Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
Frequently during frustrating times (and we frequently have been having frustrating times of late), the world as expressed by social blurbs on the internet plaintively asks “What can I do?”…or confidently offers something that, they’ll tell you, will help.
Today, after yesterday’s empty symbolism of the President’s photo op in front of the church across from the White House (“Look! I’m holding a bible! Right here! I’m at a church because, look, this bible!”) we awakened to a well-meaning yet ultimately empty symbolic gesture online: if you support Black Lives Matter, post a rectangle of black instead of the usual post you would post!
Okay. A lot of people did just that, perhaps longing for a way to do something, anything useful in a world where the government is putting cities under curfew and the message of systemic police violence against African Americans is getting drowned out by…well, all kinds of noise.
So they posted those rectangles! And were alarmed when the useful communications indexed under the hashtag #blacklivesmatter were “pushed off the screen” by these rectangles. And so (this is still Tuesday morning) the call went out to hey, stop doing that! Use the hashtag #blackouttuesday if you want, but get those #blm-related tags off of those black squares and rectangles, stat!
This to me is indicative of just how much pent-up frustration there is out there when it feels like you can’t do anything that really affects the situation…so you resort to liking and retweeting and putting logos on your Covid-19 mask and crying out in despair, both online and in the privacy of your possibly still quarantined home.
I’ve been having dreams that I can best describe as “making dramatic, systemic changes,” but they also involve me having the power to take, say, the Attorney General of the United States and instantly teleport him to a small shack in the Mojave desert with the absolute minimum for human survival, food and water. And then a steroid-crazed cop, in mid-baton-swing, fwoosh and he’s transported to a matching shack, exactly 15 miles away from Barr’s. And then..uh..er…time travel is involved, because a lot of these criminal acts by policemen and politicians have already happened, and it’d be nice to be able to get to that moment right before Officer Chauvin’s knee goes down on Mr. Floyd’s neck, and…well, I probably should talk to someone about my intense need to rewrite these outcomes because the outcomes are so sad and fly in the face of what I thought we stood for.
So maybe I should just black-rectangle it and call it a day.