Dirty Laundry

So the news broke recently that Angelina Jolie is divorcing Brad Pitt, ending what may be the last true “power couple”. That isn’t what I want to talk about, though. What I want to talk about is the media’s reaction to this. I found out about this thanks to a CNN breaking news alert on my phone. I bopped onto cnn.com on my computer and, look at that. Not only is it their top “news” story of the moment, but they put the words “It’s Over” in the same giant ass font that you normally reserve for talking about war, terror attacks, or the outcome of a presidential election. I don’t know about anyone else, but this seems to sum up so many problems we have in our world right now, and how the media fuels them.

I cannot be the only person who has felt the rise of celebrity-driven journalism over the past few years, right? We care about celebrities almost more than we care about actual events happening in our world. Hell, there’s a whole group of celebrities who are famous just for being famous (can anyone honestly explain the appeal of the Khardashian/Jenner clan in any other way?). This is the kind of shit that people care about, and people who run news organizatons seem to know this and pander. After all, they need to satisfy shareholders and cororate boards that they’re making their fair share of money, right? Am I alone in thinking this has done a disservice to what media is supposed to stand for?

I don’t think I am. And I brought this up because I think this has shaped our election coverage, and I’m not alone.

If you go to the 40 minute mark of this podcast, the guys interview a reporter from CNN, who pretty pointedly says that the executives (who care more about eyeballs and ratings) can do a lot to drive coverage more than actual news editors and the like. I think this is a big part of how a bigoted joke like Donald Trump became a major party candidate and has come so far. The man is a celebrity, and a bad one at that. But we love celebrities, so we cover the circus that follows them. If there had been any measure of journalistic integrity, they would have dismissed this clown out of hand last year. Instead, we are where we are.

Sometimes, seeing what makes “breaking news” is way more telling than it should be.

San Francisco Days

Colin Kapernick

Sadly, I think that the whole Colin Kaepernick saga is very indicative of the overall status of race relations and police culture in our society. It is, I am sad to say, a large indication that we’re moving backwards at an alarming rate.

Look, I don’t know all that much about this kid, but it’s obvious that of late he has come around to stay woke. And that’s his prerogative. I’m not judging him. I think there are more constructive things he can do to fix issues, but let’s not dismiss that he’s getting people talking. The problem, of course, is how different sides are seeing this. Unsurprisingly, a lot of white people are againnit. Some woman went on a whole diatribe about how Kaepernick’s protest is killing our troops or something (honestly, my eyes glazed over before I finished reading this. But still). But then again, a lot of white people think if black people just kept their heads down, everything will be just peachy, right? Well, we know that’s not the case.

Even scarier is the way that the police have reacted to the whole thing. Did you hear that the Santa Clara Police union has threatened to boycott their job of security at the 49ers stadium because of this? Can we talk about fucked up? Of everything, this is the clearest example of the problem.

Police have always viewed themselves at something of an elite level. That’s not entirely unearned. We’re talking about people who voluntarily go into the face of danger to keep the rest of us safe. This is not under dispute, nor does anyone have an issue with this, I think. The issue is that the police also act like they’re more infallible than the Pope. Plus, after 9/11, we are supposed to elevate police to some super human elite status of hero worship. The side effect of this is that cops start to think and act like they’re super men and above the law. It’s a bad fucking mix. Kill some black kid in the hood? It’s OK, we’re the motherfucking police. That fucker deserved it. Who is going to say or do anything? Oh, and those Black Lives Matter people? They’re just inciting violence against us. It’s no wonder we’re in a virtual powder keg that might go off at any moment.

So back to Mr. Football Player. He may make a lot of money, but I’m sure he still looks around nervously if 5-0 rolls by. And maybe he was oblivious for a long time. But then maybe you wake up and see the world around you in a different light. And good for him on that.  It’s too bad that he even needs to do this, and that so many people are still so aghast about it all. Maybe, just maybe, we will have a day when this isn’t the case.

She’s the One For Me

I’ve considered myself a Democrat since I was 11 years old. I have voted in four presidential elections so far in my life, and this year I’ll vote in my fifth. I’ve only voted in one primary (for President Obama in 2008) before, but today, I get to vote in a second, and I’m not afraid to say that #imwithher.

Here’s the thing. I wasn’t against Bernie primarying Clinton when he jumped in the race last year. He’s forced her, and the party, more to the left by sticking around and by winning. He’s brought a lot of important issues to the table. Remember the first few debates they had, where they actually debated policy, and we felt like it was the most amazing thing ever, especially compared to the shitshow the Republicans were doing? Remember, too, when Bernie dismissed the email scandal out-of-hand like the non-scandal it really is? Shit, Bernie sounded like quite a visionary for a while.

But then Bernie started to win, and the optics changed. Bernie the visionary faded out, and Bernie the candidate faded in, and those are two very different guys. Make no mistake. Bernie may portray himself as an outsider, and may even be one to a degree, but you don’t hold political office for 30 plus years without being a politician, and getting down in the mud. Once we started there, that’s when they lost me. Now, you might refute my statement and say, but Bernie sticks to his guns, but he’s slowly been attacking her more ad desperation sets in. It’s unfortunate.

How what really sealed it for me is the rise of the Bernie Bros and the campaign’s reaction to them. This whole movement of entitled white “progressives” has taken the best parts of the campaign and ruined them. They dismiss the heavy minority turnout in the states that Hillary has done well in and said it was irrelevant. They’ve championed the caucus, which is the least democratic way to pick a candidate there is. They’ve adopted some of the worse aspects of the right wing/tea party attacks on Hillary. They put labels on her and call her a sellout and a neo-liberal who hates America. The worst part is that instead of putting this crap in its place, the Bernie campaign has embraced it.Terrible. And given the reports that Bernie himself embraces it all, it makes the choice simple for me. 

Hillary Clinton is not the most ideal candidate anyone could ask for, but I think she will take the best parts of the past 8 years and keep it going forward. I don’t want a revolution. I want to take what we have and make it better for everyone. So that is why I will vote for her without any reservations. There is only one way to go and that is forward. 

My Baby You

lizzy

So a funny thing happened on the way to my life last year. I became a father. That’s my daughter in the picture up there. As of this writing, she is 10 months old, and it’s hard to believe she’s gotten so big so fast. That’s cliche, I’m sure, but so is most everything else you hear about becoming a father. Except, it’s all so true.

Like, that deer in the headlights dazed and confused feeling that you get when your significant other tells you that she’s pregnant? Yup, that happened to me. I don’t even entirely remember the sequence of events when Nadine told me. It’s kind of a blur. There was a lot of shock, and even some awe. It took a while to get my head wrapped around the idea, especially because it was not expected. We were not trying to have a kid. It just kind of happened.

Then there is the requisite freakout when the baby is born. Yup, it happened to me too. I really am just a cliche machine.

You know that whole cliche thing about how you can fall totally in love with your baby just looking at them? That’s so true it’s almost sickening. From the moment I first looked at her, and held her, it was game over for me. Understand, I can be a sardonic, misanthropic asshole in this world, but this little girl melts my heart in ways I didn’t think possible. The way her face lights up when she sees me come into a room, or after she’s just woken up, is almost indescribable. Seriously, I did not know it was possible to love someone that much. That’s cliche too, but so true it hurts.

Anyway, I’m going to stop before I get all verklpempt, but when you think about it, sometimes the most cliche things in life turn out to be the most true. Who knew.

Aside time: I almost titled this post “With Arms Wide Open”, because it is a song all about finding out that you’re going to be a father. This is what having a kid does to you. You’ll take the scorn and ridicule of going with a Creed song because the stupid lyrics match up with your feelings a little too well. But, can we talk about Creed? Can we talk about how amazing of a run they had from 1997 to early 2001? Can we talk about how every goddamn song from their second album made it onto K-Rock in 2000? That’s absurd! Now Scott Stapp is just a punchline. Proof that fame is fleeting, I guess.