No Health in Us

What white people talk about when they talk about racism…


… We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us …

—from the order for Morning Prayer, Book of Common Prayer, 1662 (Anglican Communion)

I’m atheist, by the way. I needed you to know that.


I’m Not Racist!”

EVERYWHERE I WANDER, I HEAR THE white person’s anxious mantra:

“I’m not racist, I’m always nice to blacks!”

And my eyes roll back in my head like the fruit on a one-armed bandit after you’ve plugged in your food allowance for the month and are just getting the rent cheque changed into tokens.

I’m not especially Boomer-woke-guy, but years make up, somewhat, for innate wokelessness, that sense common to all Boomers that back in my day, and pry the CDs out of my cold, dead hands, and get a university education so you can get a well-paying job. Age has given me perspective, just not around those things.

But when you say “I’m always nice to the blacks,” I cringe, because I know what that looks like. Awkward culture signaling; you extolling Spike Lee or explaining how sympathetic you are to Black Lives Matter if only they weren’t so angry all the time; when you just gotta play some hip hop and be someone’s bad-ass bro. Trust me, appropriation isn’t approval, and no one’s interested in your approval, anyway.

So I want to talk to you white guys, specifically white straight guys, because I’m a white gay guy, so I have a bit of an advantage. Or perhaps I mean a bit of a disadvantage, which is an advantage.

I so wanted that to work out better.

Here’s the deal: I have all the privileges of being male, and all the privileges of being white, and at the same time I’ve had a taste of what you we call oppression, because I’m gay. So: less than, invisible, not a real man, all that kind of thing.

And please: I’m not comparing my experience with that of black people. It is not a competition of misery and injustice. My experience is entirely different, except for that one aspect of oppression, which, going out on a limb, here, is something straight white males have zero experience of. You have not been denied housing, been denied the right to marry, been bullied, shunned by your family, called a pedophile, beaten up or killed, because you are white and heterosexual. There are no hate crimes against white straight men.

So I’m hoping that the white male part will give me a way to talk to you, some credibility, and the fact of my experience of oppression will at least allow me not to be just another white straight male trying to figure out what oppression must feel like.

Kind of like a double agent, but without the trench coat and all of the standing under street lamps looking like Humphrey Bogart.

When white people say I’m always nice to blacks I see you – by which I mean us – being kind out of noblesse oblige. You’re slumming it, being nice when you could easily be not-nice, and you’ll be watching to make sure the recipient is suitably grateful.

When you explain how nice you are and how the problem must be coming from somewhere else, you display your racist, blinkered perspective that barely makes it to the end of your nose, because this discussion is, you may be astonished to hear, not about you.

When we talk about racism we cannot factor in our individual actions of niceness (whose purpose is less about being inclusive and more about assuaging our anxiety). We run onto a bloody battlefield with a single bandaid. It won’t do. Our niceness, designed to touch only the surface, is only potent enough for white folks, white dilemmas.

Our gentility is not helpful because it cements in us our idea that racism has nothing to do with us, that the problem is with extremists: avowed white supremacists, neo-nazis, the far, far right.

They are a huge symptom of the problem, obviously, but so are we, because even doing our absolute bleeding-heart-white-liberal-SJW best, we can’t escape the benefits we enjoy. White supremacy is the air we breathe and the water we drink and the After Eight mint with our cup of coffee.

Our life path is smoothed with white privilege like the path that royalty walks on, swept constantly by invisible hands, so that not even a grain of sand remains to irritate our privileged toes.

We’re talking about systems, laws, institutions that perpetuate injustice, even if we’re “nice to the help.”


NOTICE THAT EACH DAY, EVERY BOUNDARY of the unbelievable and the never-before-seen gets pushed and massaged and stretched further. The reality of unidentified soldiers of mysterious armies assaulting citizens of a democracy—making explicit the idea the pundits and the influencers have been building towards, that protest is inherently criminal—starting now, this new reality made explicit either fills you with outrage or, as your minds become anesthetized with disbelief, becomes an idea you are resigned to and passively accept; the new normal.

But the outrage requires doubling down on protests; it requires rejecting the alternative truth, believing what you see; and what’s terrifying is that you might not manage to get there; not after you’ve demonstrated a thousand times that you’ll believe anything, facilitate everything, no matter how blatantly false or inhumane.

When did it all begin? The world looked at the inauguration and saw empty space; Trump told us it was the greatest attended ever. You laughed, but the softening up had begun. It wasn’t long until you had “shithole countries” and “infestations;” the press as “enemies of the people” and “a perfect conversation” with the Ukrainian president.

Americans witnessed twenty-two (it might be more, I lost count) women accusing the President of sexual assault, and nothing happened. There was the ridiculous cant of “the President cannot be indicted,” despite legal expert upon expert explaining that that is not law, but simply convention.

You had Trump declaring that “he can do anything he wants,” a declaration of autocracy in a country supposedly guided by the rule of law, a statement which elevates the President to a class by himself, above the law, above the people. Next thing you know, the Department of Justice is doing the President’s bidding, punishing “enemies” and rewarding sycophants; most recently firing Geoff Berman, a DA in the process of investigating Trump’s campaign financing irregularities. Surely nothing suspicious there!

But I understand. Pushing back at everything is exhausting.

Drained and resigned, cynical and passive: exactly where they want you.


“A Great Day!”

OF ALL THE EVIL THINGS TRUMP HAS SAID, the most evil is: “This is a great day for George Floyd.”

“This is a great day for George Floyd.” Donald Trump, this white man, in theory the most powerful leader of the most powerful country in the world, doesn’t consider with what pain and shock the grieving family must hear this statement, or how wildly inappropriate is his tone of parental condescension, as though Daddy’s explaining, in words of one syllable so you’ll understand, his brilliant solution for saving the family picnic from the rain.

One hears nothing remotely like empathy, not that any was expected at this point. There’s no gravitas, which anyway for Trump means pretension and pomposity; no sense of the significance of this moment, on either a personal or national level.

He is utterly vacant, a blank slate, empty of memory and intent, past and future, without regard for anything except the world’s attention on him, in this place, in this moment.

He appropriates the family’s, and the nation’s, grief; he fondles it with his dirty hands and decides it plays well as a banal greeting card: “To a wonderful dad! Congratulations on your great day!”

This is the sermon in the misfortune trope, that Hollywood moment when we’re taught that the wretched man who died randomly at the hands of a cop didn’t die in vain. He helped bring about—change! It’s a great day!

We would find it repugnant to even form the thought, but Trump, well-wadded with stupidity, makes the assertion with a village idiot’s gusto.

Well, why stop at one great day? Try this thought experiment:

Let’s someone kneel on Trump’s neck, until he begs for mercy, begs in an agony of physical pain and the spiraling panic of breathlessness. Let Trump beg until he’s at his last breath, then, in extremis, squanders his last breath. Let him beg for mercy, and then refuse him mercy.

Think, in this experiment: “You are less than human. I refuse to hear you. You are nothing.” Then finish the experiment.

A great day for Donald Trump.


White Supremacy, White Guilt, White Privilege

White people bristle with indignation because all lives matter; what they mean is white lives matter more, though they bristle with even more indignation when we offer that translation. How can anyone now doubt that black lives are considered expendable, that they do not matter?

Why should I feel guilty? I hear white people saying. And I say to you, white guys: Show me.

Show me one sentence, one speech, anywhere at any time, when white people have been given “Feel guilty!” as the prescription for this sickness. Go ahead, try and find one.

I state unequivocally: No one, not one person, not a single news anchor, minister, politician, academic, Member of Parliament, Representative, Mayor or City Councillor, not even the family of George Floyd, has asked white people to feel guilty.

That’s our white people’s fragility, our distaste at feeling any negative emotion. We don’t like to “feel bad,” we don’t like being “shocked.” That’s another effect of privilege: Having the dirty work, the field work, the emotional work done by others. We’re that white piece of paper that, in a Japanese proverb, more easily shows the dirt.

Oh, you might feel guilty. But that’s your shit. In fact, unless you start to take action about the injustice you’ve witnessed, it’s just a manipulative ploy. That way the attention is back on you, frail (but secretly enraged) white person, because you’ve been made to feel bad. And feeling bad is something we’ve traditionally outsourced.

You’re the victim! Brilliant!

No black person is asking white people to feel guilty. What they are asking is for white people to become aware of and admit their privilege, because nothing will happen if we don’t. The following list, quite a famous one by Peggy McIntosh dating from 1988, may help.


Nothing Good from Murder

A nice white lady from the American south is on Twitter, and upset that there is rioting. “It’s a terrible thing they did, those policemen, and I hope they get hauled on the carpet. But this rioting is not the way to get your opinions across.”

She’s trying her best, the nice white lady. She’s genteel. And she is so far removed from any experience that would make her understand why there are riots or demonstrations that she could be from a distant star.

Because angry protesters are not trying to sell us their opinions. They are overflowing with the rage that up until now has been tamped down, the righteous anger that was withheld because black people thought if they played the game, they’d beat the game.

Being dignified. Well-mannered. Whiter than their white oppressors. Surely that would win people over. Prove your equality, earn your rightful place. Play by the rules, be so white that even white people can’t be that white.

But the day comes when you witness one more murder by one more indifferent cop, and something breaks. You realize your folly: that there is nothing you can do to justify your existence or to make yourself human in the eyes of those for whom you are always the slave class. There is nothing to correct because the hatred comes not from anything you have or haven’t done, it comes from the fact that you exist at all as black. You realize that no one with the power to help will even pay attention until you burn the fucking house down. You boil over.

All right, you say. So we’ll burn the fucking house down. Have it your way.


There is nothing good that can come out of the murder of another black man by cops. Nothing. Refuse the attempt to pin a narrative of triumph to a sordid tragedy. That is just more white niceness. I doubt that George Floyd sought to be a martyr. I think he wanted something more difficult: just to live an ordinary life in the United States of America. Nothing can give his murder meaning, redeem it, wipe away the tears, no outcome was worth his life. There’s no sermon in the bullets or tenderness in the bloodied hands.

That’s how this civil war has been waged, one murder at a time. What’s changed is the evidence: clips on cell phones, eye-witnesses. Black people have lived with this every day for entire lifetimes, for generations, and we refused to see it, but now there is irrefutable evidence.

White guys: Feel guilty or don’t feel guilty, no one gives a damn. Don’t make this about how bad white guys feel. Stop feeling guilty and start taking responsibility.

Listen to the leaders in the black community, to your black friends and coworkers, to find out what to do. Stop trying to figure this out, because you can’t. Stop proclaiming your innocence, because no one cares.

Stop the pose of being angry; behind the facade of anger lies our grief in our complicity. Listen. Listen with humility, with open mind and heart, to someone else’s experience.

Then we will learn what those in need say they need, and why.

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On Differences of Opinion

Flash mobs of stupid conservative bigots are monopolizing our headspace



OCCASIONALLY, DEAR READER, I AM FORCED to come up with a statement of principles. This usually happens when I’ve been online, getting exasperated by and attempting to respond to the comments of conservatives who are all in a panic about some class of people they disapprove of, like gay people or liberals or women, being happy and exercising their rights.

If there’s something a modern-day conservative hates, it’s people they disapprove of being happy and free and shoving their equality down everyone’s throats. Man oh man—!

My incessant life’s work is grappling with, untangling and decoding conservative “logic.” Conservative logic is an act of contortion that the Cirque de soleil would have rejected for its latest Vegas show as being too demanding, for conservative logic is always trying to prove that some minority’s insistence on the right to live their life with the same rights, benefits and protections as anyone else constitutes a denial of the rights of conservatives.

The assumptions underlying this logic are never clearly articulated, either because conservatives are too entitled to bother thinking through the implications of what they’re saying, or because they understand the implications perfectly and sense how outrageous they are.

These assumptions are that only a select class of people, the best people—the aristoi—have rights; and that these best people are by definition WASP, heterosexual and male. To allow other, non-best people—the demos—to have rights devalues those rights.

It’s like a conservative’s wife seeing her immigrant housemaid dressed in a replica of her Christian Lacroix ballgown, a cheap imitation that the maid constructed herself during her coffee break using plastic tablecloths from Dollarama. And here’s the galling bit: it looks better than his wife’s, because she’s happy wearing it.

Relentlessly co-opting street culture and sucking it dry of meaning, the conservative’s wife runs out and buys a plaid Vivienne Westwood number bristling with sterling silver safety pins and randomly-placed zippers that have no function and calls herself a punk, even though if the conservative saw an actual punk approaching their front door he’d grab his assault weapon and shoot them.

This is the analogy. Anything the grimy hands of a non-conservative touches is tainted forever. So, if I, a gay male, get to marry my partner, I’ve spoiled conservatives’ exclusive right to and definition of marriage: “One man, one woman.” (Unbelievably, no one consulted me about this definition.)

For women to get equal pay is to destroy the idea that men’s work is inherently more valuable, usually expressed as “all of the businesses in the universe will tank from the expense of paying women equally, so, like, we can’t.”

Included in this argument is the lie that “there isn’t enough money,” because there’s always room in the savings account for a nuclear warhead or a gerrymandering project, to name two.

Missing from this argument is the concept that people’s rights aren’t subject to budgetary constraints. They’re not expendable if they are expensive. They need to be recognized, and now.

Conservatives are depressingly similar: a tight-assed gang of spoiled brats and shrieking bullies in Lacoste polo shirts who can’t bear to think about women having abortions, me getting married to a dude, gender identity, anthropogenic climate change, up-to-date sex education in schools or national anthem kneelers; anything that reminds them that they’re in the twenty-first century.

We do try. We want to be good parents to these maladapted children. We strap them into the high chair, we feed them the nourishing creamed spinach of inclusiveness, “this is the airplane coming into the hangar!” but they spit it right back in our faces.

My doomed attempts at educating the insistently ignorant and the perpetual onslaught of their thin-lipped rage has caused me the type of frustration that can only be relieved by bending forward and smacking my face repeatedly on the surface of my desk.

The more I do this, the more I resemble a fourth Trump son, sibling to the two Frankenstein Foreheads. Frankenforehead the Fourth, who you don’t know about because they keep him hidden in the White House attic, is the Washington, D.C. version of the first, mad Mrs. Rochester, except instead of emulating her and setting fire to the place, he stomps around with a lighted candelabra at the stroke of midnight and whispers tweets and other assorted sound-bytes in Donald’s ear.

“Psst! Don’t forget to call the Swedish Prime Minister and guarantee bail for A$AP Rocky! Even though Sweden doesn’t have bail and their leaders are forbidden to interfere with the legal system, but they’re SURE to make an exception for you!”

“Psst! Homeboy! When you make your Fourth of July speech, don’t forget to include how George Washington closed all the airports during the American Revolution! Yep, just throw that in any old where! Oh boy oh boy! This is gonna be even bigger than your inauguration! Biggest audience in, like. The history! of Time?!”

So that’s how the process goes that leads up to my statement of principles. I beat my forehead on the desk. I push back, I untangle. I decode. I attempt an answer. I beat the forehead again.

Also I cry. Let’s not forget the crying. And I’m not talking polite, “excuse me for a moment while my lips quiver and I sincerely hope my suicidal ideation and free-floating misery wasn’t too much of a downer, eh?” apologetic, Canadian-style crying, either.

I’m talking Man-Sobs: great, honking, moist, gasping, choking, snot-flying asthmatic gulps and mucus-y snorffles that would make you back away in alarm, fearing that this heralds my projectile vomiting onto your Yves St. Laurent smoking jacket, whilst literally an entire St. Lawrence Seaway of tears and saliva and invasive species pours down my face.

When I Man-Sob, my face looks like an open lock on the Welland Canal, if the locks on the Welland Canal were made of aging human flesh and covered with patchy, unkempt hair.

If only I could figure out how to make all of this aerobic. Or, failing that, just monetize the shit out of it.


PUBLIC DISCOURSE HAS BECOME POLARIZED to the degree that it’s scary and stressful to broach certain subjects with people, even worse when someone you thought you knew, your mom, for example, or your co-worker, initiates an exchange clearly assuming you hold the same bigoted views.

And I’m pushing back with less and less energy. I’ve lost some of the, how can I put this, spunk. I have less piss and vinegar. My responses are weary.

Instead of just slipping into my nuclear-grade conservative-proof overalls and flailing my hands at the keyboard, or in the face of the bigot, I first pause and consider what I might be getting myself into.

Do I want to be rolling on the ground at the bus stop, mud wrestling with a supporter of Andrew Scheer as we each attempt to bite off our opponent’s nose and pull out handfuls of each other’s hair?

Was it really on my agenda to have my face shoved into my plateful of gazpacho and my ears lobbed off with a vegetable peeler?

Did I willingly wake up this morning to the delighted realization that “I promised myself that today I will deliver a sharp, corrective thrust of my Doc Martens to the groin area of a Christian who’s decided gay men are Satan’s secret sauce! Yippee!”?

There is very little consensus remaining about our fundamental rights. When Lyndon Johnson kicked off a War on Poverty, or Pierre Trudeau affirmed Canadian multiculturalism, people supported them, or if they didn’t, at least they didn’t let on. These were not controversial ideas, they were mainstream.

I know that everyone says it’s Trump’s fault that there’s more polarization now, less agreement, more hatred and bigotry and stupidity, but that’s not entirely correct.

Don’t blame Trump for bringing bigotry into the world. The bigotry was there. The stupidity was there. He just took out his Stupidity Wand and went dowsing for Kellyanne Conway; he put on his hard hat with the lamp on it and went down the historical mineshaft to extract humungus ante-bellum boulders of bigotry.

Trump did not add to the sum total of bigotry and stupidity. He validated the bigots and the stupid people who’d been there waiting for him. He role-modeled, he set the gold standard for bigotry and made it super awesomely cool to be stupid.

For stupid, bigoted people he was aspirational. Now stupid bigoted parents could look at their stupid, bigoted kids and say, “Look, Thelma! Maybe one day you could be stupid, bigoted President! Isn’t that nifty? Oh, except that will never happen because, you know. Girl.”

Previously all the stupid people and bigoted people were in the closet, figuring out ways to “pass.” They had a suitable sense of shame about their condition.

They cocooned, developing economic theories that proved the market would effortlessly provide all of our needs in just the right quantities and at just the right price points if we stopped regulating it. This was the Stupid Theory of Economics, now taught worldwide, cooked up by Milton Friedman, a Stupid Economist.

This theory, incidentally, is the reason you and your extended family are now migrant workers sleeping in an abandoned railway car underneath the Bloor Street Viaduct.

Because stupid people get bored easily they need to fill every last minute of their waking lives, and then some. In the old days, traveling incognito, they would dress up like “Libertarians” and “Neo-Liberals” and convene in small groups to study the Second Amendment. These became the members of the Stupid NRA, who were astonished to discover that, although this Amendment is on the surface clearly referring to an 18th-century volunteer militia using muskets as a last-ditch effort against an oppressive, warring government, it is also effective at subtly conveying the Founders’ unmistakable intent that everyone in America should be issued a recreational automatic weapon at birth.

For geekier, computer-type fun they’d log on to ICQ chat rooms and make thought-provoking statements like, “I don’t think the earth can be round because we would just, like, fall off, I know, right? Pass it on.”

Now? The stupid bigoted people, swarming on Twitter in a new Day of the Locusts, have taken their cue from The Big Man, The Great Mouth Breather. They’re empowered, they’re vocal as hell, they’re no longer ashamed, and they’re gradually drowning out all but the most persistent liberal voices. They’re not going to take it anymore, whatever they’ve decided “it” is.

This is the kind of transformation that can happen when the leader of the most powerful nation on earth endorses something, like steaks or hooker sex or capital punishment.

Or stupidity and bigotry. Shares are through the roof!


ONE OF THE MANY WEIRD CONCEPTS going around is that freedom of expression is under attack and that people are being censored and silenced by the intolerant left (a concept usually expressed by someone speaking to their audience of millions on YouTube). The idea is that expressing an opposing viewpoint to a progressive is like thrusting a head of garlic and a cross into the face of a vampire, that we’ll explode, or whatever it is that vampires do in those circumstances.

Hence our “safe spaces,” our “political correctness” our “snowflakiness.” YOU are the fascists, the right says to us.

I don’t have time to personally address every single stupid and/or bigoted person, though I know some of you walked miles through a tornado then grabbed an Uber to get here today. Please try to understand, though I’m not holding my breath. I need to make this shit scalable.

I want to provide a public service at this point and define for you what is, and what is not, a difference of opinion.

Here’s Example One:

“I think we should provide healthcare by allowing people to keep their private insurance if they want.” / “I think we should provide healthcare using a single-payer model, like Canada and Britain.” / “I think government should stay out of the business of providing healthcare. The market will provide the best price and options if we just leave it alone.”

Those are differences of opinion. Although I strongly disagree with the last one, (because the evidence doesn’t support it) vive le difference, it makes the democratic world go ‘round. We’re smart enough — I think — to weigh the evidence and vote accordingly.

Another example:

“First-past-the-post voting is a disaster, because the party that gets into power doesn’t always have a majority of the votes.” / “Proportional representation is a disaster, because you end up with coalitions that give the third-level party undue influence on policies.”

Those are differences of opinion. They’re both concerned with a fair outcome to elections, an outcome that would best represent voters’ wishes.

With me so far?

Now let’s look at the following examples:

“ Women who have abortions should receive the death penalty. They should be hanged.”

is not a difference of opinion.

“If people want to criticize the government, they’re traitors.”

is not a difference of opinion.

“If you don’t like it here, you should go back to your shithole countries.”

is not a difference of opinion.

“Homosexuality is a sin and the gays [sic] shouldn’t be able to marry or adopt. They’re bringing about the downfall of society.”

is not a difference of opinion.

I feel almost embarrassed to have to spell this out, but:

If we want to live in a democratic society, if we want to work together to expand the scope of rights, equality, dignity as our understanding evolves, we have to agree on certain fundamental, inalienable human rights, and to do this, we codify these rights in an authoritative document from which flows the entire rule of law: a Constitution, a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a Bill of Rights, a Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We have differences of opinion when we discuss how to implement these fundamental human rights we have agreed on, these rights that may evolve, but which by common agreement can never be rescinded.

Rights may be expressed in the broadest terms, but their implementation is always specific, their meaning clarified within a matrix of situation, context and community. Always the question is: does this law, does this judgment, finally include whoever has been excluded, relieve the oppressed from their oppression, provide justice where justice has been denied?

If you don’t believe that women should control their own bodies;

if you don’t believe in the free expression of non-violent protest;

if you believe that some people are less than human or less than equal because they are different in their sexuality, gender expression, skin color, religious beliefs or any other trait and you counsel others to oppress and discount and exclude them;

if you advocate violence against a class of persons,

you are not expressing a difference of opinion.

You might actually be engaging in hate speech. This follows from the concept, noted by the Ontario Human Rights Commission in their literature about balancing conflicting rights, that “the private expression of the right is more protected than the public expression.”

Yes, there is freedom of expression. You are free to express in private whatever you care to express, no matter how reprehensible, but when you express the same idea publicly you may be causing a whole lot of mischief. Your right, exercised in public, to call for death to women who’ve had abortions may not be judged to be in the best interests of society.

More bluntly, if you publicly advocate violence against a class of persons, the restriction of that right may be justifiable. The harm of restricting your freedom of expression may be negligible compared to the harm that is caused to the target of your bigotry by its public expression.

My rights, your rights.

So please, conservatives, Christians, conservative Christians, the whole lot of you: Enough with the cant about freedom of expression and the misguided (to take a charitable view) or disingenuous (my actual view) attempt to rehabilitate statements such as those listed above, statements that indicate that you, the speaker, do not hold with the fundamental values of a democratic society. There is no dialog possible with people such as you and nothing to engage with in these statements.

When you engage in your convoluted conservative logic it makes you look incredibly foolish, and it makes the rest of us wonder about your — to appropriate one of the right’s favorite loaded words — agenda.

If you can’t come on board about the fundamental principle of democracy—namely, the equality in dignity and worth of all persons—I have a suggestion. Maybe you could find your own island somewhere, hopefully free of shithole-ness, and populate it with yourselves until your island is positively busting a gut with great-again-ness.

Then you can relax, secure in your fundamental beliefs, and the rest of us, relieved of your hateful rhetoric and privileged whining, can get on with the business of creating a more fair and more just society for everyone.


Afterword

Conservatives have a repertoire of sneering insults which they direct at liberals whenever they can get away with it. This usually means that no bona fide news organization is watching, in loco parentis, so think Twitter or Facebook.

Gay men used to be called “queers” and there is something about the sound of the “q-u” followed by the fluting double “e” that still makes me catch my breath in fear and shame. But we took the word “queer” and we owned it, using it as a badge of pride that we were odd, eccentric, creative or just plain ornery. This idea of “queer” as rejecting stereotypes and gender norms switched the focus to society instead of sex. Hearing “queer” used as a positive or at least neutral descriptor was surprisingly liberating.

Queer has lost its edge of sexual deviance and now begins to sound spirited, and happy-go-lucky, like a charming iconoclastic leprechaun who could cast a spell on your first-born but who is too busy dyeing the shamrocks pink to bother.

Conservatives call Liberals “snowflakes,” and we could start our rehabilitation of the word, rescuing it from the cycle of abuse and maybe sending it on a little vacation to Antarctica where it can tell itself, “Goldarnit—I’m snowflake and I’m OK!”

I think snowflakes are beautiful, unique crystals which can be fragile by themselves, but can make a pretty effective blizzard when they agitate with the other snowflakes.

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A convenient hero…

… and a broken promise.


Frederick Douglass, from a speech delivered in Rochester, N.Y., 1852.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, A BLACK MAN who escaped from slavery in the state of Maryland and through monumental efforts of self-education and determination became one of the most celebrated abolitionists, activists, writers, orators and statesmen of the nineteenth-century, is celebrated as an American hero.

This astonishes me, though not because he doesn’t deserve his heroic status. His achievements would have been exceptional had he been a white man; but he was black, a former slave, and what he achieved required infinitely greater courage, persistence and faith. Together with his personal qualities—intelligence, ambition, above all, charisma—he was the abolitionists’ living proof that slavery was not natural law, that slaves were not “savages” undeserving of full citizenship.

His transformation, when it occurred, was effected by the simple act of crossing a state boundary, but behind that act lay everyday miracles of self-will. The obstacles Douglass overcame were intractable; the small acts of kindness shown to him, usually by the wives of his owners—a proper bed, a decent meal, the illusion of family— so rare he remembered each occasion from boyhood to the end of his life.

(How much I resist using the word “owner” in this context, resist admitting the appalling reality that, as a slave, he was property, a beast of burden, less than human.)

He was born in 1818 into slavery, taken from his mother, the common practice, and put to work; through his childhood and as a young man he was bought and sold and traded by one owner after another as casually as you would buy and sell and trade livestock, until he ended up in the service of an owner known as a “slave-breaker.”

(He needed to be broken because word had got out that he had been teaching himself to read, and then, as his fellow slaves learned of his accomplishment, teaching as many as forty of them at a time in impromptu gatherings.)

The slave-breaker’s preferred method of control was whipping. Whippings meted out daily, the fresh marks on top of those from the previous days, which would not yet have had a chance to heal. Whippings, Douglass said later, that indeed broke him, body, mind and spirit, until one day he stood up and fought back so fiercely his owner never whipped him, or even approached him, again.

You have seen, he wrote in his autobiography before describing that incident, how a man becomes a slave.

Now you will see how a slave becomes a man.

No, I’m astonished at his being considered a hero in contemporary America because Douglass was not a compliant, docile, forgiving man. He was not nice. He held people accountable. He did not think everything would be all right, at least, not passively, not without a struggle. His advice late in his life to a young black activist was: “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!”

Agitate! In other words: Stir things up. Make people uncomfortable. Don’t let them off the hook. Don’t smile at the camera, scowl; don’t be the happy slave. Don’t play into the stereotype, refuse it. Don’t speak gently to the white women of Rochester.

Agitate!

I’m astonished because I have no doubt that if Douglass were alive today, agitating today, he would be reviled. Because, literally or metaphorically, he’d be kneeling during the National Anthem, and that would be the mildest of his agitations.

Douglass’ house in Rochester was destroyed by fire in 1872; his daughter, her husband and their children barely escaped with their lives. This was without question an arsonist’s attack. What mysterious or public disaster, I wonder, would be visited on him today, for his agitation?

White people in the North had trouble believing that Douglass had once been a slave, so thoroughly, so greedily had he educated himself, so eloquently did he speak. What fakery would he be accused of today? What scandals cooked up, what smear campaigns? What would the memes look like?

How a slave becomes a man: By fighting back so fiercely your torturer never touches you again.

Agitate!

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It’s easy for white people to think of Douglass as a hero, because he’s dead and can no longer cause a ruckus with his activism; because he can’t respond to the white men who use his speeches to “prove” that, because literal slavery no longer exists, because the blacks have had the school busing and the Selma March and can even claim their very own martyr, because of the thirteenth and fourteenth and fifteenth amendments, America is post-racial, color-blind.

What the hell are they complaining about now, for pete’s sake?

Not content with the grudging concession that people of color have, say, the right to vote, now they have the nerve to object just because Republicans do a little creative redrawing of the county lines.

People of color apparently aren’t content with the cheap, lumpy sofa of human rights, the basic IKEA model that sort of looks OK but that you secretly wish was from West Elm. They want the West Elm sofa plus the throw cushions and the Berber carpet.

And every so often the exasperation and impatience of white people bubbles up, in the affronted, aggrieved tones of someone whose thoughtful gift has been rejected.

If you don’t like it here, you’re free to leave! Do you ever see that online?* The assumption here is that if you’re not white you’re here on sufferance, you’re enjoying a probationary period—but complain too much, be a difficult, demanding, unappreciative guest, and whammo! Privileges revoked!

If you don’t like it here, you’re free to leave”? And I say to the petulant white guys and gals: So are you. You’ve got the money and the privilege, so how about returning to, say, Great Britain, where you will be better appreciated? I’m one hundred percent certain Boris Johnson will kiss you full on the mouth.

Douglass’s most famous speech, an excerpt of which is quoted below, was given to—the name reeks of white gentility—the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society in Rochester, N.Y., on July 5, 1852, nearly nine years before the Civil War began.

“…your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes that would disgrace a nation of savages…”

Frederick Douglass, 1852 (excerpt)

Read his words: However nobly phrased, they are also withering, bitter, enraged. He blazes like an Old Testament prophet. Apparently nineteenth-century American women were not the wilting violets of cliché Victorian femininity. They could, as we say, “take it.”

Fast forward a century and a half. Colin Kaepernick uses his celebrity to draw attention to systemic racism in America, not with inflammatory words or disruptive protest. He simply kneels during the National Anthem before the game. All hell breaks loose. For this he is denounced as a traitor, when he should be celebrated for exercising his right to protest.

Cory Booker travels to the centers where refugees are being held in third-world conditions. He reports on what he sees; he helps five women obtain asylum, following the accepted legal process.

A woman on Twitter tells him he should be charged with treason. Treason, if you’ve forgotten, is punishable by the death penalty in the United States of America.

The average American in 2019, then, is less robust than the abolitionist women in 1852 Rochester, who could listen to the fiery oratory of a former slave. Who invited Douglass to speak to them.

Perhaps it’s Trump’s unapologetic supporters, the MAGA-hatters, the new breed of Republicans, who need smelling salts, or even tincture of laudanum. What they are suffering from used to be called hysteria, or “an attack of the vapours.”

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Those seeking asylum from the violence and miserable poverty of their lives in the country that promises new beginnings and freedom are caged like animals in overcrowded facilities. Children are separated from parents and denied the most basic care. All are demonized as “illegals.”

Some are so desperate, they die in the attempt. But seeking asylum is a legal act and the U.S. has a duty under international law to admit them.

Illegal is a label, a construct, a way of dehumanizing in order to justify inhumane treatment. Illegal is, in today’s jargon, performative: what you say is what you get.

Refugees are not immigrants. They are seeking refuge, obviously, from acute crises: persecution by their own governments; natural disasters, lawlessness, civil war or discrimination so terrible that to return them to their country of origin is certain death. They aren’t making a calm, considered, career decision to change their country of residence or citizenship. They are in some manner escaping a war being waged against them.

Canada admitted tens of thousands of refugees from Syria in 2015; This was our response to an emergency, a humanitarian crisis.

Canada also has a multi-faceted immigration program that reflects our values. Programs include pilot projects encouraging immigration to the north and to the Atlantic provinces, sponsoring family members, express programs for skilled workers and opportunities for caregivers, artists and sports persons. As part of our immigration program we encourage applications for refugee status from those seeking protection from repression and discrimination in their home countries.

The two classes—immigrants and refugees— have become synonymous in the public’s mind because of Trump’s insistence that everyone who is not white and who sets foot on U.S. soil is a “rapist,” “gang member,” part of a planned “invasion.”

Some day we will have to have the conversation about a borderless world. We can’t continue to build metaphorical walls and shut out that part of humanity which hasn’t won the lottery and been born in a developed and democratic country.

It’s also impossible to view the plight of refugees from Guatemala and other Central American countries as having occurred in a vacuum, when U.S. policies have directly targeted those countries with disastrous results.

In the short term, human beings are morally bound to help others if they possibly can, and to do so in a compassionate way that recognizes their inherent dignity and equality—our common humanity.

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Trump co-opts the Fourth of July celebrations and turns them into a tinpot dictator’s preposterous military parade; makes the Fourth of July all about him, in other words. Is anyone surprised?

Serial sexual abuser, criminal, pathological liar: Has a more ridiculous or contemptible impostor ever held public office in a democracy, anywhere?

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“The New Colossus”

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus ( (1849–1887)

“The New Colossus” was written by a young Jewish woman, Emma Lazarus, as part of the effort to raise money for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, and who, dying in only her thirty-eighth year, would never know how the final five lines would enter American mythology.

“Give me your tired, your poor….” Give me. Not just acceptance, but an invitation. An active embrace by the mother of exiles.

Wretched refuse: Refuse is what you discard. Less politely, garbage. However rejected you have been, we will embrace you. Liberty as mother, blind to race, color, creed. What a mother, infinitely more than a father, creates is home and family.

This is the promise.

I can’t read these words without my voice breaking with emotion; yet on reflection, measured against reality, I see Lazarus’ idealism as irrevocably tainted. I see what has become an unfortunate American propensity to indulge in pompous self-regard and fine-sounding, empty rhetoric, boasts about shining cities on hills that shine only for that tiny minority gifted with the right time and place of birth, those who have never wanted for anything, struggled, gone hungry or lived in fear. Unholy license.

And how dark the world has become now that the mother of exiles has extinguished her lamp, slammed shut the golden door.

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* I wrote this post before Trump’s now infamous suggestion to “the Squad;” it wasn’t meant ironically. I can probably now assume that you’ve all heard this at least once, online.
24 July 19

A Case of Dementia in Squirrels

lost: a few nuts randomly buried under the Statue of Fuckery



WHATEVER YOU POST IN AN INTERNET FORUM, no matter how bat-shit insane or obviously fueled by malice, becomes instantly and indisputably true, provided you make your case with the absolute conviction of a Supreme Court justice and the fire and brimstone of a born-again Christian preaching to the converted. To test my hypothesis, please spread the rumors described below, being careful to follow the instructions and not attempting anything beyond your current skill set. Go on, you know you want to!

Rumor 1

“Hillary is running a child-sex brothel from an apartment on the second floor of the Golden Lemongrass Thai Restaurant, in Pocatello, Idaho, and on weekdays you get two for the price of one! True!”

What is it: Standard Hillary rumor

Where should I spread it: Facebook is the only way to go.

Why: Facebook was never cool and just went downhill from there, giving a Hillary-Facebook profile match of 10/10; Facebook is mainly used by low-income, middle-aged women who find the real news too confusing and who are all related to you, and/or entire developing nations where women are allocated a status just below even-toed ungulates. Delivers more intensity for less effort than standard “Crooked Hillary” models.

Difficulty: Level 1 (suitable for beginners)

Rumor 2

“Alexandria O-C, that crazy humorless Lesbian socialist c**t,¹ is in cahoots with the Palestinians about plans to pelt the Brooklyn Bridge with balls of exploding falafel filled with broken glass and metal screws, and if you survive that, she’s going to raise your taxes to 90% and take away your cow! All so very true!”

What is it: Experimental “Crazy Socialist/Accusatory Anti Semite” combo type (in beta; may not perform as anticipated)

Where should I spread it: YouTube or other video-heavy sites that attract teenagers and angry middle-aged white guys because a. there’s something that moves; and b. they have to take a break from beating off to “barely-legal” teen porn at least one day out of four so the swelling can go down.

Why: This is uncharted territory. Works on the theory that anyone who demands social justice must have had pre-marital sex, gone dancing or lied about getting straight A’s in college at least once, so there’s bound to be something we can nail her with.

Gets you bonus points for reminding us that anyone who dares to question even for one second anything Israel does, or anything done in the name of Zionism, no matter how morally reprehensible, is so beyond the pale they might just as well have put on their souvenir pair of Hitler’s tattered underpants, then shoveled great-grandfather’s ashes out of the incinerator at Auschwitz before using them for fertilizer.

Difficulty: Level 4 (advanced). Requires impeccable insinuation and moral outrage techniques, plus the ability to withstand mockery by twenty-somethings, and Twitter pile-ons of grandstanding goyim who’ve never been closer to anything Jewish than that time they bought a boil-in-the-bag serving of Shopsy’s corned beef.

¹ Backgrounder:

(Yes, one must consider bringing the “c-word” out of retirement, because the usual styling for a strong female, “bitch”, is currently in the private collection of the Speaker, and besides, “bitch” is not even remotely nasty enough for a wee slip of a thing, not yet thirty years old, who speaks her mind, considers herself equal to a man and dares to talk of revolution.

“Bitch” is too light and breezy to convey the impotent rage of the male conservative whose daughter has stayed out all night being a slut when she’d promised to keep her knees together and return home by midnight, full of chaste, dutiful daddy’s-little-girl kisses.

The moribund, flatulent old guard is incredulous at the vigor and righteousness and juiciness of the new. A O-C is impervious to taunts, because she doesn’t give a fuck what you think; she has that Latina warmth and affability and superiority; plus the natural moral high ground of the female deployed with the ardor of a saint. If you’re on her side, she’ll be your ever-faithful pal; if you’re not, her eyes will flash like steel and she’ll cut you down with a well-aimed retort, swift and sharp as a switchblade. Tremble, o fathers, at untamed, untameable womanhood—!)

Rumor 3

“Nancy Pelosi, actually Nadia Pelosinheimer, filthy rich Jewess, together with her latest lover, George Soros, the Antichrist, and her army of bastard Satan-children, is funding a new caravan of out-of-work Central American soap opera actors who will storm The Wall as part of her Communist-Jewish agenda to slice off every remaining piece of foreskin in California. Vile prepuce, be gone!”²

² (The above should be self-explanatory, except please note that in this one we follow the common practice in that you dislike Jews rather than suddenly wanting to stand up for them because it suits your purpose.)

Rumor 4

Have you been getting this down? Have a go at Rumor 4 by yourself. Should be a cinch!

“Global warming and climate change are hoaxes perpetrated by the Chinese so they can destroy our economy. True!

“They are supported in this by an international cabal of renowned scientists who’ve forged all the data, having forgotten that the Earth’s climate goes in cycles—kind of like your clothes dryer at home with the different settings for linen and synthetics, and we’re just stuck on delicates at the moment. One full cap for a dirty load of true!

“Remember how your ancestor from the Holocene period always told you, It’s OK, dude, just take shelter in your cave until the monsoons pass? Well, there you go! That thing! Crack my skull with your caveman club of truth!

“Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s my turn to demonstrate my killer blow-job technique on the CEO of Esso.”


All of these are facts. Cross my heart and hope to die. Let the world know!

Nope. Not facts. Not even factoids. None of that happened. Just random, made-up shit.

But true.

And why the hell not? The actual truth is so plain-Jane and unadorned, it is as a straight-backed Shaker chair to the curvaceous Louis XIV fauteuil of our fakery. The actual truth admits no duty other than to just be, and it will not be gilded or lilied with your agenda. The actual truth lacks efficiency: it does not rouse the base, deflect blame or target a suitably depressed class as “other.”

The actual truth involves getting out of bed and taking a selfie without the Instagram filter that lets you pretend you’re a tiger, or breathing fire, or even Marilyn, even if you’re a guy. The actual truth might not be that pretty.

What are the actual truths?

The actual truth is that men hate women, hate them so much that every fleeting opportunity for rape not taken is cause for regret; the actual truth is that everyone hates Jews and fags and the transgendered and people with non-white skin and immigrants, the actual truth is that we hate in a dizzying infinite regress of Venn diagrams of who’s the hated and who’s the hater, who hates the haters, and who the hated hate in their turn in whatever hateful hierarchy. That’s actual truth.

We didn’t get out of bed this morning and sip our Evian to admit that our bombed and machine-gunned kids, be they in Palestine, Syria or Parkland, are real kids whose flesh shreds to the bone and whose faces melt like sugar as we wage war against them, and we hate them all the more for being so delicate, so trusting and vulnerable; that hurts, doesn’t it? And to that I say: that’s actual truth for ya!


A black woman, a Democratic representative in Congress, is told by the Chair, a white man, that her time is up, she must stop talking about gun control and her fears for her children. He makes the demand in the soft, decorous voice one would use to say, “A spot of tea, Priscilla?”

The woman explodes in anger. “I will NOT!” she bellows.

White men, as always, offer their opinion on Twitter. You would do better to have some decorum. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, Honey. We understand your position, but there’s a time and a place.

I read these Tweets, thinking, “This woman has probably endured in her lifetime insults, injustice and indignity that these men would not put up with for ONE SECOND, were it them—and now they want to take away her RAGE as well?”

Is there no fucking limit to our shamelessness?


We didn’t cast our vote for Trump or Scheer or Harper or Brexit to admit the actual truth: that The Wall can never be built.

Honestly, haven’t you ever wondered why? Why the delays, why the faffing around and procrastinating and backtracking and deal-making?

It’s not like building a wall costs that much, in a nation that allocates half its discretionary spending to defence while kids starve and their parents shoot up Fentanyl, praying for an overdose; it’s not like it’s technically difficult, in a nation that builds a World Trade Center just so the Deep State can knock it over like a juvenile delinquent knocks a tin can off a fence.

(Except that’s just a rumor; the actual truth is that America, read “the West”, is hated by those who’ve endured the West’s greed, insatiable appetite for oil and callous indifference to the misery they’ve inflicted on entire nations, who looked through the windows at the sumptuous banquet and thought, Why not us, too? Why were we not invited? Why is it their oil, not ours?

To the West, those people were nothing but inconveniences, pawns to be hoodwinked and manipulated and shifted on the board. And the bitterness and hatred of entire nations spawned fundamentalism, which in turn triggered the horrified awakening: that Western life is the unholy life of the apostate, that Westerners are infidels who deserve to die, and for all I know, they’re right.

The actual truth is that you might as well have leveled the World Trade Centre yourselves, so inevitable was the disaster that you call 9/11 and that some call sweet and righteous victory. An infinite regress of haters and the hated…)

The Wall can never be built because it was and is and always will be a metaphorical wall, a glorious Fascist symbol, an intangible, enthralling fever dream that has hooked the souls of the lost and angry white overlords who yearn for a Golden Age.

The Wall is Heimweh, nostalgia for the Fatherland, the Ur-Amerika of cotton and tobacco, and horses-and-buggies transporting the exquisite parasol’d daughters to the cotillion Good evenin’, Miss Scarlett! while the family niggers drop dead in the fields.

The Wall is a Jungian vision of the cosmic hymen that will restore Amerika’s virginity and racial purity, and to attempt to build it would be to awaken us, the sleepwalkers, force us to admit that purity is a chimera, a state that never existed and thus can never be restored.

To attempt to build The Wall would force us to admit we are indelibly stained. We long to be pure water again, but we are forever tainted with the blood of those we hate, and to admit that is to admit defeat.

God and Satan and all the legion of the fallen angels help us! when we whose vocation is hate must admit defeat. Except the actual truth is that God doesn’t exist. Ours alone will be all the kingdom and the power and the glory for what we’ve wrought, forever and ever. And that is why we, the haters, hate Him most of all.


Did you know? Squirrels forget where they buried eighty percent of the nuts they harvest.

True.

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This is How You Blackmail Jeff Bezos, Guys

maybe just a little more contrast?

DEAR MR. BEZOS: YEAH, SO. JUST READ the descriptions of those pics the National Enquirer got their hands on, and should Amazon customers see them — which would clearly be in their best interest — they would, quite frankly, question your business judgment. I certainly do!

I do also have just a few really quite minor suggestions about your Instagram filters, but let’s save that for the bit in the deli when we sign the “catch and kill.”

Alright, here’s the deal: Basically, the “sketch” and “cartoon” options are not considered, you know. Au courant, at least, if you want even a shot at being an “Influencer.” But more on that later.

Honestly? I’d say just a little more contrast. Remember that “brightness” is all about the mid-tones, and jeepers, don’t miss out on the red-eye reduction! Saves you hours in post! Are you getting this down?

Now on to the blackmail bit, and apologies for the delay, which I’m sure must be making you feel a bit antsy.

So, you’ve revealed just a teensy bit more than you intended. Now we know what that bulge in your pants was. We thought it was just a great, big, rolled-up wad of billions of dollars in corporate welfare you got for building your second HQ in New York City — that sleepy, second-rate wannabe town that’s been aching for someone, anyone, but mostly you, to help it break out of that loser mentality that’s kept it beaten down and struggling.

That’s how it’s been in New Amsterdam, right? Ever since the Dutch dropped anchor thinking they were somewhere in southeast Asia, and proceeded to eke out their wretched lives eating tulip bulbs with the dirt still on them, forcing their women folk into sexual slavery — exposing themselves behind plate glass windows as they proffered their freshly-baked Apfelkuchen. Ja, das schmeckt!

But, no. It was your, and you may want to ask the little ladies and kids to leave the room at this point, “semi-erect manhood;” due, I have no doubt, to the “cleavage” on display; and as far as business judgment goes, nice try with the “fully-erect manhood and two great big naturals available when you join ‘Prime.’

Nice try but no cigar, except with the simulated depiction of oral sex.

My interest, among other things, peaked, just a little, at “nether regions,” and it raised an eyebrow at the felicity of an AMI executive being named “Mr. Pecker.”

Are you serious?

The Peckers consider baby names:

“If it’s a girl, let’s name her ‘Brandy’. It’d be nice to have a stripper in the family, especially if she goes the ‘European-style’ route. If it’s a boy — how about Richard? No?”

Sometimes, Mr. Bezos, life is perfect.

The folks at AMI apparently read a lot of trashy pulp novels from the 1950’s (“She was a Kitten with a steno pad… but a Tigress between the percale sheets!”) and I squirm with delight at their inability to say “penis,” “erection,” or “pubic.”

Even my five-year-old great-nephew can say those!

(At least, he could before Doug Ford replaced the Ontario sex-ed curriculum with free copies of “Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.”)

Reading the tantalizing, babelicious descriptions had raised my temperature to such a degree that — well.

I had to take things in hand.

Five minutes under a cold shower, which is apparently all my landlord is able to provide this week, has ruined my Galaxy S2. Waterproof, my eye!

Let’s cut to the chase, Mr Bezos, or now that we know each other so much better, how’s about I just call you Jeff? Hmmmm?

Or, sure, maybe just stick with “Mr. Bezos.” Mr. Bezos is fine. Not a problem.

I’m not going to pussyfoot around, here. I publish this on my blog (readership approaching one hundred, it’s possible my mom subscribed twice, but whatever), OR I get free shipping OR next-day delivery, I’ll decide later, on… Well, I dunno.

That iPhone X is lookin’ pretty damn tasty, Mr. Bezos.

OK, OK, relax! It was just a thought. No, really, forget it.

Sheesh! Jump all over me or what!

I’ll be fine. I’ll just — stick it in a bag of rice.

My phone.

OK, so text me. No, call. Yeah, nearly had me putting it in writing, you sly dog! Ha! Nice one! You’re good!

All the best,

Dave “Pecker” Roddis

P.S. 
I’d be happy with even the 8GB iPhone X, just so you know. Also, about the semi-erect thing, Cialis works great, with, honestly? only a really small chance of stroke, with just a slightly bigger chance if you’ve taken aspirin in the past ninety days. And if you order the generic ones from India you get 50% off your next purchase. I’ll send you a coupon.

They call it “the weekender,” that’s just man to man between you and me, and I think you’ll find it’s totally worth the risk. Start with half a one first and see how it goes, is my idea.

Aspirin! I know, seriously?

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