… but just a reminder to my American readers: We already live in this reality. This country isn’t just full of guns; it’s full of ammunition. If you have access to even a single bullet, you are $10 and a trip to the hardware store from making a wonderfully lethal weapon: unserialized, untraceable, highly concealable, nearly foolproof. You won’t be doing any civil massacres with a hardware-store slam gun, but you can mostly definitely kill the guy standing in front of you with little effort.
The reason no one will shoot you today is because no one feels like shooting you today.
Just for the record, this isn’t antisemitism. I saw this Saturday, soon after it was painted, while driving past with my kids on the way to the river. I’m one of the chairs of the Jewish safety committee for this area, so it’s safe to say that my anti-Jew radar is exquisitely well tuned.
“Fuck Israel” written on a public Rock that, for decades, has been a locus of political speech? That isn’t hate speech.
The fact is, Israel is a goddamned country. You can say the nastiest words in the world about Israel, and as long as you keep it about the nation-state of Israel, we’re all good. It’s just like how you can criticize China or the Democratic Republic of the Congo without being racist about it.
Meanwhile, standing outside a synagogue and holding a sign that reads “Israel Has No Right to Exist”? That is antisemitism. And folks have been doing it just a few hundred feet up the street from the goddamned Rock for 16 years and Ann Arbor has done shit about it:
Timely! (see also this swastika and this other swastika and all the little swastikas raining down all around me like a gentle, glittering, beautiful snow storm whisking me straight up Heaven’s Chimney!)
I’ve got no clue if your message is the command “KIKE: FREE PALESTINE 卐!” or the wish for a “KIKE-FREE PALESTINE 卐”, and that’s driving me nuts. Please, parents: Don’t just teach your children to hate Jews; teach them to use hyphens and colons properly!
Straight talk, though: If you’re vandalizing a synagogue in England—regardless of what words you paint—it really doesn’t have shit to do with Palestine or Israel or whatever. Likewise, if you are holding a protest outside a synagogue (as has been the case at the synagogue ~1 mile for my house for the last 16+ years), it has nothing to do with what’s written on the signs.
Similarly, the extremely high likelihood that right now you’re thinking “My Gosh! That is so clearly and obviously wrong, but you have to admit that Israelblah blah blah…” —that thought, it doesn’t have shit to do with Palestine, either.
The vandalism is anti-Jewish.
The protest outside a synagogue is anti-Jewish.
Expecting Jews in England or Michigan or—hell, anywhere OTHER THAN ISRAEL—to bear some special responsibility for Israeli domestic policy is anti-Jewish and, frankly, crazy. It’s literally the same as protesting outside a Black church because you’re upset about the ongoing lack of accountability or reconciliation from the Liberian Civil Wars, or protesting the Xinjiang internment camps by picketing outside of a Chinese restaurant.
The fact that any of what I’m saying maybe makes you uncomfortable, that’s for you to sort out.
But if you’re afraid I’m maybe implying you harbor anti-Jewish sentiment, here’s a test you can do in the privacy of your own head, and never tell anyone the outcome. Do you agree with the following statements:
I feel weird acknowledging the 3000+ rockets Hamas fired at Israeli civilians in the past month without also acknowledging the 20x difference in Israeli and Palestinian casualty rates.
When someone mentions the 58+ Palestinian children killed in this latest paroxysm of violence, I don’t even think for one second about the terror of ~3000 rockets coming at you in a single month.
If you answered YES to both, congratulations: You’re pretty much like every other person in the world. If you’ve ever wondered how something like the Holocaust happens, now you know.
Sorry to be a bummer, but real talk and then we’re done: Did you feel worse about the thousand rockets, or the 58+ Palestinian kids, or the fact that some Jew in Michigan called you out about it?
You probably feel attacked right now, so I want one last thing to be crystal clear: My answers to those two questions were “Yes”es, too. If your culture has a bias, you have that bias as well—even if, in your heart of hearts, you despise the bias. Even if that bias contributes to your own destruction. None of us get to stand outside our culture; there are no free passes in this game. It’s noble to want to fix Israel, or Liberia, or China—but sorta weird not to give a moment to healing yourself, too.
Incidentally, my source for the image above includes some interesting history (which I’ve touched on before) specific to the town where this happened:
This anti-semitic attack in Norwich makes me want to tell a story of the Jews of Norfolk. By way of background, the first synagogue in Norwich dates back to 1087. This is a story of both hatred and decency. Of English antisemitism. This is the story of William of Norwich. 1/8 https://t.co/oP6EoqJDkg
The difficulty remains as to why King Henry and his servant John of Lexington would have believed the accusations in the first place. … While the decision to act belonged to the King, Langmuir believes that he was weak and easily manipulated by Lexington. Langmuir says Henry III has been described as; “a suspicious person who flung charges of treason recklessly, [who] was credulous and poor in judgment, and often appeared like a petulant child. When to these qualities we add his addiction to touring the shrines of England, it becomes easier to understand why he acted as he did…” Langmuir therefore concludes that Lexington “incited the weakly credulous Henry III to give the ritual murder fantasy the blessing of royal authority”. Jacobs on the other hand sees the financial benefits that Henry received as a major factor, conscious or unconscious, in his decision to mass arrest and execute Jews. As noted above, he had mortgaged his income from the Jews to Richard of Cornwall, but was still entitled to the property of any Jew executed, adding that Henry, “like most weak princes, was cruel to the Jews”.
Note the profit motive, the crushing debt, the love of touring from big public event to big public event, the absolute credulity to believe what is convenient, the tendency to flit and flip-flop from outrage to outrage, and a reflex to accuse sinister cabals composed of largely powerless minorities of master-minding vast schemes against a blameless populace.
If all of this seems long ago and far away, then please note that QAnon, Pizzagate, and a goodly portion of current Trumpery-driven White Violence is just this same story repeated over and over and over again.
I had no idea they even had free feature-length movies on YouTube. Anyway, go watch Monsters. It’s just as good as I remember it being in the theaters; back then it felt like it was mostly about U.S. foreign/immigration policy with a smattering of Chernobyl anxiety (this was back in 2010). Now, in the midst of a plague year, it feels like it’s sort of about a lot more.
Also, are you finding that, when watching old movies now, you’re often distracted by how close people stand to each other, how blithely they enter each other’s homes or push into crowds, maskless? How we used to live was crazy, right? 😷
I can’t help but imagine all of what’s happened over the past month from the PotUS’s perspective:
He’s never had a real job—not one that he could actually lose. And now a bunch of losers—people with no wealth, no audience, no “pull,” folks with meager incomes and dumb names, with little (if any) power, many of them women and people of color—they took away his toy.
And they didn’t do it by force: They didn’t pull a gun on him, they didn’t have to “see him in court!!!” They didn’t have to look at him or talk to him or even acknowledge him. They just ticked a box and mailed a stupid scrap of paper.
And all of those “they”s in the previous graff: those are “you” and “me”; we did this. We, who are weak-ass little pussies and cry babies and retarded faggot snowflakes, we hurt him, deeply. And we did it while hiding in our little shithole houses in shithole towns and bullshit states.
I imagine that, in his heart of hearts, he simply never believed such a thing was possible, so insulated from reality was his 70+ years on this earth.
It is all so astoundingly pathetic. If he hadn’t done so much to hurt so many, you’d weep for his loss of innocence.
Just to be clear: Although no shots have been fired (yet), this is not a “peaceful transfer of power.” At best, it’s a tremendous waste of the most precious resource in a time of crisis (like this one): Attention.
If you suspect VOTER INTIMIDATION on election day, immediately alert a poll worker and call 866-OUR-VOTE
SEE A GUN? CALL 911: If you see someone acting threatening, call 911. The Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Police Departments are very interested in any information about any sightings of suspicious activity or firearms near polling places. AAPD is emphatic: it is not your job or responsibility to determine if someone is “exercising their rights” or “brandishing” or “harassing” or “intimidating” or “walking their emotional support gun” or anything else. Dial 911 and report exactly what you’ve observed (i.e., number of individuals, number of guns, identifying physical characteristics, location, direction of movement) and indicate that YOU ARE CONCERNED FOR YOUR SAFETY AND THAT OF YOUR NEIGHBORS.
If you are outside of Arbor/Ypsi and have reason to believe your local PD might not take this seriously, call the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office directly 734-994-2911. Sheriff Clayton takes this seriously.
It’s extremely likely that nothing bad or weird or yucky will happen; high rates of early voting hint at a very boring in-person final voting day here in Washtenaw County. But you do not have to put up with any crap, and it’s fundamentally wrong for anyone to attempt to make you uncomfortable at the polls, let alone disrupt you submitting your ballot. WHATEVER YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT COPS IN GENERAL, HERE IN WASHTENAW COUNTY WE ARE ALL ALIGNED ON THIS ISSUE.
Sadly neglected here: They do not mention that the previous world record for developing an effective vaccine is four years—not the ~9 months the PotUS keeps insisting is possible, or the “Idunno; maybe about a year?” the rest of us keep saying.
And it’s likewise unlikely—to the point of impossible—that a nation like ours (where cities within miles of each other have massive racial/economic differences, massively different experiences of this virus, and rarely commingle) will develop herd immunity soon (if ever).
Meanwhile, this virus is killing Americans 10x faster than guns.
You are doing things differently now than you did a year ago. The immediate future looks a lot more like last May than last Christmas. Prepare yourself for that.
… My time portal novel is now on Amazon (print and ebook). It’s a giddy little thrill at a reasonable price.
I’ve read a million time travel stories… and even read a million variations on time travel stories that try to be “different,” but I don’t think I’ve ever read any that are different in quite this way. While it settles uncomfortably next to very serious and even tragic things, the story’s humor is quite pronounced. … And it does an excellent job of creating an air of danger, and thus interest, due to the well-realized sense of actual traveling in (and perhaps getting lost in) time, as well as the criminal aspect and what they’re doing to the people in the past and how those people might react. It’s also a good vehicle to address issues all the way from existential bad faith to religion possibly being the amphetamine of the masses.