Entries Tagged as 'Style on the Hill'

The Evolution of Identity Politics and the Devolution of the Democratic Party

3.07.2018

By Logan Gossett

Pride, absent delusion, is a consequence of achievement. I did not abolish slavery, nor was I a pilgrim that successfully cultivated North American soil. As David French noted for the National Review, advances of the past command gratitude, not pride. I am grateful for the abolition of slavery; I am proud, and relieved, that I learned potty-training. There is an important difference between the two.

Delineating what necessitates pride and what necessitates gratitude exposes a microcosm of identity politics’s myriad flaws: it creates fractious, delusional pride in identity rather than unifying gratitude that’s granted potentiality by self-determinism; it replaces gratitude for what our predecessors did (e.g., devise a government that respects self determinism, abolish slavery, and scaffold indiscriminate suffrage) with pride in what we didn’t do (e.g., the aforementioned). By attempting to represent the interests of the marginalized, it suppresses the voices of the individual.

In the Federalist Papers’ lauded tenth entry, James Madison, writing as Publius, attempted to reconcile the rift “factions” create between liberty for all individuals and security for asset-possessing individuals. The essay’s undulating principles extol self-determinism and employ representative government to uphold it. In the Federalist Papers’ tenth entry, Madison says “[But] it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.”

Factions as Madison describes them will naturally form between those with commonalities, but the individuals therein included are not defined by their faction. The social advocacy of the Federalist Papers No. 10 is that the republic should 1) safeguard factions from dictating a nation’s legislation and 2) prevent factions from overriding an individual’s inherent self-determinism.

Identity politics creates factions that prescribe allegiances to individuals — whether by skin color, income, sexual orientation, or any another appraisal method. This conflates the best interests of an individual with the best interests of factions.

The waxing of identity politics in American political rhetoric has diluted discoucourse. News and op-eds are replete with self-parodying presuppositions about opposing factions.

For example, Chauncey Devega wrote for Salon in January, saying “Trump and the Republicans’ attempts to connect Democratic support for the ‘Dreamers’ […] with murder and gang violence, is one more example of how the American right has sought to incite violence against any groups or individuals it perceives as political enemies.”

A simplification of Devega’s rhetorical use of identity politics here is “the right hates hispanics.” The purported objective of the right to incite violence against hispanics in this example is a gross presupposition that ends discourse between democrat and republican factions before it can begin.

Joshua Mitchell, a professor teaching political science at Georgetown University, explained identity politics attribution of factions in City Journal’s publication.

Identity pertains not simply to the kind of person that we are. People have been sorted (and self-sorted) into kinds throughout history. Identity is different. First, it carries a determination about guilt or innocence that nothing can appreciably alter. Its guilt is guilt without atonement; its innocence is innocence without fault. No redemption is possible, but only a schema of never-ending debts and payments.

The issue of identity politics begins with devaluing self-determinism and it ends with what Mitchell described as debts. He continued to expound on the varying degrees of indebtedness, describing a christian hetersexual white male as the “epicenter of guilt.” The closer an individual is to the epicenter guilt, the more guilty and, thus, “indebted.” The further an individual is from the epicenter of guilt – heterosexual white male – the more innocent they are.

Mitchell posited that the panacea for the wounds of past transgressions, like slavery, is to unify around a gratitude for the potential America helps scaffold for all individuals, regardless of race and its arbitrarily prescribed modern debts. This is the dream Dr. Martin Luther King worked toward and, as Mitchell concluded, “If the party cannot find a cure for its confusion, it will expire in the paroxysm that identity politics produces.” Some traditional liberals share Mitchell’s sentiment toward identity politics.

In an op-ed published in the New York Times, Columbia University professor Mark Lilla denounced identity politics. “Finally, the whitelash thesis is convenient because it absolves liberals of not recognizing how their own obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored.” Lilla continued, “Such people are not actually reacting against the reality of our diverse America […] they are reacting against the omnipresent rhetoric of identity.”

Identity politics have a checkered history in the United States, starting with the Ku Klux Klan. Fivethirtyeight observed the synergy between left and right – or even black and white – identity politics without acknowledging it.

In his New York Times op-ed, Lilla observed that “Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.” Democrats are playing the identity game. In doing so, they renounce the hope and human commonalities inspired by traditional liberalism and opt for a convulsive emphasis of differences between American factions.

Of course, democrats with a rooting interest in identity politics decried Mark Lilla’s denouncement of it. Lilla’s coworker at Columbia, professor Katherine Frank, objected to Lilla’s counterpoint to identity politics, saying “Lilla’s op-ed does the more nefarious background work of making white supremacy respectable. Again.” This, despite Lilla’s explicit objections to identity politics largely because of white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

The democratic backlash caused by Lilla’s objections to identity politics is illustrative of the corrosive in-fighting identity politics creates, fracturing the democratic party internally, and widening the cataclysmic chasm between the democrats and republicans.

Identity politics appears to subvert the autonomy of individuals in favor of projecting the needs of the individual’s factions. Author Shane Phelan attempted to reconcile this conflict in Identity Politics: Lesbian Feminism and the Limits of Community. “[she need not] agree that my understanding of a good life is the true, the best, the purest. What she need do is believe that I mean what I say; that is, she must agree to treat me as a being competent to speak of my own desires and motives directly, even if she suspects that I am not.”

Phelan’s mechanism for identity politics depends on the individual’s voice being heard. In democratic identity politics, as professor Joshua Mitchell stated, the most important characteristic of individuals “is that we are white, black, male, female, straight, gay, and so on.” Rather than respecting the individual’s ability to express their desires and motives, this information is presupposed by our characteristics (i.e., identity) through identity politics.

Unifying gratitude for the liberty James Madison advocated for in the Federalist Papers has been replaced by a fractious pride in identity through democratic identity politics. Although democratic identity politics seeks to rectify the concerns of the marginalized, it mutes them.

 

VIDEO: Lawrence’s Local Food vs. Corporate Food

11.11.2017

Words by Logan Gossett

Video Directed and Edited by Karsan Turner

Lawrence is an incredible town. It boasts the nation’s premiere college basketball team. It fosters curiously accommodating ID laws. It hoards 80% of Kansas’ hills, and it nurtures thousands of young people who walk down those hills upon graduating from Kansas’ top university. But most importantly, Lawrence has food.

Here at Style on the Hill, we love eating food, and we especially love eating local food. As the novelty of Lawrence’s many local eateries begins to fade however, it can become easy to opt for mega-corporate eateries like Burger King instead of local options like the Burger Stand. That’s why we conducted an experiment that compares Lawrence’s local eateries to their corporate counterparts. We recorded our results, finally answering the question, “Should I dine with corporate America or support local eateries?”

Watch the results below!

Makeup and the Fall Pantone Fashion Color Report Of 2017

11.02.2017

Words and photos by Emma Creighton

Although fashion celebrates individuality, it is an industry dominated by major players who influence what every single person wears on a daily basis. These players include fashion designers, pop icons, and even cities. These cities are known for their own distinct looks and play a unique role in the world of fashion. New York and London are two of these major players. There is a running joke that everyone in New York wears all black. In contrast, London is known for its eccentricity and borderline haute couture street style. Although very different, both cities help to shape modern fashion. Trends and color palettes are put into place seasons in advance and are modeled after the trends seen in these cities. The Pantone color palette is no different. Pantone color palettes are designed to encapsulate the hottest tones for a particular season so that designers, advertisers, artists and everyone else in the fashion industry can work cohesively.

(Top) New York, (Bottom) London

Beauty – makeup and hair – are major elements in the realm of fashion. Often times makeup and hair design can make or break a runway or editorial. Sometimes, it is the focus of an editorial. Here at Style on the Hill we tried our hand at a makeup editorial inspired by the Fall 2017 Pantone palettes. Here are the shades for this fall season!

You’re probably thinking, ”What is so special about these colors? They look like every other ’fall’ color ever.” You’re not wrong, but these particular shades have been formulaically selected by the Pantone Color Institute specifically for the 2017 fall season based on designs shown at New York Fashion week. This process happens every season, months ahead of time. But, there’s something unique to this year that has never happened before.

The teams at PCI analyzed trends  from the London fashion week and put them into consideration during its color selection process. Usually, the United States based company only bases their fashion palette on New York, but London has become so influential in American fashion that the company decided to put together an additional palette based off their designers. The Executive Director of the Pantone Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, was quoted on Pantone’s website, saying “There is a commonality between the colors we are seeing on the runway in New York and London. However, individuality is evident and we are seeing a distinct difference between the shows in the two cities in the way these same colors are being combined.” It will be interesting to see how the Western world continues to fuse on the fashion front. Who knows, New York may just get the eccentric London look!

An Ode to the 90s

10.31.2017

 

By Karsan Turner

Kramer speeds out of Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment saying “Man, it’s the 90’s; it’s hammer time!” Now, 20 years later, the 90’s is being hit with a hammer. It’s crazy, the incoming freshman at KU are the last group of students born in the 90’s. As the last generation of 90’s kids enter, we see the passing of yet another decade. So we’ve gathered here today to remember the passing of a once great decade that shaped the culture we live in today, so sit back and relax as we hammer time one last time.

Of course we can’t go back to the 90’s unless we dress the part (this is a fashion blog after all.) No 90’s kid was seen leaving the house without their classic 90’s sillybands. Sillybands (for the children of today who were born in 2000) were basically rubber bands that took the shape of animals.

Now that we’ve fit into our fashionable clothes, it’s time to remember the art and media of the time. 90’s movies were special because they made you think critically (unlike the watered down movies of the 2000’s). 90’s classics like Memento made viewers question the validity of their life vs a 2010’s film about talking Lego’s. Man, remember when films used to be smart?

Another classic 90’s film is “Spider-Man,” directed by 90’s legend Sam Raimi. The film is argued to be somewhat dated due to the limited technology from about 25 years ago, but there’s nothing more 90’s than the scene where Spider-Man runs in front of an American flag as he swings into New York City. As we all know, the American Flag stopped existing after 1999 but this trilogy will serve as a memorial for the flag.

The 90’s were a time of great fashion, films and innovation. The 90’s events improved because we received our information with the power of the brand new (at the time) internet. Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, the 90’s became the first decade to be easily documented.

As 2017 passes, so do the memories of the 90’s, even though you will be gone you definitely will not be forgotten. 90’s, we’ll sure miss you.

SZA Brings Timeless Authenticity to Kansas City

9.08.2017

By Rebekah Swank

 

The Uptown Theater is an old-school concert venue with vintage vibes. The bright-shining bulbs spelling out “Uptown” lit the sign below –“SZA” was illuminated. Kansas City natives and visitors began lining up outside of the theater as early as 4:30 p.m. Fans dressed in true, fabulous SZA fashion while wrapping around the corner and down the street. I saw tight, full-body sequin jumpsuits; oversized jackets, Adidas sweatpants paired with bikini tops, and voluminous, curly hair.

Walking into the concert hall, I was overwhelmed with a skunky scent. White clouds of smoke were scattered throughout the crowd. As the curtains opened and people screamed, giant neon letters spelling “CTRL” gleamed over the heads in front of me. SZA emerged in loose, purple, metallic pants and a black tank top; her long red hair billowed behind her with every step she took.

SZA’s real name is Solána Imani Rowe. She got the inspiration for her stage name from the Supreme Alphabet and the rapper RZA. S stands for “sovereign,” Z stands for “zig-zag,” and A stands for “Allah, the most high.” SZA was raised as an Orthodox Muslim, and still practices Islam, and relies on her faith to stay true to herself and her music.

Mitch Saffle, a student at Kansas State University, admires SZA for being honest in her album newest album, CTRL.

“[The album] was a story of her life. She was being open and honest with her listeners, and because of that I realized I related to some of her struggles regarding relationships and self-worth. SZA is truly an inspirational artist,” Saffle said.

SZA’s connection to her fans is unique to her and her performances. When she sang and danced, I could see her radiating with happiness as more and more of her followers sang along with her.

“SZA was an amazing performer, and I really appreciated her interaction with the crowd, asking how we were doing ‘physically, mentally, and spiritually,’” Saffle said. “To me it seemed that she was just a genuine person doing what she loved.”

Although her show seemed short, SZA’s performance was energetic and authentic. From her opening song of “Supermodel,” when the crowd screeched with excitement, to her finale singing “Twenty Something,” she twirled around the stage and bellowed her lyrics with fervor.

I have listened to SZA since I was a senior in high school. I have trolled through her Instagram and Twitter accounts. I have tried to recreate some of her greatest looks with very little success. She is truly a one of a kind musical artist, and after seeing her on stage, all I can say is “Go Gina.”

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