I’m not into liking stuff ironically. It’s currently popular to be into stuff that is terrible but to do it in a such a way that you are actually laughing at it, thus showing how cool and sophisticated you are. I don’t do that. Case in point, the 1989 Patrick Swazye movie Road House.
Road House is awesome. In it Swazye plays Dalton. Dalton is a “cooler,” the title the movie tells us is given to the head bouncer at a bar or nightclub. Not only is he a cooler, he is the coolest cooler, he is completely and totally famous in bouncer and bar circles. Dalton gets hired and paid a lot of money to go to the worst, most blood-on-the-floor drinking establishments to clean them up. Which he does, mostly using kung fu. However, Dalton isn’t all about the punching. He is a zen master with a philosophy degree from NYU.
He pushes a laid back brand of ass-kicking on to the bouncers that work for him, telling them “I want you to be nice. It’s nothing personal. I want you to be nice until it’s time to not be nice.”
It’s as dumb as it sounds. I don’t care. I love it. All the parts are bad but I legitimately think the movie is great.
I bring up Road House because for the past decade or so I’ve been a moderator on a friend of mine’s messageboard. He’s a very successful comic and film writer and over time I’ve sort of risen to a position of authority insofar as his internet presence goes. Dalton’s “be nice and don’t take it personal” spiel is one I’ve used variations of over and over again with my fellow moderators. I almost never bother getting into arguments with people on the internet. It’s pointless. A lot of people, and thus a lot people on the internet, are kind of idiots (not you, dear reader). There is no point in engaging with them.
I know I usually write about fun stuff like the proper pronunciation of Star Wars vehicles and ramen noodles and, you know, Road House. I avoid political and news related items because that’s not what this blog is about. This blog is about me adjusting to life living in Virginia with C and the boys and how that is fun and weird and scary. I intentionally keep it light. I am actually extremely interested in social, cultural and political issues, I just don’t address that stuff here. I’m going to now though because about a week ago I found myself doing something I almost never, ever do. I ignored the Tao of Dalton. I got in a fight with idiots on the internet.
A friend who is in the military and stationed overseas posted a question on Facebook asking, in all seriousness, what the deal with the Treyvon Martin-George Zimmerman case was because she was hearing about it but it wasn’t getting a ton of coverage where she was. A lot of the responses were, to put it politely, written by batshit insane racist assholes.
These are people who stated that Martin got what he deserved and that this was just another case of political correctness trying to keep white people down and coddling the blacks because they might riot. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not.
So I did what any completely mentally stable, non-racist nice person would do, I spent the next couple of hours decimating these dickheads. Just like Dalton, I was ripping out the throats of my enemies and banging Kelly Preston (metaphorically and via keyboard in my case, but still). They were horrible, horrible people and I felt justified pointing that fact out to them.
Don’t misunderstand, you can think that Zimmerman is innocent of second degree murder and not be a batshit insane racist asshole. I actually don’t think Zimmerman is particularly racist. I just think he is amazingly stupid and pathetic.
At best, Zimmerman is a dumb ass with a Rambo complex who pretty much completely created the situation that led to Martin being killed. The best case scenario is that Zimmerman stalked and frightened a 17 year old kid who got so freaked out that the kid turned and confronted the person who was chasing him. Martin stood his ground, I guess you could sa). In that scenario we have a horrible and unfortunate situation that still, intent aside, was created by Zimmerman and ended in a needless death. I’m not saying he should be executed but he should be punished. The people though…these spineless internet commenters hiding behind the anonymity of their screens and these ignorant and pathetic hate mongers and scared little mindless weasel men…these people that actually live and breathe in our world…they are the worst and if they all killed themselves the rest of us would be better off for it.
I made my state of agitation worse by turning on CNN’s coverage of the trial. They were discussing the current testimony which centered around, more or less, the relative physical size of Zimmerman and Martin and how witnesses perceived them. CNN’s talking heads kept saying “Martin was just under 200 pounds” or “Martin and Zimmerman were around the same size, about 180 pounds.” I got even more incensed at CNN than I did the random internet assholes because random internet assholes are just that, but CNN is supposed to report the news which, in a perfect world, is fact based. Treyvon Martin weighed 158 pounds when he was shot, which is significantly less than 200 pounds and even a good deal less than 180. I know this because it’s in the autopsy report, a document you’d think people paid to speak knowledgably on the matter would have read.
I got on Twitter and railed at CNN. I got on their website and sent them an email pointing out their error. I called their automated tip line and suggested that that if Edward R. Morrow were alive he would probably engage them in a brief scuffle and then shoot them in the chest for the crime of ruining journalism.
C came home, saw me pacing the family room and asked what I was doing.
“I’m getting way too worked up about this Treyvon Martin thing,” I said.
“Why?” she asked. It was a reasonable question, so I sat down and thought about it for a minute.
It was because of T1.
T1 is thirteen years old. He is tall, almost my height, and skinny. He’s black. I mean, technically he is white, black and Asian but he looks exactly like Will Smith’s son Jaden, so for all intents and purposes, he is black.
Sometimes he walks up to the store and buys himself a soft drink and a snack, which was exactly what Martin was doing. For that matter, sometimes I send him up to the store to buy something. The idea that some idiot could see T1 walking down the street, follow him, scare him, and then get out of the vehicle and hassle him all because he’s a young black guy out for a stroll made me furious. The idea that this same idiot could then shoot T1 in the chest and that mouth breathing mother fuckers on the internet would defend that action terrified me. After the shooting, someone asked President Obama what he thought of the situation and Obama said that it really bothered him because if he had a son that son would look like Martin. I’ve got a faux son and he does.
A certain segment of white people are very fond of saying we live in a post racial society. That’s bullshit. We don’t. People just say that because they don’t want to address the issue and they can go on being racist without worrying about it. The issue is, if Martin had killed Zimmerman, he wouldn’t have gotten to go home that night. The issue is, if Martin had killed Zimmerman, a lot of the same people defending Zimmerman for “taking care of that thug” would be making electric chair jokes. The issue is, T1 has to be more aware of his surroundings, more aware of how other people are observing him, more sensitive to actual, honest to god danger, than I ever did when I was his age and he probably does it as a matter of course because that’s just the world he lives in. That makes me so sad. The issue is, he likes to read teen lit and play video games and eat hot pockets but because he’s black there are still a lot of people in this country who view him as a threat and feel justified in killing him because they are frightened.
Treyvon Martin was walking home from the store and because some dumbass thought he looked suspicious, he ended up dead. How do I teach my 13 year old how to not be what he is? Why the fuck should I have to?