In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, I’ve read several articles about The Talk. Apparently, The Talk is the uniquely black experience of sitting your kids down (particularly your boys) and instructing them to be unfailingly polite to policemen even when you are ever so cross and the officer is ever so vexatious.
This one from the New York Post is typical (it’s a tragic tale of a young man who didn’t get The Talk and had to learn a tough lesson the hard way):
My moment — that is, my first moment — happened on Eastern Parkway and Utica Avenue in Brooklyn when I got into a dollar cab with my mother and brother. The cop who pulled the car over wasn’t after the driver. He was after me. I was a tall, skinny black kid with a baseball cap, and I fit the description of someone who was robbing people on the subway.
Right. With you so far.
It didn’t matter that I was wearing a baseball cap because I had been to a baseball game. I fit the description, and no one was going anywhere.
Okay, right. And….?
Wait…that’s it? You fit the description of a crime suspect and you were pulled over? And then questioned and released? Holy shit, dude, that’s supposed to be emblematic of the racial divide in America?
Seriously, if a middle-aged white woman in a denim jacket had just shop-lifted a hundred bucks worth of meat from a nearby Safeway, I would totally expect to be pulled over and felt up for sirloin. And I’d be nice as pie while they did it.
Wait! You did what?
I was uncooperative. I was angry. My mother, the churchgoing teacher, didn’t help. She was indignant, and she spewed words she would never use in the classroom. Only when the cop threatened to haul her to the precinct did I come around.
Holy god. You both did that, really?
My mother, who was sort of a proto-hippie and not fond of the authorities, gave me The Talk regularly.
You get stopped or pulled over, be relentlessly bland. No matter what. The cop is armed. He may be bored. He may be an officious prick. He may be spoiling for trouble. He may try to rattle you to see how you react.
Don’t react. Follow instructions. Be angry later.
My interactions with law enforcement have been few, thank goodness, but the advice has stood me well. It also works for judges, city code enforcers, irate bosses, large angry neighbors. Any situation where you are seriously outgunned and cannot possibly win a confrontation.
I wonder how much putative racism is because black people don’t realize how rudely white people often treat each other.
March 30, 2012 — 10:18 pm
Wow. Earl Scruggs died in hospital last night.
Few musician dominate a genre the way Earl utterly pwned bluegrass banjo. He was the undisputed god of three-finger pickers.
After Earl, a thousand imitators. Eventually, there were faster players, there were fancier players, but nobody ever matched his perfect, clean, bell-like clarity of tone. He had an awesome stage presence — calm and genial — and, dammit, he wrote most of the great banjo anthems his own self.
Here, I’ll save you the trouble: a YouTube search of “Earl Scruggs”. You’ve got the whole weekend. Go!
March 29, 2012 — 11:48 am
This’ll be brief; we just got back from a day in London (bidness thing for Uncle B, but we got some shopping in). Caught the bullet train. Ashford to St Pancras in thirty minutes.
Okay, that doesn’t mean anything to most of yez, but trust me…that’s fast (at least two hours by car). Also, it makes a day in London practical, at least occasionally.
That there’s the St Pancras Midland Grand Hotel, in the same style as the original St Pancras Station (the current station is modern and nearby). It’s an awesome building.
When it was built in 1873, it was absolutely state-of-the-art. Elevators. Revolving doors. Oh, it was the future.
Just not quite the future enough: no running water in the rooms. In 1873, not a big deal. Not long after 1873, really big deal. By 1935, it had declined so far it had to shut down. Spent almost eighty years boarded up.
Imagine that. Great huge bulk of a building smack in the middle of London, empty. I bet it was spooky inside.
Anyhoo, the Marriott chain got hold of it, fixed it up and reopened it last year.
Admiring it from street level is about the best this pair of mustelids could afford.
March 28, 2012 — 10:02 pm
Remember these guys? The <snort> Hutaree? Scary right wing militia fixin’ to take over the gubmint and all?
Today, a judge dropped all the charges, except a couple of the weapons violations. Turns out being a bug-fuck crazy redneck who hates cops and knows how to build a pipe bomb isn’t actually sedition. Apparently, you actually have to commit a crime or something.
David Stone was recorded saying he was willing to kill police and even their families. He considered them part of a “brotherhood” — a sinister global authority that included federal law enforcers and United Nations troops…David Stone suspected Germany and Singapore had aircraft stationed in Texas, and thousands of Canadian troops were poised to take over Michigan. He said the government put computer chips in a flu vaccine.
Looks like they were arrested for being members of my extended family. Say, you reckon these guys like the government a bit better now they’ve spent two years in jail without bond for Felony Runnin’ Yer Dang Fool Mouth?
March 27, 2012 — 10:08 pm
Perhaps this time we catch Moose and Squirrel.
President SmartestGuyInTheRoom actually had this conversation today, unwittingly into a hot microphone.
And then he stood up for the above photograph, which I have not had to alter in any way. I love this guy!
The report I watched, the journalist voiceover was making it out to be, like, “because — pff! — nothing ever gets done during an election year. Am I right, Dmitry?”
Instead of the way every ‘winger in the world heard it, which was, “because in my second term, there’s nothing to stop me selling out my country to the Commies.”
By the way, “I will transmit this information to Vladimir” has become one of those meme things the kids love so much. Thought you should know.
March 26, 2012 — 8:06 pm
I don’t know what happened in the Trayvon Martin shooting. No matter what, it’s very sad and I hope we get the actual facts at some point. But, I figure, Peruvian American kills African American, my tribe gets to sit this one out.
Ha! Just kidding. Which brings us to our very strange president. When asked about the killing, he said (among other things), “You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
Which is just so weird and wrong, I had to read it through a few times. WTF?
And then I was, like, Oh. Right. He took this question because race hucksters have been pressuring him. He’s telling them of course I care, this kid looks like me.
It’s the perfect intersection of malignant narcissism and identity politics. I wonder if he realizes how baldly he gave himself away.
Incidentally, fun fact: if I had a son, he also would look like Trayvon, provided his father was of color. That’s the thing about my gosh-darned recessive white genes – my offspring will take their racial characteristics from their fathers. Hypothetical offspring, obviously. You’re welcome.
Have a good weekend, folks! Daniel Knauf’s bxx drama debuts tonight at 11:30-something Pacific time. If you signed up, check your email for password. If you didn’t, I think you’re out of luck for now. As that’s getting on for eight in the morning my time, I won’t be sampling the delights until after dark tomorrow. No spoilers, please!
March 23, 2012 — 10:49 pm
So, everybody’s talking about this thing. It’s really and truly from the official Obama Tumblr. And Gabriel Malor said it looked like Obama had snagged this guy’s hat (at least, I’m *sure* he said it, but I can’t find the tweet in my Twitter stream. I suck at Twitter).
So I did that.
I was really hoping Dumb Donald was the one that talked like “Ubba nubba wubby bagubba.” But, sadly, that was Mush Mouth.
Too bad. I could’ve squeezed a lot of campaign posters out of that.
I was never a great fan of the show. I tuned in mostly to stare at it in utter effing disbelief. You know, if anybody on the whole planet but beloved token Bill Cosby had made a cartoon about a group of ugly, stupid poor black children in the ghetto, he’d've been run out of town on a banjo.
March 22, 2012 — 11:42 pm
Oy. Doesn’t really matter what he meant now — sometimes an expression so perfectly sums up what everyone was already thinking about a candidate, it sticks like superglue. I wonder what kind of night Eric Fehrnstrom is having.
Still, mustn’t enjoy myself too much. Romney’s going to be the nominee anyway, and I’ll line up behind him and push with all I’ve got. Deja suck.
If you want a nice big blank color Etch-a-Sketch graphic of your own to play with, here you go.
March 21, 2012 — 9:02 pm
I opened your stupid Russian dating spam because you made me laugh. There’s a lesson in there, and if you weren’t a spammer, you might be capable of learning it.
Changing the subject…how much do you think the Christian tradition has made the West more susceptible to the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis?
You know, original sin (humans are a cancer on the planet), mortification of the flesh (turning down the thermostat, not eating meat, riding a bike or walking). Penance (recycling).
Oh, I know lefties aren’t usually religious, but these sorts of ideas work their way down into the bones of a culture. I’m just wondering if the Chinese or the Indians will find it easier to walk away from the theory when the evidence doesn’t pan out.
I think about these things. It’s why I walk into telephone poles.
March 20, 2012 — 10:58 pm
Anybody want an omelet? I had my first ever four-egg day this weekend. I’m never going to keep up at this rate.
Last year, the two little girls were too little and one of the big girls went broody and stopped laying after dropping a dozen on me.
I didn’t know she was broody. Inexperienced chicken keeper that I am, I feared Mapp was eggbound. This is no joke and can be fatal, so I spent a few days soaking her in buckets of warm, soapy water and — oh, dear, this is no joke either — greasing up her vent with olive oil. I’m not proud.
Prolly why she thinks I’m a rooster. I go anywhere near her, she adopts the ready-to-mate poultry “come hither” posture.
I wish that was a joke.
You know, if you aren’t a sentimental slopbag like moi, chickens are awesome livestock. They lay delicious eggs nearly every day, they will happily subsist on table scraps and bugs and bits of shit they peck out of the lawn, they will make more chickens given half a chance and the — ahem — surplus chickens are delicious roasted or fried.
March 19, 2012 — 10:50 pm