“No I don't,” Biden said, laughing

“The first outbreak of cholera at a masked ball in Paris in 1831,” the caption reads

Hmm ok I’m thinking back on it now and… no it was still pretty bad. Not as bad as it is now mind you but nevertheless decidedly on the wrong side of bad.

Here’s all of our brains at this point.

There is of course nothing this guy Trump won’t lie about including how marvelously he’s handled the almost 200,000 unnecessary deaths in the past six months.

“Several segments during the Republican National Convention Monday night made the case that President Trump basically fixed the coronavirus pandemic,” Ryan Cooper writes in The Week today and he links to me in it so I’m linking to him linking to me that’s how it works. Poster’s Honor.

“‘From the very beginning Democrats, the media, and the World Health Organization got coronavirus wrong,’ the narrator of one video said. ‘One leader took decisive action to save lives: President Donald Trump.’”

Wait lol hold on I just remembered this.

Donald John President. It’s the type of magical incantation you would have never even thought to say but here by accident and the pressures in one man’s brain of appearing on a national broadcast it exists now among the bounty of concepts and phrases you have at your disposal forever. Donald John President. It’s poetry.

About the videos on display last night:

Oh and here’s another highlight from last night albeit unrelated to the RNC I am pretty sure.

You love to see a master still at the top of his game.

“It is true that a lot of Democrats badly bungled the response to the pandemic,” Cooper goes on and then this is my favorite part coming up. “But as writer Luke O'Neil outlines in great detail, nobody did worse than Trump. For months as the pandemic gathered steam, he dithered and made ridiculous promises that it would vanish on its own…”

I gathered as many of the lies Trump said about the pandemic in the early months as I could in this piece from back in March if you missed it and want to read it now for some reason.

I shared this image below in here back in February back before most of us were talking about the virus much if at all and it was part of a whole other thing I was trying to do using 1850s German artist Alfred Rethel’s Dance of Death series as like a counterrevolutionary metaphor about how the media were talking about Bernie at the time (not sure it worked out buddy) but I also included this unrelated piece of his as like a bonus. I think it’s worth looking at again in light of the massive death from the pandemic!

“The first outbreak of cholera at a masked ball in Paris in 1831,” the caption reads.

Yesterday on Twitter the big wheel of Whole Fucking Things spun back around to Dudes’ Bookshelves as it does every couple of weeks or so and as is always the case a considerable part of the discourse centered around just how big a piece of shit guys who recommend Infinite Jest to their girlfriends are. Then of course came the backlash to that and it doesn’t matter really besides I wanted to make a confession that despite being a big weepy baby Gen X MFA guy who loves to suck his own dick exactly the demo of guy you would expect to revere that particular title I never could get through the damn book. I feel like I’ve betrayed my people. I did however write a couple thousand words one time about an expensive lobster roll at Fenway Park called Consider the Lobster Roll which I somehow tried to make into a metaphor about the Boston Marathon bombing or something.

When I got back to Watertown later that night, my street was blocked off by a dozen plus police and fire trucks. It was two years ago that night that Tsarnaev had exchanged fire throughout the neighborhood, and this was certainly the most emergency response vehicles the town has seen since then. A three-alarm fire, it turns out, had completely devastated the corner store I walk to for groceries. It burned fast and strong for about two hours before they could knock it down. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

I thought about how quiet it was on the street here the day they were looking for the bomber. Teams of machine gun-toting military types walked door to door asking us if we'd seen anything suspicious, armored cars passing by in the distance. Tonight was different, however. Everyone had come out of their homes to see what was going on, to stand together and pay witness to what had happened as a community. I talked to people I've lived next to for years and never shared a word with. We watched the fire smolder for a while, then we all went back inside. From my porch I could smell the smoke for the rest of the night, the lobster roll digesting in my belly.

I don’t know man sometimes I can get a little ahead of myself.

I’d say it sure does Joe!

This edition of Hell World is going to be kind of a clip show I think. Definitely no overarching narrative or metaphor in store for you all today I am sorry to say. Last night I fell asleep on the couch so fucking hard at like 7:30 pm like a security guard with a tranquilizer dart in his neck while the heroes go save the day or whatever. It was the type of nighttime heat nap that fucked me up so much I had to go take a cold shower after I woke up and the reason I fell asleep was well probably some combination of substances but also I was watching the Netflix show Dark and man after two and a half seasons I just do not care what happens to these horny miserable Germans anymore. Make it stop.

Still probably going to finish it though.

Yesterday I helmed the latest issue of Discontents the collective of lefty writers and podcasters we’ve put together and I wrote some things that will sound familiar to regular readers of Hell World but they’re my words so I can repeat myself if I want to right?  ——>

You sure do see more newsletters nowadays than you used to. Another thing I see a lot of on Twitter or wherever is someone will go haha they should collect all these newsletters in one place and charge one subscription price for it and accidentally reinvent the magazine and then some other guy will go haha and it’s a great bit you have to agree. That’s not entirely what we’re doing here at Discontents but it’s also not entirely not that either so let’s see how it goes!

One thing is clear which is that the days of writers cobbling together a living at like $150-300 a pop for articles that you have to wait 19 months to ever get paid for are over. The publications that are even left in business at this point tried foisting that model on us for years and we all went along with it because we had no other choice but now we do so good luck to them and good luck to us and good luck to everyone.

It’s Luke from Welcome to Hell World by the way. Hello.

A few months back I had two really idiotic thoughts one of which was that there would surely come some threshold of widespread unnecessary death after which everyone would finally at long last start taking the pandemic seriously. Perhaps it would be 100,000 dead I thought and I was surely fucking stupid to think that in retrospect. I wonder if a million would do it?

The other thing I thought and yes I know was that police might think to themselves they would go hm maybe we should stop brutalizing and killing people on camera if only just for a little while until everyone stops focusing on us. Even just as a cynical ploy to get people off their backs I thought but no once again I was a complete dumb shit because that’s a big part of the job for them after all being able to do the violence without consequences.

And then it has a bunch of stuff from the rest of the gang which you can find here.

I’d still like very much for you all to read this Hell World from last week. It’s pay-walled but I can’t give all the good ones away for free.

Get 20% off for 1 year

Speaking of the police here’s a good piece by Josie Duffy-Rice in Vanity Fair today about the abolition movement.

But America has never truly had a system of “public safety,” if only because Black “safety” has historically been imagined as being secured by more policing, whereas white “safety” is ensured by altogether different means. America does not flood the dorms of Harvard with cops because they are areas of “known drug activity.” It does not station armed officers in the cubicles of Wells Fargo. The white parents of Westchester do not generally have to subject their teenagers to The Talk. White safety, itself built on a foundation of enslavement and segregation, is ensured through familial wealth, home ownership, well-funded public schools, stable employment, and health care. Black safety is ensured by “zero tolerance policing” and “stop and frisk.” White safety is cancer prevention. Black safety is all-day chemotherapy.

Abolition seeks to eradicate this Jim Crow system of public safety—not merely a two-tiered system, but a system where one tier benefits by extracting from the other. To “reform” policing, to subject it to bias training of dubious import, to push for the return to an illusory past where Officer Friendly provided sanctuary, is to attempt to patch up the more nefarious features of a system that should be obsolete. Without the history of policies and practices that make up white supremacy, without enslavement and slave patrols, without black codes and miscegenation laws, without poll taxes and courthouse lynchings, without redlining and housing segregation, without mass incarceration, policing as we know it would not exist.

I interviewed Duffy Rice for Hell World back in November about The Appeal and policing and it went in part like this:

Their non-violent encounters they may be thinking, well, we’re the good guys here, we’re helping. I had a thing recently where a friend had a health thing and the ambulance came and the police have to show up when you call 911. Just like the presence of these dudes standing there with their guns… I’m a white man so I’m not quite as scared as people of color might be. But it’s just implied violence.

Exactly. That is the thing. You have an entire group of people in this country that think police eradicate violence. But policing is violence. The best person who is a cop, that uniform is violent to so many people. Them showing up in a situation escalates it. I had an experience many years ago, before I had an understanding of mental health issues at all, where someone I was close to had kind of a breakdown. This was in New York. For me I was terrified because here was someone who yesterday was talking to me normally, and today seemed to be imagining voices and people. I was scared for my safety and the safety of others, and I had no fucking idea who to call. There was nothing to do. I can’t get the police involved with this black man who seems to be losing his mind, who actually does seem dangerous to me right now. There’s nothing I can do. There was no question that if I brought in like the Mother Teresa of cops, although I guess it turns out Mother Teresa was kind of an asshole, that would’ve escalated the situation regardless. There’s no world where you can call the cops and not heighten the stress of a situation. I think about that a lot with parenting, how we criminalize parenting, especially for black parents, is crazy. …

There’s so much that happens in black and poor households, especially people who live in government housing, where your kids can be taken from you in the blink of an eye. The same way we don’t think people in the criminal justice system are “real people.” People think they don’t really miss their kids, they weren’t really good parents, they weren’t really trying to get clean... We think that same way of poor brown and black parents. If you were really a good parent then you wouldn’t be living in government housing…

Speaking further of police I just saw this sadly not all that surprising statistic and this piece of terrible news:

Just days before Jacob Blake was paralyzed by police who shot him seven times in the back for nothing Joe Biden sat with Kamala Harris for an interview in which he said hmm no actually it’s Donald Trump who want to defund the police not me.

From ABC News:

“President Trump says that you want to defund the police. Do you?” asked “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts in an interview conducted Friday in Wilmington, Delaware.

“No I don't,” Biden said, laughing.

“I don't want to defund police departments. I think they need more help, they need more assistance, but that, look, there are unethical senators, there are unethical presidents, there are unethical doctors, unethical lawyers, unethical prosecutors, there are unethical cops. They should be rooted out,” Biden later added.

“By the way, he proposes cutting a half a billion dollars of local police support,” Biden added, seemingly referring to the Trump administration's proposed cuts to a federal program that helps hire more local law enforcement officers.

“We have to make it clear that this is about protecting neighborhoods, protecting people, everybody across the board,” he said. “So the only guy that actually put in a bill to actually defund the police is Donald Trump.”


Ok that’s all for today. Rest in peace to Justin Townes Earle. He was 38.