Survivor’s guilt

The pandemic was good to me.

I thrive alone and so, even as the wife was not in her best place like most others in the world, though I was distraught by what the global “We” were going through, I could deal. Even before the pandemic I worked from home and spent many non-work hours in my office doing non-work things. Not necessarily a very guy thing but just a very introvert thing. I actually have fond memories of the isolation because within that isolation there was, without a better phrase to express it, a warm online camaraderie of artists who gave their time to create that warmth.

The 11th of this month was the four year anniversary of the start (as I noted here when it started).

Continue reading Survivor’s guilt

Witness–The Indictment II

A lot of feelings.

It echoes my previous assessment for the NY-related indictment:

This is definitely more substantial. I mean, logarithmically more substantial. Watched MSNBC as soon as we heard, which was maybe an hour, hour and a half after the fact and watched it until midnight. Thoughts:

  • How can the commentators have anything to say?! He crimed so obviously that elaboration is redundant.
  • And yet… they actually had much that was insightful to say.
  • Who else was in the conspiracy? That is a fascinating aspect.
  • Jesus Christ espionage?!?!?
  • Venue of Miami is a ballsy move. T’s home turf and Jack Smith went there instead of NYC/Washington. Ball-Sy. He is very confident of what he’s got.
  • There is no defense and his lawyers are clowns.
  • Sad day for our country because it suggests the presidency is a corruptible figurehead? Fuck you, it’s a happy day. Recently Claire McCaskill said of Pence’s, and those other asshole’s, rehabilitation tour: you don’t get a pass. Where were your morals when you were next to this corrupted man and you said nothing? Again: Fuck. You.
  • The defenses that his lawyers were presenting, at least in the press, were comical. “It’s not a crime because the documents were copies and not the originals.” I. Fucking. Love. That.
Yes, those are Biden Inauguration glasses.

We watched three or so hours of MSNBC and were not disappointed. I still have many questions about aspects that are not clear in my head, but it helps to get a basic framework of understanding. Side Note: Stephanie Rhule has more legal and incisive acumen than I knew. I may need to watch more of her.

The facial expressions of all involved were hilarious.


Witness–The Indictment

Running a long string of failed tests with a coworker and there’re only two tests left. Looking hopeless. As test T-minus-1 is running, he sends me the AP news and I reply “if this test works I’m going to pass out.” Lisa had just poured a drink minutes before the news because she’s leaving for a long weekend in Baton Rouge tomorrow and it’s her First Friday. It’s my coworker’s wedding anniversary. It’s my niece’s birthday. Top story on Reddit before the news was the celebration of the birthday of a Redditor’s grandmother’s 100th birthday.

And Mother Fucking Trump is Mother Fucking Indicted.

Credit where credit is due: the first thing my coworker said was we need to drink Manhattans tonight.

6:00 PM

Much like my interaction with my brother on Victory Over Fascism Day (when the election was called for Biden), celebration can be simple:

(Side note: I was thinking this morning about what my next compositional work would be and it often goes to write-what-you-know, and thus for me to such life-changing events as Those Four Years or The Year of Pestilence or The Year of the Flood (personal) or Our Burgeoning Civil War. Ultimately, I’ve done this before and so must find another inspiration no matter the intrusive resonance of these events.)

OMG same building where the Central Park Five were arraigned in. Jesus Fucking Christ this is beautiful.

Please, please, please, take out a full page ad and do that GoFundMe thing.

7:30 PM

I can’t, can not, focus on a depressing endgame with this. The indictment is not a guarantee but it’s a move forward and, more important at this point in these hours after the event, a move forward that can be celebrated for how far it’s gone.

Joy Reid is speaking with a (Jewish) Lawyer. Oh my, how do you respond as a Jew, or as anyone but you-know-what-I-mean, to the DeSantis references to “Soros-backed-investigations”?! Often I think about Those Four Years and how it was a master class to me, as a White Male, to appreciate what black people and Jews and LGBTQs and whoever, go through, and just how much I’m not prepared for it and how much I now look to them to give me insight into how to survive. How to survive mentally. How do you survive the garish lawlessness? I’m not sure I can justify it logically, but Those Four Years made me feel as if justice had become not only meaningless but anarchic. And yet I’ve always appreciated empathetically the anguish that minority or marginalized groups must go through. They experience it from birth to death. Trump’s decisions absolutely never affected me, but they were such a surfacing and normalization of the ideas that were so completely repugnant, that I felt that they affected me (again, I say this without the naivety of an oblivious white male).

8:00 PM

I am told of a “perp walk” and as much as we salivate for the “perp walk” I also understand the need for circus-less-ness. Jesus Christ the security that will be needed.

I won’t be able to find it, but I often think of Tom Nichols’ essay on how Trump has made us all lesser socially and lesser morally. I want the worst for Trump. I want the greatest pain for him. And I hope I can facility the worst for his followers. I think of myself as a humanist and humane and my desire for cruelty to another is discomfiting morally. But maybe I think too charitably of myself when I’ve also often said “It’s always OK to punch a Nazi.”

8:20 PM

And maybe this is the day that moralists and those who are moral realize that it is always OK to punch Nazis.

Word of perception

I’ve been using Celsius for the past few years and have partially imprinted it in my perceptions with a natural understanding. I generally don’t need to convert back to Fahrenheit to get a sense of the outside temperature. Celsius has a more compact range than Fahrenheit: 1 degree C. is around 1.8 degrees F. Slight changes in Fahrenheit are scientifically relevant but subjectively less so–do you really know the difference between 68 degrees and 69 or 70?–but are more noticeable in Celsius. To put it more simply: the language used to express these measurements (both Celsius and Fahrenheit) is more precise that what we can perceive.

In the book Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany on page 97, one of his characters ponders on the relative precision between languages:

Nominative, genitive, elative, accusative one, accusative two, ablative, partitive, illative, instructive, abessive, adessive, inessive, essive, allative, translative, comitative. Sixteen cases to the Finnish noun. Odd, some languages get by with only singular and plural [sic, these are number and not case, English e.g. has three cases]. The North American Indian languages even fail to distinguish number. Except Sioux, in which there was a plural only for animate objects. No way to say warm in French. There was only hot and tepid. If there’s no word for it, how do you think about it?

Babel 17, Bantam Books

Contrasting the last sentence, the converse is negated by temperature systems having a more precise expression than we can think/experience. Taking an example from the Babel-17 quote, even the imprecision of the words hot and cold can be made more precise by elaborating poetically (albeit cliched) “it was hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement” (ex-treme-ly hot) or “it was a cold that chilled your bones” (ex-treme-ly cold). Those two words don’t engender a semantic deficiency. A greater nuance in the system we use to communicate doesn’t necessarily give us a meaningful understanding of that nuance, and a lack of expressiveness of a single unit within the system doesn’t hobble your ability to be limited to the representation contained in the unit.

Delany is likely a student of Whorf-Sapir/linguistic relativity school of thought, something I’ve never been a fan of but is still popular in linguistics and philosophy. The theory is that people’s understanding of the structure of reality is based on the syntactic structures that are available in the language they speak. It’s a compelling idea.