I drove through Uptown today to see the latest barricades. The pictures showed some purloined umbrellas from Buffalo Wild Wings, piled and painted with the usual slogans and abbreviations. Couldn’t see much, as they were on the other end of an alley. The neighborhood looked busy; lots of traffic, new apartments, more under construction. Fewer boarded-up stores and restaurants - that is, the boards are down, replaced by glass and FOR RENT signs. The great mast of the Uptown theater is still lording over the neighborhood, waiting for its zeppelin.

The theater closed during the pandemic, and will not reopen. It has been evicted, which is a strange thing - how can you evict the very thing that it is? But it fell behind on rent, which somehow happens when you close everything for two weeks and another two and another two and oh we’ve stopped measuring things in fortnights, carry on, stay safe. The Apple Store never reopened after it was looted; the corner restaurant in the Rainbow building closed; another corner shop, an Aveda salon, announced this week it would close because it was not certain of its clients and staffers’ safety.

This was roundly rebuked on the Minneapolis subreddit, which has a large cohort of people who get really, really mad when you suggest something is amiss in the neighborhood, or that it has anything to do with people’s individual choices. It’s all pandemic and cops, the two implacable forces that guide and shape everyone’s moral behavior. There is no individual agency.

If you take issue with this, they’ll accuse you of being from out of town. Possible some are. B ut it’s possible to have a stake in a part of town and not live there. Really, it is. I care about DC a lot, too. Perhaps you lived there once. Perhaps you pass through weekly or daily on your way to work. If we confine concerns about neighborhoods to residents only, ought it not be acceptable to write off anywhere you don’t live? I mean, I care about the entire Metro area, inasmuch as I want it all to be safe and prosperous. And I have a particular interesting Uptown, since I used to live there, and loved it.

I loved Dinkytown, too, and it pains me to see the crime uptick. One reddit poster said yeah, you’ll have a murder in Dinkytown, it’s part of a city - an utterly insane thing to say. We never had murders in Dinkytown. You walked home from your bar shift, you never worried about getting your head caved in.

And yes, this was a city then, too.

What motivates the people who wave away the decline? Who knows. One might guess. A desire to shrug off responsibility for the knock-on effects of last year’s riots, which have to be seen as Historical and Righteous. A seething, cramped, ideologue’s fury over people who have the gall to propose concerns the ideologue does not share, or, even worse, Cause Harm. Such as respecting the plate glass of an immigrant-owned business. (The word “business” orders the moral equation very neatly for these people.) The nagging anger that some people want to go about their lives without being required to Confront and Unpack and Atone and do the work, all the time, for an unseen jury that never acquits but only tacks on more sentence time, like the masters of the gulag.

They are furious when you point out that people do not have the right to commandeer streets, force traffic to a halt, rip up private property, erect barricades, and paint whatever you wish on the walls and streets. Of course they have the right. It is granted to them by their emotions and their experience. It is not granted to anyone else, though.

This will pass, though. Uptown will recover. It might take a few years. It will take more if no one feels safe, if the intersections are commandeered by bands of hotrodders who perform their idiot rituals at 2 AM, if hoopleheads spill out of bars and settle a slight with a spatter of gunfire. This will require prevention, apprehension, conviction, and incarceration.

Alas, those are the Four Horsemen for some, and the sound of their hooves is akin the tromp of stormtrooper boots. It's always depressing to hear people say "well this is how you get the repressive fascists who come in on a Law and Order ticket."

Yes, that's so. So perhaps you might want to forestall that by doing something about the Law. And perhaps some Order.



It’s 1916.

They really didn’t want to break up that glorious expanse of text, did they.

Shah of Persia:

  This guy.

Wikipedia entry is under another name.

Ahmad Shah was formally crowned on 21 July 1914, upon reaching his majority. He attempted to fix the damage done by his father by appointing the best ministers he could find. He was, however, an ineffective ruler who was faced with internal unrest and foreign intrusions.

Awesome times!

By 1920, the government had virtually lost all power outside the capital and Ahmad Shah had lost control of the situation. The Anglo-Persian Agreement, along with new political parties, further immobilized the country. The Moderates and Democrats often clashed, particularly when it came to minority rights and secularism. The debates between the two political parties led to violence and even assassinations.


The weak economic state of Persia put Ahmad Shah and his government at the mercy of foreign influence; they had to obtain loans from the Imperial Bank of Persia.Furthermore, under the Anglo-Persian Agreement, Persia received only a small fraction of the income generated by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. On the other hand, the Red Army along with rebels and warlords ruled much of the countryside.

He was deposed by some guy named Pahlavi, Reza Shah or something.

  A term that’s fallen out of use. Well, the water part. Some still say “he’s on the wagon,” and if you wondered what that was a reference to, well, now you know!


DUDE. That's a lot of hay to leave blowing in the wind.

I've been to his house.

It's nice.


  Horrible story. And wrong. They weren't sightseeing; they were having a drinking party. (I found the original story.)

  One wife, nine concubines.

He was followed by "a collapse of central authority, and warlordism." And we know how that turned out.

A "moral dynamo!"

Wikipedia says it had a circ of 300,000. It wsas published from 1899 to 1941 - making you wonder what made it falter at a time when you'd think boy's mags would be surging. 

That'll do. See you tomorrow.




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