Author Archives: Allison Hantschel

Today’s For Rashida Tlaib

And, you know, America, but mostly her:

A.

You Guys It Is HARD Telling Boys Not to Rape

low expectations

I mean, how even are you supposed to do this job? 

Fallout from the #MeToo movement continues to be one of the most polarizing topics in our current political climate. For parents of sons, navigating complex and sensitive conversations with their boys about sexual consent, harassment and assault, and respect for women and LGBTQ people is difficult enough, especially when they’re young. And, it’s only compounded by the fear President Trump is helping to spread that young men could be unjustly accused.

Here’s an idea. Just spitballing. Just throwing this out there. A suggestion for you to pass on to your young men.

DON’T RAPE ANYONE.

I mean, it can’t be that complicated, right? Let me see if I can simplify it further.

Don’t stick your dick into anyone who has not asked for your dick to be put into them.

How much more complex —

“You don’t really know how to have [these conversations], you’re not prepared for them. I don’t think that we had them when we were growing up,” says Gemma Gaudette, a Boise-based radio host and mother to two young sons. “I think going into these tween and teen years it’s like parenting on steroids. It’s this whole new level that I have not been prepared for. I’m reading books and all of this.”

I have news for you, hon.

YOU AREN’T PREPARED FOR ANYTHING.

I know parenting culture tells us that parents, especially women, have special powers of intuition and shit and that we “just know” what to do because “mommy instinct” and other such t-shirt slogans but it’s nonsense. Nobody knows what to do about anything, so you have to ask people and you have to read books and you have to figure stuff out.

THIS IS THE JOB WE SIGNED UP FOR WHEN WE PROCREATED. If we think we can just coast through our kids’ teenage years maybe we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a kid and how much help you need at the precise moment you’re least equipped to ask for or receive it.

Yeah, it sucks. Land hard, roll left, teach your sons and your daughters to respect men and women.

“I think it’s a really complicated time to be raising boys, because as a feminist I don’t want to be there saying, ‘Oh, boys are the real victims here, and feminism has gone too far.’ … But I think there are some pressures and difficulties, which are very specific to boys in this moment, and they are part of the conversation of feminism and gender roles,” she says.

I hate the framing of “raising boys is different now because you can’t just let them rape anymore.” I think of all the good older men I know, starting with the World’s Best Human, my late grandpa, who grew up in an era when you could smack women on the ass in the workplace and call them sweetie and they had no recourse whatsoever.

Grandpa, far as I ever knew, never once encroached on the autonomy of a single human soul. The idea of backing a girl into a corner and telling her she’d lose her job if she didn’t kiss him would have horrified him, as it would have horrified many people his age who I have been privileged to know. They didn’t have the benefit of #MeToo or parenting books or the idea of enthusiastic consent or numerous sexual harassment seminars.

They just weren’t RAPISTS.

They didn’t get their jollies from making women feel shitty and small. They weren’t bullies or the bullies’ best friends, and they didn’t make hobby out of talking about girls like they were dogs.

Making it seem like it’s all circumstantial — the time we lived in caused all the raping! — or the fault of their mothers not having enough conversations with them about sex — let’s blame yet another woman for men’s actions, why don’t we — not only lets the shitty men off the hook, it erases the good ones whose role modeling we really, really need right now.

It can feel like a difficult balancing act to try to empower girls to continue to fight against systemic discrimination on the basis of sex, while simultaneously trying to give boys proper attention to their specific needs.

Do they … need to rape anyone? What specific needs are we talking about here?

Making this whole thing into a story about how mommies are scared their baby boys will accidentally sexually assault someone is the most ridiculous angle I can imagine for a #MeToo piece. Think of the highest-profile #MeToo cases. They are … not situations where a well-meaning young fellow is caught unawares in circumstances not of his making. Bill Cosby drugged and raped women. Harvey Weinstein coerced and raped women. Matt Lauer HAD A BUTTON THAT LOCKED HIS DOOR SO HE COULD HARASS WOMEN. Brett Kavanaugh and his asshole friends gang-raped a woman while she was unconscious. Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, Louis CK, none of them, like, tripped and accidentally touched someone’s boob.

I don’t get what’s hard to talk to your sons about.

A.

Above Ideology

Douthat always flaps his mouth-butt when it’s my goddamn turn to blog: 

In the Democratic coalition more than the Republican one, meritocracy and technocracy have long been unifying forces. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama represented somewhat different party factions, but they both embodied wonkery, a vision of competence and expertise governing to some extent above ideology, in which there are assumed to be “correct answers” to policy dilemmas that a disinterested observer could acknowledge and the right technocrat achieve.

Well, when one judges a solution “correct” on the basis of “how many Americans will this solution keep alive,” then yes, Clinton and Obama were “above ideology.” Sure. You fuckwit.

Like what do these people, who are PROFESSIONAL KNOWERS OF POLITICS, think politics IS? What do they think ideology is FOR? I hate more than almost anything else about our current sitch the idea that things can be discounted if they’re “ideological” or “partisan.” Like the whole reason for an ideology is to advocate for the stuff you want done, and you do in fact have ways to evaluate the correctness of that stuff.

I know Pope Douthat, Joseph Ratzinger’s number-one fan, is all about there actually being a right and a wrong, but that doesn’t mean ideology automatically gets in the way of that. Most of the time it helps.

But Sanders is different; he has policy plans, too, but he’s fundamentally a moralist arguing for a politics of righteous struggle, in a way that separates him from Warren as well as from Buttigieg or Bloomberg.

Um, I think part of Bernie’s whole THING is that he has policies he think will bring about his worldview. That he is good at articulating a coherent and moral vision for the future doesn’t mean he has no way to make it happen. What the shit is this. I’m hardly a Bernie fangirl, he’s like my 3rd or 4th choice, but Ross here is calling him a poet as an insult and that’s not all right.

And just as Donald Trump benefited in 2016 — and figures like Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush suffered — from a sense that the G.O.P.’s libertarian and neoconservative intelligentsia bore some responsibility for the double disasters of Iraq and the financial crisis, Sanders benefits from a widespread left-wing disappointment with what the Obama-era politics of expertise produced.

Let’s deal with this in order:

  1. Donald Trump benefited from a four-decade project to nurture racism and white resentment, along with a 24-hour propaganda network devoted to treating him like the second coming.
  2. THEY ACTUALLY WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT SHIT, THERE WAS NO “SENSE” THAT THEY BORE “SOME” RESPONSIBILITY. THEY DID ALL THOSE THINGS ON PURPOSE, AND THE DUMB RACISTS CHEERED THEM, AND NOW THEY’RE CHEERING TRUMP. I’M SORRY I’M YELLING BUT YOU TELL ME, WITH THIS. JESUS SHIT.

Donald Trump did not win because people didn’t want a technocrat no more. He won because white people went insane as a result of having to listen to a black man try to give them most of what they wanted for eight really short years.

So if the exhaustion with technocracy makes a socialist a viable nominee, that exhaustion plus a solid economy explains why the socialist may yet fall to an even more archaic breed — a party politician.

Why is that bad? Why … are we just supposed to accept that as bad? Why is “partisan” not a set of solutions (that may or may not be, gasp, correct) but some kind of disqualification? Why are politicians only rewarded for not being part of the party they’re a part of? I do not GET this.

I mean, it’s Ross, so it’s always possible he’s just an idiot. There’s always that option out there.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: YOU DID IT!

I gave you a week and you did it in almost a day: 

Every year they do a MASSIVE toy drive for the little kids so they can have some holiday presents and they’re well-supplied, but need $500 for gift cards for the 50 or so older kids. Think about how in high school your buds want to go out for a burger, or over to the Starbucks to study, and you don’t have any money to buy anything. Wouldn’t you like to be able to give some kid the ability to feel normal for Christmas?

You raised $500 for the St. Hyacinth Food Pantry. I’m handing over the cash this week and they’ll give out the gift cards during their annual gift-giving event. Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving the families who really need one a very merry Christmas!

foodpantrygiftcards

A.

Giving Tuesday, Get On It

I know all y’all’s favorite nonprofits are all over you today because it’s Giving Tuesday but I wanted to find out if we, The Blog, could get together and raise some funds for the St. Hyacinth Food Pantry this year.

Remember the pantry? It’s the one we started boosting back in 2016 to help out the folks most likely to be hurt by what we’re all now just calling The Way Things Are Nowadays.

Every year they do a MASSIVE toy drive for the little kids so they can have some holiday presents and they’re well-supplied, but need $500 for gift cards for the 50 or so older kids. Think about how in high school your buds want to go out for a burger, or over to the Starbucks to study, and you don’t have any money to buy anything. Wouldn’t you like to be able to give some kid the ability to feel normal for Christmas?

The pantry, run by my uncle and aunt, runs on a shoestring and this year has been serving a large community of refugees, so they could really use this boost to give everybody a happy holiday.

Can we get this done by Friday? HIT UP THE FD PAYPAL LINK HERE AND LET’S FIX SOMETHING WE CAN FIX. 

A.

It’s A Mystery

This is a lot of words about why “we” don’t believe in science anymore just to NOT say “Republicans:” 

We are abandoning our last greatest hope and assuming enormous risk when our policy makers stand at odds with science without any rational foundation for their dissent. The U.S. has long led the world in scientific discovery and putting science into practice to advance human health, energy, agriculture and food safety. Yet, now, amidst impending crisis, are we to deny our own strength and step back from leadership?

I mean …

I can’t imagine why one political party in one country has a stranglehold on all discourse, not to mention funding, for various kinds of science including climate science. Our “policy makers” do not stand at odds with science. Our REPUBLICAN policy makers do, but articles like this perpetuate the fiction that ALL government is the problem, instead of saying outright that right-wing government is the problem.

And it’s frustrating because that maintains the terrible state of things, that cynical LOL EVERYTYHING’S RUINED thing we think is so savvy and cute. If we don’t name the problem, if we don’t say outright that what we need to do is elect NON-REPUBLICANS, we will continue to stand around staring at each other and wondering why there are no more polar bears or whatever.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

The Packers exist:

I love this team of large adult sons so very much.

A.

Don’t Fucking Do This to Young People

Billie Eilish, who seems fine, I dunno, and is A Young, gets made into Boomer/Xer/Millennial clickbait by not knowing stupid shit nobody’s obligated to know: 

On Thursday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, avant-pop sensation Billie Eilish proved to the audience that she is the youngest person on earth. During an informal quiz on ‘80s pop culture references, Eilish revealed that she did not know what a Cabbage Patch Kid is. Scandal!

“Like a Sour Patch Kid?” she asked. Yes! Well, more like a Garbage Pail Kid, technically, but a Garbage Pail Kid was like a Cabbage Patch Kid. It’s a rather intricate lineage, you see.

This is such crap. Why does she have to know about toys from the 80s? I hate this. She’s a young woman, she’s supposed to be a young woman, that’s all she’s supposed to be. She’s not on your show, Kimmel, for you to humiliate her, and make her into this shareable thing so that people MY OWN GODDAMN AGE can be like “why doesn’t a tiny baby know this thing that I know that doesn’t actually mean anything.” Like what would it prove if she knew all your bullshit references?

Why does she need to know a gremlin? Is it important for her job? Why don’t you ask her what’s important to her, Kimmel, or are you too busy remembering that when you were her age you were asking girls to jump on trampolines for your amusement?

I know Kimmel is GOOD NOW, because he talked about the time his family needed healthcare, but that’s the point. Even people who we think of as “good” manage to be horrible about this kind of thing and act like they have to be because that’s just what happens when you age. It’s not. Getting old is inevitable if you’re lucky; becoming a tool is a choice.

Like the only reason we think cultural signifiers like ’80s movies and Seinfeld lines are important is that they were important to us. Young people are not obligated to live our lives. They have their own, and by the way, Olds, we’re the ones out here going WHERE IS OLD TOWN ROAD like we don’t have an internet to look stuff up on. I just hate dragging kids into the cage and putting them through stupid gotcha-tests so that your aunt Connie can share it 25 times on Facebook with the caption I’M SO OLD. Yeah, you are. How is that Billie Eilish’s problem?

Can we not turn into our parents? If you want your kids to experience Ghostbusters then show them Ghostbusters, don’t drag the rotting corpse of your own coolness behind you like Bob Marley’s chains by bemoaning that your children don’t know the Ghostbusters by magic. Share your version of the good shit joyously, not with this resentful attitude of I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE TO TELL YOU WHO BATMAN IS or whatever.

And by the by, it wouldn’t murder half the people who moan at this sort of thing to listen to one new band every year or so. Jesus.

A.

‘Twas Ever Thus

What Doc once dubbed Fuck You Nation continues apace:

I love everyone on Blue Ivy’s internet Zaprudering every single move Trump makes like it’s complicated. It’s not complicated. What would your racist uncle who has a Hillary nutcracker and is still mad at Jane Fonda do? That’s what Trump is doing. He’s a human e-mail forward.

Like the lib-owning thing is a joke now but that’s all that they have been for a while. A Trumper said to me once, when this kind of thing came up, that “they cut our people’s heads off so we need to teach them a lesson.” You can’t even argue with that, why … what lesson … how does it … look, even if you agree with that tell me how that lesson will be disseminated, like are you gonna send a reply-all to ISIS with the curriculum? How do you think messaging works in, like, rural Afghanistan or wherever? What is the OUTCOME here?

It only makes sense through the lens of Barcalounging chickenhawks with “tactical” grill covers whose only real combat experience is playing Call of Duty when they should be helping their kids with their homework. OTHER SERVICEMEN have said this guy is bad news, like this isn’t a liberal pussy like me saying this while I hug a tree, OTHER NAVY SEALS were like nah, bro, and yet here we are.

Who are we sucking up to with this Gallagher move? Well, it’s the comments section of the Donald subreddit, otherwise known as the comments section of every early conservative blog from 2003 onward. This is the environment that nurtured them, supported them, funded them very well and promoted their op-eds and books when one of them showed more talent than the average potato. Erickson came from this. Ben Shapiro came from this. Half the goddamn Tea Party House Reps came from this, those of the creatures that didn’t spring full-formed from the head of the Kochs. Jesus tits, they haven’t even changed that much. Michelle Malkin is the same asshole she’s always been.

People think Gamergate was the harbinger of this. It wasn’t, god Almighty, it started so much earlier than that. It was Jill Carroll, Graeme Frost, a thousand thousand others that the conservative warbloggers chewed up and spit out for no reason other than that their existence shamed the venal and incompetent. It was Pam Geller screaming that there was going to be a mosque at Ground Zero and everyone dutifully parroting her lines even as they pretended to “debunk” them, as if fact-checking was ever the point there.

So what is the point? The point is that arguing with them is pointless. Just stop thinking you’re gonna convince them Gallagher is really a war criminal, because they’re already on to the next thing, which is likely that some atheist somewhere wants a Festivus pole by the Nativity Scene or whatever. You will never convince them of anything nor NOT piss them off, so just stop it.

Vote, canvass, donate, write, fight, but mostly just ignore the ins and outs of the latest freakout your least favorite cousins are having on social media because if this is where their attention is, they’re already gone and you knew that for sure. Just change the subject.

A.

At Your Expense

Everybody had a good time clowning on this, and on this asshole, who says things like this: 

We successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is the most powerful rocket in the world by a factor of two. So that’s twice the power, twice the thrust of the next biggest rocket. And we actually launched a Tesla — my Tesla Roadster — to Mars orbit. The reason we did that is actually because, normally, when a new rocket is launched, you just put a dummy payload, which is like a block of concrete or something.

Right. Not creative in any way.

Super-boring. So we were like, okay, what is the least boring thing we can launch?

And really the problem isn’t whether Tesla is a shitty automobile or not, the problem is that civic leaders give people like Musk their time and money when, like, those are both needed elsewhere.

I take a train into the job every morning. I pick it up at a station where the staircase is crumbling and there is no elevator (so good luck if you’re using a wheelchair). There’s a small, way-too-narrow escalator that is broken and has a sign on it that says it will be broken until APRIL.

Hundreds of people use this station each day to get to work or school or friends’ houses or whatever.  It’s very much too small for the volume of folks trying to get through it, it smells weird, and again, good luck if you have any limitations on your mobility at all.

Could we maybe throw a few billion at fixing that before we dig another goddamn tunnel through the city for rich people to get to the airport? 

Look, Elon can do whatever he wants with his money, as can every other rich asshole on the planet, but we are not obligated to indulge it when we should be fixing the escalators, making the staircases wider and easier to climb, figuring out where the smell is coming from, you know, boring public improvement shit.

I know that doesn’t sound as visionary and sexy as launching, like, a car into space or yelling CYBERTRUCK a lot, but imagine if that was the thrust of our major efforts and not indulging a man-baby in his weird dreams.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

 

The Mandalorian exists and is good:

We’re only three eps in and so there’s still a lot of clunky “this is the character that I am, allow me to say aloud my most defining traits so that you may see them” dialogue, but it’s very Original Three Star Wars in that everything looks broken and messed up. Everything in Star Trek always looked like a theater company worked really hard to paint it nice; Star Wars was like three stoners realized they had a diorama due the next day and glued an answering machine to a toaster. This, despite all kinds of Disney money, is very … that.

Also I’m pretty sure it’s just The Professional with spaceships, which I’m always here for.

A.

From Elsewhere

About those shithole countries: 

… Ali signed up as an interpreter for the Americans, whose official rhetoric claimed they were promoting classical liberal values in Iraq, establishing a vision realized on their own shores but belonging to all mankind — democracy, freedom and equality. At least that was the theory. And in theory, we could “go forward with complete confidence,” as President George W. Bush proclaimed, “because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.” In theory, that longing would lead Iraqis to greet American troops as liberators and make the shouted words “We’re Americans!” capable of calming a firefight in a hostile neighborhood.

In practice, and in American history, more has been required. America may be “a nation of immigrants,” where people of different nations and faiths forge a common identity. But that common identity has relied on far more than the notion of all people hungering for freedom in dark places. For citizens to labor and sacrifice on a nation’s behalf, they must feel what Edward Wilmot Blyden called “the poetry of politics,” that sense of inclusion in a broader community with its own distinctive character and historical consciousness.

The aspirations still exist:

I’m a pessimist; I’m sometimes surprised but rarely disappointed that way, and I deeply understand the instinct to say fuck it and eat chips and watch TV. Who doesn’t want to watch TV? Go live in the woods, where no one will bother you. Drop out, tune out, never talk about anything that matters ever again. Just nope out of our entire endealment, especially now, when it’s getting dark, and obligations start pressing in. Why can’t we just avoid everything, forever?

Well, because we fucking can’t, because there are people counting on us. This time of year I re-read Trinity: the rising will start when one man alone has had enough. I re-read Winter’s Tale: every time the world is being destroyed it’s beginning again and they had no intention of being left out. How dare you be tired, if you’re warm and safe and comfortable, for longer than a night? Rest by the fire, put your coat back on, and keep fighting.

I started posting those “not everything sucks” posts not to just show you cute animals or feel-good stories but to say: People are good and brave, and we fail the good and brave with our glib nihilism and fashion-show exhaustion.

How dare we say nothing has changed since Sandy Hook when scores of volunteers are out at every corner every night signing people up to vote for gun safety laws at every level including the federal?

How dare we snicker “lol low Q rating” at career civil servants testifying to the president’s crimes in the face of death threats to themselves and their families?

How dare we shrug “whatevs” at the people our national myths seduced, as if they’re the ones to blame for believing what we told them? As if they’re the suckers, and we don’t need to think about what that makes us.

How dare we tell anyone who’s angry about any of this to take it easy in the name of some false civility, as if pacifying someone’s book club meeting is the ultimate goal? How dare we make these things abstractions, when they’re flesh and blood and in front of us every day?

If our national myths rely on aspirations of others then we have a goddamn obligation to make sure this place isn’t worse than the places others come from. We have a country people want to belong to and if there’s one thing about the past 3 years I will never understand it’s making that into a bad thing and telling people it’s a lie.

It’s so much harder to kill hope than it is to make yourself worthy of it. Look at that, up there. Look at everything they knew, everything we’ve done, and still they looked to us. It’s harder to destroy that idea than it is to make it real.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: PEEEG Edition

No, not Peppa, fuck that pink bitch. I’m talking about LILOU: 

The five-year-old Juliana pig and her owner, Tatyana Danilova, are part of San Francisco International Airport’s “Wag Brigade” – a program that brings therapy animals to the airport to cheer passengers up and help ease travel anxieties.

Dressed in a pilot’s cap and with toenails painted bright red, LiLou breezes through the metal detector at airport security and trots to the departure gates. She raises a hoof in greeting, poses for selfies and entertains departing passengers with a tune on her toy piano.

“People are very happy to get distracted from the travel, from their routines, whether they’re flying on their journey for vacation or work,” said Danilova. “Everybody is usually very happy and it makes them pause for a second and smile and be like, ‘oh, it’s great.’”

When she’s not delighting passengers at the airport, LiLou lives with Danilova in her downtown San Francisco apartment, where she enjoys a diet of organic vegetables and protein pellets, sleeps in her own bed and goes for daily walks around the neighborhood.

I am for all animals in airports. Bring on the therapy ferrets.

A.

The Impeachment Hearings Aren’t Going to Save Us

By “us” I mean the “us” Meet the Press envisions, not “us” as in the Republic: 

NBC News has been mocked on social media after complaining that the first public impeachment hearings were lacking in “pizzazz,” causing the word to trend on Twitter.

The network tweeted a story overnight complaining that the testimonies of State Department official George Kent and the U.S. Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor “lacked the pizzazz necessary to capture public attention.”

Its analysis article on the hearings linked in the post also said the depositions were not “dramatic” and described the manner of the witnesses as “reserved.”

A lot of deserved shit was given to this NBC piece, but I think it’s worth examining where it comes from, which is the same place all those pleading “NOW do Trump supporters still support him?” pieces come from, which is the same place Mitch McConnell comes from.

Which is to say, racist-ass crackers who cannot be saved, and I write this as a white lady who lives in a good school district.

One in four Americans have always been terrible morons and are always gonna be terrible morons, and we have GOT to surrender the fantasy that this will one day not be the case. Just stop arguing with them. Jesus Christ, I watch people fight on Facebook with these boobs and I can’t understand it. Stop acting like you’re gonna zing ’em and they’re gonna come around to your point of view and Trump’s poll numbers will tank. The poll-answerers are all six eps deep into a 36-hour Law and Order marathon and not one of them gives a shit about Trump’s crimes.

They’re not gonna care how much “pizzazz” the hearings have. They’re not gonna care if Donald Trump takes the stand and yells that he ordered the code red. They’re gonna be able to spin it as long as they can spin it in their heads so that over the Thanksgiving turkey they can still tell their liberal daughter-in-law that she’s a stupid bitch. That’s all they care about and nothing’s going to change it.

And once upon a time the Royal News We didn’t hang on these people’s every word or even really care that they existed anymore, but now that we’ve added comments to news stories they’re somehow an audience we cannot lose.

So what is there to do, good sirs and madams of the press corps, who consider themselves influential over the tastes and topics of the modern person? Change the fucking subject. Decide you’re gonna do your job as a grownup and let your viewers and readers howl all they want.

You know, the way you do when you run a profile of a well-groomed Nazi or a retrospective of American unity after 9/11. The way you do when one of your columnists calls somebody a bedbug.

If you won’t, well too bad, so sad, I guess we’re gonna have to have the hearings anyway, despite your assessment of the optics of it all. But I’d like us to surrender the fantasy that at some point everyone will turn on Trump and it will become socially acceptable to ask for his resignation. Resistance will never not require courage, guys. Hate to break it to you.

Thirty percent of this godforsaken place would happily see us all burn if it meant they got to say the N-word again and until you reckon with that you’ll keep after this forlorn hope and blame the optics instead of the racists.

A.

Killing the Conversation

It’s quoting myself which is lazy but:

This gets to the heart of what annoys me about centrism, civility fetishism, and the deploring of partisanship. It’s a way to shut someone up without having to own that you want them to shut up.

I want lots of people to shut up. I want just for one goddamn day for Donald Fucking Trump to shut his festering assmouth so we can have, like, Christmas or Thanksgiving or something without him being like “Merry Holocaust Remembrance Day! I love The Jews!” and then spell something wrong so there are three days of terrible jokes.

I would like anyone sincerely arguing that the spiritual descendants of Nixon bagmen need to be given large auditoriums on major college  campuses in the name of free speech but trans people shouldn’t be allowed to have driver’s licenses with their identities on them, I would like anyone like that to shut up, too.

If you’re out on the street corner screaming at and spitting on teachers on strike, add yourself to the shut-up list.

I want those people to shut up and I have no problem telling them that.

So if you want me to stop saying things like, “we should not cage immigrant children” or “it’s really not that big of a deal to say Happy Holidays” or “possibly after you commit war crimes you should not appear in public,” then you should tell me that.

But don’t say “be civil.” Don’t say “listen to the other side.” Don’t say “let’s not make this political.”

Just say shut up. That’s what you mean.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

This guy’s still catching lobster: 

John shows me the lobster fisherman’s license he received at age 16. Dated July 1, 1938, the creased and torn document is a remnant from the Depression, when lobsters sold for 15 cents a pound. After high school, he bought a brand-new boat, paying for it the Maine way: “I went into the woods and cut 100 cords of pulpwood with a bucksaw and ax,” John remembers. “There weren’t no chainsaws.”

Via Virgotex.

A.

Just be rich and shut UP, Jesus Christ

This is really not that difficult: 

In the interview conducted Friday, Dimon says his critics shouldn’t be vilifying people who work hard to accomplish things. “You know, most people are good, not all of them. You should vilify Nazis, but you shouldn’t vilify people who worked hard to accomplish things. And so my comment is, American society – we’re just attacking each other all the time.”

No one is vilifying you for being rich.

They are vilifying you for being rich and supporting policies that harm the poor and for bitching all the time about how hard you have it.

You can be rich.

Just go be rich.

I swear to God I don’t get these people. Just shut UP, for fuck’s sake. Go to Barbados. Go sit on the beach and drink $5,000 cocktails for all I care. Just close your fucking platinum-plated GOBS. If I had Jamie Dimon/Jeff Bezos/Michael Bloomberg money you would never HEAR from me again.

“What happened to her?”

“A long-lost relative left her a billion dollars so she bought Ireland. We’re spending Christmas there, you should come. You can have your own room in the castle.”

Alternatively, I would put it all in the bank and just pay for stuff as I heard it needed paying for. Local school needs a playground? Anonymous donation, done. Neighbors a little short on the mortgage? Whoops, it’s paid off. Who did it? No idea. Suddenly the city center’s been replaced by a ferret park and somebody paid John Kerry to give sixteen speeches to an elementary school four blocks from my house, well, that one might give me away but do you see how much fun this could be? Why aren’t these people having any fun?

I would fuck off to Europe for two years and eat everything. I would make sure every new baby born at the local hospitals went home with a $300 Target gift card and a bottle of whiskey for its parents. There are two or three places that would wind up mysteriously purchased at fair market value and razed to the ground, sure, I’m not some kind of angel here. The W. Bush presidential library would develop incurable bedbugs.

My point is that you have enough cash to do whatever you want. WHY AREN’T YOU DOING THAT? Why are you spending your time complaining?

I get that maybe you’re responding to questions from reporters but when they ask you things like, “what do you think about how people who have lots of money are oppressed in this country” you can just, like, laugh and change the subject.

If you don’t like what they’re saying about you on TV, turn the TV off. You can afford that. Hire an assistant to interact with the world on your behalf and tell you only the good things. Hire another one to tell that one what to do and you’ll never have to hear any of it. You can be sheltered completely, and you are choosing not to do that, and as a person who only has human conversation when it absolutely cannot be avoided I will never understand not using your privilege to get out of talking to people.

If you are a megarich person reading this, and you have a horse barn and a swimming pool and a couple of houses and nice cars and you have a helicopter, and you’re just, you know, reliably voting Democratic and paying your taxes in a way approaching fair, as far as I’m concerned you can go dive into your giant pile of cash like Scrooge McDuck because you’ve made it possible for me to not know you exist. Good on you. Teach your children to do likewise.

(If you are a megarich person reading this and you want to buy a website full of cat pics and cock jokes, please do avail yourself of the e-mail up there, we are not for sale exactly but I’m not too proud to rent.)

But if you’re out here in the public sphere running a propaganda channel or a fraud-bank or a megacorp paying its workers 6 cents an hour, if you’re complaining about the amount your businesses pay into the public piggy bank and asking everyone to love you and venerate you and elect you president, we’re going to have a conversation about your priorities.

Imagine having all that money and power and using it to whine.

A.

Name. The. Problem.

No, not racism. For once. Well, kind of racism. Gimme a sec here, Pete. 

Do you wanna know something about partisanship? Partisanship is good. Partisanship is the whole reason we have a democracy. I have no interest in finding common ground with fucking Trump voters or with other assorted white supremacists. I have no interest in making sure those groups don’t feel demonized. I have no interest in making them feel COMFORTABLE when they have made so many Americans, and the world beyond, feel the precise opposite. I’m allowed to be angry at the state of things and I’m sure as hell allowed to loudly call out those responsible for it. I want to vehemently oppose those people, and guess what? I live in a country where I’m free to do that. I don’t like being told I’m out of line for doing so. So you’ll excuse me if I’m not exactly inspired by some South Bend pud who has no stomach for that fight, and doesn’t want me to have it either.

The usual caveats apply here: Pete is not remotely a problem in the way literally any Republican is, and would in fact probably be fine as president, and if he is our nominee I will enthusiastically vote and campaign for him because I’m not a fucking child.

But we are not having problems in this country because we are too partisan. We are not too divided. We do not hate each other too much. This isn’t about our feelings. This is about how we just got laid off and our parents got deported and our health insurance costs $5,000 a month to pay for nothing if we get hit by a bus and we can’t afford to work if we have kids and we can’t afford not to work if we have kids and when are you going to have kids already, you’re not getting any younger, and if you live in the country you’re a dumb hick and if you live in the city you’re a commie and oh, by the way, your street hasn’t been repaired since 1989 because we can’t afford it, vote to cut taxes again please.

Those problems are not “partisanship.” They’re not “division.”

We’ve been told so many times that our society is polarized because polarization just happened, probably because of our phones and social media, as if Facebook magically makes you mean and racist as opposed to exposing you to what your nice Aunt Jean-Marie really thinks. We hear this so many times from so many people we actually think it’s true.

It’s not true.

We’re “more polarized” because for once a whole hell of a lot more of us are being heard and the things we’re hearing about from our fellow Americans fucking suck and we’re feeling the urge to do something about it and the people in charge cannot have that.

So we hear about how bad it is to hear from so many people, about so many things they care about.

We hear that we’re so divided now. But we’ve always been divided and the problems we are having are not because of that that division. They’re because we’re being told any solution to the problem is beyond us and so all that’s left is to get madder and madder. When you let people tell you what’s wrong — and that’s over, cats and kittens, you can’t stop the signal — and then tell them to just, like, sit with that? Because we just, I dunno, can’t, or whatever, you wind up with the kind of rage that we’re seeing now.

And that rage frightens people. I get it, I’m a middle class white chick, I am likely first up against the wall, but my fear isn’t, you know, a thing I get to project on everybody else by telling them to sit down and shut up.

So the next time someone tells you the problem is we’re just too divided, ask them to articulate what that means, what that really means. And if they bring up some cable news asshole or Trump or someone speaking Spanish in the store, or sputter that this is just something everybody knows, then you’ll know you aren’t actually dealing with any kind of problem, and you don’t need to worry about their concerns.

Push on. We’ve got real things to do here. We have a limited amount of time on this planet and spending it worried that the cable news audience is upset is not, shall we say, a good use.

A.

Tuesday Catblogging: New Toys

Thing One and Thing Two here have been INCREDIBLY obnoxious the past couple of weeks due to having exhausted the fun possibilities of their scratchers and toys, so we got them some new ones to keep them OFF THE GODDAMN TABLE SLADE:

newtoys

A.

Carefully Taught

I’ve written before about how Kick, despite the usual amount of conversations about stranger danger and whatnot, will go up to just absolutely anyone and talk to them about anything.

So when I tell you this story, and you’re tempted to think it’s absolute bullshit, remind yourself this is a child who once showed a man tripping absolute balls her entire collection of plastic dinosaurs.

The other day we’re on the train, coming home from the city, and the car’s almost full so we have to stand. She’s noshing on various snacks from her backpack when a guy gets on and starts a sales pitch.

He’s homeless, he’s hungry. He just wants something to eat. Can any of us spare anything?

You know and I know that when he says “anything” he means money. This is his business, but I have no cash on me, which I tell him, apologetically.

Kick pulls a plastic bag of half-smashed Ritz crackers out of her kittycat bag and, I swear to you on my grandmother’s life, unprompted by me, walks up and hands them to him.

What does it teach her, if I hug her afterward and tell her I was very proud of her for being kind?

What does it teach her, if I snatch her back by her ponytail and tell her not to give her things away to filthy street people?

Here’s the thing with children, the humbling terrifying thing: They believe anything you tell them. Literally anything. I once told Kick her grandfather was 114 years old and she thought it was true for a month. Anything that comes out of a grown-up’s mouth is facts, so here are the facts some children learned recently: 

Even though people are working with the administration that was actively putting children in cages and separating families, asking their own children to contribute to a paper wall was a bridge too far. “Horrified. We were horrified,” an anonymous attendee told Yahoo News. The outlet also has photos. The photos are gross in how benign they make the wall out to be.

In the photos, you can see the construction paper wall is made of bricks. Each brick has a name of a child on the red paper. There’s also an orange sign next to the wall, reading “AMERICA FIRST,” which is a known KKK credo, and a yellow construction sign with JOBS repeating over and over. Down the hallway from the makeshift wall was another display called “Trump’s Crew.” Underneath the sign, there was construction equipment.

Oh, I know, I know, this is indistinguishable from Michelle Obama teaching children to garden so they can grow their own vegetables because that’s the same type of nefarious propagandizing. This is just like Amy Carter rollerskating in the East Room, I mean, both sides.

Jesus Christ. Bad enough these kids are growing up around President Puss-Grab, a man who has been credibly accused of violent rape. Now they have to put their own tiny hands to the wheel of misery. Hopefully they won’t remember it and their families won’t whip out the photos every time they come home for Christmas and funerals. Hopefully it won’t stick.

It’s just so sad because: Kids want to be kind. They want to be good. They want to do right. It’s painful sometimes how much they want to do right, like you are six, babies, please don’t worry so much about scoring above satisfactory on the tests, you know? They’re tiny little balls of need and so here’s what you give them? A wall to build? That’s what you have to teach them?

I’m sure in their parents’ minds what they were teaching is that there are “bad people” in the world, and the wall is to keep them out. And that’s … a lesson, I guess, that you could spend your time on. You could spend all your time emphasizing the violence and danger of the world, and your kids will believe it because they want to be good and they want to listen to you. I think about that kind of power all the time. I think about how we use it.

A.