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Justine Damond

Justine Damond (c. 1977-2017), also known as Justine Ruszczyk, was an unarmed White woman from Australia who was gunned down in the US by a Black police officer, Mohamed Noor, from Somalia. That was last Saturday near midnight, July 15th 2017, in a quiet, well-lit neighbourhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She had called the police to report what sounded like a sexual assault and was standing there in her pyjamas when police gunned her down. All she had on her was a mobile phone.

Video: none so far. The police had their body cameras turned off for some strange reason. Their car’s dashcam also seemed to have been off.

Eyewitnesses: so far only the police:

The police:

“As they reached West 51st Street, Officer [Michael] Harrity indicated that he was startled by a loud sound near the squad [car]. Immediately afterward Ruszczyk approached the driver’s side window of the squad. Harrity indicated that Officer [Mohamed] Noor discharged his weapon, striking Ruszczyk through the open driver’s side window.”

Note that Noor, sitting on the passenger side, had to shoot across Harrity, sitting in the driver’s seat, to hit Damond. He shot two or three times.

They gave her medical attention right away (not always the case with Black victims).

In 2016 Officer Mohamed Noor became the first ever Somali American police officer in Minneapolis.

The police union: silent.

The prime minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull:

“It is a shocking killing, and yes, we are demanding answers on behalf of her family.”

The press: is demonizing the police officer and humanizing his victim – the opposite of what they do when the victim is Black. For example:

  • New York Daily News: Justine Damond devoted life to helping others
  • The Guardian: Justine Damond: video shows Australian rescuing ducklings near Minneapolis home

In the first four days since the shooting, according to a Google search, there have been:

  • 626 web pages with the phrase “justine damond’s loved ones”
  • 1,050 pages with “killer cop mohamed noor”

Compare that to the first four days after the Tamir Rice shooting:

  • 0 pages said “tamir rice’s loved ones”
  • 0 pages said “killer cop tim loehmann”

The press instead demonized Tamir Rice’s loved ones.

For Noor, the press has not just gone through his record as a police officer, as they should, but they have even gone through his divorce documents and family court records. That is the kind of bastards they are.

For Damond, meanwhile, you read stuff like this being said about her:

“She was a model human being and if someone could have been designed with the biggest heart and the most love and kindness and compassion that I’ve ever met, that was Justine.”

The BBC showed her parents in Australia throwing flowers into the sea at a dawn vigil:

When you compare this to coverage of police shootings of Black people, it becomes sickeningly clear how racist the White press is.

Caucasian wake-up call? If Noor, like every other killer cop in Minnesota history, serves no time in prison, maybe it will be a wake-up call to White people about the nature of the police.

Not holding my breath.

– Abagond, 2017.

Sources: mainly BBC, CBS Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Gold Coast Bulletin. Images from BBC and Gold Coast Bulletin.

See also:

588

 

The 1911 edition, printed in 1928, photographed circa 2014. Via Bridging the Unbridgeable.

The 1911 “Concise Oxford Dictionary” (COD) is the first edition of the dictionary I use, the “Concise Oxford English Dictionary” (COED), now on its 12th edition a hundred years later. It is the desk dictionary version of the much larger “Oxford English Dictionary” (OED). Where the OED was 15,940 pages long, the COD was only 1,064. Thus the word “concise”.

Oxford University Press wanted to pack as much of the OED as they could into a single volume, one that an ordinary person could buy for a few shillings.

Current English: Where the OED set out to be a description of all recorded English since the Norman Invasion, the COD concerned itself only with “current” English, the sort an educated person in southern England would come across day to day in 1911. In effect it more or less came down to the words most commonly used by the London newspapers and the King James Bible, then still commonly read and heard at church.

H.W. Fowler

Enter the Fowler brothers, H.W. and F.G., they who would later give us Fowler’s guide to English usage. At the time they were living in two cottages on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel. Oxford would send out the materials they needed and they would send back completed pages on deadline. It took them only five years, from 1906 to 1911. It literally was a “dictionary written by White people.”

In 1911 there were telephones but no televisions, much less televangelists or telethons.

The OED was incomplete when they began. It was only up to M. But Oxford already had more than enough material to get up to Z. The COD was completed 17 years before the OED, the book it was based on.

The first five editions were mainly the work of one or two people working from home with a typewriter. In the 1970s they brought it in house. In the 1980s they began to computerize everything.

The 12 editions of the “Concise Oxford Dictionary”: 1911, 1929, 1934, 1951, 1964, 1976, 1982, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2004, 2011.

Then and now: the 1911 and 2011 editions compared:

  • Length: from 1,064 pages to 1,682.
  • Price: 3s 6d (21 grams of silver) to $24.75 (48 g).
  • Words added: computer, radio, television, cinema, Internet, tweet (of any kind), homosexual, etc.
  • Words removed: autocar, teleseme, cockyolly bird, impaludism, etc.
  • Spellings still current in 1911: shew, to-day, rime, connexion, oecology, socker, negro (not capitalized), rôle (still italicized with the French ô), etc.
  • Words in 1911:
    • revolution – not mainly political.
    • pudding – not mainly sweet.
    • trench – not mainly military.
    • cleavage – not yet said of breasts.
    • lamp – mainly gaslit, not electric.
    • neon – a newly discovered gas, not yet used for bright city lights.
    • American – still “of European descent”.
    • Lesbian – from the island of Lesbos, though there was the “Lesbian vice”.
    • gay – mirthful, not homosexual (itself a new word from 1892 that did not appear in the 1911 COD).
    • sex – something you were (male, female, hermaphrodite), not something you “had”.
    • love – “warm” affection in its main sense, not yet “deep” affection.
    • passenger pigeon – still one at the Cincinnati Zoo.

But maybe the biggest change is that although I have a print edition, I mainly use the computer program that came with it to look up words.

Negro in 1911 (on paper).

Negro in 2011 (on a computer screen).

– Abagond, 2017.

See also:

587

 

Remarks:

This came out in 2016 but did not chart. Its sample of “Want Ads” (1971) is better than “Want Ads”, but the song as a whole is not. Somewhere between the two there is a great song yet to be sung.

The strange thing about the music video is that when I first saw it I thought the group was British, even though everything in it that I can point to and clearly identify is American:

  • the location: a New York City subway station in the Bronx
  • the accents of the boy and the woman
  • the sample of “Why Can’t I Get It Too” (1959) by Six Boys In Trouble
  • the sample of “Want Ads” (1971) by Honey Cone
  • the rap by Sonny Cheeba of Camp Lo

Even stranger still, I was not far off: the Avalanches, as it turns out, are Australian:

It is like one of those episodes of “Star Trek” where something is not quite right and it turns out to be a computer simulation created by an alien mind.

See also:

Lyrics:

[Hook]
If she don’t love me, what can I do?
Just put on my best pair of shoes
Because I’m me
Because she said, “He’s the one that drill the charms
Honey let’s go wrong”
I just want to know
What’s wrong with me?
Being in love with you

[Verse 1: Sonny Cheeba]
Yeah
9th grade had the jingles of the swinging rainbow jacket
Lost lingo, Bronx’s only Django
Snap, he’d got less tougher
That’s where my props go
That’s where my pops went
See my percentage is a pennant to the planet
Knock it out the ball park, Frankie
I should not tire this tire
To a better love, let the wings spread
It’ll always come back, baby
Come back, shellac black, baby
A come back, flat black paint on a Chevy

[Hook]
If she don’t love me, what can I do?
Just put on my best pair of shoes
Because, I’m, I’m me
Because I’m me
Because I’m me
Because I’m me, I’m me

[Verse 2: Sonny Cheeba]
Never mind my tone when I told Pretty Tony
Listen to my tone, you ain’t catchin’ you a Tony
Award-winning walk when you running with a shottie
Why you running from us?
Why you messing with us?
We ain’t got no guns, we just let the bears witness
The Grizzly, maybe Polar
You ain’t ready, you ain’t ready ‘ready rolled up
Pulling a machete, cut the bamboo paper
And let’s roll out baby

[Hook]
I just want to know
What’s wrong with me?

[Instrumental]

Source: Genius Lyrics.

Donald Trump once claimed:

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.”

Fifth Avenue is the street in New York where he lived at Trump Tower.

That claim was never put to the test, but something close to it has: as president he has been sunk in the Russiagate scandal for the past six months and, to date, the 35% or so who voted for him because they believed in him (and not as the lesser of two evils) have stuck with him the whole way: his job approval rating has yet to sink below 35%.

How he, his people and Fox News seem to do it:

  • Say you never did it. Your voters will want to believe that and will give you the benefit of the doubt all the way. Otherwise they will have to see what a poor judge of character they are. Cognitive dissonance – it works! They want to be morally blind. You must make that as easy as possible for them.
  • Make the press the enemy – by calling them “fake news”, “very dishonest”, etc. That way your voters will tend to discount anything bad they say about you. Nearly all Republicans still trust Trump over, say, CNN.
  • Gaslight – tell barefaced lies so that people become unsure of their own judgement.
  • Deflect – by pointing out (or even making up) crimes and misdeeds by political opponents, especially those your base voted against (Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton).
  • Make it about the leaks – you did not break any laws but the leakers certainly did! This is another good deflection.
  • Admit as little as possible – even though it means the story will be kept alive by leaks and you will have to keep changing your story. You have already trained your base to dismiss leaks as fake news. And they will not want to see your changing story as proof of lying. But they will remember what you have admitted to. For that reason:
  • Suffer selective collective amnesia – have all your top people accidentally forget the very same set of facts. This will be hugely suspicious to most people, but not to your base, which will remain wilfully obtuse.
  • Punish loyalty – by blurting out the truth the day after your friends lie for you. Do this even though you need all the loyalty you can get to prevent leaks!
  • Obstruct justice – by firing the person in charge of the investigation. Then boast about it to your suspected partners in crime! To those who object:
  • Point out you did not break any laws – even if you have to interpret the law in a narrow or questionable way. You need to maintain the image of innocence.
  • Say there is no smoking gun – until there is a smoking gun, in which case:
  • Say everyone does it. After spending months of saying that it was all a lie made up to make you look bad, just act like it is no big deal!

– Abagond, 2017.

See also:

540

CNN

Cable News Network (1980- ), better known as CNN, is one of the three main cable news stations in the US. Although it has been rightly called the Clinton News Network, it is not as nakedly partisan as MSNBC (Democratic) or Fox News (Republican).

  • Ownership: Time Warner, a top donor to Hillary Clinton.
  • Location: Time Warner Center in New York.
  • Political viewpoint: White Liberal, very much in the vein of Hillary Clinton.
  • Viewers: 1.06 million daily viewers (2017), well behind MSNBC (1.65m) and Fox News (2.35m), but more than double its numbers five years ago, thanks mainly to Donald Trump.
  • Fans: part of the media diets of Terry McMillan and President Trump.
  • Trust: As of July 3rd 2017, 91% of Democrats trust CNN more than President Trump, but only 9% of Republicans do.

Some tropes I have noticed:

  • He said, she said – stories are often framed as two opposing points of views. This allows CNN to avoid coming down on one side or the other and therefore seem “fair”. It also lends itself easily to:
  • panel discussions – CNN will present a story and then get several talking heads to comment on it. The range of opinions is somewhat broader than on MSNBC or Fox News, which are often little more than partisan echo chambers. But much of CNN’s discussion is screwed up by:
  • paid trolls – CNN seems to have a Jerry Springer model of television: put people together on stage who you know will get into an argument. They pay people like Jeffrey Lord (pictured) who they know will troll the discussion rather than offer any kind of serious insight.
  • Kellyanne Conway – a Trump adviser who they repeatedly have on even though she lies and avoids answering questions.
  • tweetology – they go nuts over Trump’s tweets.
  • Broken Africa – war, famine, poverty, etc, seem to be only stories in Africa worth covering.
  • Islamophobia – most of the killers they feature seem to be Muslims who kill White people.
  • US imperialism – CNN was a big cheerleader for the Gulf War and the Iraq War.
  • Disappearing Indian Trick – Did they even cover #NoDAPL?
  • Black pathologies – more common before 2012?
  • Missing White Women – common before 2006. They got heat for only covering missing people who were pretty White women, so it seems they stopped covering missing people altogether.

Coverage:

  • Black Americans: Unlike Fox News, MSNBC or RT, CNN has a regular evening news show hosted by an actual Black person, Don Lemon. He is a coon, but he does regularly have on intelligent Black (Liberal) people who talk about more than just “Black” issues. That puts him leagues beyond anything else on US television, news-wise, outside of Trevor Noah and Roland Martin. But that is not saying much.
  • The 2016 election: Even though CNN favoured Hillary Clinton at the political level, they wound up giving Donald Trump way more free television time because he was great for ratings. So great, in fact, that at one point they showed his empty podium live rather than a speech Bernie Sanders was giving at the same time.

– Abagond, 2017.

Sources: Google Images (for images), Axios (poll), Variety (audience size), Vox (compared to political satire).

See also:

560

East St Louis riots

The East St Louis riots (1917) took place across the Mississippi River from St Louis. W.E.B. Du Bois called it the Massacre of East St Louis. It left eight Whites and 39 to 200 Blacks dead. Nearly half of the city’s Blacks were burned out of house and home.

The worst of the riots took place on May 28th and July 2nd. Both times it became a free-for-all of White violence against Blacks, touched off by a report of Black-on-White violence. Both times the governor had to send in the National Guard to restore order.

East St Louis: Because of the First World War there was plenty of work in East St Louis for unskilled labourers.

  • For Blacks, coming from the Klan violence and low pay of the Jim Crow South, East St Louis offered good pay and friendly Whites. But:
  • The White working class, in the form of labour unions and the Democratic Party, saw Black workers as a threat: Blacks voted Republican and were used as strike-breakers. But what made Blacks such great strike-breakers was that the labour unions would not let them join – because they were Black!

On May 28th the labour unions marched on city hall, which led to the first riot. But the city did nothing about it and a few weeks after the National Guard left violence broke out again, on July 2nd, only this time it was worse.

Street after street the massacre unfolded. Blacks were burned, hanged, shot, stoned, bricked, beheaded, beaten, clubbed, both male and female, both the living and the dead. They were pulled off of trams. Those who hid in their homes were burned out and then shot. It was not just White men who took part in the violence, so did White women and White children. So did some of the police and the National Guard!

The National Guard disarmed many Blacks but few Whites.

Inferno: About ten blocks of Black homes and businesses were on fire. So was a school and a church.

When Blacks tried to flee across the bridge to St Louis, the police shut down the bridge. When Blacks tried to swim across the river, Whites shot at them.

In St Louis you could hear the screaming and gunshots and see the horizon glowing.

The September 1917 issue of the Crisis, the NAACP magazine, is full of horrifying accounts by eyewitnesses and the press, stuff like:

“They went in small groups, there was little leadership, and there was a horribly cool deliberateness and a spirit of fun about it.”

“Girls with blood on their stockings helped to kick in what had been black faces of the corpses on the street.”

“The mob seized a colored woman’s baby and threw it into the fire. The woman was then shot and thrown in.”

One 11-year-old girl who lived through the riots would later recall:

“The very idea of America makes me shake and tremble and gives me nightmares.”

At age 19 she left America and never looked back. She wes Josephine Baker.

– Abagond, 2017.

Sources: mainly Crisis (1917), Smithsonian (2017), Black Past.

See also:

557

My apologies

My model for a thread is a dinner conversation.

I am banning Lord of Mirkwood, aka An Scríbhneoir Gael-Mheiriceánach, for being a bully. The same as with Thad and Resw.

I should have done this back in December 2015 when he refused to apologize to Taotesan for an extremely insensitive, necrophilic remark that went way beyond the pale.

The necrophilic remark is long gone, but not what followed:

ABAGOND:  Maybe instead of trying to defend saying such a sick and insensitive thing, you should take a moment and reflect on what you did. Maybe even apologize.

I should not have to add necrophilia to my comment policy, but I guess I will have to because of people like you.

LORD OF MIRKWOOD: Hmmm. You shift the goalposts to avoid answering the criticism I posed. Logical fallacy much?

ABAGOND: I am not going to help you miss the point.

LORD OF MIRKWOOD: “Point?” You’re making a “point” by deleting one comment with zero profanity while certain users thread their comments with obscenities for years and years and never get so much as a blink?

And since then he has helped to drive off another commenter (Fan) and was disrupting my threads in what seemed to be an attempt to drive off a third: Resw.

Arguably, Fan and Resw gave as good as they got, and maybe they even “started it” in the technical sense, but that cannot be said of Taotesan and she got the worst of it. Like with Resw, his abuse seemed too programmatic. It was more than just him losing his cool every now and then.

The moral: When protecting a commenter in the name of “free speech”, I need to make sure I am not protecting a glorified bully. I need to make clear in the comment policy what behaviour counts as bullying. The trouble with bullying is that it can seem like justified anger even though it is far more calculated and manipulative than that.

My apologies to everyone, but particularly to Taotesan, Fan and Resw, for not having done this way, way sooner.

– Abagond, 2017.

Update (July 12th): As per his request, I have deleted all of Lord of Mirkwood’s comments.

See also:

  • Is Scribh a troll? – 64% of commenters and lurkers seem to think so
  • commenter – the scene of the crime (the necrophilic remark) – and my philosophy on commenting. His comments, though, are now deleted.
  • Egypt in 1275 BC – the last straw, where Resw and An Scribh were disrupting a perfectly innocent thread, one that had nothing to do with politics. His comments, though, are now deleted.
  • Comment Policy
  • Is Resw a troll? / Resw banned
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