Truly astounding work. +!
Last week I was waiting for Chelsea to get out of work so we could head to the cat cafe (again), so I'm heading down to Georgetown. Y'all know Georgetown. It's the bougiest place on Earth. I have not even remotely the money to buy some of the clothes I like in the the designer shops there and it hits me, "the fuck?! How does Georgetown not have a record store, or one that I know of?" Google search, boom. Hill & Dale Records. I don't get my hopes up. What are the chances it's indie in this neighborhood?
End up finding it in this little hidden back alley I'd never noticed that opens into a gorgeous courtyard. Place looks so tiny but they have an incredible, absurdly eclectic mix, and the owner, Rob, one of the coolest guys I've talked to, is cranking from the most expensive, beautiful setup Technics deck I've ever seen. A $4k table with a $4k needle at least. So I'm happy to be browsing jazz with the punk with the indie with the local with the world and just loving it. And what do I finally find, the thing I've been checking every local shop for since October?
Fuckin' Sunn O))) + Scott Walker - Soused. Never have I been so excited to drop that much on a record. I find a great shop owner, a great location, a great collection, a record I've been searching high and low for, and I got to support it all. It's such a unique feeling, having all that come together perfectly, on on whim of "fuck I'm bored let's wander". It's not just a 'support your local record store and musicians, kiddo because capitalism is a cold bitch and then we die", it's just the whole process is so... Human and global. Musicians put their heart out there, a guy opens a shop that won't ever make him rich because he's passionate, and same dude has his life brightened because it came together, passionate about all of it. It's how everything should work in life.
Before I left, he puts on the most entrancing thing. Something just so familiar I couldn't place. The Blade Runner soundtrack. I couldn't get it out of my mind after leaving, so of course I had to go back the next day and pick that up. I'll gladly empty my wallet for any of that.
That's a major part of my point. The culture of the site isn't immediately clear to new users, as it isn't with most sites immediately. But no one ever listened to the time-wisened knowledge of "lurk moar." Since we're so small, a ton of redditors will come in at the same time, believe we're a reddit clone, and will treat it like a reddit clone, none the wiser that what they're doing is contrary to what we are trying to do here. It's not their fault, it's just that since they came in with a bunch of redditors, their experience here is.... a bunch of redditors.
It's hard to try to quantify and lay out to people the difference too. Saying "we care about personal relationships with other users" and "your network of people, ideas, sites, and connections is a vital component here" and "the experience is truly more in line with a coffee shop, or a pub, or any sort of local hub with people you love than an internet community". These are abstract ideas, and ones that other sites will use, and ignore, and they think it close enough to reddit that people will start to get angry at central components of the site, telling the people who have been here for years that they're wrong for wanting it one way or being resistant to change. And don't get me wrong, we value new ideas, but the angry vitriol people come in isn't new. You know how many times we've had to fight users about the mute function? It's tiring. I understand not wanting to put up with another month of assholes coming in and ruining something you love. I understand having a socialist, feminist safe space cut out for you on the site, only to have it shit on by assholes who don't get it over and over and over as new people come in.
The important thing is the people like you who come here, don't want to step on toes, do want to understand, and do contribute a very large amounts of good quality. But that's such a minority on the internet. That's why we're small anyway. People will come in, self-centered, see a platform to preach their stale language from, and will be angry when they're not given voice. Reddit serves that masturbatory sense of ego, where here, if there are people who want to listen, they will. If people don't want to, they won't, just like in real life. If you have the self-awareness of "I've made bad habits", and "I want to learn", and "I would hate to step on the culture". you're a hubskier that we want here. That's what we strive for. If it's the people saying "I want to shape this place for my voice", get the fuck out of my coffee shop.
Kevin was ten of my closest friends best friend, and I work for his alma mater!
Go fuck yourself you vile, racist piece of shit!
There was a debate when I was in high school over whether students should avoid reading that word when reading Huck Finn. Someone even released editions sanitized of it. Our school, thankfully, had a massive push back against that. Removing that part of history, and removing the struggle of black men in the story, and removing Mark Twain's harsh criticism of racism and that word not only completely misses the point, it's racist itself. It's harmful. I consider it akin to trying to hide the atrocities we committed against the Native Americans.
Yes, it's horrific. Yes, it's a heavy word that should not be used without purpose, but it's still unfortunately a word. It's a word deeply intertwined with our nation's horrible history.
The terrible thing is this polemic I'm writing is exactly the kind of thing that gets warped by internet white boys as a justification for using the word, and that we shouldn't have any restrictions on what we say in the form of judgement or consequences of choices of words, and they'll go on to say that judging them or calling their usage out as problematic is an offense on free speech. Which is not at all what I'm saying. Call out culture is extremely useful in educating, and is an active strategy in deconstructing the issues in our culture and society, many of which are unseen by the ruling class many times, and especially ending the silence on these things. And it doesn't have to be from a place of anger! Here's how this should go, first in the context of using the word in historical context like Huck Finn, and then in the larger:
"Reading Huck Finn includes many passages of hatred of people based on their skin color, including a vile word used to dehumanize and demean POC for centuries now. This is a very important word in our country, and should not be used lightly, but in respect for the people who went through these atrocities, we have to respect that it was there, it happened, and requires acknowledgement. Erasing the blood erases the conflict and the people who suffered."
Now in a casual setting with a friend:
"Hey sorry, you just used the word 'gypsy'. I know that's the term you've probably learned, but it's unfortunately a slur that's been used for a long time, including in genocides against Roma people. Generally the preferred term in Roma or Romani." and that can be more detailed or less. It can be as simple as "oh gypsy is a slur, by the way.", and you can continue education from there if they like. The problems arise when you say, "oh hey that's a slur" and they return with "what? No it's not. I've always used it. I'm not racist. What the fuck is wrong with you?" or "i don't give a fuck, that's the term I'm going to continue to use." and it becomes understandable why they things become escalated. Of course it's an issue when the starting point is "fuck you, you're a racist, I'm calling for your head" because our country is woefully terrible at teaching about the struggles of minority peoples the world over, but even of our own country. Education when you have it is great, and calling things out directly to people is a fantastic way of letting them know.
But it seems there's a rabid section of people completely opposed to the idea of confronting that they've been wrong, taught wrong, or know something wrong. Saying something racist unknowingly doesn't make you a racist, it just makes you ignorant of the history of a word. Knowing that it's wrong and being able to correct yourself is how you become a better person. We're going to say racist, or sexist, or transphobic things until we die because so much of it is ingrained in our society. Actively attempting to remove these things from your own vocabulary is important. Saying "I don't want them calling me out" or "I'm going to continue saying these things because free speech" is like saying "I know I'm saying the wrong thing, and I don't care that it's used for dehumanization", and that is a fucking problem.
"We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human."
EDIT: I was holding up until I came across that quote and then choked up. But I lost it after seeing his last tweet. I can't comprehend that level of acceptance of mortality, and in the moments leading up to your death, having the clarity and ability to put something valuable out there.