Has the number of white people losing their shit in public over trivial and sometimes imaginary violations of either their “rights” or the sort of behavior they expect from other people actually skyrocketed in the last six months, or is it just that, much like police brutality, it’s always been there and the difference is now as soon as someone starts showing their ass in public six people whip out cameras?
I’m not even necessarily talking about covid-related stuff. I’ve seen so many videos over the last couple of week of people just purple-faced and incoherent with rage over absolutely nothing that it’s genuinely shocking, and it’s not like I’m going to look for this kind of stuff. And there have been a number where it’s clearly crossed a line from misplaced rage and landed straight on mental illness. I mean, sure, sometimes it’s funny to watch somebody lose their damn mind at a cashier who clearly doesn’t give a shit because their burger had too many pickles on it or whatever but I’m starting to see a subgenre where by the time they’re done they’re not funny anymore and I just want someone to put the poor person in a place where they can get help.
We have reached a major milestone in adulting: my wife and I are about to become Garage Refrigerator people, because I need a place to store my many beverages, and our current House Refrigerator is being cruelly used for food. In theory, our new Garage Refrigerator is being delivered today (“between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM”) but there has been sketch all over this process from the beginning, and I have placed a bet with my wife for the princely sum of $1 USD that at 8:00 PM tonight we will not only not be Garage Refrigerator people but we will not have received any phone calls or other forms of contact about why we received no delivery or where our Garage Refrigerator actually is.
Funny thing is, when that happens, I’m not even gonna be mad about it. I’m so convinced it’s gonna go sideways that it’s not even a big deal.
Unfortunately, it does mean that I’ve spent the day in Receiving a Delivery and Using Extraneous Capital Letters mode, which means that I’ve so far not been able to complete a single other damn thing that I had planned to do today. I have a video to finish putting together that is probably at least a couple of hours’ work (and for which I’m waiting on a lot of other people to send me stuff who are clearly also procrastinating,) I have some editing to do for a former student’s fiction project, I have more PD to do (maybe) and I can probably go ahead and get started on final grading and attendance for the semester, since the kids are supposed to have everything done today. That is mostly a tomorrow project, but I can get started. I also have a fiction project that I got a bit of work done on yesterday that I would like to make more progress on today.
But hey! I’m blogging. That’s something, right?
I can see my driveway from my office, if I turn my chair around a bit, and I’m doing that every couple of minutes, for no good reason. Again, I’m not mad– and there are still several hours during which technically the refrigerator can be delivered, so it’s not like it’s late yet– I just wish I was less dumb, because my brain has clearly decided that since I spent a chunk of time this morning cleaning and organizing the garage in preparation for the Refrigerator that nothing else can be completed until that task is definitively crossed off my list. That’s my fault, not the delivery people.
I will, of course, post a picture once my new toy has arrived. You should hold your breath.
2:26 PM, Wednesday May 27: 1,685,149 confirmed cases and 99,674 Americans dead.
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.