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.
I’m doing the thing where I’m trying to make something I said on Twitter a bit less ephemeral by putting it here: I want a change in the rules. If white people are going to keep calling the police on black people for fucking existing in public, well, you go on ahead with your white self and keep doing that. But once the cops have investigated, when it turns out the black person was walking his dog, or taking his damn kids to the park, or buying groceries, or having a barbecue, or whatever goddamned normal-ass thing that black people are allowed to do unless white people are nearby, once the cops have investigated and determined that, yeah, that check for $1000 from this dude’s employer is really his check, and maybe y’all shoulda figured out that your average check cashing fraudster isn’t likely to volunteer two forms of ID and his fingerprint and just cashed the damn thing?
Once the cops figure that out, that accused black person gets five minutes in which he or she cannot be arrested or prosecuted for anything they do, up to and including stealing and detonating a nuclear weapon, if there happens to be one close enough. And the white people don’t get to run away. They gotta stay there while the five-minute rampage happens and if that five-minute rampage involves a white ass getting beat then maybe you shoulda thought of that before you called the cops, you dumb racist cracker motherfucker.
A story of what may actually be the last time I tried to cash a check: I am a high school student, and I have helped out an old lady down the street from me by mowing her lawn for her. A very old lady, who has rewarded me by writing me a check for, supposedly, $25. The only problem is that $25 check is so illegible that I’m the person she handed it to and I can’t decipher my own name, nor can I really honestly figure out how the scrawl in the little box says $25.00, and there is no way any human could possibly look at the part that counts, where you write out the amount in prose, and see “twenty-five dollars and 00/100.” She’s very old and palsied and this check looks like a toddler scribbled on it. There are no recognizable words. I need y’all to realize that I’m not exaggerating here.
I briefly think about not taking the check anywhere at all and just not worrying about it, and then take it to her bank, because there’s no way in hell my bank is touching the thing. And the teller not only agrees to cash it, but she asks me what the amount is supposed to be, and then prepares to withdraw that amount, based on nothing more than my say-so.
Now, okay, this was 24 years ago at minimum, and shit’s supposed to be more secure now. But there wasn’t even the vaguest suggestion of suspicion on her part. Because: white boy.
And then it turned out the check was NSF, and I told her just to throw it away, because … nah. The whole thing was skeevy and even in high school $25 wasn’t enough money that I was gonna go to too much trouble to get it. It’s possible my dad ended up covering it; I don’t remember, but I didn’t end up ever cashing the check.
I have been doing make-up standardized tests all week, and by all week I mean basically every minute of my day other than lunch or advisory. On the one hand, this has been kind of wonderful, because it pins me in my room and people can’t pull me out of my office to make me do stuff, and it exempts me from things like hallway duty, which can be obnoxious. On the other hand, I have literally spent 24 solid hours out of the last three days in a damn near silent room with somewhere between eight and thirteen sixth graders all taking a test as I “monitor” them, and I am so bored I might die.
I mean, given my job’s definition of “exciting,” don’t take me whining about this too seriously, because there is a big difference between boring and stressful and given the choice I will leap joyfully into boring’s arms every time. But …. man. I gotta do this again tomorrow? Really? I’m playing music or summat during the test, because I can’t take the quiet any longer. It’s fuckin’ unnatural.
Let’s talk about this asshole for a second, and the shape her hand’s making. Would I rather be talking about something else? Yeah, probably. Should this be a series of Twitter posts and not a blog post? Well, maybe. Am I still sick, and is this what I’ve come up with for tonight? Yeah. It’s my blog, so if I wanna waste time on nonsense I can.
The following things can all be true at the same time, and the majority of them are undeniable fact:
The woman making the gesture in the picture is of Mexican and Jewish heritage, which would make one think she, generally speaking, is rather unlikely to be a white supremacist;
but she still works for Brett Kavanaugh, so in this particular case “she can’t possibly think that because of her racial background” is, shall we say, somewhat less sound reasoning than it might otherwise be;
One can be Latinx and white at the same time! The identities can overlap! You can absolutely be Mexican, white, and a white supremacist at the same time.
You can also be Jewish and a white supremacist! Ever heard of Jared Kushner, son in law to the person in the White House? Hitler his fucking self was a quarter Jewish, for God’s sake.
I know how photographs work, and I know that sitting in one seat for hours with cameras trained in your general vicinity can lead to all sorts of ridiculousness. It is entirely possible that she’s popping a zit in this picture.
4chan originated the idea that this gesture meant “white power” as a troll move a couple of years ago;
but since then it has started to be used by actual, non-ironic white supremacists;
and part of the point is that it, as a fairly common gesture, will always be deniable. That you will always be able to find pictures of, oh, Barack Obama making the same hand gesture and point at it and go “See!” and you can always make anyone making an issue of the white supremacist flashing white supremacist hand signs look foolish, by laying out the precise chain of reasoning I’ve set out above. That’s. The. Fucking. Point.
So: Do I think that Brett Kavanaugh has white supremacists working for him, and do I believe that Kavanaugh himself may be one? Absolutely. 100%.
Do I believe that this woman is, herself, a white supremacist? Except insofar as it would not surprise me for any member of Kavanaugh’s staff to be one, I had never heard of this lady yesterday and will have forgotten about her tomorrow. So maybe! Maybe not! I dunno.
Did this woman deliberately decide to take the time out of the however-long-she-had-to-sit-there to randomly and quietly flash a white supremacist hand sign at the cameras? Ehh. Try as hard as I might, I can’t figure out what the point might have been of doing something like that, and, importantly: it doesn’t really fucking matter, because they’re about to steal another fucking Supreme Court seat.
Before I get started with the swearing and the fuck-thising, a bit of context: my son, who I have thought many very unkind things about today that I will not repeat in this space, decided to come in and wake my wife and I up at four o’clock in the fucking morning because he wanted to sleep in our bed with us. There was no particular reason for this; he woke up in his bed and decided he wanted to be in ours instead, so he woke both of us up.
This was perhaps not reacted to as compassionately as it should have been and he was dispatched back to his own bed. I never got back to sleep, meaning that it’s currently 9:20 in the morning, I’m a quarter of the way through my morning coffee, and I have been awake for almost five and a half fucking hours.
It is already not going to be a good day.
Have you ever hated a song so much that you memorized it out of pure spite? I’m going to assume that you have and that this is not an experience unique to me. I have a number of Taylor Swift songs that I have completely memorized, and the main reason I have them memorized is that I hate them. Similarly, a song which I have just learned is called Friends by a pair of idiots named Anne-Marie and Marshmello. Marshmello apparently regularly appears in public with a fucking bucket on his head.
This fucking song ran through my head for hours last night while I was trying to get back to sleep. While it was running through my head, I was mentally composing this blog post, which I’ve been trying to avoid writing since I first heard this fucking song eighteen thousand years ago. Or maybe it’s just a few weeks; fuck, I don’t know.
Point is I almost got up and wrote this at 4:30 in the fucking morning because I realized sleep was not happening and at least maybe I could get something done.
So I initially wasn’t even going to write about the first reason why I hate this song: the godawful fucking obnoxious accent that Anne-Marie is putting on. I generally don’t like making fun of people for the way they sound or talk, but now that I’ve seen a picture of white-ass blonde-ass whitey-white Anne-Marie? Fuck you, that’s an affectation, and when she says so doan you looka me wif dat look in yo eye, or tries to spell “friends” and slurs it so badly that it comes out as effar aiyee endee ezzsh, to the point where I wasn’t actually sure she was spelling it right until she bothers to enunciate later in the song the first time I heard it, she is absolutely just being an asshole. No goddamn white girl grows up sounding like this in the UK. She’s doing it on purpose. Fuck her.
Now let’s talk about the friend zone. And let me be clear here: this is something that I absolutely fell prey to when I was younger and stupider. The difference is that now that I’m grown I know better, and I’m not super keen on letting current younger men get away with the same horseshit that I did when I was a kid. Y’all need to be better, goddammit. Men need to improve, and one of the first things we need to do is to let go of this stupid fucking idea that there are any women anywhere who owe us anything. And that, ultimately, is what the so-called “friend zone” is about. It’s about feeling entitled to women and their bodies and feeling like it’s okay to just hang around being unwelcome until they, I dunno, realize that they’re actually attracted to us after all instead of the men they’re dating (men, for the record, who they are attracted to) and fall into our arms.
Nah. This is bullshit. The friend zone is bullshit. And if you’re being this asshole, stop. If you think you’re in love with someone, you tell her rather than hanging around like a fucking angry puppy, and if she says no, that’s your answer and you fuck off. You decide what level of relationship you’re able to have with that person, whoever she is, and if your Deep Feelings are just Too Serious to maintain an actual friendship, and not a fake sham of a friendship where you’re constantly looking for a fucking moment of weakness so you can get your stupid dick wet?
You fuck off. And you stay fucked off.
My coffee’s gone, by the way.
All that said, there’s some other shit going on in this song that probably needs to be addressed, and at this point I’m addressing women. Lemme copy-paste some lyrics here, in more-or-less conventional English rather than the bullshit-ass white girl’s fake urban accent she’s putting on:
You say you love me, I say you crazy We’re nothing more than friends You’re not my lover, more like a brother I known you since we were like ten, yeah
…and, see, it’s at this point where I go back to not wanting to write this, because there’s a point at which I’m punching down. If you are not already aware of this, you should be: the thing men are most afraid of in relationships is that they will be rejected by women. The thing women are most afraid of in relationships is that they will be killed by men. So I can’t act like it’s all fine and good to say things like you need to stop humoring these assholes when not humoring the assholes might result in the assholes turning violent. But can we maybe not treat relationships like this like they’re family? Because given the rest of the song, I really don’t get describing this person as “more like a brother.” The order of relationships here goes dating –> friendship –> family. Your friends are, or at least should be, more important than whoever you’re fucking at the moment. And your family, at least ideally (I am aware that families can be toxic, obviously) should be more important than your friends. This is one of the things that never made any sense to me– the “just” in “just friends.” Friends is better.
Have you got no shame? You looking insane Turning up at my door It’s two in the morning, the rain is pouring Haven’t we been here before?
Don’t mess it up, talking that shit Only gonna push me away, that’s it! Have you got no shame? You looking insane Here we go again
So don’t go look at me with that look in your eye You really ain’t going away without a fight You can’t be reasoned with, I’m done being polite I’ve told you one, two, three, four, five, six thousand times
I think it needs to be made clearer, to young women in particular, precisely the demographic that this top-40 pop song is targeted to, that this is not how friends behave. And I say that as someone who has spent a career working with adolescents and has had a couple of classes that were composed entirely of girls in that time. Songs that take behavior like this and phrase it as how friends act are not helping.
None of this shit is how friends behave. None of this shit is normal. And if someone in your life is acting this way, that is not the behavior of someone who is your friend. That is the behavior of a stalker. This person is dangerous. He is not your friend and this is not normal. And maybe the most fucked-up thing about this song is that it’s portraying legitimately crazy behavior as something that your “friends” do. And I am telling you if you don’t already know that there are far too many young women who do not know this is fucked up because we have normalized male entitlement so fucking much in this culture.
Men, boys, stop fucking being like this. And again I’m not in a position to get all high-and-mighty about how women should behave when they have a legitimate showing-up-at-two-AM crazy fucker in their lives, but hey how about we don’t write songs about how those people are our friends? Because fuck the hell out of that idea. It’s bullshit and this song is bullshit and I hate it and I don’t want to hear it any more.
Especially at four o’clock in the fucking morning when all I want to do is sleep.
In the long run of things, this probably isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s still on my mind, so fuck it, I’m talking about it. I work high-end retail, right? We all know this. So I’m working on the Fourth of July, just like a whole lot of other people. I actually get it pretty well; normally big national holidays mean everybody has to work all day (and Wednesday is usually my half day) but we’re closing at six, so my Big Holiday Work Schedule is having to work a fairly inconsequential three and a half extra hours for the week. I’m gonna survive. Frankly, my birthday is the 5th and that’s always overshadowed the Fourth for me. Call me unpatriotic if you like.
So dude calls on Wednesday to find out if whateverthefuck he ordered is in. He’s not one of my guests– and, incidentally, my tolerance for putting up with even an iota of crap from people I’m not personally making money from has been declining precipitously lately– and I look his stuff up and find out that it’s in the store. We had received a delivery that day; chances are it had just come in a few hours prior to the phone call. I offer to set up his delivery. As it turns out, the rest of this current week is full but all of next week (ie, the first week of July) is pretty much entirely open. I tell him that and point out that we do deliver on the 4th (if we’re open, we’re open) if Wednesday works for him.
There’s a pause.
“You’re delivering on the Fourth?”
“You should be shot.”
Now, there’s really not much left to this story. I told him everybody in the store was working that day but that I appreciated the murder threat. He acted like he didn’t hear me. I didn’t hang up on him or cancel his shit (although if I remembered his name, I might seriously jump in and reschedule him for, like, 2028 without telling anyone) and I sure as shit didn’t tell his entitled white Republican ass (argue with me, I dare you) to shut the fuck up and die alone and in pain like I probably ought to have. He snarled at me that he wanted the 3rd, I scheduled it, got off the phone, and then sent this email to my regional manager:
(I had, as you probably gleaned from context, just sent my RSM an email prior to getting that phone call.)
He wrote me back and told me he appreciated the laugh, apparently misreading the tone of my email, which was meant to be “this is fucked up, this guy is fucked up, I’m tired as hell of fucked up, and next time this won’t go as well,” not “here’s a funny anecdote about a routine thing that just happened to me.”
But yeah. Maybe I’m taking shit too serious. But these fuckers are getting more and more emboldened on a damn near minute-to-minute basis, and it’s just like a fucking Republican to get mad at the motherfucker who has to be at work rather than the motherfuckers who are making them come to work, and I don’t want anything to do with these entitled, violent, stupid assholes any longer.