You probably can’t tell from where you are, but I am sick. The upper respiratory infection I’ve been fighting for the last three months has finally won, and I am about to go to the walk-in clinic downtown. The walk-in clinic 50 yards from my house does not accept my insurance, and my actual doctor isn’t taking appointments until the second week of December. America’s health care system is broken, but the Missoula Independent is working great. Whatever you do today, be sure to read this essay by Ben Fowlkes about what it was like to serve on the jury of a rape trial. It will make you angry in kind of a good way. Before you start researching whether chemical castration can be administered via tranquilizer dart from a moving car, cool off with a light-hearted column I like to call Montana GOP holds secret meeting, reports newspaper. Then you can slide right on into arts and entertainment with this meditation on the problems of the aging punk, which I also wrote. This reading plan assumes you do not have a job. I don’t. My job is to promote my own writing and, to a lesser extent, write it. Today, though, my job is to eat vitamin C tablets and try to get a z-pak. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!
I’m sorry to inform you that Fox News did not add the word “never” to the screen cap above. They did select this particular frame for their story about Nicki Minaj apologizing for Nazi imagery in her “Only” video, but “never” is part of the surtitled lyrics that appear throughout. It’s pleasing that Fox News chose this particular frame, but it’s not as fun as if they had written “never!” across the image of a fascist society united behind a black woman with a big butt. Nicki Minaj will never apologize for her butt. She would like to say sorry, though, for making a video that is pretty cool but also hilariously ill-advised.
Yesterday, Governor Jay Nixon issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Missouri “to protect civil rights” ahead of a grand jury’s decision on whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. You may remember Wilson from August, when he shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown and touched off protests followed by riots in the largely black suburb of St. Louis. You may also remember the term doublethink from George Orwell’s novel 1984. I quote Gov. Nixon’s executive order:
I further direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol together with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region. I further order that the St. Louis County Police Department shall have command and operational control over security in the City of Ferguson relating to areas of protests, acts of civil disobedience and conduct otherwise arising from such activities.
If there’s one thing guaranteed to protect civil rights, it’s the Highway Patrol, city and county police departments acting as a unified command over areas of protest. If there are two things that do that, it’s a unified police command with plenty of tear gas.
Yesterday on Air Force One, the president condemned the ISIS beheading of aid worker Peter Kassig, whom Obama said was “taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group.” I agree that beheading aid workers is awful, and that ISIS is perhaps the most reprehensible pack of hypocrites to emerge from a region famous for producing them. But it is a mistake to call them or their acts “pure evil.” Everything about how ISIS presents itself suggests that they want to operate on the continuum of good and evil, ideally with the west at the other end. It’s their best hope of transcending what they are: a crime syndicate masquerading as a state masquerading as a religious movement.
Welcome to another privileged discourse from the “author” of Combat! blog, where I exploit my socioeconomic advantage as a website owner to perform the act of “free” speech. As a cis white male, I hope you’ll find my opinions reflective of larger power structures. Obviously, writing them down and publishing them on the internet is indefensible. Any Marxist, post-colonialist, or even close reading troubles the notion of auhtor(ial)ity, until the very act of producing a work for public consumption becomes an immoral expression of solipsism. Today is Friday, and critical theory condemns that. Won’t you seize the high ground with me?