What I Said: Tumblr Edition

This is just a compilation of some of the posts I made for my Tumblr account. I post very different things there, than I do here, but sometimes I post some things which overlap. These are just some thoughts that occurred to me in the past couple of weeks, and I wrote them down really quick, because although my thoughts about things are consistent, I sometimes forget what I wanted to actually say, and how to say it.

On Narrative Conditioning

As usual, I have this habit of watching events that happen in the rest of the world through the lens of the films I’ve watched, because the analogy just hits me, not because I can’t tell the difference between fiction and reality. It’s just how my mind connects things to other things. Nothing that happens in stories is new, and I see fiction as a reflection and reinforcement of things and thinking that happens in the real world. On some deep level, white people do understand that certain things are wrong, because they keep making fiction (often fantasies) about it.

I think fictional narratives are important, even today, because so much of what we all believe about other human beings does not come from direct experience. A lot of what we believe comes from popular and mainstream media, which is primarily owned by straight, white, men, and it is their thinking about the rest of humanity that gets prioritized. The images of black people that white men put out in the world, for decades, not just in fictional narratives, but in news stories and opinion pieces online, all of it, essentially teaches the rest of the world that our lives are unimportant, and teaches us to hate ourselves. Everyone (yes, PoC, and me, too) are inundated with the idea that whiteness is the default, and takes priority. Some of us overcome this constant messaging by critically challenging these narratives. Some people don’t.

For example, as I grew up, I was inundated with the idea that I was ugly because I was black. Not because I was ever told I was ugly. And not because people told me that white was prettier, but because the words “beautiful” and “pretty”, were never associated with women who looked like me. Those words were used everywhere, in tv ads, and shows, and movie after movie, to only refer to thin, middle-class, white women. (For a good example of this, count how many times Uma Thurman’s character is referred to as beautiful in the Kill Bill movies, and how none of the other female characters looks are ever mentioned. Those women do not have to be called ugly for us to get the message. She just has to constantly be referred to as pretty, while their looks are ignored.) Now imagine a steady diet of this from childhood onward. No one is calling you ugly, but you get the message loud and clear, that pretty doesn’t mean you. This is what is meant by passive conditioning. All of us have this conditioning, and most of this conditioning is done through mainstream media, like books, movies, tv shows, and music.

 

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On Not Thinking

lkeke35

One of the things I’ve observed about trump supporters is that many of them seem to be every bit as incoherent in their mental faculties as trump is. These are not people who have ever had clear, and consistent thoughts, in the sense that one idea follows the next, but instead, seem to have a collection of specific talking points, that are attached to whatever issue sparks their outrage.

These are not ideas that are part of a coherent schema, and most of these thoughts are separate and unattached to one another. It’s one of the reasons so many of them gravitate to raving anger when asked deeper questions about whatever it was they just said. If you ask one of them how sheltering in place is like slavery, to elaborate on that, then they’ll simply produce a string of more talking points, at the mention of the word slavery. They are simply parroting what theyve been told to think, when a specific word is mentioned, and it’s also the reason that while they are consistent from one person to the next, they are internally inconsistent with the individual.

This, I think, is why none of their thoughts make logical sense, to the rest of us, who do have a consistent life philosophy. We form our philosophy over time and then fit circumstances, events, life experiences, and people, into that philosophy. (I’m not speaking about Evangelicals because they’re a special case of nasty, so this doesn’t fit them.) I could be wrong about this but the bottom line is that non-trump supporters are generally pretty coherent and consistent in their thinking in a way that his deepest supporters are not.

Many of trumps supporters didn’t logic there way into the statements we hear them make, and so cannot be logicked out of any of those ideas. These are things they have been told to say, and believe, when a subject is mentioned, even if there is no consistency between the answers. They literally do not see the inconsistencies because they have been conditioned not to think critically, not to ask questions, while the rest of us have. I don’t think they believe sheltering in place is like slavery. That’s simply the thought that’s been attached to their frustration at being inconvenienced, even if that specific thought contradicts another thought they might have if you bring up slavery (It wasn’t real, black people need to get over it, I didn’t own slaves, etc.)

 

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I wrote this one when I was feeling particularly salty, about some dumb shit, I saw on Tumblr.

On Speaking Out

lkeke35

So as soon as some shit pop off, you got white people coming out from under the floorboards, (honestly, these people are like cockroaches, they only come out when our lives are at their darkest), with their traditional hot takes about black violence. What do these people do? Lie in wait for an opportunity to tell black people how they should respond to white wtf*ery? Yes! That’s exactly what they do.

 Some people are so shameless, they will take any and every opportunity to express their anti-blackness. They’re completely oblivious to injustices that aren’t happening to them, but when hands get thrown, they finally notice that, and manage to work up enough energy to care…but only about the response….like those teachers who only saw when you got fed up with being bullied, and finally kicked some ass!

 If they didn’t have shit to say about a single Black person’s death, at the hands of vigilantes and extrajudicial killers, (or worse yet, didn’t even notice that shit was happening), they don’t get a say in how black people respond to the violence that was done to them, especially the kind of violence that could have been thwarted, if they’d paid closer attention to what was happening ,and done something.

Offering their shitty hot take, on what black people need to be doing right now, is very possibly some of the most mentally lazy, and easiest bullshit they can pull right now!

 

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On the Optics
lkeke35
One of the reasons you keep hearing about how George Floyd’s death was the worst one yet, is because of the way in which it was caught on film. In movies, this is called “framing”, and unfortunately, this framing accounts for at least some of the responses we’ve seen from people, who previously, were capable of ignoring most of the deaths of unarmed black people. With almost all the other deaths of black people we’ve seen captured onscreen, most of them, even while seen up close, didn’t allow us to look into the victims eyes,and follow that person down into death, while it happened, and for a lot of people (especially the ones who hadn’t been paying close attention) that shit was deeply traumatic!

 With the Floyd imagery, there is a visceral component to it,that even the worst of these types of videos lacked. As viewers we sat there, and watched his face, and heard his last words, and looked into his eyes for as long as it took to kill him, and that had an effect on people that the other videos didn’t.

Even in other videos we didn’t see the victims faces up close. The videos were from a distance, or the victims were seen from behind, or it happened so fast it almost didn’t register for some people. Just like in a movie, the way the image is framed has a lot to do with the level of emotional engagement with the subject. The closer the camera is to the people being filmed, the higher the level of emotional engagement with that image.

In closeup, in broad daylight, one man is being killed, while the person that does it, looks completely indifferent to what he’s doing.

 Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think these are like movies, but this is how a lot of our minds have been conditioned, through decades of movies and television, to think and/or feel about death. If it’s not up close and personal to the viewer, then the emotional engagement, (certainly for a lot of non-black people), just isn’t there. They didn’t really SEE it, or FEEL it. But this time, they were standing right there, watching his face, hearing his last breath, watching the life being strangled from him ,and knowing it was real.

They watched the face of his killer, and could see the lack of humanity, of empathy, of care, in his expressionless face. In such imagery, there is a level of complicity that’s absent from mostof the other videos ,where you didn’t see the perpetrators face, or the victims expressions. This felt different because it looked different.

 

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On All Cops Are Bastards

lkeke35

I have an even simpler explanation for those not understanding. You got a bowl of skittles. Every one in ten skittle is actually a cyanide tablet, and you cannot tell the difference between it, and any of the other skittles.

 

Would you eat from that bowl? Would you grab a handful and chow down, knowing that in a bowl of 100 skittles, ten of them will kill you?

 

No. You’d throw the whole damn bowl out. The whole damn bowl is bad.

 

We cannot tell, just by looking at them, which cops are going to kill us, and which ones won’t.

 

All cops are bad, because it is the system that is bad.

 

The correct phrase is: One bad apple spoils the whole bunch.

 

If one cop is bad, and the others don’t work to eject him, that makes them all bad!

 

You throw the whole damn group out!

 

“What does it mean when people say that all cops are bastards (ACAB)?”

If it were an individual thing, you’d give them the benefit of the doubt, but it isn’t; it’s an institutional thing. the job itself is a bastard, therefore by carrying out the job, they are bastards. To take it to an extreme: there were no good members of the gestapo because there was no way to carry out the directives of the gestapo and to be a good person. it is the same with the american police state. Police do not exist to protect and serve, according to the US supreme court itself, but to dominate, control, and terrorize in order to maintain the interests of state and capital.

Who are the good cops then? The ones who either quit or are fired for refusing to do the job.

While the following list focuses on the US as a model police state, ALL cops in ALL countries are derivative from very similar violent traditions of modern policing, rooted in old totalitarian regimes, genocides, and slavery, if not the mere maintenance of authoritarian power structures through terrorism.

also this: lol

the police as they are now haven’t even existed for 200 years as an institution, and the modern police force was founded to control crowds and catch slaves, not to “serve and protect” – unless you mean serving and protecting what people call “the 1%.” They have a long history of controlling the working class by intimidating, harassing, assaulting, and even murdering strikers during labor disputes. This isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.

The justice system also loves to intimidate and outright assassinate civil rights leaders.

The police do not serve justice. The police serve the ruling classes, whether or not they themselves are aware of it. They make our communities far more dangerous places to live, but there are alternatives to the modern police state. There is a better way.

Further Reading:

(all links are to free versions of the texts found online – many curated from this source)

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. (2013). Let Your Motto Be Resistance: A Handbook on Organizing New Afrikan and Oppressed Communities for Self-Defense.

Rose City Copwatch. (2008). Alternatives to Police.

Williams, Kristian. (2004). Our Enemies in Blue: Police and power in America. New York: Soft Skull Press.

 

 

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On Trump’s Photo Op
lkeke35

I am a movie lover, and I especially love horror movies written by Stephen King. I grew up watching horror movies. In fact, I think my mother and I (I blame her for my sordid addiction to horror films) tried to watch every one that got made between 1982, and 1989, before I went off to college.

 One of the movies that always stuck with me, on a moral and political level, was Stephen Kings The Dead Zone. Christopher Walken plays a man named Johnny, who gets psychic powers after a car accident. After he gets these powers, he meets a union delegate named Greg Stillson, played by Martin Sheen, and has a vision of the future, where Stillson, as president, starts a nuclear war. Haunted by this image, Johnny decides to assassinate Stillson during his campaign for president. He doesn’t succeed in killing Stillson, but he does change the future.

 During Johnny’s assassination attempt, Stillson, while standing at a podium, grabs a little girl (who happens to be the daughter of Johnny’s ex-girlfriend) and is photographed using the child’s body as a shield. It effectively ends his campaign and he never becomes president.

 Movies often use the trope of a person’s willingness to harm the innocent to protect themselves, as a way to show how corrupt, ruthless, or just sheer evil they are.The other day, Trump, who has a life long record of shitty behavior it would take too long to get into here, used police brutality against a crowd of peaceful protestors (against police brutality,) and Australian journalists, to clear them away from a photo op he wanted to take at the church in Lafayette Park, which is across the street from the WH. Every moment of the brutality was caught on film.

 George Floyd may have been the death heard round the world, but this is different. The footage from this was seen and heard around the world too, only this time, Trump was directly involved, and in doing so, has created an international incident that has received global censure. We have reached the point where government officials, of other countries, are openly trolling and just blatantly disrespecting the president, and his staff, on social media. Any kind of moral standing we ever had in the world, as a nation, has been entirely spent. Even the rest of the world are utterly sick and tired of this man, and are feeling free to express their contempt for American imperialism.

 There have been a lot of times, we’ve watched his actions and thought, “This is it, this is the last time he can do something like that. His term is now over.” But it never happened. This may actually be Trumps Baby Shield moment. At any rate, with every terrible decision he makes during this crisis, he insures the demise of his career.

I certainly hope so.

But, I’ve been wrong about that before, huh?

 

Just as his supporters mistake cruelty for honesty and bluster for courage, Trump has mistaken bloodlust for leadership. The bombast hides the fundamental truth that the president is a coward, so crippled by the fear of appearing weak that he screams for blood from the safety of his darkened White House, emerging only to gas peaceful protesters and clergymen in an attempt to look strong. He is incapable of understanding how further brutality fuels the unrest he has proved incompetent at confronting.