I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
May 03, 2017 - 10:34 a.m.
It's only 8:49 and I'm starting to write! I got up early today. Probably not a great idea as I have a long day ahead. You know how I talked about seeing "Fearless Girl" and the 2nd Ave subway yesterday? I didn't do either. I did get out of the house, all the way to the mail box two blocks away. I can't remember the last time I mailed something from a mailbox. It was a wedding invitation. I mailed it back a week before it was due. For me that's an accomplishment. The RSVP envelope had no adhesive on it? Is that a thing now? Is it because George's fiancée died from licking invitation envelopes on Seinfeld? I had to get creative to seal it.
My digestive system is back to normal. I knew it was just a matter of time; it wasn't a Crohn's attack but it is a relief to not be thinking about my intestines. They wouldn't let me forget them for a few days.
I could say I celebrated with jerk chicken and fried plantains for dinner but I'd have eaten that in any event. It's what I had out. I still get satisfaction from making chicken perfectly. I could probably be like Wade Boggs and each chicken every day; there are so many ways to prepare it.
I'm watching Iron Fist on Netflix. Am I the only one that likes it? All I read is negative things about it. It's the worst of the Netflix Marvel shows but it still fits in. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist work as one multi-character show. They are far more integrated than The Name of the Game was. All the story lines are coming together. There is a series coming up where they all work together. Jessica Jones is still my favorite.
This is a first, I have friends nominated for Tony awards, David Hein and Irene Carl Sankoff. Their musical, Come from Away, was nominated for seven awards, including best Original Musical, Best Score, and Best Book of a Musical. I've heard the score and loved it. It's not just songs, it tells the story.
Now to get serious though I'm going to give this topic far less depth than it deserves as I have to leave in not that long. I'm going out to Jersey to do a radio show with Brian.
I read this article, Police Account Changes in the Killing of Texas 15-Year-Old. A police officer fired a rifle at a car with black teenagers in it. A 15-year-old passenger, Jordan Edwards was shot and killed. The police said that the car was driving aggressively in reverse and the officer shot in self-defense. The body camera footage showed that the car was driving away from the police.
What prompted me to write was all the quotes from people about the kid. They discussed his 3.5 grade point average, that he was popular, a football player. A friend's father said, "He was not a thug. This shouldn't happen to him."
There is a lot to unpack there. Saying "This shouldn't happen to him" implies that it should happen to other people. There was the need to say he wasn't a thug. I was concerned with how much space the article devotes to saying how good the kid was.
I wasn't the only one concerned with this. There was a response in the New York Times. "He Was Not A Thug": Questions of Language Trail Police Killings. Go read that now.
It's become common to denigrate the Times, the president does it all the time. I still find it indispensable. Thanks to budget issues they cannot spend the time and money editing like they used to but they still strive to be accurate and fair. Sure, they will fail sometimes, they make thousands of decisions every day, some will be wrong. But look what they did here, they published an in-house criticism of their own article.
There are some things that require further exploration. When there's a killing there's always a hagiography of the victim. When the cops kill someone, there is often a hagiography of the killer. Of course, the victim's friends and family will say nice things about him. I never saw the value in asking that. As one of the letters to the Times pointed out the cops don't know what the victim was like so it's irrelevant. The hagiography can backfire when facts come out that cast the victim in a different light. In Michael Brown's case the cops released information about him that was unknown to the officer that killed him. That's the flip side. The police often try and demonize the victim.
It doesn't make a difference if the victim was a model citizen or a gangster. He was a human being. All men were not created equal but all are equal before the law. That is the ideal. If someone used drugs or even sold drugs. If someone was a petty criminal or a mugger, he still doesn't deserve to die. What if Jordan wasn't popular? What if he was a socially inept kid with no friends? Would that make his death less tragic? No, it wouldn't. It doesn't change the cop's culpability at all. He knew nothing of his character or history. He did know he was black. Sadly, that has a huge difference on how cops treat a person.
There is one big difference between this killing of a black teen or man and the others; the cop involved has been fired. The police did not circle the wagons. They admitted he was wrong. That is huge. If that becomes the norm relations between blacks and the police will improve. It might even lead to fewer blacks being killed.
OK, now to eat then run over to Jersey. Like the Times I do not have the time or resources to properly edit this. I'm sure I'm forgetting things I wanted to write. You can make up for that by thinking about this yourself. That's thinking, not feeling. Not just anger. Put yourself in the place of Jordan, his brother who was driving. Put yourself in the place of the cop that shot him and his colleagues and the chief of police. Think from their points of view.
Popping the Cork - May 08, 2017
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