30 April 2009

Don't be Fooled, May 1 is Labor Day

The May 1, 1934 cover page of the Voice Of Action, Seattle's Communist newspaper between 1933 and 1936. The headline is interestingly timely 75 years later.

Planned Obsolesence

Perhaps one of the drawbacks of moving towards a society of egalitarian affluence is that at some point in the transition, hidden economies that have for a long time nourished the marginalized, will become obsolete.

It would be a bittersweet tragedy that those nourished by the castoffs of excess would have to find another way of supporting themselves. Don't get me wrong, I don't see anything romantic about being a subsistence recycle-er as it were, and the "loss" of such a lifestyle. Rather, my initial reaction is fright at a loss of livelihood for those with the least economic flexibility.

My second reaction is hope that with such a shift, marginalized peoples would become less so because of increasing opportunities for social participation (an outcome of a growing sense of community and solidarity.)

But my suspicion is that, for a time at the very least, "invisible" people will just adapt and find new ways to live off of the castoffs of a decadent Empire.

I tricked my friend into writing something about this photo at Gone to Croatoan

28 April 2009

Beer Seasons

When I was in Germany a couple of years ago, drinking beer, with Germans (imagine that) one of them suggested to me that beer was historically one of the most important foods in the world. When he explained it (in English mind you) it made sense, but I forgot the reasoning. Hey, I was drinking ok?
But it came back to me the other day, or at least a theory on why it would be true. Whether it was the same as his or not I can't tell you but it sounds remarkably familiar.

So, grains are one of the first domesticated plants in history, and it makes sense then that when it becomes economically profitable (think expenditure of calories in energy vs. the yield of calories from cultivated food here) to stop being nomadic and settle down to raise crops, you have to maintain your intake of nutrients during the fallow season. That is (in a less social sciency way) when it's too cold or dry or whatever to grow food crops, you still need to eat. What do you do?
Food storage.
One way of doing this is to roast grains so that they don't sprout, and then storing them, in clay urns underground or in some other manner. But another way is to ferment them into beer, which has a lot of essential nutrients, and hence would be an effective (and fun) way to store nutrition for lean times.

This theory might be reinforced by the well known seasons of beer, that is, when the bock beer is ready, or when the Hefeweisen beer is ready. See, traditionally these types of beer were typically seasonal. Additionally, it would make sense that something that shows up in the earliest codifications of law, the Code of Hammurabi, (which I had to read) and was independently invented by numerous civilizations that were not in contact would suggest that there is something more to it than just getting drinky (Hammurabi has something to say about this too if I remember correctly, something about drowning.)

Beer nerds, of which there are many, probably have known all of this for years, but I kindof figured it out myself, so have pity.

This Wikipedia beer entry has some info that supports this idea, though if you believe any of my professors, nothing Wiki is worth its weight in plug nickles. Which is ironic because it doesn't weigh anything, right?

None of this really has anything to do with beer in modern culture, so forget it, I'm just taking the long view ok?

27 April 2009

Propertied Class

For a good interview that is appearing in Real Change either this week or next. Find a Vendor, buy a copy.

26 April 2009

More Of The Same?

While I was at work today at the grocery store, an unusually busy day for people to be grilling and partying (it was sunny but still chilly, and a Sunday) I noticed a larger than usual number of Obama t-shirts. There were a lot of these shirts 5 and 6 months ago for good reason, and I supported it albeit reluctantly.

I won't lie, I cried when Obama won, and I am honestly happy to be a part of electing a black man for president of a white racist nation. Don't get me wrong, I love the U.S.1, though I am not a "nationalist" or a "patriot". I am grateful to live where I do, but I believe we have a long way to go before we live up to the image of "freedom" and "opportunity" we put forward to represent ourselves.

That said I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut when a middle aged woman approached my counter wearing a trendy hipster/cyclist type outfit consisting of synthetic, calf length black tights, and a Nike brand wind-breaker over an Obama "Change" t-shirt, plus various and sundry sparkly accoutrements.

Without going into a lengthy diatribe on "talk minus action", or compassion sheik I'll just say that WEARING AN OBAMA T-SHIRT DOES NOT CHANGE ANYTHING, OR EVEN STAND FOR CHANGE.
Injustice is an institutional norm, and buying "changey" capitalism doesn't make exploitation fuzzy or hugable.

We will change the world, our country, our neighborhood, our block, only by abandoning tradition. We have to think uncomfortable. Change isn't something that someone else makes for us in a locked room far away. It's something you and I make here and now in the way we think, speak and behave.

1. I actually consider myself to be a white colonial Mexican by nature of the the illegal theft of the southwest U.S. in the Mexican American War.

Do You Expect to be Taken Seriously?

I'm having a hard time finishing off my studying tonight because last night I read something that made my stomach turn. I figured if I wrote it out and bitched for a second I could get on with it.

"We who think health care is a privilege, not a right."

How could you say that, how could you believe that?
What earns someone the privilege of health care?
Single people (not even the fictitious multiple child welfare mother), single white men who work two jobs cannot afford health care. So if I assume that you're not being a racist bigot,(which is a big stretch at this point), what is it that you say does not privilege a single white male who works 60 hours a week to health care? Is it education? Do I have to have a masters degree to earn the privilege of health care?
I don't get it, there is simply no rational, logical, or otherwise remotely excusable philosophical reason barring outright bigotry, racism or sexism that anyone might conjure up outside of Jim Crow to deny anyone health care.

Unless you think suffering, pain, sorrow, misery and death are somehow avoidable once you reach a certain income bracket.

I'm willing to bet that anyone who says that and honestly stands by it has never had to work a minimum wage job, much less two. Much less with a child, or a sick relative.

My information tells me that this statement comes from the mouth of a "law student" someone who ironically is uniquely privileged to understand that the American legal system is fundamentally skewed in favor of affluence. (the rest of us have to dig for that sort of info.) But then again, it usually (not always, but usually) takes big bucks (i.e. Daddy which means you didn't work for it) to go through law school, so it's not surprising that a law student is a racist, elitist and to be perfectly fucking frank, bigoted fuck.
Your dishonor, I'd like to motion for a verdict of asshole. I rest my case.

Can I finish my fucking privileged homework now? Please?

24 April 2009

The 6 Hour Day

Throughout the 19th century the big fight of the labor movement in the United States was for the 8 hour workday. Until it was won in 1938 it was raised again and again as the leading issue among workers movements throughout the country and throughout the 19th century and into the 20th. It even had a song.
Some labor leaders in the 20th century even pushed to extend the principle to 6 hours of work a day.
The 6 hour day might actually work.
First, you could have multiple shifts at the business so that if you wanted to go all the way, you could have people on the job 24 hours a day, but only 6 hours each.
What would each of these people do with the other 18 hours of their day?

- learn new skills
- learn academic knowledge
- grow their own food (this would reduce the need for higher pay in the 6 hours because food wouldn't be exclusively purchased. It could also contribute to improved social health as people learned to cook their own food and, spent time outside growing it, and learned the real value of nutrition.)
- spend more time with loved ones, thus developing more fulfilling relationships
- meet new people and learn about other cultures, hence a reduction in individualism and xenophobia (i.e. racism & nationalism)
- if there were more work shifts in the day, perhaps 18 hours worth (three shifts), there would be more production. (Though arguably this would be superfluous because people would be learning to derive emotional satisfaction from things other than products.)
- an entire shift could be devoted to R & D to come up with sustainable alternatives to the products already produced by the other shifts.

- multiple shorter shifts would equal lower (if not zero) unemployment of the able bodied and able minded.

Considered from the point of view of "Owner".
- full employment would not give the employer the opportunity to threaten her employees with termination on grounds of lower paid alternatives. Hence, the employer would (theoretically) have to concede all the demands of her employees.
Unemployment then is necessary "insurance" to protect the employers profit margin. (see also "outsourcing and Free Trade)

23 April 2009


Involuntary commitment has at various times and places been a viable way for a person with more legal rights in a society to dispose of a person with less rights in that society. For example, in the United States, it was possible until 1975 to commit a person to a mental hospital against that persons will. It only required the person seeking the commitment to convince a certified doctor that the "patient" was "ill".
In this situation who has the power to judge the patients illness? In a culture like the United States, in which minorities like women have fewer legal rights than men (a fact beyond debate), it is easier for men to dictate what legal rights women do have. Hence, men dictate what rights women have over themselves, and what rights men have over women.

So any challenge to male authority can be labeled as illegal, deviant or socially disruptive, and thus, any woman who challenges the status quo, either at home or in the community at large, is subject to legal (and physical) reprisal.

On an individual level this can and does lead to severe abuses by men in patriarchal cultures. In the West, men can have wives committed to asylums in order to avoid the social stigma of spousal abandonment or merely in order to "legitimately" (as far as the law is concerned) extricate themselves from a legal contract and pursue another woman. Typically this led to drug regimens, electroshock therapy and even experimental brain surgeries.
Typically in "Eastern" and particularly Muslim cultures where inheritance and family descent is determined patrilinealy, Honor killings are similar. They occur in patriarchal societies where a woman's civil rights are dictated by their utility to men, and an individuals will is subordinated to that of the family, controlled by the head male.
In any culture or situation, it serves as a socially acceptable way for a man to dispose of a woman who is inconvenient or restrictive to his personal (or public) gain. It is in fact, institutionally sanctioned social gender violence.

Acid Throwing or Deliberate Disfigurement
Corrective Rape

This should encourage us to ask ourselves what our conception is regarding the rights of women (or any "other" outside ourselves.) Do we view women as a means to an end, or an end in and of themselves? Are women "worth" only as much as we can wring from them, or as living persons do they have an intrinsic value?
Finally, to double-check our justifications, how do we view ourselves in regards to other peoples needs?

This is what my friend wrote about this picture.

16 April 2009

A Reminder

Rotting products of our past are a necessary part of the social fabric.

When we can resurrect an image, a "look" (a la "retro" 70's or whatever) without irony, we are in trouble. The remembrance of where we came from is as necessary as knowing where we are. If in grasping at some distant past act in history we refuse to consider its consequences, we have divorced ourselves from the consequences of our own.

One reason I have always found the decaying remnants of the industrial age so fascinating is the perception that it was somehow where I came from. It was my past rusting in the forest that was once a workers camp.
This rusting object, now discarded and forgotten, was important to many people, a focus for their lives.
The construction and evolution of human societies depends upon such things; tools, thoughts, needs, in a line that is not broken.

Thoughts on Labor

Unions serve a purpose only within the context of a capitalist, or anyway, an exploitive labor system. That is, unions exist to represent the political will of the workers against the political will of the capitalist or owner.

The decline of labor unions, which in the United States reached a peak of something around 36% during the 1950's can be mapped alongside the social engineering of consumerism and individualism helmed by Walter Lipman and other social engineers of the early 20th century.

The perception of unions nowadays (and I confronted this last weekend) is that labor unions only want to "take over the company from the owner". Or, "drive the owner out of business". Of course both of these ideas (however ridiculous) totally clash with capitalism, the sine qua non of labor unions.

Profit is the key operating motive of capitalism. I invest capital and expect exponential return.
Simpler: I invest energy to pay other people to work in the expectation that their labor will produce energy (product) above and beyond the amount I put in. That is profit (or surplus product/energy, which can be sold).

Labor unions however, within this system make individual businesses unprofitable, or at least less profitable1
For this reason we can see that industries that are unionized are often unionized across the board. Grocery stores for example are almost all unionized under the UFCW because if one that was, while the others were not, it would be hard pressed to compete. (exactly why this works bears further thought2)

In the capitalist system wages have to be kept as low as possible to ensure maximum profit, thus unionization is resisted because the demands of unions; higher wages, health insurance, job security3, make a business theoretically uncompetitive in a non unionized field.

1. At least less profitable than the investor desires. The end goal of all labor at this point in our social history, is to produce a surplus because as specialists possessing a small set of skills, no one of us can produce all the necessary commodities required for living in a modern hyperindustrialized society.

2. Some independant stores are not unionized. How do they stay afloat? Because the unionization process does not work in reverse. A non union business can stay competitive in a unionized field because it can keep costs low in comparison to its unionized competitors.

3. The reason why unions had to fight for a law to make it illegal to terminate employees who aggitated for unionization, a law which still exists in the United States. However, it is extremely difficult to prove that you were fired for union activity because an employer can fabricate infinite pretexts to fire in an "at will" employment system. This is also the root cause of "outsourcing", for example when Dell computers moved to Ireland in the late 1990's because labor was cheap. Last year when labor got too expensive they pulled up and moved to Poland. This is referred to as The Race to the Bottom, what I call a "dumbening" accelerated by free trade organizations like the WTO, NAFTA, GATT, FTAA etc.

Commentary both positive and negative are welcome, this is an open thread.

Thoughts on Incarceration

The prison system does not rehabilitate criminals, there isn't any debate about that.

The cost of incarcerating prisoners (which I think I recently saw quoted at 100,000 a year in Washington State) is far more, FAR more than it would cost to send them to school (at Seattle Central) and pay for the cost of an apartment. This cost would be offset if the person in question got a job, even a menial one. But, in particular, they could be taught horticulture, i.e. how to grow food (non-comercially), a task which most people find spiritually fulfilling. (and would offset some of the state's cost of supporting them)
A figure I recently saw claimed that Singapore grows over 60 percent of it's food on site. (Residential lawns and parking lots etc. waste a tremendous amount of potentially productive land. A subject for another post)

  1. This would save the state lots of taxpayer money, and contribute to positive and local productive power.
  2. Decriminalization of drugs would eliminate the need to incarcerate many of these people anyway.
  3. If horticulture training (and this could be regimented and systematic, i.e. as part of paying the "social debt" for crime) was part of the program, it would reduce local dependence on commercial produce and thus reduce reliance on long distance, fossil-fuel dependent commercial farming.
  4. Many of those held in prison are there for petty (non-violent) crimes like drug possession, dealing etc.

  1. Some violent and/or mentally ill criminals cannot be rehabilitated socially. How do we deal with sociopaths? Can sociopathy be prevented? (see problem 3)
  2. The stigma of "criminal as undesirable" would have to be overcome. Social perception has to be changed to view "criminals" as productive members of society.
  3. "Criminal" behavior has an undeniable root cause in social injustice and subsequent poverty. The vast majority of incarcerated persons are African American and Latino, and income levels correspondingly reflect this across the board. These problems will have to be addressed simultaneously if the flow of "fresh" criminals is to be stopped. (a discussion for a different post perhaps)
  4. Social perceptions of wealth have to be changed in order to preclude a return to potentially more "profitable" crime.

Feedback, both positive and negative is welcome, this is I hope by no means a finished thread.

14 April 2009

Napoleon In Russia

This graphic by Charles Joseph Minard shows Napoleons invasion of Russia and advance on Moscow in yellow, the thickness of the line indicating the number of troops in his army. (also indicated numerically above the line) The black line is his retreat to France with the same information also tracking along the bottom the temperature during that brutal winter.

Ships With Lots of Sails

The closer ship appears to have 24 sails. Each of these sails I am sure has it's own name, and probably it's own function, and on top of that, probably some member or three of the crew that call her baby. An example of extreme specialization of labor. A skill that died a quick death with the advent of trans-oceanic steam shipping (a trade that spawned it's own set of skill specializations.)
But sailing can teach us some interesting lessons, not from the set of skills it briefly engendered, but from it's use of energy. Namely the renewability of its energy. The Wind.
On wind power it takes a great deal more time to travel. That was before energy could be stored in the form of batteries. So, the available energy in the wind could be collected and stored in batteries and used to power ships. This energy could be stored in much greater quantities than in it's raw wind form. Ships using this energy could augment their propulsion with raw wind power, giving birth to a new era of true "sailors".
This would also require far less fossil fuel consumption and reduce a great deal of pollution caused by commercial shipping as seen below in a NOAA satellite image. (lines near bottom right)

13 April 2009

Bone Suckin'

Bone Suckin' Sauce.
First, I'd like to point out the possible alternate meanings for the name, alright, THE alternate meaning, fellatio.
But the thing that interests me most are the cultural implications. When did it become acceptable to gnash the bones of dead animals? In mythology, evil creatures, frightening hellspawn chewed the bones of their victims, like Baba Yaga and Ammit.
I guess what I find bothersome about it is that it implies that the product is designed to make you behave crudely. They encourage you to discard your social grace and act like a savage (not that I'm a huge proponent of politeness), eat the flesh and suck the bones like a beast.

10 April 2009


In 1820 Boston was not a town particularly known for it's religious fanaticism, that is in part what made the case of Mira Greene so interesting. The Greene family had never been particularly religious, but did attend church with some regularity, perhaps more out of habit than actual faith. It was on one such trip that Mira had the first of many headaches to come. While reciting the Lords Prayer, Mira suddenly was overcome and collapsed and had to be taken from the service by her husband Edward who worked as a tinsmith.
At their home, the head pains she complained of subsided gradually, but in the middle of the night she awoke again in pain, and her husband called the doctor who was unable to do anything but administer a small amount of laudanum.
Two days later Mira again complained of headaches and visited the doctor who again administered laudanum, however, when she was departing the doctor, perhaps a more religious man than the Greene,s admonished her to pray to the Lord for recovery. At this Mira collapsed again in apparently excruciating pain. The doctor was only able to calm her with a further application of the drug, he did however send his assistant to the church to fetch a priest. This is where the story gets interesting.

When the priest arrived at the Greene's home, Mira was in bed, clutching at her temples and lamenting the pain, at the sight of the priest she seemed to calm a bit, but when he took out his crucifix to bless her, she went into convulsions.
Now, I know what you're thinking, "Get to the point, so she was posessed, so what."

But in fact that is not the case, Mira clutched at the crucifix and began praying vociferously to Jesus, asking him to "show her the way to heaven". When the crucifix was taken away while she slept, she awoke with a headache stronger than before, and had to be given further doses of laudanum, though these did not seem to help until the crucifix was given back to her, and the pain seemed to subside a bit. At that time the doctor inspected her and discovered a small protrusion on the left front of her head, just above the hairline. Over the next several days as the pattern of Mira'c convulsive pains and subsidence continued the doctor observed the lump on her head to double in size to nearly that of a plum.
At this point, Mira too discovered the bulbous protrusion and each time she went into paroxisms of pain and praying she would clutch and pick at it. The doctor wrapped her head with a bandage in an attempt to curb the swelling, but each day as Mira's lamentations grew in frequency and ferocity, so did the size of the lump.

By the end of July, Mira spent most of her time in bed, her entire body rigid from convulsions as she "spoke with Jesus", though she never delivered "divine messages" or premonitions. The lump by this time had grown to the size of her head, and horrified at the sight, her husband had fled a week before. The only person in attendance was the same priest who had first visited her. As he prayed for her deliverance day after day, Mira babbled away, stroking the crucifix, her eyes rolled up into her head and saliva dripping from her mouth, which the priest later said was locked in a slight smile as long as she held the icon.
On August 13th, the priest reported that Mira had died that morning, bleeding from her ears nose and mouth as she clutched the crucifix so tightly that it broke and cut her hands. Because at that time cremation was no allowed in the Catholic church, the priest had to order a specially modified coffin to fit her head.

07 April 2009

St. Bronson in Progress

There is little purpose to me uploading this other than to prove to myself each time I look at this unrefreshed page over the next couple of days that even if I didn't write anything tonight, I did in fact get something done. And something cathartic no less. Without drawing I go a little skittish. In fact I think that in times of stress I probably produce better (and more) work.

Pen work for the Saint Bronson project.

05 April 2009

Eat Dog Or Die

Although I like the illustration, I cannot make sense of this title.

One can assume from the punctuation that it is an exclamatory sentence, but also an imperative.

Two choices, eat, or die. The confusing part is the word "dog". Does it suggest that the threatened should either a.)"Eat dog (meat)", or that he should b.) "Eat, (you) dog".

There are several clues which can suggest an answer to us.

First, the novel is set in the American west during the pioneer era when food was generally scarce due to its' sparse local cultivation.
Because dogs are omnivores, or in any case they are primarily not herbivores, they require other meat food to stay healthy. Thus, the caloric investment of feeding a dog in the undeveloped west would far exceed the caloric outcome of using a dog for its meat. Simply put, it would be far more nutritionally efficient simply to directly eat whatever might be fed to the dog than to feed it to the dog and then eat the dog.

However, on a similar note, the scarcity, or at least difficulty in finding and securing a reliable food source in the rural southwest would theoretically preclude wasting food on someone you were about to hang. If they are going to die, why give them precious food? One reason, two similar outcomes.
At least as far back as medieval times (and even today I'm told) it was clear to butchers that making an animal happy before it died would result in more tender meat, thus pigs were led to a trough where they fed where the butcher raised the hammer and smashed their skulls. Happy pigs, tender meat.
In the case of people, you might use the meal for the same effect, namely deception. Though here, instead of keeping their meat tender, you might simply be trying not to clue the person in on your homicidal plans. But that wouldn't make sense because the option is given. Eat, or die. So the idea of death is already present when the option of food is proffered, thus no deception. Now, if in fact the term "dog" is merely being used as a derogatory term it's still a bit puzzling as to why eating would be enforceable by death. Again however, it wouldn't make sense to force someone to eat under threat of death, at least when food is precious and they are your companion. If you had to force them to eat, it would necessarily be to keep them from starving, which would be to prevent them from dying.

There is a wildcard possibility that the victim is being offered the option of eating either a.) dog meat, or b.) die, a specialized shaping tool used in manufacturing, or , the singular of dice. Perhaps he owes a gambling debt and perhaps his persecutors are from some Eastern European country where there is something symbolic about the eating of dogs or dice. Maybe they are Roma.

Check to see what the Gone to Croatoan thinktank has come up with on this puzzle.

Nacho Friendly

Velveeta cheese was one of my favorites back when I was a kid mostly because I associated it with the nachos we would make when it was my birthday or some other such noteworthy event. The preferred type for this application is of course the spicy kind with bits of what are theoretically jalapenos. Velveeta is technically a processed cheese “product” because it contains less than 51% real cheese. Another category of processed cheese is “cheese food” which sounds a little bit scary because one would assume that it is food, kindof automatically, but cheese food must only have a minimum of 51% cheese. These are all very real legal terms.

A Canadian Mennonite named James Kraft who was also fairly fond of cheese started his own door-to-door cheese company in 1903 and went on to patent the first processed cheese. In he 1927 acquired the Velveeta brand for his company Kraft Foods, which would go on to acquire General Foods, Breyer’s Ice Cream and Philadelphia Cheese before being absorbed by Phillip Morris which is now The Altria Group. In case, like me, you had any ideas about divesting yourself of corporate processed food intake, the list of Altrias’ corporate holdings makes the term conglomerate seem like an maliciously deceptive understatement, almost like a war against smallholding. Not that processed cheese is any stranger to widespread government sposored murder.

My assumption is that Velveeta got its name from its silky texture which is theoretically similar to velvet. It was invented in 1918 by a Swiss immigrant named Emil Frey who as a lad in his early twenties when he joined the 24th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment with numerous other German immigrants. Rising to the rank of colonel, Frey was captured in 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg while commanding elements of the 82nd IVIR. After the war he returned to Switzerland and entered into politics, becoming the first Swiss ambassador to the United States as well as President of the Swiss Confederation (which serves as the governing body, in lieu of a single head-of-state) before returning to live in the States and, apparently, develop cheese products for the Monroe Cheese Company in Monroe, New York.
Amusingly enough, the original name of the town was an anglicized version of the Algonquin name for the area, Chiskauk which was changed to Chesekook or, alternately in the town patent issued by Queen Anne of England in 1707, Cheesecocks.

Queen Anne herself sadly died seven years later of gout, an arthritic condition partially caused by an excess of protein rich foods like beef, but apparently according to a study conducted on some 40,000 men in the early 2000’s, dairy products greatly reduce the risk of gout. If only Anne had had access to some Velveeta.

But I digress, the town of Cheesecocks was in 1818-ish renamed Monroe, in honor of the fifth president of the United States who is portrayed in the famous “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting as the man carrying the flag. According to General George Wasingtons' wartime diary, in July of the following year (1777, the Delaware was crossed in December ’76) General Washington stopped at Sovereign’s (Suffern’s) Tavern in Smith’s Clove, a village which was part of what would later be patented by Anne as Cheesecocks, New York.

Kraft Foods would sell six million pounds of their processed "food" product the American army during World War I, and ship two-thirds that much to Britain weekly during the Second World War. I’m sure the late Queen was spinning in her grave at the thought of all that deliciously corporate dairy “food” product pouring like molten velvet into her sovereign nation.

02 April 2009

The Mole People

The Mole People do in fact have a lot going for them.
Not only are they incredibly strong by human standards, but their hands consist of a series of giant bony claws that are very effective for tearing through densely packed soil, tender fleshy things and even (in an emergency) should the need arise, concrete. Additinally they have large highly sensitive eyes and noses which are excellent for navigation in darkened conditions.

Unfortunately all of these very same attributes have the detrimental effect of being pretty terrifying to the average modern Homo sapiens. The tendency of humans in heirarchical cultures to categorize things in terms of differences rather than similarities has not done well for the Mole People.

In general, difference tends to be placed in the "other" category. For example the Mole People are from a forgotten age, thus they are from an "other" age. They have claws "instead of" fingers as we do. They see in the dark, but we see in the light.

It is in this way that cultures are able to restrict access to scarce resources and maintain control over those resources, by finding ways to exclude others whom they do not, or do not wish to understand. Instead of seeing them as people who happen to be moles who happen to have eyes (albeit bigger) and five fingered hands (albeit clawed) we chosen to marginalize and exploit their oppressed culture for entertainment purposes with (non-mole) people donning "mole-face" costumes and performing grotesque, degrading mockeries of mole culture and reinforcing social hatred of our little understood biologically distant (but not so much) subterranean bretheren.

Read my friends similarly provoked piece at:Gone to Croatoan