Here in the United States it feels like a week can’t go by without a white cop killing an unarmed black man. It’s a distressing situation made that much more overwhelming by all the complicated and unresolved social problems it brings front and center for all the bobbleheads to poke and prod and jabber about but do nothing to change.
I don’t think I’m capable of adequately understanding and addressing all of those issues. Hell, I know I’m not. However, one question I can at least scratch the surface of is the question of caselaw. I spent a recent Sunday quaffing coffee and Googling the shit out of terms like “officer-involved shooting”, “deadly force”, “excessive force” and “police brutality”, and now I am an expert on the subject.1
What I gleaned through my Cyberian wanderings is that the caselaw deals with three subjects: the criminality of the officer’s conduct (Did s/he commit murder/manslaughter?), the liability of the officer (Can the victim’s family sue him/her personally?), and the liability of the officer’s employer (Should the state/city/agency compensate the victim’s family?). In other words, we’re dealing with criminal law (Should the officer go to prison?) and civil law (Can the officer/police department be sued?).
From the time I was a kid, I was told I was special. I was special because my parents loved me. I was special because Caucasian Jesus loved me. I was special because I was born in the Muthafuckin-U-S-of-A. Et cetera. And I’m not alone. I suspect most of us grow up feeling somehow special, somehow significant. We all feel like the star of our very own Truman Show. One reason we spend so much of life being pissy is because we don’t understand why other people don’t treat us like the rock stars we feel we are. Continue reading Does sentience make us special?
I whiled away my teenage years and much of my twenties in Northwest Florida where rural communities are plentiful as are the redneck women and men who inhabit them. And a question that came up again and again was: Why are there so many beautiful women living out in the middle of Bumfuck Nowhere? I mean, you stop in one of those towns where the gas station is also the general store–you go inside and it’s like a mini Walmart/redneck petting zoo–and this mud-caked pickup truck pulls up beside you, and out hops this gorgeous woman with long, flowing hair, a golden tan and a six pack that Ciara would muff-dive Monica for; and she’s wearing camouflage and hunter orange; and the guy riding shotgun has a beer gut, neck hair and a half-empty Natural Light can for a spit cup; and you think: What the fuck? Continue reading Why redneck women are so hot: the theory of Natural Light selection
Jakob E. Wagner, of Antigo Wisconsin, shot two people at the Antigo High School prom this past Saturday night. His motive is still unknown. Chances are, by the time it is known, the national media will have moved on. After all, a so-called “mass shooting” where the only fatality was the shooter is hardly big news. But, while the news media might have the attention span of a 3 year old on crack, the internet rarely forgets; and its bottom-feeders are usually the last to move on.
In day-to-day conversations, both virtual and face-to-face, I frequently hear people refer to the concept of the “good Christian” or “good Jew” or “good Muslim” or whathaveyou. They are usually referring to themselves and the person with whom they are speaking. Sometimes they use terms like “christlike” or “godly” or some variant of those. And it always bothers me when people talk like this.
It bothers me because these terms mean so many different things to different people. They are amorphous. They can mean anything and, throughout history, often have. When one makes reference to the “good Christian”, what they are really referring to is a shared idea peculiar to a certain group of people in a certain place at a certain point in time with similar experiences, similar religious beliefs, similar political leanings, etc. Continue reading Good Christian, good Muslim, good person?
In Book VII of Plato’s Politeia, at 540c, Glaucon declares that, with his words, Socrates’ has “made the rulers consummately beautiful (καλόν) men…just like a sculptor.” Earlier in Book VII, at 529e, Socrates refers to the works of Dædalus as worthy of study. As stated in footnote 135 of Sachs’ translation of the Republic, Plato mentions Daedalus (Δαίδαλος) several times in his dialogues: at 97d in Meno and at 11c in Euthyphro. In Texts on Socrates, West also identifies 121a of Alcibiades I (p.55, n.33). In reading these various texts*, I noticed recurring references to Daedalus, and it made me wonder: Are these references random or do they form a logical pattern of some sort?
Several years ago, a friend and I came up with the idea for a show called The Show Show. The idea was to create a fictional talk show about other nonexistent shows. Whether the idea was meta or stupid doesn’t much matter since it never got off the ground. But I did write one script for a skit for the first episode. In it, the host interviews a self-proclaimed Satanic priest who wants to develop a TV show to broadcast his beliefs to the unwashed masses.