The idea was to put together a selection of the best Hell World pieces from 2020 but as I very obviously have no self control when it comes to editing myself this ended up being long as hell. You might need to click the “view in browser” link to see the whole thing. I don’t expect anyone besides the most completist Hell World perverts to read them all but scroll through these and maybe one you missed will grab your attention. Some of these are behind the paywall — mostly the ones that appear in the new book which should be arriving soon if you bought one — so if you want to read them or anything else in the archives please subscribe. If not that’s fine I’ll just go and fuck myself. A genuine thank you to all who have read and/or supported me this year I can’t tell you how much it means to me.
For more 2020 year end content please check out this all star panel of guests including David Roth, Eli Valley, Dan Ozzi and others recounting the funniest and most disgusting moments of the Trump administration; Hell World readers writing in with their best and worst moments of 2020; and this list of my favorite 45 songs of the year.
I didn’t have room to quote from them all but please also check out these other editions of The Last Normal Day series if you haven’t.
“My grandad, who is eighty five and has trouble making his Medicare wraparound payment, told me last week that Sanders and M4A will never work in America. He believes regular people love their health insurance too much, so I should vote for Bloomberg. I don’t know what to do. He watches MSNBC everyday, and has for twenty years. I have to tell him regularly that the shit they say isn't true and the network and the personalities have an agenda. Sometimes it gets through, but how do you fight ten hours of programming every day? He was an electrical engineer for NASA in the fifties and sixties, and then went to work on the missile silos in North Dakota, so he got the Red Scare first hand. When Chris Matthews says Bernie is a communist that's going to kill dissidents in Central Park, grandad believes him.”
by Linda Tirado
I remember a dull thud to my face and I remember stupidly thinking “Well, fuck. This isn’t good.” Then I remember the gas hitting my eyes and the wetness and swelling. I don’t remember pain exactly except from the gas, but I knew my face was growing. I could feel it by the millimeter. I thought I was going to have a black eye. I like mosh pits and UFC as much as the next aging punk chick. I know what a shiner feels like.
I woke up the next morning in a hospital and the doctors came to tell me that I didn’t have Covid, which they knew because they had tested me before they did surgery on my left eye, the one I’d never see out of again. I told the nurse it was hilarious that all I had to do to get a Covid test was lose an eye and she laughed but the doctors didn’t, because nurses are way funnier than doctors. I’ve learned that lately, because once one has been shot in the face one sees a lot of medical personnel.
Around the time of the first Orson Welles broadcast there had been a terrible lynching of two black couples in Walton County, Georgia and numerous other acts of racist violence and riots in Columbia, Tennessee and elsewhere. In a subsequent show Welles would address all of that in a way that I found particularly resonant in this moment of uprisings against police violence around the country and the mealy-mouthed concern trolling about what kind of effects such “riots” today will actually have for the cause.
The blind soldier fought for me in this war. The least I can do now is fight for him. I have eyes. He hasn’t. I have a voice on the radio, he hasn’t. I was born a white man. And until a colored man is a full citizen, like me, I haven’t the leisure to enjoy the freedom that colored man risked his life to maintain for me. I don’t own what I have until he owns an equal share of it. Until somebody beats me and blinds me, I am in his debt. And so I come to this microphone not as a radio dramatist, though it pays better, not as a commentator, although it’s safer to be simply that, I come in that boy’s name, and in the name of all who in this land of ours have no voice of their own. I come with a call for action. This is a time for it. I call for action against the cause of riot. I know that to some ears, even the word “action” has a revolutionary twang, and it won’t surprise me if I’m accused in some quarters of inciting to riot. Well, I’m very interested in riots. I’m very interested in avoiding them. And so I call for action against the cause of riots.
Ok maybe it happened like this. On the last normal day I was wrenched out of sleep like a fish on a hook and I clambered out of bed and I slipped on the old shoes I keep by the door and I went outside to the porch and I sat there shivering in the cold watching the long tail of a plane graffiti the sky white and it looked like it was heading straight downward at a ninety degree angle and I thought holy shit it’s plummeting! but no it was just a trick of perspective and eventually it disappeared and went wherever it is planes go. For a couple of minutes those people’s lives were my problem and then they weren’t. Now they’ll just go on to live for a while and then die in some other way I won’t ever have to know about like pretty much everyone else ever.
by Joe Keohane
It’s been said before the Covid-19 exploited some key American vulnerabilities: an individualism that can be indistinguishable from pathological selfishness. A society that moves around a lot. And, of course, a government ruled by vandals, paranoids, and dead-enders. But for me one of the hidden vulnerabilities was our national addiction to a certain idea of heroism. James Baldwin wrote this about cops during a protest march: “There they stood in twos and threes and fours, in their Cub Scout uniforms and with their Cub Scout faces, totally unprepared, as is the way with most American he-men, for anything that could not be settled with a club, or a fist, or a gun.” The coronavirus crisis was incompatible with American hero mythology, with our idea of action. We simply did not have the psychological tools to cope with something that would not respond to violence, threats, or bombast. You couldn’t kick its ass, or root for the army to kick its ass, or even console yourself with fantasies of kicking its ass yourself--that sad but enduring Walter Mitty man-saves-the-day fantasy that I suspect provides much of the drive of the American male’s love for guns. No, with Covid there was no comfort in violent fantasy. You couldn’t do anything. You really could only do nothing. In fact, for the vast majority of us, nothing was the thing you had to do. And the country failed spectacularly, and 2020 feels like the year that will never end.
I’ve been sleeping with a shovel under the bed. It wasn’t my first choice. I rifled through the shed out back selecting potential weapons one by one like a montage in a shitty zombie movie: the metal rake the rusty garden shears the weed wacker. The lawnmower seemed impractical. An important consideration when deciding which weapon to go to sleep with isn’t just what you could use it for in the off chance you have to but also how much damage you could do to yourself when you inevitably stub your fucking toe on it in the middle of the night after you wake up to piss from a dream about how your high school football coach is disappointed in you or whatever it is men dream about. Indignities you’ve suffered. Glories that fell just out of your grasp but if only you had the chance to do them over again, ah… Assorted pervert shit.
by Jeb Lund
I worry if I start listing all the things I'm scared of, they'll never stop, but every day I see my son reach for something he should be able to reach for, and I either have a low-grade panic response and stifle it, or I have the panic response and yelp at him to get his attention and tell him to stop, startle him, and add another layer of gun-shy haunting to his day. I'm afraid he'll eventually become an animal in a Skinner Box in which all the buttons and levers are electrocuted, and there are no prizes.
I'm afraid that my son will always be emotionally arrested at two years behind the development of people the same age who had siblings in their house, or who, like many kids in my neighborhood, had parents who thought kids were invincible to Covid-19 and let them play with whomever they wanted. I worry that he may pay a price year after year even into adulthood because other kids got to practice socializing as we rode past. They got to hang out with people their own age and run around and do vitally stupid shit and say "butts" a lot, and he got look at me heartbroken and knowing empirically and epidemiologically that he couldn't play with his friends anymore but still needing to know why, and knowing that I couldn't tell him anything more sophisticated and anything less terrifying than, “So we don't get sick.”
by a postal carrier
See, up until just two months ago, every letter carrier, clerk, mail handler, truck driver, etc, worked under one pretty simple philosophy: every piece, every address, every day. Everyone in the chain of custody for mail made sure every piece got as far along in the system as it could, and if it made it to my hands, in my office, it was getting delivered. That’s how I’ve done it for my career, how the guys who have been doing it for forty years have always done it, and that’s literally how Ben Fucking Franklin’s guys did it. You can almost hear Aaron Sorkin’s orgasm as he punches up the Bradley Whitford speech about the majesty of it all.
But two months ago is also when that abruptly stopped. After a couple hundred years, it just...stopped. On the ground floor, there’s a lot of arguing about who is ordering what, and what’s going to be permanent, and what’s going to be a trial run, but at the end of the day, the result is obvious: I go into my job, every single morning, and don’t deliver hundreds of pieces of available mail that used to get delivered. The only reason given is some vague nonsense about “operational efficiency” and “cost savings.”
The thing about lemonade stands is that most of them fail. Most businesses fail in general of course, but for a lot of children, starting one is an early lesson in disappointment. That life can be cruel.
Here’s another story from early 2020. A five year old girl in San Diego named Katelynn got sad because some of her friends couldn’t afford a school program, so she decided to sell cookies and cocoa and so on to raise money to help. When she was done she used the money to pay off the lunch debt of 123 students in the district.
75% of school districts around the U.S. report outstanding lunch debt by the way. In a number of high profile cases this past year students have been prevented from attending the prom or class field trips and so on because they don’t have enough money to pay for a carton of milk and a hamburger. They don’t have enough money to survive.
“Katelynn’s mom, Karina Hardee, said the girl started asking questions, wondering why things like this happen,” NBC San Diego reported and that’s a very good question indeed and if you ever find out Katelynn please let us know.
“I don't want people to be hungry,” Katelynn said.
by Josh Gondelman
Much like the Trump presidency, the COVID-19 pandemic itself at first felt terrible and jarring, and then felt terrible and regular. For a while it was weird to walk around my neighborhood in Brooklyn, with all or most of my neighbors wearing protective face masks. It was unsettling to work from home and socialize exclusively in small nervous groups outdoors. The covid-related death tolls printed in the newspaper felt unfathomable. But now they don’t. We have, through repetition, learned to fathom them. This is just how things will be for the foreseeable future. Trump and the coronavirus bring daily harm and death to countless people the world over, and it’s totally normal, and it sucks shit. Eventually, as terrible as a situation may be, it has to feel like the status quo, because the human body does not produce enough adrenaline to behave otherwise.
When I was in high school everyone said the same thing. You have to go to college. It never occurred to me there was another option. I was an idiot. I had no concept of money. I think my school was like $25,000-30,000 a year when I went in the nineties. Now it’s like $60,000 or something. I was like, well, ok, $120,000, I’ll certainly be able to pay that back once I’m an adult with a real job. I was so stupid. Did you feel the same way?
Sarah Kelly: I did and I don’t know how I would’ve known any better. It felt like pretend levels of money. Knowing my parents were making like $30,000 or something, and every school was going to cost more than that…. And everyone else was going to college and seemingly making it work. So it was very abstract. At the time I signed these particular loans I was already at Arizona State, so my choices were to drop out of school, or take out these loans. I remember my mom specifically saying I know these loans are predatory, but we’re going to figure this out. I think these loans were abstract to the adults in my life too. You’ll get a job and we’ll figure it out and maybe at that point things will be better for us and we’ll help you out.
“It looks like clutter, man, but they pick up whatever they can to make them feel more human.”
It was just after a raid on an unhoused encampment by police in Manchester, New Hampshire on Friday and a young man named Manny was expressing his frustration with the amount of money and resources wasted on displacing people like himself instead of materially helping them.
“How many of these people have absolutely nothing? If you look at those trash bags over there, that’s not trash,” he said gesturing to where belongings had been disposed of by police, some of whom were wearing hazmat suits as if to hammer the cruel metaphor on its head.
“Some people’s stuff was taken away from them and put into dump trucks, into the trash,” Anna McGuiness of the New Hampshire Mutual Aid and Relief Fund, who was on hand at the camp all week, told me this morning. “Some people weren’t there to pack up their stuff because they were at work and their tents got slashed with knives and taken away in trucks.”
I don’t know if in your time at the Washington Post if anyone said those things explicitly, or is it just something that is understood institutionally, that a Black person is going to always already be unable to report on certain issues objectively?
Wesley Lowery: I don’t know that it’s something explicitly stated. It’s more about the environment and culture and assumptions made by bosses and editors in how they assign stories and in edits they make. Again this goes back to power. Something I talk about all the time. What we know is that even in a moment when more people of more backgrounds have platforms and the ability to talk in public, largely due to social media, the people who control the most powerful platforms in our broad press remain a very specific type of person. They have such a power in this space. So I don't think it's something that’s stated all the time, but it shows up and is manifested in coverage, in the way people are treated, in terms of how assignments are handed out, in terms of hiring. I think it shows up all of the time. If you want to look at the Post, they very famously just had an incident where a reporter was suspended and thrown under the bus in public because she tweeted a headline about a basketball player. The Kobe Bryant case. Here you have brave editors saying we stand for truth and fairness, unless you tweet a fair and true article about someone at an inopportune time. It speaks to these issues. All of these are subjective decisions.
All of these fucking geniuses act like people on ~the left~ don't know any conservative people and have not been exposed to their opinions. The idea I guess is if we are simply exposed to another way of thinking we will ...well I don't know what the goal is. But we've heard the other side and that is why we are against it. The ideas are bad!
I am not a leftist or whatever it is I am because I never gave the other side a fair hearing. In fact it's the exact opposite.
This type of catholic searching is useful for finding out about new types of music or food that you might not have been aware of but once your friend says like Hey check this out and it's his argument for why poor people are mud or immigrants should die you can bail man your ideological diversity quotient whatever the fuck that is is not being improved in an exchange like that.
I believe it's on us to try to change our conservative friends and family as best we can but after a certain point you have to cut them loose. Let them be alone with their shitty ideas.
I lost a buddy to this Q shit. I’ve been seeing it coming for a couple years, but not quite as intensely until the past few months. The quarantine has really fucked with people in a lot of different ways. It’s really sad to watch. There’s no reasoning with these people, some of whom were, until recently, smart, rational people.
Jared Holt: It’s really heartbreaking. The way that a lot of the influencers in the community operate in their very nature is by isolating people from their surroundings, like friends and family who might share real news sources that would debunk it. And when people become isolated, especially during quarantine when they’re lonely, this is fuel on the fire. People I’ve known in my personal life have plugged into this stuff. I’ve tried to talk to a few of them, but part of the problem is there’s not really a tried and true way to de-radicalize people off conspiracy theories. There's plenty of stuff out there on how to de-radicalize people from hate. I cover the far right a lot, and there’s tons of resources for getting people out of nationalism or the anti-immigrant movement, just disproving their hateful biases through exposure and that sort of thing. But with conspiracy theories, because a lot of them build and build on each other, there’s not a lot to do to get people off of this stuff. It ends up being a very long process, even if it does ever work.
by Samantha Irby
The day before the last normal day I was sitting in this bland corporate apartment in Chicago strategizing the fastest and least physically taxing way to pack up all my shit and drive it back to Michigan while somehow also managing to avoid all the death germs between there and here. I had been in Chicago for six weeks for work, which I thought meant that I was going to spend six weeks getting drunk with all my old friends from high school every night, but the job actually required my full un-hungover attention, and oh yeah, it was WINTER IN CHICAGO and no one wanted to leave their houses, let alone put on lipstick and pants with a zipper to meet me downtown for an overpriced drink. Oh the halcyon days of February 2020, when we had no idea just how much our future selves would regret not hauling our asses out in the snow to expectorate all over each other in a bar.
My grandmother on that side “worked at the phone company” when she was younger which is what I think my other grandmother on my step dad’s side did too maybe. Women back then absolutely loved to “work at the phone company” and I suppose we all work at the phone company in our own way now don’t we. Her husband ran a deli I recall but he had stopped doing so long before my brain was registering things. Mostly those two sat on a couch and watched the Red Sox and baked pies as far as I knew. My paternal grandfather died of all the stuff shithead Boston guys die from at a young age before I knew him as did my father and as will I at this rate if we’re being honest.
My paternal grandmother remarried and her husband was kind. He “worked in computers” which is something that seemed real exciting back then. I suppose we all work in computers now though too and it’s the opposite of exciting. I have no idea if that grandmother of mine did anything except smoke cigarettes at the dining room table.
Anyway they’re all dead now and sometimes I take that as a small mercy because I never got to see what kind of shitty politics they might have ended up having.
I assume Hulk Hogan was your hero as a boy like mine? One time my dad took me to see him at the Boston Garden and it was of my fondest childhood memories. Anyway what’s it like being ruined by basically the guy second only to Luke Skywalker for people our age?
A.J. Daulerio: There was an odd moment early on in the trial where one of the attorneys (who I'd just met in person in Tampa a couple of days before trial) asked me for humanizing anecdotes he could use in opening statements. For some reason, he thought it would be good if the jury saw me as a WWF fan. I told him I was–but my favorite wrestlers were George The Animal Steele, Tony Atlas, Superfly Snuka, JYD, SD Jones, and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Great! he said. And that was what he used–that I was a Rowdy Roddy Piper fan. It seemed like an unnecessary cheap shot and no one in the jury thought it was cute.
As for Hogan, he was such a huge part of my early childhood. But I thought it was lame to be a Hulk Hogan fan, in the same way it was lame to be a Cowboys, Yankees, or Lakers fan. So that's why I gravitated towards Piper. But Hollywood Hogan? N.W.O.? That dude was the shit. And that's all I kept thinking about at the trial with him dressed all in black. And while I was on the stand, he totally stared right at me and gave me this knowing nod with his lips all pursed like a total heel and I thought “I'm about to get fucking crushed,” which, of course, I did. Afterward, he did an interview with the Post where he called me a “buccaneering young stud” and that was honestly the nicest thing anyone in the press had said about me at that point.
Every now and again there’s a bad guy like the hand sanitizer king or Martin Shkreli everyone hates for a minute and then they forget to apply that disgust across the board systemically. You probably saw this guy in Tennessee who hoarded 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer that everyone was mad at yesterday and sure he seems like a profiteering piece of shit but what he did right there is the way this entire thing works. Every profitable company starts out with some asshole getting access to a type of good then building a wall around it and jacking up the price. This man is living the American Dream it’s just that we have to throw one of these guys to the wolves every now and again as a collective act of symbolic bloodletting and then immediately ignore how many other companies are doing the exact same thing “the right way” every single day.
We all have a natural revulsion against people profiting off of tragedy like when we get mad at stores for marking up bottled water prices during storms or whatever because exploiting people’s vulnerability during a crisis is obviously immoral but the normal state of existence for millions of people everywhere is perpetual crisis and the normal state of American capitalism is to gouge them to the brink of death. The difference with this virus shit is that a lot of people seem to be aware that some of the pain could spill onto them personally.
“I went in for a shift on Thursday which was a very rainy day and we still had people come in to sit on the patio for reservations at my restaurant in Boston” the restaurant worker told me. “The guests weren’t taking to the guidelines seriously, like they couldn’t wait to get their masks off. There were a few people who didn’t have masks at all. I live with someone who is immunocompromised and I kind of freaked out to my general manager and he tried to talk me down and was basically saying the pandemic is over and that I would be fine. I completely freaked out at him at this point because he’s basically saying it’s worth it if a family member of mine dies so that a couple Karens can drink wine on our rainy patio. I left and they said they’ll call me in a few weeks. I know not everyone can afford to tell their boss to fuck off right now and honestly I’m not sure if I can either. I’m also not sure if I’ll ever go back.”
It’s no mistake that most of the types you see preoccupied with the idea of cancel culture — aka being made to maybe suffer some light professional consequences for your corrosive ideas by peers policing the collective boundaries of socially acceptable behavior — all tend to be relatively well off people who have never shut the fuck up for once in their life. All of these people have ample opportunity to say and write whatever they want usually in the pages of publications like The Atlantic and Rolling Stone and New York Magazine and so on.
The real threat to speech is happening right now on the streets of every city in America where police are being deployed to brutalize citizens. To seize this moment to continue to complain about how you might have to think twice before sharing a potentially politically incorrect opinion in your major media column shows such a dearth of empathy it retroactively casts into doubt the sincerity of any left-leaning sympathies any of these types of writers may have previously expressed.
“Even before that day when it appeared the world was about to end, people in the Panhandle were meeting regularly to pray for rain,” Robert L. Dorman wrote. The Black Sunday blizzard hit on April 14, 1935. It was the storm that gave the Dust Bowl its name.
“The drought had lasted four years and was not yet half over,” Dorman went on in his 2006 book It Happened in Oklahoma. “In Cimarron County, ground zero of the Dust Bowl, the last good wheat crop had been in 1931. Since then, the wheat made next to nothing, or nothing at all. Now it was 1935, and during the last week of March, a single dust storm rolled across Oklahoma and blew away one-quarter of the wheat that had been planted. And still the wind kept blowing, and no rains came.”
Are you not currently allowed to wear masks?
Whole Foods worker: It depends. They’ve kind of loosened up on it a bit, but there was definitely a period of time where they were strict about it, that we couldn’t wear masks. So that’s one of the themes. They’ve slowly rolled out certain things. They did give us the $2 an hour. Then like two weeks in they gave us a 30% team member discount versus the usual 20%. Now they’re doing things like limiting the number of people in stores. But each of these measures have been implemented really, really slowly, to the point where team members are certainly, even if asymptomatic, they’ve certainly gotten infected with the virus by now. We’re already seeing cases in stores in the region.
So there’s such an appetite for throwing people in jail in this country that it’s almost impossible to counteract is what you’re saying?
Public defender: Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying. Sure, more funding would help, and more encouragement for good and passionate lawyers to get into indigent defense or other sort of public interest stuff would help, but ultimately the cause of so many difficulties facing public defenders are broader systemic things. This is basically a police state.
I posted a tweet and it went sort of viral with hundreds of people chiming in to talk about how absurd the concept of even having a doctor never mind one who you could call is.
- I don't have a doctor. I have an urgent care clinic I can sit in for 5 hours coughing till I see a nurse practitioner who tells me to go home and drink fluids.
- I haven’t had a “my doctor” since I was last able to qualify under my mother's workplace insurance so that would be some 15+ years ago. Frankly the idea of having a doctor you regularly see is an alien concept at this point.
- If you can't get the dr on the phone, just take a helicopter to your family's wing at the local hospital.
Today I spoke with a former nurse who worked for years in Texas and California because she genuinely wanted to help people. What she found instead was an insurance bureaucracy dedicated to extracting wealth from the bodies of the injured and the sick and even more exasperating for her doctors who were willing to manipulate that system to enrich themselves.
…But you liked the actual caring for people part right?
Nurses are truly nurturers. I don't think we would be nurses if we weren't, but the healthcare industry does something to you. It's become a black void of greed and corporate shills who have no regards for the sanctity of life. I could no longer do a job I loved because I believe in compassion, selflessness, and solidarity with my fellow humans, you know? So after some major life changes of my own, I decided to become an electrician and use my electrical powers for good.
I’ve been trying to think about some of the best and worst nights of my life many of which began or ended at Great Scott and I simply can’t narrow it down for some reason it’s like there’s too much static to cut through to find a clean signal. It’s like spending a gorgeous day in the ocean many years ago that you generally remember fondly and trying to call to mind right now one specific single wave that buoyed you and a second wave that knocked you over. After a while all the waves become impossible to differentiate from one another and it all flattens out into sensory noise.
The same profiteers that sold America the Iraq War are selling us this latest escalation of violence
America loves helping out countries with oil a lot like I'm going to definitely take a look at the screenplay of the guy who still has some coke left at the end of the night. Cool cool cool man yeah promoting democracy and help with defense just like you say man for sure say any of that oil left or...? A little taste is cool no problem.
Sometimes people say this or that thing is the most Hell World story ever but a father robbing a store to get money for his daughter’s kidney transplant then realizing belatedly in the midst of the job that health care costs are so astronomical any money he could possibly steal won’t even make a dent so he says ah shit sorry and gives it back and leaves is right up there.
The reluctance to approve of new and needed housing in cities and closer suburbs today is in part because the generations who are safely entrenched in their own homes have taken a fuck you I’ve got mine attitude when it comes to development. Every picket fence a moat.
Sometimes you look at a house or apartment or condo and the fucking guy in the suit is showing you how the light switch works and you’re going haha and he’s going haha and you go how recently was the vinyl siding put on and he says I’ll have to check and then you walk around and you see a room and your entire life expands to fill that room. 250 square feet of a life and you think I could see myself dying in this room someday but you won’t you’re going to die in some other room and you don’t know what it looks like yet. Some room you can afford to die in.
Anyway I don’t care about that I just wanted an excuse to share this with you the best sentence I’ve read in all of Covid and maybe my life from a story about the protest.
“Scurlock, a former candidate for mayor in New Orleans and heir to an inflatable bounce house fortune, was arrested in 2017 for allegedly masturbating in the backseat of an Uber in California, for which he pled no contest in 2018, according to a report in the Times-Picayune.”
It’s important to keep in mind that the loudest voices when it comes to reopening and getting everyone back to work are usually people like that people who are the heirs to bounce house fortunes and not the actual workers who will be putting their lives at risk at the bounce house factory.
Not really sure how it's possible but I still keep getting more and more disgusted every day at the predatory healthcare cartel we have in this country. Imagine a natural disaster and the closest open store was selling bottled water to desperate people. You ask the clerk how much for the water you need to live and they say they don't know. Does the manager know? No he doesn’t either. Give me a ballpark? Sorry but no. Drink the water and we'll tell you in a couple months how much it costs. If you would prefer to go looking elsewhere for water you can do so and that’s called exercising choice.
When we all hear these stories about people’s lives being crushed under the weight of the predatory for-profit healthcare industry in this country the very natural response at least for me is that that is fucked and we have to stop it. So many other people see it and think Eh that’s not my problem. You cannot legislate empathy I wanted to ask. So how at long last do we convince anyone to care about people?
And then Bernie Sanders very normally introduced the famous New York City indie rock band The Strokes who opened with a cover of “Burning Down the House” by The Talking Heads and people just about lost their minds and then they kept losing their minds all the way through “Someday” and “Hard to Explain” and “Last Night.” At one point Julian said some weird shit about pirates and business people that I think was supposed to be a metaphor about the corrupt rich people Bernie is fighting against but who is to say what goes on in such a simple and beautiful mind as his.
“I’m a union negotiator and I recently bargained a contract where we stopped increases to employee healthcare contributions as best we could. Healthcare is an albatross around my neck. I would have so much more room to push for wage and retirement increases if I didn’t have to worry about treading water on healthcare, and I can’t ask someone to drop down to shitty coverage in good conscience.”
What did you find the hardest to overcome during your path back to recovery [after a bear ripped your face off] someone asked in the thread and she said “Blue Cross. Hands down.” Did you ever feel like giving up and how did you get passed that feeling someone else asked and she said “No, I didn't ever feel like giving up during the [attack] itself. But there were a couple of time during my recovery when Blue Cross denied service that brought me to the brink of despair.”
Dealing with the right is one thing but it's real fucking grim and demoralizing having to contend with so many “on the left” who don't think better things are possible and don't seem to even want to try. I get that coming from the rich TV people they have their own class interests to protect but I don’t understand the average person who goes to bat for the status quo.
The thing that bothers me the most about that is this: You can literally just say you want the best and most just outcome for whatever issue at any time. A lot of people don’t seem to understand that. It’s free! You do not as an individual have a limited reserve of justice aspiration coupons to redeem.
Yesterday evening I came home after having left the house for any significant length of time for the first time in months. Remember like a week ago when we are all desperate for a break from the monotony? Really set ourselves up for the old monkey paw gambit there. I turned on the cable news like a fucking idiot and watched I don’t know let’s say it was a tanker truck plowing through a crowd of a thousand people marching along a highway in Minneapolis that was supposed to have been shut down. Maybe it was police in Los Angeles attempting to run over protestors a technique that has become something of a pattern in law enforcement throughout the country of late.
And I felt this dark ink creeping through my veins and I felt my chest getting heavy and it wasn’t until after about an hour of that feeling of my body resetting to its newly natural equilibrium of agitation and exhaustion — I feel always like I’ve got an IV of adrenaline in one arm and an IV of anesthesia in the other — that I recognized that the feeling had gone away for a merciful few hours.