As I’m sure that y’all have heard, SCOTUS has decided that the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Title VII bans employment discrimination against folks on the basis of sexual orientation and being trans. The opinion was even written by a conservative justice. I’ll probably cover the decision in more detail later (though it’s been very hard to write lately), but right now I just want to call out how utterly ineffective I have been in pushing for change.
I had no effect on this decision at all.
And yet, the heart of this decision is simply taking a traditional legal test seriously. This is the “but for” test, and is used in liability cases of many kinds, as well as occasionally in other ares of law. The “but for” test is used this way:
Would the alleged harm have come to pass if all circumstances were the same but for one fact.
Try this one, which fits my mood:
Yes, I know I’m cynical a lot of times, and it seems like the times when it all goes to complete shit that I would be in my natural element. But I’m not. I’m just feeling terrible about all this the last couple weeks, and my usual snark and satire feel poorly suited to our current moment.
But this has a lot to do with how I practice it. My snark and satire, when it’s not used for self-deprecating humor, is most targeted at authoritarians and their supporters. Writing merely factual pieces feels useless right now, and you can get news from other places than this blog. Writing satire and snark feels completely inadequate, since there appears to be nothing short of exploding a nuclear weapon on US territory that Trump and his supporters won’t do.
So, I haven’t been contributing much to FtB lately. But I have found a bit of humor that does make me feel better in this moment. it’s not by me, and I haven’t been able to trace the source yet, but I place it here for what enjoyment you might be able to take in this otherwise horrible and sad moment:
Day 1: We are sorry to report that the Chinese launched an ICBM whose nuclear warhead evaporated Seattle.
Day 2: Yes, we’ve also heard the rumors that Putin had instructed the FSB to ensure that Seattle would die “by nuclear fire”. This is categorically untrue.
Yeah, yeah. It’s just a chart made using a spreadsheet program. Yet I have a deep-rooted conviction that I’m unable to make anything visually attractive, so I’m quite satisfied I managed to make anything look even this good. There are other versions of this floating around, I obviously stole the original idea from xoNicole (or whoever she stole the idea from), but there were elements of the xoNicole version that didn’t quite fit my sensibility. I also wanted a copy on hand that I could easily modify for new topics.
And, yay! I done did it!
So there’s a story I’ve been meaning to get to this week. This will have to be a sort of placeholder for something longer. While there’s a lot to say, the particular outrage can be summed up in this comment by Esther Lucero from the Seattle Indian Health Board:
Other people will say that I should be fucking heartened by this:
On May 7th, 2020, the GBI arrested Gregory McMichael, age 64, and Travis McMichael, age 34, for the death of Ahmaud Arbery. They were both charged with murder and aggravated assault. The McMichaels were taken into custody and will be booked into the Glynn County Jail.
But I’m not. Read further:
I am not heartened.
Yes, I read what it said. I understand what it said. But I also read further:
On May 5th, 2020, District Attorney Tom Durden formally requested the GBI investigate the death of Ahmaud Arbery. The Kingsland Office initiated an investigation on May 6th, 2020.
and I am not heartened.
In a case that can’t seem to get appropriate coverage inside the USA, Canada and the UK are publishing important stories detailing the lynching of a Black jogger by a white ex-cop and his son just as fast as any published by the national press inside the USA. The best review of the footage of the actual killing is probably in this story, by a local news station in Jaxonville.
So what happened here, why are prosecutors declaring this behavior acceptable, and why do I call it a lynching?