One day we crawl into the box too

Many grow out of it and become serious people

One day we crawl into the box too
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Aside from all the direct ways the U.S. is complicit one thing I think whenever I hear "why are you so focused on this war [and not some other one?]" is that most of us don't have (former) friends, family, media and leaders we (sort of) trust – right, center and liberal alike – shouting every day about how much the other genocide victims around the world have it coming. How they asked for their suffering.

I also find it grimly funny that I see so many supporters of this atrocity suggesting there has to be shadowy money behind college kids protesting war. That’s like one of the main things college students do! They are rather famous for it.

It's like trying to connect the dots on why college kids these days are drinking so much beer before the football game. This goes deep. Strap in.

Any kid who hasn't been fed bullshit capitalist and/or religious dogma by their parents from a young age very intuitively and righteously understands that most any act of war is horror. Many grow out of it and become "serious people" who "know how the world works" but their first instinct remains correct and just.

Sorry but I always have an old piece of mine to quote. About all of this but also about anything.

People tend to like it, she said. They like the pay.
Who doesn’t like to to get paid?


In any case good for this kid.

What the fuck is this by the way? An ad on Hulu in America paid for by Israel showing Santa crying about how bad Israeli kids have it?

As someone commented "It’s kinda odd that we let a different country run ads on our media services to propagandize us to support the genocide they’re running, right?"

It sure is buddy.

A quick note: I decided to open up commenting for anyone who subscribes not just paid subscribers to see how that goes. Please do not make me regret it instantly!

Subscribe anyway if you can please and thank you. It's a nice thing to do.

A 25 year old San Francisco man named Garret Doty was found not guilty last week for a number of assault and battery charges. You may remember the story from when I wrote about it back in April. Doty was arrested for badly beating a man named Don Carmignani who had accosted him for sleeping in the street near his home.

I’m not saying monsters aren’t real
That’s what happens when you try to build socialism without socialism

The incident was used by all the usual fleece vest Judge Dredd tech guys and piss pants "liberal" babies – including District Attorney Brooke Jenkins – as the latest example of how cities have become blighted by crime and so forth. How we need to clean up the streets. Complicating matters in this case however was the fact that Carmignani – who served briefly as Fire Commissioner before losing that job after a domestic violence charge – had attacked Doty with bear spray. While he was sleeping.

Carmignani is also believed – as the jury heard – to have been behind a number of other bear spray attacks on homeless people around the area.

As I wrote earlier:

Imagine just fucking struggling at your lowest point just trying to live and some red faced hog vigilante comes up to you when you’re sleeping and sprays you like a fucking cockroach? Or even simply takes a photo of you while shitting their pants in fear?

I repeat myself but with these people it's always about what the unhoused are doing to you the upright protagonists of the neighborhood by forcing you to notice them existing instead of what has been done to them.

These people are not sub-human. They are you after a couple of bad breaks.

All of these mitigating factors were known around the time of Doty's arrest but Jenkins decided to follow through on the prosecution for unknown reasons. Just kidding we know why she did it. It's because people like her don't see the unhoused as worthy of life.

"There was some shoddy prosecution work done here," said Mike Brophy, a 50 year old tech worker, according to the San Francisco Standard. A rare good take from a San Francisco tech worker.

"If the DA is trying to make a case for coming down hard on homeless violence, if that is in fact an issue, they've got to do it with a cleaner case than this."

Brophy called a November 2021 security video of a man spraying a sleeping homeless person with a can of pepper or bear spray "damning." Carmignani's mother-in-law testified during the trial that the perpetrator "looks like Don."

Brophy said the jury agreed that Carmignani was "just a reprehensible character."

"We were all convinced the initial belligerent here was Carmignani," Brophy said. "I really don't like the feeling of my city trying to be an apologist for a known belligerent, a known vigilante."

A somewhat happy ending I suppose but Doty nonetheless spent eight months in custody awaiting his trial. Carmignani has not been charged with any crimes himself.

Check out this weird bit of reefer madness style fear mongering from a video put out by police in Brookline, MA (complete with stock footage of detectives working on a case for some reason).

According to the cop in the video – Sgt. Rob – a local teenager jumped out of a sixth floor window (and survived) after taking "magic mushrooms" sold to him by a known local drug dealer named “Niko” who “took particular interest in selling to underage teens." Niko – whose full name doesn't appear in any reports from the police or media – apparently is known for buying from local dispensaries (that do not sell mushrooms) and selling them to kids. With the extreme markup and taxes you pay at these places that seems like an inefficient method but I'm not an infamous local drug dealer so what do I know?

Naturally with such a sensational tragedy – a teen on drugs falling out of a window – the story was picked up by every local news outlets and many national ones as well.

Now is it possible this happened? Sure. Teens buy drugs and drug dealers sell them drugs and sometimes bad things happen when they do. But I haven't been able to confirm it myself nor have any of my friendly local colleagues working on reporting it out.

The thing is not a single one of these other news outlets confirmed it either. None of those stories above contain a piece of information that didn't come directly from the cops' Facebook video. Not one minute of reporting – not even from the Globe which for all its faults is still the local paper of record – was spent confirming that the incident occurred or that an arrest had been made before passing along the claims in a police propaganda video.

Again it's possible that this all happened – although I don't see any arrest report on the Brookline Police incident reports – but something feels really off about the whole thing.

My pals over at Talking Joints Memo had similar reservations. They called up the Brookline Police who "refused to confirm whether or not the victim was a high school student at all, but they did say there is 'no connection' to Brookline High School..." which probably explains why no one I know in Brookline had heard of a kid falling out of a sixth floor window. You'd think the community would be talking about that. Especially since as TJM pointed out in their piece there are virtually no six story buildings in the entire town of Brookline and certainly not many residential ones.

Cops also told TJM "At this time, we are unable to comment on the person going out the window" because the family of the teen asked them not to. They also refused to confirm if they had Niko in custody.

I don't know man. A weird one indeed! I guess I'll just tap the old sign one more time:

The cops and local news won’t stop lying about fentanyl
Cops lie
Police lie. Constantly. If there’s any point at all I’ve managed to convey with this newsletter over the years I hope it is at least that. And they could not spread those lies so effectively without the help of the media and in particular local news who far too often consider themselves duly sworn deputies in the public relations branch of law enforcement.

You may have heard that there is currently another exodus of writers leaving Substack. As the New York Times reported:

Under pressure from critics who say Substack is profiting from newsletters that promote hate speech and racism, the company’s founders said Thursday that they would not ban Nazi symbols and extremist rhetoric from the platform.

“I just want to make it clear that we don’t like Nazis either — we wish no one held those views,” Hamish McKenzie, a co-founder of Substack, said in a statement. “But some people do hold those and other extreme views. Given that, we don’t think that censorship (including through demonetizing publications) makes the problem go away — in fact, it makes it worse.”

The response came weeks after The Atlantic found that at least 16 Substack newsletters had “overt Nazi symbols” in their logos or graphics, and that white supremacists had been allowed to publish on, and profit from, the platform. Hundreds of newsletter writers signed a letter opposing Substack’s position and threatening to leave. About 100 others signed a letter supporting the company’s stance.

Here's a letter a bunch of my friends and colleagues signed after The Atlantic piece came out.

Substackers Against Nazis
an open letter, of which I am a signatory

For the record and because some of you don't seem to be aware for one reason or another I am not on Substack. You are not currently reading a Substack. I left for Ghost almost two years ago now because of misgivings I had at the time about the newsletter company's embrace of transphobes and anti-vaxxers and other assorted reactionary assholes.

I didn't do too much grandstanding about it at the time aside from this piece because – as I wrote – for as much as I hated them hosting that kind of shit they were always good to me and starting a newsletter with them genuinely changed my life.

I gotta get out of here man
Hello. I am leaving Substack and switching over to another newsletter platform called Ghost which you are looking at right now. Ideally this won’t change anything for you the subscribers in any way and you don’t have to change or update your payment settings. At least that is what they

I didn't even really say too much publicly when McKenzie wrote a very long piece about his feelings about me leaving.

Escape from Hell World
Reflections on a relationship with a writer who loved and then fell out of love with Substack

In any case I just wanted to highlight these passages from that piece.

I was proud. Substack was working for Luke. He was no longer vulnerable to the volatility of the freelance life, and he got to write what he wanted, in the style he wanted, on a schedule he controlled. When we interviewed job candidates, I would bring up Luke as an example of why Substack was important. If all we ever did was allow a writer like him to make a living on his own terms, we could count Substack as a win. 

Chris and I flew Luke to New York for a night of drinks. He almost couldn’t believe how well it was all going. We had a good night together, but he retained his fierce independence. A few IPAs in, he told us that if Substack ever fucked up, he’d be letting us know. He hoped we wouldn’t ever let “bad people” on the platform. I pressed him on what he meant, and he said if Ben Shapiro ever turned up on Substack we’d be going in the wrong direction.


“I always said I was going to tell you if you were fucking up,” Luke said over the phone. “Well, you’re fucking up.” 

We had a strong relationship and had always spoken frankly with each other. I appreciated that he was airing his criticism with me directly and privately. But two things he said on that call have stuck with me. One was that he was “almost embarrassed” that my endorsement was on the cover of his latest book, Lockdown in Hell World, a second volume of his Substack writings. The other was that he thought that Chris, Jairaj, and I were just chasing money, evidenced by us raising funds from venture capitalists and then embarking on the Pro program. 

“You just want to get rich,” he said. “Admit it.”

How was your Christmas? Mine was very nice. Did you parents ask you once again to please take your old shit off their hands or perhaps did you ask your kids to do as much?

I re-shared this piece about that very common experience the other day so here you go as well if you never read it.

How to Throw Your Life Away
A version of this piece was originally published in Boston Magazine a couple years back. I went back in this week and made it worse. Consider subscribing to this newsletter for free or with a paid subscription if you can thank you. SUBSCRIBE NOW Also my new book of short
My mother is a quilter. When someone dies his or her family often brings leftover possessions to her—T-shirts and sweaters and so on—to stitch together into a blanket that they can wrap themselves in weaving together the literal fabric of a life into something tangible. Often times there’s simply too much so decisions must be made. It’s similar to how we have to deal with our own lives as we go along: You can’t hold every memory in your head at once—it would be maddening. Instead we pick and choose which memories to keep sometimes subconsciously or sometimes by deciding that a certain day or a certain interaction or a certain smell or a handful of objects among hundreds will be the ones we think we will want to remember forever. And then we put the rest in a little box somewhere and bury it in the earth. And then one day we crawl into the box too.

I've also been peddling this piece from ACWF around again the past few days for seasonal reasons. Here it is in case you didn't see it.

This picture is from a few Christmases ago but I had fun the other day looking back on it and trying to decide which of these concerts I'd like to transport myself back to right now. Which one are you taking? That Jeff Buckley/ Juliana Hatfield one is kind of calling out to me right now.

Sorry I couldn't make the photo any lower res.