Thursday, June 27

Thursday Olio: 20 Years Ago Is Not Ancient History Edition

• So Monday Indianapolis was under terrorist attack, and the local news hairdos were beside themselves, so much so that it’s still difficult to straighten out what exactly happened from everything else that was reported, blurted, or thought out loud. In the early morning hours a security guard spotted a backpack, minus a back, at the Federal courthouse. (It's officially the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse, so named to remind us that at some point they're gonna start naming shit for Dick Lugar and Mitch Daniels, and it won't stop.) The Bomb and Backpack Squad blew it up. It was said to have contained legal fireworks and illegal marihuana, yet another mark of just how fucked our priorities are. I’m assuming they determined this before blowing it to smithereens, though this raises the question of why exactly you have to detonate legal fireworks in order to prevent them from going off.

Then, that very afternoon, a woman walked into the Federal building, which is distinct from the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse, which you know because this one was named for Sherman Minton and Homer Capehart. It was built in the 1960s because we were tired of having the Circle be the ugliest building in the world.

In case you think I was exaggerating.
The woman placed what was most likely a cardboard tube on the X-ray conveyor belt, though it has alternately been described as a package she placed in the little plastic trays that hold keys and such, and, of course, as a backpack. Security personnel thought the package was suspicious. Which it was, in a sense, since it too seems to’ve housed legal fireworks. The woman was taken into custody. The building was evacuated, including a daycare, and why th’ fuck do we still have daycare centers in Federal buildings? The package was detonated in the street by the Bomb Squad, on what must have capped their most exciting day ever.

This was in late afternoon; by the Five O’Clock News the teleprompter readers were as jumpy as if gas prices had gone up 10%. All of this (and more! and more!) was reported, except for the fireworks part. “Suspicious package” was all they were saying. The woman had not been charged. The fact that she had not been charged, along with the fact that she had evidently of her own free will placed this Suspicious Object or Terror Tote on the X-Ray conveyor, and the fact that the cops had rather summarily detonated the thing in the public streets did not register with any of the hairdos. Somehow no consequential part of a story ever does if it might have an anodyne effect on Pure Fucking We’re Under Attack Panic Reporting.

News that the second object was, yet again, the sort of legal terrorist device the World’s Third-Worst State Legislature™ made more plentiful and more powerful in the wake of 9/11, because Freedom, sorta came out later. By the next day the whole Incident was forgotten, except to the extent that Channel 8 did a close-up examination of just what the Bomb Squad does, and how they make 800 runs a year, which means we need more of ‘em. This was how you knew that somewhere up the chain of command someone is in charge of making sure that no one ever starts thinking seriously about any of this.

The Perp was simply forgotten at this point, evidently still uncharged with carrying the sort of explosive device the state doesn’t want anywhere near our public officials, but doesn’t mind you being forced to listen to every fucking night of the week, 365 days a year. Why it is no one asked her what was in the tube, or why she wanted to bring it into the Federal building, or why she couldn’t have simply explained this to the security personnel and everyone gone on about his or her day was of absolutely no interest. How many of those 800 runs involved grocery sacks left on picnic tables or purses left in airport waiting areas (all of them) was never revealed, even though, y’know, if any of them (2.1918 per day) did actually involve explosive devices it presumably would be on the fucking news.

I’m going to say this once again: the reason Barbara Walters, a real estate hucksterix with a serious speech impediment, was placed in the anchor chair of a major network news program, back when the country actually watched the news, was so they could see just how much they could get away with. And the answer was a resounding Anything.

• I know I’m supposed to concern myself with serious things, for the most part anyway, but 1) the bile is still rising over the Voting Rights Act decision; ask me again next week; and 2) DOMA was a piece of crap, Prop 8 was a procedural decision; I’m thrilled for anyone who now can marry the person of his or her choice, the way God intended. Those people will not be in Indiana, at present, and the Jim Rockford 180º the Indiana Republican party is about to do as a result will be about as much fun as one can have as long as there is an Indiana Republican party running things. (In fact, if you wanna know just what sort of political fix they're running at the Court these days, consider that the Indiana General Assembly, and newly-minted Governor Mike "Deacon" Pence, punted on putting the No Homo Nups amendment in front of voters this year because they needed to wait for the Court to rule. Meaning, of course, that even Indiana Republicans knew how the Court was going to rule.) But this is my point. DOMA, bad as it was, was a goddam skin ulcer caused by what’s really wrong in this country. What the Court did began to correct the sort of shenanigans the Democratic party is complicit in. When we start excising the source of all this I’ll dance in the streets. If you knew me you’d realize that’s no idle threat.

• So, instead: someone first tell me what exactly Paula Deen has to be all weepy about? Loss of contracts and damage to a brand. What th’ hell touched her otherwise? Not the sort of thing casual, mindlessly-accepted racism has done to millions of her fellow human beings in her lifetime. What are the waterworks for? It’s not fair to hold her accountable because she was born in 1947? “In my defense, I was only twenty years old when Martin Luther King was murdered?” It’s only reasonable to give her thirty or forty years to’ve realized racism was wrong?

And I don’t care; the whole thing’s a question for the people who made her a public figure, then profited on it, and those people are worse than backwoods racists: they’re utterly amoral privateers. She’s a pure creation of the Jab It In Your Eye mentality, the same thing that markets .22s to five year olds, or Rick Perry (et. al.) to primary voters. The Food Network was hoist with its own petard. Leave us pray for a world in which being butt ignorant is not a mark of pride, where racism is unthinkable, where debasing regional cuisine is a criminal act, and where the Food Network isn’t presently in meeting trying to figure out how to make a buck out of all the racist commenters it attracted with her firing.


Anonymous said...


I have two questions and a comment. If Indiana has the third worst state legislature, pray tell who has the worst and second worst? Secondly, why the switch from "choirboy" to "deacon?" Although I found both terms hilarious. And finally, even though the aforementioned governor shouldn't have removed comments critical of his support of Indiana's own version of DOMA, at least he doesn't send out his goons to taunt and belittle the way the former governor did.

Both Sides Do It said...

"the bile is still rising over the Voting Rights Act decision"

Oh Christ yes

"ask me again next week"

Hope you keep after it. You and Pierce help a lot of us stay sane.

Kathy said...

I used to hold my hand out in front of my laptop screen to cover Bush & Cheney's ugly phizzes, but they are nothing as revolting and disgusting as the official photo of Roberts. His face looks like a rubber mask, really strange, a psychotic's face. But I'd be surprised if there was a lizard's honest face beneath it. No, not a lizard face or pigface, or anything remotely human. Even the Dr. Who show couldn't come up with something hideous enough to show Robert's true nature. I was shocked, staggered even, but the unbelievable ruling about corporations being persons, and having human rights under our constitution. But this one! Apparently minority voters are NOT persons, in Roberts view. But then how would he know what "human" means?

Timb said...

I'm still upset you say it's the Third Worst Legislature. It's clearly the worst

Kathy said...

Wisconsin is the worst, and then there's Texas.

Anonymous said...

"...though this raises the question of why exactly you have to detonate legal fireworks in order to prevent them from going of."

And this question is answered by the application of the referenced illegal marihuana.

"Dude! Y'know what would be REALLY cool?"

Always delighted to discover a new D. H. Riley post.
Thanks Doghouse.

Dead Ernest

Weird Dave said...

Slightly off topic, but nice background image.