Monday, August 15, 2011

Elise Joins The Conversation

This is from my daughter. She has recently taken a post as adjunct professor of art history at the University of Tampa. I'll let her speak for herself. Seems she was unable to post it so she e-mailed it to me.

Thus sayeth Elise:

Hello! I wrote this comment to the blog and wasn't able to post it.

Hi Oteil, and thanks for your thoughtful contribution to this discussion.  The formatting of this piece was a bit unclear about who was writing what.  Luckily both you and Pops have very recognizable ideas and phrases, so I think I figured out which parts were yours and which were his. 

Thank you for bringing up the issue of race.  And to Abigail for (I think inadvertently) introducing the issue of sex.  Her rage was palpable, and it's a shame she projected it all on to you, Oteil.  By claiming that your anger was clouding your thinking, it seems she was disavowing her own anger & the fact that it clouds her judgement.  But I've been there, so it's not like I can judge her.  And being the blank screen for people to project their unresolved issues upon is, it seems to me, THE major draw-back of any sort of fame.  But I'm sure there are a bunch of up-sides, right? ;)  I love the fantasy she has that you are both somehow rolling in money and magically able to spearhead far-reaching social and political change.  Wouldn't that be nice?!

But to return to my point, I wanted to add some thoughts to your recognition that there is racism on both sides of the aisle.  To me, this is sad reflection of the fact that racism, like sexism, is an institution in our culture & our country.  As such, its effects are felt at every level and its power dynamics are replicated in most social interactions--intentionally or otherwise.  So in this light, OF COURSE racism is found in both parties.  It's insidious and pervasive. Once one group has power over another group, it's hard to level the playing field.  No body wants to give up power.  This, I think, is why nobody's done anything about the Patriot Act; and it's also why nobody's likely to do anything about it in the future. 

But what I'm interested to know is this: how can we mitigate bigotry with legislation?  It is a proven fact that, despite of the institutionalization of hate and difference in this country, we can create and effectively enforce legislation to ensure that future generations are not subjected to the accepted expressions of hatred of our times.  We've got great examples of this in our country coming out of Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and Women's Movement of the 1970s.  The party that has been invested in the expansion of civil rights--no matter what personalities have been involved--has consistently been the liberal party.  In recent history, the Republican party has vehemently opposed Affirmative Action, prison reform, entitlement programs, hate crime legislation, the list goes on.  If we take as a given that racism is an institution in this country, then we can see that the disenfranchised, as a rule, do not have access to same opportunities for social mobility as the reigning elite.  This is why "separate but equal" does not work!  This is not a theory; we have all witnessed this in our own backyards.  And to have some sort of regulatory intervention is necessary in fostering a future with less inequity of access to resources.

Like you, I used to be a bit of an anarchist (when you say taxation is theft, that's what that implies to me).  But there is so much infrastructure upon which we depend that gets created out of the government--things that we take for granted only because we've never been without them, and things that we wouldn't want private greed to shape.  Imagine if there were no highways, education, hospitals, law enforcement, court system.  Every tax dollar does something; it doesn't just magically disappear.  And a great part of what our tax dollars do is keep us safe from ourselves.  I don't have to carry a shot-gun to go to the store.  I can go to the store.  Not every citizen of the world can say this.  In a sense, I think we're a bit spoiled as Americans and expect to see results with no contributions, just because we take them for granted.  Yes, I think we're a entitled as a people because we've been taken care of to some extent.  We must contribute something to receive even the most basic infrastructure.

Anyway, this my long, disorganized pitch :)  Thanks again, Oteil, for contributing to this conversation.  And thanks, "Butch," for this wonderful site!  Elise

P.S., John loved the bit about wanting the right to vote and own guns!  :)


  1. I love the fantasy she has that you are both somehow rolling in money and magically able to spearhead far-reaching social and political change. Wouldn't that be nice?!

    Your'e pop already admitted he is in the top 1% of American income as well he should be being a professional musician in a popular band for over 40 years. House in France, over 200 consecutive Beacon sellouts sucessful shed tours etc. Nothing be ashamed about but I understand you wanting to shelter it a bit.

  2. Being in the top 1% means earning $250,000 or more per year. that is a hell of a long way from "rolling in wealth." Believe me I am not.

  3. Butch, your daughter's intellect is a tribute to her upbringing and your influence I'm sure. Her post was nicely written. However, her good looks definitely comes from her mom. (Just Kidding).

    Anyway, we would love to hear another story about your past. Can you tell us some about Red Dog? Rock On!

  4. I'm disappointed again I thought it was a great well written and deep post with lots of truth...
    Until I got to the part about throwing digs at and blaming the republicans for the worlds woes neatly nested in all the philosophical rhetoric....
    that's a dam shame (for me) because you were making so much sense and then your own political prejudiced beliefs reared their ugly head (I dono maybe its just my perception and interpretation of the style of your writing and just need to get used to it) but anyway nice to read you and Ya Oteils post was awesome and I owe you's/him a big thanks for posting that link on that front line story I learned a ton from it thanks Oteil!!!

  5. Just passing by ...August 16, 2011 at 8:03 AM

    "I don't have to carry a shot-gun to go to the store."

    Well, not today but that may not be true in the future. Just look at what is happening in the UK. Better yet, Philly Flash mobs, Wisconsin state fair, ...

    I agree that a government is needed to provide certain services. I don't think anyone is arguing that. The problem is that government has grown beyond what it needs to be. You mention highways. I encounter massive traffic jams every morning when I go to work (and they're getting worst by the day). I don't see anyone doing anything about that.

    I believe you need to look at the bigger picture. Why is government growing? It's because most politicians want to insure they are re-elected. It's "I'll make sure no one touches social security or medicare!". If the money runs out, no one will get a dime. In fact, there will be anarchy much like what you see in Greece and now the UK. (I predict it will also happen in Italy, Spain, Ireland, ...)

    p.s.: By the way, President Johnson's civil rights legislation required a majority of Senate Republicans in order to break a Democrat filibuster. Without Republicans, it would never have passed.

  6. Had I known you were going to post this to your blog, I would have written something totally different! I am embarrassed but also glad for your confidence in my writing. I can't helkp but pointing out that the formatting waw diffeerent when iu wrote it--this dwasn't intended to be all one paraagraph. Like Oteil, I wasn't able to comment, so i sent you both the long comment I'd been trying to post. didn't want all that time to go to waste :)

    As for the first anonymous comment, i'm tired of all this speculation about my father's fi8nances in apublic forum... or anywhere. it's not a conversation i want to have on a blog with a wide-readership. but i will say thiwsw: given that someone has a computer, access to the internet, and LEISURE TIME enough to read and comment to this bllog, it follows that that person would be among the most privileged of global citizens. so why donn't you put your money towards changing the world and stop point fingers at everyone else, since it sounds like you think that is the most meaningful part of being a citizen.
    And to the Wired Journal: I really enjoy reading your comments and think your blog is fascinnaing. But I would like to point out that saying which legislation is categorically opposed by what party is not to air out prejudice. I am statiung verifiable facts. Republicans have worked as a group to oppose certain legislation: the Equal Rights Amendment, Affirmative Action legislation, entitllement programs, women's health care, marriage equality, prison reform. It's not biased to point that out; it's factual. Republicans oppose this type of legislation. Now the meaning you can attach to that is of course always value-laden. But to me that's a no-brainer.

    And to Just Passing By: thanks for your thoughts. I would like to point out that the Civil Rights Act was spearheaded by Kennedy. And, as you might have noticed, both Kennedy and Johnson were extremely liberal. As I said, those in power will often scrape and get nasty to maintain the status quo ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE. But where does the legislation for change come systematically come from? It's very clear.

  7. Intro/ Hotlanta Midnight Rider

    Benefit For Dan Toler last Sat. at Ace's Lounge in Bradenton. The Place was bustin' at the seam with people and good will.The band was great:
    Dan Toler, Chaz Trippy, Tony Tyler, Jeff "The Count" Artabasy, Mike Hensley, Gary Guzzardo and Mike "Louie The Lip" Logan. It was an honor to attend, Andy Preston

  8. For all of you that seem to want us all to believe the fantasy that "both parties are equally to blame" for the current mess. You are not paying attention or you are paying attention the the wrong sources. Go DIRECTLY to the record of the US Senate and compare the number of times that one party has used the filibuster to stop legislation from passing the senate. This is not in any way a biased statement. The previous and current REPUBLICANS in the senate have used the filibuster more since the election of Obama than it has been used in the last two decades combined. That is a definition of intransigence and the minority using the filibuster in a way that it was never intended. It is the minority being obstructionist. You can rail till hell freezes over and it will not change this fact. Another fact: Obama has been treated with less respect by his opposition (known in the past, after England, as the "loyal opposition") than any president in history. Of course that is a somewhat nuanced statement, but it is undeniable. As far as what Elise stated about liberals doing all of the heavy lifting in all of the major movements empowering any one that is not a white male: FACT!!!! not bias and you all know it. Conservatives have fought each and every one of of these initiatives tooth and nail and RIGHT NOW they are doing everything they can to dismantle them all. If this is not all fact and not bias or conjecture please give me another explanation for the abuse of the filibuster by the minority party to stop all things Obama. Pardon me, there is one other explanation that accomplishes another purpose. As stated my the minority leader of the senate, Mitch McConnell: "my number one priority is to make sure that Obama is a one term president." To hell with the United States of America! That statement by McConnell is also a fact! Now any one one the right that can come up with anything approaching this level of PARTY FIRST AMERICA SECOND from the Dems, I won't call them the left today, it doesn't fit too many of them, please give me one, JUST ONE!!!!

    Absolutely my last statement re: politics for now. Next is The Allman Brothers Band Goes To Piedmont Park!

  9. Elise, Take another look at your post. My bad for not formatting it correctly. I was too excited and didn't take the time. I fixed it.

  10. $250,000 to most American's 99% of them is rolling in the dough. But we all know you have made many more times that in the big touring years until recently. Most American's do not have a million dollar home and another in France.
    Again nothing is wrong with that and I am happy for you but let's keep it real. Granted you have not invested well or made the smartest of business decisions but it is not for trying and that I admire. Republican is the way to go almost everyone of them would like you to spend your money not Washington!!

  11. Congratulations on your new position in Tampa, Elise. I agree that the discussion that people are having about your Dad's money is tacky and unbecoming. The anonymous post above me is a perfect example. If this were a conservative blog nobody would say anything about how much money he makes or doesn't make. Since his views are not conservative though, it seems people feel the need to lecture him on how he should really think. By the way, if you choose to respond, I would be interested in knowing what area of art history you specialize in.


  12. Elisa,
    Thanks for the words of encouragement,writing for me is very difficult, I probably used the wrong word when I said Prejudice in reference to your political views. in as far as the republicans in general organizing and rallying against all those legislation efforts you mentioned I have to plead ignorance and will have to do some research so I can't comment one way or the other.

    Butch I don't like Obama or his performance as President and I do believe It is both parties that are at fault and I don't think it is the fact that I am not paying attention or paying attention to the wrong people Look at what Polosi's statement alone about the health care bill "we have to pass the thing in order to see whats in it" That is the equivalent of sticking a gun to our heads and saying I'm gonna pull the trigger and see if this sucker is loaded...dam right people like that need to be fillerbusted (my humble opinion)...
    So I guess the bottom line is we got a election coming up next year...Where do we go from here? What do we have to work with and whats the best we can arrive at. I know for me I have a lot of homework to do before the next election and I place my next vote

    Wired...(can't log into my Google account)

  13. My My My..... I want to hear about Piedmont !!!

    janine/long island

  14. Speaking of money. Forgive me for using this forum to go completely off topic, but it looks like Dan Toler could use all the help we can give him right now as he battles ALS. It looks like you can go to for more info. Even a mean old Republican like me can spare a few bucks to send this good man, so I know the rest of you will pitch in as you always do. I believe this is one good cause we can all agree on. Thanks!

  15. Elise, I think it is a stretch to say that Kennedy "spearheaded" the Civil Rights Act. In fact he voted AGAINST the 1957 Civil Rights Act in concert with his Southern Democrat colleagues. Kennedy is on record opposing not only the Freedom Riders, but also The March on Washington. His brother, as Attorney General, authorized wiretapping Martin Luther King, Jr. Far from magnanimity, events on the ground were simply forcing his hand politically.

    On the other hand, Johnson truly CAN be credited with shepherding the 1964 Civil Rights Bill on Capitol Hill. His motivations? As Oprah would say, "that's a whole nother show".