north.  They bleed into each other.  Hilary and Jeb and Chris and Kasich and whatever, all the same.  They almost seem to suggest the Holy Father should be opening a case for canonization as the subjects are too good for earthly office.

If the pope sees them, of course, he will have to fight to stay awake.  The commercials are boring.

One ad has broken out and is inspiring or at least enjoyable.

I am old enough to remember when Simon and Garfunkel came on the scene.  Enjoyable enough and a bit more than elevator music.  their music has probably not crossed my mind in decades.  Simon, occasionally I'll think, "Hop on the bus Gus" but seldom is that.  His South African stuff, interesting but passé.

So another tv spot comes on.  The background music is America by S & G.  My first thought is what are they selling, Middle America.  No, they are selling Bernie to MA and they are doing it well.

If Goebbels could see this from hell, he'd be saying, "Perfect, Not the Horst Wessel Lied, but time and place, it works.  It got the jaded guy writing a blog to stir, at least a little.  They might not be yelling "Ein Reich, ein volk, ein Bernie" but it works."

And it does.

Don't get me wrong, Bernie is one of the better candidates even if I don't buy his socialism.  He is less likely than Christie or Hilary to start a war and he was and is right on the banks.

My problem is direct election of the president is the search for a führer   Actually, the would be führers are searching for a volk.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

As to Bowie, David was no Jim

The English writer, Theodore Dalrymple, has an article about the end of David Bowie that is excellent.  I urge you to read it.

Anyway, the man died and the encomia seemed unending, which leaves me at a loss.  From what i have gleaned, he wasn't a bad guy.

Like Dalrymple, I'm not a fan.  I've been aware of popular music for longer than most people alive today as I remember Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Eventually, I sort of moved on.  Every new band came along and at best I could say that's interesting and then would forget about it.  I wondered about myself.  My contemporaries were all obsessed with something and I didn't get it.

So along comes Bowie and he does not move the needle for me.  People I knew were excited and he was big and I yawned.

I am not sure when it was I heard Changes, but it was on the car radio.  I remember listening a few more times to make sure I got it and then forgot about it.

Ground Control to Major Tom may have been deep, but that voice was horrible, I hardly got through "Take your protein pills and put your helmet on."  Maybe I missed something profound and my life has been a desert and I don't know it.  So what.

I am stuck with the knowledge that either I am a buffoon who does not get it, or everyone I knew and grew up with is a dolt.  I'm not sure which I hope is true.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

No matter what FiveThirtyEight says, Pre-K is great, Just ask mom and dad

On January 5, Andrew Flowers posted Is Pre-K All It's Cracked Up To Be on the FiveThirtyEight quant website.Like any FiveThirtyEight article, it is well written and looks at both sides thoughtfully and does not get the big picture.  I mean the really big picture.

The best thing for mom and dad when considering education, is how much free time it gives them.  This does not mean they do not love their kids, it's that interacting with them is a lot of work.  Parents love the children.  They oft work long hours and move to boring places so the offspring will have a better chance.

No matter how much love they might have, the system works.  If it could be proved that the current system is harmful to the kids, and a regime of home instruction an hour a day would make them smarter, there would be no groundswell for closing the schools.

All that extra time spent with the juniors and juniorettes by the stay at home mom or dad, would not be welcome.  My parents loved me, but I drove my mom crazy.

The national mania for education is such that candidates have to talk about it, but they're not really talking about education.