Propaganda has escaped the internet, it’s running amok in my neighborhood (and yours!). Helicopters and sirens and camouflage, oh my!
A popular local hiking spot near me was closed for Covid–19, then reopened, then closed—“because of the riots.” Covid testing was unavailable, and then it was free, and then it was shut down— “because of riots.” It felt like a weird punishment from Dad, taking away a privilege. Then “for safety,” Amazon decided to slow down its deliveries. (Brick and mortars just boarded up.) Hey Capitalism, you mad, bro?
Here is what I have learned from the president telling us he is not a shipping clerk and that one state’s pandemic (or another’s) is not his problem: All bodies are equally disposable. (Because the capitalists will be fine.)
Here is what I think I am supposed to learn, witnessing National Guard protecting a single block of Hollywood Boulevard, where the valuable real estate is:
- Do not scare Capitalism
- Do not question Capitalism
- Do not interrupt Capitalism
This is not 1992. There is valid rage but there is also mayhem trying to fuck up righteously enraged people because we know that some people are allowed to express anger while others are not.
Whiteness believes in defending itself, the law be damned.
Blackness is told to shut up and be quiet, the law be damned.
There are no quick sound bites that pull viewers into that conversation. So the problem, as reported on local news, is stretched to fill endless hours that save space for possible fires or shootings or car chases. The looting of the Rite-Aid in Gower Gulch, I admit, did not move me. A grave tone conveys with a voice of authority that all disorder is bad, which is not true. Hence if riots do not materialize, we who tune in to be “informed” hear reporters say things like: criminal elements have broken glass at Starbucks and also people did not go home at 1 PM or 4 PM or 6 PM, as they were told. You know, because it is the law.
Black. Lives. Matter.
The most succinct American history lesson to describe our most pressing problem flows effortlessly from Cornel West today in the Guardian.
“Any society that refuses to eliminate or attenuate dilapidated housing, decrepit school systems, mass incarceration, massive unemployment and underemployment, inadequate healthcare and its violations of rights and liberties is undesirable and unsustainable.”
Internet Propaganda Sampler
1. Here is some footage of a dangerous tagger, or else someone staging tags with support from LAPD, for some reason:
— Bradford Kho (@kho_bradford) May 31, 2020
About a half hour earlier, near Fourth Street and Broadway, some people broke into a Van’s shoe store, as seen in aerial footage. It’s unclear if they were there for the demonstrations.
Is it really unclear whether a looter is a protester?
“I think what scares me about this is that, usually, they wait until dark and then you see the looting,” L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger told KTLA.
3. Journalist Linda Tirado was blinded by police.
A Reporter’s Cry on Live TV: ‘I’m Getting Shot! I’m Getting Shot!’ From a television crew assaulted by protesters to a photographer struck in the eye, journalists have found themselves targeted on the streets of America.
Linda Tirado, a freelance photographer, was shot in the eye on Friday while covering protests in Minneapolis.
Ms. Tirado is one of a number of journalists around the country who were attacked, arrested or otherwise harassed — sometimes by police and sometimes by protesters — during their coverage of the uprisings that have erupted nationwide after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“Sometimes by police and sometimes by protesters?” How many people “attacked, arrested or otherwise harassed” her?
Paul and members of his crew are seen outside and inside an Arizona mall where looting is taking place. It remained unclear from the videos whether Paul and his team were actively involved in any looting…
Unclear! Perhaps not actively looting! Perhaps only feigning crime for clicks and LOLs!
Headline: Jacob Pederson Is Not the AutoZone Umbrella Man, St. Paul Police Say
Alt headline: Vandal Carrying Hammer and Umbrella Smashes Windows, Repelled by Unarmed (Courageous! Small!) Bystander
6. Protests turn violent in Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake City cops shove down an elderly man with a cane for the crime of standing along the street: pic.twitter.com/PCLkHqQtJg
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) May 31, 2020
“Man points hunting bow at Salt Lake City protesters”
A perfect example in two videos of how broken everything is:
1. man attempts to kill protestors with hunting bow.pic.twitter.com/WTsPwQUJQg
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) May 31, 2020
7. Who will be blamed?
This is a prime example of what I have been talking about. This video shows white folks spray painting “BLM” on a Starbucks.
She said “We ain’t asked y’all to do that. — We are the ones the media will blame.” pic.twitter.com/3NFFcpgURI
— Tay Anderson (@TayAndersonCO) May 31, 2020
Probably not “allies.”
One headline, many stories.
State officials say the trucker, 35-year-old Bogdan Vechirko, may not have realized the highways had been closed. No injuries among demonstrators have been confirmed, they said.
May not have realized!
(Uh, shouldn’t this have its own article?)
Police are also finding stolen vehicles with plates removed that are being used to transport the flammable materials. Looted goods and weapons also have been found in the stolen cars, he said.
“The fact that we’ve seen so many of them in so many places now makes us believe that this is part of that pattern that shows that this in fact an organized activity and not some random act of rage,” he said.
One person pulled over in Bloomington while driving a plate-less car attempted to “douse the car itself and set it on fire,” which is “not something you see on most traffic stops,” Harrington said.
(Uh, shouldn’t this have its own article?)
“He wasn’t stopping. He was beeping loudly and driving into a crowd of people,” said Valle, visibly shaken. “That’s the same kind of malice that brought us here. It’s a callous disregard for someone’s humanity.”
Melanie Ramos of Minneapolis said: “A truck came. The horns were blaring. It was picking up speed. It was plowing down the highway into the protesters. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen.”
Dominic Kerr said he could smell the fuel and hear it “sloshing around” as the tanker approached.
(Uh, should this be in the same article?)
Charles Adams of Chicago was visiting his daughter in Minneapolis and joined one of the marches.
It’s mind-blowing,” he said. “I really was impressed by the solidarity and the peacefulness of it. I hope that we would look in the mirror and realize that this is a real thing, and address it.”
Peaceful, you say? Oops—BRB—car chase!
*June 1, 2020, California: 4,251 dead, 4,258 hospitalized, 113,006 positive, 2,012,583 tested, “N/A” tests pending (source: covidtracking.com).