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Imagine what the media would sound like if the reality of driving while black was the first frame readers read. “X was driving down the street, taking their daughter to school and was pulled over by police and ended up being killed,” rather than, “the suspect made a U turn.” These are ways in which the initial narrative that the police have to do this to protect “us” is constantly rehearsed by the media. What is erased is the underside of that reality: the cost of a permissive police culture…That's the way that the traditional stories are not interrupted. When we don't interrupt that long, long narrative, the influence of the past, the influence of the police being the protectors against the marauding others, whether they're men, women, or children continues uninterrupted.

Kimberlé Crenshaw joins This is Hell! to discuss her new book, #SayHerName: Black Women’s Stories of Police Violence and Public Silence (Haymarket Books).

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Posted by Alexander Jerri

We are all Waco. The nefariousness and misplaced priorities of government actions have eroded the people’s trust to the extent that doomsday paranoia begins to make sense as a viable possibility.


When I say we are all Waco I really mean just me. And by Waco I mean the Branch Davidians specifically. Is it Branch Davidians or Banch Dravidians? It’s Davidians because of David Koresh, right? Or just because David? And it’s branch because … banch isn’t a word. 


Koresh is supposed to be from Old Persian, meaning “forward-looking” or some such nonsense. Why Old Persian I wonder? Oh, because Cyrus in Old Persian was Koresh. Those Old Persians pronounced things in inebriated fashion. “What’s ‘at guy’s name, Cyrus, Kyrush, Koresh. He was a regular musheeyugh, for letting the people of Ishrael rebuild their besh ha migdash.”


When I say I’m like the Bench Dravidians, I don’t mean I’m a cult, following a charismatic leader who marries ten-year-old girls. And I don’t mean I’m amassing weapons in preparation for the final war of Holiness against Evil, Heaven against Hell.  


What I think I mean is, the corporate, military, and government three-headed hellhound has set my teeth on edge. It seems to be fulfilling all my most paranoid doomsday fantasies. Sure, I may follow questionable lines of reasoning, pickle my own turnips, operate in a clandestine economy, and practice unsanctioned sex, but why would you come to me with war machines and enough ordnance to wipe out thirty My Lai villages unless you truly were the prophesied Beast of Destruction? Why massacre 82 children and other innocents and quasi-innocents unless you were hellbent on stamping out a godly message from godly people? 


I know, the metaphor is still too blurred with my own identity to make sense. Let me see if I can compartmentalize. I mean, I really need to. I’m not an apocalyptic messianic Christian, though I sometimes like to pretend I am. 


I inhale from a few different quarters of the information atmosphere lately the idea that the greater the power and wealth disparity between the few at the top and the vast majority in the relatively normal world, the greater the likelihood for paranoid conspiracies to develop among the people, or the greater the likelihood the people can be... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Everybody’s got their advice for living a good life. Some wisely keep it to themselves. Some, despite espousing tenets of the philosophy of Stoicism, simply cannot keep their mouths shut. Someone recently posted this from Marcus Aurelius:


“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today

will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like

this because they cannot tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good,

and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature

related to my own - not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and

possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can

implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were

born to live and work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper

and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn

your back on him: these are obstructions.”


Those words pissed me off. Here’s what you should do when you wake up in the morning, Marcus: empty your bladder and move your bowels, that is how to start your day. Then, and only then, or maybe after a cup of coffee, you can prepare to meet all the benighted folks who don’t know the beauty and ugliness you have seen. Then you can vow you are in no way afraid of them and make your protestations that they are family to you, protestations that are undermined by your obvious sense of superiority.


The Stoic philosophers are an aggravating bunch. Their motto seems to be, “Never complain, never explain,” which I have joked is the passive/aggressive’s creed. Toxic masculinity is the lens through which they evaluate human behavior. To them, strength is the ability to withstand suffering. It is the code of the ox. It is the way of the beast of burden. Nothing wrong with being a perfect ox, if you value the values of an anthropomorphic ox mentality. But why would you assume others should value the same thing? How would a society of oxen be desirable?

“Know thyself” is a familiar motto, yet the Stoics don’t seem to know themselves to be judgmental, passive aggressive, and tacitly smug.


The same someone blind copied an email to all of us, I assume, couldn’t really say, being blind and all, that contained the advice of music... read more