The International Writers Magazine: Reality ChecK + Readers Responses
Grapefruit Circus Blows Through Town
Florida’s Reality Show Kangaroo Trial Achieves Maximum Effect
A spectacular bevy of ridiculous bullshit has gone down in the now-approaching seventeen years I’ve penned this column. I have been forced to write about more than a few of them – the last one being the whole Donald Trump pay-attention-to-me-I-have-money-and-a-tv-show-otherwise-I’m-the-guy-you-try-and-avoid-while-getting-on-the-subway-screaming-that-aliens-have-lodged-a-brain-washing-device-in-my-rectum media blitz.
Normally I think everything is entertaining; mostly kids falling down wells or dogs dragging seniors from burning buildings or wells, but rarely is any of it news. But this whole George Zimmerman trial has to be news, right? It is on television all the time; and I mean ALL the time. It’s like the Olympics without all the talented shut-ins on steroids.
So, let’s see, we’ve already covered the outcome of this on the 28th of March, 2012 in a rather spiteful piece called LOOK AWAY DIXIE LAND on how embarrassingly terrible the South always seems to be when things like this “happen” – what with all their silly laws that allow people to shoot other people for “feeling threatened”. By the way, that is the law; this Stand Your Ground thing, which is so off the charts goofy it deserves to unearth the level of crap we have endured now for well over a year and in our faces for the past weeks.
Way back when, before Al Sharpton got involved, this was not self-defense or race profiling or gun control or even, (gulp!) politics, whether Floridian or national. This was and still is about a law that allows a man to kill another man at his discretion.
Outside of the poor souls that live in Florida, no one should give a shit about their laws anyway, unless they want to challenge that law as unconstitutional, which it may or may not be. Let’s face it; killing people on a whim was very popular in 1788, when the thing was ratified. Dueling was all the rage then, until it reached national status – kind of like a Zimmerman Trail circa 1804, sans cameras, lawyer-experts or HLN. When Aaron Burr, the sitting vice-president, shot Alexander Hamilton to death, a founding father of the nation and a recent secretary of state, because was pissed about being framed as “voluptuary in the extreme”, only then did the whole dueling craze pass into oblivion.
For the record, the word “voluptuary” (the kind of accusation people understood as reasonable cause to be blasted in the chest with steaming hot lead at twenty paces) was a nineteenth century slight intimating that a person of repute was far more interested in money and sex than high-minded human endeavors, which is now considered high compliment among rappers, professional athletes, bishops and 83 percent of congress.
But, I digress, as is my wont here when procrastination beats actually putting into words that George Zimmerman was completely within his rights under Florida law to shoot a kid – a kid, mind you, armed with nothing but Skittles – in the heart at point-blank range, simply because he was getting his ass kicked.
And that’s the nut for me; Zimmerman is innocent of whatever happened in Florida, where killing is a way of life, like orange picking and dying in a retirement home, but he’s still a pussy.
Jesus, man. Do you have any idea how many ass-kickings I’ve received? And many of them have not been solicited; the way Zimmerman apparently felt the need to do. I hardly had to be chased down to get my beatings. In fact, it was mostly the other way around. And for the record, if I were being chased by that asshole, you can bet if he caught up to me, I would not be hanging around asking what it is he might think in his muddled I-need-to-be-important psyche. I might go at him like a wild banshee and sort out the consequences later.
For poor, young, black Trayvon Martin, the consequence was death.
And, by the way, I am not saying race was not a factor. Of course it was. Everyone admits the crimes in the area Zimmerman was patrolling were being committed by mostly, if not all, people of color. And by “patrolling”, I mean running around acting like he was some kind of de facto authority with his CB-radio and his gun and his little pick-up truck, trying to act like Chuck Norris or some other middle-aged goofy white guy the television culture has elevated to the level of folk hero.
The black kid running with the hoodie and the macho talk about “creepy looking crackers” and Zimmerman, in hot pursuit, intoning about “fucking punks always getting away with it” all plays a part. But the most pertinent is a man and a boy (male testosterone on heavy display) doing everything in their power to provoke, instigate, grandstand and put themselves into a position where violence ensued.
It’s pretty much a stark metaphor for human civilization and not so much a far cry from Hamilton’s fatal shooting of Burr all those years ago, and everything in between.
And here is where we get to why any of this got to trial in the first place, and why it has been rolled out like a reality show. The state of Florida wants this to go down with some kind of ancillary nod towards decorum. You can’t have all these shootings go on without someone getting their dander up. Throw them this dog & pony show for a few weeks, allow some cameras and commentators in, and then when the guy walks, and there are few riots here or there – one can only hope – then it’s back to business and nothing changes.
This is how it goes in the South: “Lynchings? Oh, they’re horrible, but a legal and perfectly honorable way to make sure black men don’t, you know, look in the general direction of a white woman or dare to take a sip out of a fountain marked for whites, or, apparently, walk down the street with some candy and soda. Sorry, it’s the law, have a nice day.”
In the end, whether South or North, this is the model of how we handle things in this country – a little show piece and then back to the business of bullshit. It is a rare delight, however, to have our steaming pile paraded the way it has in this “trail” hour after miserable hour and day after miserable day to help us fully understand how truly brutal the human condition can be.
What should happen is someone should sue the state and drag Jeb Bush – goddamn it if only George Senior had kept the thing in his pants, we might have avoided some serious crap these past decades – into court and pound him incessantly for signing such an unconscionably asinine bill into law.
The villain here is Florida and Bush and whatever local yahoos cobbled these suggestions of free-wheel killing on a “feel” to “feel” basis.
George Zimmerman is not the problem. He is the proverbial pimple on the monstrous ass of this lunacy. He’s our chubby symptom and in late news - entirely innocent! A free man no less.
Oh, and as a postscript to this madness; over 70 people were murdered by gun violence over the holiday weekend in Chicago, Illinois.
When is Al Sharpton heading up there?
READERS RESPONSES 26.13.2013
Not really sure what you’re saying here. (EVERYTHING IS DISEASE – Issue: 6/28/13) Are you saying that nothing is a disease? Alcoholism? Diabetes? Cancer? Or is everything considered a disease, and so nothing really is a disease? I mean, I get it. You’re being funny here. But I think also naïve to think that just because the AMA says something is a disease that you believe is overkill does not mean it doesn’t cause harm to a great many people. Obesity is a serious issue in this nation. I think, personally, that you making light of it is beneath even you. I know this column is full of fun and games and playing with our emotions as readers and trying to slant stories even further from reality than you think the actual news may be, but on this one, I think you have tread into a territory you know little to nothing about. In other words, it is just being mean to be mean. It’s cheap and kind of sad.
Man that was good, Campion. You have taken the AMA to task in the past, but this is your best one. And actually while being a wise guy you make some serious points about where do we stop on what is a disease and what isn’t? And you’ve made me think long and hard about some of the accepted methods of dealing with behavioral problems like drinking and eating and gambling and sex addictions (never under stood those) and all the others. Look, how do we treat behavior? How do we deal with how people conduct their lives or how they are forced to conduct their lives, which I think you nailed with your “short” analogy. As usual, it’s funny stuff, but it is also an education. I don’t always agree with Reality Check, but it always makes me think.
Sure, they make obesity a disease so we can spend billions on researching it and enact all these crazy laws banning shit we might want to eat because some people, actually many people, cannot control themselves. This is how laws are always heaped upon us. All this speculation that makes drugs illegal or whatever. I am sick of it. The AMA is like the FCC, a bunch of nannies. We have to grow up as a nation and take stock in how we live our lives, otherwise the powers that be will take it away from us.
This is pathetic reasoning. You should be ashamed of yourself. There are many people in this country, I am sure friends and family members of yours, that may suffer from obesity and your callousness on the issue is ignorant and troubling, because you have a voice and instead of using that power given to you to trumpet compassion, you instead use it to poke fun and ridicule. What are you trying to accomplish with this trash?
Ha! Yeah! You hit that baby on the head! When are we going to take personal responsibility for what we are and stop blaming society and companies and the government. All this crying lately about the government this and the government that! All this whining about what society should do about everything and no one just living their lives!
Why should we be telling anyone they are diseased who may have a problem with something like overeating or forced because of economic reasons or are simply motivated because they have a weakness for cheap, bad fast food? This means we’re diseased? This means we need to be put on medication and coddled like we have cancer or something? This is science run amok! Pills and empathy and all these semantics about diseases are weakening our collective resolve. It is time we put down the shit foods and take care of ourselves. Fucking doctors don’t know anything.
I agree with you 100%. I bet you anything some assholes are going to be offended about hearing they are just weak and lazy and want to live their lives in any way they wish and then when the shit hits the fan claim they are diseased. Like these idiots who drink themselves into oblivion or shoot smack or fuck anything in sight and cry like babies about how their diseased. This is why half this country is doped up on prescription drugs. Dopers. Lazy ass dopers. This is what the country filled with.
I am overweight and I resent being called diseased.
“Render unto Caesar” as spoken by Jesus means exactly what the words say. (Last READERS RESPONSES) Of course if you don’t have anything belonging to Caesar, as in my case and we can safely assume in the case of all of those listening to Jesus at the time, the only thing you can give back to Caesar is nothing. Jesus was relying on Scripture, as he often did, wherein it is said at least six times, but best in Psalm 24, verse 1, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it,” which leaves nothing for poor old Caesar, and nothing is what Jesus meant his followers should give to thieving Caesar. While his words befuddled the spies the chief priests had sent to “trap him in speech” by asking him “should we pay Caesar’s tax?”, when the spies reported back and told the priests what Jesus had said, they knew Jesus had condemned Caesar’s tax. So two days later they sent their henchmen with Judas Iscariot to take Jesus by force. They dragged him before Pilate, who was responsible for collecting Caesar’s tax in Judea, and told him, “We found this man perverting the [Roman] nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to Caesar…He has been stirring up people with his teaching from Galilee where he started all the way here.” (Luke 23:2-5)
So Pilate crucified him.
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© James Campion July 12 2013
Read James Campion's New book Y
Look Away Dixie Land
Ah, the South. Lincoln’s great mistake; not allowing a full and complete secession from the Union to stand, providing the free-market mechanism to eventually take from it the power, ideology and half-baked customs that has been the bane of the American existence for lo these many decades
Down Goes Doma
James Campion + Readers Responses
The Defense of Marriage Act, a nifty piece of legislation which disallowed a segment of taxpaying citizens access to the Bill of Rights, is now dead and buried
Have We Got A Deal?
I’ve said all along that a major solution for Spain’s political problems is a pact between the conservatives (PP) and the main opposition party, the socialists (PSOE).
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of the Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus” , "Midnight for Cinderella” and his new book "Y"