MAYBE ART DOES TRANSCEND PREJUDICE

My father’s mother Sallie was not good at all when it came to racial bias, but I remember her calling us upset in September, 1973, when she heard that the great Diana Sands had died very prematurely of cancer. Grandma had seen her on Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun fourteen years earlier.

When Leontyne Price would say that she didn’t get involved in politics because her singing opera was itself a political statement, I think that was a cop-out and I think that it wasn’t. When a lot of Atlanta’s white elite didn’t want her singing Donna Anna on the opening night of the Met’s season there in 1964, she stopped the show cold in “Non, mi dir.” Yes, that was an accomplishment on all fronts.

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THE ETERNAL MAYA

Plisetskaya is one of those people who truly seemed immortal.

I remember interviewing her in 2001, when she was a spring chicken of 76.
She was very, I would have to say. . . sexy.

She was a law unto herself on pointe and off.

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OH, YOU MEAN that WAR ON THE POOR THAT’S BEEN ACCELERATING FOR 40 YEARS…

Playing dumb is one major way that Blitzer keeps that salary rolling in. Jon Stewart lacerates the faux-incredulity of the willing-to-be-truly-out-of-touch-for-a-price “newscaster.”

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THANK GOODNESS BERNIE IS RUNNING

At the very least we will have a Democratic dandidate who is willing to confront the crap head on, no quarter given, no watercress sandwiches offered.

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OBAMA PRIORITIZES

This week, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio revealed the way that, when it comes to TPP, the Democratic caucus has been “talked to, approached, lobbied, and maybe cajoled by more cabinet members on this issue than any [other] issue since Barack Obama has been president. And that’s just sad.”. . . .

“I wish they had put the same effort into the minimum wage. I wish they had put the same effort into Medicare at fifty-five. I wish they had put the same effort into some consumer strengthening on Dodd-Frank.”

George Zornick at TheNation.com is giving a valuable play-by-play on this “unfolding story,” to borrow a phrase from television “newscasters.”

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SAYING IT DOESN’T MAKE IT SO, MR. PRESIDENT

Obama’s outburst today made it clear once again that the issues he will go to the mat for–and will lie recklessly about–are retrograde, repressive, reactionary. Perhaps co-President Jamie Dimon has been applying some pressure.

But Mr. President, spare me the manufactured outrage. If the TPP is right there out in the open, then where exactly is it?

Just asking.

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MOVING THE GOALPOSTS

Brittney Cooper in Salon makes the very good point that as the middle class dwindles, the poor must be ever more brutalized–vide Kansas’s new law about how many amusements the most indigent must deny themselves–so as to give the ever-themselves-more beleagured middle class–or remnants thereof–the illusion that they remain in some way privileged–AND THUS KEEP THEM QUIET.

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NOTHING CAN BE RECREATED–TALLULAH’S AN EXAMPLE

When people say “There will never be another — ,” they’re right, but that’s because there’ll never be another anybody or anything. People are unique, even if we all conform to certain basic patterns.

The University of Alabama’s Center for Public Television and Radio is making a documentary on the Bankhead family. I’m so glad, because the first time I was in their once home-seat of Jasper, most people on the street hadn’t heard of them. Unbelievable. I was looking for the old Bankhead home. I eventually found it, and the next time I was there I was driven by a wonderful woman from the University who most definitely knew where she was going.

The Bankheads lived in a big house in what I call the town’s Gold Coast near downtown, with a yard that was an entire city block. Population was 3,000. You stand in front of that house and think. . . and this little girl went on from here to become the toast of London and New York. But not directly. She and her sister went to schools in the Washington D.C. area, while her father and grandfather served in the Senate and House. Her uncle John would join them.

The deep South + DC + plus so many other elements…no, you can’t repeat Tallulah, but fortunately, you can commemorate her family’s achievements.

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WHAT’S AT STAKE

I want to read Michael Kaiser’s new book Curtains, which apparently lays it out about the future of non-profit arts organizations in this country.

One of the reasons things like ballet and classical music are fighting for their lives in the U.S. is the absence of music and art instruction in urban public schools. And the situation is not getting better as the teach-to-the-test mania takes over. As special education teacher Jia Lee testified earlier this year (as reported by Democracy Now!), “The great crime is that the focus on testing has taken valuable resources and time away from programming, social studies, arts and physical education, special education services and ELL programs. At my school, we no longer have a librarian, and our Parent Association works full-time to fund the needed arts and music programs that are not covered by our budget any longer.”

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FURTHER DEGRADATION OF “MAINSTREAM” MEDIA

Do you believe that National Journal is now pushing something called “Sponsor Content,” which it describes as “made possible by our Sponsor, however it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of National Journal’s editorial staff.”

Then why not call these designed-to-look-like-feature puff pieces for nuclear power, etc, what they in fact are–advertisements?!

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