The Pencil Today:


“Marriage is a gamble, let’s be honest.” — Yoko Ono


Shelli Yoder allowed herself and her gang a scant 24-hours’ worth of reveling after her Democratic primary victory Tuesday.

Yoder At Her Front Door Tuesday Night

She gathered the troops together early last evening to begin serious planning for her run for Congress in the November election. Yoder, her communication director Alexa Lopez, and volunteers from around the state met at the Uptown Cafe on Kirkwood to plot strategy for Indiana’s 9th District race against Republican Todd Young.


I don’t care what the result in North Carolina was Tuesday — putting human rights up for a vote is not only wrong, it’s a dead-on indication that the rights in question flat out aren’t going to be rights once the polls close.

How do you think the federal Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts would have fared in a popularity contest back in 1964?

Unless enlightened leaders legislate those rights into existence, the most likely choice of the electorate would be to flip the finger to whichever group wants them.

For all his sins, President Lyndon B. Johnson twisted arms, bartered with, and cajoled senators to pass the laws that would guarantee legal equality for black Americans. He might have been a vote-stealing, crude and crass, venal pol, but he knew the nation needed federal legislation to bring its black brothers and sisters fully into the family. And he did so at the cost of his presidency.

Martin Luther King Congratulates Lyndon Baines Johnson

Barack Obama’s long-awaited imprimatur of gay marriage yesterday won’t cost him the presidency, but his view on the matter alienates him from at least half the voting public.

For my money, I don’t want democratic principles determined by an electorate that is more conversant in the private life of Kim Kardashian than Thomas Paine’s “The Rights of Man.”


My roster of Facebook friends tilts heavily to the left. That makes sense because I tilt heavily toward the left, even when I haven’t been drinking.

Lots of lefties these days are certain the nation as well as humanity itself is on a crash course toward disaster. If I took all the Facebook posts of my friends seriously, I’d be a juddering wreck. Our food is poisoned, the FBI is snooping through my sock drawer even as I type these words, war will be declared on Iran in a half hour…, Help!

I’d have to imagine the Facebook posts of Right-leaning folks are just as alarming, only for different reasons. The political and philosophical zeitgeist of the 21st Century holds that if you aren’t wringing your hands and being a drama queen, then you aren’t paying attention.

Rage is demanded by people who use Facebook to alert the world to the perils they see around every corner. I’m sorry to inform them all I don’t have that much rage in me.

But last night a post by the decidedly non-political Tyler Ferguson turned me into a snarling beast.

Ferguson reported that the college lads who live directly across the street from her have purchased and installed a new stereo system in their apartment. She heard them congratulating each other on finally having a sound device that can make their music audible halfway across the continental United States.

Tyler reports she can now hear the lyrics to the songs they play with crystal, if disturbing and annoying, clarity.

She writes: “I don’t recognize the current song, but the lyrics are ‘nigger’ and ‘fuck’ pretty much over and over. Nice.”

Now we have to assume the “artists” singing such an Euterpean delight are black. It’s perfectly acceptable in the recorded music industry world for young black men to liberally sprinkle their lyrics with the N-bomb.

Me, I immediately assumed the lunkheads blasting the music are white. Suburban white boys are the single biggest demographic that buys what I’ll indelicately christen “nigger/fuck music (NFM).”

I’m no shrink, but I’ll hazard the guess that the Zachs and Joshuas of the world embrace such cacophony as a way to demonstrate how macho and quasi-threatening they are. Testosterone has a weird way of making young men desperately want to display those traits.

So I added my comment to Tyler’s Facebook post thread. Several others already had offered to help Tyler commit mayhem upon the persons and property of the lads in question. I wrote: “And if you tell us they’re white, I’ll be happy to go with you and kick their balls up into their abdomens.”

See, my take on the white boys loving NFM is that they’ve reduced young black men to loathsome stereotypes. When I see a Mom-and-Dad-bought-and-paid-for SUV careening around the corner at Kirkwood and Walnut blaring NFM, I think the boys therein would have been perfectly comfortable some 65 years ago, sniggering at Steppin’ Fetchit while flipping a nickel to the bootblack who just shined their shoes.

Tyler responded: “They are pasty white.”

I came back with a flurry of obscene pejoratives directed at the lads. I concluded, “Grrrrrrrrr!”

So that’s the sum total of my emotional output due to Facebook for the rest of the month. Even if someone reveals that George W. Bush personally planted the explosives that toppled the Twin Towers.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Thursday, May  10, 2012

IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits, “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”; through July 1st — “Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than To Be Seen): Muslim Self Portraits; through June 17th — “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”; through July 1st

IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; through June 29th

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center Exhibits at various galleries: Angela Hendrix-Petry, Benjamin Pines, Nate Johnson, and Yang Chen; all through May 29th

Trinity Episcopal ChurchArt exhibit, “Creation,” collaborative mosaic tile project; through May 31st

Monroe County Public LibraryArt exhibit, “Muse Whisperings,” water color paintings by residents of Sterling House; through May 31st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

Monroe County Public LibraryUsed book and media sale; 9am-4pm

Monroe County Courthouse Lawn — Strawberry Shortcake Festival; 10:30am-2:30pm


Bloomington City HallPlatinum Bike Summit; 4pm

Bear’s PlaceMedia Noche Trio + 1 CD release party; 5:30pm

Farm Bloomington, Root Cellar — Ryder Film Series, “444 Last Day on Earth”; 6:30pm

Buskirk-Chumley TheaterCardinal Stage Company presents “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”; 7pm

IU CinemaFilm, “The Kid with a Bike”; 7pm

Brown County Playhouse“Under the Umbrella: Life Is a Circus” performed by balancing artist Steven Ragatz; 7-8:15pm

Fairview Elementary SchoolScott Russell Sanders speaks about becoming an author; 7-8pm

Scott Russell Sanders

Max’s PlaceKeith Korns; 7:30pm

The Comedy AtticDan Telfer; 8pm

The Player’s PubCarpenter and Clerk, 220 Breakers; 8pm

The BishopGood Luck, Spoonboy, Kind of Like Spitting; 9pm

Bear’s Place Karaoke; 9pm

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: