Category Archives: Athenae

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.

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.

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.

 

These Things Are Home

You don’t have to do this: 

Herridge’s CBS hire follows the more widely reported departure of Shepard Smith in early October, but the news about her transition over to network was muted by the more alarming development that the news website Deadspin effectively ceased to exist.

That the demise of a news site staffed by around 20 journalists would send out a larger hue and cry than the defection of a long-tenured reporter from Fox News to the news organization that brings us “60 Minutes” tells us something about that state of media as it struggles to exist today. Given the size and reach of Fox News relative to that of Deadspin, one would think the Herridge transition would merit bigger play.

The reason it hasn’t is because of the sheer defiant bravery of what the staff of Deadspin did in reaction to an abrupt, senseless shift in editorial direction imposed by the site’s new parent company G/0 Media.

As of Friday, every single one of its nearly 20 journalists resigned in reaction to the firing of its interim editor-in-chief, Barry Petchesky, when Petchesky refused to follow the mandate imposed by the site’s parent company G/0 Media.

The new owners dictated that culture and politics coverage would be handled by other sites in the G/O Media family, even though content that is not specifically sports-related often outperformed the site’s sports content.

“Programming note: My Kinja access has been revoked. I apologize for any and all spelling and grammar errors, as I cannot fix them,” tweeted former staffer Diana Moskovitz, apparently the one who turned off the lights on her way out. “From here on out, all content published on Deadspin is not us. I hope we sent out Deadspin right. We did our best.”

Look. People have mortgages and people who depend on them, they have scary health conditions, I’m not out here saying GET IN THE STREETS FOR THE REVOLUTION YOU LAZY ASSHOLES. I’ve done things I don’t agree with (I shudder at the thought of some of the hands I’ve shaken at parties) so I won’t get fired because my kid needs to eat and oh hey, so do I.

If you’re at a job where you’re keeping quiet about things you don’t like because you can’t live without the work, that’s between you and whatever god you pray to.

But if you’re out here talking about how shitty it all is? If you’re out there wringing your hands and lamenting in blind items about OH WHAT HAVE WE BECOME IF ONLY THERE WAS SOMETHING I COULD DO, um. You’ll pardon me if I speak up and say yes, there is something you can do.

One can understand why reporters on its hard news side may stay where they are despite the flurry of anonymous complaints to media reporters about plummeting morale and the horror at whatever Tucker Carlson said last night about Adam Schiff and bodily fluids. Attempting to practice journalism at Fox News may be a thankless job, but it’s one that pays better than most jobs in journalism or elsewhere.

For those aspiring to do work with journalistic integrity, there must come a point at which the effort to dig up facts and produce data-driven stories feels fruitless when a few hours later the talking heads on the other side of the office are ignoring that work exists. Not merely that, but perpetuating conspiracy theories, questioning the patriotism of decorated veterans, and maligning elected officials who refuse to cater to Donald Trump’s whims.

There’s something you can do about the fascism.

There’s something you can do about the greed.

There’s something you can do about the stupidity.

And it’s quit.

Quit, and go build something better. Quit, and go do literally anything else. Quit, and go work for somebody who doesn’t make you want to tear off your own head and eat it. Quit. Quit quit quit quit quit.

If you’re a relatively high-up executive in TV news these days you have opportunities a bunch of online sports reporters don’t. If what is happening to you is utterly intolerable and you’re saying so to the gossip columnists, you can pack your shit and go.

Or you can shut the fuck up about woe is you. Your choice.

It’s been a while since we had an example of a group of people saying shove your bullshit, the way that the Deadspin staff did. It’s been a while but once they did it, the response from everybody dancing on their graves before dirt was even tamped down was predictable and sad.

“They’re all trust fund babies,” went one argument and “stupid idiots should just do what their bosses told them” went another and under both you could hear the simmering shame that courage often engenders in those smart enough to recognize it but too chickenshit to emulate it.

We are not obligated to be therapists for the poor Fox News journalists just appalled at what is going on, making them and everyone else complicit in this regime feel better by saying “it’s okay that you’re betraying your principles and really, kind of, your country, even though you have enough money saved to tell your company to fuck off.” If they didn’t have an example of what else they could do to handle this, they sure as shit do now.

A.

Asylum

These are the people we’re turning our backs on: 

The first two months at the Kenosha Detention Center felt like a nightmare. You are so enclosed you don’t have the opportunity to move around. That’s how you start going crazy. That’s how Kenosha was for me.

The detention center was a mix of immigrants and actual criminals. We were in the same detention as criminals who’ve committed murders, gang bang, and stuff. You don’t have time to rest. You don’t have the pleasure of going outside to play or having social time—none of that. At the detention center, you don’t really have privacy. They are making you understand that you’ve come into America and it’s not all rosy.

After the first month or so, I forced myself to read books to pass the time. I read about the history of Native Americans. The Americans we see today are actually immigrants; the real Americans, which are the Native Americans, you barely see. So I felt empowered when I read books like that. It gave me the courage to say, Yes, I have a place here too.

I ended up staying close to four months in detention before I was released. It’s not been easy staying here in Chicago without family. I miss my little kid. I am trying to figure out how to get them here. I grew up without a father and I don’t want my little girl to go through the same process. Everyone says America is a haven and they see America as a paradise where everything works smoothly. But it’s a different story.

I know it’s tired and bullshit to say “this is not my America” since in many cases yes, this has always been this America. But it’s not bullshit to say this SHOULD NOT BE my America, that we should not be liars and hypocrites just because we’ve been so in the past. The whole entire ass point of bringing up bad shit we’ve done before is to not do that shit no more.

We can afford to do better, and more than that we are obligated to do better. Or we are obligated to shut up about whose America this is.

A.

The Capacity for Joy

If they haven’t taken it from Ilhan Omar you don’t get to despair:

I get that it’s easier to say “meh, nothing’s going to change, Trump’s going to get re-elected because the Democrats are having a primary” than it is to look at everybody fighting like hell and decide you need to do that too, but come on. If the very faces of what Trump’s supporters hate can dance, you can work.

I post these “not everything sucks” posts not to be like LALALALALA THERE ARE STILL CUTE ANIMALS IGNORE THE FASCISM but to say that if you mean to give up, here’s what you’re giving up on. Get tired. Everybody’s tired. Get some sleep and keep going.

A.

Punishment is the Point

I wrote this shortly after Trump took office and it remains true even if no one listened: 

 FOR TRUMP means they get to bully right back. FOR TRUMP means they get to tell their liberal sister-in-law that she’s a stupid bitch. FOR TRUMP means instead of respecting a black or brown person, they get to call that person names. FOR TRUMP means they get to turn off that nagging instinct, nurtured by the churches they say mean so much to them, that maybe they should help the big scary world that’s burning down outside their windows. FOR TRUMP means they get to feel like being mad is enough.

I thought of that again reading this:

Like … hold them accountable how? Hold people who don’t like the president accountable? By … re-electing the president they don’t like? I make as many jokes as anyone about how Owned I, a Lib, am all the time by their stupid non-conspiracy conspiracies, but this is truly how performative the GOP and its hate-radio larvae are. They want to be seen to punish people for daring to disrespect Trump. They want to hold people accountable for existing in opposition to someone they like. This is their most sincerely held belief. This is it. This is, in fact, the ballgame.

Don’t just vote against whoever the Democrat puts up. Vote against that person’s supporters. Vote against everyone you don’t like. Vote against everything that annoys or inconveniences you. Vote to hold people who boo a president accountable. It’s so bone-deep and blood-simple, the rage they’ve nurtured and convinced people is some kind of principled stand. Re-elect Trump to hold the people who booed him accountable? You have got to be kidding me.

And this:

Everybody pointed out that they could have been in the hearings all along, which of course they could have been. They know that. That’s not the point. The point is to perform for their audience and goddamn, they did that really well.

We gotta stop acting like we’re gonna point out some blatant hypocrisy and they’ll be like oh, I’m so sorry, you’re right, I didn’t realize I was doing the very thing I’m accusing you of doing, how gauche of me. They don’t care. They know and they know their supporters know, and neither of them gives even one single shit about it because this is fandom, at this point, it’s cosplay, it’s a stage and all they have to do is get the laugh.

It’s why appealing to them through policy is laughable. It’s why arguing the facts is too naive to even be charming. You have to leave the venue. You have to end the discussion. You have to drown out their shouting not with facts in opposition but with your own motivating stories and stop worrying if they listen or not. The ONLY thing you can do is change the subject. The only thing you can do, in the face of someone who just wants to OWN you, is to be somewhere else.

I suggest we start with polling places.

A.

Our Politicians and Pundits Know Nothing About Politics

This was dumb:

This was dumber:

This has got to be some kind of peak dumbass but what fresh hell will today bring?

I mean, honest to Cheeto Christ, it is astonishing how many of these people are listened to on politics when they don’t understand politics very well.

Take Pete up there, for whom I will enthusiastically vote should he be our nominee, and who has unquestionably the best spouse in the entire race. He’s just saying what he thinks he needs to say, which is that he likes a moderate, because moderation is good, and middle of the road is good, and nothing too extreme is good, and the things Everybody Knows are true. He’s doing what he thinks he’s supposed to do, because he’s supposed to do it, and he’s not thinking about Kennedy’s actual decisions or what they mean, he’s thinking about how he sounds, which is Reasonable.

The goal of all our politics, and the past 36 hours of civility garbage inspired by the World Series crowd booing the orange motherfucker, is to make us all feel Reasonable and Good. And that involves Two Sides Respecting Each Other, and Listening, and blah blah fucking blah de fuckity blah.

What a fucking stupid puppet show. What a goddamn embarrassment, a parade of supposed adults on TV and at podiums talking about how it’s beneath us all to upset anyone. What a fucking load. We’re adults and if we can’t disagree without getting heated oh, the fucking earth will just cave right in, won’t it? God forbid anyone raises their voice, or our fragile bodies might just utterly collapse.

I mean do we hear ourselves, middle class white people of mine, with our book clubs and our tote bags and our declarations of friendship for war criminals? Do we hear our selfish screaming need for comfort not only in life, not in where or how we live, but in our goddamn CONVERSATIONS? Do we hear how absolutely chickenshit we sound? “Oooh, I don’t want to, like, ARGUE with you.” Well guess fucking what, we live in a democracy, so if you’re gonna open your cakehole and yell “blue lives matter” at me I’m gonna give you the hiding you so richly deserve.

We don’t get to create this society and then get out of defending and justifying it because doing so is really hard. Land hard and roll, motherfuckers, because if you want to live like this you’d better be ready to own it in the face of the strenuous objections of the people you’re stomping on to do so. You don’t like to watch the president get booed at a baseball game, well, there’s a really easy way to get out of that happening and it’s don’t elect a fucking cheeto-faced fascist who everyone hates.

It’s really not hard. Give up civility as a goal. We’re almost to the holidays, hell, make it a resolution. Civility is not the meaning of things. If people are nice to each other and keep dying, how does that help anyone? We have a limited time on this planet and your comfort isn’t our priority, shit is on fire.

And if you’re not loaded for bear, don’t show up for the hunt, because once upon a time you might have been able to get away with this stuff because nobody wanted to argue. We want to argue now, and we should.

A.

Sunday Catblogging: Our Heroine

Last week I wrote that post about what a bitch Ada was and how she never shuts up about anything ever, so I basically deserve what happened yesterday.

It had been raining all day so Kick and Mr. A and I took advantage of being forced indoors to clean out closets and prep the house for an onslaught of holiday visitors and figure out where the mates to all our gloves had gone over the summer. The cats get profoundly, comically offended when we clean, as if us moving things is a personal affront to them and they were very, very close to the dust bunnies we just cavalierly hoovered up.

Which is why it took me a while to figure out something was up with Ada. She was yowling. Not her usual “hey, pay attention and pet me” yowling. She was YOWLING. “Hey IDIOTS something is WRONG here” and so I spent a good 60 minutes roaming the house with her at my heels. Was her brother trapped in the bedroom? Had she shoved her mouse under a closed door? Had a critter gotten in somehow? What was happening?

Finally I went down into the basement to see if her food bowl was empty again somehow and the moment I stepped off the bottom step onto the floor … squish.

Our basement had flooded before after a torrential downpour, but the rain yesterday wasn’t anything like that. And this wasn’t really a flood, just a damp-ish spot near one wall. Mr. A and I checked the perimeter of the rest of the basement. Nothing. Just this one spot, and Ada looming above it, meowing her best “YO MORONS WHAT DO YOU THINK I’VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU” indignancy.

We couldn’t figure out if the water was coming in or up. It didn’t appear to be spreading, so we went outside, walked the perimeter and discovered a whole-ass swimming pool’s worth of filthy rainwater that was backing up because its normal route out was clogged with leaves and roots and dirt. Mr. A and I got flashlights and shovels and a bucket and started digging and bailing, and pretty soon, all was well.

We might have to replace a small spot of carpet pad, but thanks to Ada, that was it. Our heroine, still not ready to stop saying I TOLD YOU SO:

20191027_075830

A.

A Diversity of Views

Do we? Do we need this? 

I’m asking, because I don’t actually grant that we do.

Do we need the “view” that Bill Kristol, however abominable he may be, is a “renegade Jew?”

Do we need the “view” that there exists in the world something called “Big Trans Hate Machine,” somehow granting vast power and influence to people whose right to exist is being legislated right out of existence?

Do we need the “view” that women “just suck at interviews” for tech jobs? Do we need the “view” that Gabby Giffords is a “human shield?” Do we need the “view” that an aide to Hillary Clinton is a “Saudi spy?” That young Muslims in the West are a “ticking time bomb?”

Forget asking if we need them. Are those “views,” even?

Even if they are, who are “we” in this scenario?

I ask these questions because I see a lot of well-meaning people — along with the usual “I’m not fascist, just fingerbanging fascism after class” disingenuous assholes — taken in by this kind of rhetoric. It’s incredibly dangerous to present virulent racism as something that needs promotion lest we, I dunno, miss out.

Like, miss out on what, exactly, without this diversity of views? What does it cost me to not be Skyped into a Klan rally every single second? What is the harm to me in not mainlining every single crackpot manifesto in doomsday prepper sales site comments? What is the lack that that would remedy? Where is the harm to be addressed?

I am not arguing here if Breitbart has a right to exist on the internet. That’s a given, should they find businesses willing to back them in the form of hosting and support. Nazis have always had the right to go off. I’m arguing about taking on faith the need for a “diversity of basically views,” because the people who say such things are the least likely to be able to tell you what in the unholy cornflake-breaded purple fuck it actually means.

What is a view? What is a diversity of them? Why are we better off knowing there are people who think Jews will not replace us, for example, I mean aside from as a cautionary tale? Why is everything due a hearing at equal volume? At what point do we, as a society, the preponderance of us, get to decide that nah, fuck that, this “view” is not welcome in our “diversity” of them?

Define that, and maybe I’ll listen about why we need headlines like “It’s time to get back in the closet.”

Don’t throw the slippery slope in my face, either. If I was standing on the corner accusing George W. Bush of colluding with Trump to rape babies in the utility closet of a KFC I would not EXPECT you to include that view in the diversity of them. I would not expect you to make that a main-stage attraction in your production of Life’s Rich Pageant. Time was, you got a letter to the editor written in purple crayon addressed to the lizard people’s Supreme Gecko, you threw it out. I would expect you to do the same with Brietbart’s contention that Pam Gellar is some kind of visionary political leader.

But then, I haven’t spent the last 40 years bitching and whining that your refusal to hang on my every word is evidence of your evil liberal bias, so I didn’t have a standard playbook I could just switch out a few words in.

Part of this clusterfuck is, of course, the decision to treat Facebook as some sort of public entity whose inclusion and appeasement is non-negotiable, instead of treating it as a private company we can nope the hell out of anytime we want. This is without getting into how publishers are falling all over themselves to pivot into this mess, just like they pivoted into everything from paywalls to hyperlocal to video to chat rooms. These aren’t imperatives. Facebook, and going along with whatever it decides to be, is not an imperative.

A diversity of views isn’t an imperative either, if that diversity includes “would you rather your child had feminism or cancer.” They’re offering “views” in much the same way as the fellow opening his trenchcoat on the subway. There’s no inherent virtue in looking, so stop trying to tell me I owe him my attention so that my views remain diverse.

A.