In which we emerge, blinking

Went outside and did a thing today— the Leeper Park Art Fair, held in scenic downtown South Bend, in a park that until a year or two ago was home to an inbred, angry, violent group of ducks– so angry, inbred and violent that the city had to step in to figure out how to deal with them. There was a massive kerfuffle, of the type that can only be found in small- and mid-sized towns, and some of the ducks were eventually euthanized, some taken elsewhere, and their pond was filled in, producing a much nicer public park that people can actually bike and walk through without fear of being attacked.

The fair was really nice, honestly– the temperature suddenly shot up by a good ten degrees on the (short) walk back to the car, but for the whole time we were walking around it was pleasant and breezy outside, and it’s always fun to look at art, even if in general everything was far outside of my price range. I’m not disputing the prices these folks were charging, mind you; this isn’t you shouldn’t be charging $250 for this hand-turned wooden vase, it’s I don’t have $250 I can spend on this hand-turned wooden vase, and honestly for most of the things I looked at, $250 was inexpensive. There was some amazing stuff there, but even if I had the money, I don’t know what the hell I’d do with a $250 wooden vase if I bought one, because we really don’t have that kind of house. At any rate, if you’re local, it’s open for a couple more hours today and all day tomorrow, although tomorrow there’s a risk of rain.

Instructions from the fair organizers were to mask up and socially distance, especially when you were actually in an artist’s booth, and you can probably get a good idea from the picture there how well that went over. The vaccination rate in St. Joseph County is less than 50%, so it’s an awfully interesting coincidence that no one who was unvaccinated showed up at this thing.

(That said, my self-righteousness only goes so far; I brought a mask with me but didn’t put it on. The crowds weren’t so tight that staying away from people was much of a challenge, and the event was outdoors. I did get into a conversation with one of the woodworkers that had me thinking about putting my mask on, since we were standing fairly close to each other and talking, but I didn’t end up doing it. That said, I’ve had my fucking shots.)

At any rate, this is the first time we’ve done something like this since February of 2020, so it was really nice to be outdoors and around people for a while. That said, I stepped in a hole as we were going back to the car and it went straight up my back and through my ribcage, so I expect to be unable to walk by the end of the day. This is probably my punishment for getting judgy about masks.


I can actually pinpoint fairly precisely when I learned Juneteenth was a thing– it was my senior year of college, in a class about Black American religion. So probably 1997, 1998 or so. I just reread Ralph Ellison’s novel of the same name, since I needed an author from Oklahoma and figured it was appropriate. And I’ll be honest: while my opinion matters not at all, I don’t love the idea of it being a national holiday– or, at least, I don’t love the idea of it being a national holiday in America.

Why? Because capitalism, and because this country can’t take a Goddamned thing seriously. Because this is exactly what’s going to happen:

@rynnstar

I realized after recording that the Silverado is Chevy not Toyota but who cares #juneteenth

♬ original sound – Rynn

And this:

If you’re on TikTok, btw, you should be following both of these creators. They’re great.

Like, capitalism has destroyed Christmas. It’s fucking Thanksgiving all up. It’s eaten Memorial Day and Veterans Day. I don’t need it chewing up Juneteenth too. Especially galling, beyond the capitalism angle, is the fact that low-paying jobs are not going to be getting a holiday for Juneteenth precisely because capitalism is going to eat Juneteenth, and that means a whole lot of Black people working service jobs are going to have to work on that day.

Yell at me if you want, although I don’t think I’m going to have any takers among my current readership: I think only black people should get Juneteenth off. As a teacher I’m off every June 19 anyway, since school never goes that late, but it’s ridiculous that my lily-white ass might get a day off to celebrate the ending of slavery when the actual descendants of those slaves have to go to work so that I can buy a mattress or whatever fucked-up knickknacks Target vomits up for the day.

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.