Monday, January 12, 2009

Sorting Hat!

One of my favorite pastimes is the sorting of famous people, friends, (ex-)students, family, etc. into the Harry Potter houses I think they best fit.  Here's today's sorting.  

The theme is: favorite bands and their leaders

Thom Yorke; all of Radiohead: Total Ravenclaws... no explanation required

Jack White: I'm thinking Gryffindor.  Maybe Ravenclaw...thoughts?

Meg White: Hufflepuff is my theory

Jeff Mangum: Hufflepuff
That's the lead singer of Neutral Milk Hotel.  His songs are soooo Huffle-tastic and you might think, being a performer would give him that extra push to Gryffindor territory, BUT, he clearly hated performing and does it no longer, and the spectre of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea's success pushed him to live on a commune in Georgia.

Cat Power: Gryffindor, totally

Arcade Fire (don't know their names): Ravenclaws, all of 'em

Johnny Cash: Gryffindor, FTW

Beth Gibbons (of Portishead): Hmmm... tough one.  Ravenclaw with Hufflepuff tendencies

Muse: Ravenclaws with Slytherin tendencies

Poe: Gryffindor

Coldplay (I know...):  I want to say Hufflepuffs because they're so "feely" but their calculated pop arrangements belie a Ravenclaw sensibility

PJ Harvey and Bjork: Straight Ravenclaws up in herre.

Thee Silver Mt. Zion...: Gryffindors with Hufflepuff tendencies.

Modest Mouse: Gryffindors, but Isaac Brock might be a Slytherin

What do you think?  Share your favorites and agree or disagree with mine in the comments.

Some Words I Like...

viscous: kinda sounds sexual
animosity: words the define "hate" should have three or more syllables to enable pointed enunciation
serpentine: love the imagery
malice: sounds so benign, but is so backbiting in that soft "sss" sound

That Overdue Rant

So, if you've read this aforementioned NY Times article and it's hideous comments, then you can see what's coming.  I don't think my detest for the disgusting, racist, and short-sighted English-Only legislation has been understated, so I'll bypass those comments and discuss what really "grinds my gears": people that are prejudiced against the south.  

Here are a few brief excerpts from the comments to the article above: 

Quite frankly I surprised there are people in Nashville who speak English :-).
Why stop at just English. I think the law should specify "perfect English". This way it will force everyone in Nashville to learn perfect English.

— madstan, Madison,WI

How can they standardize on English when they don't speak it themselves?

— MW, Dallas, TX

I had occasion to visit Nashville often when my daugther did her residency at Vanderbilt, and my impression is that if that city is the Athens of the South, Athens should ask for a recount.

— Nutty Joe, Massachusetts

I'd like to know how many citizens of Nashville can speak the English language correctly.

— lawrence Coleman, NYC NY 10003

Well, if it isn't the xenophobic kettle calling the... you get the idea.  

Also, the last poster included his address but I've deleted it because I'm a caring, rational person.  

If these posters were to have actually read the comments, they would have seen that a lot of the English-Only proponents were writing from northern states, and most of those against this disgusting proposal were from Nashville itself.  Xenophobia is not limited to the South.  Neither is racism, sexism, homophobia (ahem...California...ahem), anti-intellectualism (sorry, Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber are from where?), or any other host of negative, pernicious qualities.  The only difference, really, between the South and other regions of the country, is that we are aware of our loathsome place in history and the systemic prejudices that still exist.

I'm not saying that everyone in the South is aware of its history, but I've yet to meet a northerner who will admit to his or her region's inherent racism.  When I moved to Tennessee from Maryland (my nomadic childhood is fodder for a different post) as a teenager, I literally had people say to me, "Oh, I hate the south, because people there are racist."  I'm sorry, are you blind?  People are racist everywhere.  At least in the south, people are aware of whether they are racist or not.

That's not to excuse racism.  Oh no!  I hate racism and any other kind of prejudice.  It's an intellectual cancer, that unfortunately seems to be hereditary.  I can't deny that I have known and befriended racists (and have not run screaming away if a friend came out of the racist closet).  I used to think that was a deal-breaker.  But I've learned that refusing to tolerate others for their viewpoints can be just as bad as having negative viewpoints.  I certainly can't say that I don't have negative qualities that others forgive me for.  Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.  Hate the sin, not the sinner, so to speak.  

But, this attitude that only those in the South are racist does no less than PERPETUATE racism in those northern enclaves of intellectual superiority.  Oh, well if racism can only exist in the south, it cannot exist in the north!  So, if one has a complaint of discrimination, they must be mistaken.  We've eradicated racism here in the north.  By virtue of being born in the north, I cannot be a racist.  

Self-awareness of your own subconscious attitudes and prejudices is how you overcome them.  As a region, the South is self-aware.  We are striving towards perfection, and though we will never reach it, we are striving.  The north sits on its rock of certainty and lets injustice paddle by. 

Side note: most of the people who in my life have dismissed the south for racism, were themselves racist, and especially classist.  I think a lot of people who grow up in blue states think they are liberal, but they really just vote liberal (by the way, don't stop voting liberal!).  If you think you're superior to others went to private school, or took a lot of vacations as a kid, or have parents who are professionals, or live in the Northeast or Southern California, or taught in the inner city for one year before quitting to pursue an MFA in creative writing from an elite, east-coast university, then you're not really a liberal.  You just vote liberal.

The key word there was "superior to others".  Not to knock just anyone...just those that feel superior.

Anyway, now that I've alienated half of my friends and family, I will end this rant.


This is the cutest baby ever.  My nephew, Luca Antonio Bogni.  Better known as Luca-Bear.  He needs kisses...


Well, I'm experimenting now with uploading photos.  That blog headline took forever to do!  I failed at the internet.  Not really.  I'm the internet's C-student.  C +, though.

That's me last winter, on one of those odd evenings in this post-Inconvenient Truth world that Nashville saw measurable snow.  Of course it was all melted the next morning.  I hope we have more of these evenings soon!


So this is the first post on my blog, which will probably have a readership of a grand total of me, my husband, and my family if they're bored.  

Reasons for starting the blog:
1) I am unemployed (technically "working on my novel," but you know how that goes...)
2) There are not near enough blogs on the internet all ready
3) The world needs to hear my perspective on grammar errors in national publications, terrible movie reviews, surprising facts discovered on wikipedia, and logical fallacies in commercials.
4) For realz, I hate reading negative, ignorant, "reverse" xenophobic articles, comments, etc. about Nashville (Tennessee, not Illinois).  The real motivation for this came from an inability to rant on the New York Times because they had already closed the comments section for this article.  
5) I am unemployed.

So, we're (I often refer to myself in the collective sense) not going "live" with this quite yet, but when we do, I'll be able to look back at this post and laugh, laugh, cry.