Welcome to the Wednesday Walk Around the Web, where we weave & wind through weblinks weekly. Hopefully you will find the links on offer amusing, interesting, or informative.
This week’s Walk comes with a content warning for murder, white supremacy, abuse, and other miseries that define our moment.
- It’s hard to know what to even say and what to even do when the most powerful organized crime syndicate in the US, the cops, start rioting once again in revenge for the mere suggestion that they shouldn’t murder so many black people in cold blood, that a mob with a habit of strangulation should be held to account for its crimes, that buffoons who fall off of their murdermobiles and immediately pepper-spray an empty crosswalk should not have access to lethal weaponry and the tools of chemical warfare, that thugs who openly drive into groups of people should be met with more than utter cowardice on the part of politicians who supposedly have authority over them.
- Likewise, it’s hard to know what to even say when the president has protestors tear-gassed so he can stage a Christofascist photo op.
- So what can one say? The most important voices to listen to on the white supremacy baked into the United States (et alia) and seeping out of every crack in its national edifice are the voices of those in the communities that are targeted. Historian Keisha N. Blain sketches the context of the current uprisings. Historian Carol Anderson does something similar highlighting the complicity & active participation of cops & government in Jim Crow-era lynchings, in parallel to the ropeless lynchings we see today. Some time ago, Samuel Sinyangwe described his data-driven analysis of what does (demilitarization, investing in more appropriate first responders) and does not (body cams, skin-deep training sessions) work to curb the brutality of law enforcement, with much more detail here.
- And what can one do? You can go protest, of course — in full consideration of limited precautionary measures for protesting during the pandemic (as well as methods of treating and cleaning up after tear gas assaults) and if you’re not immunocompromised or otherwise particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. You can give to bail funds if able. You can film the thugs when you see them prowling the streets.
- Not all methods of fighting back can be as large-scale as seizing a police precinct. Acts of solidarity can come from near or far, like bus drivers in Minneapolis who refused to collaborate with the cops to abduct protestors en masse, or even K-pop fans who flooded the Dallas cops’ video-snitching app with videos of their favorite artists.
- Facebook, for its part, amplifies fascist propaganda and pretends that some of its employees have a conscience about it while simultaneously suspending someone who does valuable work with historical photos for…posting the photos.
- One last note on Minneapolis: Feeling that the Minnesota governor’s response lacks a certain element of total acquiescence, Minneapolis cops’ union president Bob Kroll has been conspiring with the state’s senate majority leader to stage a coup and seize control of the state’s National Guard from the governor.
- RIP Tony McDade, a black trans person murdered by cops. Due to this and the ongoing pandemic concerns, the LGBTQIAP+ community has decided to skip Pride Month and proceed directly to Wrath Month.
- This Week in History: On June 1st 1927, Fred Trump was arrested at a KKK rally.
- The US Supreme Court rejected a California church’s attempt to spread COVID-19 in the most efficient way it can via business-as-usual services. Barely, in a 5-4 decision, sparking a blistering dissent from Justice Blackout O’Rapist.
- Perhaps it doesn’t speak to the better angels of our nature to think about a group of people in terms of their worst members, but I can’t help but gawk in the manner of a zoo-going child at evangelical Christians like this man who spent ten years stewing about one of his daughter’s exes, then wrote him a letter strewn with scriptural demands for restitution via Dorian Grayification, as an alternative to literal slavery. This touches on so, so many things: the desperate yearning to limit and control women’s sexuality that the concept of virginity derives from; the vicious possessiveness people feel over their children; the emotional fragility and inability to express oneself in any way other than ludicrous anger that lies at the heart of mainstream masculinity; the cultlike echo chamber that surrounds these people to the extent that they start claiming to have literally seen a literal hell; the misuse of and entitlement to Jewish scripture by Christian conservatives…there’s an entire sociology curriculum here, plus some theology studies on the side.
- We’ll now turn to matters other than the gaping maw of despair actively swallowing us whole. This Week in Actual Possible Consumer Products: The Testicuzzi is a tiny contoured hot tub intended to simmer a person’s balls. According to the official website it started as a riff between friends, who shortly launched R&D on it through the power of excess expendable income and/or venture capitalist investment — truly a vivid demonstration of late-capitalist decadence.
- So, how’s at-home schooling going for everyone toward the end of the school year? Not so great, it seems, for students whose AP exams weren’t accepted because the submission systems can’t open their photos.
- Deepfakes don’t need to be dystopian nightmares — they can also bring us Notorious B.I.G.’s rendition of Modern Major General.
- This Week in Things I Learned About Computer History: Task Manager, one of the most valuable and most useful additions to Windows, was a side project one programmer tinkered on on his own time. This was also the same person who wrote Space Cadet Pinball, so he performed two great services to computing culture.
- I’m sure emergency room workers can develop a sort of gallows humor about the more absurd parts of their jobs, such as one ER that maintains a display of fishing lures extracted from patients.
- “It was all a dream!” is a popular oh-so-edgy fan theory about movies & TV shows, often a crude way of jamming a childhood favorite into a blinkered view of adult seriousness. Folks really need to cool it.
- (Banner photo credit)