The black dog
I finished the black-dog art yesterday. Well, not finished. I’ll be putzing with it for the next week, darkening this color and refining that line. But I got through it. Now it’s just polishing. It was the hardest piece I’ve ever done.
Took about as long to do as the icon from last month’s monastery workshop. But the icon was basically a sophisticated version of paint-by-numbers. The black dog was … whew. Flying by seat of pants. Plus I had to get myself out of a couple of self-caused scrapes. Until the last I was on edge: “Am I going to ruin this? Am I about to ruin this now? Am I now going to ruin this one the very last step?”
If a friend hadn’t commissioned it, I’d have quit long ago. But it was also something I’d wanted to do for a long time. So thank you, friend.
With his permission, I’ll post a scan soon. (Technically I don’t need his consent, as reproduction rights remain with me. But I don’t want to be rude about it, especially when my friend’s so nice.)
Chris Christie, sovereign immunity, and the approaching “Marie Antoinette Moment”
While I worked I was thinking about
His Majesty Governor Chris Christie on his Photoshop-worthy “let them eat cake” day.
I’ve concluded the SOB did us a favor (and by “us” I don’t merely mean all those happy photoshoppers). I mean us as in everybody in this increasingly fed-up country, but especially us as in We the People Who’ve Been Warning for Years About Government-Gone-Mad.
Now there are pictures.
And how many people were shocked to learn that while the rest of us are struggling, We the Taxpayers are providing things like beach houses for governors? How many non-New Jerseyites will start wondering what perks they’re providing for their state’s very own privileged classes?
Sure, Christie’s a flamboyant blowhard, and sure New Jersey’s a weird place (as several NJ escapees hereabouts will attest). It’ll be tempting to see his bask on a no-peasants-allowed beach as some one-off, NJ-only/Christie-only aberration. But you know and I know that plenty of politicians all over this land think and live just like that — only generally a tad more discreetly. Now it’s out in the open.
Also out in the open, increasingly so, are the perks granted to that other privileged-and-immune class: armed agents of the state. Example: Texas counties will now be setting up special courts — and I do mean oh so very special — for cops and other “first responders” who’ve committed crimes and want to claim their job is responsible for making them criminally crazy.
The new courts join similar ones already set up for veterans. Radley Balko explains at the above link. IMHO, he’s too kind. But also thorough and thoughtful as usual.
Now these diversion courts might actually be a humane development if they were for everybody who had some claim to a traumatic history. Wouldn’t that be something? Get help for those who need it rather than just churn them into prison without trying anything useful first.
But no, they’re not for the kid whose father mocked and beat him every day of his life. Not for slum kids raised amid violence. Not for the poor sap with schizophrenia. Not for the teenage girl forced into prostitution after growing up as meth-ridden trailer trash. Not for ER doctors and nurses whose work is filled with carnage and craziness. Not for all those hundreds of thousands shuffled through the injustice system who could rightfully (or wrongly) claim to have been traumatized and abused into crime.
They’re only for the state’s own. Special courts designed to give special help to the state’s own. So now, instead of getting off on the “reasonably scared cop” defense or the “lying because oopsie our bodycam footage is mysteriously missing” defense, cops will now have the opportunity to get off on the “oh, those peasants drove me crazy” defense. And if I understand correctly, that defense will apply even if the crime is freelance extortion, bank robbery, rape, or murder-not-committed-in-the-line-of-duty.
On the surface, all this — from peasant-free beaches for Christie to special gun rights for Congressthings to special understanding for the cop who decides to take asset forfeiture into the private sector in his off-duty hours — is infuriating.
It’s also mystifying. Is there anybody in power — anybody? — who actually gets how fed up the put-upon people of this country are becoming? Do any of the government supremacists behind any of this have a clue that they’re furthering the divisions between us and them? That they’re not only separating We the Peasants from They the Privileged — but they’re throwing that separation in our faces in increasingly obvious and insulting ways? As if they don’t even have to worry about us? Because we and our lives count for so damned little?
But of course it’s also a blessing in disguise, as it blasts away the fuzzy myth that “the government is us.” More of us see ever more clearly what Charles DuGaulle stated: “In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.”
Still, that helpful revelation can lead to “interesting” outcomes.
The best thing we could find at the end of this road is what quite a few of us have already found: that we don’t need these privileged frauds to govern us and that we’ll go our own way as best we can. That works. But only for intelligent, resourceful, civilized, creative people. Or communities inspired by such people.
Unfortunately the most likely thing to find at the end of this road is incoherent rage and all that such rage foments.
Why do none of the people who hold political power appear to see what’s coming right at them — and at us all?
Just a reminder that, thanks to a kind donor, I have Front Sight certificates available for sale.