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15

Aug

I wrote an essay about police violence titled “The Etiquette of Police Brutality (An Autopsy)” and published it at As It Ought to Be…there’s a certain polite way for law enforcement to enact brutality against the populace so I documented it and then deconstructed it.

To make the people feel safe and whole you have to break[14] one or two every once in a while so they know your power is both awesome[15] and nearly completely unchecked[16].

Initially, I wrote this piece about a year ago in a rage about the incident detailed in the third footnote. Police beat a young man in Miami and justified it by saying he dehumanized them by the way he looked at them. Reckless eyeballing, essentially. It occurred to me then that police didn’t even need to come up with plausible excuses for being violent anymore. They could just say whatever they wanted, confident that the state would back them up. It was a very maddening and depressing revelation.

I let the essay sit for a while. It felt incomplete and angry. Anger is not a bad thing. Baldwin channeled his rage into clarifying beauty. This wasn’t clarifying beauty, though. In rereading it I realized that nearly each sentence was inspired by real events of police violence that I think about when I see my son, my nieces and nephews, my wife, my brothers, my friends, my students, strangers I pass; I think about these incidents when I walk the street; when I’m pulled over. I’m never free from thoughts of Prince Jones, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo and now Mike Brown.

I hit upon the idea of adding footnotes to each instance alluded to in the main text. The more I researched the more I found. I knew the situation was bad, but it is much worse than I thought.

There was much more I could have added, actually.

While I was revising the piece, Eric Garner was murdered in New York by police who used a chokehold on him. In between finishing the piece and submitting it for publication, police murdered Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO.

A sad truism of our society is that we are never more than a week or two from a horrible incident of police brutality.  

It’s important to not forget the slain. To keep agitating for change so their lives didn’t get blasted away for nothing. I fear when Mike Brown leaves the news cycle, we’ll forget the fact that police are operating violently with impunity.

We can’t just discuss police brutality when something happens. It’s an existential threat and we should treat it like the true danger it is.

Now that we’ve seen the hyper-militarization of the police rolling out on our streets we see the direction things are going. We see that the state is willing en masse to violate our constitutional rights. We can’t turn our heads and allow ourselves to slowly be marched into a police state. It goes beyond “good” and “bad” cops. The personal disposition and friendliness of individual police officers doesn’t matter if their overall mandate is oppression in order to maintain order.

Check my piece here. Leave a comment. Share widely, please. Thanks to everyone who shared or commented and all who will share or comment.

More importantly, share other pieces. Create something around this issue and not just when there is an instance of brutality in the news. Speak up and share news articles on social networks. Videotape the police. Organize. Organize. Organize.

JUSTICE before PEACE. 

10

Apr

Lil’ Wayne and Birdman Confront Al Sharpton About Working With the Feds

image

Rev. Al Sharpton sits by himself at a long table in a blank conference room. In front of him on the table is a black leather briefcase. Though it rests on the table, Sharpton clutches tight to the handle. CEO of Cash Money Records (and their book publishing wing, Cash Money Content), Bryan “Baby” Williams walks in. His “son,” rap star and President of Cash Money Records, Lil’ Wayne trails him. Baby leans in to kiss the reverend, but Sharpton jerks back and stares at Baby, quizzically raising one eyebrow. Baby watches Sharpton, a puzzled expression passes over his tattooed face, then he and Lil’ Wayne look at one another in confusion. They shrug and kiss each other’s lips before sitting across from Sharpton.   

BABY: Morning, woadie.

SHARPTON: Morning, gentlemen.

LIL’ WAYNE: Young Moolah, bayyybeee.

BABY: That’s a nice briefcase you got there Rev.

SHARPTON: Um, yeah. Thanks. What can I do for you fellas?

BABY: We called you in here because we got a little bit of a problem.

SHARPTON: Oh?

BABY: Uh, yeah. Me and the young’un—as publishers of your memoir, The Rejected Stone—are troubled by these snitching allegations that’s been leveled against you. For obvious reasons, we can’t have no FBI informants around our business. We always insist that everyone associated with us have the finest moral character, which is why we signed convicted sex offender Mystikal to a record deal. Ain’t that right, Wayne?

WAYNE: Young Moolah, bayyybeee!

BABY: So we have no choice but to void your contract, recall all unsold copies of your book and pulp them in a warehouse right here in New Orleans.

SHARPTON: (clutching tightly to his briefcase) Wait, just a minute, Baby. That’s a drastic step. I was not and am not a rat, because I wasn’t with the rats. I’m a cat. I chase rats. I’m such a cat, the other day I asked myself, I said, “Why must I be like dat, why must I chase the rat?”  And plus those FBI guys are such nice fellas. I rememba a while back I was talking to them about some Black Panthers, friends of mine. Of course, those guys are doing life in prison now…

BABY: Now look here Rev., I’m the #1 Stunner. The Birdman. I didn’t get rich by being a fool, now. Every since I read about the COINTELPRO, I been on edge about the feds. I mean, illegal surveillance, harassment, beatings and assassinations of activists. Seems like a community activist like yourself would stay the hell away from the FBI. I don’t like taking unnecessary chances, myself…

WAYNE: Unnecessary chances, bayyybeee!

SHARPTON: He all right?

 BABY: You gotta forgive my son, he ain’t had his morning promethazine yet.

WAYNE: Promethazine, bayyybee.

BABY: (turning to Lil’ Wayne) Hey, lil bruh, you might want to take your own advice and move in silence like the “g” in Lasagna.

WAYNE: Sorrryyy, Daaadddyyyy.

BABY: Say, Rev., do you hear a buzzing sound?

SHARPTON: Buzzing sound? Naw, I don’t hear nothing. Now, Baby, I understand your concern. Yes, I did serve as an FBI informant in the ‘90s. And yes, I did wear a wire when meeting with mafia figures, but it’s not how it sounds. I mispronunciated every word so that the tape was useless. Neither the FBI, nor the mafia had any idea what the hell I was talking about. I use a very similar technique on my television show.

BABY: Well, Rev. that makes a lot of— What is that buzzing sound? It’s getting louder. You hear that son?

WAYNE: It’s the briefcase, Daaadddyyy!

BABY: Briefca— Rev., you taping this conversation, woadie?

SHARPTON: Well, it’s been good talking to you fellas, but I gotta run.

(Sharpton grabs the briefcase and darts from the room.)

27

Oct

Little Known Bible Verses (Preceded by a Rather Long Note) or Why You Won’t Find This Piece on The Good Men Project

Note: I submitted this satirical piece to The Good Men Project, hoping they’d publish it in their humor pages. They’d accept it, post it, we’d all have a good laugh (or not) and then we’d move on with our lives. Well, they did accept it. So why is it on this blog and not on The Good Men Project? Well, I can’t answer that for certain; the best I can do is tell you about the editing process.


First, the editor told me that one of the jokes was more editorializing than joke-making. (It read in its entirety: “Agnosticism is the one true faith.”) Secondly, he asked me to cut the “no homo” section (see below) because I would “get killed in the comments section.” And lastly, he suggested I cut the last part that poked fun at Chick-fil-A. It made him laugh, he said, but the humor was dated.


Thinking we were going through the normal editing process, I weighed his comments for a day or so. I wondered how removing sections would throw off the rhythm and the sequencing. A piece like this is similar to a game of Jenga, remove too many pieces or put them in the wrong place in the wrong way and the whole thing topples over. I agreed to cut the agnosticism joke; what seemed funny in my head came across as heavy-handed on the page. But to me, the other two parts were integral to the broader perspective and point-of-view of the whole piece. I didn’t care too much about getting “killed in the comments section.” As long as I’m confident in my POV, I’m fine with people getting offended. Don’t expect an apology from me. Bite my tongue for no one. Anyone who would take the “no homo” joke seriously just isn’t paying close enough attention anyway. As for the final section of the piece, it seemed a strong way to end; the datedness didn’t really faze me. It still had some punch to it. Chick-fil-A and Mike Huckabee and homophobes everywhere deserve the mockery. But perhaps the editor has a bit of a point, I thought, that Chick-fil-A thing was a while ago. Still no reason to cut the whole section. I revised the end of the piece a bit to bring it up to date and sent the whole thing off.


The editor’s response: “How about we go with ‘No Homo’…but cut Chik-fil-A? They’re advertisers, so I’m concerned about that one.” 


Um, pause.


I mulled it a bit, which was lame of me, but in the end it didn’t make much sense to censor myself and mutilate my piece to make Chick-fil-A happy. I mean, all Chick-fil-A has ever given me is stomach aches and diarrhea. And I’m not pining to get accolades and love from the Chick-fil-A corporate offices. No writer has ever jumped up and said, “They love my work down at Chick-fil-A!” Most of all, even if my work appeared on a website called The Good Men Project, there’s no way I could reasonably call myself a Good Man while silencing myself so some people somewhere could sell a few more homophobic chicken sandwiches. 


Like Method Man said, “If you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em.


Here’s the piece, it goes best with the new “No homoburger” from your local Chick-fil-A:



*

LITTLE KNOWN BIBLE VERSES


If thou giveth even a single Skittle to a 6-year-old dressed as Spongebob on the 31st of October, then thou hath sinned against the Lord and worshipped mine enemy.


***


Thou shalt surrender 10 percent of thy salary to a man in alligator-skin boots so that man may purchase a Rolls Royce, for that is the automobile of the Lord.


***


Thou shalt shout out the Lord thy God three to four times an hour in thy Facebook status.


***


Thee can pray all thou wants for a Superbowl victory, but if thou playest for the Buffalo Bills then thou shall always lose for I am a petty and vengeful God and a long time ago a cornerback from the Bills cut in front of Me at Subway and then when the sandwich artist finally got to Me they were out of the kind of bread I like. So I turned to this fool, pointed my finger and was like, Thou shalt regret that.


***


On the Monday after the celebration of the resurrection of thy Lord and Savior, thou shalt return to thy sad and soul crushing labor, for a gigantic meal with people thou don’t really like is worthy of a national holiday, but not the return of a man from the dead. Goeth and figureth.


***


And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat—” And before Jesus could finish speaking, the disciple Thomas cut him off and said, “Um, Jesus, you know if this bread is gluten free?”


***


All religions are just different paths to the same destination. Except Scientology. That shit’s crazy. So saith the Lord.


***


And forthwith Judas came to Jesus, and said, “Hail, master”; and kissed him. And there did follow a long awkward silence in which both Judas and Jesus looked first out into the sky and then down at their feet. And Judas did chuckle a bit and Jesus did blush. And Judas swept his hair with his hand and said, “Uh, no homo.”


***


On Easter Sunday and on Christmas day as well, if thou doth believeth, then thou shalt log onto thy social network accounts and proclaim thy superiority over those who do not believe. If thou doth not believe then thou shalt log on and spread the good word about thy fealty to reason and how it makes thou intellectually superior to the believer. And it shall all be very insufferable. And for everyone else—those who don’t really care that much—Facebook and Twitter shall be more unpleasant than usual. Best to just log off and go enjoy thy day.


***


After the Sermon, the disciple Tom raised his hand. “Jesus,” he said. “If your message boils down to ‘Just don’t be a dick,’ then why do so many act like dicks in your name?” Jesus nodded, then Jesus shrugged and then Jesus wept.


***


The animals on Noah’s Ark numbered in the millions—some more flavorsome than even goats and chickens and cows, but Noah’s family dined on the really, really delicious ones and after the flood cleared there were no truly tasty animals left.


***


“Dude, are we drinking your blood?”


***


And Jesus did see Mary Magdalene walking down a street in Galillee and she did look fine as frog’s hair. And He called out: “Turn the other cheek this way, baby!”


***


There came a time when the prophet Mike Huckabee appeareth on Fox News and said: “People, I have spoken to the Lord and he still hates the whole gay thing—I don’t know, something about butt sex. And here’s the bad news: he said you’re either with Him or against Him on this one. But the good news is, there’s a special chicken sandwich you can eat to ward off the gay.”


And the righteous did descend upon Chick-fil-a. After eating the greasy chicken patties upon dry bread, the righteous descended upon the bathroom and there followed much wailing and gnashing of teeth.


And the righteous cried out:


“God, what is this nasty shit?”


“This shit taste like some doodooronemy.”


“Lord, why has thou forsaken thee. Couldn’t you order us to eat at Friday’s or something?”


“Good God, is this nasty; I think I’d rather put a penis in my mouth.”


And the Lord did take pity upon His children, showering them in Barilla pasta. The righteous rejoiced and clapped and sang and waved their arms as their blood sugar spiked from the carbohydrate intake.


(cross posted at: datsunflambe.blogspot.com)

29

Apr

I have mixed feelings about everything including America which i think is normal and healthy. I tell you what really makes me sick is the phrase ‘american exceptionalism’ the idea that we just start with the premise that we are better and so anything we do that benefits us is okay. I mean there’s nothing more insane or inhuman than that. I am a huge fan of people. Most of them. And there are character traits that combine americans that I have enormous affection and love for. and there are things about americaNS and America that I don’t like. I don’t think it’s a healthy attitude toward any group place or person to just love unconditionally to the exclusion of others without examining and trying to fix faults.
Comedian and media entrepreneur Louis C. K., whose recent advice on success and hard work is unmissable, shares his mixed feelings on patriotism. (via explore-blog)

21

Jan

awesomephilia:

(via)

22

Nov

According to a dumb Facebook app, this song was #1 the week of my birth. I like to think I made the week a lot less lame.

17

Sep

Washington Post-- "Resurgent wolves again are fair game"

Reality needs to stop biting off of me, before I approach reality and punch it in the face for stealing my ideas!

http://forgottentunneltv.tumblr.com/WolfTickets

10

Sep

Rion Amilcar Scott at matchbook!

matchbooklitmag:

A new piece called Wolfland.

It even sounds cool, right?

30

Aug

Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention is the single greatest moment in American history!

(Source: youtube.com)

16

Aug

[PANK]: The August Issue of PANK

pankmagazine:

Check out our August issue featuring Jen Knox, Rhoads Stevens, Kejt Walsh, Ross McMeekin, Emma Smith-Stevens, Michael Lupi, Becky Kaiser, Owen Duffy, Kimberly Bunker, Christopher Shipman, Jacob Victorine, Quinn Wolf-Wilczynski, Rion Scott, Ben Tanzer, Jane Otto, Emily Howorth, Amy Benson, and…