You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Memo to Missouri: I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.
So, we're gonna talk about Ferguson some more. I wish I didn't have to. I wish the changes on Thursday from Missouri's governor had been, if not the end of it, the end of the worst of it, but it's not. And there's a consistent pattern to the two most recent developments that are all too predictable.
On Friday, we talked about the desperate need for people to believe that the system only punishes people who deserve it. Maybe they deserve it because they're black, maybe because they asked a cop a question, whatever. Well, on Friday, the Ferguson P.D. gave all those people the gift they've been looking for.
Make no mistake, there is one, count them, one reason to release a video of Michael Brown shoplifting and shoving a clerk knowing that it was unrelated to the shooting. And that's to give people who want to be OK with police murder an excuse to be OK with police murder.
I mean, if he shoved a clerk, clearly he was someone who was inevitably going to do something that would force a reluctant cop to shoot him. That's just logic. For a while there I had to rely on a vague, melanin-induced sense that he must have done something wrong, but now that this video reveals he'll push a man out of his way for cigarellos, I can rest assured that I, personally, will never be abused by the police. THE SYSTEM STILL WORKS.
Of course, the instances of looting during the protests has been working the same way all week, allowing people to extend the "looter" label to everyone in Ferguson so people can feel good about them getting tear-gassed and rubber-bulleted.
Which is funny, because what is looting if not taking advantage of a situation where enforcement is lax or difficult for material gain? And what is taking taking advantage of a situation where enforcement is lax or difficult for material gain if not the essence of modern American capitalism? And we love the essence of modern American capitalism as long as there's a middleman like Amazon between the stealing and the acquiring of the big screen TV.
But there's a problem. The group of people who can still distinguish between occasional looting and the larger, legitimate protests is still too large. Is there some way we can turn them all into criminals just for doing what they're doing anyway, so that public sentiment will turn against them for not respecting the law?
Why yes there is, and even better, it was a Democrat's idea! Let's declare an emergency curfew! That way, anyone still protesting after midnight is in violation of the law and deserves whatever they get. Sure, it's a suspension of constitutional rights, but didn't you hear me say "emergency"? That makes it cool. We'll just provoke and aggravate people already provoked and aggravated by the feeling that they have no rights until the situation caused by them being provoked and aggravated goes away!
I know this sounds like an elaborate conspiracy, that's the best part. It doesn't have to be. Authoritarian instincts lead to these things naturally. The first rule of power is to use that power to cover your own ass. Awfulness and bad decisions spring forth from that like Zeus-babies from Greek ladies' foreheads. They don't even have to think about it, it just happens in an attempt to maintain order. And by order, they mean their order, the order where they're in charge and always right.
And as long as they can convince enough people that they don't need to empathize, because what's happening in Ferguson could never happen to a nice, well-behaved, law-abiding, compliant, white person like them, these people will continue to remain in charge and think they're right.