Goodbye Harbinger, Hello Jack

Posted 12 April 2008 by theharbinger
Categories: Uncategorized

It is obvious that this blog, like so many before it, has puttered out.

There are various uninteresting reasons for this.

If you enjoyed anything you read here, please turn your browsers to: http://jackvalentine.net

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Delightful satire

Posted 27 February 2008 by theharbinger
Categories: Links, Politics, Satire

http://barackobamaisyournewbicycle.com/

Enough said.

More on the “ghetto” discussion

Posted 15 February 2008 by theharbinger
Categories: Language, Links

I stumbled across another excellent post on this topic. The intro is non-sequitur, the substantial writing begins at, “I personally am fed up with folks using ‘ghetto’ as an adjective…”

Check it out for another perspective on the issue.

Cynthia McKinney, will you be my Valentine?

Posted 14 February 2008 by theharbinger
Categories: Politics, Social Change, Voting

mckinney.jpg

Cynthia McKinney is running for president under the Green Party ticket. Here is Mumia Abu-Jamal’s endorsement. Click here for the full text.

If you’re not familiar with McKinney, check out the film American Blackout (torrent). If you read this blog, you know my thoughts on the election. McKinney is worth voting for, not because she’ll win the office, but because she deserves it.

Wisdom in the recipe

Posted 14 February 2008 by theharbinger
Categories: City Life, Social Change, Thoughts

sprouts.jpg

I am committed a life of working for change. Looking at my life, however, there is very little evidence of this. Like-minded friends have even made comments which hint of disappointment. Their critique is valid, for the standards against which I am being judged are my own. Lately, I have been finding the energy to start thinking about action I might take to walk the talk, and slowly plans are coming into motion. The question, then, is why has it taken 6 months to get the ball rolling?

I used to think that realizing the problems with one’s situation was tantamount to solving them. This is not the case. Even three months ago I was writing about the struggle to build the life I want, so realization is clearly far from remedy. The real answer to the question is a little Maslowian common sense: can’t worry about social change if you’re worried about affording groceries.

Really, it’s just now–after 6 months–that I am getting settled into a neighborhood where I want to live, with a job I want to have, and energy left over for projects. All along I have known, on a cerebral level, what my ultimate goals are. But when my more base needs were not met, I had neither energy nor desire to work towards them. My mindset was actually much different. Without the requisite conditions, I could not manifest real action.

The wisdom, then, is in the recipe. I didn’t have the will to work towards my ultimate goals, but I did know what conditions were lacking, and so I could work towards those. Now that those conditions are present, I am finding not just energy for working towards higher goals, but also a sense of urgency to do so. It is a strange thing to notice one’s own mindset transform. Six seemingly idle months are as unimaginable to me now as had been the steps I am currently taking while I was worried about base needs.

It is difficult to behold a flower in a cloud, and yet it is there. The flower will not manifest until the required conditions are brought together, but it lies dormant within each of them. The gardener patiently brings these conditions together, and waits for the dirt to sprout something beautiful. In the same way we must till our lives, not grasping desperately at our final goals, but patiently bringing together the conditions which will allow us to grow into what we want to be.

Find a dope cafe near you

Posted 9 February 2008 by theharbinger
Categories: cafes, City Life, Community, Links

Here is the plight of the lazy bohemian: long winded rants which warn of the perils of chain stores leave us too tired to actually go find good local businesses.  Now, with just a small amount of tech-savvy, we can be lazy AND support our communities.

Check out this great link: http://www.indiecoffeeshops.com/

Thanks to Mr. Lenz for bringing this to my attention. In all seriousness, this is a great utility. Please comment if you know of anything similar, perhaps more general directories of local businesses.

‘Ghetto’ is not an adjective

Posted 8 February 2008 by theharbinger
Categories: Language

It’s a noun.

It is important to accept that language evolves, and sometimes rapidly. I resent objectivist (and modernist at that) notions of right and wrong ways to speak; if one person encodes a message into spoken language, and other people are able to decode it, then communication is occurring and language is being put to good use.

It is, however, also important to say what one means. ‘Ghetto,’ in its adjective form, is usually nothing more than a euphemism which reflects underlying racist and classist sentiments. A messenger asked me the other day, “How ghetto is your company?” By which he meant, “How many poor, middle-aged black men work for your company?”

Seriously, let’s not veil our beliefs. The ghetto-adjective allows people to make blatantly racist and classist statements, yet their prejudices are obscured by the apparent hipness of this new iteration of language. If one says what one truly means, there will be no need to ever use the ghetto-adjective. The next time you hear it, ask yourself, “What is this person really saying?” Sometimes it feels innocuous, like, “This hair-dryer is so ghetto!” And what is the connection there? Poor folks use broken hair-dryers? I’m sure that’s true from time to time, but why not say, “This hair-dryer doesn’t work properly.”

If what we mean is respectful, then we will not hesitate to choose words which accurately reflect our sentiments. If–as we all do to some level–we are harboring racist and classist sentiments, let us confront those rather than obfuscating them with imprecise language.