United States

Send in the Locusts

Allie Brosh

At our outdoor distanced dinner this week here at Maison Marianne, we laughed about a post on social media that said “I think my bingo card for 2020 is full.” And it’s only August.

Remember when the corrupt Senate impeachment process was the worst news? That was a million years ago in February. Since then, a global pandemic, economy tanking, demonstrations and rioting.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, this week in California: 560 raging fires and the worst air quality in the world after two days of rare lightening storms.

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The Truth That Could Set Us Free

To the Man Who Restored my Belief in Humanity, by Yehuda Bacon, 1945

Black Lives Matter demonstrations and conversations call into question America’s commitment to its values. They speak to the continuing oppression of important people in my life, including my son Gabe. So much has been written about this and so expertly, I couldn’t possibly do better.

But I do have a story that seems especially relevant right now.

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Dress Code

Grand Street Brides, Grace Hartigan, 1954

Art records, glorifies, questions and, at its best, sends us somewhere deep inside ourselves. Researching nudes, https://kimmie53.com/2020/07/09/what-naked-women-can-tell-us-about-us/#more-14968 I was surprised at how one type of painting could reveal so much about sexual politics, changing artistic styles, and my own prejudices. I wondered what I might find if I researched paintings of women who are not nude.

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How Is This Not Domestic Terrorism?

 

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Photo by CNN.com

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation defines domestic terrorism as “the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or Puerto Rico without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

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Getting Off the Merry-Go-Round So to Speak

In 1993, when I was working at a California state agency on a controversial project, every team meeting featured two agency managers suggesting, often, that we should be “getting off the merry-go-round.” It took me awhile to realize the purpose of the merry-go-round metaphor was to sabotage an open discussion of a proposed analytical approach. Whether or not others figured it out, the metaphor had its intended effect. The deciders decided we should be “moving forward.”

Language is powerful and most people naturally deploy short cuts to describe complicated ideas. We process so much information that we often rely on these short cuts to give our brains a break. There are a lot of language short-cuts out there right now and most of them deserve a little scrutiny…

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Getting Rid of the “Bad Apples” Won’t Fix Things

I understand why so many people are angry. I am angry. Over the years, I have had numerous explicitly racist encounters with police from the Bay Area cities of Oakland, Berkeley and Piedmont. I know my black son has had many more, and his are dangerous. I have worried about him every day of his life since he was old enough to walk down the street by himself. It’s all so painful and personal, it’s hard to even think about it.

And yet, I believe police officers should not be the main target of our anger. That’s because they are not the main cause of America’s police brutality problem. If we were to hold every police officer accountable for every act of racism and unjustified violence — and we should —  we would still have racist policing and police brutality. That’s because the problem is not “bad apples.” Circumstances and government policy have converged to create a policing culture that promotes racism and violence.

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