All This Amanda Palmer Crap
I know I am not Amanda Palmer’s audience, so I’ve tried of late to be more generous in my assumptions about her and that audience, the same way I do for artists whose work is in a genre I’m not equipped to evaluate or appreciate properly (e.g., classical music). I’ve encountered the following difficulties:
1. Her music is in a genre I *am* equipped to evaluate and appreciate, and I’m not impressed.
2. If we view the whole Amanda Palmer apparatus as her work, I’m also equipped and unimpressed.
3. She is directly disproving, in my case, her thesis that greater intimacy with artists enhances the experience of their work. How? Knowing that Neil Gaiman married this asshat is retroactively ruining my appreciation of Sandman and Anansi Boys.
New Year’s Honesty, Too Frank for Twitter Edition
I was going to say I don’t know when I’ve regarded a new year with more certainty it would be bad. Then I remembered how 2005 became 2006.
Just North of Something Important: Good lord, a mixed-race person who is president of the United States...
Good lord, a mixed-race person who is president of the United States just endorsed gay marriage several years after passing health care reform. Do you know how many of those things were inconceivable 5 years ago? You can be happy about this without having to be happy about everything else the man…
A horrifying moment
Not everyday, but often, I like to watch The Rachel Maddow Show. Today, after reading and watching the incredibly depressing news of the day — North Carolina’s amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions; demonization of the poor; general willingness to let people die when they get sick — I found I wasn’t up for it. I flipped to Bravo instead, and on went the Real Housewives.
And here’s the terrifying thing I realized:
The Real Housewives shows present a more centered, rational, relatable moral universe than does American politics.
Three Ways the Real Housewives Shows Are Superior to American Politics:
1. When somebody on Real Housewives claims “I never said such-and-such”, Bravo’s editors roll the footage. And then you know what that person said!
2. When castmembers or their families get sick, others act like it matters. They don’t act like the person — even if it’s somebody they really don’t like! — deserves it.
3. Many Real Housewives are obsessed with appearances, to the point of surgery, overspending, self-loathing, and even destruction of their family bonds. Same with politics.
The difference: In the Real Housewives universe, there’s more of a reckoning of the costs involved: surgeries go wrong, families go bankrupt, spouses and kids walk out, people become addicts. And even in the context of a reality TV show, the costs of those consequences are more fully realized — people leave the show because it’s too much, they go to rehab, they file for bankruptcy and own up to having to start over, and they offer and demand apologies from one another because whatever else the Real Housewives universe will let you do, it won’t let two people with a genuine disagreement go more than two weeks without hashing it out. And then, at the reunion show, they hash it out again. Because however genuine or false their other bonds, they are contractually obligated to deal with one another, and there’s footage of what they’ve said and done.
Real Politics Example: The Anthony Weiner story — which had consequences not just for his family and career, but also for his, you know, being the person who was doing to most to point out Clarence Thomas’ conflict of interest relative to the Affordable Care Act. This concern gets no oxygen as he becomes just a punchline. Never mind the human toll of his actions on the people in his life, the very real policy toll is ignored. Only the tabloid punchline endures.
Almost five years ago, The Mendoza Line released Thirty Year Low. It was really good and really sad and fractured, in keeping with its status as the group’s (and the group’s couple’s) break-up album. Not a linear telling, mind, but the last work they created together before it all became impossible.
And the promotional e-postcard Glurp created for it is still up at that link. And you should listen to it for its melancholy disappointment (“Since I Came”, “30 Year Low”) and its anger (“31 Candles”) and buy the album and its companion disc. And you should get excited that Shannon McArdle is putting out her second solo album this summer.
Justice Kennedy responded that “people detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals.” He noted that Timothy McVeigh, later put to death for his role in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, was first arrested for driving without a license plate. “One of the terrorists involved in the Sept. 11 attacks was stopped and ticketed for speeding just two days before hijacking Flight 93,” Justice Kennedy added.
NYT coverage of the Florence decision.
1. It is, of course, deeply stupid to assert that there would have been a benefit to strip searching people whose horrifying crimes did not involve hiding anything on their persons.
2. It is EVEN MORE STUPID to argue that strip-searching the anti-government terrorist McVeigh would have had a salutary effect. McVeigh did not hide a truck full of fertilizer in his body. And people who already hate government probably would not be dissuaded by being strip-searched.
3. The 9/11 terrorist was ticketed for speeding. Not arrested, ticketed. Is Kennedy proposing that everybody who breaks the speed limit be arrested and strip-searched? And if he isn’t, what the hell is this example doing in his decision?
4. Once again: Scalia shows he is an empty process guy when it comes to criminal procedure. He’ll wax poetic about testimoniality and write decisions like Melendez-Diaz, which do nothing meaningful for criminal defendants beyond making one generation of appeals more annoying for the government (until the next generation of trials sees prosecutors jumping another non-substance hoop by having lab techs and the like testify directly), but he’s incapable of more. Scalia enjoys a reputation for being surprisingly liberal in this area. It is not deserved. He is consistent, bless him, and he is usually a fine writer. But his flat rejection of anything akin to a dignity interest hollows out his every defense of supposed liberty. Great, after you’ve been arrested based on bad information and strip-searched in two separate jails, you can be confident that the DMV clerk who mistakenly set you on this path will testify in court personally.
This Needs to Be Said
A “stand your ground” law does not make it lawful to shoot people every time you get scared. It removes the duty for a person to retreat before using force “if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
The word “reasonable” and its variants appear a lot in criminal law, and there’s a reason for that: so that the party asserting a belief has to back it up.
Nothing that has been reported so far—particularly nothing that has withstood scrutiny—supports the notion that a reasonable person would find it necessary to shoot Trayvon Martin. Not the cuts it appears George Zimmerman didn’t have, not the hostility Trayvon supposedly showed the strange man following him with a gun, not the sliming of a dead 17-year-old, and certainly not a bag of Skittles.
I don’t like Stand Your Ground laws. But they are not the issue here. They’re an excuse.