Playing ping pong on a comet

Playing ping pong on a comet

[Note: In August 2020 I moved my site from Squarespace to Ghost by way of Wordpress. Broke all of my image links. I'm slowly trying to repair some of the damage.]

There are bloggers, and there are people who have a blog on their website. I am the latter. There is a difference. Bloggers are legit. They post meaningful, coherent essays and stories. I respect them greatly. I don’t intend to join their ranks. It sounds stressful.

I just like writing on this silly, obscure part of the internet. But even my low threshold for posting can generate some stress. The blog is always there, like a sink full of dirty dishes. Even when you think you’re caught up, you look at the drying rack, and it’s full. There’s always something else to be done.

Warning – this is a long one. I’ll start with a photo to start things off slowly.

George Floyd, Capitol Hill, Seattle, summer 2020.
George Floyd, Capitol Hill, Seattle, 20 June 2020.

I’ve been watching Lucifer on Netflix. Occasional binges. The show is good fun. Sort of. I’ve always been a sucker for police procedurals. They get criticized, a lot, and for good reason. The character development is usually one step forward, 15 steps back. The characters are almost universally incapable of communicating beyond the middle school level. They rely heavily on the Three’s Company formula – a conversation incorrectly overheard, a statement misread.

But the show is fun, and occasionally makes me laugh out loud. It’s also diverse. The women and the people of color in the show aren’t props. They’re not just there to boost the white male actors. Linda, Ella, Mazikeen, and Charlotte are all smart, capable, scene stealers.

There’s nothing new about the foundation. It’s a police procedural. Several suspects will be hauled in for questioning. A person ruled out early on often ends up being guilty. If you watch a lot of shows, you’ll recognize a character actor who is seemingly discarded early on. Fear not, they get more screen time.

I was hooked on Castle for several seasons. I may have had a thing for Stana Katic. The chemistry between Katic and Nathan Fillion in the first few seasons was incredible. That’s difficult to sustain for a series. Hello Remington Steele. The will they or won’t they hype can only go on for so long. How do you resolve that? If it’s “they will, they do”, how much more mileage has the show got? I never finished Castle. The plots grew increasing ridiculous, which put it in seriously ridiculous territory, and it appears Katic and Fillion couldn’t stand one another in real life.

Lucifer is pretty much Castle, substituting Satan for a rich author.

I’m 3 seasons in. I’ve been close to stopping several times, and I doubt I’ll finish it. Why? It’s yet another example of where Tipper Gore got things wrong. If you’re of a certain age, you might remember her censorship efforts. I remember her mainly going after rappers, but it turns out my memory is faulty – she hit broader than that. According to Wikipedia, here was a Parents Resource Music Center Dirty Fifteen:

Screen Shot 2020-06-21 at 12.57.36 AM.png

I look at that list and think a lot things. I’ll save what seems like the most important thought for last. My first thought is how grateful I am that my friend Scott (yes, another Scott) had a car, a Blaupunkt stereo, and Public Enemy, NWA, Too Short, Run DMC, Ice-T, etc. I was an oblivious white kid in a suburb. But I somehow got exposed to incredible music. I started looking for it on my own and found KRS1/BDP. My sister’s best friends sneaked me in to my first R-Rated movie – Purple Rain. I’m glad that I learned early on that fuck the police wasn’t some sort of rallying cry for crime.

If you’re still reading, this would be a great point to say screw this blog and go listen to Public Enemy.

Back to that list. Darling Nikki is on that list. I am going to load Purple Rain into Spotify and listen to it while I type the rest of this non-blog. I was on a Yazoo kick earlier, I’ll save that for another day.

“I knew a girl named Nikki, I guess you could say she was a sex fiend…”

Danny and Craig were famous. Popular, well-liked star basketball players at my soon to be high school, friends with my sister. I can’t remember how it happened, but they picked me up one day and took me to see Purple Rain. It was my Dazed and Confused moment, but instead of pot, it was being introduced to one of the greatest artists to have ever walked this earth. (That song is not safe for work, but it is safe for musical bliss.)

This isn’t safe for work either. Tipper got it all fucking wrong. Think of the voices she worked so hard to silence. Spoiler alert – a lot of those voices were talking about systemic violence and racism in our institutions. Tipper should have walked a mile in their shoes. If she had, if any of us had, we’d have looked instead at the tradition of celebrating police expediency, omerta, and violence in our shows. Dirty Harry, 24, countless others. Can you think of a police show that doesn’t extol the cop virtues of bending the rules, roughing up a suspect, looking the other way, or altering the paperwork?

Lucifer. I’m having fun watching the show. But scene after scene, show after show, it praises the cops who are willing to beat up or shoot someone. Several episodes sell the idea of winging someone, just shooting them in the leg. When cops go outside the lines, it’s excused, glossed over. Tipper Gore should have spent her time reminding people that cops need to follow the laws they enforce. Don’t agree? Point me to a cop show where a cop is rewarded and revered for calling out bad behavior. In Lucifer, which is nearing its 6th season, the cops routinely alter reports and narratives to protect their fellow officers.

Here’s where I need to word this carefully. We have to figure out a way to get police to stop murdering BIPOC, but the idea that it’s a matter of not hiring Derek Chauvins only addresses a small part of the problem. The systems that we have put in place since day one will always find more Derek Chauvins. I’ll save that for another day, too. Long story short – all of us white folks have been hiding behind “a few bad apples” for a long time. You (we) know it’s true. You (we) know it’s convenient.

This is turning into a long post. I’ll try to wrap it up.

I tried to listen to some of Trump’s Tulsa rally. I couldn’t get very far. The President lies constantly. He is telling his supporters that Seattle has been taken over, brought to its knees. Not true. I don’t know what’s more frightening, the idea he knows he’s lying, or the idea that he believes Seattle has sunk into anarchy.

Protesters squared off against the Seattle Police Department and the National Guard in late May and early June near Capitol Hill’s East Precinct. Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief Carmen Best used some vague threats to justify Fortress East Precinct. They then tear gassed and flash banged the hell out of protesters. Shameful escalation and rush to violence. Durkan has done so many things right with COVID-19. I won’t vote for her, I hope she loses, and I hope one day she accidentally tear gasses herself. It’s a violent weapon.

The Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone centers on 11th and 12th / Pine. It’s not a large area, and it’s not a major thoroughfare. Have businesses and residents been affected? Of course. But many businesses are open. Most importantly, it’s an area for art, discussion, and community. It is not a violent takeover.

Trump is portraying it as one. I don’t remember Republicans voicing similar concerns when the Bundys occupied a site. Trump is encouraging counter-violence, and he knows it. How long before an armed male from North Carolina pulls a Comet Ping Pong pizza investigation?

I’ve rambled on too long and have forgotten a few things I wanted to mention. Lucky you, if you’re still here. And if so, one more photo.

Entering the Capitol Hill Organized Protest
Entering the Capitol Hill Organized Protest. June 2020. (Polaroid during the day (evening) seems a little purple.)