Dispatches From the Culture Wars – Tough Love Edition

Daddy Trump swings his belt; Guns vs roses; Battle of Berkeley; From the Bronx to Havana to Brooklyn; Gay bluegrass blues
April 18, 2017
Ted Kuster and Jenna Fiamingo play at a jam of the California Bluegrass Association’s San Francisco chapter, whose plans for a Pride Parade float have met opposition.
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Trump’s Patriarchal Counter-Revolution

By Jeet Heer
April 3, 2017
The New Republic

The gender make-up of Trump’s cabinet is hardly an accident. It’s increasingly clear that Trump’s victory in the last election has initiated a patriarchal counter-revolution. Hillary Clinton was the first major-party female candidate and an outspoken feminist. In campaigning against Clinton, Trump not only didn’t hide his sexism, he actively deployed it. He repeatedly made the sexist jibe that Clinton lacked the “stamina” to be president, and also attacked her as a “nasty woman” for criticizing him, suggesting that her political combativeness undermined her femininity.
It’s no coincidence that last year’s election saw the most polarized gender results ever in American presidential politics, with Clinton winning women by 12 points (although losing among white women) and losing among men by 12 points.

Domestic Violence and Guns: The Hidden American Crisis Ending Women's Lives

By Lois Beckett
April 11, 2017
The Guardian

In one mass shooting after another, some gun control advocates and journalists see a common thread: when domestic violence is not the immediate cause of a mass shooting, it was there as a warning sign in the history of the perpetrator.
Advocates say that nearly 50 American women are shot to death by former or current partners each month – more than one a day, according to national police department statistics.

The Violent Clashes in Berkeley Weren't 'Pro-Trump' Versus 'Anti-Trump'

By Natasha Lennard
April 16, 2017
Esquire

According to reports in mainstream news outlets like CNN, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, Saturday saw pro-Trump demonstrators clash with anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley, California, while more placid "Tax Day" marches took place around the country calling on the president to release his tax returns. The news stories offer largely the same account and framing as that given by the LA Times: "hundreds of pro-Trump demonstrators and counter-protesters clashed Saturday at a 'Patriots Day' rally… Both groups threw rocks and sticks at each other and used a large trash bin as a battering ram… Twenty-one people were arrested… Eleven people were injured."
All of this did happen. But such accounts missed the most crucial aspects of what was at stake in the Berkeley clashes, and thus fail to explain why there were aggressive altercations at all. To frame Saturday's events as a fight between supporters of the president and his denouncers roundly misses the key tensions undergirding the confrontation: that of anti-fascists versus white nationalists.

Offbeat ER Doctor from the Bronx Rises Above Tragedy to Forge Unique Career

By Ginger Adams Otis
April 3, 2017
New York Daily News

The first sign that Dr. Arabia Mollette is a physician like no other is the absence of the traditional white coat. Depending on the day and her mood, other signs might include neon pink nails and a nose ring.
It’s not uncommon to hear her break into fluent Spanish while treating a patient while working as an ER doc in busy Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn.
Through a friend, she heard of a unique scholarship Cuba offered to low-income students from other countries to the Latin American School of Medical Sciences. Fidel Castro had partnered with the Congressional Black Caucus in 2000 to include American students. The only condition imposed in exchange for a full seven-year ride was that graduates return to their communities and help the underserved.

Bluegrass Nonprofit Split Over Float in S.F. Gay Pride Parade

By Lizzie Johnson
April 14, 2017
San Francisco Chronicle

The California Bluegrass Association, a nonprofit founded in 1975, is supported by nearly 3,000 banjo-playing members. And as the twangy music has gained popularity on California’s coast, deep chasms over how and where the tunes should be strummed have formed.
In a state segregated by a patchwork of blue and red county lines, the tension between liberals and conservatives is no more emblematic than this: a fight over whether a bluegrass band sponsored by a statewide nonprofit should participate in a gay pride celebration. About a half-dozen people have dropped their $25 annual memberships over the issue — but there are more than 100 new members.
At a meeting in January in Bakersfield, the nonprofit’s board voted 10-1 to allow the local San Francisco region, which has about 300 members, to enter a float in the June 25 parade, a first in the nation for a bluegrass association. But there will be another association board meeting in Turlock (Stanislaus County) at the end of the month, with some conservative and founding members arguing the endorsement should be withdrawn because gay and lesbian rights are inherently controversial and political.

April 18, 2017