Continuing the look at what online maps might be doing to our mental ones, Naomi Day writes for OneZero, “Before I started using Google Maps, I was really good at space.” Day considers the differences in hometown experiences, comparing a years-ago childhood to a more recent visit.
Now that I’ve used Google Maps to figure out what time the grocery store closes, and searched for an Indian restaurant on my phone when I couldn’t find it on a first look around the neighborhood, I’m finding these digital memories are more readily accessible when I think about that area. My old spatial and physical memories of my hometown seem to be drifting away, even though I spent 18 years navigating without technology.
I’ve been trying to nail down my own experiences in this regard, mostly thinking about my own recent move to the St. Johns neighborhood here in Portland, Oregon. While I’d visited St. Johns a few times over the past two decades, I did need to refamiliarize myself using online maps (and, of course, my apartment hunt involved such maps).
Once I’d settled in here, though, looking at online maps of St. Johns became increasingly disorienting. Most of my time is spent in the heart of downtown St. Johns (it has one, as it used to be its own town, and mostly still sort of sees itself as one), so perhaps it’s simply the concentrated area, but I definitely have a strong mental map of the area now. I have to really focus for a minute if I have to call up a map of St. Johns.
That said, I’ve lost count of the number of times even later in those two decades where I’ve been unable to give someone directions when asked, but I’m also unable to say whether that’s because online maps blur and blunt my mental maps of Portland, or simply because unexpectedly being asked to be socially-performative in a helpful manner is too jarring for my anxious, autistic sensibiities.
Or, perhaps, it’s some combination of both, but which explanation accounts for being unable to tell someone where a named street is in Old Town, when the streets are alphabetical there?
After the piss-poor start to my World Mental Health Day, I managed to go try the new breakfast sandwich at Chop and then head out to the Oregon Zoo, where I got to spend an hour with the goats at the Family Farm (not pictured here).
Why is Melissa Lemieux of Newsweek referring to three plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Portland as “counterfascist”, let alone as “self-described counterfascist” in the article’s meta tags? Just as a counterprotest doesn’t mean “against protest”, but “a protest opposing another protest”, counterfascist would mean “a fascist opposing another fascist”. The word here is antifascist, and it’s neither dirty nor a slur. It’s a perfectly good word describing a perfectly good thing to be: against fascism, and neither Lemieux nor the protesters should avoid using it.
ETA: Apparently, Newsweek got the “self-described” language from OPB, where Meerah Powell referred to “a self-described ‘counter-fascist protest’”. Alex Zieklinski’s coverage for Portland Mercury teaches me that the language ultimately is drawn from the text of the complaint which refers to “counter-fascist groups” and “counter-fascist protestors”, which also isn’t a thing. This means the actual lawyers for antifascists are running from the term antifascist. That’s bad.
ETA: This effectively sells out anyone else still—correctly, and appropriately—calling themselves antifascist. It cedes authority over our language to the bad-faith apologists for fascism and hate who want to make “antifa” synonymous with “terrorist”. Shame on Levi Merrithew Horst and Oregon Justice Resource Center.
ETA: Weirder yet, the complaint later does use the term “anti-fascist” and OJRC used that term in a statement, so why are they using the nonsense word “counter-fascist” at all?
I’d already made plans to attend this Saturday’s sneak peek of the St. Johns Museum but I only just noticed thanks to St. Johns Boosters that there’s going to be a presentation by Dan Haneckow on The Great Light Way, the series of illuminated archways that once adorned more than several intersections along SW Third in downtown Portland and if you followed me at all during my Portland Communique days, you already know that I’m so here for it.
Safe to say that I much prefer Barcelona’s definition of a “superblock”, where you essentially curtail vehicular traffic on an existing grid of streets, to Portland’s definition, where you merely have to provide a certain amount of pedestrian access through any new massive, multi-block development project. It looks like our neighbor to the north is considering giving Barcelona’s version a try.
Meanwhile, here in Portland, the front office of the Portland Timbers looked at Abram Goldman-Armstrong, the antifascist owner of a local pub which was in the not-to-distant past targeted for violence by Proud Boys and their fellow fascist travelers, and decided to ban him for flying the Iron Front at Providence Park. As pointed out by Zakir Khan, “[T]he Timbers were built by fans like Abe from Cider Riot allowing them to use their likeness in the Timbers original marketing campaign in 2011.” Not unrelated: if you still need proof that Andy Ngo is a fascist propagandist who stans nazis (up to and including doing nothing while the above-mentioned violent assault was planned right in front of him, other than smile about it), witness him referring to the antifascist movement from actual Nazi-era Germany from which the Iron Front comes merely as a “German paramilitary group”.
Beyond the threat self-checkout machines pose for grocery store employees, they also can be difficult for some shoppers to navigate, especially those who are elderly or have disabilities. That’s also addressed in the ballot measure.
“The increasing use of self-service checkouts—where the customer does not interact with a human— contributes to social isolation and related negative health consequences,” it reads. “Elderly costumers and customers with disabilities often lack the confidence or ability to use self-service checkouts.”
However, I rely on self-checkout to avoid the socially-performative nature of the regular lanes which often can be too much for my sensory-addled actually-autistic brain, especially on top of the harsh lighting and unpredictable customer movements already being inflicted upon me when I’m shopping. Making me wait longer to checkout because there are only two machines running at any one time isn’t going to help this disabled person. It’s going to make my life harder.
If the Oregon AFL-CIO’s issue is that overuse of self-checkout by grocery stores is harming workers, then push a law requiring that X-number of staffed checkout lines must be in operation at any one time, not one that limits the use of the self-checkout lanes I need. For sure don’t use disability as a shield when you aren’t concerned about your effect on mine.
ETA: For real, though. Mandating a minimum number of staffed checkout lanes be open at any one time actually serves the entire community. It’s jobs, it’s wages, it provides for that subset of the elderly or disabled who require direct assistance, but also provides for that subset of the invisible disabled who rely on self-checkout and shouldn’t be punished with longer lines.
Likely the best thing that happened today was that Alex Zielinski reported for Portland Mercury that fascist propagandist and provocateur Andy Ngo had witnessed preparations by Patriot Prayer to commit premeditated criminal acts of violence against antifa and did nothing (other than laugh about it), and within hours of the Mercury report Ngo lost his job at the nonsense website Quillette.
Not a soccer person? Not even a sports person? You should read Abe Asher’s dispatch from last night’s Timbers game and its 33-minute protest against Major League Soccer’s ban on the Iron Front anyway. I’m not a big reader of sports reporting, either, but this sort of coverage of not just sports but context, to my understanding, is how the best of it is done.
The fact that the Timbers Army could successfully execute this particular kind of protest, on short notice, was a show of force in its own right — a tribute not just to the organization’s leadership, but to the bar the Army has set for atmosphere and pageantry over the last nine years in MLS and in the USL before that.
Also worth noting, if not necessarily reading, that just as the ESPN broadcast did its best to discuss the matter, at least during those first thirty-three minutes, it’s covered on the website, too. Unsurprisingly, they could do a better job regarding antifa, but the fact that antfascist action is being discussed in national outlets at all without any real sneering or dismissiveness is a success in itself.
We maybe need to be talking more about how the Portland Police urged people to visit OMSI instead of going anywhere near a popular mobilization against fascism and then failed to protect OMSI after escorting the Proud Boys and their fellow fascist travelers across the closed Hawthorne Bridge.
While the kids played in the beautiful Science Playground, the public-address system announced that the museum was in “lockup”; no one could enter or leave until further notice. We could not see the street; none of the staff knew what was going on; no one could tell us how long the lockup would last; no one knew whether the marchers might assemble in front of the museum, making escape impossible.
In any event, the group of marchers near the museum was apparently relatively small; within a few minutes, the lockup was lifted. But the walk back to the light-rail system through a stark industrial area was, for me at least, heart-in-mouth. We had no place to hide on the street if something went wrong. When we made it back to our hotel, I felt relief, unreality, and fury.
That’s from Garrett Epps, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Baltimore, over in The Atlantic, in one hell of a post about the goals of fascism and the memory of one Justice Hans Linde.
Ward added, “I’ve been in many a protest. I’ve been in some amazing community mobilizations against bigotry. I’ve not in my 30 years seen such an organic alignment, that was so celebratory, as Saturday. People felt empowered and not disempowered. And the fact that Joey Gibson and Joe Biggs are spending Monday working so hard to convince media and their followers that they were successful tells me how much they’re scrambling. They’ve never had to scramble to declare a win before. They ran out of gas in Portland. And I think it’s significant and I think other cities should take note of it.”
From Community Leaders Heartened By Portland Response To Proud Boys Rally by Saundra Sorensen
“Oregon has a history of white supremacy. We were born from a — as a white homeland. That’s how Oregon got started. And so, we have our own homegrown white supremacists. But when we have people on a national stage encouraging people to come and create violence in our community, that’s when the community must stand up and make sure that we draw a line in the sand and say no way. Again, the difference this time between some of the other protests we had is that there were clear lines of command, who was in charge, who was making decisions about who would move where, and there were also enough law enforcement and community members who were willing to deescalate situations as they arose. And that was one of the things that, really, I was thrilled about. And so, it is unhelpful to have the president or anybody else encouraging people, mislabeling antifa as the problem, when the problem is really white supremacists trying to take over our streets.”
From Portland Rejects Proud Boys & Other Ultra-Right Groups as Trump Tries to Criminalize Antifa by Democracy Now!
The coalition’s goal of inclusion, combined with the strategies commonly associated with “antifa,” gave the groups a unique toolkit that allowed the coalition to build bridges and increase the number of participants. The success of this method could be a game changer for communities looking to deal with similar far-right threats.
From Portland Anti-Fascist Coalition Shows Us How We Can Defeat the Far Right by Shane Burley
“No one is suggesting that the Timbers support fascism,” writes Abe Asher for Portland Mercury. “What they are suggesting is that by supporting the Iron Front ban, they are creating space for a political movement that physically endangers a great number of their players, staff, and supporters.”
While I suppose it’s true that no one is suggesting that the Timbers willfully support fascism, “creating space for a political movement” that “endangers” people, when that political movement is, well, fascism, means that the Timbers do support fascism, even if their true, honest, and earnest intention is otherwise.
What matters now, since language matters, is for the Timbers to explain how and why they made the decision to ape bogus conservative talking points about the nature of antifa. The rhetorical acrobatics in the Timbers statement had to require conscious thought, and giving credence to the dangerous mythology being constructed by the right is a problem the front office needs to confront.