The Desolation of Robot King



I’ve always been more of a Daily Show person than a Colbert Report person. I guess I just like my humor a little more straightforward. In case anyone has noticed, I’ve tried writing this post several times before, having put something up and taken it down at least twice before. Hopefully, the third time will be the charm. I don’t usually write like this, but these past few weeks have been a bit tumultuous. You ever have those days where you wake up wanting to watch the whole world burn? Yeah, I’ve been having a little bit of that lately. It’s a combination of financial stress, time-management problems, and the interpersonal friction that can happen when you spend prolonged amounts of time around the same group of people. I’m trying to remember the line from that David Foster Wallace speech I’ve posted once or twice: “This is water.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it or check YouTube. I don’t feel like linking to it again.

chris rockI’m having more trouble going to bed lately. I like to think of myself as a morning person, but since I can’t just go to bed after getting home late in the evening, I always need a few hours to unwind, meaning that I typically go to bed around 1 am these days. This needs to stop. I just can’t seem to turn my brain off, and on countless occasions, I’ve gone to bed, then gotten up to watch some silly YouTube video or something that I thought about watching earlier but didn’t get around to. How does something that tiny lodge itself so deeply in your brain? Sometimes that happens multiple times in a night and I overcompensate by staying up until 1:30 or 2 as if to say, “What do you want from me?” I’ve missed one or two shifts at my new job because I keep misreading my schedule and it makes me furious. I need every dollar I can get, yet more than once, I have come in to work only to find that I’m supposed to stay later than I thought (but still have to leave early because I already made plans) or gotten a call from my supervisor saying that I was supposed to come in today. I am very, very careful in copying down my schedule every week, yet somehow, that still happens. What the fuck, universe?

I’m generally pretty reliable when it comes to shit like this. I have locked myself out of my car (once), locked myself out of my apartment (once), and recently locked myself out of my locker at the gym for the first time. (I had to get somebody else to run and get an employee because I couldn’t go running out there in just a towel.) Something is out of joint. I know nobody’s perfect, but there’s a reason I solve jigsaw puzzles for fun and write a blog that’s all about hating humanity: it’s because I’m a perfectionist. Specifically, I’m an INFJ with OCD, and yes, I have used that line before. One on hand, maybe it means that I’ll save the world that day. Because I do see things that other people don’t see. I often tell other people that they are wrong about something despite having less firsthand knowledge of the subject than they do. And you know what? I’m usually right.

My supervisor doesn’t even seem to much mind that I keep screwing up my schedule. That’s not the point. When I was doing theater back in high school and didn’t get a part I wanted, my mother thought I was being a spoiled diva by storming around the house. She didn’t get it, either, which is part of the reason why I keep my distance from her these days. I was angry at myself for not getting a role that I was certain I could have played. It wasn’t my fault; the director liked someone else and there was nothing I could do about it. (The dude did fine in the role, by the way, but I was kind of competitive with him. He’s a nice fellow, but kinda boring. I’m not.) When I turned on my phone today and saw that I had a voicemail, I prayed that it was my mother for the first time ever. Of course, it wasn’t. I’ve had enough of a hassle working with my student loans and trying to get my employment situation straightened out. It might actually be nice to get a message from her saying, “Call me sometime. Bye.” Because I don’t have to worry about that, you see.

I’m going to have to see The Hobbit sometime, probably next week. What I’ve heard about it is that it’s the worst of the three, which is kinda depressing considering the lukewarm opinion I had of the first two. What happened to the Peter Jackson who was both a technical wizard and a strong storyteller? Neither of those elements are on display in these films. They are bloated and overlong, and they look like video games. I guess he just got carried away with himself. Stephen Colbert is, like, the biggest Tolkien nerd on the planet. I love Tolkien, but I don’t feel the need to know everything about him. Colbert’s humor is more “out there” than Stewart’s ever was. When one of his bits flops, I often find myself scratching my head wondering what he was even going for in the first place. Since the news is filtered through the lens of the character he plays, it’s not as grounded. Stewart just reacts to the news; Colbert tries to insert himself into it. It’s funny, though.

I like to think of what I’m going through these days as nothing more than growing pains. I’ve asked a couple friends for financial assistance and we’ll see if I get it. Just don’t feel sorry for me, that’s all. I have enough problems of my own. I can’t carry yours around, too.


Dance of the Seasons

rodney king

I have a lot to say about the events in Ferguson, Missouri, but I’m not going to say it all now. Because you’ve already heard most of it, and tempers are so inflamed right now that I’m surprised the rioting is, at the moment, contained to one area. But we need to have the conversation. If you are a black male, you could have been Michael Brown. That’s all there is to it. I’ve been stopped by cops before, and while they did seem a little worried about me in one incident, they’ve never accused me of shit. I’m lucky that way. You can tell yourself that what happened to Michael Brown was an unfortunate misunderstanding if you insist on lying to yourself, but a lie is all it ever will be, and fuck you if you say otherwise. You can deny the fact that the spirit of slavery and Jim Crow lives on in our national consciousness, but then you’re part of the problem, and as far as I’m concerned, you can fucking kill yourself if that’s how you feel. Better you than the next Michael Brown. And there will be another.

We need to have a conversation about race in this country. More importantly, we need to prevent it from being sidetracked. I’ve seen it happen where somebody will start off talking about homophobia or sexism or racism and people will divert it because we should be talking about socioeconomic status instead, and isn’t that just as big of a deal for some people. Well, no, it isn’t. Your socioeconomic status is something that you are born into; your race, gender, and sexual orientation are things that you are born with. I do not accept that the real problem here is the militarization of the police force. That’s a problem, but even that is heavily tinted by race. Spare me your rationalizations about how some white dude somewhere was harassed by a cop and therefore the hundreds or thousands of cases of black men being arrested and beaten for no goddamn reason are meaningless. Seriously, if you have a comment about that, don’t even submit it. I’ll shitcan it.

The real problem here is race. No ifs, ands, or buts. Racism is a problem in this country. Cases like the one involving Michael Brown (not even the only recent case of an unarmed black man being shot by a cop in the South) are not isolated incidents; they are symptomatic of a deep sickness that has persisted in this country for a long time. And I’ve had it up to here with this bullshit. So if you want to join the conversation, admit up front that the police officers in Ferguson are racists. Admit that it is not uncommon for police officers to detain, charge, and even assault black people for no reason other than a desire to keep darkie down. They may not admit it to themselves (how often do you hear a racist admit to being a racist?), but that’s what they’re doing. And I’m through arguing about it.

Nobody wants to have a conversation about race. If you turn to Fox News, you will see people insisting over and over that not everything is about race. Funny thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Sean Hannity or any of those other assholes admit that something is about race. The only reason my fellow liberals and I keep insisting that stuff is about race is because nobody will ever acknowledge an instance of racism when it’s staring them in the face. To hear the fuckheads over at Breitbart or WND tell it, the only racism that still exists is the “reverse racism” of affirmative action and the like. But the reason that we still need affirmative action is because of all that bullshit that conservatives won’t admit is about race. It’s some deeply torturous and convoluted logic, all so that nobody has to actually do anything about anything.

It’s not a conversation if you insist upfront that nobody is allowed to get offended. I insist that we all admit that racism is a potent force because it is, and if you can’t see it, then I can’t make you, and anyway, you can see it, you just don’t want to. I don’t have the patience to be nice here. I’m not very nice to begin with. This is one thing that makes me even less so. Because periodically, something awful happens. This goes all the way back to the Rodney King trial. King may have been a criminal, but the real question is whether something like that would have happened to a white person who did what he did. To save you the trouble of puzzling that one out, let me answer it for you: No. If Rodney King were white, he would not have been beaten, even after getting pulled over for driving like a maniac while intoxicated and resisting arrest. Glad we got that cleared up.

Some of you may remember the incident in which Jonah Hill called a TMZ “reporter” a “fag”. Being from TMZ, the “reporter” immediately posted the video online as evidence of Hill’s homophobia, and Hill, being an apparently decent human being, apologized. Amazing how much impact a simple “I’m sorry” can have. I don’t think an “I’m sorry” from the police force in Ferguson would set things right, but it wouldn’t be a bad start. I’ve read countless cases of people (usually young black men) being harassed by the cops, and in almost every case, when the police realized their error, they simply let the person go without even so much as a “Whoops”. That’s shitty, and it cannot be allowed to continue. We’ve been building towards this point for a long, long time now, and it’s not all going to be solved overnight. Let us hope that the next time it comes around, we are at least a little bit more prepared.