I apologize for being late through the gate, and can only blame a combination of (continuing) computer problems and overwhelming mental exhaustion. I am heartily sick of this country, my country, the only one I know. What is there left to say?
I note that among other things, the sovereign state of South Carolina appears to have done away with the presumption of innocence. Even allowing the fact that "southern" and "justice" have only a nodding acquaintance, a line seems to have been crossed. Normally victims of crime are invited to make statements after conviction and before sentencing. In South Carolina, though, they attend the bond hearing even before the accused has been indicted. I was, frankly, stunned by these grieving and gracious people expressing their forgiveness -- who wasn't? -- but the guilt of Dylann Roof was thereby taken for granted. Yes, he confessed, but confessions are thrown out every day, especially when made without counsel. Yes, the hateful website and its incoherent manifesto, but what about the law? I have an idea the state would love to skip the trial and strap him into the electric chair by Labor Day. Not that I give a swat about this dull-eyed sack of Dixie with his Ish Kabibble haircut (Google him), but what of the next defendant who may actually be innocent?
This massacre (or, as Thick Rick Perry would have it, this "accident"), we have apparently decided to skip the pointless gun debate and argue about historical battle flags instead. This is probably the correct choice; if twelve murdered children didn't move the issue forward, nine murdered adults won't, either. So we argue about the purely symbolic (in every sense) sedition flag proudly reminding South Carolinians of their heritage all the way back to 1961, when it was dug out and deployed in defiance of the civil rights movement. As if burning every Confederate flag would stop the next Dylann Roof, no doubt planning the next outrage in some abandoned barn or his momma's garage.
I hate to spend time exploring the minds of madmen, but this one seems particularly, oh let's say counterintuitive. Roof says he was "radicalized" by the Trayvon Martin case. Excuse me? A self-appointed white vigilante stalked and killed an unarmed black teenager after the police told him to go home, and was acquitted by a jury of six ninnies. If anything, the case should have radicalized a young black man to shoot up a white church, which has never happened ever. Roof wanted to start a "race war." In 2019, we will mark the four hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the first slave ship -- in, as it happens, Charleston. The race war began that day and it has never ended
. So let's talk about flags and language -- "hate crime" or "terrorism" or "attack on religion" (that's the Fox Noise interpretation). Yeah, let's. But don't politicize it, because that might make people uncomfortable.
Given the short-term memory problems of our newsertainment media, this awful story was a gift to some people. It shifted attention from the curious case of Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP official who has chosen to identify herself as African-American to the bemusement of her whiter-than-white parents. Of course, people have been "passing" as white for centuries, to get a job or an education or just a tolerable life. We should be happy to claim so much progress that white people are passing for black, and not in a creepy Al Jolson way.
It also turned a page quickly on the low comedy of the Donald Trump "campaign," and the revelation that Trump had to hire actors to look like a crowd at his announcement event. That was just vain and sad, like Trump himself. What was dumb was imagining nobody would find out. If I know actors, that went right on their resumes. If you want to buy people's silence along with their self-respect, fifty dollars won't do it. The tell, of course, was that their hand-lettered signs were identical and correctly spelled, something never seen at Rightzi events. Either they're calling Obama a "socilist" or they're so goofy you suspect ironic intent. I recall one, at an anti-immigrant rally, that said "RESPECT ARE COUNTRY SPEAK ENGLISH." Could The Onion do better?
As of this writing, Matt and Sweat, late of the Clinton Correctional facility, are still at large and leading the police a merry chase all over New York. First they were seen near Vermont, then at the Pennsylvania line, and now back in the vicinity of the prison, where multiple staff members seem to have succumbed to their charm and aided in the escape. Several cable channels have reportedly sought to give them a spot in the fall "reality" lineup. See, I made that up and you didn't blink.
Meanwhile the President stopped by Marc Marron's garage, literally, and gave a podcast interview in which he declined to euphemize That Word. The sky did not fall. I can't wait to read Obama's next memoir, in which he releases all the rage and disgust he has had to swallow for eight years. But what do you really think of Louie Gohmert? As Flann O'Brien would say, it is not sufficient to reserve your copy. Reserve your copy in advance