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 Conrad Barrett: YOU ARE MY NEW FAVORITE RIGHT WING HERO.
I never really got around to talking about the brief mania over the "knockout game", which, were it not for Conrad Barrett, might have been a goddamned shame. For a couple of weeks this fall, the media decided a thing that's been happening very rarely since the early 90s was a brand new epidemic, you know, like shark attacks, flash mobs, and for the elderly like me amongst you, wilding.
In the "knockout game", you go up behind someone, hit them in the back of the head, try to knock them out, and film it. It was tailor-made for a media scare, because the idea that you're never safe, and anything bad can happen to you at any time for no reason at all is an amazing distraction from all the bad things that are happening at various times for very deliberate reasons.
But then something magical happened. Wait, did I say magical? I mean racist. For some reason, the right got it in their heads that not only was the "knockout game" a big new thing, but it was perpetrated exclusively by young black males (the right-wing version of the great white shark), but it was being perpetrated exclusively against innocent white people.
If you're at all familiar with this type of thing, the next stage is obvious - any lack of conclusive evidence that white people are being preyed upon by knockout-gaming at-risk urban youths is, innately, prima facie evidence that the media is covering up the evidence of rampaging darkie knockouttery out of political correctness.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings us to Conrad Barrett. Twenty-seven years of age. Texas resident. White Dude. And, hopefully, going to jail for a long, long time on federal hate crime charges.
Because Barrett appears to have swallowed the right-wing line on the knockout game hook, line, and sinker. And so he set out to prove, allegedly, that if a white person played the "knockout game" on a black person, it would get national media attention. So he filmed himself punching a 79-year-old black man and breaking his jaw.
Upon further investigation, police found a racist selfie video on his cell-phone, so, yeah. A real piece of fucking work. So why is he my favorite right-wing hero? Because in one single action, he laid bare the throughline of the modern-day right, from cause to effect, from rhetoric to action, from stoking white paranoia to a broken jaw. Barrett's actions are the end result none of them will admit to being responsible for, but that all of them, deep down, secretly want to cause. And I anxiously await his incarceration.