Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Parallel Universes

When the show premiered on ABC it was a frothy soapy show set in the Country Music capital of Nashville.  It led to the New York Times declaring Nashville an "It" city and in turn the city ran with gusto to take advantage of their post flood recovery. 

In 2010 Nashville was not that great and when the flood hit the only industry (yes other than Country Music) was conventions and dive bars as an incentive to come to the downtown core. All that changed when property values sunk and several feet of water made some of them waterfront ones.  Here in Tennessee it is not required by law to declare if a property was damaged by flood waters so it is very much buyer beware.  But when its cheap who cares right!??

By that time Karl Dean had accelerated the transition, business friendly city,  a supposed Democrat who changed the landscape and went off to do nothing in the interim since leaving office but like all good Tennesseans he's back running for Governor.  So was another former Mayor and Governor and old white dude who is a fake Democrat, Phil Bresden, we got them in closets (okay bad metaphor) just waiting for an office vacancy to take!  Just ask Lamar Alexander how many different Government jobs he has had in his 100 year old government that he wants to shrink, but not too much, career.   And by the way does any Democrat eschew business? That is absurd and a talking point that makes no sense.  Oh wait I live in the South, stupid runs deep.  

So to shake up the white man or white religious broad in politics, in comes a  white blonde woman (again consistent here with some black women thrown in but who wear amazing hats!)  who arrived in Nashville in the 90s to attend Vandy, (another transplant convention standard) married and had a son.  She worked in the private sector then ran for a City Council spot where she served a decade when she decided to run for Mayor.  It was a crowded field with many Dean-like others running for the spot to be head of the "it" city.  Okay she won and now two years later she is gone like the flood and soon forgotten.  They have short memories here and care about one thing and one thing alone - money.  And funny the Mayor turned out to be a bigger starfucker than any groupie ever could.  She was very busy touting Nashville including overseas, who knew you would go to Paris could say the Cumberland is the Seine of Nashville.  And Nashville is called the Athens of the South, true only 1/3 of our population is educated,  but let's go to Greece in the midst of their political turmoil to promote Nashville.  Wow just wow, pretentious much? 

If there are two cites that bookend each other that is Seattle and Nashville. The similarities are striking - Seattle Nice becomes Seattle Freeze and Southern Hospitality becomes well the Seattle Freeze only with smack talk behind one's back or right to your face as if deaf.  In Seattle its a freeze for a reason. Talkers they are not but coders yes.   But if they can do it without anyone knowing they will but they would have to know your name in which to do so and here in Nashville they actually go out of their way to know your name.  Funny I used to find in endearing but then I realized it is so they can talk about you and make sure everyone knows whom they are talking about. That is a lot of effort into hate but hey its worth it.  Sorry but here is where I know I am from Seattle I am really shitty with names.    But they are parallel universes when it comes to passive aggressive it is just the manner in which it is bestowed.  One comes with a verbal dissing the other a blessing. 

Seattle has a show about it too -  Grey's Anatomy - and while it being a soap at least it takes place with educated and horny professionals.  Nashville skipped the smart part but clearly there is a lot of horny to go around.

I love a good bad TV show and perhaps that may have been the lure of the draw for Ms. Barry, I have no idea.  Her transit plan that is up for vote is such a mess of  shit that I am sure she believes it will mark the town of Nashville on par with a city the size of Chicago or Seattle. Again the tunnels underground, the light rail all marks of Seattle's plan  right up to the plan with no connections to outlying areas or even completely serving the county. That is how our transit plan started too and the Mayor was promptly voted out as a result.  Then we elected a greenie and he was kicked out due too many bike lanes or not enough or something about transit too and then Seattle did their first and elected a gay man.  That did not work out either. But well Seattle has a history of Mayor "issues" remember the WTO? Well once that marked Seattle as a crazy liberal city that ended the gig as one who was just a pleasant seat filler who went onto well nothing else in politics and became a beacon gig that you took to prove how liberal Seattle is.  And then promptly end said career.  NONE have ever gone on to a national stage.  But hey today in Seattle that transit plan is valued and expanded and is used and well at least that worked out!  But the trolley cars, nope that one sucked.  Buy hey we have crosswalks and in the gay enclave they are rainbows!  Again Seattle we got it going on we paint our streets to know that we care.  Got a T-shirt anyone?

However as I noted in Nashville we recycle Mayors more than any can does here.  But the Mayor of Nashville apparently was too busy fucking and traveling to ask the Mayors of the adjacent areas to develop a joint transit strategy to best serve the region, and while the city boundaries need transport this town as it is not as large as one thinks.   And in turn build coalitions and stuff they do here to go onto national politics.   This  is a "here place" that lives on county talk and refers to them as if they are nearby states or regions.  I never once ever heard of anyone saying "In Snohomish County today..." No they said the name of the town or city in that area and we knew where it was.  Its called geography and knowledge.  But here its county talk and they too compete for their own piece of the pie.   And this year Chatanooga was named number one by the New York Times as a place to visit so watch the games begin, it is the new "it" city.   Trust me the pie here is cut slim when it comes to Nashville, the Legislature here don't play favorites.  That is why they did nothing about flood remediation and only now are discussing it.   They have an agenda and it is tied to Jesus.  What that means is most of the bills/laww are about Jesus in some shape or form.  Note that keeping people poor and stupid was in fact a very non Jesus thing but I guess I read a different version of the Bible.  Ah the prosperity pulpit, where you will be abused and ignored and blamed for all your ills but Jesus forgives you for that, I on the other hand... and that only 1/3 of the population votes, the same number that possess higher degrees. What an odd correlation or not. Again that is the largest distinction between these parallel universes - one secular and one not. 

And while I say the similarities are quite parallel, the true reality is that both cities are obsessed by money.  And frankly that is America's obsession across the board.  But when it comes to the
differences;  however, they are significant. While this scandal is nowhere near as disturbing as the one that led to Mayor Murray's resignation it shows that people in high places lead sheltered lives that somehow enable them to believe that they are above it all.

I was listening to Oprah Winfrey on CBS This Morning discuss her current 60 Minutes episode on children raised in trauma - be that displaced families, destroyed family units (such as incarceration or death), homes where there is physical abuse, mental abuse and drug and alcohol abuse, neglect, homelessness, in need of health care or other services that go ignored when a family suffers from poverty.  She was incredulous to learn that these same children are developmentally delayed, their brains hard wired differently as a result and in turn suffer more consequences of said brain damage issues that those raised in a conventional home/stable environment. Wow Oprah Winfrey just got WOKE!

Much was made of Oprah's upbringing and her struggles but she rarely (if ever) mentions Nashville and it was here she was sent to live with her father, eventually attending TSU right down the road when she began working in media.  It was later when TSU invited her to speak she offered to write a paper years after her dropping out in order to get her diploma.  She apparently forgot that she too was a child of need and yet her wealth and success I assume she like many feel it is due to "hard work" "living right" and all that other bullshit that they instill you to believe that failure is all intrinsic and if you somehow "work hard" you will overcome all odds and be President of the United States. Again both Barack and Michelle had one strike - skin color - but they had very supportive families who instilled education into them.   Barack would be largely unknown frankly if had his Grandparents taken over and financed much of the education and stability  he needed to get into elite schools.   Michelle's own family was stable working class but they too did what they needed to do to ensure her education and acceptance to the Ivy League.  They are fortunate that their own children will have a much safer inside passage in their lives.   But it will be their generation to forget the reality of those of the same generation that do not have the same privileges.  It literally is only one generation when one moves on and up and they don't look back.

I don't have kids and again I said in my post about San Francisco I am not nostalgic nor wax romantically when it comes to the past.  I am pretty much a live in the moment person as well I have too.  It is very different to be single, to be close to 60 years old, to have no family nor friends and be a loner that is not either a sociopath or hermit.  I verge close and talk to myself a lot but I was an only child and living alone is not a new thing for me.   I watched the Tiger Mother on Bill Maher talk about her new book about how we are Tribal and we need to belong.  Interesting as she is not a social scientist nor therapist but hey go with it.  There is clearly an epidemic of loneliness that surrounds us all and the rise of social media only seems to exacerbate it. Irony or Oxymoron?

And if anything Nashville is very tribal but that is the South in general.  In Seattle it was a cliquish city and bonds are set by where one works and plays.  Here in Nashville it is about sports, where you live or importantly from and your family history.  Everything is connected in a very linear fashion and the roots of the trees here are deep.   And it matters to them about that identity I don't here anyone from Seattle calling themselves a Washingtonian or Seattleite, they live or are from.  Here it matters and in ways I find tragic and utterly provincial.  Oddly in their own way Seattleites are quite provincial but it is more in a proper liberal way.

I have had a great deal of time to observe the damaged children of Nashville and our former Mayor had one of her own. A child of privilege who struggled with weight issues, was morbidly obese and used drugs as a coping skill. All the prestige and expensive treatment did little to help the boy and he died as a result.  So no, there is no one way of determining how one child will fare over another.  Yes the deck is stacked in the cases of poverty and a world insane with wars, drugs and Trump (I think that falls into a new category of its own as kids want to talk endlessly about him).  And some will come out of it to be the new Oprah or Barack or Megan Berry.  There is nothing about life that is definitive.  There are some but in reality free will rules over all.

I have little to say about Nashville that is positive as  my view comes shaded by that of the schools.  This week the Moron who is the Superintendent here sent a letter telling everyone that the schools are broke.  Mishandled and idiotic much like the classrooms so there is one consistency. The other was a robo call to all parents regardless of age to tell them that the Rise Up walkout scheduled in support of gun control on March 24th around the country would not be an excused absence and that kids if they need to show support can go to the schools gym and then return to class when they are done. I said it repeatedly that they don't do shit here.  The Woman's March, Black Lives Matter, MeToo, Gun Control are all some convoluted schemes in which to take money or bring "northern" values to the South and they ain't having none of that y'all!

Now in Seattle they will go into overdrive.  They will have themed shirts and rally's and be so proud of the youth that it will be on the local news and blogged about endlessly as an accomplishments.  Again if I have to wear a shirt, a hat, dye my hair to let you know that I care about any issue then you are not listening to me and I am doing a very poor job of communicating my views to you.   But at least in Seattle there is something and that is better than nothing.  Race is just as awkward a conversation as it is here so why not wear it as a message on some clothing. Oh who did that recently on a hat I believe?  Ah Nashville and Seattle you both want to make America great again and by that you mean rich.

You see the sheer magnitude of what the pursuit of wealth does when you go to either New York or San Francisco, the lack of characters, the absolving of neighborhoods, the destruction of public schools and the focus on Patriarchy.  Yes these are all cultures that are run by white men and they can still show symbols of being liberal by being Gay or having a partner of another race or even coming from a family of poverty but the reality is that we are all victims and participants of that system.

Again listening this morning to the great writer,  Juno Diaz, speak about how regardless of where or who one in in place in society, the reality is that society places favoritism on boys:  “Patriarchy can’t work if dudes have to do the work of patriarchy,” Diaz said. “If men actually had to make patriarchy work…man, that would be a pay cut. We farm that out to everybody else."

And while that is amusing (and if you have never read his books you must) it is true. We enable it, we encourage it and we foster it.  And today as I sit in another dilapidated classroom watching children behave as if they have no idea any adult in the room, they act without filter and without reason I invite Oprah Winfrey to come here in disguise and Substitute Teach or send an assistant in, Gayle even, to spend a day with children here in America in a town she once lived to see what poverty and race does to damage the future.   We will continue to have the same families, the same dynasty's who will rule and run havoc over America unless we face the facts and the truth.  It has again led me to question my own values, my own perceptions of race and color and of course America and the stereotype image of the South.  Two black girls today openly talked about me and once again I had to inform them that despite being old I was not deaf and this Southern thing where you smack talk everyone I don't support but I thought it was at least behind my back but clearly you cannot even wait that long in which to do so, so please realize that.   And as always it falls on deaf ears as they have no shame.  And yes white girls do it too.  This is what it has become me keeping tally's of kids who are nuts and not nuts and their color and gender for no reason or purpose.  The tragedy is that as I said to a Teacher's Aid today, sorry but if their was a crisis like Parkland I am grabbing my stuff walking to the door and informing the children that they are on their own and to secure themselves in whatever way they need to and I am running for the nearest exit out of the building.  Sorry but no no no no and no again would I even consider being a human shield.

I have made my position in many posts so I will not regurgitate but I read recently where one Teacher in Parkland  has come under fire (no pun intended) for following protocol  and locking down the classroom when the gunman was shooting the school.  During that time Students were knocking on doors to be let in and he refused so upon returning to school he was accosted by a Student and Parent decrying the label of "hero" as he did nothing heroic,.  I do agree but again this shows you that with the best of intentions.  There are no heroes, no winners in a gun battle. We mythologize all of this including how Teachers are perceived and in turn treated.  We have seen that this past week in West Virginia and more will likely follow.  Teachers are not all that and a bag of chips and until we understand that I suspect fewer will enter the profession which will please the reformers as they think all learning is preferable online.  I am sure a Robot would be willing to take a bullet for a kid. I, however, will take a pass.

I might understand some connections if the opportunity to make them occurred but it may be too late for me and I have to accept that I will not have them to others, to the community or to work.  But at least I have my self respect and that I see lacking here in ways that never cease to amaze.  Seattle cares what you think about everything and again that is another difference that matters in the parallel universe.

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