Sorry I’ve been gone for almost a month. Over the last three weeks, I’ve been out of town for my 50th Birthday (yay me) and playing at a funeral for someone who died much too young (boo the inevitability of death). Thanks for waiting patiently and not filling my e-mail with angry messages.
So anyway – here goes!
Here’s the dirty little secret about this kind of conspiracy theory: It never seems to happen when the shooter is a person of color. At least nobody seems to spend a lot of time talking about them.
I know someone is going to point out that there are conspiracy theories around 9/11 and the attackers there were (allegedly) people of color. Yeah, but I’m talking about mass shootings.
And the thing that seems to come into play here is that people don’t believe white guys would do this sort of thing. Not unless those white guys are members of the CIA or the FBI or Interpol or whatever the fuck these people think.
When a person of color shot up an Orlando nightclub, nobody started saying that it was a cover up. It was terrorism.
But white guys don’t commit terrorism. They are lone wolves.
So the alternative is to look at an act of senseless violence and think “I understand Islamic extremists. I don’t understand some 64 year old dude shooting up a concert so it must not be that.”
By the way – they don’t understand Islamic extremists either. But that’s for another day.
It is kind of remarkable to me that some of us can’t wrap our heads around a guy shooting up an elementary school but we can totally wrap our heads around the idea that some shadow agency decided to stage the event so they could get gun control legislation passed.
Which they can’t so what the hell is that about anyway?
Thing is, at least some of this is racism. Some of it is our inherent response that we’ve been taught the more pigmentation you have in your skin, the more violent you are.
Conspiracy theories are dumb. One guy shot all those people in Las Vegas and we will probably never know why. But it was one guy. And he was white. Deal with it.
I’m sorry I took the last two weeks off. Life intrudes sometimes.
We all know that we are entering week three of the Trump Presidency. I am trying to figure out how to write my blog so it isn’t just a weekly rant on all the horrible things Trump says and does. But I’m two weeks behind and he has been busy.
There is a lot of other stuff going on that pisses me off. It’s just that Trump is so fucking noisy.
Look, we all know that I don’t like our current President very much. I think I have very good reasons for believing he will go down as the worst person ever to run our country.
But I’m feeling like I need to stick with stuff he’s actually done. And therein lies the problem.
Earlier this week, Trump had a phone call with the Mexican president. Shortly after the call, news organizations reported that Trump had threatened to send American troops across the border to deal with some “bad hombres.”
A few hours later, it was reported that such a threat never happened.
Days later, however, a bunch of my liberal friends are still talking about Trump invading Mexico.
In a world where Trump is openly hostile to any news organization that doesn’t kiss his ass, the press actually has a responsibility to make sure what they report is accurate. Trump is doing all sorts of shady shit. Hell, this week he said this during remarks about Black History Month
Last month, we celebrated the life of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office. It turned out that that was fake news. Fake news. The statue is cherished, it’s one of the favorite things in the—and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln, and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King. But they said the statue, the bust of Martin Luther King, was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is. Very unfortunate.
If you read the transcript of the speech, it was almost entirely about him. This isn’t made up. It’s something he actually said.
And what was he talking about? The way the press keeps reporting shit that didn’t happen. In this case, of course, it was a mistake the reporter in question corrected almost immediately.
The press has to do better. In the rush to break stories these days, they don’t take the time to verify what they are reporting. And that allows Trump and his minions to do all sorts of horrible stuff because they can point to the small number of erroneous reports as a reason why nobody should believe anything the press says.
And to all my liberal friends out there: please let’s all make sure we know what the fuck we are talking about.
Note: I didn’t write about the work the Senate made to begin the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this week because, while it really does piss me off, it is also an extremely complex maneuver and I’m not sure any of us completely understand what is going on. Least of all the Senators who voted for it.
Let me just say before I proceed, however, that anyone who can, with good conscience, vote to re-establish a pre-existing condition clause, is a complete waste of a human being. It may well be true that they won’t end up re-establishing that clause. A vote still exists in which Senators are going on record supporting just that.
At least this is the claim made by anti vax proponent Robert Kennedy. We’ll see if it really happens.
Look, I know vaccinations are controversial. And I try to be sympathetic.
Then I remember I have two vaccinated children on the autism spectrum and that every single study about vaccines has concluded vaccines do not cause autism or any of the other things anti-vaxxers claim they cause. And I read quotes like this, which could be referring to my family:
I employed the term [holocaust] during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families
And I stop being sympathetic because this fucker is talking about my kids. My kids who have full lives and are wonderful human beings and whose existence has shattered my family not one single bit. Autism is a hurdle my kids have to jump over. Most of us have hurdles they need to get over. To suggest their hurdle has shattered my family is the sort of thing someone who doesn’t even have the basic understanding of the autism spectrum would suggest because they are an ignorant jackass.
Yeah – this kind of thing gets me pretty worked up.
It is bothersome enough that our President-Elect (fuuuuuuuuck) denies climate change. That he also seems to jump into bed with anti vaxxers suggests that the American People elected someone pretty much willing to believe any crazy conspiracy theory pops up so long as it doesn’t involve him.
You have to give him credit for being equal opportunity when it comes to denial of scientific data. Climate Change denial comes from the right and anti vaxxers typically come from the left. Donald, however, has a big tent and there is room for everyone who thinks scientists reach conclusions just to fuck with the rest of us.
For regular readers of my Shit that Pissed me Off column, I did something a little different last year. For the first time since I began writing, my birthday fell on a Friday. I opted to reflect on the good things I saw in the world rather than the bad ones.
Obviously, my birthday isn’t on a Friday this year. It is on a Sunday. But I’m still going to focus on the good things. I turn 49 on Sunday. It is something of a personal year for me because my dad died when he was 49 years old and I can’t help but think that soon, every day I’m alive will be one more day than he ever had.
The challenge for me today, of course, is to write about 49 things that don’t piss me off and that are different from the 48 things I wrote about last year.
Never fear, I’m going to post Shit that Pissed me off on Monday! You still get a full helping of negativity. I’m just going to make my birthday about the good things.
So here, my friends, are 49 things that do not piss me off.
1) I don’t know if it’ll happen. I certainly hope it will. But whether it does or not, we have the opportunity to put a woman in the oval office. I’ve heard all the arguments about “not this woman” and everyone has a right to make their own decisions. For me, though, the simple fact a woman could win is a gigantic step.
2) Speaking of women, that Ghostbusters remake was pretty fucking awesome. I don’t feel like I have to make excuses for liking it. How amazing is that? If you want me to make excuses, you can shut up and stop harassing my squee.
3) As I write this column, I am looking at a shelf that holds a LEGO Millennium Falcon, a LEGO Ecto 1, and a LEGO Han Solo frozen in carbonite.
In a classic white guy move, Rudy Guiliani makes the Black Lives Matter movement all about him. He doesn’t seem to understand that the statement “black lives matter” is not the same as “white lives don’t matter” or “black lives matter more.”
Instead, he focuses on black people trying to find a voice and calls it racist. He tells the BLM protestors that they are doing it wrong because they aren’t protesting every murder in Chicago.
Chicago is a big thing with the right. They bring it up all the time. Why isn’t BLM protesting every death in Chicago?
Hey, good question, Rudy! While you’re at it, why don’t you ask why people who are against the Death penalty don’t protest every death in America?
And hey Rudy, you’re pro-life, right? So after you go to those pro-life rallies, do you ever go to a rally protesting parents who beat their children to death? If I used that argument on you, would you call me racist?
Black Lives Matter is focused on a specific part of the black experience in America. It is not the only part.
But – and this is the crazy thing you don’t get Rudy – they are all related. You can protest one particular part of the problem (police brutality that disproportionately targets black men) and have an impact on all of it.
However, when you tell the BLM movement that they are doing it wrong, all you are doing is proving their point. They are saying white America needs to stop thinking about race from our point of view and spend a little time trying to understand it from their point of view.
And then we say “but you don’t understand my point of view.”
And we wonder why they block traffic so we’ll listen.
I finally watched The Hateful Eight this week and as much as I love Westerns and as much as I love Quentin Tarantino, I have a problem with the movie. As I began to consider things, it became clear I have a problem with the last three Tarantino films and they are all basically the same problem.
This problem involves spoilers. So read with caution.
I know this new Pope is cool and all but he seems to be swayed by Bill Donahue and the Catholic league in regards to Charlie Hebdo. This week he has suggested that freedom of expression should be limited when it is directed at religion. He stopped short of blaming the victim, as Donahue did, so full credit for avoiding that rhetorical pitfall.
Now I understand there need to be certain limits to freedom of expression. If your idea of freedom of expression is to get pictures of yourself peeing on local sports players in the middle of a game, that shouldn’t be allowed.
If, however, you want to make a cartoon criticizing religion or, as I do, regularly criticize religion in a blog, that freedom should absolutely be allowed and welcomed.
Religion is an institution. Like politics. Nobody argues that we should stop making fun of politicians because we might offend someone who voted for them, do they?
Yet a religion should be afforded a special right? We should limit those who would make fun of religion because…why? God can’t take it? Mohammed can’t take it?
Sorry, Francis. Charlie Hebdo’s satire may not be your cup of tea but freedom of expression means they have as much right to do what they do as you have to criticize it.