May 7-13, 2015

Last Thursday? No idea. Friday night we went to Chapel Hill *and* Carrboro. Had a lovely dinner at Sandwhich. Durham has Toast, but it needs about 12 other places where you can get a healthy dinner for $10 or less. 

Then we went to Carrboro to see Bronwyn’s portraits of roosters rescued from a cockfighting ring. She may still have some that haven’t sold yet. If you see one you like, let her know. Most of the money from sales of the paintings will go to the sanctuary where the roosters are now living.

Saturday we saw Welcome to Me. That was some uneasy enjoyment, right there. It was funny, but it was funny because the main character has Borderline Personality Disorder & is off her meds for most of the movie. Kristen Wiig. Is funny. And very affecting, actually, which is why I wound up feeling OK about the whole thing – her character is entirely sympathetic throughout. But it was uneasy.

Sunday was Mother’s Day *and* Duke graduation, so everything in town was utter chaos. Dashi opened for lunch, though, and either nobody knew about it, or nobody wanted to take Mom to a ramen place for brunch, so I had a bowl of ramen without any hassles. 

Honestly, though, I can’t eat at Dashi that often. Those bowls look small, but they’re filling, and they’re loaded with delicious calories. I always feel overstuffed when I’m rolling home from the ramen shop, because it’s too delicious to stop eating before the bowl is empty.

Tuesday I was driving home from work and I heard a horrible human being (Arthur Brooks, of the American Enterprise Institute) on NPR say the following: “The poor are not having their money taken away and given to the rich. To the extent that we can get away from the notion that the rich are stealing from the poor, then we can look at this in a way that I think is instructive.”

He was sort of followed by a sort-of rebutting quote from Elizabeth Warren, but NPR didn’t go far enough to elucidate the lies in his statement. Because THE RICH ARE STEALING FROM THE POOR. Every day. Subprime lending. Check cashing + payday loans. The enormous increase in productivity (value of work product / cost of labor) compared to the complete stagnation of wages. Where do you think that difference has gone? The rich have stolen the labor of the working class forever, but they’ve gotten markedly more effective at it over the past 30+ years.

Tuesday night I drove to Carrboro to see Ryley Walker. There were a couple of openers added in the week prior to the show, and I wasn’t thrilled about a 3-band bill on a Tuesday night. But one of those openers was Elephant Micah, who are now a North Carolina band. And they were great. I love that variety of surprise.

Ryley Walker started out his set playing a 12-string acoustic & just strumming the shit out of it, and it was TOO MUCH JANGLE for my head. And he was over-singing and it was all just too much. Frustrating. Once he switched to 6-string, everything was immediately a whole lot better. It was just Ryley and another guy on electric guitar, though, and it never reached the level of brilliance of his full-band NYC show that NYC Taper caught in March.

Wednesday was just work & then after-work meetings of all varieties. I ate a slice of pizza for the first time in over a year, and it was magical. Took 7 Lactaid tablets with it. I realized later that part of my problem with pizza is the same as everyone else’s: It’s delicious, so you eat like 17 pieces at a sitting. That’s probably more of my problem than the lactose intolerance. So pizza by the slice (and willpower) is the way to go for me. So far so good.

May 7-13, 2015

February 8-11, 2015

Been thinking about terrorism, for sadly obvious reasons.

I suppose to begin with it’s necessary to arrive at a working definition of terrorism. I’m going to do this without resorting to a dictionary, because of course. So, terrorism:

  • violence
  • dislocated, spatially or temporally, from an active battlefield
  • performed to further some ideological purpose
  • via the inspiration of fear/anxiety in some larger group

Is that sufficient? Is that too constrained? Are there well-known acts commonly classified as “terrorist” that wouldn’t meet that definition? I think for the moment we can say that’s a reasonable definition.

So there’s this dialogue happening around the murders in Chapel Hill. It goes like this: One side says: If it were a Muslim killing three [white | American | Christian | etc] people, everyone would be screaming terrorism. And then the other side says: Dude was clearly crazy, yakked off about parking spaces, hated all his neighbors, threatened everybody.

The thing that I have missed so far, in this discussion, is much, if any admission by anyone that even if he was a lone angry maladjusted dude upset about parking, even if he had murdered Normal White Christian People, it is still terrorism.

But but but but, sputter the rationalists, what is the ideological purpose?

The preservation of white cis-het male supremacy. To wit: You don’t fuck with the white man. The white man built this country (he says, and maybe even believes), and the white man deserves your fucking respect. The white man has lived through a LOT of SHIT in his life so far, but goddamnit you can only push him so far. And if you push him too far, well, HE JUST MIGHT SNAP.

This ideology, of course, is so pervasive, so thoroughly integrated into the fabric of American society, that it’s invisible to [other white] people. So pervasive that it doesn’t require coordination, doesn’t require any kind of formal statement on the part of the Patriarchal Terrorist that what he’s doing is for the good of the patriarchy.

It is sufficient merely to periodically remind everyone that some unknown percentage of [mostly white] American Males are potentially armed and batshit crazy. 

This is the thread that runs through such a horribly large percentage of the multiple murders that have happened over the past couple of decades. It is not even necessary that the person be deemed sane or responsible, provided that at least one witness can be found who will say “I can’t imagine why he would do something like that.” HE MUST HAVE JUST SNAPPED.

All that is necessary is that the gun industry be allowed to continue to supply an infinite number of firearms to anyone who wants them. This is essential. There was probably a time when the Church, the Government, the General Social Order were united in their resolve to preserve patriarchy & white supremacy, and that unified locus of control made it less necessary for Every Single Man to be individually armed.

Nowadays, the patriarchy’s hold on those institutions is marginally less secure than it once was, thereby necessitating the diffusion of the threat of deadly force outward into the general population of men. 

Am I suggesting that every gun murder committed by a man is an act of terrorism on behalf of the patriarchy? Well, yeah, actually, now that I think about it, I am. It’s almost impossible to avoid that conclusion, in fact.

Footnote to this: The Chapel Hill killer’s favorite movie, per his ex-wife, is the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down, you know, the one about the ordinary middle-aged law-abiding white man who one day JUST SNAPS.

In other news, I have a cold. I didn’t watch the Grammys. I no longer have an opinion about anything that happened there, even if I maybe had one the other day. I’ve mostly spent the past 3-4 days working, reading comic books, and being horrified by the internet & the outside world.

February 8-11, 2015