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Showing posts from June 7, 2020

Police and the "whitening" of Americans

There is an important, but under-discussed part of police history is that is also the history of the "whitening" of immigrant groups that came to the United States. In the early 19th century, American cities didn't have police departments. Boston was one of the first. At the same time that Boston was constructing a police department specifically to control the less well off or immigrant areas in town, New England and America in general was receiving an enormous influx of Cat holic Irish, fleeing the famine and oppression. Famously, what they met on the white Protestant shores of the New World was, at first, No Irish need apply signs. The Irish were considered sub-English - in England especially, but as well in the U.S. Although Germans were also migrating, on the whole, they were protestant. The combination of religious prejudice plus the aura of prejudice against the Irish in England put them into the class of the "not-quite white". In the U.S., the ritua

The meatmarkets I have seen

The meatmarkets I have seen - Karen Chamisso Birdsong pulled a labyrinth from my ear. The birds have their nests, the foxes their holes who will live with me in the maze? Wind and unwind, turn and turn back. The heroes were netted and dispatched. I stepped on a crack and a dynasty died. Their ghosts follow me to this address. A centerfold is at the center of it all. O land of cockayne, free drinks and pussy! To every sailor and peasant, tonight: Tenderloin, tenderloin, the sirens sing. ‘The gates and yssues of this town are kept with watch and wards.” Ariadne’s blues echo in the common pissoir. My tears, my tears flow riverwards. Jack comes to my  bed to bone ce soir.

The Flaubert-Sand letters: part one

George Sand came in for a pummeling from several of the leading lights of modernism. Proust, for instance, told his friends that he disliked Sand, and that Flaubert, who he revered, must have been “insincere” when he praised her in his letters. Baudelaire was much more venomous. Sand was the perfect opposite of Baudelaire: liberal when he was illiberal, a lover of nature when nature, to him, was irradiated with symbols of its fallen state, and in no way an adherent of his own peculiar Sadian Christianity. In the wake of the controversy raised, in 1862, by her anti-clerical novel, Mademoiselle la Quintinie, he wrote a series of notes comparing her to a latrine (because she fucked who she wanted to and didn’t make any bones about it) and compared her to a concierge and a kept woman. He found her the very type of positivist bourgeois he couldn’t stand: why, in her novel, she even dismissed hell! Hell was as necessary to Baudelaire as it was to Dante. Nietzsche, who read the version of t