Combat! blog’s journey into the binary worlds of criminal justice and reportage nears its end today, with closing arguments scheduled for 9am. While I await a verdict—a verdict for someone else, which I cannot emphasize enough—how about you catch up on your boy Luis Lang, who has embraced Obamacare and renounced his membership in the Republican Party. Props to Attempt for the link. You may remember the uninsured Lang from a couple of weeks ago, when he couldn’t afford an operation to keep from going blind and blamed Obamacare. Evidently, he’s researched the issue and determined that he was a Democrat all along. That’s good. Don’t get mad at him. He changed his mind, and all it took was the threat of permanent blindness. We’ll be back Monday, appreciating anew the luxury of working from home.
Oh man, am I going to have a good feature for you guys next week. For now, though, I have to keep watching the wheels of justice, which turn in much the same way as a sundial. Reportage sucks, and I’m glad that other people are usually willing to do it for me. Their number recently decreased by two, though, thanks to the profiteering of Lee Enterprises. The media conglomerate that owns The Missoulian and four other western Montana newspapers has announced that it will close its state bureau. That means losing Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, two top-shelf Helena reporters with over 60 years of experience between them. It also means the company that owns my local newspaper does not consider it worthwhile to cover my state government—at least not with anybody working full-time. You can read all about it in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent. We need reporters, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to put on a shirt with buttons and talk to people every day.
Combat! blog’s flirtation with reportage continues, and I’m about to spend another day in court. Yesterday’s jury selection was a thrilling glimpse of what 12 of your peers might look like. Fun fact: of 28 prospective jurors, only one had read Krakauer’s Missoula: my landlady. All of them raised their hands when asked if they had an opinion about the book, though. Also, one prospect opined that a woman might not resist a rape attempt because “nowadays, people lack courage, purity, and innocence.” She went on to add that she did not have a television or read the newspaper. She knows what people lack nowadays from church.
Anywhom, it was exciting, and today will probably be more so. While I observe the wheels of justice, how about you read this sad story Mose sent me about the closing of Eagle Provisions? In 2001, we lived a block away from Eagle in the South Slope, which seemed way too nice after Bushwick. It was the first time I felt like I had moved up in New York. Now, of course, I realize that I was the beginning of a 15-year wave of gentrification that would destroy the neighborhood, and I feel bad. Just kidding—gentrification is anyone who moved to the neighborhood after you. But I’m sure the present-day residents of the South Slope will be happy to have those luxury apartments instead of Polish sausage.
There is very little Combat! blog today, because I have to go down to the courthouse and watch a trial. Besides making it clear that I’ll be watching somebody else’s trial and not my own, I want to direct you to this long, fascinating and questionable story by Seymour Hersh alleging that the United States killed Osama bin Laden while he was in the custody of Pakistani intelligence officials. Perhaps you heard about it. Since it came out, Hersh has been criticized for relying on anonymous sources to construct what amounts to a massive conspiracy narrative. But Hersh exposed the My Lai massacre, and he’s had a long and respectable career in journalism. Also, which seems more likely to you: bin Laden was living in a vacation town 40 miles outside Islamabad where he evaded numerous ISI officials, or bin Laden was living in a vacation town 40 miles outside Islamabad where he was supervised by ISI officials? Either a bunch of people lied to Hersh or the federal government lied to us. I suppose it could also be two things. Read it and decide for yourself.
Plato knew what was up: while the apparent world is disorganized and forgettable in its particularity, meaning lives forever in the world of forms. Right now, I’m typing from my Chinese knockoff of a Le Corbusier recliner. It could support my gamey shoulder a little better. But the form of a chair—oh man, that thing is perfect. It is, by definition, that which supports my whole body in a sitting position, its function and structure unsullied by actualization. Today is Friday, and every form can be perfected. Won’t you transitive verb phrase of contrasting literal and figurative meanings with me?