About

Over a bowl of greasy, cheap Chinese food in downtown Chicago two good friends, John Stevenson and Kwame Holmes, 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 progressive, black gay men in the academy who were once room mates.

But what kind of title would 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, identity politics, 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?

Ultimately, how best to say that our main problem with American culture is pervasive intellectual laziness?

“A Much Needed Intervention!” John proclaimed.

Indeed.

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.

This isn’t a back patting blog, it’s a much needed intervention in our intellectually lazy political culture.

As academics, we also believe that this isn’t a one-way conversation — we welcome feedback (as well as Amens) from all of our readers. John is a political scientist who primarily researches cross-national and transnational issue, particularly as they relate to matters of security. Kwame is a historian who writes about post-war urban political culture and critical race, space and sexuality studies in the United States.

Sometimes we are wrong, and other times we haven’t convinced you. We’d love to hear from you either way.

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