Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts

01 April, 2021

Drift: deleted posts


This was back when I still believed going to meetings, secret or otherwise, could change the world: at one such meeting, I once offered up the idea of creating a non-digital communication network. This could mean a lot of things, of course. It could mean drops in pre-arranged places. It could be a hand to hand messages. There are other options, but the general idea was to create a alternative network in the event that internet and cell signals were blocked. This was not so far outside the pale in the post-democracy century. Not then and not now. 

Even so, my suggestion was greeted with derision. I was laughed at and dismissed as being out of touch. One especially catty child who had just gotten done being very excited about their purchased body armor made a crack about me needing to get back to typewriter and evening paper.

"As if there's still an evening edition," said I.

Flyers posted to wooden poles were the standard public bulletin board long before listservs and the social media beast that grew out of them. Mimeographed -- then photo copied flyers for concerts, rallies, political statements, layered upon one another in a tapestry of all that was happening outside the prevue of the newspaper classifieds no one could afford. 

Another key component of this pre-digital communicative tapestry was the stapler, which was first patented in February 1879 by George McGill. The stapler as we think of it -- the four way paper stapler -- came into existence in 1941. The precursor to the modern staple was called into being by King Louis XV in 1866 after wanting a better way to tack papers together. The first actual stapler was then created, but then later patented by McGill then put into production by a man named Gould.  The term staple originates from the late 13th century Old English stapol -- which means post or pillar. All this is just to point out that from its very creation, the staple was an innovation designed to further communication... and certainly, on a linguistic level, the staple and the wood pole have more than a passing relation.

The stapled flyer eventually came under assault by utility companies, Home Owner Associations, gentrifiers and others who strive for a planned and ordered society in which everyone mows their yards with perfect synchronicity. It's now illegal in most places -- and strongly discouraged in the rest -- to post signs on public or private property (cough cough utility company property cough cough). 

Futurists contend that we now have this great massive beast-bitch on a leash, social media. Bands don't need flyers. Just set up an Event! And while there's been no study about which method is more effective, long-time labor organizers and musicians have told me there was a larger turn out with flyers than they ever get with Events. And any social media marketer will tell you -- if they're being honest -- that the most you can expect from posting an Event about your event is 1/3 attendance ... and that's from among the ones who affirm that they are "Going." The return on Facebook ads is even lower -- no matter what Facebook tries to sell you. 

So then, what about the communicative tapestry? Well it's all digital, for one, which really only lends the illusion that it's less chaotic. Thanks to predictive algorithms, you're pretty much only likely to see more of the same on your social media feeds. Whatever you looked at yesterday, last week, last month... that's what you're looking at today, tomorrow, next month, and next year. It only changes when you actively change it by changing search terms or by liking different things.  So the tapestry is more like dental floss... you get waxed and mint flavored until you decide to try unwaxed or unflavored. It's peanut butter. It's like every other product we buy or use... including in the way that we use or purchase is then collected and rendered and used to predict (and hence) subtly change our behavior. 

But it DOES have that curb appeal we're supposed to strive for. No muss no fuss. All straight lines and simple connections on discrete and personal hand held digital doorways. Like my first ex-wife told me before we divorced, what it looks like on the outside is all that matters... right? 

I wonder what they'll say when the digital ware is worn, not carried and the ads pop up as we walk by someplace the fine-tuned algorithm informs us is like something we've liked or been to before. I guess there's always the "Opt Out" option... or is there? 

22 May, 2017

Letters from Trumplandia 10: Peace, Violence, and Understanding

 The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man. - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I'm not a pacifist. I feel that there are situations where fighting is inescapable, but we don't go looking for those things. - Bruce Cockburn

It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence. - Mahatma Gandhi

Growing up, I was not much of a fighter. On some level, I think violence confused me. It made no sense that other people would want to hurt me when I had done nothing to them. None of the petty violence that made up a fair portion of my early school yard experience had any of the real urgency of the scenarios I watched on television. When I lost my first fist fight in 5th grade to Terry Peters in the boy's bathroom, there was absolutely nothing at stake. When Byron Combs punched me in the locker room in high school because I answered his passive bullying remark with a joke and a refusal to apologize for standing up for myself,  I understood better that something at stake. I simply did not want any part of it. I took the Biblical admonishment to turn the other cheek seriously -- at least where physical violence was concerned.

When Vince Lancaster, who managed to fight everyone in our class and lose finally got around to challenging me our Senior year by making comments about my Dad who had just died, I fought him and won, though I was horribly confused as to why I won.

I figured out later on that it was less about asserting my dominance as much as it was the social judgement that my anger was justified and giving into it met with crowd approval.

Violence confuses me less now than it used to. It's not so much that I've developed an intellectual framework to understand it. There is no rational explanation for violence. But I understand that violence is as much a part of the human experience as love, and as powerful a motivator and action.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately because of an argument I see coming up over and over again in
social media threads. The argument is most often used by far right wing apologists and New Wave American Fascists. They claim that liberals and the left are truly the fascists because they really don't want to "coexist" with people who want to silence social justice groups, terrorize the LGBTQ and Black Communities , make "blood and soil" arguments about culturally and ethnically cleansing the United States, and hold parades to celebrate Adolf Hitler's birthday. They make this argument because of a simplistic and generalized view of the left. Nearly everyone on the right -  whether they are moderate republicans, Tea Party hold outs, alt-right Nazis, or GOP party base one percenters - is buying into the alt-right (AKA New Wave American Fascist) rhetoric that everyone on the left is 1) a liberal; 2) a Democrat, and 3) a "snowflake."

This reductionism -- which many rank and file liberals and far left radicals are also guilty of when referring to opposing culture war factions -- is less a sign of a failing political and educational system as it is a well-thought-out strategy to keep opposing sides from having any meaningful conversation. It's an old strategy. It's also a really effective one that has been used time and time again by every and all political parties to maintain their base supports in the face of cultural and social change.

The basic problem with the New Wave using "coexist" and "tolerance" arguments is that when they make the argument, they are ignoring the fact that they feel their violence is justified while any potential or actual violence on the part of others in unjustified. They act as if theirs is a rational framework in which violence is a legitimate answer. There are folks on the far left who have made this determination, too.

But then, violence has a special kind of vernacular. Nearly anyone can embrace it, which only goes to prove that no one ever fights a war believing they're wrong.

I'm not saying there aren't times when violence is inevitable. Actually, I think it's naive to assume we can simply stop being a violent society by rejecting self-defense. Personally, I've found that seeking peace sometimes means confronting violence. Sometimes confronting violence means rejecting it. Sometimes it means answering with violence. Each approach will have consequences. I think part of the problem is that, in a culture built on a false dichotomy of ideas (either/or) we are supposed to choice either pacifism or violence. If people were less complicated monkeys, that might even work. 

It's possible to desire and work for peace while refusing to tolerate or coexist with evil -- which what the New Wave of American Fascism, with all of it's masks (like the TWP, the American Vanguard, alt-right apologists, and Trump supporters in denial) represent. The first mark of any failed political argument inevitably involves some flaccid misunderstanding about the difference between being peaceful and being a doormat for someone who wants to abuse you and your generous spirit by whining about "coexistence." Not only is it possible to desire and work for peace without tolerating evil, it is absolutely mandatory. Like violence, peace does not simply create itself. Like violence, peace requires time, energy, and determination. 

The key difference is that peace requires a longer view and more attention. 

If you like what you're reading here, I have work for sale on my amazon author page:

26 November, 2012

Intermezzo: Seen and Unseen

Ain't no privacy in a digital birdcage. - me, in a facebook comment

What is human life? The first third a good time, and rest remembering about it. - Mark Twain

A slow and thoughtful Monday morning here in Louisville. I had the chance this weekend to see Ron Whitehead perform, along with some other amazing poets and musicians, at the Haymarket Whiskey Bar. Having followed his work for several years, it was a pleasure to see him live, particularly as he was celebrating his birthday. Before that, I was up in Cincinnati enjoying the holiday with Amanda and My Dear Sweet Ma, waiting through the procession of commericals and commercialization that is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to see my niece perform as one of entirely to many dancers inspired by Lady Gaga. (She was the most talented one. I'm sure you saw her if you were watching.)

If you weren't watching, don't worry. I'm sure it will be a FB meme before too too long.

Memes, of course, are what passes for information transfer in the Cyber Age. There is no promise of objectivity, no guarantee of veracity. It's simply information that is thrown at the consumer/product

... because that's what we are, if'n you haven't taken a break from Cyber Monday to notice. We're the consumer and we are consumed. There's a certain symmetry to it, don't you think...

at which time it is then left to the target/consumer/product to determine whether it's reliable, whether it's a rumor made fact by repetition, or just one more Cat Playing the Keyboard or 2 Girls One Cup.

If this sounds like freedom to you, you might want to take a big whiff. It sure smells like something else.

The meme that hit this morning, of course... at least, the one I noticed... was another run of the reaction against Facebook's longstanding policy of mining member data to the blackmarketeers of the apocalypse that sell us everything from thong underwear to survivalist dry rations.

Given that a significant amount of my life is posted for the reading pleasure of the deus machina (for which Facebook is only the intermediary) and the half a baker's dozen of you Dear and Faithful Readers who kindly keep track of exploits and insploits*, I do take notice and am aware that social media -- and Facebook in particular -- is nothing more than a method for the corporamatons* that dictate much of what we have decided is reality to mine us for consumer preferences in everything from dental floss to politicians, from light bulbs to religious and ideological beliefs.

If you still believe that the internet is freespace and anything goes just because you can find your personal preference for porn and corn chips with the click of a mouse or a tap on the tablet, you're not paying attention.

The good news is that it's probably only folks my age or older who still have a notion of what privacy is that aren't aware of this. The bad news is that those who are aware of it run the risk of getting used to it so much that it doesn't bother them.
* from The Parsons Dictionary of Oft Used Words and Phrases, Desk Edition.
insploits, noun. Events that occur when not in physical motion that nonethless exist. Including but not limited to: dreams, visions, meditations, thoughts, outer body experieneces, astral travel, and drunken epiphanies.
corporamatons, noun. a profiteering and parasitic conglomerate that has neither brain nor soul but is not aware of the former's or concerned about the latter's absence.

26 September, 2012

Southern Jaunt Intermezzo: The Disposition of Emily F_____

Don't judge me. You wanna judge me, put on a black gown and get a gavel. - Lil' Wayne

Marriage is the chief cause of divorce. - Groucho Marx

True to neurotic form, I got myself to the courthouse on time. Actually, I got there early. The Carroll County Courthouse opens to the public at 8:30 in the morning. Court proceedings begin promptly at 9. For those of you have never, in any capacity, dealt with the legal system -- there must be two or three of you out there somewhere -- it's important to note that just because court BEGINS at 9, that doesn't mean you actually get in front of a judge at 9. Carroll County is a small court system, though, in comparison to others and I felt like I had a pretty good chance of getting the divorce expedited.

(Divorce: AKA "The Big D" or "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" [mouthed silently so as to avoid shaming either the person getting a divorce or making the person talking about it feel indelicate. Also, if you say it three times in a row, a Johnny Cochran-style divorce lawyer magically appears and rips out your genitalia.)

Of course, I had to take off my hat and my red sweater, and I had to leave my cell phone and my blue ruck sack -- full of littrature I'm trying to hock -- outside. I took my copy of the paper work in and found a seat in the empty gallery. I didn't like the idea of leaving my hat; I've grown fond of the oil cloth hat. It's traveled with me since January, is smashable so it can fit easily in my pack, and is perfectly worn in. I was sure if I left it on the coat rack, that someone would walk by and take it -- because it's a cool hat. More than one person has offered to buy it off me. It's a hat with a lot of personality... though not too much*, at least for me. And while it may sound vain to say so, I don't think most people have sufficient character to wear it. Which is to say, most people are not enough of a character to wear it. Nez Pa?

I sat and waited. The docket was posted out in the hall, and Parsons v Parsons was listed pretty high on the list.  So I don't know if it's fair to say I felt optimistic -- one doesn't typically feel optimistic about divorce proceedings, even he is the one who filed and even though there is nothing left to contest. 

The State's Attorney, Scott Brinkmeier, walked in and up to the prosecutor's table. He took notice of me and remembered my face from the many times that he's dodged making any comments regarding some article or another I'm working on. He smiled his political poster smile and, after getting my name wrong, asked why I was there.


"Ah." He pursed his lipless lips and lowered his tone. "Sorry to hear that."

"It happens."

This has become my response whenever someone expresses sympathy, empathy, shock, or judgement. It's easier than saying anything else, and people expect you to say something as a way to acknowledge their concern or to feed their need to butt into your private life. For me, it's an all purpose response:

Someone: Sorry to hear about your divorce.
Me: It happens.

Someone: Sorry to hear about your dog getting run over.
Me: It happens.

Someone: My condolences on the passing of your father.
Me: It happens.**

Someone: Sorry, the bar it closed.
Me: The hell you say.  (I mean: It happens.)

Brinkmeier's semi-uncomfortable silence was broken by the Bailiff, who called court into session, bid us all rise. The Robe walked in and waived us  back into our seats, and then another bailiff escorted in a stringy redheaded girl wearing orange jail scrubs.

This is Emily F___. According to what followed, she was supposed to show up for a court date on September 12th and did. She was picked up on the bench warrant and given a bail of $15,000. There was no mention of the charges, since it was a bench warrant hearing. In other words, she was brought in so the Robe could chastise her.

"Why didn't you make it to your court date?" asked the Robe.

"I was... uh... asleep," stammered Emily, probably in an attempt not to incriminate herself further.

"You slept for 3 days?"

"Uh, no," she replied. "I was going to turn myself in and then... I just didn't."

The Robe set a new court date, asked if she could pay 10% of the bail, and moved her on out. Then he called me up.

Approximately 10 minutes later -- after going over the paperwork, answering questions for the record such as  "Did you attempt to reconcile and find this useless?" the Robe ruled. I still had to pay $30 for the transcript, and once that was paid, he would sign the order thusly.

And that was it.

I walked outside after, and down the metal steps leading directly from the 2nd floor where the court rooms are located. The first thing I did was call Melissa. My call went straight voice mail. She had wanted me to text her when it was done; but I thought it too casual a communication method for something as serious as a civil divorce. I left her a brief message, and then sent her a text as well.

After that, I lit a cigar and sat down on the millstones in front of the court house. Set in concrete and looking like squat bench, the two millstones were from the old mill that used to operate along the bend of the Wakarusa River at the bottom the hill on Market Street. I'm unsure of how old the millstones are, but I know they are older than me, and probably older than my Dad was. They lasted longer than him. They lasted longer than the people who worked at the mill. They lasted longer than either of my marriages. And unless something happens, they will be there after I am worm food. Some things are meant to last. Others just aren't.

The cigar was nice, for a cheap gas station cigar. It helped me remember to breathe, which I had been trouble having most of the morning. Although I have been waiting for it, ready for it to not be hanging over my head for months, the weight of it... of the finality... was hitting me square in the chest. And even though I am quite happy with the direction my life is taking, it's difficult to know where to put it all, even still. The memories. The good and the bad of the years with her washed through me. Part of me wanted to cry, I won't lie. But I still have that old school admonition about men crying rolling around in my head. I'll save that for a more appropriate time, for a story or a poem.

Because really, that's where it all goes. Not catharsis. I don't believe in catharsis. For me, it's always about the story, the poem, the song. That was one of the things, I think, that maybe Melissa loved and hated the most about me. At some point, even the most intimate aspects of our lives became fodder for the work. I'm not enough of a hypocrite to apologize for it; but I am smart enough to recognize the part my need to play with words has in ordering -- or disordering -- the rest of my life.


*"Never wear a hat that has more character than you." - Utah Phillips

** Part of the reason I have adopted the sometimes sardonic "It happens" response is because, when my father died 22 years ago, I became keenly aware of just how incompetent people are in the face of death and tragedy. Canned advice, promises of prayer, and admonishments not to question "the will of God." Meh.

12 September, 2012

Southern Jaunt: Family Tradition

Politics make for strange bedfellows. -My Dear Sweet Ma

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of the respect and joy in each other's life. - Richard Bach

Libertarians are anarchists who sold their souls. - J. Bob Friendly

Revise the high and holy dead.
Use the fathers to abuse the sons.
Character assassination is easy
When you hoard all the guns. -- Ditty from Travel Journal

Every once in a while, I'm reminded why, growing up, I never remember anyone in my household talking openly about religion or politics.

While on the Eastward-Ish Jaunt, I wrote about being in Colorado, and about meeting my Uncle Dan for the first time. The Parsons family is generally a scattered bunch. My Aunt Mary (R.I.P) who lived in Florida. My Uncle Danny, who lives in Denver. My Uncle Bill, who... unless he's died, is still alive in the house on S. Charity Street in Bethel, where he, my Dad, my aunt, and my other uncle, all grew up. (The house sits directly across the street from the house my mom and Uncle Jack grew up living in.)

If I seem out of touch with the clan whose last name I carry, read on. I now realize there are reasons.

When I was in Colorado, I stayed with my first cousin, Mary, who's named after my aunt, the oldest child of Daniel and Minnie Parsons, my grandparents. Mary sells guns, rides Harleys, and has made tons of money doing one in order to afford the other. A staunch conservative -- one of those family traditions I DID NOT pick up -- she believes firmly that Obama is out to take away everyone's guns -- which I am sure makes for a good selling point;  that taxes are bad; that wars are necessary, and that They (whoever that happens to be today) really are out to get Us. Formerly of Naval Intelligence, she claims to have insider information -- that I am supposed to trust implicitly because She Told Me So even though she can't discuss any of it for 144 years -- which definitively shows that the Muslims really are out to destroy our way of life.

As I type, I still marvel at the randomness -- or not -- of not being able to talk about something for such a specific time as 144 years. Who was the bureaucratic juggernaut who came up with THAT number? 

We had exactly one discussion about politics -- during which my disagreement with current, past, and future wars was summarily dismissed, the U.S. policy of using mercenaries who are above military law was justified, and -- again -- it was explained, primarily in terms that impact her business, how dem evil Dems want to disarm everyone and create a socialist police state.

I was staying under her roof and enjoying the hospitality she extended to me. So I didn't dig in. Nor did I argue with her assertion that men in the Parsons family avoid conflict like the plague. I kept in mind that

  1. She probably didn't hear the same stories of Grandpa Parsons that I did, and 
  2. She never really knew my Dad.

All that happened in JUNE.

Fast forward to YESTERDAY.

Being of a particular bent that I have not really hidden from anybody, I posted this image in support of the Chicago Teacher's Union Strike on my Facebook page:

The arrow, in case you didn't get it, was pointed at my wooly profile pic.

In less than a half hour, this drew the ire and hollow rhetoric of a particularly nauseous troll. While she may troll other people's pages in search of ways to shut down any argument but a Tea Party/ Birther one, she was making a point to troll me because I do, sometimes, write for her dad's newspaper.  Yesterday, however, I got tired of it. 

Read the meme here.

Yes. I blocked her. Facebook is a public forum, and I have plenty of "Facebook Friends" who don't agree with me on a lot of things, political and otherwise. I even have friends who are Steeler Fans, gawd forgive 'em.

I didn't go on her page to troll, didn't report her as offensive -- the REAL ploy of folks who want to silence free speech. I simply removed her. 

This got my cousin all tied in knots, of course. My cousin who rarely visits my page, who hardly ever comments on things I post, and who has never engaged me in a serious political discussion other than the previously mentioned BECAUSE I SAY SO talk.  

By the way, for those who may not know this: BECAUSE I SAY SO IS NOT A VAILID ARGUMENT TO USE AGAINST ANYONE OVER THE AGE OF 5. And even then, it's still piss poor.

After trying to explain WHY to my cousin, I then posted a status update, which you can read here. 

Now -- even though I made it CLEAR I was NOT talking about her, my cousin posted this response:

"you don't give a shit who I am or whose daughter I happen to be? well guess what? I don't give a shit about you either! I voice an opinion and it is different from yours and you decide to call people trolls and remove them for that? WOW...says ALOT about your character!! well...I am the daughter of your uncle who is the brother to your father, and how ashamed your father would be if he was alive today of you and how you are living your life! The Parsons family are all about working hard and doing what is needed to get ahead in life and be the best we can, and making a good life for our children, and serving our Country. what in any of that have you done or are doing? how are you bettering the life of your daughter? everyday that I live and breathe I do something for my children! I work hard to give them things, like a good education! I am a capitalist, and very proud of it! I believe in working hard and making as much money as I can, and that is something I have passed to my kids, which was something that was passed to me from my father. and one more thing...... UNIONS SUCK!!!! and yes...I am happy thank you very much!" (emphasis added)

Did I mention that I wasn't talking about her, but about a Facebook Troll who had been giving my problems and trying to derail every political post in order to rant about Socialism and Obama -- who, even though she claims not to like Romney (she is, in fact, a Ron Paul supporter -- don't get me started on Libertarians, but pay heed, instead to the wise words of J. Bob. Friendly) will not be critical of him for fear of seeming to be Pro-Obama?

I did.

What did my cousin do? She proceeded to rant about her martyrdom. She used my daughter -- who she doesn't know -- and my DEAD FATHER -- who she barely knew and probably never met -- against me.


Because I support a teacher's union strike. 

A strike, by the way, with standardized testing as the primary breaking point. The State of IL(L) mandates that standardized testing scores be used to determine a teacher's proficency. This, by the way, is nothing new. Another Bush Era debacle, No Child Left Behind, ensured this would happen.  

There's also considerable evidence -- both statistical and anecdotal -- that standardized testing not only is not a proper indicator of student learning ... and certainly not teacher effectiveness-- but that the current educational model being touted is to essentially TEACH TO THE TEST. 

Critical thought? Not important. 

Picking A, B, C, D? That's a good little monkey.

I was hoping to go back and visit my uncle and learn more about the family whose name I bear and about the father who -- according to one more GOOD CATHOLIC who didn't really know him, and who, as I recall, didn't bother to come to the funeral -- would be ashamed of me. The inability to fill in those gaps is the thing that bothers me the most. There were a lot of stories Dad never told me because I was never old enough (according to him.) That I will now never hear them because of a small-minded troll and my cousin's terrible affliction -- that my Dad would have called "Elephant Mouth and Hummingbird Ass) -- is such a damn and avoidable shame.  

I would also say  "If only she had read..." but that might lead me back into why the Chicago Teacher's Strike is so important. Because it's not enough to read. You have too be able to think critically, too.

11 September, 2012

Southern Jaunt: Rhetoric Junkie

Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. -- Ambrose Bierce

He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot. -- 
Groucho Marx

I was going to begin by talking about events local here in Paint City -- recent updates regarding some free advertising in the Letters to the Editor page and misquoting of my words by a local disgraced ex-political figure, and a recent visit to the local Rotary Club chapter, among other things. And I still will discuss those things at a later date; but first I have to get something out of the way.

I am a rhetoric junkie.

Political speech is particularly interesting to me, and I've had a lot of it to ponder lately. From local politics to Presidential campaigns, to Facebook flame wars: the more I talk, the more it seems to bring out the most interesting kinds of folks. Folks without whom our political process might actually be able to achieve something lasting, something noble. Hell, something. But folks are folks and ideas, like bird droppings,  fall on the intellectually suited and unsuited alike.

A few words about the Democratic National Convention: like every stage show, it had it's stars and it's boors. Sandra Fluke and Bill Clinton rank near the top of my list, other than Obama for sheer rhetorical skill. Jennifer Grandholm is a carnival barker, and I like the cut of her jib. But Sandra Fluke impresses me in that she refuses to be silenced by Congressional Republicans or by Neo-con talk radio pundits. Ran through the ringer, called a slut, a whore, her character impugned beyond reason... and she still speaks out. Kudos.

Clinton? Well, shit. What can you say about Bubba? He is, without question, the single most effective political figure in this generation of politicians. He still knows how to reach out to a crowd, and he does it well. Say what you want about his getting a blow job in the Oval Office... but he wasn't the first, and he won't be the last.  He's got political and cultural star power.

Obama? I've said it before and I'll say it again. The guy is a master rhetorician. He knows how to give a speech. In comparison to Romney, Obama's speech delivered a tone, a message, and an image. He knows how to make it about himself without really saying so. Romney's RNC speech was the equivalent to


And while heard a lot from Romney about tax cuts for wealthy people being good and I heard a lot from Obama about the middle class, I would just like to point out that in both the RNC and the DNC, the poor were summarily ignored.

To be fair, though, the demonization of the poor by GOP'ers, Tea Baggers, Birthers, and other fomenting fringe fascists -- who will not remain on the fringe for long unless we do something about it -- is inherent in their speech, whether they mention the poor directly or not.

And why are the poor summarily ignored -- unless they are summarily exploited by one major party or the other?

Because no one thinks they vote. And because they can't contribute cold hard cash to reelection campaigns. And because it's easy to blame people who don't have a political voice.

Thank Jeebus, then for the Facebook meme TROLL. You know them. You love them. Or not. Because they DO have a political voice. Insipid, rude, lacking insight, yes. But a voice. Here's the modus operandi. They wait for you to post something on your Facebook page and then proceed to hijack the discussion and bend it towards whatever their end result is... lately, in my case, someone keeps trying to use my page to bash Obama. Not for his signing of the NDAA, his strengthening of the Patriot Act, or his continuation of Bush Era intelligence gathering methods (torture). No, this troll spouts Tea Party/Birther bullshit mixed with some of that Cold War McCarthyism that comes around every few years whenever there's a Democrat in the big chair.

If that's what political speech is reduced to, then political speech is dead. It's all spin, baby. Spin.

23 January, 2012

Porkopolis, Part 1, Appendix: Socks

"Eat your dirty laundry." - Don Henley

"You can be a week beyond the need for a good bath, your clothes can be rags, and you could look like an extra from a zombie movie. But if you're wearing clean socks, you just feel like better." - Parsons Revised Rules For Living

So, my best laid plans on this Monday morning were waylaid by dirty socks.

That's right. As I mentioned in The Third Thing, I only brought four pairs of socks with me... that's three, plus the pair on my feet. The same goes with underwear. And one of those pairs of socks is actually a pair of wool socks... which are only wearable when it's very cold. And today, of all days, I ran out of clean socks... except for the aforementioned wool ones, and it's actually too warm to wear them in Cincinnati. (Huzzah!) So I have to wash my clothes. Luckily, I  have access to a washer and dryer, albeit space age ones that look more like Star Wars Escape Pods than home appliances.

"Look Sir! Lord Vader's dirty undies! I knew they were here somewhere! I can tell it's them from the oily skid marks!"
My original plan was to go back to the storage unit and get further along on emptying it out. I made good progress on that yesterday... and I will write about that at greater length in Porkopolis, Part 2: The Return of Creepy Louis. I was then going to maybe catch a metro bus downtown. I still plan on doing that... though I may not get to the storage unit today. I'm hoping to cross paths, at the very least with Aaron K, a friend and former colleague, at which point much beer will flow.

Not me. And not Aaron. But we both like our liquor.

The socks -- and indeed, the rest of dirty laundry -- are in the escape pod looking dryer. So that's progress.

But that's not what I really wanted to write about in this blog post. What I really wanted to talk about... again... is Greyhound Bus Lines.

Yesterday, in a conversation thread on Facebook, I made an allusion to... actually I came right out and said... that Greyhound hires psychotics to drive their buses.

I would like to state here and now that I was JOKING. Most, if not all Greyhound bus drivers have been nothing but professional in their behavior towards me during my various trips over the years. They're NOT psychotics. (In fact, I suspect the TSA snaps them up too quickly for any other company to consider using them.)

(Don't be afraid, ma'am. I was in a sorority in college.)

I would like to point out, however, that a recent article at reported that a bus driver left Occupy protesters stranded in Amarillo, Texas because he didn't agree with the OWS Movement.

I would also like to point out that I've been to Amarillo, in the Greyhound station. Being left there isn't as bad as, say, being dropped into Afghanistan, or working in an American factory in Juarez, Mexico. But at 1 AM, when the streets around the bus depot are are dark and you hear the rustling of 10 gallons hats and the rattling of wallet chains... be afraid. Be very afraid.

(It's probably not a bad place. And to be honest, that driver probably mistook  the protesters for Mexicans)

My point is this: In the wake of the public relations nightmare at the Amarillo Depot, Greyhound Bus Lines needs a champion... or, at least, someone who will make them seem less odious. And I humbly submit myself to CEO David Leach as a willing candidate.

(It gets easier each time. Can't ye tell??)