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Everything posted by bookfan

  1. The on-going saga of Chris Lee... ...leads to some interesting news about attitudes on interracial dating. The married New York congressman resigned this week when it was revealed that he had been trolling for love online. It turns out the prospective craiglist date who outed him after she Googled his real identity is a fetching mixed-race woman (she describes herself as "black-Irish"). She has a blog called "Fly Black Chick," where she has addressed the episode with verve. In commenting on the story, Zennie Abraham cites a new study about the racial preferences of online daters. From the press release: New research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that when it comes to dating, cyberspace is as segregated as the real world. Data gathered from more than 1 million profiles of singles looking for love online show that whites overwhelmingly prefer to date members of their own race, while blacks, especially men, are far more likely to cross the race barrier in hopes of being struck by Cupid’s arrow. The study comes from UC Berkeley's “Online Relationship Lab." Only at Berkeley. The story just got much weirder: the same website that outed Lee now says that he was also advertising on craigslist for transsexuals and cross-dressers. The evidence they present for this latest twist is vapor thin, however.
  2. I was reminded of this old discussion by something I read in the news today. A University of Michigan professor has ranked the states according to which ones have the highest percentages of unusual baby names. In this case, "unusual" is defined as names that aren't in the national top-10 list of most popular names. I'm not sure about that logic, because by that definition, Robert and Mary count as unusual names. Maybe what the study actually identifies are the states with the least interest in the latest fads in baby names. But if you accept the premise of the study, then it appears that whites are more prone to "distinctive" names than blacks. Setting aside the special case of Hawaii (a lot of people who are neither white nor black), unusual names are most common in states that are very white (12 out of 17 states with the highest frequency of unusual names). A few states with significant black population made the top-10 list for unusual girls' names (Mississippi, Georgia, Maryland, and South Carolina), but only one made the top-10 list for boys' names (Louisiana). Two interesting patterns: unusual boys' names have a regional cluster in the northwest, while unusual girls' have a southwest cluster. The results: The following is the study's ranked list of U.S. states where prevalence of common names is lowest (with No. 1 being the most individualistic), based on percentage of babies who had one of the top 10 most popular names of that year. Boys' names: Hawaii Wyoming Louisiana Idaho Oklahoma Montana Colorado Nebraska Washington Oregon Girls' names Hawaii New Mexico Mississippi Nevada Georgia Wyoming Arizona Alaska Maryland South Carolina The professor attributes these results to a persistent pioneer spirit in the states that were most recently on the American frontier. But here's a reality check: in Hawaii, the state with the most "distinctive" names, 21 of the top 30 boys' names are from the Bible. Hard to see how that indicates a population with a maverick mindset and a hankerin' for something new.
  3. My secret weapon. I am a national man of mystery, codename "Clive Bixby." You never know where I'll show up next. Don't tell Gloria Naylor.
  4. Thanks for the feedback, Cynique. I am definitely a kind of cultural tourist here, and tourists rarely make good impressions. I grew up in a place that was a tourist destination. In high school, a friend of mine had a T-shirt that said, "Yes, I live here. And no, I don't answer stupid questions." Bummed about not making the "relevant" cut, and about washing out on the honorary black man thing. Guess I'll have to stick with token white guy. But, seriously, the reason I don't bite back is simply that that's not my style. Or maybe that's what I have in the absence of hip and insouciant style. I thought your repeated PETA comments were just metaphorical, but the Vick stuff is making me think that you're talking literally. I plugged "PETA" into the AALBC search box, and as far as I can tell, the only times that acronym has been used here are the times you have accused me of being a member. This thread appears to have been what got you started.
  5. Whoa. A few more like that and my list will rival Carey’s. Cynique, let me ask you something that was already on my mind before this: do you find me "patronizing" and "paternalistic" in a racial way, or just in general? I know things have gotten to the point where I’m mostly just talking to myself here, so I’d been thinking about why that is. When Chris said that "we" already knew all about the trans-atlantic slave trade, for example, it occurred to me later that maybe he was making a point about the white guy talking to black people like he knew something they didn't. Is the way I talk about racial issues (or the fact that I even talk about them at all) obnoxious? I’d be interested in hearing what anyone else thinks about this, too. The anonymity and brutal frankness of a web forum make this seem like an easier opportunity to take than with someone I know personally.
  6. Robert, Your title is fine. It's in the same style as The Compleat Angler, one of the most famous guides ever published. Welcome to TC. Congratulations on your book, and good luck.
  7. You're right on this one, Cynique. The erroneous insertion of apostrophes in plural nouns is epidemic in America. But you're wrong on this one. Possessive apostrophes come after an s only on words that already end in s in their non-possessive form. In such cases, the second, possessive s is eliminated to avoid the construction s's. Examples: Phil's dad has three horses. Phil branded all the horses' asses. When Phil's dad found out, he called his son a horse's ass and whipped Phil's ass. Mens is not a word in English, so there can be no mens' in correct English. The possessive form of men is indeed men's.
  8. Here's a live TV version, even more peppy than the previous. At 1:40, the brothers do the Macarena. I kid you not. The Macarena. To "If I Had a Hammer." Which just goes to show how universal a song can be.
  9. This is off the thread of discussion at this point, but what I found is too quirky not to share. This wasn't spanish, and I didn't recall ever hearing that Oprah was in a singing group. So I looked it up. That’s no Oprah. That’s Monique Rabaraona and her siblings, aka “Les Surfs.” They were a ‘60s-era group from Madagascar that covered American pop hits in French. Here’s a cultural-fusion gem: a 1963 music video of their wacky cover version of Trini Lopez’ bastardized arrangement of Pete Seeger’s classic protest song. They drain every vestige of social relevance from the song, leaving pure fluffy fun. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIavj_hts0w
  10. She's still got the same nose she's always had. Just in the studio portrait above, her face is heavily painted and carefully lighted to create the illusion of a narrow, straight nose bridge. If she went out in public with that paint job, everyone would laugh, because the illusion only works from certain angles. It's a nose job that washes off, but it expresses the same desire as having surgery. Here she is with street (as opposed to stage) makeup in 2010: Same nose, but a lot less face paint.
  11. “I believe in the one-drop theory,” Halle Berry says in the latest issue of Ebony. She makes that statement to explain why she considers her daughter, who has three white grandparents, to be black. "I want Black people to know that I haven’t abandoned them because I’ve had a child with a man outside of my race and I’m dating someone now outside my race who is Spanish and French." A few thoughts: "Spanish" and "French" are not races but nationalities. White is not "outside my race" for someone who is half white. The concept of "outside" presumes race as a boundary for human interaction. When Berry was born, the one-drop rule was still the law of the land in the state of Virginia, under the infamous Racial Integrity Act.
  12. I'm going to leave you alone from now on. No posts to you or about you. Hope that helps.
  13. Thanks. Again, my apologies for the misunderstanding.
  14. My apologies. I'm glad to hear you weren't telling Kola she might be right about me being the spammer. Should have given you the benefit of the doubt and asked for clarification. So...what did you think she might be right about? Her only point appears to be that I am "the culprit." When you said you weren't willing to put in the time and effort to find out, I assumed you were talking about not wanting to check whether my ISP was the same as BigBuck's. It's no skin off my back if Kola says I'm a racist NSA agent, but I'd feel a little differently if somebody with credibility were endorsing that idea. Not trying to argue with you about what you were thinking. It's just that I still don't see the still-unspecified thing you say is so easy to see. What were you talking about?
  15. I did not see that one coming. Not from you, at least. It's your forum, so I'll leave.
  16. CNN reports that two professors, from Emory University and the University of Hull in England, have analyzed the records of 35,000 slave-trading voyages over three and a half centuries. They have published their findings on a web site -- The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database -- and in a book -- Atlas of the Atlantic Slave Trade. The database identifies 67,000 captives by name, age, gender, origin, and place of embarkation. The atlas features 189 maps showing where Africans were taken from, where they were taken to, and who took them. Among the findings: Four enslaved Africans left the Old World for every European. Almost every port city on the Atlantic was active in the slave trade. New York was a major center of the slave trade. The trans-Atlantic slave trade continued to grow until the very end, when it was forcibly suppressed. A total of 12.5 million Africans were taken in the slave trade. The numbers are staggering. African outnumbered Europeans in the New World then, but not now. The numbers imply a centuries-long wave of death that may surpass the Jewish holocaust in absolute numbers. The CNN writers say, "It is becoming commonplace to claim that there are more slaves in the world today than ever and that large-scale trafficking in people continues. The 'Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade' suggests that such claims tend to obscure the horrors -- unique in human history -- of the Middle Passage from Africa to the Americas."
  17. U.S. culture summed up in eleven words. I like the way you said it better than the way I said it. I'll have to credit you when I use it, damn it.
  18. Not even Jonathan Franzen, with yet another best-seller, can resist the gravitational pull of Oprah Inc. forever. Franzen, who famously rebuffed Oprah's 2001 effort to co-opt his novel, The Corrections, for her book club, has finally given in. Franzen went on Oprah yesterday. Neither he nor Oprah explained why, but other events (and press releases) make it clear that the interview was part of a deal between Harpo Productions and Google. Google is launching the marketing campaign for its new Ebookstore. Franzen's hot new book, Freedom, is one of the offerings. You have to pay for Franzen's book, but to help hype the launch, Google is highlighting the fact that two Dickens classics, Great Expectations and Tale of Two Cities, are among the free offerings. And by pure coincidence [wink wink], Oprah has chosen the Dickens books Google is pushing as her new book club selections. Everything that happens on television is about selling you stuff -- including the news. Read about both these supposedly unrelated gambits on the book blog Shelf Life. Since Shelf Life is owned by Entertainment Weekly and its last four articles are about the different elements of this marketing collaboration, I suspect EW has a piece of the marketing campaign, too. By the way, Troy, booksellers can tie in to Ebookstore and get a percentage on purchases made through their sites.
  19. On the profile pages of members, there are numbers for their "profile views." It doesn't seem like that can be a count of the people who've viewed someone's posts, for two reasons: 1) there are people who've never posted who have hundreds of profile views, and 2) while the software can track which posts get clicked on from "view new content" and a few other places, but it can't track which posts you read as you scroll through a thread. It all implies that many thousands of people are lurking here all the time, but that's so out of whack with actual participation (count 'em on one hand) that it seems unlikely. The software probably has a feature that counts site visits. Troy?
  20. I'm not saying change the rankings. I suspect you can download the profile-view numbers and the post counts (separately, with names attached), slap them in a spreadsheet, calculate the views-per-post averages, and post the results in this thread. People probably look at Thumper's profile hoping for clues to his identity (I did). I'm amazed that almost 1,300 people have clicked on ABM's profile when he's only posted a dozen times on the new board. What did he say in those few posts that got people so interested? The view counts are weird. There are people who have never posted (e.g., all4you33) who have almost a thousand views, and others like Author Chris Hicks, who also has zero posts but just one view. Asar Imhotep only posted 14 times before dropping out, but he's got 3,831 profile views! That's an average of 274 per post. What's going on here? Are people doing some sort of off-board linking that factors into this?
  21. The profile-view numbers show that even though only a handful of people are posting, thousands of people are reading the forum. Over 6,000 people have looked at your profile! That's astonishing. What's even more astonishing is that none of those people join in the discussions. Well, virtually none of those people. During the Erzulie debacle, all kinds of nasty strangers dropped in. I quit that thread long before it ended because it was so out of hand. They were gunning for you, Cynique, and I imagine your profiled-view count got a bit of a boost that week.
  22. You run comparative statistics on posters from time to time. I just noticed the "profile views" count. How about ranking the top posters by profile views? Or better yet, by views per post. I checked a few of those ratios: Cynique gets an average of 15 profile views every time she posts; Thumper gets 50 to 1; and ABM gets 100. I have no idea what that means (in absolute numbers, Cynique has five times as many views as ABM), but I find that intriguing.
  23. Talk to the squirrel

  24. From There’s something happening here: the New Left, the Klan, and FBI counterintelligence, by Brandeis University Professor David Cunningham: While the events of September 11 demonstrated that the terrorist threat is real, its organization within isolated conspiratorial cells only loosely, if at all, connected to any identifiable bodies provides the potential for monitoring and disrupting a broad range of dissenters in the name of the war on terrorism. While COINTELPRO-era target selection was heavily invested in finding connections between the Communist Party-USA and various other challengers—including SDS, Martin Luther King Jr., and most other mainstream civil rights and antiwar groups—viable terrorist threats need not exhibit visible ties to any known subversive body. This likely poses the most difficult national security task ever faced by the FBI, as well as the greatest potential for abuse of civil liberties in U.S. history. [emphasis added]
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