Audience Participation

A famous American radio personality died last week. And we rejoiced.

We didn’t just rejoice. We had fun with his death. We fantasized about it. We added him to our Great American Tour of Ignominy, peeing on graves across the land.

We weren’t alone — “Rest in Piss” became an instantly popular expression. Those souls incapable of the full urinary imagination settled themselves with the thought of dancing on his final resting place.

Great fun was had by all!

And then, surely as night follows day, the scolds came out.

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You have to wonder what it will take.

Let’s set aside the polls showing that half of white folks still plan on voting for Donald Trump, despite everything. Last we checked, he was holding a ten-point lead over Biden with the melanin-deficient — half his 2016 margin among haoles, so there’s been some improvement.

The rest? Lost souls. You may have encountered a few on Facebook.

So when we wonder what it will take, we’re not talking about them. We’re talking about the rest of us. And we’re asking, well, we’re asking how long the rest of us will put up with this shit.

Or at least enough of us.

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We thought we were going to talk about Tulsa.

There’s a lot to say about Tulsa. How it was supposed to be the Tyrant’s triumphant return to public life. How he would once again ramble on before an adoring crowd. How it was originally deliberately scheduled to step on Juneteenth, in the city where a racist massacre happened a century ago. How his campaign hyped the registration numbers, which were wildly inflated by kids monkeywrenching the online signup. How, in the end, the 19,000-seat arena was only a third full.

There’s a lot to say, but we didn’t know where to start.

And then we saw this photo.

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Here’s all we really know right now:

It’s gonna take eighteen months to get through this.

That’s the time it takes to discover, test, manufacture, and distribute a vaccine.

Eighteen months.

Best case.

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First off: Yay.

We have no interest in capital punishment. No faith in it, really. As administered, there’s no justice in it — statistically, guess who’s executed disproportionately — and much cruelty, especially with states freestyling their lethal cocktails in recent years. There’s also no certainty to it — innocents die — and then, if you’d like to get into some geeky theoretical chatter about The State, we’re there for it.

But we’re no gentle pacifist. Sometimes you just wanna fry the bastard. But state executions are problematic in theory and application, so you settle for the justice that’s otherwise available and appropriate under law.

Unless some asshole wants to spend long, painful minutes asphyxiating himself while dangling from the ceiling, in which case, y’know, sometimes shit takes care of itself.


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It always arrives with the force of a hurricane.

Trump provokes. America reacts.

Every time.

Without fail.

It’s happening right now. Trump provoked. Something about Baltimore. But it wasn’t really about Baltimore. It was about the black congressman representing Baltimore. It was about the black people living in Baltimore.

But it wasn’t even about that.

It was about black people.

That was the provocation.

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We thought we understood fascism.

The American kind, anyway. The kind that almost consumed the country in the 1930s, as it had consumed others. The kind rooted in economic depression, in desperation, in opportunistic leadership. The kind rooted in fantasy, a quick fix to an unsolvable, unendurable crisis.

We thought we understood that.

We thought we understood that all problems are economic, when you cut through the bullshit. Healthy countries — economically healthy countries — don’t have these problems. We all get by, we all get along. We all have a roof over our heads.

We wuz wrong.

And thing is, we knew this. After all, we had lived through it. Still are.

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