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CSotD: Friday Clean-up

The current level of toxicity on social media is depressing and probably bodes ill for the country, but, whatever is true about the Atlanta shootings, Joe Heller is right about the hate unleashed over the coronavirus.

Which is to say, while I stand by what I said yesterday that this isn’t the case to hold up as an example, there are plenty of other examples of anti-Asian hate to decry, and, yes, the President’s intentionally bigoted blame-casting over the virus set them up.

“Intentionally” as in he was chided for his hateful language and not only didn’t roll it back but took pride in it and insisted on its righteousness.

Which leads to this: My initial impulse was to dismiss the way in which this guy described the Atlanta shooter’s motivation as “having a bad day” as insensitivity.

After all, mentally ill people do have times when their delusions and irrational impulses suddenly build to a fatal crescendo, and when law officers have dealt with it often enough, maybe they get calloused, though they shouldn’t.

And those who do shouldn’t be trotted out in front of the press, of course.

Still, it happens.

But then we learn, as Ann Telnaes (WashPost) points out, that this man, selected to speak for law enforcement in Cherokee County, had previously been praising and promoting hateful T-shirts aimed at the Asian community.

To clarify, I learned it from Telnaes’ cartoon, and, as with all such accusations, checked it out before passing it on.

Both Snopes and the Daily Beast have the story, and here’s what Baker posted on his personal Facebook page. Turns out the hateful shirts were designed and screen-printed by a former Cherokee County deputy.

Raising not only the question of why anyone in the Asian-American community should have faith in the capacity of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s department to investigate the shootings, but why anyone at all should.

And, further, why anyone should have any faith in the department at all.

 

On another topic, I’m not sure of Bill Bramhall (NYDN)‘s intentions with this cartoon, but it touched off some thoughts about how much our economy has changed in the past three quarters of a century.

The WPA — Works Project Administration — was funded to create jobs for a vast army of relatively unskilled workers, and when you go around the country you can often find city parks, roads, bridges and other improvements made by this expensive ($4.9 billion in that day’s dollars) employment project.

Other related projects employed artists, writers, musicians and photographers like Gordon Parks, leaving behind a rich portrait of America including a huge catalog of oral histories of the times and of the past.

But times have changed and our economy has changed, and we’re no longer called upon to make and to build.

Perhaps the best thing our government can pay for us to do now is go shopping to support the nation’s enormous economic infrastructure of stores and other businesses.

So that while FDR rebuilt America by handing out shovels, Biden is doing it by handing out charge cards.

Not saying that’s a good thing. Just pointing it out.

 

Prickly City isn’t the only conservative voice grousing over the cost of all this, but, first of all, a fair amount of the Relief package is, in fact, going to update and improve schools, but the other factor is that, if you’re worried about spending, how about canceling the F-35 which nobody wants?

And, if we don’t want to run up the deficit by having people run out buying things to preserve jobs in stores, restaurants and other businesses, how come Virginia legislators get the collywobbles over the notion that we could save a bunch of money if we could just get by with one fewer aircraft carrier?

The answer has less to do with defense readiness than with keeping all that gummint spending targeted for their own constituents rather than for workers scattered around the country.

It reminds me of a bit by comedian George Wallace, back when we were building the B-1 bomber.

“Why does the Air Force need expensive new bombers? Have the people we’ve been bombing over the years been complaining?”

Then he’d check his watch and complain “Tsk – Where are those bombers? They were supposed to be here 20 minutes ago!”

Meanwhile, I’m wondering how we went from B-17 to B-52 and then suddenly back to B-1. They don’t put that on the side of the plane, so we’re not saving any paint.

Anyway, when we run up the deficit to blow the hell out of people, it’s National Defense.

When we do it to keep people alive, it’s Socialism.

 

Finally, I got a laugh out of Clay Bennett (CTFP)‘s latest take on the Cuomo mess, but kind of wonder how many people will get it.

I think, first of all, that the fallacy that dosing men with saltpeter will reduce their sex drive is perhaps something of the past, and also that it was, in its day, mostly a rumor that circulated in group settings, like army barracks and prep schools.

Perhaps it still does.

But whether Bennett’s joke hits home with anyone under 50 or female, it made me laugh because my dad, who prepped two years to get into MIT, had the usual family nickname of “Pete” but there was called “Salty,” a pun that, in an all-male boarding-school setting, doesn’t require Sherlock Holmes to unpack.

A generation later, in 1966, the summer I waited tables at Camp Lord o’ the Flies, we took delight in sidling up to the senior campers at dinner and whispering which dish the saltpeter was allegedly in that night, then taking away the untouched platters at the end of the meal.

The saltpeter delusion is funny not because it’s true but because empty wagons make the most noise and men who are obsessed with their sexual prowess are either laughable idiots or overbearing bullies and frequently both.

Or, y’know, governors of major states or presidents of major countries.

I guess unfulfillable fantasies can be a powerful motivator.

While those with a more realistic view of the whole thing end up as pathetic losers.

It’s a burden.

 

Community Comments

#1 Mark B
March/19/2021
@ 7:03 am

And I am sure Prickly City complained about the cost of Trump’s huge tax cuts. All that money could have gone to schools and roads and such, instead of into the bank accounts of the rich.

#2 Mark Jackson
March/19/2021
@ 8:15 am

US military aircraft designations, which previously were different for each branch of the service, were unified in 1962; numbers were reset at that time.

As to the sensitivity of police officers: “The main occupational hazard of policing is not assault or injury, but cynicism,” (Rosa Brooks, in /Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City/)

#3 Mary McNeil
March/19/2021
@ 4:33 pm

And young men with guns who shoot up a bunch of women. Now that they have been identified, several of them were old enough to be his mother or grandmother If he had been of Asian descent.

#4 Mike Peterson
March/20/2021
@ 3:46 am

There are so many more layers to this than “white boy shooting Asian women.” To start with, he reached out for help more than once, but didn’t reach beyond the people who had programmed him in the first place.

As I’ve said, this isn’t the example to use for much of anything. Too many layers to apply it to any one issue: Mental health, coercive religion, danger to women, danger to Asians, danger to sex workers, easy access to guns.

Blind men and the elephant.

#5 Bob Scherer
March/20/2021
@ 7:26 am

WPA can mean Works Progress Administration or Work Projects Administration. The latter was formed in 1935 to provide employment for artists, musicians, writers, etc. It can get very confusing as there were specified federal projects of various categories. Any works created under WPA funding were, and still are, the property of the federal government. Works that can be identified as WPA -created are seized when they are attempted to be sold or auctioned and are publicly identified as such.

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