How to make everything worse, racist cops edition

The South Bend Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #36, recently posted this image to their Facebook page:

You will note the Santa in the lower-right corner is making That Gesture. This was posted to bring attention to the police union’s Elficers program, which is a toy and food Thanksgiving donation thing.

You can probably write the rest of this post on your own.

I believe the following things:

  • That’s a stock image, and was found by someone Googling “Cool Santa.”
  • That there is no real reason to believe that the image itself was meant as a stealth white power thing. Now, blah blah blah deniability and all that, I understand the point of why these assholes adopted this gesture, but still. I feel like that’s probably innocuous.
  • I’m a little less willing to cut whoever chose the image the same amount of slack, but I’m still willing in principle to cut them said slack, depending on how they react to being told about the image.

Go ahead, take a guess. What do you think happened when the local police union was told that the Santa they picked to help promote their Thanksgiving charity drive was making a racist gesture?

I’ll give you a minute.

Did you choose “double down” of fucking course they doubled down:

So, uh, here’s the thing, guys: It would’ve taken y’all less than ten minutes, max, to redo that image with any other Santa on that Google search list. There is no reason– no reason at all— to get defensive about that one. It’s a fucking stock photo. There are hundreds of other available images to choose from. You could have replaced the image, issued a literal two-sentence apology (“It was brought to our attention that a portion of this image featured a gesture many find offensive, which was not our intention. We apologize and have replaced the picture.”) and been done. Everybody would have forgotten about it in no time flat and, well, there wouldn’t be an article in the Goddamned paper about it today. I wouldn’t even know about it, and I wouldn’t be posting this today.

But nah, y’all couldn’t do that, could you?

And that is what makes it clear that y’all are racist as fuck. Because now there’s no deniability. Because you were told that Santa was making a racist gesture and you could have fixed it in seconds and instead your response is “Nah, it’s fine, fuck y’all.”

ACAB, even when they don’t have to be.

In which I contain multitudes


I have always been very ambivalent about Santa Claus.  Hell, as a non-Christian I’m ambivalent enough about Christmas, so the idea that I’m compounding celebrating a holiday that’s supposed to be about the birth of a divine being who I don’t believe in with lying to my kid about a white dude who drops presents down the chimney just hasn’t ever sat well with me.  I don’t like lying to my son– and yes, I think telling your kids about Santa is lying to them, unless you also want to explain why Santa seems to like wealthy white kids more than everybody else.  But I’m not so opposed to the idea of Santa Claus that I’m stomping on it, so to speak.  The position my wife and I have evolved over the years is that we simply don’t talk about Santa.  My mom can tell the boy whatever she likes; he can absorb whatever messages about Santa he wants from the wider culture.  Hell, I’ll even read A Visit from St. Nicholas to him on Christmas Eve if he wants, like my parents used to do with me.  I let him read Captain Underpants and don’t make a big stink about him not being real; why should Santa be any different?  My policy has simply been to neither confirm nor deny, and I don’t write “from Santa” on presents that we bought him– the “from” tag on all his presents is just left blank.  He hasn’t seemed to notice that Santa seems to think he lives at his Grandma’s house.  And we’ve never done the “go to the mall and sit on Santa’s lap” thing either.  Which, honestly, as I’m typing this, I gotta admit I regret just a little bit.

So last week he told my wife that one of the kids in his class was telling everyone that Santa wasn’t real.  My wife, caught by surprise, fell back on our usual “What do you think?” shtick and eventually he dropped it, or so we thought.  This morning, as we were getting in the car to go to school, he ambushed me with the same question, and seemed frustrated that I reacted the same way.  He is 6, and in kindergarten, just so you can properly contextualize this if you’d like.

And then he said something that really caught me by surprise, which was that he thought that this other kid was “ruining Christmas” and “taking all the fun out of everything” by telling the other kids that Santa wasn’t real.  I pushed back on this as gently as I could– if Santa wasn’t real, does that mean that the tree and the lights and the presents and the cookies and the family stuff weren’t fun anymore?  Surely the fat white guy isn’t the most important part, right?  He didn’t answer, but I could see him thinking about it.

And then my reaction surprised me, because I found myself more than a little bit pissed at this kid, and by extension this kid’s parents.  I think the family in question is at least nominally Muslim, as I’m pretty sure they’re ethnically Pakistani, but at any rate they’re from that area (the boy may or may not have been born here; I’m certain the parents weren’t) and while in general they’ve struck me as more or less secular people they’re definitely from an area where Christianity isn’t the majority religion.  So, okay, your kid got raised with no Santa.  You told him the truth.  Cool.  But maybe you go ahead and make sure your kid knows that showing everyone else the light isn’t so much the way to go?  My son is friends with this kid, and he’s visibly upset with him for, again, “ruining Christmas.”  And if my son decides that the boy is right about that, then I’m going to have a talk with him about not screwing the shit up for the other kids.

And I gotta admit, I’m thisclose to dropping an email to either my kid’s teacher or this other family (our school makes sure everyone has everyone else’s emails) and in the most polite way I can manage to phrase it suggesting that they tell this other kid to knock it off.

That’s probably in utter contradiction to everything in the first couple of paragraphs.  Do I care?  I dunno.  I care enough that I wrote this to try and hash it out in my head, and I probably need to be talked out of contacting any of the other adults involved– which, again, I promise I’d do politely.

“Eventually ruining Christmas for him was my job, dammit” is not the most persuasive line of argument, after all.

Blech.  Parenting is stupid.

Merry Christmas, y’all

IMG_2129Generally, today is the lowest-traffic day of the year, which means I will either not be on much after right now or be posting every ten minutes since you’re not around to be annoyed by it.  We’ll see!

Also, the boy let us sleep in until 8:30 and didn’t notice there were presents under the tree until we pointed it out; I assume that will never happen again.

The best part of waking up

exhausted_zpsa4303e7bI’ve been a little preoccupied with dying lately, right?  You can understand why if you’ve read my post about last week.  I spend a patch of my drive in to work on a highway, a highway well known to be treacherous in bad weather by basically everyone who lives around here, and as I was pulling on to said highway this morning it floated through my head that there were no less than three places on my way into work where my chances of getting killed in a car accident were going to spike.

My highway cruising speed in my current car is around 60 MPH, which is slower than most of the cars on that road are going to be going.  It’s not me, it’s the car; when I rented a car for the Nashville trip I was driving faster.  In this particular car, for whatever reason, I have to think about it if I want to drive faster than about 60.

I’m on my way in and the idiots on the radio start blathering about some study some yahoo did to determine how much Santa Claus ought to make.  They’ve decided it’s around $137,000 a year, and the idiots are going on about how they’ve combined yearly salaries for a whole bunch of things– shipping, delivery, receiving, manufacturing, blah blah blah.

For whatever reason, this sets off a chain of thoughts in my head where I’m musing on how much difficult work in this country is compensated shittily because we don’t value the people who do it.  I’ve said this before, and it’s true: people who make minimum wage in this country work harder than I do.  I’ve had minimum-wage jobs.  They are much harder than jobs that make much more.  What they aren’t is more valued.

But anyway.  This post isn’t actually about politics.  What this post is about is that I looked down at one point during this brain-rant and discovered I was going eighty miles an hour.

Make that four places where my chances of dying were going to spike on my way in to work.

I’m safe at my desk now; hopefully that’s the last dumb thing I’ll do today.

Pics or it didn’t happen

tumblr_m4w5jpExao1qjavxhI’m teaching first hour today, as I do.  I’m expecting a pretty good day– a number of my usual discipline issues are suspended or out of the building for some reason, so, oughtta be peaceful, right?


We’re midway through first hour when It Happens.  One of my girls– normally not a dipshit– looks out the window.  Note: it is snowing today.  It’s not super bad, certainly not anything to compare to what’s hitting the East Coast right now, but there’s definitely precipitation happening.

“Santa!” she squeals.

Uh, what?

Other kids are running to the window.

“Santa!  Santa’s outside!”

Note that this is a seventh grade class.  These kids, if they ever believed in Santa, don’t anymore.  And they are all hollering to me that Santa Claus is outside.

I look out the window and there is a goddamn fat person in a gigantic bright red coat with white fur lining the edges in the field outside our window.  He or she– I can’t see a beard, and something about the person scans female, but I can’t tell for sure because of the gigantic coat– is walking a dog.  The dog is wearing goddamn reindeer horns.  

Dude/ette spent twenty minutes outside my room, just fuckin’ walking around in circles– I don’t know if the damn dog was constipated or what but it was freaking below freezing outside and by the time he finally left I was about to just send the kids outside with him.  Because holy shit you people can be distracted by anything.

I have a silly job.


Several months ago I severed my relationship with Big Multinational Bank in favor of Smaller Regional Bank.  I was startled to receive a new bank card Saturday afternoon from BMB.  Identity theft? I thought to myself.  Nah, no way– it would require the stupidest identity thief ever to start a new account in my name and have the new card sent to my house.  It was Saturday, though, so I couldn’t call anyone or do anything about it until just now.

Hint:  When confronted by a voice-recognition phone system and a problem that can’t be neatly categorized by their bullshit (I don’t have an account with you; I can’t give you my number, and there’s no number to press for “you stupid shits sent me a card I don’t need for an account I don’t have anymore”) there is usually a good solution:  start swearing uncontrollably into the phone every time the recognition system asks for an input.  “Fuck cunt bullshit cock whore” gets you to a representative really quick most of the time.

After some digging around, she tells me that my checking account is closed, but my savings account is still open.  It has two fucking cents in it.

Which, at the time, was annoying– but now I’m still confused, because they sent me a debit card, which I could never use with my savings account before– and it’s not like I’ve gotten any paperwork or statements from them since I closed my account; I’d have noticed it.  So… yeah. Gonna go in tomorrow and get my two gotdamn cents and figure out what the hell’s going on.