the blackness will save us


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We live in extraordinary times. We all had every reason to expect President Fuckwit to pretend to govern at best, as a vile and putrid excuse for a human being. The most incredible thing is how he keeps exceeding those expectations.

And then? The City of Baltimore quietly removes all four of its Confederate monuments overnight. It is not lost on me that this would have been far less likely to happen if that city's leadership were all white -- although it's possible even they would have done it. New Orleans's Mayor Mitch Landrieu had it done and he's white, after all. (It's perhaps relevant to note, however, that the New Orleans City Council's seven members include four African-Americans and four women -- a majority in both cases.) New Orleans is 60% black, a fact I thought of often while visiting there in 2014, coming from Seattle, which is 70% white. Being a part of the majority, whether that majority has all the power or not -- and in places like New Orleans, Detroit, or Baltimore, the power dynamics are shifting, slowly, but more than in other places -- changes the experience of a place. Baltimore, at 63% black, is another major city where black citizens amount to a large majority. There, though, the mayor is not just black, but a black woman -- the third one in a row! Baltimore never had a woman mayor before any of these; and all have been black. That city's City Council, which is comprised of a somewhat stunning 15 members, representing 14 districts and a president elected at-large, consists of nine African-Americans and, somewhat disappointingly, only three women.

Now, to be clear, I know very well that demographic makeup among leadership is not in itself any magic solution to anything. God knows, Baltimore has a truly unique set of challenges, and a lot of black leadership hardly means their black constituency feels well represented. I will say this, though: it's a far stretch better than a city like Baltimore, which has the second-highest black population by percentage (that includes "alone or with other races," which is relevant because our culture considers you black either way), having only white leadership, which all U.S. cities had for a great many years.

In any case, I live in a super-white city 2700 miles from Baltimore, a city I'm mostly familiar with via potentially problematic media representations that range from John Waters films to The Wire. I have zero insight into the clearly complex history of Baltimore and how it informs present-day leadership. All I can say is that I feel very strongly that quietly removing all their Confederate monuments in one fell swoop overnight was the right thing to do, and it makes me want to visit that city and spend tourism dollars there. I suppose how those dollars get dispersed is another question, but Jesus Christ, I can't research every single penny. Cut me some slack!

And then, of course, we can always rely on The Onion to swoop in and immediately lighten the mood

-- चार हजार एक सौ और चालीस-दो --


-- चार हजार एक सौ और चालीस-दो --

Have I mentioned that I seriously cannot get enough of the new Kesha album? After last year, which was chock full of truly great albums (at least six, by Sia, Gwen Stefani, Pet Shop Boys, Beyoncé, Heart and Lady Gaga), it's taken eight months into 2017 for someone to release a great one. And it took Kesha five years since her last album, although it's been four for me: I bought both her first two albums a couple of months apart in 2013. It's too bad I wasn't paying any attention to her at all 2010-11, because she actually performed at the New Year's Eve celebration that year, which Shobhit and I actually went to. But, like Gwen Stefani or No Doubt or even Rufus Wainwright or Beyoncé, it's taken her a few albums into her career to release something truly great, to convert me from a casual fan to a huge fan. This new Kesha album showcases her actual singing talent in a way her earlier albums, which were largely characterized by auto-tune, didn't.

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I suppose I could take a moment to tell you about last night. There's not that much to tell. Shobhit and I did go over to Trader Joe's to get vanilla ice cream so we could put that on top of our blueberry pie this time. This proved to be an excellent idea.

Otherwise, I caught up on the four back episodes of the new Hulu season of Difficult People. Shobhit got into all of them, thinking at first he would watch his news shows on his laptop with his headphones, but getting distracted by what I was watching. "It's a good show," he said, unsolicited. Well, it's certainly funny. And they continue to get pretty impressive guest stars on pretty much every episode: Stockard Channing, Vanessa Williams, Lucy Liu, Maury Povich, Rosie O'Donnell, John Cho, Amy Sedaris. And that's just so far.

I thought about watching an episode of The Golden Girls after two hours dedicated to Difficult People but decided against it. After a brief break, we did the New York Times crossword, which we solved unusually quickly -- less than forty minutes. I went to bed fairly early so I could spend some time reading my library book that continues to cost me a quarter per day it's overdue. And I've still got some 140 pages left to go. At least the book is good enough to be worth it.

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I just ate my lunch out on the patio again, but alone this time. No one came out to join me, or even to sit on the patio. I'm pretty convinced that's only because it's mostly cloudy at the moment, which I think is plainly dumb. The national weather service says it's currently 71°, which is plenty warm. But, whatever! I still had a lovely time out there. I enjoy my own company.

-- चार हजार एक सौ और चालीस-दो --