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I’m discovering that my not being angry about some things makes angry people angrier. Sometimes really angry, and I feel a twinge of anger in response about something I’m not even angry about. I’m learning to not say anything about anything I’m not angry about and focus only on things that really piss me off, like this.
My wife comes in with the mail. You got a new New York Review of Books she says, handing it to me. Thank god, a distraction. Facebook is a minefield and Twitter a massacre. Rachel Maddow just said penis a second time in five minutes on MSNBC. Film of Trump being a pig and Cosby being led to prison and more talk of Kavanaugh’s virginity. I switch off the TV and pick up the magazine. THE FALL OF MEN the cover said. Sigh. I put it down and flip on the radio. Joni Mitchell. Oh no. I never liked Joni Mitchell, but never felt guilty about it before. I turn off the radio and I switch on an old movie channel. Stella! yells Brando.
Having been a virgin once myself, I feel compelled to point out that there is nothing in any of the accusations against Brent Kavanaugh that would have terminated his own status as a virgin. He humiliated himself on national television for no reason at all. Kavanaugh still could be guilty of sexual assault, but now Trump thinks he’s a sissy. Oh the irony.
Saw a post about how democracy and civil rights have not changed much in the 250 years of American history. That it remains much as it stood when the country began. I replied with this:
If you say the country hasn’t changed very much you’re saying that all the progress thus far has been for naught. It’s changed vastly and for the better, it just can be even better. I remember back when I worked for the UFW we were delivering food to an impoverished farm workers camp on a ranch outside Santa Paula. It wasn’t the worst such camp I’d seen but this one was engaged in a strike and was being threatened with mass evictions. We did a helluva lot of work supporting that cause. A couple years ago I was telling Fyl that story as we drove down the 126 and noticed we’d missed our turn and needed to go back. I pulled into a driveway and I realized that this was the site of that wretched encampment but now I was looking at a rows of clean, modern farm workers housing that I didn’t even know was there. No filthy outhouses. No raw sewage in open ditches. No kids playing in dirt. This was the direct result of the big effort the UFW to get the filthy old camp replaced by decent housing. Don’t tell me a couple centuries of civil rights struggles have gotten us nowhere.
And let me add this now, that I think we get carried away by the unreality of virtual reality into not seeing what has really been done and why we have to keep doing more. We’re all keyboard warriors here and keyboard warriors’ fingers tire quickly. But civil rights and democracy are real world things that impact real people, even us. They require much more than our fired up fingers. They require commitment and not just our opinion. We are winning and have been winning, it’s just that the struggle is a never ending one.
So cheer up and vote.
It’s sort of like Lyndon LaRouche won the presidency. Just as weird, just as paranoid, just as out of it. His acolytes were complete nutcases. We laughed back then. Then some idiot invented the internet.
The George Bush chimp meme set off the meme wars, if only because he was president when Facebook took off in a big way. As soon as Obama was elected the Right–especially the Tea Party–went nuts with their own vicious memes. And now with Trump we return the favor. And it’ll keep happening because each side holds the other side to rules that they themselves do not abide by. Which is nothing new, the pamphlets and newspapers in the 18th and 19th century were incredibly offensive and insulting and just as low brow as anything you see on your iPhone today. And both sides back then raged the same way we are all raging now, mortally offended by what the other side posts and finding all sorts of excuses for posting their own. Calls for censorship abounded, like they abound now, though the First Amendment prevented that for the most part. Now, though, with Facebook and Twitter essentially privatizing communication in ways that Ronald Reagan never imagined, wholesale censorship is possible in social media because the internet is somehow not considered to exist in the same heady constitutional air as the airwaves. Funny seeing the conservative stance on the internet suddenly condemned by outraged conservatives bewildered by the First Amendment. And funny too watching progressives defend social media as privately owned and free from those First Amendment restrictions. Meanwhile memes are fading, replaced by furious bursts of words. Not particularly intelligent words, necessarily, but words nonetheless. We’re getting oddly literate in the Age of Trump, even as Trump himself can barely tweet a coherent sentence.
My saxophonist pal Chuck Manning took this shot last year from the JPL parking lot. I had thought it was some NASA publicity stunt. But no, it was real, and someone called ICE who found a couple leprechauns at its end, impounded their gold, seized their pot and deported them back to Ireland.