In the News

The Old Familiar Sting

The world doesn’t want us to care.

The world wants us to remember that we’re all nothing. A tiny speck in the universe, and of course we are.

I think we’re born caring. I think sympathy and empathy are part of us all.

Until the world beats it out of us.

Caring is pain. It hurts to care about other people.

The pain is thinking about the parents of the children killed by police. It’s the dagger of learning that a journalist was killed in a botched rescue mission. It’s reading that a rape survivor’s story is being called in question because a journalist royally fucked up their job. It’s a fictional story on The Wire about 14 dead Russian girls brought to the US for prostitution because it’s the real life story of so many women.

The world doesn’t want us to care. It wants us to turn our backs. To hide from this pain.

To care about the world is to embrace the pain and realize that it’s always going to hurt.

Sometimes I feel like the pain is going to kill me. It probably will. But it’s worth dying for.

Thank You

I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be a police officer because I have no idea. But I do know they see things most of us never see. I know they see the very worse sides of human nature every single day and they choose to stand between that and us.

I knew a Newcastle police officer who was killed with his own weapon by a previously unarmed assailant in the midst of controversy about racial profiling and deadly force used by the Seattle Police Department. If the officer had fired first, he would have become the latest target of protest. Instead, he died shortly after his oldest daughter graduated from high school.

There are bad cops. There is a huge problem with racism. But the things people are saying about the way police officers should do their job bear absolutely no resemblance to the realities in which police officers live and breathe and work.

Instead of criticizing police methods you don’t understand, thank a police officer today for seeing the things they see so you don’t have to.

Even On A Cloudy Day

It’s easy to be infuriated by anything related to rape and sexual assault, and the world provides us ample opportunity.

But that anger and the overbearing sense of injustice can be crippling. It’s easy to look at what’s happening and think it’ll never get better. But it is getting better.

The good to come out of all the idiotic things that are being said about rape, is that things are being said about rape. It’s out there. If admitting you have a problem is the first step I’m not sure that society as a whole is quite there, but we’re not drinking rape out of a paper bag in dark alleys anymore, so I call it progress.

We’re all in an uproar over the Bill Cosby rape allegations (and the idiotic things said in the media about it. Looking at you, Don Lemon). I feel like I missed something because the drugging and the assaulting and covering up first came out almost 10 years ago.

It was settled and brushed under the table and we all forgot about it because we all wanted to forget about it.

A silent head shake during a radio interview a decade later, and it’s completely different.

Now there are consequences for Cosby. Now, we’re all in an uproar. I understand the feeling of injustice that this didn’t happen 10 years ago. If we’re angry about that, we’re missing the point.

The uproar is happening now. It’s a big deal now. We’re not forgetting now.

This is proof that things are changing.

Then, There Was The Ever Present Football Player Rapist

We all like to think we’re individuals.

We’re all so unique and important and no one else is like us.

Except, you, over there in Ohio.

You raped some girl. Society blamed it on her. You’re back on your football team.

Oh, how trite and tired.

I supposed I should turn up my nose in disgust at your actions, but all I feel is sorry for you.

The clichiest of cliches.

It would be nice if one of you, some day, could rise above the stereotype and be a prison-bound rapist or a castrated rapist, but for some reason you all insist on conforming to the rapist standard.

I mean, it’s just, could you be any more…ordinary?

Try a little harder next time, will ya?

Like, Totally

I’ve got World Cup fever and the only cure is, well, there appears to be no cure.

I am liking the ish out of this World Cup for the first time ever in my life. However, I appear to like the World Cup for reasons that are the opposite of why other people like it because that’s just how I roll.

I like that the US isn’t a world soccer power. We’re so dominant and arrogant in just about everything else on the world stage that I like that we aren’t a top soccer country. I like that we weren’t supposed to escape the Group of Death. I like, even more, that we did because if there’s one thing we like in the US, it’s the underdog. I like that we’ll, hopefully, win at least one of these elimination games, then bow out and leave the dogfight for the World Cup trophy to the real soccer countries.

I like that the World Cup emphasizes how far MLS has to go before the league is in the upper echelon. There are certainly players in MLS that make buckets of money, but I make more than many players. (How many of us can say that about any other sport?) Those are the players I want to root for. I feel like there’s a gritty quality, a love of the beautiful game. I feel like when I’m cheering for them, that I’m cheering with them. We’re on the same level; I’m not a fan who pays for their lavish lifestyle, I’m a fan cheering them on to their best.

I like how US fans cheer for the US, then cheer for the national teams of their heritage. I love the idea of the United States as a melting pot where world cultures and languages and people mesh into one. I love the pride of heritage and sharing of different ideas that happens when we open ourselves up to them.

I realize these things are a brief snapshot in time. The US Men’s National Team will improve and become a World Soccer Power. The MLS will improve, salaries will rise, and players will become entitled twits. Racial violence, mistrust, and phobia will continue.  That’s just how people and the world are.

But this is a moment in a life that rushes by so quickly and trods over the little things that give a person hope in humanity.

I’m just savoring this moment, and enjoying the World Cup for the first time in my life.

Just let me like my likes!

Just a Little Bit of History Repeating

100 years ago today the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated, kick starting a series of events that would trigger the War to End All Wars. (Today, his legacy lives on through an eponymous post-punk revival band.)

His assassination no more caused World War I, of course, than firing on Fort Sumter caused the American Civil War. The pieces for war were in place, just awaiting a hand to strike the match.

The series of events following the assassination are truly astonishing in their utter stupidity and nonsense. This is true of almost every major event in history, but the European Imperialists really out kicked their coverage on this one.

World War I didn’t end all wars, as we well know, but it completely changed the world and it completely changed the United States.

As such an important event, it truly boggles my mind that we spent all of 15 minutes learning about it in my high school American History class. We spent about as much time on the Vietnam War, so clearly learning about history as something that lives and breathes and affects us now as much as it did when it happened just wasn’t the point of history class in school.

The nonsensical, illogical thinking behind the events that caused the War to happen are exactly what we need to be teaching in school. There’s a certain inevitability to human beings making stupid decisions, but how can we ever recognize those stupid decisions as they’re happening if we don’t learn what they looked like 100 years ago?

I can’t help but smile and laugh a little bit to myself when people proclaim that history is nothing more than a set of dates and facts to be committed to memory so a test can be passed.

Because history isn’t facts. History is fluid. It changes and evolves. We sculpt it to fit the way we understand the modern world. Decisions that made sense 100 years ago look utterly ridiculous to us today.

It absolutely fascinating to read about how the assassination is viewed and how the interpretation of the assassination has changed in the past 100 years, being filtered through the ever changing prism we call The Present.

World War I was inevitable. Not just because Europe was ready to get all Rambo’ed-up and fight, but because the world itself was changing and the Old World Order no longer fit.

There’s an inevitability toward violent, destructive change. There’s an inevitability toward the humans involved doing it as stupidly as possible.

Maybe it’s a little silly to wish that we were taught how to look at events of the past critically and apply the lessons to our thinking about politics and foreign policy and voting decisions.

I rail against the willing ignorance of the masses, even though it’s inevitable. Because to think that we’re important and that we can master human nature and change the very essence of our existence is perhaps the most inevitable of all the terrible human traits.

An Honest Mistake

The New York times ran an article a little while back on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, in which she described how difficult the transition was from full time career woman to full time mother. Unsurprisingly, she was skewered by the New York media for daring to suggest any of the things she suggested (mainly, that life can be full of difficult decisions and transitions).

See, when you have a child, the child is supposed to fulfill your every wish and desire and you aren’t supposed to want to be away from that child for even a nanosecond because nothing else can possibly make you happy or satisfy you.

Except, when you have a child, the child is also not supposed to fulfill your every wish and desire and you are supposed to want to continue to work and lean in and crash through glass ceilings because you are a modern woman and it takes more than hearth and home to make you happy and satisfied.

It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that you may not wholeheartedly want either of these. And to be honest about the conflict? Pure blasphemy.

Honesty is the most controversial thing to put out there. It’s uncomfortable. It doesn’t fit tidily into the story you’re trying to tell yourself and everyone else about your life. Worse, it has no place in the story other people are trying to tell themselves about their own lives.

To speak honestly requires bravery.

To recoil in horror at honesty is to be uncomfortable with real, messy, unphotogenic life.