For a start, this kind of reporting doesn’t obey any of the four golden rules of attention-seeking: novelty, controversy, celebrity and sex. Another way of putting it is: they’re boring, written by boring people and they cover boring subjects.
Let’s be honest: this stuff is written for other journalists. If you’ve signed up to a life of crafting explainer tabs for Vox, or landed a gig at the Guardian writing for its datablog, good for you. But know that your work will only ever be read by dorks.
Look at the three big explainer sites. Vox, FiveThirtyEight, The Upshot. What do they all have in common? All of them originate from one side of the divide. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying they’re bad because they’re liberal. I’m just saying they have editorial priorities that ignore 50 per cent of the population. You know, the “ordinary” people, who don’t stay up until 2.00 a.m. rage-commenting on Jezebel.
So-called “actually” journalism doesn’t speak to these people because it doesn’t use the language of emotion or common sense, as most of us do in most of our lives.
At least, unlike Milo Yiannopoulos (the author of this piece), Vox, FiveThirtyEight, and The Upshot pay their writers.
“I am not Mike Brown. I am white. I am middle class. I am female. I am small. I am not considered a threat. When police see me they see someone who looks like them. They see their mothers, their daughters, their sisters, themselves. I am not at risk of being shot by police for existing while black. I am not at risk of being shot while unarmed. I am not at risk of being shot while armed with nothing more than a BB gun. I am not at risk of being shot for reaching for my wallet. I am privileged.
But I am outraged. And if you aren’t outraged, then you aren’t paying attention. This is America in 2014. This is our reality. It’s so easy to get jaded and to ignore these atrocities, to act like this doesn’t affect us. It’s so easy to get apathetic. In the past it was the youth who protested. Where is the rage of the youth? Where is our rage?
Like I said, I am not Mike Brown. But I am outraged.”—: I am not Mike Brown. (via fitle-tight)
Despite denials from top Comcast execs, a leaked employee manual shows that all Comcast customer service reps, even tech support staff, are required to hard-sell every customer they deal with, using high-pressure scripts that interfere with doing their jobs.
So, if that’s your main frame of reference for dealing with law enforcement, it is really easy to assume that when someone else gets targeted by the police, they must have done something really bad. After all, you know the police aren’t that petty, right? They’re there to help: That’s what TV tells you, what your teachers told you, what your parents told you. “If you’re in trouble, find a police officer. They’ll help.” And, y’know, if you’re white, most of the time, that’s probably true.
And, I mean, I get that. It’s a lot more comfortable to pretend that safety correlates to virtue than to confront the ugly truth that a system that benefits you very directly does so at the cost of other people’s lives; that what you were taught was the just reward for being a good person is, in fact, the privilege of your skin. That’s a big part of why we work so hard to retcon narratives about how the black people our police murder must have been dangerous, highlight every casual infraction like it’s a killing spree. We are so desperate to believe that the system that feeds us is just.
It doesn’t feel good to acknowledge that stuff. It feels gross. A system we trusted—one we should be able to trust, that should work for the benefit and protection of everyone has made us accomplice to some deeply horrifying shit.
But here’s the thing:
This happened. This is happening. Not recognizing it; stonewalling and insulating ourselves in our little bubbles does not make it go away.
And not acknowledging it, not having asked for it, does not make us any less complicit, or any less responsible for owning and fixing this. We are actively benefitting from a fucked, corrupt, murderous system. That is on us. As it should be.
So educate yourself, get the tools, and start dismantling this fucker. You have the time: after all, no one’s shooting at your kids.
Privilege is the bandwidth to speak up and dismantle because you’re not in fear for your life. And there is no conscionable excuse for failing to use it.
“Amid a campaign to ban Kiss music from radio stations and a ceding of the moral ground to Nikki Sixx, Gene Simmons has come forward to apologize for his recent comments on depression—an apology that seems to come from a genuine place in Gene Simmons, seeing as he’s a real asshole about it. “To the extent my comments reported by the media speak of depression,” the apology reads, as Simmons begins his act of contrition by implicitly blaming the media for contextualizing his comments—in which he said, “For a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, ‘I‘m depressed, I live in Seattle.’ Fuck you, then kill yourself”—as somehow representing his feelings on depression. Really, he says, they were inspired by the “spur of the moment,” egged on by an interviewer for Songfacts who asked him the leading question, “Do you still get along with [Ace Frehley and Peter Criss]?””—
Last night was the first night in almost two weeks that I haven’t had a series of horrible nightmares that woke me up at the end of every REM cycle. I woke up this morning next to my dogs (Anne is still in New York) who seemed as happy to snuggle next to me as I was to snuggle next to them.
GenCon was, on balance, awesome. I played some fantastic new games, spent some great time with friends, and…
“DOYLESTOWN, PA—Describing him as frequently frustrated and overwhelmed, sources confirmed Monday that local Facebook user Michael Huffman is incredibly stupid. “I need stuff easy,” said the absolute dipshit, adding that he finds many things confusing, and that those things must be changed so that they make sense to him. “I like looking at things on Facebook, but I don’t understand a lot. Help, please.” At press time, someone had reportedly fixed everything for the goddamn imbecile.”—Area Facebook User Incredibly Stupid | The Onion - America’s Finest News Source
Michael from Muckrock writes, “Wondering how the St. Louis County Police ended up armed with surplus military gear, and what other departments have? A FOIA request at MuckRock has turned up every item given to local law enforcement under the Pentagon’s 1022 program, the mechanism by which local law enforcement can apply for surplus or used military gear.”
“Yes, there are the disturbingly repetitive and eerily similar circumstances of many cases of unarmed black people being killed by police officers. This reinforces black people’s beliefs — supportable by actual data — that blacks are treated less fairly by the police.
But I submit that this is bigger than that. The frustration we see in Ferguson is about not only the present act of perceived injustice but also the calcifying system of inequity — economic, educational, judicial — drawn largely along racial lines.
In 1951, Langston Hughes began his poem “Harlem” with a question: “What happens to a dream deferred?” Today, I must ask: What happens when one desists from dreaming, when the very exercise feels futile?”—Frustration in Ferguson
It’s really easy to understand the perspective of the companies that own the giant buildings down the street, especially when the other side is a bunch of weird new businesses that want to do stuff no one has done before.
And if you’re a bureaucrat looking to make new rules, why not ask the companies that currently dominate the sector what they should be? After all, who would know better?
“To ascribe this entirely to contempt for black men is to miss an essential variable, though—a very real, American fear of them. They—we—are inexplicably seen as a millions-strong army of potential killers, capable and cold enough that any single one could be a threat to a trained police officer in a bulletproof vest. There are reasons why white gun’s rights activists can walk into a Chipotle restaurant with assault rifles and be seen as gauche nuisances while unarmed black men are killed for reaching for their wallets or cell phones, or carrying children’s toys. Guns aren’t for black people, either.”—America Is Not For Black People
“Officers have tanks now. They have drones. They have automatic rifles, and planes, and helicopters, and they go through military-style boot camp training. It’s a constant complaint from what remains of this country’s civil liberties caucus. Just this last June, the ACLU issued a report on how police departments now possess arsenals in need of a use. Few paid attention, as usually happens.
The worst part of outfitting our police officers as soldiers has been psychological. Give a man access to drones, tanks, and body armor, and he’ll reasonably think that his job isn’t simply to maintain peace, but to eradicate danger. Instead of protecting and serving, police are searching and destroying.
If officers are soldiers, it follows that the neighborhoods they patrol are battlefields. And if they’re working battlefields, it follows that the population is the enemy. And because of correlations, rooted in historical injustice, between crime and income and income and race, the enemy population will consist largely of people of color, and especially of black men. Throughout the country, police officers are capturing, imprisoning, and killing black males at a ridiculous clip, waging a very literal war on people like Michael Brown.”—America Is Not For Black People
“Nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012, according to the most recent accounts of justifiable homicide reported to the FBI.
On average, there were 96 such incidents among at least 400 police killings each year that were reported to the FBI by local police. The numbers appear to show that the shooting of a black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., last Saturday was not an isolated event in American policing.”—Local police involved in 400 killings per year