For the record

I had plans for a longer post tonight– a double book review, in fact– but life appears to have gotten in the way, so this:

I intend to be the type of person who believes victims of violence first, even– and quite possibly especially when– the victim’s version differs from that of the police. As someone who lived in Chicago for a decade, this was the only reasonable way to act.

It is true that this hierarchy of belief may on rare occasions lead me to initially support someone who has behaved dishonestly. That fact changes nothing; I will continue to provide victims of violence with my support and with the benefit of the doubt until specific circumstances demonstrate otherwise.

On a broader level, anytime someone throws a rock at a tank, I am on the side of– or at least more interested in hearing from– the person throwing the rock.

Yes, this could probably have been a Twitter thread; I’d prefer a bit more permanence to it in this case, so to the blog we go.

In which white people make terrible decisions

I seriously thought Ralph Northam’s stupid lying racist ass was the dumbest thing I was going to encounter this week, I really did. He issued what I thought was a pretty decent apology the night that the blackface/Klan picture broke, and I almost– almost– thought that maybe he shouldn’t have to immediately resign.

Well, fuck me for giving a racist a second’s benefit of the doubt, because the very next morning this asshole is not only trying to take back his admission that it was him in the picture, he “defends himself” by saying he wasn’t in blackface that time but there was this other time that he did it and man, isn’t shoe polish hard to get off your face?

So fuck that guy. He can go. Ain’t nobody gonna miss him.

(I won’t be entertaining a lot of debate on this point, for the record. We can lose everybody who ever wore blackface, period. I don’t give a fuck who you are or when you did it. I can’t believe that not only am I still having this fucking conversation, but it’s like the third time in a few weeks.)

And then I log onto Twitter for a moment during my lunch break and I get to play the Dead or an Asshole? game, since Liam Neeson is trending for some fucking reason. A wise man once said that the Internet plays a game where every day a new person is chosen as the Main Character of the Internet, and you win the game if that person is never you.  So, Liam lost the game today.

And Liam’s story kinda had me fucked up for a minute, you know? Because– and stay with me, here, because I’m phrasing this carefully– I very much do get the feeling that something terrible has happened to someone you care about, and you weren’t able to do anything about it. I very much do get the idea that in response to that trauma he went a little crazy for a little while. That’s not the problem.

No, the problem for Neeson is that he phrases this whole thing in terms of revenge, which … uh, randomly walking around with a club in your pocket and hoping that somebody black starts shit with you isn’t actually revenge, Liam. That’s racism. It’s not revenge when somebody does something to you or someone you care about and you beat the hell out of somebody who maybe sorta looks like the person who did it. That’s not what that word means. And from what I’ve read, he didn’t seem to recognize that distinction at all during his deeply weird interview for a movie that I already wasn’t going to see because I can’t tell if it’s a revenge fantasy or some sort of weird, fucked-up Fargo-level black comedy shit. Nothing about Cold Pursuit was worth this shit. Nothing.

I mean, ultimately I think Neeson’s gonna skate on this, because the story basically just boils down to I had some terrible racist thoughts for a while that didn’t lead to any actual actions, and that’s not enough to have a serious effect on his career unless it turns out he’s got some stories in his past where he did do some shady shit. I’ll call it 50-50 that that happens, we’ll see. But … dude? Why the hell did you decide to tell this story in the first place? This is shit for your shrink, not a goddamned junket interview!

We also watched the first half of the Netflix Fyre Festival documentary last night, a process so horrifying that my wife legitimately looked over at me and asked if I was okay a couple of times. It’s not even Tuesday, y’all, and I have had enough stories of stupid white people to last me until next Black History Month, thanks. We can be done now.

Snow day Saturday

Not a whole lot to talk about today, unless y’all want to get into the absolute wonder that yesterday’s politics news was– Roger Stone getting arrested, then the air traffic controllers shutting down the Eastern Seaboard and LaGuardia Airport and the shutdown being done only a few hours later was a thing of wonder and a testament to 1) Nancy Pelosi holding the Democrats together and 2) the power of unions. ‘Twas awesome.

Today has mostly been a day for burrowing into blankets and avoiding the cold; we spent a pleasant 45 minutes or so checking out a relatively new local independent bookstore but other than that didn’t really go outside, and the three of us have basically been trading off the TV for Pokémon and Dark Souls since then. I’ve been doing this thing on Saturdays for several weeks now where I get up, have a large cup of coffee, and read in my recliner for a couple of hours. I’m rereading Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire trilogy, or at least the first two books, in preparation for finishing the trilogy with Book 3, which I expect to be amazing.

Speaking of amazing books, you may want to check out The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera. There’s very likely to be a full review but I want to wait a couple of days for … reasons. In the meantime, it’s the first shortlist-for-the-top-10 new book I’ve read in 2019.

What are you doing to keep the cold away this weekend?

In which my mayor runs for President

It’s a good video. It’s a real good video. I’ve mentioned recently how wild I think it is that my life keeps intersecting with Democratic Presidential candidates– not that I can find the post right now, but I swear I have– and now my mayor Pete Buttigieg has announced that he’s forming an exploratory committee to run for President.

I, uh, don’t really want to be in a position where I have to vote for him. This is a weird thing to write, right? Hell, I didn’t think Barack Obama was ready to run for President early on in his run, when he’d only been in the Senate for two years, and he very quickly proved me completely wrong on that front. Pete Buttigieg passes one of my first smell tests for someone running for President, which is do I think this person is smarter than me, and he also passes my second smell test, which is do I think this person would be a better President than I would. He is, and he would. However, I would be a pretty terrible President, so that second one in particular is kind of a low bar. I do not think that being mayor of a town of 100,000 for, what, six years or so adequately prepares you for the Presidency no matter how good of a mayor I think you were– and don’t misunderstand me, I’m quite fond of the guy. I just don’t know what the hell he’s thinking right now, because even if he’s essentially trying to run for VP he’s up against Mike Pence, and frankly as much as I despise Mike Pence I think Buttigieg is not enough to move Indiana back into the blue column given that a former Governor is the VP right now.

(Fun fact: there have been more Vice Presidents from Indiana, at six, than any state other than New York. There have been two just in my lifetime.)

If I had my druthers– and the world working the way it does, I have actually told him this– Buttigieg would have his eye on the Governor’s mansion or a Senate seat right now. Indiana has had both Democratic Senators and Governors in the not terribly recent past; while the state is pretty uniformly red right now, it’s not going to last forever, and I think we have another wave election or two potentially headed our way at the moment. I think eight or twelve years down the line we will be looking at him much more seriously as a Presidential candidate– again, my main objection is to him running now.  I can very easily imagine a world where I’m happier to vote for him further on down the road.

But hey, I’ve been surprised before. Maybe the dude is even savvier than I think he is and he’ll find a way to light a fire under his candidacy. That would be damned impressive, close to impossible, but maybe. At any rate, it’ll be fun to keep an eye on.

(I am, at the moment, on team Kamala Harris. My affiliation is loose; I haven’t bought a jersey yet or anything, and of the currently declared candidates the only one I really have genuine problems with is Tulsi Gabbard. But just so y’all know where I’m coming from.)

In which I self-censor

My general mood for the last several days

I am trying very, very fucking hard right now not to write an entire post about how we need to burn down a certain racist shithole of a school in Kentucky and then take what’s left after we’ve burned it down and throw it in the ocean. I am as angry about this horseshit as I have been about anything in a very long time. Martin Luther King Day weekend is always a trying weekend for me, because I am so, so, so very sick of white people (and it is always white people) trying to turn him into The Nicest Man Who Ever Lived, and it just never ever fucking stops.

That the former happened during the latter is not helping my mood one goddamned bit. And let’s be clear here: the boys are assholes, yes, and I suspect that a number approaching but not quite reaching 100% of them will remain assholes as grown-ups. But there’s a reason I’m directing my ire at the school and not at the students.

(WordPress, right now is not the time to start fucking with me about how you can’t handle italics anymore. Not. The. Time.)

No, the real reason I’m pissed is that at no moment anywhere in any of those videos is any adult presence at all seen. I have taken kids on these trips before, remember. Not just as a chaperone; as the person in charge of the trip. You have two jobs on these trips: 1) to get the kids safely home to their parents, and 2) to make sure that at no point during your trip are any of your students showing their asses. And … well. You may have seen the video of the one kid literally tearing his shirt off.

If any one of my students at any point during any of my trips to DC had even had a dream about taking off his shirt and making a fool of himself on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, when he woke up he would have been on a bus, by himself, halfway home already, and probably hogtied to boot.

And there is no evidence of any adult presence anywhere in any of these videos. None. These kids are being allowed to do whatever the fuck they want, and what they want is to make asses of themselves in public and shout things about rape at passing women.

And all this was before the blackface imagery came out, and at that point I don’t even care what the fuck happened at the Lincoln Memorial any longer. If this school lets these kids show up at basketball games in blackface it needs to not be a school any longer, and I will not be entertaining any suggestion otherwise from anyone. The Memorial’s almost irrelevant at this point. Gaslight away, assholes. The school lets them show up to basketball games in blackface. We’re done talking about whether they’re all racists or not.

Fuck it. Fuck them. Fuck all of this.

I’m tired.