Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Taking Offense

As I am not a sports person I don't get the mania about one's teams.  There is a brand loyalty that transcends obsession when it comes to sports, teams and players that go beyond entertainment. I enjoy movies, certain actors, directors, writers are often the reason I will see a film regardless of subject.  I did pass on The Post as despite my love of Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep I sorta kinda already knew the story and can wait til it hits HBO.  But that is what entertainment is, suspending disbelief, relishing talent that you admire and in turn simply taking  a moment of time to share in the pleasure of others sharing the same pleasure and maybe opening a mind or two or just not worrying about any of it. 

As I live in  Nashville there is no shortage of music.  I don't go to any place special to listen to music as that is the norm here.  There are those who love the Bluebird, The Listening Room, the Basement, the wherever.  I have been to a couple out of curiosity and that ended that. I could if I wanted to just wander up and down Broadway and walk in and out of any door or stand on the corner on a sunny day as doors and windows are open and music has this ability to travel beyond walls.  My preference is the Symphony and the Ryman. I go ticket in hand and leave.  I don't have to eat the food or drink overpriced drinks to listen to cover musicians whom are underpaid and largely thought of disposable. I work in a job that is much the same so I don't need reminders.

I get sports and I try to attend some sporting event annually.  In Seattle that was the Mariners. I loved being in the stands on a sunny afternoon with my picnic and just enjoying baseball.  For no reason other than that.  I know of Seattle's legendary infamy with regards to the 12th Man and I have been to  Seahawks game and the key is the word game, singular. Not into it ever.

Here in Nashville I have driven by Nissan Stadium during a football game and I will say that tailgating here is taken to new heights, it would almost be worth going to a game.  The Predators I think have the most dedicated fan base but they are cordial and given their location in the heart of Broadway they are no more disruptive than any of those walking along the same street.  I might have to check that one on the to do list just to see what it would be like as a spectator/observer.  Of the team or the patrons I am not sure which.  As for College Sports that takes on new heights of obsession and fan loyalty with literally businesses closing down when certain teams are playing.  It is the new Civil War on a smaller field. 

But there is that almost intransigent loyalty to one's team that I find off putting and in turn it seems to add another layer of division between us in a time when we need to find fewer.  I also think that the sporting metaphors and concepts are a part of the wider culture in ways that we also could use less of. And I am thinking about aggression, winning at all costs, name calling, and other bizarre antics that are carried from the field to off.  I am sure that is why we have so many issues with sexual assault, the rise in white supremacy and in turn hypermania when it comes physical assault and gun violence. No I don't think it is rap music or violent video games but they too have a roll in the way people perceive "others" and that in turn contributes to negative sexual and racial stereotypes. 

I can listen to all kinds of music and read poetry or books,  I can go to movies or plays and walk out without feeling compelled to change my world view, feel threatened or even entertained.  I sometimes do, however, think about those words and try to understand the perspective of which they were presented or how they were used.

I was listening to the author of The Hate You Give - THUG - speak on public radio yesterday. Her book was inspired by the late Tupac Shakur and she wanted to write a book that spoke about her life and her culture and inspiration.  I laughed when she said that when she went to the book store the only books she ever found were books about white girls in crisis - The Hunger Games or the Twilight Series which she labeled  those are a lot of white girl problems.   She spoke of her own ability to go to a suburban school of largely white people and the concept of code switching of listening to Tupac on the way into school and switching to the Jonas Brothers when she got there.  Funny how we feel the need to speak and behave differently in different groups and I wonder why that is?  I guess not being ourselves is not possible anymore?

Perhaps that is why I struggle communicating here as I have no clue how to code switch. I have always had my style of speech something akin to a Woody Allen movie, a reference that now seems dated and well disturbing but hey deal with it.  And I am direct to the point.  I don't think anyone is anywhere, well maybe hopefully New Jersey. And if Chris Christie is the standard I may be just fine when I move there.  But there is a odd similarity to Seattle in the denial and of course overwhelming need to substitute politeness for directness and in turn vilify anyone who disagrees or is not on the same page.  The scold I used to call the Seattle tendency to label and in turn ostracize anyone with slurs that denigrate intelligence, demeanor or in turn political associations.  If you thought it was stupid to wear a T-Shirt that says Black Lives Matter you were a racist.  Uh I think anyone in the course of a conversation should be able to discern that I do care about that issue and if I have to tell you then maybe I don't present that in such a way that I need work on that skill versus putting a shirt that will tell you such.  I recall an associate being told she was thought of as a Racist, I too had the same accusation hurled at me,  and she produced a family photo and that ended the discussion. When I heard that I asked if they would like to see a photo of me sucking a black man's cock and would that  be sufficient or should I do it right now?.  I was told I was vulgar.

See the quality of names are superior in Seattle.  I still prefer bitch or cunt.  It was exhausting to come up with retorts with the endless idiotic requests or observations that dominated the discussion. The faux liberalism is as exhausting as faux conservatism.  Both hate black people and immigrants and everyone else one just is more vocal and honest about it.  Political correctness means being politically correct to your political associations.  So if you are with Democrats you ensure that all voices are heard and you best speak the script or fear social isolation.  Duck Duck Goose is kind of the game what best represents it or not as that would be unfair to isolate and in turn pick on child to be running from people it may harm them. Seriously that is what it is like. 

In Conservative circles the one with the most money, the one white and male are heard first then everyone gets a turn repeating whatever he said.   They are really good with that and they ironically do it by speaking faster and louder which may be why Seattle people kept asking where I was from, they probably thought somewhere conservative like Iowa!   Cause they talk like that I am sure!

 I have managed here in Nashville to avoid this and only had the "You don't understand our ways" (this was from the Admin with the school prone to violence and one dead this year and two years ago a female teacher was sexually assaulting boys so no I don't and let's keep it that way, but that one I refrained from responding)and "Why are you here?" That has since become, "To fuck you over. How am I doing?"  They just laugh awkwardly.. that is the difference as again in Seattle I would have heard, "How vulgar!" 

Now this is not to say Nashville people have a sense of humor. No that does require intellect but they do know when to pick a fight and hence that is on the field. That is their way of an outlet for all that aggression and then in turn realize that it is pretty integrated here and by here I mean at the stadium.  And that is again the irony that I find Nashville oddly more socially integrated and less self conscious about it as they do in Seattle.

But there is again that the one thing I have learned is that like the home team versus the guest I am the opposition. I will always be the opposition in Nashville and that I have better step up my game. My pet peeve here is the endless "be careful" "be safe" admonishments that end every conversation.  I have finally decided that the best defense is an offense and by that making them feel offended but in a classic Seattle passive aggressive way by asking them how I should be careful, specific instructions or direction on which to do so and for whom I am being careful from (we know the answer and I have the T-shirt and not going to wear it).  See ya next Tuesday!

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