Yesterday, I posted a righteous little rant about people not wearing masks, starring the North Hollywood (California) Trader Joe’s Karen, who became unhinged because she had to wear a mask, called people Democratic pigs, dropped a few f-bombs, and stormed out.
Today, listening to the radio (Gary and Shannon, live everywhere on that IHeartRadio app), I heard a new perspective, and I have to admit–I was wrong.
Not about wearing the mask; I was right about that.
I was wrong in my reaction to whoever happens to be pitching a fit in front of a camera and having their performance posted to social media and eventually (in the case of the North Hollywood woman) on the news.
A couple of weeks ago, another Los Angeles area “Karen” made the news for similar ranting. In her case, she was upset about people who weren’t “American,” specifically a woman of Asian decent and a person just trying to park their car.
In this case, the woman is well-known around the Torrance, California area as having significant mental health issues and not always being on her meds.
That fact doesn’t diminish the impact of her words on her targets, nor does it excuse them. But it does make the picture more nuanced. Maybe instead of shaming her, she should be helped. As you can see by the branding on the image, she made the news, too.
In another weekend eruption posted on the socials, a guy named Lloyd V. Crawford from Germantown, TN, angrily confronted a guy for standing on a street corner with a sign. Lloyd asked him if he was from Germantown, then told him to get out of his town. To help things along, Lloyd displayed his business card for the guy to record and post.
There’s nothing to indicate that Lloyd isn’t who he says he is. But his company website doesn’t include his picture and I can’t find a picture outside the screen captures from Twitter.
In other words, if I really wanted to screw with Lloyd V. Crawford’s life, all I’d need to do is get one of his business cards, find someone with a sign and phone, and go to town.
Going forward, I’ll be more selective about jumping on social media bandwagons. I’ll try to find out if there’s more to the story.
This weekend, the North Hollywood Trader Joe’s opened for the first time. And it made news because of this lady.
If you watch the video all the way through, it includes a tweet from a Trader Joe’s employee who says these rants happen frequently. And though Trader Joe’s pays really well as a grocery store, it’s not enough to subject you to that.
The fact that some people can’t or shouldn’t wear the masks means the rest of us should. Even if you think 1.2 million soldiers died since this country was created just so you don’t have to, at least recognize that the people who work on the floor are (1) in a high-risk category by virtue of the job and (2) have no control over policy.
Even if your shouting in their faces doesn’t add to their risk (the science seems to indicate it does), do you really want to treat people that way? I thought America was about working hard and making something of yourself. These guys are just doing their just trying to get the to end of the day, same as you.
And what about the people who really can’t or shouldn’t wear a mask? There’s no official indicator, no equivalent to the handicapped sticker. While they shouldn’t be harangued out of every store they enter, the store workers are human, too. If the first ten people without masks are dillweeds about it, even reasonable people might not listen to person eleven.
Maybe that’s what the screamers want. Maybe the goal is to fluster everyone to a no-tolerance state and validate your original selfish point: See, that person has a valid medical condition and they’re even making him wear the damn masks.
He might not be in this fix if people who could wear the mask–we’ll call them you–grew up and wore one. You aren’t Earl Weaver and this isn’t the NBC Game of the Week.
People with medical conditions deserve some respect and compassion. They’re already stressed about this who stupid Covid thing. If #AllLivesMatter, why don’t the diabetics’ lives matter? Or the elderly? Or the morbidly obese? Or the woman who put the damn Jo-Jos on the shelf so you could dip them in milk?
And what about the people who can’t wear a mask, you get their asses kicked every time they go out in public because you had to be a belligerent three-year-old?
Or maybe that AllLivesMatter hashtag is really just meaningless noise.
The University of Oregon and Oregon State have agreed to stop using the term Civil War to describe their sporting rivalry because, as Oregon State President Ed Ray said, the Civil War was fought to preserve slavery. (The fact that it was also fought to end slavery clearly isn’t relevant.)
Maybe it’s just as well. Maybe we’ll need it back to describe what’s happening away from the playing field in Oregon and the other 49 states.
The following tweet includes video taken from The Villages, a giant retirement community in north-central Florida. You might know it was the national leader in sexually transmitted diseases. I guess when you’re retired and you live in the middle of Florida, there’s not much else to do.
Apparently, there was a giant golf-cart parade of Trump supporters that brought out the Trump destractors in roughly equal number.
Based on the video, it appears that the STD rate might start decline a little. It’s hard to have sexytime with someone when you think the embody everything that’s wrong with humanity.
The most striking thing about the video was that pretty everyone in it was acting like a three year old who just got told it was nap time and they didn’t want hear it. Everyone was eager to make their point and no one was willing to listen to the other person’s point.
The goal of the parade and the response was to provoke the subhuman morons on the other side. The guy who shouted “White power” might be racist or he might be trying to get a rise out of the protesters. And Ms. F*** Trump wasn’t highlighting the finer points of her disagreements on policy matters.
At one point, after a guy on a golf cart stops, a woman stands in front of his cart, knowing that he’ll want to move foward. When he does, she can flop like a mens soccer player and claim she was viciously assaulted.
That’s the state of our political debate these days, from the woke moral leaders who want to cancel everything from The Masters to any white depiction of Jesus to the term Civil War, to the MAGA supporters who view even the mildest criticism of their President as an attack on truth, justice, and the American way.
Lost in the screaming is the ability to understand the other side. For me, it was Anthony Lynn’s story that resonated. The guy’s an accomplished professional football coach, who gets pulled over and asked if he’s a convict or on parole. But it’s also the demands that police not respond to domestic violence calls any more.
Domestic violence calls are a crapshoot. You never know what’s going on or where the danger might come from. Sending someone unarmed as a matter of policy might not turn out well for the people you send.
Instead of stripping police budgets to the bone, maybe spend more of the money on de-escalation training and mental health support. Given what officers see in the course of their jobs, it’s crazy to think PTSD isn’t an issue.
But we should also be looking into ways to allow the police to partner with other agencies and look beyond keeping the peace to achieving the peace with less collateral damage. When you’re a hammer, after a while everything starts to look like a nail.
It’s not fair to the citizens or the police to make them the primary resource for everything, from violent crime to mental health issues.
I didn’t hold this opinion a month ago. I evolved to it by listening to people, considering their opinions, and adjusting to new information.
The people at the golf cart rally–on both sides–aren’t capable of that. It’s likely that some are racists and some are social justice warriors–each totally certain of their stances, but also potentially wrong.
I’d like to think some aren’t. Some are reasonable, frustrated, scared people, who see the country going to hell and don’t know what to do about it.
Maybe we should start there and find points of agreement on things that cam be done to help. Those discussions are hard. They’re uncomfortable.
Culturally, we’re not capable of those conversations any more. Rather than seek a solution, we seek to push the blame on them. We seek to be heard, only pausing to throw light on the most grotesque parody of the other side.
I’ve done it myself. People I know and respect have admitted that civil discourse when they disagree is becoming more difficult. Personally, I like with people I disagree with. I’d love, if we can ever do this again, to go have a pint with them.
If we can’t listen, the Oregon-Oregon State Civil War will look like a love tap.
When If the NFL season starts this year Colin Kaepernick is very likely to be standing on a sideline as a backup quarterback. If he is, he won’t be the only one kneeling during the National Anthem. Given the events of the last couple of months, a lot of players will kneel.
If that happens, it’s likely that President Trump call out the kneelers as anti-American punks who disrepect the flag, the country, and all good things. And if that happens, a chorus of people, primarily on the right, will tell the athletes to shut up and play. That sports and politics don’t and shouldn’t mix.
Respectfully, sports and politics have mixed for longer than most of us have been alive. When Jessie Owens dominated in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, it was widely (and inaccurately) reported that Hitler, on seeing a black man dominate his Aryans, left that day’s games in an embarrassed huff. It was viewed as a political defeat for Hitler.
In 1968, US athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fists in a black power salute at the Mexico City Olympics. In the 1972 Munich Olympics, Palestinian terrorists abducted and killed 11 Israeli athletes. In 1980, the US Hockey team upset the heavily favored Soviet team in Lake Placid, a political statement for everyone who started chanting U-S-A. The same year, the US boycotted the Moscow Summer Olympics, a political statement against Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. in 1984, the Eastern Bloc retaliated for the 1984 games in Los Angeles.
And in perhaps the most political move in US sports history, on April 15, 1947, the Brooklyn Dodgers started Jackie Robinson at first base, making him the first black ballplayer in more than 60 major league baseball seasons.
There had been efforts to break the color barrier during that time. Notably, Bill Veeck wanted to buy the Philadelphia Phillies, but when it was found he intended to stock the team with Negro League stars, his bid to buy the club was rejected. Veeck’s move was deemed political.
Today’s players aren’t breaking a sacred barrier; they’re continuing a tradition that dates back at least 84 years.
Sports, at its core, is a performing art. Marveling at a gymnast, shortstop, or shooting guard is no different than marveling at a dancer. And though many people aren’t thrilled with overt political messages in their entertainment, a lot of popular culture is marbled with political and racial statements, from All in the Family and Blazing Saddles through Family Matters (the Urkel show) and Rush Limbaugh’s appearance on The Drew Carey Show. In a season eight episode, Thomas Magnum even read William F. Buckley’s National Review.
I don’t want every second of a ballgame to focus primarily on my white privilege and latent guilt for what’s happened to people of color, women, LGBTQIA+ people, non-Christians, and everyone else who isn’t a WASP. And I’m not a fan about Bob Costas using halftime to lecture the world on the evils of gun ownership. But it’s not realistic to expect a ban on political statements during games, especially when they often start with the field covered with an American flag and military flyovers.
The same rights that allowed that John 3:16 guy into ballgames and allowed Tim Tebow to put Bible verses on his eye black, allow Lebron James to wear protest shirts, Colin Kaepernick to kneel, and Tom Sellect to work a conservative magazine into his TV show.
There is no line, real or imaginary, between performance art (including sports) and politics.
It’s a political world right now and it would be ridiculous to expect that to end inside a stadium. What people really mean–on both sides–is that only their politics should be marbled through sports and entertainment.
I have this independent streak. Always have. It started when I was a teenager. If I more or less did what my parents wanted, they more or less let me do what I wanted. No curfew. No helicoptering. Just live and let live.
I guess that’s why I became a political conservative. There are some things government excels at. Providing a military. Keeping the peace, more or less. Keeping up infrastructure. (So yes, that means I’m okay using a government running path without considering that socialism.)
In general, as long as you’re note hitting someone else’s nose, you ought to be able to swing your arms wherever you want without someone from the government impeding that right. In fact, everyone should.
A Facebook friend, a decent women, even though her politics are often wrong, posted something today about how conservatives want their guns and not to have their masks because they don’t care about other people. There was much agreement.
The political movement led by the President and his followers isn’t conservatism. It’s a myopic, unfeeling, uncaring narcissism that honors its leader as its God and can’t see beyond the end of its nose, except to honor his vision of the moment.
The Second Amendment isn’t unlimited. You don’t get to own surface-to-air missiles. Unless you find yourself warring with the neighborhood Colombian drug lord, you don’t need to fire a brazilian shots without reloading. Since the overwhelming majority of American neighborhoods don’t have Colombian drug lords, that seems like a valid argument.
And when it comes to masks, my grandparents had to restrict their use of butter, sugar, and any number of other things we consider necessities because their was a war on. People were dying. I’m sure they grumbled about it, but they didn’t storm the local state capitol building with enough firepower to arm a Michael Bay movie.
You can get on Facebook and whine about wearing masks and no one disappears you in the middle of the night. That means that we’re not in danger of becoming the second Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. We don’t need a scrappy band of freedom fighters running around yelling Wolverines!
I’m a Reagan conservative. He got some stuff wrong, but what he got right was a vision of America as a shining city on a hill. An open city. A place of excitement and possibility, not fear anger, and exclusion.
My wife is diabetic. She’s in a high risk category for the Covid. I have type A blood. According to some studies, I’m more likely to catch the Covid.
Your refusal to wear a mask or to stay home from mass gatherings is the figurative equivalent of swinging your arm and punching my face, or my wife’s face.
See, a true conservative wouldn’t do that. A true conservative knows that opportunity isn’t a zero-sum game, and it comes with responsibility. Conservatives believe in the social contract. And if you’re a Christian conservative, there’s that whole love your neighbor and take up your cross thing.
Putting a piece of fabric over your face when you’re in a group setting isn’t a heavy cross to bear.
And honestly, if my grandparents were around to hear you whine about it, they’d throw that book of ration coupons they held onto in your face.
I doubt they’re still there, but in 10th grade, in Mrs. Andolina’s room at Bishop Scully High School, we used to tie the draw strings for the blinds into nooses. Not slip knots, but real nooses, with the rope doubled back, thirteen loops (per spec), and the tail tucked in the double-back loop.
It was a long time ago in super white upstate New York. To me, a noose was something that made a periodic appearance in Gunsmoke and Bonanza and other old-people shows. And there was that time in Blazing Saddles where the executioner was going to hang a criminal and his horse.
That was <mumble mumble> years ago. Thing were different. We were smart asses and there was no racial component to making the nooses.
Last week, a noose was found in black driver Bubba Wallace’s garage at the Talladega Superspeedway, just a few days after NASCAR banned confederate flags at its events.
The FBI investigated and the noose predated Wallace being assigned that garage, so it (1) wasn’t aimed at him and (2) couldn’t have been planted by Wallace himself in a stupid Jussie Smollett wannabe adventure. The fact that item 2 needs to be said is a bit of an embarrassment.
For his part, Wallace says it’s not much comfort that the noose wasn’t intended for him because it was still there, intended for someone.
It’s reasonable to consider that the noose might be there because someone was being a smart ass, the way 10th grade Chris was in the English classroom. If that’s your only mindset, I’d ask you to think again.
Think of it from Bubba Wallace’s point of view. There’s been no shortage of race-based anger recently, a good deal of it around NASCAR as the result of the Confederate flag ban. Unsurprisingly, Wallace has received death threats and has been assigned extra security at the track. In that context, if you were told of a noose in your garage–and only your garage–what would you think?
That it’s reasonable for Wallace to react as he did doesn’t mean the person who did it was racist. But it’s not <mumble mumble> years ago. In this context, a noose has other meanings.
There have been six people of color (five men and a woman) found hanging since Memorial Day. Suffocating, including hanging, is the second most common means of suicide in all men, all women and all blacks. There’s no data to indicate that six suicides by hanging among blacks in a little less than a month is or is not a statistical aberration. In short, while there could be an uptick in lynchings, there’s no data to support that assumption.
The recent cases in Houston and in the Los Angeles area have been ruled suicides. While it seems more reasonable to believe the investigations than to assume a cover-up, in light of overall events, you can also understand while that conclusion isn’t universal.
In summary, don’t make a noose in your tenth-grade English teacher’s classroom or any other public place. Think of how you’d feel if you were a person of color in this environment and encountered it.
And while it’s reasonable to assume a person of color would take the noose as an implied threat, that may not always be the case. That’s why investigations are important before reaching a conclusion.
The newest outrage over racist content in popular media is when Julie Andrews, cockney Dick Van Dyke, and a mess of other people are covered in soot during Mary Poppins, specifically during the song “Step In Time”.
Because my daughter watched Mary Poppins at least once a day from the time she turned two until the time she got into middle school (slight exaggeration), I can speak authoritatively on this subject.
This isn’t the newest outrage. The outrage dates to February 2019, when University of Oregon professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner said the scene was racist. It’s not some new ridiculousness coming out of CHOP or CHAZ or whatever they’re calling it today. Someone found it and started posting om the socials it to throw shade at the movement and divide people.
There’s a trace of legitimacy to the claim. It wasn’t just the supposed blackface–actually soot because chimneys and sweeping and stuff. According to Pollack-Pelzner, author PL Travers used chimney sweeps as proxy black people, pointing to another story where a sweep reaching toward a woman to have her say, “Don’t touch me, you black heathen.” Further, Admiral Boom, the lunatic who sets of explosives from his roof because he thinks he’s on a ship, shouts “We’re being attacked by Hottentots!” Hottentots, according to the prof is a slur for black South Africans, but…
Admiral Boom is a lunatic and a fool. The guy thinks his roof is a ship deck. He sets off explosives from it. This is the equivalent of Blazing Saddles’ Howard Johnson dropping the n-word. The Waco Kid is appropriate here, saying “You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.” Admiral Boom is clearly a moron and that’s the point.
Daniel Pollack-Pelzner is a paternalistic white guy. When I Googled this, I didn’t find anything objection by the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, or any other group like that. It was one professor in one op-ed in the New York Times. Thank god that Great White Father informed people of color that they should be offended.
There are serious abuses taking place, starting with murders and extending through all manner of other actions that aren’t appropriate when you live in a free society. Dick Van Dyke jumping around a movie set as a chimney sweep covered in soot in a 56-year-old movie isn’t one of them.
Now what he did to the cockney accent, that’s another story.
I feel like crud right now. A little achy, but no fever. But really, really tired. I have a dry cough, but I’ve had that since December. Right now, I want nothing more than to go back to bed and remain there until forever.
I get this about once every six months or so and it usually goes away after a couple of days. If it were the weekend, I’d probably just veg out and nap a lot.
To be clear, I almost certainly don’t have the Covid. But I share a house with a diabetic, a person in a high-risk group.
So I’ve more or less confined myself to my office and kept a bottle of Clorox spray as a companion for when I venture out.
And this morning, when I went down and made myself breakfast and got a cup of coffee, I wore a mask.
I have a better chance of hitting Powerball than I have of actually having the Covid. I’ve observed the guidelines and though I haven’t stayed in completely, I’ve limited my trips over the past month to the doctor’s office, the supermarket, once to the community pool (where I didn’t get within six feet of anyone), and three places where we’ve eaten outside. Also, I run early in the morning when sane people are still sleeping.
I don’t have the Covid.
And yet–the impact of my being wrong would be enormous. So I Clorox the hell out of anything I touch and I started wearing a mask when I venture out of my office.
This isn’t about my rights. It’s my house and I certainly have the right to go without. It’s about caring about other people.
That’s why I don’t understand the battle royale. I don’t understand the liberty argument here. I love me some liberty. I love me some First Amendment.
Unless you view DUI laws as a threat, I don’t see any danger to liberty here. DUI laws impede your ability to do whatever you want for the safety of others. Society has decided that you don’t have the right to go get tanked, then get in a car. People die that way.
We even have checkpoints sometimes where people essentially have to prove they aren’t loaded. And somehow we’ve managed to avoid becoming the United States Socialist Republic.
You can call me a wuss, a tool, an idiot. I’ve been called worse. I’d rather catch those javelins than be wrong and responsible for the agonize death or the agonizing life after recovery that goes along with the Covid.
“Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.” — CS Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
The New York Times published an article this week about how even the walls of church aren’t thick enough to repel the divisions in society. The article pins the blame on Donald Trump’s divisive stances and rhetoric. Trump hasn’t just stoked the fires, he’s dumped as much gasoline as possible on them.
But he’s hardly alone in divisiveness. Matters of racial justice can make a lot of people uncomfortable. And purity tests can be as pervasive Sunday mornings as any other time of the week.
I was recently called out as racist over my lack of support for socialism by a member of a men’s group I’ve been in for most of the last twenty years. It made me damn uncomfortable and I didn’t respond as gracefully as I’d like. If I am racist, it’s not because I didn’t support Bernie Sanders. And a purity test like that is out of place in a Christian setting.
But to be honest, the purity test isn’t what pissed me off. I think it’s Jesus pissing me off.
I don’t remember the exact day Jesus first made me deeply uncomfortable, but I remember where I was and who I was talking to. A Director at work, letting me know that my head was up my butt when it came to interpersonal relationships and it was damaging my career, as well as making other peoples’ job more difficult than it needed to be.
I’ve been told that most people don’t look in the mirror when they get that kind of feedback. But how could I not? I’m the guy who stopped wearing the WWJD bracelets because I knew how I acted sometimes and I didn’t want other Christians associated with my actions.
The guy who talked to me that day probably walked away from the discussion a little worn out, maybe a little frazzled. He probably shook his head. I firmly believe he was doing God’s work, because he changed me.
And now this is going on. I grew up in a culture that’s whiter than a new baseball. The best way to win at hide and seek was to take your clothes off in a snowstorm.
I’ve done and said some really stupid things–even evil. I’d carelessly cut a person of color and laugh while they’re bleeding.
That was a long time ago, and that part of me has whithered away to almost nothing. But reading about Ahmaud Arbery getting ambushed during a run made me angry and uncomfortable. I can run and no one screws with me. I can run alone in the dark and nothing bad happens. That’s not true of everyone.
There’s nothing wrong with my being able to do that. It’s wrong that everyone can’t.
So when that guy called me racist, I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I’m still not comfortable about it. To be honest, it pisses me off that I’m not wearing Hawaiian shirts or that I’ve chosen not to watch or read crime fiction. And I think renaming Eskimo Pies and the Texas Rangers baseball team is ridiculous. I think law enforcement needs to be better trained and their culture needs to allow for calling out bad apples without retaliation.
But I think abolishing law enforcement is foolhardy.
Those used to be comfortable positions for me, but I’m not sure any more. I think they’re right, but my certainty is gone–and that’s as it should be.
The parable where the slave is forgiven a lot of debt, more than he can possibly repay, then turns around and holds a fellow slave in bondage over a very small debt.
Jesus has me questioning whether I’m that guy. Over race.
In short, if you really believe in the Jesus that’s good, but not safe, you should be uncomfortable now. You should be wondering if you’re doing what he wants you to do.
Jesus didn’t die so we could be comfortable. The grace he dispenses isn’t free. It’s not cheap, either. It calls for discomfort. And not just about looking at women wearing yoga pants.
The Jesus that allows you to be comfortable while others are being crapped on isn’t a living God. He’s a statue on the bookcase, a figurine on the dashboard. The one who looked at the rich man and loved him, still challenged him.
If we’re uncomfortable right now, we shouldn’t start by lashing out at the minister or small group member who makes us uncomfortable. We should go to the Master and ask if he’s trying to tell us something.
It’s not up to me to say whether God thinks you’re racist. I don’t have the tools and I don’t want the responsibility. I’m just saying it might be worthwhile to react to the discomfort by asking what he wants us to do with it.
I’ve completed multiple Tough Mudders. That’s the obstacle course where you run through live electrical wires at the end. I’ve completed a half marathon and once I ran 17 miles.
In 2015, I didn’t take a sick day during a project from hell in spite of the fact that I couldn’t walk across the living room some days. A few of those days I worked from bed, and got the damned job done.
Most likely, if you challenge my toughness, you’re gonna lose.
Which brings me to face masks. I hate them. They aren’t comfortable. You have to practically shout to be heard. And unless you have special masks, they fog up your damn glasses. They’re miserable, perfect for 2020.
They aren’t, however, a statement on your toughness. Or your patriotism. Or your testosterone level.
“I refuse to live in fear.” I’ve seen that a lot from people who don’t feel the need to wear a mask.
We’re in the middle of something that’s killed almost half a million people. Maybe a little fear is rational just now. Wearing a mask isn’t cowering powerless in the face of fear, it’s adjusting to fear and moving forward. You don’t beat fear by pretending it doesn’t exist. Consistently brave people are consistently afraid. They just mitigate the fear.
What? You don’t believe it’s real? You think it’s part of a ploy to encroach on your freedoms and make sure Donald Trump isn’t re-elected?
Big money college and professional sports exist solely to make a small number of people insanely wealthy. This is the industry that spawned the mission statement “Show me the money!”
You’re telling me the industry that gave us Jerry McGuire walked away from tens of billions of dollars, all to encroach on your freedoms and make sure your President doesn’t get re-elected?
If you follow big-money sports, you know the absurdity of this assertion.
And finally, as an American, I care about other Americans. And I like it when other Americans care about me. I believe that while individualism is part of what makes this country great, so is shared sacrifice.
My grandparents had everything that made life pleasant, from butter and sugar to nylons, rationed because there was a war on. In England, they had to turn out the damn lights to foil bombing raids. No one bitched about freedom or manhood because they knew freedom was at risk.
Dead people aren’t free.
In short, wearing a mask isn’t the action of a scared, incompetent coward. It’s not putting us on a direct path to Gulags on the shores of Lake Erie in the wintertime. It’s not betraying your manhood.
It’s what people in a free society do because they give a damn.
So wear the mask, or at the very least, acknowledge that other people should be allowed to do so without hearing crap from manly men who love Jesus and America, too.