I've been asked a few times recently to explain why I chose 'va dare' as my DKos handle so I went looking for a link to an old diary I'd written about that very question. In searching for it, I came to realize that five years have passed since I chose it and that I've now crossed some barely-discernible threshold to become a bona-fide 'DKos Old-Timer,' hearkening back to some brighter-orange (if not golden) era.
So, here is one of my earliest DKos diaries - posted Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 04:37:52 AM EST. Since most Kossacks were (at that very moment) enroute to some kinda weird party/gathering in Las Vegas (does 'YK' ring a bell?), my diary rec'd 11 comments but only one person clicked the Recommend button. So here it is again, with some tweaking. I'm still looking for feedback on this so please comment below, especially if you've got a moniker-meta story to share.
In lithos' diary published on Sunday, I posted a comment and rec'd my first-ever troll-rating. Since I also rec'd 48 positive recs for the same comment, I was taken aback, wondering what I'd written to so inflame the troll-rater. While someone was quick to suggest that it may have been an error of haste (wherein s/he had moved on too quickly), Cecrops Tangaroa suggested that my nickname may have spawned the troll-rating:
There's a notorious white-supremacist group called VDARE, after Virginia Dare, and someone might have thought you were plugging them.
My response: YIKES! - NO WAY!
a) I live in Virginia, and b) dare is a contraction of my real first name and sums up how I am bound to live out my convictions - always 'daring' to speak truth to power. I wasn't even aware of this group.
So, yeah, I feel really stupid to NOT have known about this nasty group. Forgive me for being ill-read (pun-intended *) about hate groups. But now I'm in need of your advice: Should I change my user ID? Or is it time to liberate Virginia Dare?
Virginia Dare (August 18, 1587 - unknown) was the first child to be born in America of English parents on Roanoke Island in the Colony of Roanoke, now in North Carolina. ...
Virginia Dare's life remains a mystery. Nine days after her birth, on 27 August 1587, her grandfather, Governor John White, left the colony for England, acting as Roanoke's agent in obtaining further aid and assistance for the colony. He arrived in England that November as the nation was about to go to war with Spain.
It was not until August 1590 that White reached Roanoke with a relief expedition. It found no trace of the settlers--only the word "croatoan" carved on a post. The infant Virginia Dare had vanished along with all other Roanoke colonists.
Some believe that the survivors of the "Lost Colony" were absorbed into the Croatoan tribe. Others believe that the colonists moved to another nearby island, although no trace was found. (T)he theory that they were absorbed by the Croatoan Indians has gained some credence in recent years.
As a historian and Cherokee descendent, I've always been amused by the myth-making re: Virginia Dare and the Lost Colony. (Case in point: as a young man, Andy Griffith picked, grinned, and otherwise performed in the outdoor drama in Manteo, NC, that purports to portray this bit of history.) If indeed Virginia Dare and any other survivors were taken in by Natives, they quickly ceased to be 'white' by way of speedy cultural assimilation.
To me, the real back-story is that poor Virginia and her fellow colonists would hardly have been the first or last to be rescued by Natives along the east coast; indeed many Spanish, Portugeuse, English, Nordic, French, and African mal-adventurers were willingly absorbed into indigenous communities if they were respectful and willing to try to live in harmony.
The ugly downside to the back-story is that such survivors became 'ambassadors of death' in that they helped to spawn virulent epidemics of measles, smallpox, and other European maladies that cut through Native communties with appalling results.
So it is especially galling for me to see the name of our erstwhile heroine taken by those who would spurn this tradition of hospitality and reciprocity. ... back to Wikipedia:
VDARE is an editorial collective website which advocates for reduced immigration, including heightened selectivity in legal immigration into the United States. VDARE was created by former Forbes editor Peter Brimelow through his Center for American Unity. The political viewpoints of the collective range from paleoconservatism to isolationism, and from immigration reduction to anti-immigration. ...
Critics of VDARE charge that it publishes racist or racialist material. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit civil rights organization, claims that VDARE was "once a relatively mainstream anti-immigration page," but by 2003 had "become a meeting place for many on the radical right." The SPLC criticizes VDARE for publishing articles by Jared Taylor, head of American Renaissance, and the late Sam Francis, former editor of the newsletter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, both of whom the SPLC considers to be white supremacist. VDARE is also criticized by the SPLC for publishing articles by authors who deal with race and intelligence. The SPLC lists "VDARE/Center for American Unity" on a list of organizations it calls "hate groups."
VDARE claims to be neutral on all issues save immigration reduction. VDARE columnist James Fulford has responded to the SPLC's criticisms of racism and hate stating that they're unavoidable for immigration reformers due to that "the majority of Americans are white, and the majority of immigrants are non-white." ...
VDARE contributors have responded to charges of racism by pointing to that VDARE carries original articles by authors of a number of ethnic backgrounds, including Filipina American Michelle Malkin, Hispanic George Borjas, Native American David A. Yeagley, and Japanese American Lance T. Izumi.
Well, I reckon that VDare's founders and contributors would hardly be the first racists to adapt tokenism for their purposes, no? Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok of the SPLC offer further insight into the misuse of poor Virginia Dare:
Peter Brimelow in 1995 published the bestselling Alien Nation, a book that argued that America is historically white-dominated and should stay that way... [though] well reviewed in many places, it included strong veins of racism and xenophobia.
He described the role of race as "elemental, absolute, fundamental." He said that white Americans should demand that U.S. immigration quotas be changed to allow in mostly whites. He argued that spending tax dollars on anything related to multiculturalism was "subversive." He called foreign immigrants "weird aliens with dubious habits." At one point, he wrote that if one enters an Immigration and Naturalization Service waiting room, just like entering the New York subways, "you find yourself in an underworld that is not just teeming but also almost entirely colored." He [has also] said tax money spent to help blacks and the poor "has done little good and much ill."
Brimelow has written that he once planned to bestow Dare's name on "the heroine of a projected fictional concluding chapter in Alien Nation, about the flight of the last white family in Los Angeles." He was, he said, "dissuaded."
So he was dissuaded from using her name for a fictional character but was willing to appropriate the name of one of America's earliest immigrants to launch an anti-immigration site. Seemed odd so I just had to find out. Brimelow explains on the VDare website (no links will I provide but since we're all googling fiends, do I really need to?):
Multiculturalists will be happy to know that there is always the possibility that the colonists survived, merging with the local Indians. There are fables that Virginia Dare as a young woman got involved in a love triangle with a warrior and an angry medicine man, who transformed her into a white doe. And there have been serious suggestions that The Lost Colony is the answer to the historical problem of the Lumbee Indians of Robeson County, North Carolina, an English-speaking group of unclear origin.
Anthropologists call such groups "tri-racial isolates." Significant of the times, and perhaps of federal subsidies, the Lumbees seem recently to have been emphasizing their claim to pure Indian status.
So Virginia Dare could be symbolic of the coming racial nirvana that immigration enthusiasts are forced to start fantasizing about when you compel them to look at the statistical consequences of current policy.
Or perhaps not. The actress Heather Locklear (Melrose Place, etc.) is claimed as a prominent Lumbee. But if, through some miracle of genetic recombination, Virginia Dare is reborn in Ms. Locklear's beautiful face, John White might well have recognized her.
Hmmm. Brimelow would have us believe that Heather Locklear's 'beautiful white face' demonstrates the superiority of Virginia Dare's genetic stock and the triumph of white(r) immigrants over miscegenation AND signals the rescue of 'whiteness' from the condescension of historians and policy-makers. This is a crock of bull. Here's this historian's reply to Brimelow and his group:
Lesson # 1: America is that place where people ain't ever going to get white enough but they have a really ugly history of trying.
Lesson # 2: America is a two class, two caste society. Two classes: men and not-men. Two castes: people-of-color and the un-colored. Un-colored men rule but rarely easily. Our understanding of this lesson has the potential for violently disrupting any perceived notions of 'us' versus 'them.'
Lesson # 3: The American Revolution was not an event or even a series of events that ended in 1781. It is an ongoing process that won't be over until more fat Senators sing soprano and the Seminoles regain control of Florida.
And finally, Lesson # 4: A truer history of America can be located in the ongoing (and oh, so tiresome) struggle between white-winged patriarchy (Euro-American) and the communitarian ethos of 'metis' matriarchy (Indigenous). Not THE history, I know, but certainly a potential way of looking through the strangling triangle of race, class, and gender.
Bottom line, I want to shout f*** you to Brimelow but I'm loathe to abandon Virginia Dare to his malappropriation of her symbolic potential. So help me decide with the following poll and in your comments below.
What should I do?
- Use the signature feature to explain that I'm repudiating VDare's theft of the poor child's place in history? 32% 8 votes
- Change my screen name to "Ani Yunwiya," the Cherokee's preferred name meaning "The Principal People"? 8% 2 votes
- Change my name to Heather Locklear and hope no one notices that I look nothing like her? 20% 5 votes
- I do nothing today but repost this after YKos since I seem to be one of the few who isn't enroute to Las Vegas? 40% 10 votes
| 25 votes | Results
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End of '06 diary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ON TO TOP COMMENTS! (Finally?)
Here at Top Comments we round up some of the site's best, funniest, most mojo'd and most informative commentary. We depend on your help with talent spotting. If you see a comment that deserves recognition, please send it to topcomments at gmail by 6:30 pm Pacific/9:30pm Eastern. Please please please include a few words about why you sent it in as well as your user name) (even if you think we know it already :-)), so we can credit you with the find!
So, dipping into tonight's TC-mailbox, I found some gem-nominations. To wit:
From Ed Tracey:
In the midst of some diaries singing the praises of Ralph Nader, nailbanger reminds us that .... Nader is the ultimate bipartisan. He gets material support from the Republican Party and drains votes from the Democratic.
Land of Enchantment tells a wonderful story on the importance of bearing witness and a testament for history in No Deal, Mr. President by our esteemed and wonderful Senator Sherrod Brown. [hubba-hubba, Brown's my man. If he can't do it, no one can]
In George Lakoff's diary Untellable Truths, Larry Bailey starts a very interesting thread on language that expresses Progressive ideals in a positive manner. Keep reading past the linked comment.
awcomeon gives a preference on which of our politicians should do the hostage taking.
The hostage metaphor comes up in another diary; mrbeen38 thinks the PR effect is important.
From Angie inWAState:
1 - "Bust up the big Financial Services Companies. This I can get behind."
2 - "BankiLeaks"
I ♥ when I find a 'new word' or some new poli-slang, this one is spot on with the Wikileaks leak of their next dump being banking data, and the name Bank of America being bandied about. Talk about ironic. :)
Angie also wrote a nice note to the TC Team and I hope she isn't embarrassed that I share it here:
Thanks for keeping Top Comment running every day, guys. I sure do appreciate the work you do, and they are some of my favorite 'personal diaries' on the Daily Kos.
Awwwww - that's sweet. Backatcha, Ang', for real!
A few picks that I found:
I liked this explanation of liberal viz-a-viz progressive as written by Simian.
In the early AM 'Get-to-know-one-another' diary, I really appreciated this self-description by croyal, especially her use of 'neurotypicals.'
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT belittleblue jersey mom - someone tried it today and got their a$$ trashed. You rock, bjMOM!
Thank you, bronte17 , for tonight's mojo-list-making.
Top Mojo excluding search-identifiable tip jars, first diary comments, Cheers and Jeers, and Mojo Friday:
1) Could it be that needlessly adding another by elwior — 125
2) So begins the global information war by NBBooks — 112
3) This is it, in a nutshell by heart of a quince — 107
4) Nothing "needs" to pass. by Musket Man — 96
5) It's imprudent, and the Republicans know it by terra — 91
6) Time to give up the ghost. by dkmich — 89
7) Well, I got my cranky parents to tune in and by Mother Mags — 88
8) Thanks, Bernie's worth listening to. by shpilk — 87
9) I guess Holder needed something to do by The Dead Man — 85
10) Beta? by Dartagnan — 82
11) LWelsch by Major Tom — 81
12) It is time to let him and his stooges fail. by dkmich — 78
13) And your point is to negate the diarist's ... by KJG52 — 76
14) I'm going to be the first to say it: NAILED IT... by LiberalCanuck — 76
15) Exactly! We Are Better Off With EXPIRATION!!! n/t by bincbom — 76
16) Bernie Sanders, American Hero n/t by kareylou — 74
17) (Paraphrasing) 'Does anyone really believe by Mehitabel9 — 73
18) Dismissive Press Leak From White House... by Keith Olbermann — 72
19) The Lounge Is Open by TexDem — 72
20) Julian is held in solitary confinement by FishOutofWater — 71
21) CC Is Watching by TexDem — 69
22) More Mojo by TexDem — 69
23) Thanks For Stopping By by TexDem — 69
24) Many Real Problems by GreenSooner — 68
25) Winter Mojo by TexDem — 67
26) Mojo Friday Wants You by TexDem — 67
27) Thank God for by TomP — 67
28) Santa In June Mojo by TexDem — 66
29) Hiya, TD. by Its the Supreme Court Stupid — 66
30) Rudolph Mojo by TexDem — 65
Top Mojo with No Exclusions:
1) Tip Jar by Sherrod Brown — 407
2) Tip Jar by George Lakoff — 403
3) Tip Jar by Jerome a Paris — 326
4) Tip Jar by Mehitabel9 — 325
5) A Time for Change in Leadership has come!! by LWelsch — 322
6) Tip Jar by twigg — 270
7) Tip Jar by RASalvatore — 251
8) Tips For Bernie! by Savage — 241
9) Tip Jar by Forrest Brown — 205
10) Get off your butt and call to supper Bernie by SallyCat — 201
11) Tip Jar by the dogs sockpuppet — 190
12) Tip Jar by Bill in Portland Maine — 185
13) Tip Jar by brooklynbadboy — 150
14) Tip Jar by TomP — 149
15) Tip Jar by webranding — 142
16) Tip Jar by Jill Richardson — 133
17) Tips for Bernie! by Team Slacker — 131
18) Could it be that needlessly adding another by elwior — 125
19) Tip Jar by Betty Pinson — 125
20) Tip Jar by Ubiquitous A — 124
21) So begins the global information war by NBBooks — 112
22) This is it, in a nutshell by heart of a quince — 107
23) Nothing "needs" to pass. by Musket Man — 96
24) It's imprudent, and the Republicans know it by terra — 91
25) Time to give up the ghost. by dkmich — 89
26) Well, I got my cranky parents to tune in and by Mother Mags — 88
27) Thanks, Bernie's worth listening to. by shpilk — 87
28) I guess Holder needed something to do by The Dead Man — 85
29) Mojo Mug by TexDem — 82
30) Beta? by Dartagnan — 82
Always the mountains,
* - back in the good old days, I used to hangout here so much that I topped jotter's reader-list for months on end. I'd guess that some Kosines considered me a pushy upstart. Maybe that's why I only got one diary-rec.
** - whatever happened to Cecrops? and litho?