Aug 222016

As I type, it is eleven weeks from Election Day. The conventional wisdom for the 2016 presidential election is that Hillary Clinton is all but inevitable. Don’t put a foot wrong, Hill—especially keep it out of your mouth—and you’re in.

Run out the clock.

But just how highly should we value conventional wisdom this time? Are you paying attention? We’ve been tumbling down the rabbit hole for months. And it’s not that up is down, it’s that up is purple.

Many have said it before me, and I’ll say it again here: in Donald Trump, the Republicans put up one of the only candidates Hillary Clinton could beat. In Hillary Clinton, the Democrats put up one of the only candidates Donald Trump could beat.

To say that we don’t have best feet forward here is an understatement.

So what could happen to Hillary? Here are two big opportunities for chaos:

  • Julian Assange says he’s still sitting on quite a lot of Clinton Foundation/campaign/DNC material, for which he’s promised staggered release over the remainder of the campaign. (He has suggested that just before debates would be ideal drop times.)
  • Trump could make a political master stroke. I’m still fleshing out exactly what I think that might look like, but consider with me: what would be the (seemingly) least likely trait for him to exhibit? How about humility? What about a somber delivery of something like “Look, folks. I know my mouth gets me in trouble sometimes, and I know a lot of you find me obnoxious. But please let me take a moment to talk about my love of this country, and why and how it motivates me…”

As crazy as this campaign has been, I have the gnawing suspicion that from here to the end will be the least predictable time of the entire cycle.

 Posted by at 9:42 am
Aug 172016

“You don’t get to decide what offends me!”

This is, of course, true, but only trivially so. Any of us are free to be offended by anything we like. I’m offended when sesame seeds come on my hamburger bun. I’m offended by freight trains with an odd number of cars. I’m offended when the sun does that same tired eastern-sky-to-western-sky trajectory over, and over, and over…

The line tends to be a little more charged than that, though. Generally I hear it in matters of alleged racism or sexism. It may or may not be underpinned by accusations that I can’t possibly understand because I’m a white male, and my privilege blinds me.

You’re right, typical person who says the above. I don’t get to decide what offends you.

But I get to call what offends you ridiculous. And being offended by this Photoshopped photo that Ellen DeGeneres tweeted yesterday is ridiculous.


(This is Olympic champion Usain Bolt, in case you don’t know that. He is, as I type, the fastest person ever timed.) Accompanying the photo, Ellen says: “This is how I’m going to run errands from now on.”

This is, according to masses of people on social media, heinously racist. It’s a privileged white woman using a black man like a pack animal. She’s Miss Daisy, I read more than once. She should issue an immediate apology.

Blah, blah, blah.

Shut your mouths, you pathetic, fatuous, unthinking whiners. Every single one of you sit down, shut up, and listen to me.

In the first place, it’s a great photo, because it’s Bolt giving the camera a smile in the middle of a competition. I’m an aggressive non-follower of the Olympics, and even I picked up on that from my feeds here and there.

In the second place…this is a photograph of the fastest person in the world.

Do you get that? Do you see that that’s the salient point?

Do you really believe in your heart that somehow Ellen wouldn’t have done this if it were a white man, or an Asian woman, or (insert whatever identity you want here)? No, of course you don’t. So how is it racist?

Do you find anything in the past behavior of Ellen DeGeneres that would lead you to believe she’s racist?

It’s something that gave Ellen a chuckle and she shared with her feed, thinking it would generate more. That’s the extent of it. That is where thinking, reasonable people stop processing this. And I sincerely hope that, invited to opine further on this, she doubles down. I hope she says no, I’m not going to apologize because I did nothing wrong, and by the way, all of you just relax.

If you’ve decided it matters in this photograph that Usain Bolt is a black man, then you are the problem. You are manufacturing crisis.

You are the racist.

If we can’t all figure out how to presume some basic common sense and a little charity of spirit, then all of our sociocultural problems are insurmountable.

 Posted by at 12:08 pm
Aug 122016

Our sons are old enough now that I have to consider carefully how to blog about them. (Well, even more carefully.) Some things are still easy. If they say funny things, they’re generally happy for me to share those, though most of those become Facebook statuses and not blog posts. But regular goings-on are more […]

 Posted by at 7:58 pm
Aug 052016

Huntsville Restaurant Week 2016 is only a week away! It runs August 12-21, and you can get a full list of participants (and their hot-linked specials!) here. It was my great pleasure to join several other bloggers for the Food Blogger Tour last weekend. Some usual Huntsville-area suspects got to hang out with Jennifer of […]

 Posted by at 12:49 pm is using WP-Gravatar