After four days of deliberation, the judge declared a mistrial in the case of Michael Slager, a white Charleston police officer who is accused of murder in the death of unarmed black man Walter Scott. Cell phone video shows Slager shooting eight times at Scott as he ran away after a traffic stop for a broken tail light, hitting him in the back three times, killing him. Slager’s attorney called upon the Big Black Monster defense to argue that Scott was “out of control” and fought Slager with “unusual strength.”
Lately, I’ve found myself dissociating just a little bit from time to time. Not in a scary way — just a noticeable one. The first time, I was driving, and someone on the radio said the words “President Elect Donald Trump,” and my brain stepped back a little bit and said, “No, that doesn’t sound like a real thing. It actually sounds like something out of some weird movie, so we’ll go with that,” and suddenly I was a character driving in a car, listening to the radio, in a movie wherein Donald Trump was the president elect. Pretty disconcerting, really. More recently, it happened when Mother Jones referred to Richard B. Spencer as a “dapper white nationalist.”
It’s almost over, y’all. It’s. Almost. Over.
A lot of attention has been paid to the mystery of why, God, why, and how, and why again, any marginally intelligent person could support. How has a man who is completely unsuited, in character, temperament, knowledge base, intellect, and home training, to be the president of the United States make it as far as he’s made it? The obvious answer is that there are a lot more bigoted, closed-minded, hateful, ignorant people in the electorate than we’d originally thought possible. But we, as a society, don’t generally like to think of people that way — for all the whining about “PC culture,” we give a lot of passes to be people who absolutely don’t deserve them — and so we’ve sought out other options.
That’s where we’ve gotten “>so many articles profiling the “real” Trump base — salt-of-the-earth, working-class white voters who are stumbling into a new world of multiculturalism, who are suffering from economic woes, and who just want some support for their very real problems. And yet, for all of that, I haven’t been able to escape the feeling that they need to cry themselves a river and canoe on home.
[Content note for… racism. Pretty much any kind.]
You could be Deadpool. You could go with a classic witch or cat or Spider-Man or the dude from Scream. You could be Glenn from The Walking Dead. (Skip the yellowface; the dripping blood and gore is the most part anyway.) Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are topical this year. You could go as Wednesday Addams going as a serial killer — they look just like everyone else.
But dammit, you wanted to be Kanye West, and it’s a free country, and nobody’s going to stop you from covering yourself with brown makeup and exercising your right to show the Internet that you’re a racist idiot.
Since the release of a video featuring Donald Trump unwittingly speaking into a hot mic about how great it is that his celebrity allows him to nonconsensually grab women’s genitals without consequence, Trump has thrice dismissed the celebration of sexual assault as “locker room banter” or “locker room talk.” Pro athletes across the U.S. have united to say that, in fact, such banter is not acceptable in any of the locker rooms they frequent. (You can take that with as many grains of salt as you choose.) But it raises the question: If that banter isn’t happening in the locker rooms of the Dodgers or the Falcons or the Clippers, in which locker rooms is it taking place?
There is still one more chilling but less-discussed aspect of the Trump video. Yes, his language is vulgar, and yes, his casual discussion of sexual assault is horrifying. But two reporters, in separate pieces, point out that there’s something even more disturbing about the video: the way they talked about actress Arianne Zucker, Trump’s costar-to-be, as she waited, unsuspecting, at the end of their bus trip.
[Content note for sexual assault]
On Friday, the Washington Post published a heretofore unseen video from 2005 in which Donald Trump, in the Access Hollywood bus on the way to a cameo on “Days of Our Lives,” gives us a good look at how much he really respects women. Talking with Billy Bush, into a mic that he didn’t know was hot (Donald, are you sure that a malfunctioning microphone isn’t the best thing for you at this point?), he makes it clear that no, women aren’t more than objects to be evaluated, disparaged, and abused at his whim.
Ivanka Trump, trotted out of late as proof that obviously Donald can’t possibly be a misogynist because some of his sperm has X chromosomes in it, has taken to video to tell us all about Donald’s policy proposals for working moms. (It’s the one he only developed because Ivanka herself pushed him to it, saying, “Daddy, daddy, we have to do this!” because nothing says “I respect women” like making your adult daughter sound like Veruca Salt at a campaign stop.) And because we can’t have woman- and family-friendly policies in place just because they’re the right thing to do in our current economy and societal structure, Ivanka had to come right out of the gate telling us that the most important job that any woman can have is mother.
She, her inherited real estate job, her clothing company, and her nanny speak directly from the heart.
So I, my freelance job, my sporadic blog writing, and my two largely self-sufficient dogs will do the same.
This open thread is brought to you by Hillary Clinton openly laughing at Donald Trump’s buffoonery.
The Trump campaign’s attempts to humanize The Donald via a Twitter campaign by his kids have gotten off to a rocky start. First, there was the “insider vs. outsider” tweet featuring Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr., #millennialsfortrump. Most recently, it’s Junior’s Skittles tweet, which equates Syrian refugees to poisonous Skittles.
Allow me to, as an advertising professional, break down some of the mistakes Junior made in his tweet.
[Content note for racism and child sex abuse]
I get that we’re supposed to love Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham on account of they aren’t thin, and that they’re proudly imperfect and not trying to be perfect, and that they’re bold enough to do raunch humor even though women aren’t supposed to do that, and whatever, I get it. They do catch a lot of criticism for being self-absorbed and self-unaware, for occasionally poking their head out of their hole long enough to do something shitty, double down ‘cause haters, and then apologize (sometimes) and go back to their self-absorption. But I have to posit that maybe Dunham’s super-white TV-Brooklyn is actually the best place for her. Because dress her up in a tux and march her out into real-life Manhattan, and she’s going to end up sitting next to Odell Beckham at a gala and assigning him misogynistic motives for not hitting on her like apparently he was supposed to. And then complaining about the “outrage machine” on Twitter (doubling down, haters)… and ultimately apologizing.
So I’m totally cool with being done with them.