FREE WHITEWATER

Culture

The Two Questions that Haunt Old Whitewater

Two questions haunt Old Whitewater (where Old Whitewater is a state of mind rather than an age or a particular person): What does it mean to be a college town? and What is meaningful community development? (There are other serious questions, but one can be sure – at the least – that these two have Whitewater…

Coerced Beauty Isn’t Beautiful

 

For a thousand years, some men in China insisted that a woman wasn’t beautiful, desirable, and worthy unless her feet had been bound into an unnatural and distorted form.

Rather than allow women to develop normally, these men insisted that their own imposed desires were superior to the natural feminine form.  The price of this imposition was a woman crippled and dependent for life.

If it should be true – and it is – that big-ticket projects in Whitewater have failed the fundamental test of community development (improvement of widespread personal and household economic well-being), then what shall one say of a generation’s efforts in that regard?

If it should be true – and it is – that unfettered demand heavily favors rental housing over single-family units in Whitewater, then what shall one say of a generation’s obsession with promoting a less favored arrangement over a more popular one?

It’s fair to say that some in Whitewater have supported these efforts in the belief that such programs might somehow make life better here. Such support, running contrary to the free, voluntary consumer demand in the whole area, might have been well-meaning, but was no less misguided.

For others, however, there must have been – and must be – some awareness, either partial or complete, that their efforts could – and can – neither meaningfully improve individual well-being nor change appreciably the overall housing stock of the city.

Empty programs attract notice that diverts attention from actual needs, and send resources in the wrong direction.

Community development in Whitewater, as it has been publicly advanced for the last few decades, looks nothing like the development of personal and household economic well-being.  Time and again, public resources have been directed at the bidding of a private business lobby.  Indeed, Whitewater’s Community Development Authority looks as much like a private 501(c)(6) business league as anything else.

Perhaps some in this city can’t imagine otherwise, in the way that years ago some men in China couldn’t imagine beauty unbound.

When the Whitewater CDA’s executive director rattles off an alphabet soup of public agencies to meddle in the marketplace, he’s parroting the sham capitalism so popular among fast-talking officials statewide.  State &  crony capitalism have the same relationship to free-market capitalism as pig Latin has to genuine Latin: they share some of the same letters, but mean very different things.

For a fraction of the public funds wasted on sketchy tech ideas and out-of-town businesses wandering nomadically for a handout, our city might have developed directed programs for the poor, and for in-town enterprises.

If it’s ‘community-minded’ to spread economic myths and reinforce empty boosterism, then to be community-minded has an unworthy meaning.

There is, of course, community happily to be found now in Whitewater, but it rests in private undertakings, apart from those who have directed public institutions to narrow and futile ends.

PreviouslyTwo Truths of Whitewater’s Economy.

That’s Not What “Great Opportunity” Means

Minor children shouldn’t be using any sort of drugs or medications without parental approval and medical guidance, legal or otherwise.  And yet, in rural communities across America – and other places, too – use of drugs without sound medical guidance is a scourge for adults, and sometimes minors.   The Whitewater Schools’ district administrator, Dr.…

Jefferson’s Dirty Dogs Turn Mangy

I’ve been critical of the so-called ‘Harry Potter Festival’ that last year migrated from Edgerton to Jefferson, Wisconsin. It’s left so many people disappointed, taxpayer-salaried city officials have only doubled-down on their support for the shabby event, and (predictably) the Daily Union‘s initial stories about problems quickly gave way to laughable boosterism. See Attack of the…

A Local Problem Before It Became a National One

Philip Bump contends The only information Trump supports is information that makes him look good: Trump highlighting [conservative-leaning pollster] Rasmussen isn’t quite like putting your best friend as a reference on a job application, but it’s not as though he’s going out of his way to list former employers. He also goes a step further,…

The Seats in the House

At public meetings, people who are hard of hearing or weak of eyesight should receive preference to sit close to the meeting’s speakers. People who have difficulty walking should receive a preference to sit near an exit. Otherwise, in a well-ordered environment, leaders will sit in the back, allowing non-leader residents to sit closer to…

Wisconsin Supreme Court Primary, Whitewater Results

Wisconsin’s spring primary in Whitewater saw three candidates vie for two spots on the April ballot for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Statewide in preliminary numbers, conservative Michael Screnock had a plurality, followed by liberals Rebecca Dallet and Tim Burns. (It’s Screnock v. Dallet in April.) Look, however, at how different the statewide, Jefferson County & Walworth…

Dane, Not the WOW Counties

For many years, Republicans have railed against Madison, and against Dane County, as bastions of dysfunctional liberalism. Indeed, this impulse has been strong even after the GOP gained control of both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office. Funny, though, that it’s Dane County – not the WOW counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee, or Washington – that’s…

Reading Next: Truth Decay (‘An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life’)

I’m currently reading Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury on the Trump campaign & administration. (FW has a currently reading widget on the right sidebar of this website.) Afterward, I’ve something in queue, from Jennifer Kavanagh and Michael D. Rich – their just-published Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis…

Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jazz

  God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create—and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations. Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life’s…

Thanks, City of Jefferson!

There’s something funny, and something sad, about the City of Jefferson’s decision to host for five more years a Harry Potter festival with the same mediocre promotional leadership the festival’s had while in Edgerton and (more recently) in Jefferson. See Attack of the Dirty Dogs (“If vast numbers are disappointed, it matters not at all…

Rabbi Sharon Brous’s Advice for Small Towns (and Everywhere, Really)

Over at The Atlantic, there’s an interview with Rabbi Sharon Brous, the senior rabbi at IKAR, a non-denominational synagogue in California. See ‘I’ve Spent My Life Studying These Books That Say Decency Actually Matters.’ Rabbi Brous describes religious belief among progressives in contemporary America, and two of her observations are particularly suited even to Whitewater…

‘Don’t worry about them – the rest of us feel great!

A doctor walks into a town of one-hundred people, and finds that half of them are pale, feverish, and vomiting blood. The physician calls out to a community leader, “Send for help, you have an epidemic on your hands.” The community leader replies, “Oh no, don’t worry about them – the rest of us feel…

UW-Whitewater’s Org Chart, 2017 Verison

UW-Whitewater has a 2017 organization chart, one I’ve embedded at the end of this post. 1. Big for Small. It’s not a big institution, but it is a big institution for a small town like Whitewater. There’s no institutional or organizational hierarchy in Whitewater half so large. 2. The key issues aren’t structural. Without question,…