Everybody knows that if you want to get yelled at on Slog, all you have to do is talk about whiteness, white privilege, white anything. Because to many commenters on the Slogs, when a white person says she's white (DON'T STEP ON MY IRISH HERITAGE WE WERE MINORITIES ONE THOUSAND YEARS AGO AND IT STILL HURTS OWWWWWWWW THAT'S MY IRISH HURTING) and admits that being white from the years 1975 to now has made her life easier than it would have been if she hadn't been white in this day, age, and location, she is clearly a total asshole. So I will open the floor by saying: Who wants to join me at the White Privilege Conference, held every year but this year for the first time in Seattle (it was invented by a Seattle guy)? Hmm? Let the yelling begin! Yeah!
On the subject I write about most often, I must say: Folks love their artsyelling. Especially civic boosters.
Twice, while working at The News Tribune in Tacoma, a parade of trustees from a local arts institution marched in, as a group, to formally complain. One group was furious because I'd written an essay about the profound dullness and lack of conviction in the programming at Tacoma Symphony Orchestra. It was one thing to write concert review after concert review saying that Well, last night's program was dull. But when you strung a season's worth of observations together to ask, Why is the Symphony programming so lifeless?, this was unacceptable. The people who came in fired up were powerful civic players: the superintendent of schools, bankers, attorneys. The News Tribune backed me. A memorable moment came when they asked me why I was an enemy of classical music, and I asked them why they were trying to kill classical music. Surprisingly, we came to a grudging mutual appreciation after that.
No grudging mutual appreciation followed this: Josi Callan, the inaugural director of the Museum of Glass, screamed at me after we wrote about the fact that her salary was far higher than industry norms—while the museum was making layoffs and cuts to its hours and programs. Why was I the enemy of art museums?!! She claimed I had the numbers wrong. To which I had to respond, Then why are you reporting incorrect numbers to the IRS? It did not finish well. She is no longer at the museum, and its next director did not make bank.
This final one was weirdest: I called Michael Monroe, director of Bellevue Arts Museum, to ask about money that had been embezzled by an employee. The news had already hit the TV stations. I asked the most basic factual questions—the sort of questions that write themselves, bearing no authorial voice or tone or inflection whatsoever ("How much money is missing?" "Do you have any idea who took the money?"). He hissed that I was "nobody" and that he, by contrast, had worked with journalists "from Washington, D.C., to New York City." To this day, I have no idea why he reacted this way. I saw him recently in a gift shop on Capitol Hill. I worried for the store.
Now: Please consider fighting the people who yell at us! Because it’s the holidays, and people are hungry, and that is the most important thing in the world, about which we should all be yelling. Right now, Northwest Harvest is providing 1.7 million meals a month to hungry families across Washington. The Evergreen State is the 14th hungriest state in the country—and more than half of the people who are hungry here are children and the elderly.