Ghosts in the Making


Summertime in Ferguson

When it was Trayvon Martin, I pitched a fit.

Michael Brown? Not so much.

It’s fair to ask why, and the answer is to simply look at what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri. The twenty-one thousand plus residents have seen their city torn to pieces, body and soul, as protesters and police battle over the murder of an unarmed black man by a city police officer whose record includes being fired as part of another small police department in Jennings, Missouri, that was disbanded by its city council for being so corrupt and generally awful. The town is in chaos; residents are intervening to slow the most vocal protesters, and are also reportedly attempting to prevent media from covering the events. Ferguson has become the latest incarnation of our nation’s sick heritage of deadly racism, emerged as a symbol of our dark slide toward militarized police, and found itself the butt of one of the worst jokes on the planet after a protester tweeted a comparison of the situation there to what is going on in Palestine, and instead of being indignant the Palestinians tweeted back with good-faith advice.

I first addressed the death of Trayvon Martin with friends on March 13, 2012, some weeks after the George Zimmerman stalked and pursued him for no good reason, shooting the seventeen year-old to death and then claiming self-defense. And when I first mentioned it, I did not expect what was coming. Certes, my gorge rose to learn the story, but like so many Americans the idea that an apparently murdered black man will die under the presumption that he needed to be shot just did not seem all that unusual. That is to say, like many I expected Trayvon Martin would become another forgotten lamb.

And, yes, I was wrong.

This time, the nation did not wait weeks. Before the name Michael Brown finished echoing after the first wave of press coverage the town was beseiged by chaos. Screaming and shouting from my evergreen corner of the country really doesn’t do me or anyone else any good.

And, yet, Justice still seems nearly destined for disappointing failure.

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In case you haven’t yet heard of the Walmart wanker


It’s a story that has been making its run around the internet, and, well, why shouldn’t it? But the way Ciena Madrid tells it strips bare the insane sense of non sequitur between proposition and resolution:

Walmart logoSpeaking of parking lots trolled by the unappreciated, today brings the story of Travis Keen, a 28-year-old Louisiana man arrested and charged with obscenity after a witness reported seeing him driving around a Wal-Mart parking lot with his penis out and at full salute. When confronted by police, “Keen stated he was trying to see if he fixed his power steering in his car,” the police report says (courtesy of the Smoking Gun). “I advised Keen about what I was told by the witness. Keen then stated that he did have his penis out because of past experiences he had at Wal-Mart. Keen stated when he comes to Wal-Mart, he gets aroused.”

I mean, sure, we have before encountered the idea of pastaphilia, but no, I have nothing for this. I mean, think about it this way: everyone else is chuckling about the idea of a Walmart fetish, and I’m still trying to figure out the connection between the power steering and the Walmart in particular.

Unfortunately, the arrest report posted at The Smoking Gun doesn’t help settle the question.