Weekly Wonderings – April 12th, 2021

The second episode of the PopCult Podcast went up yesterday. I’m enjoying making these and already planning on tweaking the format a little on the next one. I think I’ll be cutting most of me talking solo and keep it more to a conversation with Ariana. I know I always enjoy podcasts more that are a back and forth. I was happy to see the first episode got 10 listeners, which is 10 more than I expected. Ariana picked the Top 5 list for the third episode, and we’ll be having a conversation about Them on Amazon Prime. Oh boy, that show is something. It should be an interesting talk.

Here’s the Spotify playlist for this week:

Our move had been on hold until we got our passports renewed, and I just received mine last week. Ariana’s is on the way this week. Once we have those, it’s just a matter of selling off stuff we own and then the house. We have no kids, and with the dogs having both passed in the last year, nothing is holding us back, really. I’ve been attempting to sell almost all my board games on eBay and Board Game Geek for the last couple of months. I have become so annoyed with how complicated choosing shipping can be. It’s probably me, for the most part, not being patient and reading the tables carefully. I think I have finally gotten it figured out. I also discovered you can schedule a package pickup at your house for free by your mail carrier during their standard delivery time. Just did that today, and it was fantastic.

I’ve been continuing to read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. It’s a fantastic read that covers angles of historical events that mainstream history books gloss over or just flat out ignore. I’m up to the 1950s/60s and have read the chapter on the Civil Rights movement. It feels remarkably appropriate due to the last year’s events and horribly relevant even as I write this. They haven’t even concluded the case over George Floyd’s murder, and now Minneapolis police have killed another unarmed Black man. It reminds me of that famous misquote of Marx’s, “First as tragedy, then as farce.” There comes the point where state-sanctioned atrocities become so prevalent that it has made these institutions a walking joke. It’s also akin to the state of hypernormalization in the Soviet Union, where people nodded their heads when one thing was said aloud by the authority, but it was common knowledge in private that these statements were lies. “Protect and serve” is often put out there to mark the American police as noble, but in private, we all know it’s just another criminal cartel. They just get paychecks from municipalities rather than the mafia.

In Zinn’s book, he talks about how the U.S. government was passive to the point of complicity at the start of the Civil Rights movement. When they became more active, it was with the intent of coercing the Black leaders they could into upholding the status quo and murdering those who wouldn’t take the bait. The result was a sliver of a Black middle class that talked about the virtues of passivity while the Black underclass just got crushed even further under the heel of American supremacy. He includes quotes from Malcolm X about the March on Washington. Before that event occurred, many leaders were called into the White House, where they were encouraged to soften the rhetoric. Even the late John Lewis had his speech censored by his fellow Black activists to not “frighten the white people.”

Malcolm said,” It ceased to be angry. It ceased to be hot; it ceased to be uncompromising. Why it even ceased to be a march. It became a picnic, a circus. Nothing but a circus, with clowns and all.” The book details how, in the wake of MLK’s assassination, the government (both states & federal) went on a killing spree against civil rights leaders. If they couldn’t buy you out, they were going to murder you (see Fred Hampton). The sense I got was that any progress made in that era was a little as the system was willing to hand over. For real emancipation to occur, it will take much more aggressive action than peaceably marching. Nationwide labor strikes breaking the economy would sure make a dent. But the system anticipates that and locks people into employer-provided healthcare and living a paycheck to paycheck life unless you lucked out by birth. Ultimately, nothing about this nation is sustainable, and it hasn’t ever really been. Once you start to push away the propaganda and see the scope & trajectory of history, you realize the depth and depravity of the evil.

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