Here’s a question I’ve been thinking about for a while now: Are people accountable for what they do with their inherent worth and dignity? Is it something like the soul, that can’t be damaged? Or is it more like the character, whose value changes with its condition?
I learned something about people this week: When you call someone a fascist or a Nazi or a racist, they shrug it off. When you tell them they are bad and should be better people, they take offense. The labels as guilt don’t carry much weight to people who are skeptical of them. Failing as a human being, though, needing to be better, that gets through.
Shame can do what guilt cannot.
This sketch is funnier every time I watch it:
It reminds me of an even more exaggerated version of the Smothers Brothers, as though Dick Smothers were playing Donald Jr. and Tommy Smothers were playing Eric. Except that Eric is innocent where Tommy was petulant. Except Donald Jr. cares more about his brother, is more patient with him, than Dick is with his brother.
It’s an odd, oddly sweet dynamic. This sort of probably shouldn’t work at any level but pointed, mean-spirited satire. I’m not much in the mood lately for seeing the human side of the inhumane. But this is still very funny and just a little touching–but mostly funny, especially the physical comedy Alex Moffatt brings to Eric halfway through the sketch. Mikey Day is very good as Donald Jr., slick and a little sleazy but still trying with his brother, but watching Moffatt do his thing while Day tries to talk, that there is paydirt.
Perhaps I’m wrong, but that’s my strong hunch and this is why.
Earlier this summer, in Harrison, Arkansas, there was a far right demonstration called in response to a supposed left-wing demonstration that never materialized. The rightists got about fifty people there, many from out of state. (No word on representation by Illinois Nazis.)
Does that sound like a lot? It might at first, until you remember that there is an actual Klan compound not far from Harrison. They’ve got a fair number of people there and they’ve got ties into the local community. And yet, these people had to bring in out-of-staters to make their crowd.
I think we’re seeing what we’re being shown: A lot of rightist propaganda spread through social media to give a falsely inflated impression of their size and strength. This is what happened today in Durham:
11:25 a.m.: In a recorded message to employees, Durham County closed office buildings and sent workers home early on Friday. All employees were instructed to leave for the day, take their belongings and avoid downtown.
11:40 a.m.: Police have blocked the road in front of the old Durham County Courthouse at 201 E. Main St. ahead of a rumored white supremacist protest.
12:07 p.m.: Crowds of people could be seen holding signs on Main Street in downtown Durham. A banner read “We will no longer be intimidated,” and people were seen holding “Black Lives Matter” signs.
12:23 p.m.: So far, there is no evidence of a white supremacist demonstration
12:50 p.m.: A man said he was attending the protest to stand up against “another round of Jim Crow (laws).” He said it was a good place to be today.
12:54 p.m.: A group was seen burning a Confederate flag
12:56 p.m.: A UNC professor said she was attending the demonstration to stand up against bigotry
1:08 p.m.: A group of protesters defaced what remains of a confederate monument in downtown Durham. “Death to the Klan” was written on the monument.
1:12 p.m.: A “party-like” atmosphere was described in downtown Durham as people danced to drumbeats and others could be heard chanting
1:23 p.m.: No hate groups, white supremacists, or KKK members have been seen in or around Durham.
Multiple people were taking part in a dance party. They said they were “dancing the hate away.”
Sounds like a great time! Especially since the guests of dishonor didn’t show up.
I bet that’s what almost every counter-protest looks like. We’ll see, but that’s my bet–it’ll mostly be counter-protest-dance-parties.
A memorial service for Heather Heyer is scheduled Wednesday morning at a downtown Charlottesville theater. Attendees were asked to wear purple, Heyer’s favorite color, in her memory.
The service is at 11 Eastern, 10 Central. I’m going to pause what I’m doing for a moment at that time.