2018–the year in books

In 2018, I had a slow year of reading–I only managed to finish 52 books (though as Scott pointed out, that’s still one a week for the year). It’s a remarkably small number, especially since as I look back to what I read in January, it seems like those were at least a decade ago, not just a year…

Here are the best of them, in chronological (by reading, not publishing) order:

Every Man a King Huey Long

News of the World Paulette Giles

Salvage the Bones Jesmyn Ward

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift Eleanor Lipman

All the Pieces Matter Jonathan Abrams

The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit Nathan Lichtenstein

Hag-seed Margaret Atwood

Just Mercy Bryan Stephenson

Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail Frye Galliard

When I Was Puerto Rican Esmerelda Santiago

Sing Unburied Sing Jesmyn Ward

If Beale Street Could Talk James Baldwin

Solidarity Divided Bill Fletcher Jr. & Fernando Gasparin

2018–the year in live music

A couple of years ago, I started keeping a list of all the shows I saw, mostly because I was tired of saying to myself “when did I see that band? and where was that?”

It’s always nice at the end of the year to look back at the list, and remember the good, the bad, and the near-barfight awful…

In 2018, I saw 20 live shows, mostly at bars, some at concert venues, a couple in stadiums (full list below). By far, the top one was Springsteen on Broadway, though–a very amazing gift on an amazing birthday weekend. Other notables included seeing McCoy Tyner, Justin Townes Earle, & of course, my beloved Foo Fighters. Bonus points for finishing the year strong, after spending several days in Memphis, wandering up Beale Street and through Midtown.

  • 1/8: McCoy Tyner & Friends; The Blue Note
  • 1/20: Witchbomb, Yell-ow; Ortlieb’s
  • 2/6: West Philly Orchestra; Franky Bradley’s
  • 2/7: Ocean Avenue Stompers & Glen David Andrews; Milkboy
  • 2/28: Mainland, the Mowgli’s; The Foundry
  • 4/15: The Creds, Fink’s Constant; Kung Fu Necktie
  • 4/28: Luke Carlos O’Reilly; Milkboy Philly, Ella Gahnt; Franky Bradley’s, Yesseh Furaha-Ali; Time (Center City Jazz Fest)
  • 5/23: Lilly Hiatt, Justin Townes Earle; World Cafe Live
  • 6/23: Springsteen on Broadway
  • 7/7: Foo Fighters; BB & T Pavilion
  • 7/12: Heaven Man*, The Paranoid Style, Wussy; Milkboy Philly
  • 8/1: Junun, Radiohead; Wells Fargo Center
  • 9/15: Ernest Stuart Trio, Stanley Clarke; Ardmore Music Hall
  • 9/28: John Morrison (DJ), Johnny Showcase & the Mystic Ticket; Art Museum
  • 9/29: Asaran Earth Trios; at JJ’s house
  • 10/27: Hurry Up, We Were Promised Jetpacks; The Foundry
  • 12/7: Warren Wolf; South
  • 12/27: Memphis Blues Masters; Rum Boogie Blues Hall
  • 12/28: Devil Train, Drunk Uncle; Lafayette’s Music Room
  • 12/30: Debbie Jamison Band; King’s Palace Cafe

A twenty-first century union movement must begin with recognition of one point: the working class divides along lines drawn by the oppressions built into capitalism. These divisions lead some theorists to believe–incorrectly–that the United States has no working class but a series of identities fighting for recognition (and often fighting only against the specific form of oppression they face).

Divisions within the working class are linked to larger social divisions. Divisions on racial lines are not simply divisions within the working class but a component of a larger set of societal racial divisions. As a result, people’s social and political identification tends to cross class lines because of the all-round nature of special oppression. For example, African American and Chicano workers might identify with other things African American and Chicano, respectively, because of the scale and scope of racial oppression. Women workers might identify with issues that affect women who are not of the working class (though this process is complicated).

This does not mean, crudely, that “everyone has it tough.” Rather it means that class cannot be understood in a linear fashion. One cannot, for instance, inoculate oneself against racism and sexism or overlook the experiences that one has had as a member of a group that has known racial or gender oppression. Such experiences inform ones’ existence in general but also the way in which one perceives other components of reality–in this case, class.

~Bill Fletcher Jr. & Fernando Gasparin, Solidarity Divided