Five Things: June 9, 2020

Okay, let’s see what’s up in the world and with me today:

He pushed himself! A study in contrasts between the two men vying to be the president for the next term: Trump is suggesting the 75-year-old man who was injured whilst being abused by the Buffalo Police sorta, you know, made himself fall harder; Biden, on the other hand, gets applause for directly and sympathetically addressing George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter at Floyd’s funeral in Houston. One may be as cynical as one likes about Biden and his motivations for making at appearance (via video) at Floyd’s funeral, but honestly it’s refreshing to see someone on the presidential level who has the horse sense to read the moment. Remember when we had presidents who could do that? Seems so long ago now.

Bon Appétit and Refinery 29 editors gone: For wearing brownface and being a real jerk to minority staffers, respectively. I’ve seen relatively little hand-wringing about what this means, and whether white editors should be judged on racist things they did at some point in the past when they were still actually adults who should have known better; now doesn’t appear to be the time for that, strangely enough. Likewise, treating minority staff poorly (or allowing them to be treated poorly). The most I’ve heard is anxiousness about what this means for the Bon Appétit test kitchen videos, which apparently a large chunk of America has been self-medicating with during the quarantine. Apparently people who weren’t being paid for appearing in the videos will be paid now? Good.

Poll problems in Georgia: Shocked, shocked I am that people in Georgia, of all places, might have experienced difficulties in voting. I’d like to believe that this issue will be resolved before November, but I would also like to believe in butterscotch unicorns as well. You can say I’m a little skeptical about the state of voting in the United States right now. It’s not my number one political issue at the moment, but it’s up there in the top ten.

Lollapalooza cancelled: Which is not surprising but still makes for a sad moment in this particular Gen-Xer’s day. Fun fact: I attended the first Lollapalooza tour (back when it was a tour and not a festival) — outside Chicago, which is where it eventually ended up when it became a festival. I went to a few more installments after that, but as they say, you always remember your first. I specifically remember Nine Inch Nails tearing the roof off the place; they were third from the top of the bill and they made it hard for Siouxsie and the Banshees and Jane’s Addiction to top them. The Lollapalooza’s organizers promise to do something online and virtual this year, and I’m sure that it’ll be fine. But I think everyone will be happier if and when in person musical festivals come back.

A less than welcome summer first: Say hello to the first horsefly of the season, thankfully on the outside of the window screen:

In real life, this dude is roughly the size of my thumb, which means it’s pretty big. They’re nasty customers and they like to pick fights with my car as I’m heading down the driveway. I’m not entirely sure why; my Mini Countryman may be small, but it’s still exponentially larger than they are. They’ll be around through early September at least. Oh boy.

49 Comments on “Five Things: June 9, 2020”

  1. I’m honestly not sure if I’ll ever be comfortable going to a crowded concert or festival venue again and that’s sad. If I don’t get infected by a deadly virus, I risk getting shot by a nutjob with a gun. It’s just not worth it.

  2. Oh and forgot to mention: I live in GA and voted by absentee ballot. I did confirm that my ballot was received and accepted. But I have many friends up here in the north-suburbs of Atlanta who never received their absentee ballots and stood in line for upwards of 9 hours to vote.

    Quel surprise that Kemp doesn’t give a damn.

  3. Regarding horseflies: Train your cats to chase them. Makes the whole enterprise bearable AND cuts down on the ones inside your house.

    It will also occaisonally result in your cat pouncing on your head, but that’s nothing new.

  4. Long time reader, first-time commenter. Just wanted to note that currently many folks are trending away from “minority” as an adjective describing an individual (e.g. “minority staffer” as you wrote above). Here’s the APA: and some additional discussion from NPR’s Code Switch:

  5. Ants, horseflies. Check.

    No murder hornets, cannibal rats. Check.

    Let’s see where it stands in a month. Keep an eye on the yoghurt.

    I think all we’ve had so far is poison ivy, one small vine. Well, and a pandemic. Ticks expected, mainly on the dog.

  6. Adam Rapoport was the worst thing about any Bon Appetit video he appeared in, so good riddance. Their YouTube presence is a breath of fresh air, and it can only get better by being more diverse and paying everyone fairly.

    My current insect nemesis (nemeses?) is/are Carpenter Bees. They are now ganging up with the squirrels to destroy my pergola.

  7. If it was the size of your thumb I think I’d call it an elephant fly.
    Also, today my dog and I took a hike near Buckeye Lake and the horse/deer flies were horrible. At a few points my poor dog had 3 sitting on her head that I then had to reach down and brush off (when I wasn’t trying to swat them off my own head).

  8. Regarding APA style: More than 20 years ago, APA adopted “Black” and “White” as proper usage. I can’t agree with this. Political reasons for some people to prefer the cap B in Black do not have any counterpart justifying the use of White. Moreover, as has been generally known (or should be) since 2001 when the analysis of the human genome was announced, a “black” and a “white” person can be more genetically related than two “blacks” or two “whites.”

    I wonder whether, in the far future when “race” will have ceased to matter, a mystified student will ask a teacher “Why was it OK in 2020 to say ‘people of color’ but not ‘colored people’?”

  9. Yeah, horseflies are nasty, but try northern Ontario deerflies some day. Back when I was doing work in forestry grad school, one of the little bastards bit me through four layers: a rubber raincoat (this was before I could afford Goretex), a wool sweater, a sweatshirt, and an undershirt. Given that these monsters evolved to gnaw their way through moose hide, it’s not surprising that my primitive human tech provided little defense. Used that experience as a key plot point in my first published story (

  10. A) If you’re not part of the group, I think you have less authority to decide what group members call themselves.

    B) I’m old enough to remember when we called ourselves Third World people. Sigh.

  11. I’m glad the editor of BA is gone, but I’m still horrified that only the white people were paid to be on-camera.
    Seriously, Sohla is in *so many* Gourmet Makes videos, saving the day, just like Gabby being able to get any weird thing for Claire to modify/destroy. Even if it’s not their show, folks should still get paid (the going performance rate, obviously they were still making their salary). And when Rick gets back from Mexico he needs his own show too!

  12. Re: murder hornets
    So far there’s only been one spotted in the US this year (dead), up by the Canadian border. And the state entomologists have asked the public to call them Asian Giant Hornets rather than murder hornets (the English translation of their name in Japan). Don’t know why, hopefully there aren’t any *other* murder hornets to get them mixed up with.

  13. Conservatives do a few things very well:
    1) Channel money UP the economic scale.
    2) Drive up the negatives of their opponents…. e.g. Anyone who is not them….. think Nancy Pelosi, John Scalzi, etc.
    3) Suppress the vote in order to maintain power undemocratically……Limiting polling places, early voting, oppose vote by mail, extreme gerrymandering….. and much more.
    4) Govern well!!!!!!

    One of these four in incorrect. The first to guess receives a copy of their choice of a Scalzi novel….. signed by me!

  14. I’m so glad the Registrar in my rural Northern California county is intelligent and an expert at his job. We’ve had permanent vote-by-mail registration for a few years now. I know for a fact that it has increased my participation in elections by a bit and my wife’s by a lot. And guess what. Our state assemblyperson, state senator, and U.S. representative are all Republicans. So the Republicans’ sudden fiery hate for mail-in ballots doesn’t hold much water where I live. But our U.S. rep is still ranting about how it will be the downfall of our republic because he marches in lockstep with his presidential master.

  15. I was impressed with Biden today. Yes, you can choose to be cynical about it, but that’s the case with almost any politician. And while Biden has obvious weaknesses as a candidate, this is what he’s very good at: connecting with people on an individual level.

  16. It doesn’t matter what my opinion is, but I agree with Aaron — that what Biden did today was the right thing and a good thing.

    I also take issue — not the first time — with the fashion writer/editor of the WaPo, Robyn Givens, for slagging on Pelosi and Co. for wearing Kente cloth when doing a take the knee and announcing anti police brutality legislation. Africans and African Americans know that the cloth comes from Ghana, and that probably most of them haven’t, whether now or in the future. That isn’t the statement that wearing Kente cloth in solidarity is about, today or at other times.

    Pelosi and Co wearing Kente cloth was announcing, whatever color of their skin, that these legislators weren’t taking credit for moving on the rampant, wide-spread militarized police (actually, I think it’s more like freebooting / free company / mercenaries who have been a plague to states since at least the 12th centuries, and particularly in the 14th) — they were giving credit to BLM Protests and Protesters.

    Well, I don’t KNOW that, but that’s what it looked like to me.

  17. Foxessa: You mean Robin Givhan. Robin Givens is the ex-wife of Mike Tyson (among other things).

  18. Hose flies eat horses. A Mini Countryman is only a bit of a challenge size wise. It’s the steel & glass that throws them. I guess that’s why they’re known for their bite and not their brains.

  19. @ Sarah Marie Correct! Which novel would you like, and where should I send your choice. Contact me on Twitter @RArlinghaus. Congratulations!

  20. @SSteve: Southern Utahan here. We also transitioned seamlessly to vote by mail here a couple of years ago. Unfortunately I suspect this is because the Republican party is so dominant in our state that they don’t have any reason not to make voting easy and convenient, but I do enjoy mailing in my ballot, and never miss minor elections since everything I need comes in the mail.

  21. A decade or two or three ago I read a current sf short story where the natives used stainless steel two by fours to swat the big flies that could go through a space suit or space tractor to let out all the air. Even as “knowledge challenged” person I could tell this was a play on the anti-racial slavery song about, “The blue tailed fly.”

    From 1958, in a now defunct magazine, I read a short story that ended, “And so began the robot wars.” Again, it was not like R.U.R., rather, it was inspired by the US slavery heritage. Come to think of it, the main story in that issue was of the postwar remnants of the US being enslaved by spaceships from Mars. The hero, a time traveler, asks, “Australians? South Africans?” I forget if he had heard them speaking before he asked. Such was the white privilege of that era.

  22. It is good to see Biden out of his basement and being a counter point to something less than human.

    Had a big rain last weekend and all of the Deerfly, Blackfly and other biting MFS are lurking everywhere.

    What till you get that screened in pool and find out that baby gnats can fly through it but when they grow up they can’t fly back out of the screen.

  23. In HI, this election will be held via mail. OTOH, Iowa apparently held a primary by mail which went off without a hitch, and brought out record numbers of voters. Republican legislators immediately tried to restrict the vote by mail option.

  24. You’ve got it, Sarah Marie. What format would you like….. kindle, audible, hardcover (my copy!), or mass market paperback? Send info to @RArlinghaus.

  25. @gottacook
    “Why was it OK in 2020 to say ‘people of color’ but not ‘colored people’?”
    There was a Bloom County Sunday strip on that very subject a couple of decades ago.

  26. “A) If you’re not part of the group, I think you have less authority to decide what group members call themselves”

    As a white person, i believe that until racial equality is achieved white people should be referred to as “honky”. I think we’ve earned it.

  27. Man, fuck horseflies. Just absolutely obnoxious asshole insects. Kill it with fire.

    Yes, yes, all creatures have a purpose within the food web and ecosystem they evolved into. But I don’t really care with these fuckers. I wouldn’t even be sad if they went extinct. (They’re not pollinating insects, are they?)

    @honkytonkman: also as a white man, I must say I’m partial to the term “Saltine American.”

  28. Tired: black and white. Wired: dyed and bleached. Putting the unscientific notion of race in its place. Genetically we are what our national origins are, who are ancestors are. But not too far back because we are all ultimately Africans.

  29. @honkytonkman and bsparks2112: This is just one African American perspective, but pelting all white people everywhere with racial epithets until such time as America gets its head out of its ass doesn’t have to be a thing.

    I vote for everyone eschewing the damn things altogether; that is the first stone on the path to equality.

    My other objections (and I am not suggesting that the two of you are at all guilty of this) to the “let’s give whites a taste of their own racist medicine” movement have to do with my experiences in conversations wherein white people will either A, rip themselves to bloody, contrite shreds so that the conversation becomes about reassuring them that they are among the “good” ones and B, derail the discussion with the equally guilt-inducing strawman argument that we want whites to detest and apologize for being born white .

    This way, we’re not talking about white peoples’ unconscious or knowing complicity in racism (the latter warrants apology) anymore. We’re not talking about how racism benefits them anymore. Instead, we’ve flipped the scrip so that POC are the ones defending themselves against accusations of unreasonableness or “reverse racism.”

    On a side note, this term is itself racist because it suggests that the bigotry is going in the wrong/unnatural direction.

    Lastly, keeping racist terms out of my mouth means I keep the moral and logical edge, especially when the racists lose the argument, pull off the gloves and let fly with what they really think about those filthy n***/Spi***/Ch*** etc.

    TL; DR, as an African American, I understand and appreciate the basic sentiment but disagree with fighting racism with racism, even in…discussions with racists.

    Nothing wrong with eviscerating their illogical and deeply stupid posts, though.

    For me, that’s more than half the fun.😈

  30. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that the sixties were a bad time for privileged people and their apologists.

    The Civil Rights Act passed in 1964. African Americans fought for and got the right to vote in 1966. Anti-miscegenation laws got struck down in 1967. Jim Crow laws bit the dust in 1968.

    Sadly, here we are in the 21st century, and Certain segments of American society are still bitter about and working to undermine and ignore the above.

    The same malignant power structures that made life miserable for marginalized people continue to loom large, mostly because the people who benefit from said power structures are as determined as ever to keep it that way, even and especially if that means wiping out scores of people.

    So yes, back to the sixties we go; sucks for privilege. 😊

  31. Malignant power structures are just another name for corrupt, urban political machines dominated by the same political party – and often the same cast of political characters – for decades.

    Chicago has not had a Republican mayor since 1927, St. Louis since 1949, Philadelphia since 1952, Detroit since 1957, and Minneapolis since 1973, to name a few.

    Keep voting for the same malignant power structure, keep getting the same result.

  32. @Sarah Marie – thanks for the thoughtful response to that. Speaking only for myself, it just came from a place of light self-deprecation; I never considered the idea that it’s perpetuating negative behaviors. Point well taken.

  33. @bsparks2112:

    No worries.

    I could tell it was a lighthearted thing; I’ll admit that you gave me a much-needed chuckle.

    I wasn’t even going to comment until I thought about some of the discussions I’ve been having with white allies and racists (not accusing you of the latter but pointing out a common phenomenon) about racism in this country.

    Again, this is just one African American perspective; I’m certain that there are many of us who are pissed and horrified enough that the idea of turning the slurs on the “enemy” sounds like a good one.

    I get how cathartic that can be, especially for people who are sick to death of the sights and sounds of lynching’s, coverups, and acquittals.

    Still, and I hope this comes out right, the idea of denying whites, allies in particular, their humanity until blackness and humanity are treated as mutually inclusive concepts kind of defeats the purpose of what we’re trying to do.

    Plus, I, for one, don’t want to take time to reassure allies that they’re the “good” ones, most especially because they shouldn’t be doing this for cookies or hand pats.

    Most of us need you to aim your loathing at the racists rather than at yourselves.

    Also, it bears repeating that bigots give good outrage when you deny them the satisfaction of calling you a hypocrite/reverse racist.

    TL; DR: they’re not honkeys or crackers but evil people who need to be neutralized via votes and laws.

    You’re nobody’s honkey. I’m nobody’s nigger.

    @ Pedro: It’s simple, really. Only one party appears to believe that non-white lives are worth as much as white lives are.
    The other applauds neo Nazis and advocates for bigoted policies.

    Only one-party fights to protect my reproductive rights.

    The other believes my primary purpose is to propagate the species, whether I like it or not.

    Only one party works to protect social programs for those who fall on hard times /are unable to work.

    The other would prefer to take the social Darwinist approach.

    For them, poor disabled folks who can’t bootstrap are useless eaters who should be starved out for the good of the nation.

    This is evil, and it’s coming primarily from one side.

    More importantly, sentiments like the one quoted below aren’t outliers; they’re emblematic of everything I’ve seen from conservatives since the pandemic started:

    “We need to eat. Send in more workers. If it were up to me, I’d just gas all the welfare moochers in this country to death. Then reopen the economy.”

    Why in the name of any deity would I vote for that party? There’s absolutely nothing in it for me.

    As you’ve pointed out, there are ineffectual politicians on “my” side,” but the other side has and continues to work against my interests in ways that threaten my life.

    A vote for Trump might as well be a vote for Vox day, and you can guess how he feels about disabled, African American women.

    Conservatives and republicans fall closer to his worldview than to mine; why would I join them?

    I’ve heard more democrats than republicans and conservatives actually denounce the lynching’s.

    I’ve heard more democrats than republicans and conservatives state unequivocally that my life matters.

    More democrats than conservatives and republicans have condemned the internment and deaths of children at our borders.

    More democrats than republicans took the Covid 19 pandemic seriously.

    People on a lower difficulty setting have a vested interest in promoting and voting for republicans and conservatives.

    People like me have a vested interest in keeping RSHDs and their apologists and facilitators out of power.

    From what I’ve seen, democratic control is less likely to put me and mine in the ground, so no thanks.

  34. @ Sarah Marie: Your urban progressive worldview is widely shared and not surprising. But to state that “only one party appears to believe that non-white lives are worth as much as white lives are,” as you said, demonstrates personal doubt about the ultimate truth of that statement.

    Mentioning President Trump and He Who Should Never Be Named on This Blog in the same sentence was also unexpected – but not unjustified. Both are aggravators and disruptors of established patterns of social power and dominance.

  35. Soooo. . . wait. What? Antifa turned up the dial on gravity? As a gravitation theorist, I’d like to pick their brains on that topic.

    As a gravitation theorist in Georgia, I’d like to shoot Kemp and Raffensburger out the asshole of the world. This has been a total mess. We were all mass mailed an application for an absentee ballot. Then, all counties were told they had to use a processing company in Colorado, nobody local, so surprise! thousands of mail-in ballots never arrived. Mine did, but I kept checking to see whether it had been received, because I don’t trust them, and they didn’t list it as received until election day.

    A fundamental tenet of the GOP is to make the government look incompetent so it can be, as Grover Norquist said, drowned in the bathtub. Kemp is clearly positioning himself to run for president in four years so he needs to check all the GOP boxes as well as be Trumper than Trump.

  36. @Pedro:


    And before you haul out the denotative significance of this term, you and I both know its connotative significance and your motive behind employing it.

    Secondly, my own supposed “doubts” about my worth aren’t the problem; the problem is that the people in power vehemently disagree.
    through gerrymandering and the crafting, passage and blockage of legislation, these people have and continue to demonstrate that black lives are secondary in every way to whites and are, push comes to shove, expendable.
    If I’d lived in the sixties when democrats were the champions of racism, I’d have voted republican, had I the legal right to do so.

    I don’t need the predominantly white factions on either side to tell me what I already know, but nice try with the “your accurate assessment of the right’s racism says more about you than about us.”

    I might also point out the implications of passing and/or delusions of whiteness, but again, I suspect that you are perfectly aware of that phenomenon and its associated protections and privileges.

    See how presumptions work?

    The question remains, why would I throw in with a party who crafts policies rooted in the notion of black inferiority?

    And we couldn’t disagree more about who and what Donald Trump and Vox day represent.

    Both Men believe that society should be under white male rule. Funnily enough, despite all efforts to level the sociopolitical and economic playing field for those on higher difficulty settings, the power balance is overwhelmingly in favor of the white male.

    So, when their acolytes, admitted and otherwise, characterize their goals as the destabilization of established patterns of social power and dominance “I’m always tempted to ask about meds and parental supervision.

    Then I remember that “disrupt established patterns of social power and dominance” means undermining and stomping out those increasingly popular policies and laws that protect the rights and lives of anyone who isn’t a straight white male.

    These men and their apologists (I’m including the non-white ones) are enraged and terrified because the notion of straight white men as the be all and end all of Western civilization isn’t treated as a universal, taken-for-granted truth any longer.

    That you support what they do tells me everything I need to know about you.

    TL; DR: Bye, Felicia. You live in a fantasy land where racism is a scapegoat for black pain rather than a dangerous rule of thumb to which millions, many of them powerful, subscribe.

    You are either a racist or a supporter of racists; there’s nothing more to discuss.

  37. @SarahMarie: wow, loving your passionate and cogent contributions to this comment section!

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