May 30, 2020

Dissonance

Last night someone vandalized the enormous CNN logo that stands in front of their Atlanta headquarters. It was a strangely encouraging sight.

This afternoon on Fifth Avenue, the police stood in clumps with face masks and shields while people peacefully marched with their hands in the air. Some of the cops had their batons unsheathed for no reason, idly beating them against their palms like something they’ve seen in the movies. The presence of the militarized police introduces the prospect of violence like a promise, and that promise came true by nightfall.

Minneapolis. New York. Los Angeles. Chicago. Seattle. Miami. Philadelphia. Nashville. Detroit. Atlanta. Louisville. Washington DC. Nothing gets America’s attention like the destruction of private property.

Rubber bullets and curfews. Clips of reporters hit with pepper balls. Footage of cops busting up the aid stations set up by protestors. Crowds massed in front of Trump’s gilded towers. Burning cars smoldered next to images of people hugging, pleading, and sweeping up broken glass. So much raw pain and anger trapped beneath the performative gloss of social media with its demented scoreboard of hearts. Stripped of context, these scenes from a crisis begin to loop, reinforce, deform, and take on a life of their own. And our president stokes the fire, promising “the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons.”

Meanwhile, a privately-financed rocket launched into outer space, leaving behind this nation of uprisings, fires, and tear gas.


Gil Scott-Heron – Whitey on the Moon

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Each night in 2020 I'm writing a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I want to etch these days into my memory before I forget them. Before the world changes completely.
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