Little Rock Confidential

The Nanny

The family I work for has had nannies for about 10 years, and I’m nearly the one they’ve had the longest. I’ve been there over a year. Most of their nannies only last a few months, because the cameras freak people out. There are surveillance cameras all over the house, so I feel like I have to be working even when there’s nothing to do. One time I sent a couple of text messages when the kids were at school, and I was asking for a raise, and the parents said, “We’re not paying you to text.” I do some cleaning, but they have cleaning ladies and workmen who come every week. One time the workmen came just to change light bulbs. And there’s this room I’m not allowed to go in. It’s supposed to be the dad’s office, but I always wonder what’s going on in there. There’s lots of mystery with this family.

The parents don’t believe in doctors, so the kids don’t get immunizations. If one of them gets sick, they treat it with homeopathic and folk remedies. Once the mom was convinced that her daughter’s headaches were from fluoridated water, so she spent a day going to different stores and buying up all the water filters. She bought about 10 of them, one for every sink in the house. And to keep them healthy, the kids are supposed to stand in the sun for a few minutes every hour, while I use a timer to keep up with how long.

Keep reading at the Arkansas Times…

Beantown Ramblings: Os Gemeos at ICA

So this is what all the controversy was about.

I think if you see a terrorist here, your psyche is merely revealing 1) your blatant prejudice, 2) your absolute lack of observation, and 3) your utter void of creativity and playfulness. This is absolutely a kid in pj’s with a sweater over his head. I thought that the first time I saw this image, before I knew of the hullabaloo. Although frankly, this chunk of Boston is pretty dull, so perhaps it attracts boring folks without any sense of whimsy. But even if this were a man in a desert turban, why would that translate to “terrorist?” Lucky for me, in my dealings with Bostonians (mostly non-Fox devotees), I’ve haven’t come across anyone so closed, fearful and small. Too bad that this controversy broadcasts a negative portrayal of Bostonians to folks who may not be on such intimate terms with the city.

Just over the bridge a bit, the city gets a little more interesting. There are seafood places on the water, and there’s the ICA, which sponsored this mural and brought Os Gemeos to the city in their first American solo show.

After the jump, some images from the show…

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Harrison, Arkansas: more than the KKK

A few weeks ago I wrote a story about Harrison, Arkansas, which bills itself as the “gateway to the Ozarks,” but is really more of a pit-stop en route to Branson, Missouri. Basically, Harrison makes the map for a single reason — it’s the national headquarters of the KKK.

Only it isn’t, because that’s actually a fenced-in farm about ten miles down the road in Zinc, and anyhow, these days the KKK is pretty much a grubby summer picnic thrown by a single inbred family, and half the people in Harrison wouldn’t recognize Thom Robb, alleged Khief Kracker, even by name. And probably less than 10 percent recognize him by face.

Many people in Harrison — including the high school counselor and the diversity task force she leads, the Harrison race task force, made up of ministers, citizens and city leaders, and the Fed Ex diversity task force, run by the town’s biggest employer — are struggling to comprehend the past, make retributions and change the town’s image. I found the people of Harrison warm and generous, and I enjoyed my day there. And while the effort to change is a bit bumbling, the intentions seem pure.

Harrison is 97 percent white and two percent Hispanic, with other ethnicities comprising less than one percent of the population. But in my day there, I had conversations with a much more diverse group of people than I ever encounter in a single day in Little Rock– among them, an Afro-Brazilian, an American Indian, a Latina, a Brit and an Aussie. And I dig the vintage signage.