Dear White Male Liberal Soccer Fans

Dear White Male Liberal Soccer Fans:

There’s a conversation we need to have about a group within your ranks. The bros. Only, they don’t think they’re bros.

On Sunday, September 10th two fans had rough experiences with security entering the stadium. Brian Larsen was racially profiled. Brynn Baker was called a bitch. There were other incidents, but these two were very personal and demeaning. I believe both of them are telling the truth. Most people within the local soccer community want an environment that welcomes inclusion.  Some demand it. But their demands are anything but inclusive: bros engaged in the very behavior they condemned.

The terse statement from the Club was a disappointment, but here are a few things you should know:

  • Small statements do not mean a small investment into an issue and large statements do not mean large investments into an issue.
  • They’re short likely because they’re all that will be allowed by the legal minds.
  • What you want to hear will not be allowed. (confirmed 9.19 – the Club has no plans to make a more elaborate statement. confirmed again 9.26, personnel used the term “handcuffed for legal reasons”).

In my opinion, the fact that this was a joint statement instead of a Club statement might also indicate that there could be contractual language that prevents the FO from speaking singularly now.

Shortly after posting the joint statement, Council’s Executive Leaders posted this reaction, which wasn’t nearly angry enough for the bros. We had watched social media all day, we watched people whip each other up into a snarling mess.  We had no intention of stirring that up further and sending people, mad with rage, hurtling toward the gates: because what could possibly go wrong?

When this group wants a witch hunt, it will have one, and this isn’t the first time: they harassed the hell out of account managers over absent livestream (including threats and challenging their sexuality). I’ve experienced the same over electronic Matchpasses, clear bags, and our team’s record.

The bros say they want an atmosphere of inclusion, where everyone can feel welcome. Yet, in one twelve hour period, their behavior was so bad that other women identified it as abusive.  While people were snapping online that all should feel safe and comfortable within this soccer community, they were stirring up a level of unrest that put my safety at risk.  Know why?  They declared themselves right at the expense of others – and it felt good to them.

Is that fostering an atmosphere of inclusion? I don’t feel safe in this community. Women saw it and did wellness checks on me.  One asked if she could call someone to stay with me. This is serious shit, people.

By now, some of you have already written my comments off as overreaction, or ‘tough – you took the position so put up with it.’  Well that’s just more of the problem.  I’m tired of minimizing.

You’re rightfully upset at the security staff for demeaning and insulting people as they entered the stadium, escalating situations unnecessarily, profiling, and getting politically judgmental. I have no argument. I’m upset with it too. My argument is with the people within our soccer community who do that to others or whip up frenzy such that they create exactly the same thing.

In one twelve hour period, I was demeaned, verbally attacked, someone decided my politics (incorrectly) and began insulting and attacking the opinions they invented: all this from white men.

Have I always been perfect? Of course not. I’ve apologized, and I’ve deleted things I should not have said.  But this bit? This is an ongoing predictable issue, and in this case it’s a near mirror of the behavior being condemned.

If it’s predictable, why didn’t I just explain the likely legal position of the Club to those angry guys?  I did.  Here were some of their responses:

          I know that.
          Fuck you, you’re not telling me anything I don’t already know.
          Shut up.
          I’m not new.
          You’re a waste of time.
          Someone needs to threaten you.  <-it happens each year, jackass.

One person wrote a sample PR statement that the Club “should” have made. Great – sounded awesome.  But PR wasn’t invited to the conversation for specific legal wrangling reasons: any attorney worth half a nickel is going to take an after-the-fact statement and twist it into an accusation.  But you know that, you’re not new, I need to shut up, I’m a waste of time, and someone needs to threaten me – right bros?  Since they’re experienced and knowledgeable, I have assumed the intentions to be malicious, and the messages that were triggered were exactly the impact they expected.

Nothing within this faction of the community is simple, not even statements. It would suck if someone who deserved to be fired got an attorney and a fat payout because people kept amplifying when quiet can prevent a fat payout. That would be horrible injustice for Brian Larsen. You’re all smart enough to figure this out. We made a non-inflammatory statement because we want a solution more than we want angry amplification.  The solution is going to require unimpeded investigation. But the bros don’t want that.  I’m not sure they even remember the notion of justice for Brian – they just want to be right and make me and the FO wrong. If the bros get to enjoy some hits of being the “big man” along the way, they’ re happy. This behavior is the reason the term “social justice warrior” is not a compliment. Two weeks later, the bros are actively inventing their own stories about what is or is not happening (that’s called lying).

 “I never said anything insulting.” If I asked you to stop copying me, and you ignored my boundary: you’re included. If you filled the space with made up bullshit, you’re included. If you intentionally whipped people up instead of committing to inclusion: you’re included – because this behavior is what the bros in the community consistently do and there is nothing inclusive about it.

Now go ahead – ask me why people don’t do more on Alliance Council.  Ask me why the FO has “so much” turnover in their account manager positions. It might be you, bro.

 

postscript: Each year since becoming President, I’ve dealt with sexist attacks. Every man I’ve dated has asked me to give it up because of the emotional toll it takes on me, and women ask me if it’s really worth it (it isn’t).  But I know we’re better than this, and we can commit to a future better than what we can imagine. Here’s why I do it – take a look at this kid’s face:

photo by Sounders FC from the 9.10.17 match

Epic Mac & Cheese

Mac n Cheese 4

8 oz smoked cheddar cheese, grated: we used Cougar Gold ™

8 oz white cheddar cheese, grated: we used Cougar Gold ™

3 c heavy whipping cream

~1/8 t nutmeg freshly grated

~1/2 t mustard powder

~1/2 t cayenne

~1/2 t sea salt

1 1/2 cubes butter, separated

1/4 c all purpose flour

1 lb high quality thick cut bacon, cooked and cut to 1/4″ pieces

1/2 t truffle paste or 1/4 t truffle oil (add more to taste)

2 scallions, sliced to 1/4″ rounds

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 1/2 cups potato chips or Pop Chips ™ – salted with no other flavor (or saltines)

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 lb good quality Italian pasta (penne, penne rigate, orecchiette)

organic cooking spray

Cook and cool the bacon, chop it up and set aside to drain the grease. Wash, slice, and drain the green onions.

Make the Topping: Put potato chips or saltines in a large zipper bag, roll with a rolling pin until crumbly (nothing over 1/8 inch, but not a powder). Mix in a bowl with panko and Parmesan cheese. Melt 1/2 cube of butter. Add 1/4 of the bacon and 1/4 of the onions, add melted butter and thoroughly blend it all.

Create a bechamel with 1 cube of butter, flour, and the whipping cream.

Bechamel: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles, but don’t brown it — about 2-3 minutes. Add the cream a few tablespoons at a time, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a medium boil, continue stirring throughout so that it does not scorch. Season the sauce with nutmeg, cayenne, and salt, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Boil the pasta, and while its cooking, melt the grated cheddars in the bechamel. Stir regularly.

When pasta is fully cooked, drain into a large colander, shake out extra water, and put back into the same pot. Pour cheese sauce over pasta. Add green onions and bacon, stir well.

Spray a 9×13″ baking dish with organic cooking spray. Spread macaroni mixture into the dish. Top evenly with topping. Bake at 475* for 30 minutes. Broil high for 3-5 minutes or less – keep an eye on it! We yanked ours out at 3.

Remove from the broiler when the top has browned, do not over do it.

Serve hot and creamy 🙂

Cooks notes: I made this with my awesome niece and nephew, and I’m typing this up as they snooze the morning away (they’re teens, they’re on vacation, they get to do that at my house 🙂 ).  At every point, I taught them to choose the best quality and why.  We learned about Cougar Gold cheese when we toured Washington State University during Z’s college exploration. He chose a different university (dammit), but he’s on the hook for that cheese for the rest of his life – no matter what school or career path he takes.  Do yourself a favor and order some – we’ve learned it’s far less expensive to order it and have it shipped from the creamery than to buy it at retail or from Amazon.  You’re welcome.

Butter, pasta, whipping cream: organic because we can make that choice in the Northwest easily. Prices aren’t much higher and organic is readily available.  Easy cheesy, so why not?  Pasta: yes it’s organic, and it’s also made in Italy and die cut – no smashed out crappy pasta for our group.  Why? the difference in quality is worth it, the difference in price is a few pennies.

Bacon: buy yourself amazing bacon. If you don’t live somewhere that you can get amazing bacon easily, then move.

All of the seasoning measurements are approximate – add seasonings until they taste good to you.  Teach yourself to do that.  Be careful with truffle oil – enough is a beautiful thing, too much is Gack-City.  I replace my truffle oil cap with a medicine dropper to help prevent over-use, but tolerance for truffle also grows with more exposure.  I use more depending on who is eating.

straight out of the oven
straight out of the oven

Mac n Cheese 3

Steinamo Trace Bourbon Cream

Bourbon Cream1

I downloaded a recipe for home made “Buffalo Trace ™” Bourbon Cream from the internet.  Buffalo Trace ™ is the best bourbon cream I’ve had – good ingredients without a bunch of nasty preservatives and thickeners.  But the internet recipe, unfortunately, resulted in a disappointing liqueur.  So that stuff became bourbon caramel, and this, friends, is my new bourbon cream.

Buy good bourbon.  If you have crappy bourbon at home, take that out to the garden and use it to repel slugs and don’t bring it back into the house again. Ever.

In a heavy pot over medium heat simmer together until sugar is completely dissolved:

One quart of whipping cream (I like organic)

1 1/2 cups – 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (I like organic)  start with a cup and a half – add more after you’ve added the liquor later.

agave syrup*

I stirred fairly consistently with a whisk, but didn’t whip it – all of the sugar needs to dissolve.

Once the sugar has entirely dissolved, turn off the heat and add:

1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract

1 teaspoon organic almond extract

2 – 3 cups of GOOD QUALITY bourbon to taste.

Blend thoroughly and taste.  It should taste like melted vanilla ice cream with bourbon.  Yum City!

*If it needs to be sweeter, and you’ve used organic sugar, consider adding agave syrup at this point so that you don’t need to add any heat to the bourbon.  Organic sugar tends to have heavier granules.

Pour into your chosen storage container(s) and keep refrigerated.

If you store it in the fridge for a while, the fat from the heavy cream will rise to the top – so anticipate the need to either skim it off or plan to blend it back in before you pour.

Let’s Talk About Pussy

 

Georgia O'Keefe

Artwork by Georgia O’Keefe

 

July 10, 2010

 

Let’s talk about pussy. Yes, really.  Recently, I’ve been in the presence of men who have used the word pussy to signify weakness –  “Man up, you pussy!”  or  “What a pussy!” in reference to another man who had disappointed him in one fashion or another.

 

Usage of the word pussy this way baffles me. The pussy I know is the strongest force on earth – men will do nearly anything for it. Pussy topples world leaders,  befalls governments,  launches 1,000 ships (come on, do we really think it was Helen’s face?), drives men wild, and births their offspring. Tell me, how this is weakness?

 

Note to men:  if you expect to enjoy pussy, you need to  respect pussy.  Or choose another word – jackass, perhaps?

Graffiti, Blockbuster, McDonalds…

Photo by Stephanie
Photo by Stephanie

November 7, 2007

Twenty minutes after our arrival into Rome, and after a brief traverse of the city to our hotel, I’m annoyed and frustrated with the comments of my tour-mates.   “Blockbuster here?  How disgusting!”  “Oh, good – a McDonalds!”  and “Did you see all the graffiti?  How awful, I can’t believe we pay to travel this far to find graffiti.”

Of course, Ms Georgia, Rome –  thousands of years old, should have shut down all of its history and foundation to spiff itself up for you.   Did you not listen to the introduction to the city?  Did you not pay attention to the civic significance of graffiti in Rome over eons of regime change and political upheaval?  And why, Ms Southern Belle, do you think that this city should be preserved as a decoration?  Why do you refuse to embrace the living, breathing, changing society that it is?  If you would be so kind as to step outside of your regular routes and high-society socials, you might (gasp!) find graffiti in your own city.

Yes, I’m peeved.  I think it’s thoroughly disgusting that one would embrace the proliferation of McDonalds yet be irritated by the presence of a Blockbuster location.  I’m annoyed that these people think the entire city should look like Disneyland – a designed entertainment venue complete with scripted and costumed characters.   Instead of appreciating the marvel of natural characters and many forms of expression that have been creating Rome since the days of Romulus and Remus, they’d rather sit in McDonalds and bitch about how the coffee is still too dark and the people aren’t very nice.  Why would they be nice to you?  You’ve been complaining since the very instant they welcomed you.

You are an ugly American in all of your department store finery.  Please stay in the hotel and talk to no one.   Call your husband and tell him how nice Rome would be if only there weren’t so many Romans.  Next time you take a vacation, stay in the Bible Belt and pray for all of us sinners out there in the world who embrace art, music, expression and passion.