Today’s downtown report: a bike advocate lost his bleep on Tex, one of the guys on the security team for NBC, because they parked in the bike lane. The guy told me they had obstruction permits, but bike dude’s wrath was total and all-consuming. I haven’t seen such a sustained performance of self-righteousness in years. YOU ARE SOCIOPATHS WHO DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS. YOU HAVE NO JOURNALISTIC ETHICS. I WAS A JOURNALIST FOR FOUR YEARS, AND I KNOW ABOUT ETHICS. YOU ARE AN EFFING SNOWFLAKE and so on, delivered in this stentorian tone.

Tex (as I call him now) just stood there and said he wasn't going to  let him touch the vehicle.

IT IS NOT AGAINST THE LAW TO TOUCH YOUR VEHICLE! I KNOW THE LAW! Another guy said he wanted to put "Violation" stickers on the cars, which was vandalism, which led Bike Dude to shout I KNOW THE LAW ON VANDALISM I AM WELL AWARE OF IT I HAVE READ IT ALL, or whatever his pre-set rhetotical set-piece was.

This is his thing, and I’m sure he wants videos of his efforts to do right by “MY PEOPLE,” as he called the cyclists who are forced into the street out of the bike lane for half a block, so I will present the video for all to see.

Oh, isn’t loading? Tch tch. Too bad.

Anyway, I'll bet he stops at all stop signs and waits through all red lights.

If I thought that was the only drama of the day, wrong: BIRCH GOT OUT. He’s never gotten out. It never seemed to occur to him before that he could, but he found a weak spot in the fence - which is due to be replaced, at ruinous cost - and went after a squirrel. Horrible flashbacks to roaming the neighborhood with a flashlight, rattling a box of Milk Bones. We found him quickly, and he came home with nonchalance.

ALL OUR TRUST IS NOW SHATTERED. Wife said “now that he knows, he’ll be testing other parts of the fence,” and I don’t think it’s like that. This isn’t “Aliens.”

We might not have noticed except I have a binary switch in my head for the dog; I always want to know his state. In or Out. In is safe. Out is possibly danger. At least I’d filled out all his contact info on his fancy new dog tag, supplied by the city. It has a QR code that goes to a website with all his information. Name, phone number.

You know, like a dog tag, but . . . but it has a QR code!

Anyway, that wasn't any fun, and now we peer at the dog with doubt. How could you.

Because . . . I'm a dog?

Yes, there's that. There's always that.










I wrote elsewhere about the unnoticed cancellation attempt on Jim Steranko. Probably wrote too much. It’s simple: he was one of my favorite comic artists as a kid, and I was delighted to find him on Twitter tweeting in Bullpen style with exclamation points! and exhortations to his Henches - a term he may have lifted from the Venture Bros., but he’s entitled. He tweeted out how glad he’d be to return to cons and meet people, because . . . well, you can see the problem here.

There was much sorrowful tut-tutting about that.

The more charitable responses said maybe he didn’t know that Asian people were being beaten because people called it the Chinese virus. It simply wasn’t said. It was xenophobic.

Oh. that be better or do better line. They've all turned into condescending grade-school teachers.

Here’s your complete modern comic-book-guy-cliche with the beard and black glasses, and also the Treach introducing him to that hate-rag, the New York Times:

And then:

To prevent more harm, and harassment, of course.

Here’s a compromise: let us no longer speak of Western Colonialism and Western Imperialism. Many cultures around the world practiced these abhorrent things. It causes harm to people to be unfairly accused of complicity in these historical events, as if there's some sort of inherited guilt that attaches to caste essentialism.


OH SHUT UP, that’s completely different. The good people are talking about systemic systems, accumulated over centuries, creating a power imbalance. It is one thing to use institutional processes to dismantle the systemism of the paradigms; that is necessary to achieve equity and Great Justice. It is precisely the Western invention of racism that leads directly to an American citizen of Asian descent getting punched because of COVID.

Okay. But can we point out that the people who think “let’s go beat up a Chinese guy in a laundromat” need to do better, too? It’s possible they may already know that a Chinese guy in a laundromat has no connection to, oh, lax containment protocols in a gain-of-function research in a lab on the other side of the planet, but they read a tweet from an 80-year-old cartoonist, and man, they just see red. They couldn't help it!

If we didn't goad stupid people into doing things by uttering certain problematic combinations of phonemes, they'd just stay home, and perhaps take up knitting.

Which brings me to this incredibly irresponsible and harm-causing violent tweet from my own paper:

It presents a quandary: whom to beat? Someone whose accent carries a faint strange archaic Dutch sound, or a Black person you overhear in a cafe using the word Joberg, even though they’re talking about a friend, Jo Berg, and not the abbreviation for the South African city? The problem with lazy, careless, xenophobic descriptions like this is that people will not care about the nuances, and simply look for someone who appears “South African,” so they can be beaten.

I know in my circle there’s lots of anger about the Brazilian variant. Dark looks, fists mashed into palms, muttered words about delivering a beat-down to anyone who comes around these parts speaking Portuguese, or says "Carnivale" a certain way.

Perhaps the question might be this: why do some people hear "Chinese Virus," and desist from violence against people utterly unrelated to the disease? Why do people think "yeah, it came from China," and not leap to the conclusion that Asian-Americans must be blamed? Why, in other words, aren't 99.999% of the population a reminder that this is not a nation of ravening xenophobes on the brink of violence - and why do we police speech to avoid riling up the people who are impervious to any outside moderation?

One more thing: The instinctive protection of China by the Smart People is one of the strangest things I’ve seen in years. It’s as if there’s this massive, brain-frying disconnect. On one hand, trains! Hell, these guys are wizards at infrastructure, and look at those cities! On the other hand, genocide, intrusive state surveillance, destruction of Hong Kong political culture. But. When outgroup people criticize China, it is from a bad place, and while the Person of Nuanced Thought may have issues with China, it is more important to show they know the prominent critics are rooted in the perfidious -isms.

None of these people are really defending China. They don’t care about China. It’s a murmuration of peacocks.





It’s 1932. There have been better years.

You hate to see false-hope headlines like this, knowing what we know.

  Stormin’ Norman the First was tracking all the leads, and you know they were coming in thick, fast, and wrong. The baby was on a ship bound for Europe! The baby was seen in an automobile in New Jersey - the woman swears it was the Lindbergh kid!

Meanwhile, in the Things to Come department:

Annnnd we all know how that turned out.

I did not know this.


He had been suffering from spinal problems. Wikipedia:

Eastman suffered from depression due to his pain, reduced ability to function, and also since he had witnessed his mother's suffering from pain. On March 14, 1932, Eastman died by suicide with a single gunshot through the heart. His suicide note read, "To my friends, my work is done – Why wait? GE.”

Terse and conclusive.


On the inside, one of those things you probably didn’t know, but it makes sense.


  I don’t know why I clipped this, except to see if the building still stands. It does.

Nothing particularly special about it, but now we know who was in the Schrammmmm-Johnson building that was not the drug store.


“Soft drink parlor.” Uh huh. That was what they called speakeasies, as far as I can gather.

The cop wasn’t there to bust it up.

Can’t explain why the article stands on its head at the end.



Graphic for the serial: nice early 30s stuff.


  Let's bring you up to speed! Now on to CHAPTER SEVENTEEN THOUSAND



The You Save page gathered all the small clients into one big sheet, and it’s surprisingly effective.

  Thought I might find the Monkey Wards, but it’s gone.
  Note the fine print: the word meant the same thing then.

Finally: A testimonial from an essential worker whose quick skill tied the nation together.



And whose profession has evaporated completely.


That'll do. See you tomorrow.




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