Author Archives: Allison Hantschel

We’re Gonna Get a Really Bitchin’ Book Out of This

Just STOP:

God, political journalism is so stupid right now. Between grownass people yelling SCOOOOOOOOOP at the beginning of all their tweets like goddamn children, like anyone cares, like if it’s really that big a revelation it’ll speak for itself, and now this nonsense courtesy of HBO and its wee Hannibal Lecters who think their role is to describe the foam in which they deliberately flip, it’s no wonder people are mad and scared and susceptible to ridiculousness on the internet.

Ten minutes of morning news and you understand in a visceral way why people vote Republican, much less this crap. What are you telling us that’s NEW, beyond “president opens mouth hole, vomits nonsense,” which to be honest ain’t a scoop anywheres but up your own ass. How are you HELPING here?

The replies to this are full of “but what are we supposed to do, this is our job, to point a camera at a thing and nod thoughtfully” and it would just be pathetically hilarious if people weren’t dying. Is it even possible to rethink what you’re doing, or are you just a parrot that yawps “not our role!” anytime anyone asks you to do a job?

Is there EVEN a way to do journalism without sitting in a chair in front of someone standing at a microphone lying to you? You went to an Ivy for 400 years to do that?

And the GLEE. That’s the thing that gets me. It’s the excited WHEEE CHAOS tone of all these stupid clips, like how great it is that you scooped the world on how the president is a monster idiot asshole who has killed 165,000 people plus. I’m not gonna tell you not to make your bones on the backs of their deaths but can you not STRUT while you do it, you fuckin’ peacocks?

No career is worth someone’s grandmother dying alone while her family watches on FaceTime, good Christ, have the sensitivity God gave a carrot. Keep the sociopathic shit in your group chat where it belongs and nobody will judge you.

A.

Sunday Catblogging

This fat lard:

lard

Every morning Slade comes over to the breakfast table and flops like this, and then if we fail to IMMEDIATELY notice how stunningly cute he is, he’ll start chirping and “mrawp!” at us until he gets the pets he deserves.

A.

Just Shut the Fuck UP Until November

Sweet summer child has a point:

I’ve been saying for a while that Joey would have walked to the nomination if he’d kept his trap shut, like talking isn’t helping here, and I think the same thing applies to everyone who works for him and WANTS him to win, and him as well, and I don’t know why he’s doing any debates at all.

Just, like, call your supporters and keep meeting with people privately and releasing increasingly long commercials in which you and B. Barry Bamz bro around so that we can all remember how great it was to go hours, sometimes even days, without worrying the president would slip, trip, and end up with his dick in a bees’ nest.

Yeah, because he keeps eating his kicks, but also because talking isn’t actually what we need anyone to do.

I know we’ve somehow internalized this idea that if the President just gives the perfect speech, just says the right thing, all the nonsense will stop and everyone will behave. Like we’re electing somebody who can TALK GOOD WITH THE WORD HOLE. I won’t discount that, but there has been no better orator of the 21st century than 45’s immediate predecessor and Republicans still treated him like the shit on the bottom of the devil’s shoe.

We need Joey to get elected so he can HIRE not-dumb people, and also sign stuff that is like “let’s have a vaccine so we can all go to Grandma’s for Christmas” and executive orders to not kick students with valid visas out of the country. Maybe we could have a secretary of education who didn’t hate education, or for that matter being secretary of it.

We need him to do things, we need his team to do things, and in order for that to happen if he and everybody else don’t want to do live interviews that won’t be covered live anyway except as “HERF DERF JOE BIDEN MADE ANOTHER GAFFE LIKE FORGETTING SOMEONE’S NAME WHILE TRUMP CAN’T REMEMBER IF KANSAS IS A STATE” kind of Jackass episodes, oh well.

A.

Enough Money

AMAZING: 

He said he was optimistic because readers have become accustomed to paying for online content, noting the sports fans who subscribe to The Athletic. He added that vendors like Pico, Stripe and MailChimp have made it easier for media companies to outsource business functions. In addition, he said, the thinning of newspaper sports sections, the dissolution of ESPN the Magazine and layoffs at Sports Illustrated may have created a vacuum.

Defector staff members said they did not expect the kind of growth coveted by the venture capitalists who have increasingly dominated online journalism. Rather, they said, they hoped to be able to pay themselves competitive salaries while developing a sustainable media business that produces content they are interested in.

What if you could pay your bills and yourselves and that was like, okay? What if you weren’t tying yourself into knots to appease some bullshit trust-fund asshole who wants you to show an 18 percent margin or you’re all fired? What if you just, like, did the job you said you were gonna do and it was cool?

I mean goddamn. I am not trying to be a sarcastic bitch, but my entree into journalism was at a nonprofit, where if we had literally 10 cents more in the bank than we needed it was Christmas fuckin’ morning. It wasn’t, say, a COMFORTABLE way to live, I’m pretty sure I still have anxiety about money based on those three years alone, but we made it work and published what we needed to publish.

I cannot fathom where most of legacy journalism is right now, with money out the ass for investors and profit margins that would make Walmart blush, furloughing reporters while the world is on fire. How can you, with a straight face, tell people there’s no money to pay them when you’re paying your last sexually harassative exec $15 million to get himself gone?

Why did this industry allow that kind of thing to make sense for so long?

God, I’m glad to see people just fucking going for it. Even the tone of this story is different than it would have been five years ago. There’s less skepticism, less gratuitous bitchery about “wowee, a new model” and maybe things have just finally gotten bad enough everywhere that people are noticing this is an insane way to live.

I wish so many good papers and good reporters hadn’t had to die broke while we figured this out.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

God, I love it when fascist amateurs fall on their keys like this: 

Unions for city police officers, firefighters and corrections officers have sued New York City to stop the disclosure of most of these and other disciplinary records. The unions objected to the release of any cases other than “proven and final disciplinary matters.” That would exclude the vast majority of complaints against officers.

“We are defending privacy, integrity and the unsullied reputations of thousands of hard-working public safety employees,” a union spokesman said on the filing of the lawsuit.

On Wednesday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order, blocking the city, including the CCRB, from releasing disciplinary records. Judge Katherine Polk Failla also barred the New York Civil Liberties Union from disclosing data it had obtained. ProPublica has not been a party to the case and is not subject to the order by Failla, who has scheduled a hearing for next month.

I will DIE LAUGHING. They didn’t name ProPublica in the suit. They forgot to forbid the NEWS ORGANIZATION from publishing that which they did not want the public to know. They were like GOTCHA NOW NY ACLU, NO FREEDOMS FOR YOU and meanwhile PP was over here just whistling as they worked.

HERF ERF ERF I WONDER IF WE SHOULD ASK THE PEOPLE WHO PUBLISH STUFF NOT TO PUBLISH OR JUST KEEP BITCHING OUT THE CITY.

One of the things I really miss about journalism is how much critical information gets out because people are really fucking stupid. I remember when a local police department started redacting the reports they gave us, and they did it by making copies of the reports for themselves, then using a Sharpie to mark over the originals and SHOWING US THE ORIGINALS. To which you could hold the light, or turn them over, and read everything they didn’t want you to see right through the paper. I thought my city editor was going to hyperventilate to death with hilarity.

Sometimes great journalism comes from skill and sometimes it’s courage (yours or a source’s) but a lot of the time it’s that government and law enforcement are run by absolute clowns who trip over their own giant shoes while falling out of their tiny, honking cars.

A.

Ted Yoho’s Daughters

Ted Yoho is a dick, okay, and everything that could be said about AOC pretty much has been, except that I kept thinking about this story: 

Christine’s own parents and siblings — the Blaseys — have not released any similar statement of support. As their daughter and sister has become the country’s most talked-about woman for accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual assault while both were in high school, the Blaseys have strategically avoided the press. Voice mails, texts, emails and letters from reporters have gone unanswered. Friends have politely declined to comment on what the family is going through.

Reached by phone on Tuesday, Ford’s father, Ralph Blasey Jr., offered a brief endorsement of his daughter. “I think all of the Blasey family would support her. I think her record stands for itself. Her schooling, her jobs and so on,” he said before hanging up. Moments later, after picking up the phone a second time, he added: “I think any father would have love for his daughter.”

There are other stories, sourced to horrible people and the Federalist, but no one’s denied them: 

Details of the report claim that staff and members of the Burning Tree Club in Bethesda, Maryland, witnessed Ralph Blasey approach Kavanaugh’s father, Ed, just days after his confirmation to the Supreme Court. “I’m glad Brett was confirmed,” Blasey reportedly said to the elder Kavanaugh while golfing at the club. Witnesses said that Blasey also expressed that the encounter had been hard on both families throughout the confirmation process.

And you think, what kind of motherfucker — this is the story, during the confirmation fight, that made me lose the plot completely — chooses some rich hairdo at the country club over his own daughter. But the streets of this country are littered with children whose parents chose their abusers over them. It happens every day.

Do the math. Your daughter, or your whole entire life? Your job, your friends, your social associations, your ability to walk in the world the way you feel right — or something she told you happened, that you didn’t even see. You weigh the consequences. What happens if you believe her? What happens to everything you love?

What happens to her, if you don’t?

What happens to Ted Yoho’s daughters, if one of his friends takes liberties? If someone he knows, through work or church, hurts one of his children? Would he burn down everything he knows, for that child? Or would he say to her what he said to his colleague, to his fellow member of Congress, that she’s disgusting, that she’s crazy, that she’s a fucking bitch?

Forget what-ifs. What happens to his daughters now, knowing that their father thinks women who get elected to Congress and speak up about what they want are crazy, are disgusting, are fucking bitches?

What are they likely to tell their father, about their lives? What kind of trust would they have, that he would believe anything they say?

He gave a real big speech about how much he loves his family. As if speeches are when you prove something like that. As if fathers don’t reject their daughters, every day, when those girls become inconvenient to them, when those girls cross some line, some norm, some value they consider more important than their children’s lives.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

Ferret edition: 

This little critter may only be 8 months old, but that hasn’t stopped him from raising thousands of dollars for charity.

Over the course of just two and a half weeks, Bandit the pet ferret managed to complete a full marathon by taking the challenge in his tiny stride and completing several miles per day alongside his owners.

I love my cats, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I really miss my ferrets. Pictures at the link are priceless.

Via NancyDrewed.

A.

Who’s going to stop him?

This is one of those things everyone gasps about, like HOW DARE HE and THIS IS FASCISM PEOPLE WAKE UP and A NEW LOW FOR TRUMP and it just makes me tired. 

President Trump and top White House officials are privately considering a controversial strategy to act without legal authority to enact new federal policies — starting with immigration, administration officials tell Axios.

Between the lines: The White House thinking is being heavily influenced by John Yoo, the lawyer who wrote the Bush administration’s justification for waterboarding after 9/11.

Yoo detailed the theory in a National Review article, spotted atop Trump’s desk in the Oval Office, which argues that the Supreme Court’s 5-4 DACA ruling last month “makes it easy for presidents to violate the law.”

Like, these are the kinds of things that, when Trump does them, I think, “that makes perfect sense.” I’m shocked he hasn’t done this MORE. It’s like when he uses the power of his office to personally screw over anyone who’s ever bugged him, or reward his friends, or buy 500 burgers: This is the part of him that makes SENSE. Tell me you wouldn’t hint to the FBI/CIA/ATF that they ought to investigate your bestie’s dirtbag ex. If you wouldn’t, I’d do it for you.

The point is that our system was set up so that if a venal, corrupt scumbag bigot DID make it into this chair, we’d have people empowered to stop him.

Who’s going to stop Trump?

Who stopped Bush? Every dirty fucking hippie I know was screaming bloody murder that these were not powers anyone would ever give up once they had them, so why bestow them upon this feckless fuckwit princeling? Bestow we did, after a terrorist attack, and the voices raised in opposition are gone and going.

To be fair, who stopped Obama? Why should HE have had to give up the ability to do what Bush did, wage war in secret, enact his agenda? The only thing McConnell cared about stopping Obama from doing was improving the lives of people of color; he didn’t really give a shit how many Pakistani schoolchildren got droned.

We don’t have a Congress right now. We have a Republican Party that can’t be bothered to respond to a tweet calling for white power, and we have a Democratic Party that can  hold hearings all day every day for a month and never once get a second on TV or remove a single person from power. Joe Biden is out here every day actually trying to be president, saying everything right, and STILL it’s “WHAR JOE BIDEN” and “WHY WON’T THE OPPOSITION DO SOMETHING” as if this is a question of volume. Heh heh, it sure would be nice to have a nominee, these whiteboy chucklefucks keep posting, as if their refusal to listen to him is HIS fault.

I’m so old I remember the late John Lewis staging a full-on sit-in on the House floor all night to fight for gun safety and like a week later white liberals were still passing around that stupid tweet about how nothing changed after Sandy Hook. Enumerate for me the steps that could be taken and are not, right now, today, to stop Trump from doing what he is about to do, above.

It can’t JUST be on Democrats to hold Trump accountable. Our current national trash fire can’t just be the fault of Democrats that they didn’t stop him. If an arsonist manages to get some kindling going, you don’t blame the firefighters who pick up a hose to put it out. You look at the ones sitting on the sidelines and say, you gonna help, or what?

Because from Trump’s perspective, he’s doing exactly what he can do as president, no more, no less. He’s moving within the limits others set for him. It’s why when this is all over we can send Trump to a hospital but McConnell dies in jail. Trump’s just doing what he’s allowed to do. McConnell is the one who allows it.

A.

ps. FUCK UC-Berkeley for giving John Yoo a job. He should be in chains.

Young People Need MONEY

I know, I know it’s Douthat, but for fuck’s sake: 

The scholar Peter Turchin of the University of Connecticut, whose work on the cycles of American history may have predicted this year’s unrest, has a phrase that describes part of this dynamic: the “overproduction of elites.” In the context of college admissions that means exactly what it sounds like: We’ve had a surplus of smart young Americans pursuing admission to a narrow list of elite colleges whose enrollment doesn’t expand with population, even as foreign students increasingly compete for the same stagnant share of slots.

Then, having run this gantlet, our meritocrats graduate into a big-city ecosystem where the price of adult goods like schools and housing has been bid up dramatically, while important cultural industries — especially academia and journalism — supply fewer jobs even in good economic times. And they live half in these crowded, over-competitive worlds and half on the internet, which has extended the competition for status almost infinitely and weakened some of the normal ways that local prestige might compensate for disappointing income.

YOU WORK FOR THE NEW YORK FUCKING TIMES. By your own measure, you are the problem. If there was proof there isn’t a meritocracy at all, it’s your complete entire existence.

The problem isn’t that college students graduate and go live in the big exciting sinful city instead of in Beaver County, Iowa, where they could get a house for nothing. For what it’s worth plenty of young people do that, and Douthat is welcome to quit his lofty sinecure in the biggest city in the country and move to some virtuous community where housing is cheap and plentiful and everyone is married with children by 35.

I’m sure the local college would be thrilled to have him teach there, and he could scold 21-year-olds in person for wanting to live someplace where they could get a job. “The Internet” is not to blame for people wanting to live in cities. A powerful need to EAT is. That the city job doesn’t provide that isn’t the fault of tall buildings and small apartments.

For instance, it was the frequent boast of Obama-era liberalism that it had restored certain bourgeois virtues — delayed childbearing, stable marriages — without requiring anything so anachronistic as Christianity or courtship rituals. But if your bourgeois order is built on a cycle of competition and reward, and the competition gets fiercer while the rewards diminish, then instead of young people hooking up safely on the way to a lucrative job and a dual-income marriage with 2.1 kids, you’ll get young people set adrift, unable to pair off, postponing marriage permanently while they wait for a stability that never comes.

CHRIST, what an asshole. Not everybody views marriage and children as a reward. Christianity and courtship rituals have fuckall to do with getting paid. Which is what everybody really needs to be happy. This isn’t some kind of crisis of FEELINGS we’re having. It’s that everybody’s fucking BROKE.

Young people have, quite rightly, noted that it fucking blows to have kids when you’re poor. It blows to be house-poor, car-poor, poor in general. It’s awful. And so they have taken the steps they were told to take to prevent poverty, and they’re still taking those steps. This isn’t hard. What is hard, apparently, is reading comprehension:

Which brings us to the subject invoked in this column’s title — the increasing appeal, to these unhappy young people and to their parents and educators as well, of an emergent ideology that accuses many of them of embodying white privilege, and of being “fragile,” in the words of the now-famous anti-racism consultant Robin DiAngelo, if they object or disagree.

That is not remotely what DiAngelo’s book is about. It is about the freakout that occurs whenever someone says, “hey, that was a racist thing you did,” the immediate need to scream I’M NOT A RACIST as if you’ve been called a poopyhead on the playground. It’s not about how allyship is the new Christianity, which I think is what he’s blithering on about here:

Part of this ideology’s appeal is clearly about meaning and morality: The new anti-racism has a confessional, religious energy that the secular meritocracy has always lacked.

Plenty of Christianity has always been anti-racist if you’re not a fuckwit. NOT BEING A RACIST PIECE OF SHIT is not an attempt to feel better about oneself. That’s pretty much exactly the opposite of what it’s about, as the kind of self-examination to see if you’ve done any racism lately usually leads to feeling pretty much like garbage, but again, that’s not the point.

The point is making other people’s LIVES better. I know nothing can get inside Douthat’s sweatervest anymore but out here in the actual city, people are trying to, you know, NOT GET KILLED OR EVICTED OR DIE OF A PREVENTABLE PANDEMIC. This doesn’t mean they’re eager to declare themselves anti-racist soyboys or whatever he’s on about here.

Honestly, I’ve read this column three times and all I can think is that everyone at the NYT should be banned from writing about elite education for six weeks. Find a new beat or STFU.

A.

Not Everything Sucks, Succession Edition

Gerri and Roman, our Success May-December romance, exist: 

“To be honest, it’s very tough. Because you want it to ring true, and, I don’t know. I think she’s too savvy to do anything too messy like that. I think she’s way too careful a person,” she said of her mixed-up relationship with Roman. “But on the other hand, he makes a good protege. Right? Maybe. I don’t know. I’m just thinking of it in the back of my mind, she’s like, ‘This is a diamond in the rough. Maybe this is the start of a beautiful friendship if I could just put up with his kinky fun sex.’ But I don’t know. How long can you keep that on ice? I don’t know what they’re writing, and I’m a little bit scared to find out.”

I’ve been madly in love with J. Smith-Cameron since Rectify, something you should watch if you haven’t and not just because a friend worked on it; it’s tender and lovely and she’s the best part of it. And it’s just FUN to see something as weird and ambiguous as their relationship seemingly come out of nowhere and then be like oh, no, that’s perfect, that makes perfect sense.

A.

We Gotta Get Rid of the Whole Lot

This is all very true: 

McConnell and the Senate Republicans will put the brakes on every meaningful policy initiative that Biden advances. Hundreds of measures that have been approved by the House since the Democrats took over in January 2019—including the Heroes Act package of Covid-19 relief measures that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues passed in May—have been laid to rest in what Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer describes as “Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard.” The Republican lawmaker and his cadre of obedient partisans have made it perfectly clear time and again that they will not be moved by the fact that a legislative initiative is essential.

And before anyone jumps in with “but what about Schumer sucking and Joe Manchin being an asshole and blah blah blah” well, that’s THE WHOLE POINT. A one- or two-seat majority ain’t gonna do it, unless McConnell loses his seat permanently and they appoint a less efficient fascist to replace him. Even then, the same five red-state Dems who are a perpetual pain in our asses will continue to be such because they’ll matter even MORE than they do now.

(I’d like to think they’ve learned something and would behave themselves this time around, but I’ve been here too long for that.)

We need an overwhelming majority in the Senate or we’re just in for a slightly shittier re-run of 2010-2016. I would never say it doesn’t matter who the president is; I was regaling Kick last night with tales of a long-ago time when we would go WEEKS without the president being a loud enough piece of shit that everyone had to talk about it. Joey B. Shark has THINGS HE CAN DO on his own, of course, like hire scientists to do science jobs, and not run a non-protective protection racket out of the East Wing. Still, no major legislation changes and the judiciary keeps getting shittier, we don’t give him a Senate to work with.

And statehouses. And think tanks. And school boards. And advisory councils. And everything.

Our goal in this election should be to bury the GOP in the COVID-19 trench they’re digging for us. They don’t get to hold office for a generation, as a penance. And we look at the third or so of Democrats who are basically 1988’s Republicans and say fine, you’re who we compromise with now, that other mess is out waiting for an alphabet conspiracy to take them back to their planet. We’re done.

A.

No Good Choices

If we wanted the schools to be open, we should have left everything else closed: 

I want schools to open. I’ve got a five year old and a fifteen year old in a 900-square-foot house with only two bedrooms, and I’d love to have them literally anywhere else. And we’re among the lucky ones. Public schools don’t just teach. They provide subsidized breakfast and lunch for many of their students, plus access to counselors, community, and nurses. Figuring out how to deliver food and healthcare to these children is more important than how to stagger classes.

But it’s time to face the harsh reality that as parents we’re being asked to make an impossible choice by an administration that has made nothing but the wrong ones from the start. It bungled containing the virus early on, screwed up testing, took a hard right into liberating states once people’s hair got long, and now, at the start of a giant new wave of cases, is taking the same tactic with schools that it did with everything else: deny reality.

Kick’s school district is putting forth some kind of hybrid “two days on, three days remote” plan that is, naturally, pleasing no one. Teachers, parents, everyone’s pissed and confused. But these are the options left to us: How best to do this, when we’ve been ordered to do it, and given no help at all.

Mr. A and I are lucky, we can rework our schedules. She’s in first grade, not fourth or seventh or a sophomore; if we spend more time doing “science” by launching shit off our back deck and placing bets on where it’s gonna land than on math worksheets she’ll likely be fine.

Will her teachers, her beloved principal, her friends, her friends’ parents? Every day this changes. A month ago I’d have said sure, maybe they all wear masks to school but no big (because I have a little rule-follower who will wear her mask without complaint), open ’em on up, we’ve got few cases around us. Now? Now that everybody had to get their fourth of July fuck on and people are taking ROAD TRIPS?

No way.

We had time for things to get better and we used that time to make things worse and we’re left with no good options. Disneyland is fucking open, restaurants are posting like “come back! make a reservation!” and I have no idea where we’re going to be in a month. In two months. By Christmas time.

Had we HAD a functioning government, maybe we’d have had a national mandate to shut the fuck down, and stay shut down no matter how much the Tavern League howled. Shut down the beaches, theme parks, everything that wasn’t essential to protect what truly was. Then maybe we’d have a chance at opening up normally in August.

This is what happens when you put people in charge of the federal government who don’t believe in either of those words.

A.

Things We Learned in the Fire

HEY

C’MON
COME OUT

WHEREVER YOU ARE

WE NEED TO HAVE THIS MEETING
AT THIS TREE

AIN’ EVEN BEEN
PLANTED
YET

— June Jordan, Calling On All Silent Minorities

I’ve written before about how Mr. A has been nesting. He’s mostly done now. The yard is enclosed by a 6-foot fence with a double-lock gate; Kick can leave her toys absolutely everywhere and I don’t have to yell at her to bring her scooter or her ponies or anything else inside every night. I forget to lock doors, still, so we bought a family “calendar” to assign chores and one of Mr. A’s is to check all the locks because I can’t seem to keep track.

He’s built a storage system in the basement, in what was a massive junk room and is now, thanks to his hard work, a massively organized junk room with the “valuables” (extra food, medicine, paper goods, books) off the floor. In case the basement floods, which it has already done once this year.

We have room for the 22-pound bags of flour now. We have room for the 4 blocks of yeast. If I pickled or canned (“can you?” he asks, hearing about pickled carrots, and I’ve promised to try) we would store jars and jars; it’s a root cellar, like the one my grandparents had.

There is safety in there, of a sort. Grocery delivery has been less spotty than it was in the beginning. My parents offer to bring us meat; they have a meat guy now.

Kick is in a day camp; they stay in tiny groups and wear masks; she comes home exhausted but happier. I read, all day, angry Facebook posts from parents about school opening, about school not opening, and we try to make plans knowing we can’t make any plans. “In two weeks some other unhinged bullshit is going to be happening,” I keep saying, so we plan about four days out.

Our weekends, in summer, are usually a rat-a-tat-tat of activity: farmer’s market, skating lessons, this friend’s house, that friend’s coming over, park, zoo, hike, bike ride, road trip, houseguests. Instead I buy craft supplies and we sit on the porch waiting for fireflies. I feel lazy. This feels unreal.

And every day it seems to get just a little bit worse:

What do you do first, after everything burns down? I heard this so often in the days leading up to the 2016 election, I hear it all the time from conservative commentators and editorial boards: Maybe we need to just sweep our arm across the table, clear the field, bomb it all and start over. It’s not always cheerful nihilism; sometimes it’s hard to see where to even begin.

When there’s so much junk around, left over from the last disaster or six, where do you put the shelves to hold it?

But here’s the thing: There is no fresh starting point. There is no clean slate. There is no place you can go where you won’t feel the aftershocks and all of our great crimes as humans have come from our resistance to either the past or the future. We are going to have to get out of this from the middle of it and that’s impossibly hard, but it’s the only way things go.

What do you do first? Is there such a thing as, like, a consent agenda to just rescind the last four years? We need so much right now: health care, fair wages, justice for the wrongs done in our names over and over and over for years. We need hospitals and schools built for everyone, not just the rich. We need universities free and open to the public, we need as many libraries as we have jails. We need as few jails as we have oceans.

We need to defund the police as they are and rethink what they need to be. We need to undo the Muslim ban. We need to pack the courts. We need to protect trans people. We need honest to god laws against gerrymandering, laws providing universal vote-by-mail, universal basic income for crises like this, so that people can afford to stay home if they have to, and they have to.

We need science and art and we need a culture that doesn’t venerate racial belligerence and aggrieved thwarted fascism. We need support for the things that make us alive: Parks and gardens, free exchanges, beehives, birdhouses.

We need all of it and we needed it yesterday, and we act like we have to WAIT for some moment of perfect cleanliness to begin.

I’ve been saying, when this is over. When this is over, I’m buying the most expensive scotch on the shelf. When this is over, I’m taking my parents on the international trip they’d planned and had to scuttle back in April. When this is over, my kid and I are going to the zoo and we’re staying as long as we want and making as many plastic animals in the Mold-A-Rama as she can carry. We are camping by the snow leopard enclosure until they kick us out.

We are going to work harder for right than we do for simple justice. We are going to fight harder this time. We say it every time, because it’s true every time: You have to keep pushing yourself farther, faster, more.

Kick and I have found a local organization we are growing plants for, and raising money for, and donating food and books and games and art supplies to, and that’s our start. Now that we have space in the storage room we’re setting up a table, sorting out what can go, what needs to stay, and what we can sell.

Mr. A is concentrating hard on several friends, making sure they are okay, staying in regular contact. He’s also handling political donations right now because I am like THROW ALL THE GROCERY MONEY AT WHOEVER and we need to be practical.

We aren’t doing enough but we’re doing what we can. We are well supplied. Our home base is not a place to hide in, as I thought when this all started. I misunderstood it; we were never building a bunker. We were building a launch pad. If I think of it this way, maybe I will be less tired and scared.

When this is over. As if it’s ever over enough to feel over. The next world always starts while the ashes are still hot. While you can still smell the smoke.

And where do you even begin? You begin. Tell me where you are starting from. Maybe we can meet somewhere.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

Michaela Coel exists, and is astonishing: 

 When she first began pitching the concept for I May Destroy You in spring 2017, Netflix offered her $1 million upfront — $1 million! But when she learned they wouldn’t allow her to retain any percentage of the copyright, she said no. No amount was worth that. She fired CAA, her agency in the U.S., too, when it tried to push her to take the deal after she learned it would be making an undisclosed amount on the back end. Throughout the fallout with Netflix and CAA, Coel asked questions relentlessly. She is eager, almost giddy, to say she doesn’t know something (even if she may have an inkling) because of the way it forces someone else to explain it to her. She has discovered that the explanation is where people begin to falter and the fissures of conventional wisdom crack wider. It may be business as usual, but is it right? Is it good?

Mr. A and I have been madly in love with her since Chewing Gum, which is funny and scary and wild and as true about being a teenage girl as anything I’ve ever seen, and Black Earth Rising was extraordinary for the coiled stillness of her performance, the way she made it plain people carry their histories in the body, in the blood. Those are both on Netflix and I May Destroy You is on HBO and I just started watching it. It’s weird and unsettling and fantastic.

A.

ps. One of my most cherished opinions is that John Goodman should have as many Academy Awards as Daniel Day-Lewis does and he’s also amazing in Black Earth Rising, and sexy as hell.

Solidarity and What It Gets Us

I’ve been thinking about this since reading this tweet:

That every movement turns on itself eventually, that every fire burns out, that nothing can be sustained forever, are I think things we all know. That you can’t stay in the middle of the war forever, or it wins. But Jesus, this, we barely tried. A month ago seems like a fever dream.

I used to go to a long-established gay bar in the town where I went to college (long enough ago that the people inside were more often closeted than out) and a few years back a Facebook group for it sprung up. People would post old photos: Does anyone know who all of these people are?

Yes, someone would answer, name twenty people, and then add that seventeen, eighteen, nineteen of them died. In 1981, in 1986, in 1992.

They were beautiful, in the pictures: Dancing, laughing, their arms around each other back when there were so few places they could be free. I tell people about that world now, about the gaping holes in it, about the quilted names that stretched the length of Washington, and it’s like I’m talking about Valley Forge, it’s that far away.

We have this idea of solidarity, of times in the past when “we” were all united: 9/11 being the one that gets my back up the most, the first Gulf War, when everyone tied yellow ribbons around the trees to show support for the troops. And every time something horrible happens there are these pronouncements: This is what will make us new.

We have this idea that we will come together, change for good, that something will just HAPPEN to MAKE us different, as if we don’t have to decide to be different every single day. As if World War II was over in a minute, one Victory Garden and an episode of Band of Brothers and it was all done. As if we didn’t turn on ourselves then, too.

It seems like it took less time. Like April was a moment ago, May a moment ago. We’re not going to be left with anything from this but photographs with holes in them.

A.

Here You Go

I heard this in the car and somehow it was just what I needed, and maybe you need it too:

A.

Racism is for the Rich

The reddest parts of any purple state are its suburbs. Fight me. 

Suburbs, and exurbs, really. Not that there aren’t racist assholes in cities, she says, two blocks from the city that perfected redlining. But the white-flighters are something else, not just racial hatred but the very specific fear of a black invasion of “their” neighborhood.

They’ve had stories handed down to them through two generations now about the beautiful places their grandparents and great-grandparents grew up in, that were “ruined” by “those people.” That those neighborhoods were ruined by deliberate and malicious government policies to devalue the property, that greedy real estate brokers and reptilian politicians are far more to blame, will never reach the ears of someone who drove past their mother’s house and saw a black family living there now.

They see litter on the streets and instead of wondering why their litter is picked up every night and this neighborhood’s isn’t, they cluck their tongues at closed doors without any idea who’s behind them.

“It was such a beautiful place,” they’ll say, “not like now.” And hey, it’s not like they’re using the n-word, right? It’s just … implied. Until it isn’t.

Until it’s wearing a pink polo shirt and pointing a gun at people marching in the street.

It’s astonishing how little distance there is from the kind of nice-lady racism that is so confused as to why “some of them” just “let their houses go” to the wild-eyed pistol-waving Chico’s kind of day Mrs. McCloskey up there was having.

I mean people have handed down these stories like they’re a secret language, and that language is one of war: This is what happened when “blacks” “crossed the line.” We thought such-and-such street would “hold.” You want to talk about the Confederate states holding onto their lost causes; ask a white man of a certain age in Chicago after a couple of beers what parish his mother belonged to. If only “they” had stayed down south where they “belonged.”

Yes, now Donald Trump is openly stoking the kind of paranoia that leads to front-porch displays of the kind of trigger discipline that would humiliate a bachelor party at the paintball range. But who primed these people to listen? Who made that a story they would find easy to believe?

Who told them everything they had could be stolen at any moment? Did they use an example? Was it their great-aunt’s house, where once you didn’t have to lock the doors, and now you couldn’t walk down the street without getting mugged?

A.

‘As Leadership on Virus Fails’

Jesus Christ, we STILL can’t name the problem: 

Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Cases Soar Past 2.5 Million as Leadership on Virus Fails

With new cases of the coronavirus suddenly surging across multiple states that had low and manageable caseloads just months ago, confusion and anger is swirling among those who obeyed lockdowns and drastic social measures out of a sense of civic duty to help bring the U.S. outbreak under control.

Nationwide, cases have risen 65 percent over the past two weeks. On Friday, the country reported more than 45,000 new infections, its third consecutive day of record new cases, and a number of states have also been seeing record new levels. On Saturday, Florida, Nevada and South Carolina reported their highest one-day case totals. Before this week, the country’s largest daily total had been 36,738 on April 24.

REPUBLICAN politicians. REPUBLICAN leadership. Joe Biden is out here every single day being president, basically, only nobody’s paying attention because Trump shit some racist nonsense out his mouth again and we have to get all sixteen microphones in front of the shitpile.

I cannot with OUR LEADERS have failed us. The United States of Chicken Fried America has been in the blood-soaked hands of the GOP since 2010 and I don’t think we can give it another decade before we start noticing that. We can’t keep blaming “politicians” and “Congress” and “Washington” and “leadership” if we expect this to get any better at all.

We have a nationwide propaganda network, aided and abetted by nihilistic social media and amplified by the same kind of sociopathic broadcast screamers as inspired genocide a thousand times in history, telling people a million different wrong things all at once, and the money from all of those ventures flows to Republicans.

The NYT can just fuck off all the way into the fucking sea with this:

In recent weeks, some conservatives said they had an additional concern: After weeks of being told that going to church, attending funerals, and participating in protests was a willful, careless spurning of science, political leaders and some public health officials condoned — and even joined — the crowds protesting the killing of George Floyd.

WEARING MASKS, YOU STUPID MOTHERFUCKERS, OUTDOORS, NOT INSIDE THE PROSPERITY MEGA-STADIUM OF GAY-HATING, and what’s more, you know the difference, so spare me the fake angst from the fucking exterminators:

“It’s just a real social whiplash,” said Philip Campbell, vice president of a pest control company in Central Michigan, who took part in the first protests against the lockdown in Lansing in April from the cab of his truck. “Two weeks ago you can’t go out because you are going to kill grandma. Now it’s ‘you have an obligation to go out.’ It leaves me feeling that the science and the public health authorities have been politicized.”

Well goddamn, sparky, look at the big brain on you. Could it be that your president has no fucking clue and that the confusion stems from his explicit policy to not do anything that sounds like it might save a few Democrats along the way?

Two hundred thousand fucking people are going to die, and we’re going to act like there is no way any of this could have gone any other way. No clear leadership? WELL I WONDER WHOSE FUCKEN JOB IT WAS TO PROVIDE THAT, COULD IT HAVE BEEN THE PRESIDENT AND THE PARTY IN CHARGE? God damn, what party is that again? I hear its name so seldom I forget what it is.

The confusion you are describing is what happens when there is no national leadership. But maybe while your party was out there with long guns screaming about states’ rights you might have thought about times when we need to be a single country. One would have hoped a few wars would have drilled that into your thick heads but apparently if Japan bombed Pearl Harbor today we’d be having a national debate about how many liberals live in Hawaii and why can’t they pay for their own rebuilding, the lazy fucks.

The GOP has fragmented us day after day after fucking day, it’s been going on for decades now, because they saw a bunch of racists and said, I bet we can ride these stupid ponies all the way to the end of the rainbow. Now, of course, that national action is needed, and the national unity they jizz all over every 9/11 anniversary is actually needed, they’re more than willing to shove the few remaining members of the Greatest Generation in their graves so they can keep clowning on everybody who cares about anybody else.

I am so fucking done not talking honestly about what’s going on here. Obama didn’t unleash the coronavirus and Obama didn’t “divide” the nation by getting elected black and we are not “partisan” because some of us want to be alive and would love some kind of guidance from literally anyone as to how the best way to do that might be. This is what we actually need the federal government to do, people are saying help us,

“It’s all political” is a dumb shrug but it’s the exact dumb shrug with which we’ve been taught to greet every single thing that happens, and as per usual I’d like to reserve the fucking most of the blame for what happens when we act like this for the ones who taught us the words, the ones who cash in when we say them.

REPUBLICANS. God fucking damn it, Republicans.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

Labor is fighting like labor has always fought: 

On June 19, a group of workers plans to picket outside an unlikely location: Union Jacks strip club.

It’s the only club out of nearly 30 Portland establishments that won’t agree to demands to ensure fair treatment of black dancers.

“Who’s gonna cross a strike line of angry-ass strippers?” says Cat Hollis, a dancer who organized the Portland Stripper Strike.

The picket line is a signal that the national movement for racial justice has extended to the quintessentially Portland institution of strip clubs.

More than 100 dancers have issued the following demands to club owners: require cultural sensitivity training on a regular basis for all club staff, owners and management; ensure that black dancers get fair hiring opportunities and desirable shifts; and require owners and managers to participate in listening sessions with black dancers to learn about their experiences working at Portland clubs.

They’re calling themselves the Haymarket Pole Cooperative, which is fantastic.

A.

‘Aggravated Battery’

Of course he’s white, you knew that from the convention of referring to him as something other than a THUG or a TERRORIST: 

A judge has released the man accused of opening fire and shooting a protester. Police say Steven Baca is the man seen on video opening fire at last Monday’s protest regarding a statue of conquistador Juan De Oñate, sending one man to the hospital. Much of the District Attorney’s case was centered around 10 primary witness videos, one of which shows the moments leading up to Baca firing his gun.

While Baca is most known for firing shots, he is not currently facing any charges for it. Baca is facing aggravated battery and two battery charges for allegedly assaulting three female protestors.

Police initially charged Baca for the shooting, but the District Attorney dropped that charge pending further investigation. Baca’s attorneys have argued he fired his gun in self-defense because he was being hit with a skateboard.

In court, Monday, the District Attorney’s office argued that Baca was only at the protest to start trouble. However, with no criminal history and the state not yet finding any of the women Baca is accused of hurting, Judge Charles Brown released him on his own recognizance.

The story is an incoherent-ass mess — police don’t file charges, DAs do, and what does “most known for firing shots” mean, and there are other typos in the parts I haven’t quoted, but …

This guy brought a gun to a protest expecting there would be someone there he could shoot. He showed up at a place where people were protesting, with a gun, to make what point who the hell even knows, to defend the honor of dead conquistador, with firearms. What the FUCK.

There is one intention for something like this and it’s to intimidate people from protesting. From taking down statues. From creating in the world the images of it they feel should be represented. You don’t show up to that with a gun to protect yourself from being possibly hit with a skateboard, come on.

I know it’s tiring to point out how few consequences right-wing white men face for actions like this. Those Bundy assholes, everyone who ever attacked an abortion clinic, who get referred to in the press as acting in some kind of heroic insurrection against an oppressive government. I don’t know if this is a hangover from the Revolutionary War or what, but we keep treating these dinguses like they’re Paul Revere and it’s poisonous.

I went looking for this piece after McArdle opened her mouth hole about something stupid again last week, because it’s one of the most aggressive examples of “my oppression justifies everything, yours is all made up” I’ve ever read in addition to being dumber than a two-day-old tofurkey: 

Using the political system to stomp on radicalized fringes does not seem to be very effective in getting them to eschew violence.  In fact, it seems to be a very good way of getting more violence.  Possibly because those fringes have often turned to violence precisely because they feel that the political process has been closed off to them.

Now contrast that compassion and generosity — extended, in the above case, to the murderer of a doctor — to what is generally said among the I’m No Conservative But crowd about the Black Lives Matter protests today.

I wonder if anyone thinks maybe, just maybe, the political process has been closed off to them?

Nah.

They gotta just be doing it for fun.

It’s not like they’re white, after all.

A.