From the Indians who welcomed the pilgrims And to the buffalo who once ruled the plains Like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds Looking for the rain Looking for the rain
Just like the cities staggered on the coastline Living in a nation that just can’t stand much more Like the forest buried beneath the highway Never had a chance to grow Never had a chance to grow And now it’s winter Winter in America
Yes and all of the healers have been killed Or sent away, yeah But the people know, the people know It’s winter Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting ‘Cause nobody knows what to save Save your soul, Lord knows From Winter in America
The Constitution A noble piece of paper With free society Struggled but it died in vain And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner Hoping for some rain Looks like it’s hoping Hoping for some rain
And I see the robins Perched in barren treetops Watching last-ditch racists marching across the floor But just like the peace sign that vanished in our dreams Never had a chance to grow Never had a chance to grow
And now it’s winter It’s winter in America And all of the healers have been killed Or been betrayed Yeah, but the people know, people know It’s winter, Lord knows It’s winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting ‘Cause nobody knows what to save Save your souls From Winter in America And now it’s winter Winter in America
And all of the healers done been killed or sent away Yeah, and the people know, people know It’s winter Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting ‘Cause nobody knows what to save And ain’t nobody fighting Cause nobody knows, nobody knows And ain’t nobody fighting ‘Cause nobody knows what to save
The most popular post on my blog, year after year (and now decade after decade), is a 2005 piece on baby names: Unpopular Baby Names: Avoiding the Jacobs, Emilys and Madisons. We used the techniques listed to aid in our attempt to give our own kids classic names that wouldn’t be overused among their peers. The 2015 numbers are out from the Social Security Administration. How did we do? The charts below shows the respective rankings from 2015 to the year they were born.
The names of our two “babies” — Gregory, 5, and Laura, 4, are both less popular now than they were the year we named them. Yea! They’re both in the low 300s – viable names but far from overused.
Francis, now 10, was dropping in popularity and dropping into the low 600s. With that trend, we actually worried about the name becoming too unpopular. But an uptick started in 2010 and became pronounced in 2013 when an Argentinian named Jorge Mario Bergoglio decided to start calling himself Francis. The name is now in the high 400s.
The popularity of our eldest son’s name, Theodore (“I’m Theo!, don’t call me Theodore!”), started off in the low 300s was holding steady within a 20-point range for years until around 2009. In 2015 it cracked the top 100. It’s only at 99 but clearly something’s happening. Equally disturbing, “Theo” wasn’t even on the top 1000 until 2010, when it snuck in at position 918. Since then it’s leap 100 spots a year. It’s currently at 408 with no sign of slowing.
And for those of you looking to spot trends: did we just call our names early? Maybe “Francis” isn’t a slow climb but is about the go shooting for the top 100 in two years time. Maybe “Gregory” and “Laura” will be all the rage for mothers come 2020. Yikes!
I come back from a day off and my office door is uncharacteristically closed, with a sign reading “Wet Paint.” Inside are black velvet cloths acting as drop cloths and… my old walls, unpainted. Have I been punk’d? Are there elves with bad follow-through living in the office?
Henry Jenkins (right) mixes up the names but has good commentary on the Susan Boyle phenomenon in How Sarah [Susan] Spread and What it Means. I’ve been quoting lines over on my Tumblr blog but this is a good one for Quaker readers because I think it says something about the Convergent Friends culture:
When we talk about pop cosmopolitanism, we are most often talking about American teens doing cosplay or listening to K-Pop albums, not church ladies gathering to pray for the success of a British reality television contestant, but it is all part of the same process. We are reaching across borders in search of content, zones which were used to organize the distribution of content in the Broadcast era, but which are much more fluid in an age of participatory culture and social networks.
We live in a world where content can be accessed quickly from any part of the world assuming it somehow reaches our radar and where the collective intelligence of the participatory culture can identify content and spread the word rapidly when needed. Susan Boyle in that sense is a sign of bigger things to come — content which wasn’t designed for our market, content which wasn’t timed for such rapid global circulation, gaining much greater visibility than ever before and networks and production companies having trouble keeping up with the rapidly escalating demand.
Susan Boyle’s video was produced for a U.K.-only show but social media has allowed us to share it across that border. In the Convergent Friends movement, we’re discovering “content which wasn’t designed for our market” – Friends of all different stripes having direct access to the work and thoughts of other types of Friends, which we are able to sort through and spread almost immediately. In this context, the “networks and productions companies” would be our yearly meetings and larger Friends bodies.
Conservative godfather of the internet Instapundit almost linked to Nonviolence.org the other day. He didn’t like our take on the enola Gay exhibit, but instead of linking directly to us so his readers could see what we had to say, he linked to Bill Hobbs’ critique. I guess Instapundit alter ego Glen Reynolds must not think his readership can handle dissenting voices. Instapundit readers who cut and pasted to get here:
Yes, the Japanese were secretly trying to surrender before the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaski. The U.S. thought incinerating 150,000-some people was a good negotiating tactic, and it worked: the Japanese government to instantly agree to unconditional surrender.
Yes, the U.S. takeover of Hawaii and the Philippines were aggressive acts to secure shipping routes in the South Pacific. In 1854, a United States warship under the command of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry sailed to Japan and forced it to sign treaties opening up its markets. The threat of Russian expansion from the West and U.S. expansion from the south and east was a large part of the reason Japan militarized in the first place. These are the kind of facts one should have when standing in the Smithsonian gazing up at Enola Gay and wondering how it ever came to be that the U.S. would drop two nuclear weapons over two heavily-populated cities.