At a recent townhall forum with law enforcement officials in a small community, a police chief asked the public to refrain from judgment when a video shows a police officer doing something bad until all the information is presented. “The video may appear different in a broader context.” While I was watching a video of a Kenosha police officer pointblanking numerous bullets into the back of Jacob Blake, a crawl said that a police organization asked people to refrain from judgment until all the information was in, and a reporter after the video said the state investigation might take thirty days. I agree that we all should refrain from hasty judgments, but in my years as a public defender, I never once heard the police after arresting or charging someone who was not a fellow officer urging that we refrain from judgment until all the information was in.
Orson Welles was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
In the maddening, marvelous, incomprehensible, and insightful Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, Tyrone Slothrop is given “truth serum” as investigators try to understand why Slothrop’s sexual adventures occur where German V2 rockets explode twenty-four hours later. While under the influence of the drug, Slothrop does a riff on the phrase, “You never did the Kenosha Kid,” altering its punctuations and emphases and thereby changing its apparent meaning. A certain sort of person still debates who or what the Kenosha Kid is.
“If there are infinite meanings, there is no meaning.” Ottessa Moshfegh, Death in Her Hands.
Do the victors write the history? My friend’s niece is majoring in Asian studies at a university in Boston. On August 6, he asked if she knew what happened that day. She replied, “It is the 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Some dates you always remember.” He: “Just like December 7, 1941.” Pause. Further pause. She: “What happened then?”
I have a negative reaction whenever I hear a politician say—and “statesmen” (or is that “statespeople”?) of all stripes do—“The American people want. . . .” What follows can be any political position the pontificator proposes: a tax cut, a balanced budget, a magical tax cut that will lead to a balanced budget, aid to schools, a cut in school aid, more aid or less to localities, even more military spending, kneeling or not kneeling at various times, the deployment of drones to Dakar. I am part of the American people, and I resent office holders telling me what I want. Furthermore, I know that others of my fellow countrymen (people?) don’t always want what I want. We Americans don’t all agree—dare I say that we are a dise nation. Politicians, feel free to tell me what you are advocating and telling me why. I will decide whether I want what you want. But don’t tell me what I want.
Is it possible to joke about the recent headline: “Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida primary”?
Word of the day: Coredom. It means covid boredom.