Against (Political) Sloth
Over a bowl of greasy, cheap Chinese food in downtown Chicago my good friend John Stevenson and I brainstormed ideas for a blog we’d been meaning start for the better part of a year.
Still undecided was what should we call our blog and how best to distinguish ourselves from the tidal wave of political and cultural commentary out there. Demographically, at least, we’ve got the “new and different” angle pretty well covered. In my cursory examination of the internet (3 google searches) I can say that this is the only blog written by two progressive, black, gay PhD candidates under 30 in the country.
But how best to characterize what our blog is? How to capture our disinterest in partisan squabbling , our expanding disillusionment with partisan politics and the inherently conservative bent of American politics? How to encapsulate our general disgust with media culture, in particular when it comes to political coverage? And how best to indicate that our blog would be more than a series of ineffectual tirades about the issues that threaten our blood pressure which range from, institutional racism, heteronormativity, conventional “in the box” thinking, people who overuse “box” metaphors, our culture’s willful unwillingness to acknowledge class privilege (especially amongst liberals and racial/sexual minorities), and the challenges of working through multiple minority position, but would also propose solutions to these issues.
Ultimately, how best to say that our main problem with our culture is intellectual laziness?
“A Much Needed Intervention!” John proclaimed.
Our blog is meant to exist as a counterpoint to the overwhelmingly predictable, processed punditry peddled as progressive political awareness. We feel our job is to resist and refuse easy categorizations, definitions and conclusions. (One is really either part of the solution or part of the problem.) Rather, like the best research projects our posts will ask provocative, interventionist questions about the assumptions underlying political coverage, local news issues and media products in general that get under our skin. We’ll advocate for candidates, but rarely for the reason found in those candidate’s talking points. We’ll defend Sarah Palin when Keith Olbermann breaks out with his next bout of uncontrollable sexism (he’s due isn’t he?). We see little distinction between MSNBC and Fox News, despite our firm commitment to progressive ideals.
This isn’t a back patting blog, it’s a much needed intervention in our intellectually lazy political culture.