A Sundry Assortment: Reminded.

Protesting.

While reading this op-ed on “Why do whites oppose the NFL protests?“, I’m reminded of the scene in Arrested Development where Lindsay is herded into exercising her 1st Amendment Rights in the Free Press Zone:

“To many whites, the only good black protest is no black protest.”

-Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune Op-Ed, September 26, 2017

Stay inside the box.

Remain on your feet. We don’t want to have to address systemic racism. Explicit or implicit bias. Remember when Barack Obama was elected? That was the end of racism. A bunch of OWGs said so.

Don’t upset the status quo.

Ugh.

Where did all the neo-Nazis come from?

I am reminded of Max Von Sydow’s monologue delivered as Frederick in Woody Allen’s movie “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

“It’s the wrong question.”

“The question is, why doesn’t it happen more often?”

The video starts and 0:20 and by 1:31 we have:

“If Jesus came back and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

Brilliant. And I’m reminded that the movie, Hannah and Her Sisters, is 32 years old. I am the one waking up to the gradations of, and the degradation in the society around me.

Speaking of Which, Woody Allen and #MeToo

I reminded that in the 32 years since Hannah and Her Sisters was filmed, well, Woody Allen is not all that. Woody had an affair with Soon-Yi Previn, essentially his step-daughter who is 35 years his junior, (she was the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and Andre Previn). There were Polaroids.

And he’s been accused by Dylan Farrow of sexual abuse that occurred when she was 7 years old.

Ugh, Woody. Just ugh.

Sandals. Scandals.

While speeding through some headlines recently, I saw that President Barack Obama was quoted saying, “I didn’t have sandals.”

And I wondered at what event President Obama was footwear deficient.

So I backed up, slowed down and read “I didn’t have scandals.”

I was pained at the thought he would be denied participation somewhere, probably really fun, due to lack of sandals.

And I am reminded that once not long ago, the White House was lacking in sandals scandals.

A Sundry Assortment: It’s drafty in here.

Ah so! Here I am circling up to my first year of Viva blogging and Happy Birthday! Or something-something and given the events of the last three weeks — I mean, doesn’t the SOTU address when the Prescedense Shouts Out to Us All, already seem a lifetime ago? — I am woefully behind.

My DRAFTS folder is full of shits and farts fits and starts. In remembrance celebration of a year spent on the crate of holler-into-the-void, I’m cleaning out my DRAFTS over-sharing.  Where is, as is. Enjoy! Or not.

From December 2017

I was particularly taken by the senate race between Doug Jones (D) and Roy Moore (R) in Alabama. Even though Roy Moore dropped loads of turds in his basket of deplorable behavior, the GOP backed his run. 

White Women in Alabama

Well, how’s this for news? 63% of white women who voted in Alabama voted for Roy Moore.

I feel their fear.  It’s palpable. It’s contagious.  After all, who wants to upset the status quo? “I feel more comfortable with my future in the hands of a Republican, no matter how bad he is.” Hmmm, instead of “hands of a Republican” substitute “Roy Moore”, and substitute “my daughter” or “my granddaughter”, for “my future” and the statement becomes “I feel more comfortable with my daughter in the hands of Roy Moore, no matter how bad he is.”

I fear their fear.

And they claim they fear abortion. I fear for them that the Roy Moore’s of this world make abortion for unwanted and unplanned pregnancies due to rape necessary.

But I reject their worldview. And that’s part of their fear. The fear of rejection. The fear that when all is said and done, they won’t have a horse to ride in on. And they don’t. It was not a horse. It was an ass. An old racist ass.

When did they learn to hate themselves?

Madeleine Albright: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

GOP: RIP; RIP: GOP

Roy Moore? Really? He was the best the GOP could pull from the swamp to represent Alabama in the Senate?

GOP: RIP Mitch McConnell

So Mitch McConnell sat on Merrick Garland’s confirmation as a Supreme Court Justice for 10 months. It was about a principle and not about a person.

Well, I’ll bite.  It was about a person. Barack Obama. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland. See also, Mitch McConnell is a pro-civil rights racist.

And now? The current Prescedense federal judge nominees can’t answer basic legal questions.

And I’m not opposed to a federal judge with a federal election committee background, but from the video, it looks like Matthew Spencer Petersen would be getting lots of on-the-job training.

Just like Jared and Ivanka. Oh well.

And I’m smdh.

Black women in Alabama

Oh man. All glory, laud and honor.

On Tuesday in Alabama, black women voters got out the vote and voted in their best interests for Doug Jones delivering a dose of smite² onto Roy Moore. I want to say ‘healthy dose of smite’ but the margin of victory was still within 2 percentage points.

¹ The noun becomes a verb.

² The verb becomes a noun.

Black women elsewhere

Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, Karen Bass (D-California, 37th district) continues to punch in the mouth challenge administration officials — here, the FBI Director — on the fictional historical black identity extremists identified in a report issued by a ghost at the FBI to law enforcement agencies around the country. “The harm that document is causing.” Continued praise.

Just for the record, if black women could round up Millenials and form a viable party, I could get behind that.

Paul Ryan

Since this ‘Paul Ryan’ snippet was written, Robert Mueller has indicted Russians, Russian companies, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates. This observation holds true.

Well if ever there was a reason for Robert Mueller to stop the investigation of Russia involvement in business conducted from the Oval Office election meddling it is the US Presidential order of succession chart. 

But that’s just choosing to keep the Prescedense of incompetent evil over a President practiced in evil exercised and honed. Oh well.

And given that Paul Ryan is 2nd in line, reports of his stepping down after the 2018 elections are in my opinion, wildly optimistic. If the Russian investigation removes Trump and Pence from office, Paul Ryan will be #46.  Sit with that for a moment. Breathe.

He is a big fan of the writer Ayn Rand giving everyone in his office copies of Atlas Shrugged for book discussion. But I prefer to consider Paul Ryan in light of The Fountainhead, for many reasons. Primary is that it is the only epic brick weighty tome Rand wrote that I ever read.

Consider the definition of fountainhead (noun): An original source of something. 

Howard Roark, the protagonist of The Fountainhead, is an architect with a singular vision, the source of a building blueprint so good, so perfect, that it has to be built his way or no way. He works outside educational institutions, outside of the mainstream. He is his own man loosely and accurately based on Frank Lloyd Wright.

And plot: Howard has a vision so pure, so right for the construction of an apartment building that he is unwilling to modify his design one iota. He would rather his building be blown up than built. At Fountainhead’s end, Howard Roark is sitting on the pile of rubble of his own design, his own making, that he didn’t purchase and he didn’t pay for. He’ll make rubble of it all because he can’t compromise.

And so I submit Paul Ryan for the real-life role of Howard Roark, an uncompromising architect to oversee the rubble of the US economy.

Explain to me how Medicare and Medicaid trickle down. How do roads get built? Infrastructure created and maintained? A healthy populace? Children educated? It’s a long list.

Paul Ryan, a lifelong hypocrite. Benefitted by birth with white male privilege, he wants to remove the social safety net for everyone else.

From October 2017

Different seats

When I picked the tagline “Honey, I’m a real live writer …”, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to report on the action from my bleacher seats.  Things and stuffs happen so fast. In the last week:

  • An attack on a concert crowd in Las Vegas with a weapon of mass destruction raining down from on-high killed 59, injured more than 500.
  • The Prescedense OTUS pitched paper towels to Puerto Ricans as if they need to merely wipe up a coffee spill after hurricane devastation.
  • Although early reports of his death were exaggerated maybe even greatly, Tom Petty died. In the process, social and non-social media fell all over themselves in the quest to be the first to report. There is no shame.

And the year in DRAFTS is littered with post-it notes — titles, phrases, links strung together with a nod, a tilt of the head toward an idea. Perhaps they’ll spark a complete thought eventually. Where is, as is they are unreadable.

I’ll end this clearing session with some love for OWGs.

OWG

Old White Guys.  I saw a pic of Jim Sensenbrenner and someone asked: “What can I say?” And all I could think of was “Old White Guy like these OWGs?

And this is hard.  Most, if not all of the OWGs I know, actually want to change the world for the better for people who are not OWGs. Which is sweet.

I attended a meeting of feminists on campus in the early 1980’s. I left with the feeling that in order to participate, I would need to get angry and stay angry and sever relations with 80% of my family and I actually love and even like a couple of them.  That just didn’t seem right.

So what are we left with?  How do we distinguish good OWGs from the bad?

And then this year I  discovered that the divisions between us, between US citizens struggling a more perfect union, is more complex than individual age, color, sex, etc.

I look in the mirror and whaddaya know? 53% of OWLs (Old White Ladies, yes, this is a bit pejorative) are not so sweet either.

OWLs. Profiling.

Brad Pitt: 2; Colin Kaepernick: Many

This post is not about the flag.

This post is not about the anthem which is unsingable by amateurs and professionals with limited vocal range. Also, how can this be our national anthem when it contains obscure racist references in the higher numbered verses? I digress. This post is not about the objectionable words in the anthem either.

This post is about the mechanics of fixing systemic woes.  Today I’m looking at sexism and racism.

First up sexual harassment, sexism, systemic misogyny.

We submit as our first piece of evidence, Brad Pitt.

Brad Pitt, the actor, can save the world from zombies, Nazis, and fly fish on a river like a boss. Based on cinematic evidence, he can take direction.

Brad Pitt, the man with relationships with two women — Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie — confronted Harvey Weinstein and told him to back off on his womenz or whatever.

Brad Pitt, his person, him personally, he was not victim to Harvey Weinstein’s behavior. Brad Pitt did not extend his considerable voice, talent, power or risk his livelihood to act beyond the little sphere that influenced … wait for it …

Him. Just him.¹

Brad Pitt did not extrapolate that Harvey Weinstein’s behavior — sexual harassment, assault, abuse — extended to the larger body politic of women. That it extended to all of Hollywood — producers and beyond.¹

Next up, racism.

We submit as our second piece of evidence, Colin Kaepernick.

Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49-er’s did what Brad Pitt couldn’t or wouldn’t or just plain old didn’t bother to do.

Colin Kaepernick extrapolated that a system broken for Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and the list goes on, included him and he protested.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Colin took a seat. A team mate requested that he’d rather Colin took a knee.

So Colin took a knee.

And as a result of consistently protesting systemic racism at the start of a football game, a game, Colin Kaepernick, the very good NFL QB, is currently unemployed. His is a serious protest.  He put his livelihood on the line. We could not ignore him, we could not choose to not pay attention.

This changes us all.  The conversation is opened. And we are uneasy. Some are angry that he choose to take a knee during the National Anthem. Some are angry that he is disrespecting the flag. The red, white and blue.

And I would guess that some are angry they didn’t think to do it sooner. It is an effective protest extending beyond Colin himself, a single lone individual. His protest extends to the 13.3% of Americans that are African Americans and reaches beyond his sphere of influence to all of us.

Maybe the 50.8% of Americans that are women can find a Colin Kaepernick kind of champion? Wonder Woman? Ryan Gosling? We have enough crickets.

We know it isn’t POTUS Trump.¹ He has a place setting at the Harvey Weinstein table. With Bill Cosby. Bill Clinton. That is also a long list.

It’s a very large table.


¹Inglorious Basterds

  • Quentin Tarantino:actor, director.

Since I first started this post, Quentin Tarantino has also stepped forward as knowing of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual proclivities years ago. And with this knowledge, he … wait for it … did nothing.

  • Matt Damon
  • George Clooney

These two knew HW was abusive. Given their name recognition, talents, money, white maleness, they acted. And did … nothing.

Drugs, history, and the Presidency.

Almost any day now, President Trump will declare a national opioid epidemic.

Or not.

I’d like to take a moment to reflect on Obama breaking into an amazing spontaneous cover of “Amazing Graze” at the funeral of South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney. In doing so, he called down grace on the nation reminding us to look beyond our own skin. He embiggened¹ us all. (Reminder: Pinckney was killed when the terroriam² Dylann Roof shot up the prayer service at the Emanual African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charlottesville.)

Meanwhile P.T. Rump offered solace to a grieving widow by way of an observation that the soldier, Sgt. La David T. Johnson, “must’ve known what he signed up for.” And to those horrified by Trump’s far from Presidential behavior, I would offer that unlike Sgt. Johnson, he had no idea what he signed up for. He is a displaced grifter. He didn’t know the audience watching center ring of the political circus expects results!

Aside: Gaslight, gaslight, gaslight, gaslight. Four (4) servicemen were killed in Niger on October 4 and due to the ongoing cage match between P. T. Rump and the office of the President of the US, or due to our collective lack of focus, or due to the daily deluge of <insert horror here news>, the Niger imbroglio was a passing blip in my news feed.

But back to drugs.

President Obama? Our very own Jimmy Carter on steroids.

Followed by President Trump. Our very own Ronald Reagan on meth.

And I really wish that comparison was funny.


¹Embiggen(v.)/embiggened(v.)/embiggening(n.): (a word mash-up of em-, big, and -en): The act of inflating items to be perceptibly larger. Especially useful when referring to esoteric and abstract embiggenings. (Hat Tip: Mr. Viva. Thank you.)

Em (prefix): ” ‘come into a certain state.’ Created to expand meanings. Can be used with many words to form new words.”

Big: of considerable size, extent or intensity

-En: forming verbs

Example: Sentencing terroriam² Dylann Roof to nine (9) consecutive life sentences without possibility for parole embiggens the hope in us that once in a while justice happens.

²Terroriam(s) (a pejorative adjective or noun, pronounced terror-AYE-am): a person (or persons) who uses unlawful violence and intimidation to impart extreme fear in pursuit of egotistical embiggening.²

Example: Terroriam Dylann Roof was given nine consecutive life sentences without possibility for parole.

There are all kinds of reasons Dylann Roof wasn’t called a terrorist.  The qualifier ‘in the pursuit of political aims‘ is present in the noun and adjective forms of terrorism. Even though Mr. Roof’s stated goal was a race war which to me seems political, according to legal scholars and white bullshit artists, his was a hate crime and he was not the picture of a terrorist.

However, as the definition of terror is extreme fear and Dylann Roof took a whole lot of time to inflict extreme fear, next to the definition of terroriam in the expanding Viva dictionary is a picture of Dylann Roof.

 

Sandra Bland, July 2015.

July 10, 2015, the police dashcam video of Sandra Bland’s arrest. (After an exchange with another driver, the action starts at 1:20 mark followed by several minutes of inaction. Return to exchange with police at 8:30 mark, escalates very quickly at 9:30.)

Sandra Bland. An African-American woman stopped by police for a traffic violation. Three days later, Ms. Bland was found hanging in a police holding cell.

Dead.

Death by traffic violation. Not in a traffic accident.  A traffic violation. Let that sink in.

Ms. Bland’s auto maneuvers look like my driving.  At 8:50 when Ms. Bland explained her speeding up and pulling over, I agreed.  “Yep, that’s what I’d do too.  Get out of the way of the flashing lights on the way to catch a criminal or help someone in need somewhere or maintain the peace. This is me getting out of your way!”

And then it turns out I am the pursued. I am the violator, the target of rollers. Well, I would be incredulous too. “What!? Me? Huh?” Up to that moment, the preamble of events, I could be the driver. I could be Sandra Bland.

But the story takes a dark, unexpected turn at the 9:30 mark. Escalation to resisting arrest for a failure to signal? A failure to douse her cigarette? She was not in a posted no-smoking zone. She was in her car. Her car. Her own car.

Failure to signal. Resisting arrest. Three days in a jail cell. Dead. Sandra Bland breaks me. Sandra Bland was an African-American woman.

I am white.

Dollars to donuts that by the 9:45 mark, smoking or not, I would have been signaling to pull onto the road. Driving along my little way a little more careful.  Ticketed or not.

Alive.

Racism & James Baldwin.

I’m visiting video documents of James Baldwin to further my knowledge of systemic racism – what was identified in my youth, what has not changed, what it is like to reside in a country that would rather you were somewhere or someone else.

These videos were filmed on film using film and all the chemicals for production when I was a child of a single-digit age.  Although it’s tempting to express outrage that these artifacts were unknown:buried:concealed:hidden from me, I will take this moment to reflect that the tech which allows me to reach through the webs and communicate did not exist until ARPANET grew up into internet and Bill Gates and the Cisco kids could bring it all home.

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