TOWOIT #212: Don’t @ Me, Bro

August 20, 2017… Day 213

So who is really the Tweeter-in-Chief? I looked at each day in the last few months that Obama tweeted. I added up his total number of likes for that day, and then divided it by the number of tweets. Most days he just tweeted once, but a couple days he tweeted two or three times. Then I did the same for Trump — just on the days Obama tweeted (to make it manageable to do this quickly and cleanly).

Trump sent a lot more tweets on those days, but look at his average like-per-tweet compared to Obama:

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I added trend lines to show that Obama’s tweets seem to be getting more popular, while Trump’s stay about the same.

Now, if you think that’s not really fair because Trump sent SO many more tweets on each of those days… let’s look at the TOTAL number of likes Obama and Trump got each day, regardless of whether it came from one tweet (Obama usually) or 4-16 tweets (Trump).

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Again, Obama in blue smokes Trump much of the time. Most notably, with the three tweets he sent just last week after Charlottesville — that outlier dot in the upper right.

I harvested these numbers early in the morning on Saturday, August 19 when I couldn’t sleep after the football game (so they could have changed a little since then). I don’t know about you, but a little data-entry and Excel graphing is often just what the doctor ordered.

 

 

TOWOIT #211

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August 19, 2017… Day 212

On Friday I was invited to a Seahawks pre-season game, last minute, with some women from work. I have worked with them for years but haven’t been too tight with them. They’re 10-15 years older than me and really funny. They are put-together, caustic, fun, a little drinky. So I was honored and I said yes.

I told my mom and she said, “I thought we were boycotting the NFL because of head injuries and they won’t give Colin Kaepernick a job.” My mom loves watching football and I think yelling “Run, you son of a bitch!” at the TV is an important form of therapy for her. I said, “I know, I feel like a hypocrite.” But I’d only ever watched the game on TV, never in the stadium, so it was an adventure and an opportunity.

“I thought we were boycotting the NFL because of head injuries and they won’t give Colin Kaepernick a job.”

When I got to the pub where we’d be pre-funcing, the women (who are all white, like me) were chatting at a round table with two black men. “Oh,” I thought, “We have gentleman friends along!” Actually my co-workers were just cleverly poaching the table as the men seemed to be leaving soon. It was a bit of a “we’re all suddenly best friends” situation though, super jocular between the men and women. Everyone teased me for having no Seahawks gear on.

We were in the hallway on our way to the stands when the anthem played. I couldn’t see anything. A clump of people were just standing with hands over their hearts, waiting to proceed to their seats. I wondered if anyone sat down with Michael Bennett. I wanted to ask someone when I sat down. I didn’t want to ask the group of black men seated directly behind us, because I didn’t want to seem like a nosey parker white lady about it. I didn’t want to ask the white guy sitting to my left, because I didn’t want him to think–even for a second–that I was inviting white disapproval of black protest.

A cop who had been shot raised the 12th Man flag. I knew about him from the news. The stadium swelled with heroic orchestral music and the crowd was rapturous. The camera swung around behind him and displayed the crowd below him — thousands of people at his feet, roaring applause. There were fireworks. It was thrilling on a visceral level, but then again–team spirit is a close cousin to tribalism, nationalism, and mob mentality. I thought, “I guess we’ll still all have a nice time doing this when the bill of rights is gone.”

“I guess we’ll still have a nice time doing this when the Bill of Rights is gone”

We watched the game and had fun. The seats were wonderful. My companions joked a lot with the row of black men behind them and then an older white woman in front of us turned around and said, “Could you quiet down? All I can hear is your talking!!” She scowled at us. We were collectively a little too drunk to take criticism well. I whispered to the woman next to me, “I’m such a people-pleaser that this is killing me” and she guffawed. The woman on the other side of her said too loudly, “Well fuck you, lady, it’s not the symphony.”

A beer vendor in a silly hat passed by in the aisle. He looked really familiar. We smiled at each other. I saw him again when the women and I were making a herd-like run to the ladies room. He said, “Hey, we know each other!” But we still couldn’t figure it out. He asked me if I was part of the glass-blowing world. I wasn’t. I asked him if he’d lived in Alaska. He hadn’t.

After the game, the women and I went to another bar to get something to eat. The bartender and the waiters, the clientele, the decor — it all reminded me of working at a steak and seafood place in Juneau in a windowless cave inside an old art deco hotel. The conversations between us four women turned deeper and more serious. There were workplace rifts, hurts, slights, and burdens that I never knew about. “He didn’t have my back,” said one woman. We were eating these delicious teriyaki steak skewers and slowing down and drinking water. We were almost speaking baldly about real gender issues in our office.

But there was a man to the left of me at the bar, and he got chatty, and inserted himself into the conversation. A couple of the women were still buzzed enough and still feeling single enough and mischievous enough that they bantered back with him. This was a guy who bragged about the size of the diamond in his wife’s engagement ring, as he was flirting with my co-worker. He bragged about knowing a lot about whiskey. He bragged about knowing at least three different well-placed merchants who could get you a very high quality this or a very premium that. He bragged about the steak he was eating. The TV was right above us, and the Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll came on. The sound was off. “Look at that broken nose,” said one woman. “It looks good,” said another. One of them looked at the guy next to me and said “You have a broken nose. Like Daniel Craig!” There was then some friendly one-upsmanship about James Bond trivia. I said something casually about how a woman Bond would be fun, and the man said, “NO. James Bond is a man. That’s the way that it is. People are trying too hard to change society. Everything is fine the way it is!” I already thought he was a serious blowhard up to that point, but the vehemence with which he turned a lighthearted conversation on Bond trivia to an indictment of meddling feminists — well, I had his number.

“No. James Bond is a man. That’s the way it is.”

So then Michael Bennett came on the TV screen. He was wearing a camouflage shirt and his beard and hair were a little longer and less-kempt than I remembered seeing them. The reporters were probably asking him about why he sat down, but I couldn’t read his lips. I still didn’t know if anyone had joined him. The man next to me said, “So what do you guys think about–” (Don’t say it! I thought) “–Michael Bennett sitting down during the anthem?” One of my companions said, “You know what? It is what it is.” She said it a bit curtly, like she didn’t want to talk about it. In that moment I was disappointed in her reply, but this turned out to be the least disappointing thing in the conversation.

The man went on to say that HE was in the military, HE had been around the world twice, HE had been in Afghanistan, HE was a firefighter now. And the flag was sacred cloth, and America paid those football players’ salaries. And the women I was with just nodded along. “My grandfather was a marine, so I get it,” said one. And the man said, “I’ve had to deal with some unsavory characters and I just want to tell them to go fuck themselves.” At this point I looked at my watch, stood up, turned to the man and said, “I support Michael Bennett 100% and I’d like to tell you to go fuck yourself.” I turned to the women and said, “I’ll see you all on Monday!” waved cheerily, and left.

“My grandfather was a Marine, so I get it”

This crap, this crap one week after Charlottesville. I was livid. I was vibrating on an unholy frequency. This is White America.

At the bus stop, a young black man approached me, saying he needed $20 for something. He interrupted his pitch to say, “Oh, you have the prettiest smile.” He had a lisp and was smaller than I was. He was really young. He had a southern accent and said he came to Seattle from Lynchburg, Tennessee. The Confederacy, I thought. I readily handed over a $20. This looks like white guilt, but I’m sorry you had to put up with so much crap, kid. I didn’t care if I was being scammed, right then. I just wanted to feel slightly less gross by doing a good turn for someone.

Michael Bennett is from a military family. Michael Bennett gets all of that the-flag-is-sacred-cloth stuff. He gets it. How hard is it — how hard is it really — to just imagine that you, as a white person, do not understand what black people go through in this country. That you just don’t get it. That there are things worth sitting down during the anthem for. That it is ok to see that. I wished I’d had the presence of mind to say some of that, any of that.

I was halfway home on the bus when I realized I was still clutching the big white linen napkin from the restaurant. It was smeared with teriyaki sauce from the skewers, which I had not eaten in a ladylike manner. I looked ridiculous.

The next day, Saturday, I was rattled and jangled still. I mentioned what happened to a white friend and she said I seemed awfully angry lately — that maybe I should consider getting help with my anger issues and how I react to people. Maybe I was too dialed in to politics, she gently suggested.

I don’t want to get less angry. Another friend of mine is a woman of color, is married to an immigrant from Mexico, has a little girl, and has spent her whole professional life as a community organizer among low-income people of color — SHE can look away from the news if it helps her. SHE can avoid the added hurt and anger that the headlines and Donald Trump’s face give her. SHE can be unaware of what’s happening in Washington, D.C. and cite self-care as the reason. But I’m a white woman who works in the financial industry. I damn well better pay attention to what’s happening. And if that means crackling with bad feelings, then that’s just what it means.

“I’m a white woman who works in the financial industry. I damn well better pay attention to what’s happening.”

On Saturday, the Boston counter-protest marches dwarfed the white supremacist rally. My white neighbor, sitting on her stoop, told me frankly that she would spend the rest of her life rooting out hidden racist tendencies in her brain, and dismantling institutional racism however she could. A (normally) annoyingly zen white yoga teacher friend put our entire Trump-voting hometown on blast in an uncharacteristically angry Facebook post. “This post seems shaming,” commented one person. “Yeah. That’s because it is shaming,” he replied.

On Saturday, I learned that no one sat down with Michael Bennett. But a white team-mate, Justin Britt, had hung back and stood right next to Bennett, with his hand on Bennett’s shoulder. It was a show of support. A frustrating display in some ways — why not just also sit down, Justin? — but it was something, it was not nothing. I hope.

On Saturday, I finally remembered where I knew that white guy who was selling beers at the game. It was at a day-long anti-racism workshop in the spring. He was called out for something by a young Latina and an older white woman sprang to his defense. No, no, he calmly said, gesturing that the white woman stand down. He didn’t come there to not be called out. He came there to learn.

 

TOWOIT #209: Juggalos vs. Proud Boys

August 17, 2017… Day 210

**Promotional Nepotism Break**

My dearly beloved, who is a good person, a booster, a staid friend, a man who works quietly behind the scenes, an all-around unsung hero and the person who always shows up with a big car to help people move… THAT guy has a modest little Kickstarter going for a nifty illustrated fan-zine that brings together several of the coolest independent comics artists on the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver,BC corridor. I would like for him to have big success. In return for how he handled (handles) my voluble and recurring post-election storms with kindness and true emotional support, I now must do all I can to put eyes on his Kickstarter so that his quirky, arty, toilet-themed, sumptuously illustrated movie review book will see the light of day. Here’s the link.

HERE’s one of the rewards (designed by Brandon Graham aka @royalboiler):

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*** And we now return to our regularly scheduled program, Nightmare World with Lil ***

 

This August 16, 1973 would also make a great enamel pin:

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All across the media and the Internet, people are talking like this is a real turning point for the Trump Administration. Not the kind they used to talk about, the pivot, but a kind from which there’s no turning back for Trump. His ghostwriter for Art of the Deal thinks Trump will resign by the end of the year.

But I’ll believe it when it happens. Too many unbelievable things already happened to get us here. Plus, last night Rachel Maddow made vague intimations of the first signs of something maybe going awry with the Mueller investigation. And there’s always the threat of a big distracting war. So I’m not holding my breath.

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I’m just waiting to see what happens when the Juggalos march on Washington and come across the Proud Boys next month.

Speaking of which, a warning just came into my Facebook timeline, all the way from Japan:

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Thank you and goodnight.

 

 

 

 

 

TOWOIT #208

August 16, 2017… Day 209

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Just checked again, and this tweet now has 3.8 million likes:

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Side note. Forgot to say yesterday, in all the commotion–I really appreciate how the women on Hellbent (Sarah Lerner and Devon Handy) model the behavior of white non-fragility. They have a weekly feature where they say what Maxine Waters has been up to and award someone a Maxine Waters Badassery Award (or some such name). And a black woman wrote in and said that this was fetishizing Congresswoman Waters and this was forcing her into this position where she had to be this magical negro that replenishes others’ spirits, etc. etc. And Sarah and Devon were just like “Wow, that made us both really uncomfortable because we recognized the truth in it.” And they ditched that feature. They said they would still talk about Maxine Waters from time to time but they wouldn’t frame it in the same way anymore. And that was that.

I knew there was an element of truth to the criticism right away, because remember how I said that Hellbent reminded me of Baby Geniuses, which is why I like it so much? Well, Baby Geniuses has a weekly feature called Chunch Chat… in which Emily & Lisa hilariously and adorably check in on Martha Stewart’s pony, Banchunch. I don’t think I need to say more.

I too admire Maxine Waters, and I too will take more care with how I talk about her.

P.S. it’s a few hours later now and the Barack Obama tweet is up to 4.0 million likes. The tweet from Twitter–pointing out that Obama’s tweet is the most-liked tweet ever–is itself up to 284,000 likes.

 

TOWOIT #207: Trump Tower

August 15, 2017… Day 208

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John Kelly looked pained throughout Trump’s unhinged, Nazi-sympathizing press conference in Trump Tower. But he didn’t resign tonight and neither did anyone else (not counting the CEOs fleeing the advisory councils).

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(That one is actually funnier without the quoted Paul Ryan tweet)

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No one quit though.

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Thanks for nothing, Chuck.

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Yeah, that’s an uncomfortably large number of people.

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This guy had to stop running for President because he did a weird scream once. Those were the days.

 

TOWOIT #206

August 14, 2017… Day 207

Protests in NYC and around the country.

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The statue in Durham, NC landed on its head and then crumpled under the weight of the concrete pedestal it was attached to. The crowd kicked it.

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The Gallup poll went to new extremes: 34% approval, 61% disapproval. That’s -27% net approval.

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Trump resisted issuing another statement on Virginia. But he did, after being dragged over the coals by fellow Republicans all weekend. He did it begrudgingly and then complained about it afterward.

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He immediately left the podium, ignoring reporters’ questions.

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The former head of the Office of Governmental Ethics (who resigned because of Trump) weighed in:

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He also released a campaign video yesterday calling Democrats and members of the media his enemies. Maxine Waters and April Ryan, two black women, were among those featured in the video.

The administration did a couple other creepy things today:

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And then later he retweeted a racist conspiracy theorist.

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There was a very young white man with sandy hair and blue eyes and chiseled features at the bus stop this morning, wearing a white polo shirt tucked into khakis. Now, that’s a weird outfit for Seattle on a Monday morning. That’s an outfit certain groups of employees will wear for casual Friday. But usually not with a white polo, and not necessarily tucked in. And most places are either too formal for that outfit on a Monday, or way too casual for that outfit any day of the week. Anyway, I had a visceral startle reaction seeing him, because he fit the gestalt of the young men in Charlottesville with tiki torches. The sight of him made me a little nervous, but did he have to feel nervous? I don’t know, but he acted like he owned the block and shouldered in front of me to get on the bus.

Three CEOs left Trump’s manufacturing council today. This morning Trump blasted the first one to leave, a black man. Nine hours later he reiterated the same blast in a new tweet directed at the same man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOWOIT #205: Nephew-Nazi

August 13, 2017… Day 206

Come join me on this merry-go-round that spins between rawness and the stress-shadow.

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Heather Heyer, who died in Charlottesville

From Neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer… this is not the worst part but I just took a snap of the part that cast aspersions on all women, rather than the more personal stuff that uses her name (because it’s too painful and specific and depraved).

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Wall-to-wall Charlottesville. The entire opinion section of WaPo online;

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My social media feeds full of lamentations and rage. I flip between my friends on Facebook to the strangers on Twitter.

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Today, the White House released an unsigned statement in which neo-Nazi had auto-corrected to nephew-nazi.

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And this worm is still turning:

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TOWOIT #201

August 9, 2017… Day 202

Rex Tillerson issued calming statements today about North Korea.

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The following is from interviews with European officials BEFORE the latest nuclear kerfuffle:

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Well, well, well. Predawn raid.

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Lindy West described to the New York Times audience, the smoky days we’re enduring in Seattle. It’s been 8 days. We have at least 3-4 more to go before it might get better. Outside of being at the office, staring out at the smoky vistas, I have been all cooped up in my apartment without air conditioning, going crazy. But every time I venture a different approach, I feel like I smoked a pack of cigarettes and my eyes burn. So I go back to sheltering in place.

Speaking of which, I did this Google search today, just in case:

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I haven’t figured out a good place to go yet, but I did learn this:

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But seriously, I learned that MOST of us can avoid dying with a little planning and public awareness! But I also learned that there’s no planning OR public awareness.

And as my wise older brother says, we’re worrying about people in this order: South Koreans, Japanese, Guam/Hawaii/other Pacific Islanders, and then finally us in SFO/LAX/SEA. We’re worried about the North Korean people too, but that’s a constant. I work closely with a young man whose extended family is in Seoul, so I keep perspective.

So it’s smoky, hot and deathy here. Trump is still president. And yet, I am in love.

Also, I’m not a foodie but sometimes nice things come back to back in my FB timeline.

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Parting thought:

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TOWOIT #199

August 7, 2017… Day 200

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Trying, kind of.

Here, look at this picture of Rihanna:

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Not you, Orrin.

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I listened to Sarah Lerner’s podcast Hellbent for the first time, today. It was good. It reminded me of Baby Geniuses.

The parlor game for today on Facebook and Twitter: See whether you’d qualify to be let into into the U.S. under Trump’s newly introduced RAISE Act. My friends aren’t doing very well. I haven’t taken it. I’m worried I’ll pass and I want to stay on the side of the gym where my friends are lined up.

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NYT’s Glenn Thrush, defending Hillary Clinton against someone on Twitter who said she’s only showing her religious faith now after the election is over. She did before too, he said, but…

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Oh Glenn. Hundreds of days late. Millions of dollars short.

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Just a good line:

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WaPo book reviewer objects to the anthologization of angst. Boy, do I hear that.

Let’s all try to take a small vacation… from our problem(s).

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This Blog Post Is Meta

I put a very short story up on Medium. I’ve started putting a few things there to have a cleaner platform separate from the daily mishmash I’ve been doing over here. Sorry, I mean the daily meditations I’ve been doing here.

I’m going to put together a collection of essays, with a theme running through them of public spaces in the city, public transit in the city, and a sort of people-watching that often winds up having political and spiritual undercurrents.

This wasn’t part of that, though, it was just a little 600-word story that I found again and put up on Medium. It’s first-person, narrated by a child in Alaska. I’d say it’s about families. It’s also wildly autobiographical. It’s called Clean Sheets.

I’m little-by-little starting to cross-post and creep out of the Internet forest where I’ve been safely hiding for a few years. I’m taking classes, I’m sticking my neck out, I’m starting to pitch ideas again.

I’m turning 40 next year. Have I mentioned that? I’ve been acting like the first person to ever contemplate turning 40. I’ll probably just keep doing that.

Thanks to any fellow travelers who read this!!

XOXO