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

December 16-18, 2014

Been thinking a lot about anarchy lately, spurred on by the recent protests & the inevitable police intelligence reports about the anarchist bugaboo

If you go read the DPD After Action Report from 12/5, and then read the TriAnarchy blog post from the same event, it’s almost possible to synthesize a single accurate account from the two of them, since their competing filters kind of cancel each other out.

Which kind of reinforces the notion that if Scary Anarchists didn’t already exist, the police would have to invent them. The symbiotic relationship is just too perfect.

Of course there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that the police in some jurisdictions are more than happy to put on hoodies & bandannas and play the part.

Anyway. I don’t think my thoughts about anarchy as a political philosophy are even all that salient here. I would love to see capitalism dismantled, or at least severely crippled, but the last thing we need in a nation with 30 million loose guns is a complete breakdown in civil society.

I do wish that more white people would be more willing to listen to people of color when engaging in demonstrations focused on issues that disproportionately affect people of color.

Here are some bullet points I found useful:

imagevia https://twitter.com/onekade/status/543202210516303872/photo/1


imagevia https://twitter.com/onekade/status/543205255312576512/photo/1

I know there are some folks locally who disagree with the premise of those bullet points. I might politely suggest that those folks should go protest in Raleigh or something. Lord knows Raleigh needs a wake-up call.

Tuesday night I read a month’s worth of New Yorker magazines. “read.” At least 15% of each issue.

Wednesday night we watched The Skeleton Twins. Bill Hader is outstanding in it. Kristin Wiig does her best – it’s no Whip It, mind you. It was a definite rental & honestly I’d probably recommend waiting until it hits Prime.

Thursday night we watched Dead Calm, a movie that gooned the crap out of me when I watched it at home alone late one night when I was in college. It had less power tonight, on the sofa with M, pre-10pm. But it’s still a damn tight little suspense/thriller. 

December 16-18, 2014

November 21, 2014

Came home from work, read the movie section of the Friday Times, ate dinner at Toast. Walked by Letters Bookshop on the way home & M wanted to go in, which is how I wound up buying The Things They Carried and a late-90s collection of Christgau essays, Grown Up All Wrong.

I’ve never read any Tim O’Brien and now seems like a good time to change that. The Christgau will go on the shelf next to all of the Consumer Guide books & will eventually get read.

M didn’t buy anything. 

Did some debating about whether to fly to NYC in February to see John Cameron Mitchell in his 8-week run as Hedwig. Current thinking is that it’s not quite worth it. Had we heard about it the instant tickets had gone on sale, and been able to get aisle seats in the first 6 rows, it’d probably be a different story.

It’s late November, so there are actually around a half-dozen movies playing in Durham (or at the Raleigh Grande) that we’d like to see. Half of them will be gone by the end of this coming week. I’m well aware of the market forces that dictate studio release schedules (it’s just as bad in the music world), but it does suck to be a moviegoer in a tertiary market.

So of course we didn’t go see anything after dinner. Had a discussion with friends at Toast about the fact that the Carolina now seems to have some kind of repertory double feature in their various “Retro” series literally Every Single Friday. I wonder how many people they got out to see The Odd Couple last night. 

Today [Saturday], just before sitting down to write this, I walked to Geer St. for lunch. On my way out of our building, I ran into a couple of guys who first spare-changed me, and then asked for directions to some sort of apocryphal market on Queen Street, or a parking lot, or something. And then went walking off up the street, checking car door handles (including mine).

I didn’t call the cops. The folks on the neighborhood listserv would be really disappointed in me. Instead I spent my entire walk over to Geer St. mulling over white supremacy & global capitalism. 

I didn’t come to any useful conclusions.

November 21, 2014