Welcome to Issue 24.2 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
Like many people, except for, say, police and Republicans and neo-Nazis, I am shaken to read of another Black person shot by police. My initial nausea about the racism that makes this country what it is has turned into a steady current, but fresh waves arrived this morning reading coverage of the police attack against Jacob Blake, father of six, in Wisconsin.
Jacob was doing what most of us say we would do—but probably, might not—he was breaking up an argument happening in his neighborhood. He didn’t want to talk to the police, so they shot him in the back while three of his children were in the car.
Although there is a video documenting the attack, “Republicans and the police union accused politicians of rushing to judgment.” In other words, those who stand to gain financially and politically, and be protected from accountability, are turning an unprompted attack of a Black man by armed state vigilantes into a partisan issue. More so, it appears that these entities are trying to use this moment as an opportunity to appeal to voters in the swing state of Wisconsin who believe that police in fact do have every right to shoot unarmed Black people for no reason.
(This fits, considering that remarks at the RNC last night concluded that Trump, who is obviously unbothered by the deaths of thousands of Black Americans at the hands of the police and the coronavirus pandemic and the slow violence of a white supremacist state, is ‘the only one’ who can ‘save America.’)
Against the odds, Jacob Blake is in stable condition after surgery; his family has raised $700,000 so far. I was struck by their million dollar goal, at first. Then, I thought of up-front medical costs, litigation, and the lifetime of mental health support the whole family will need to recover (if that is even a word we can use?) from the trauma of this attack. That family will never be the same.
But while teargassing protestors, the head of the Kenosha, WI police union said, “As always, the video currently circulating does not capture all the intricacies of a highly dynamic incident.” I’m sorry, there is nothing dynamic about your white police, who you obviously have no control over despite the no-questions-asked hierarchy that y’all say breeds ‘serving and protecting’ but in fact yields uncritical racially biased imbeciles, attacking a Black man. It is, in fact, simple.
In case we needed a reminder, Keeanga-Yamhatta Taylor recently published a piece entitled, “We should still defund the police.” It’s a longer read, perhaps for your lunch break or post-work libation. It’s a reckoning on how ‘liberal’ America has developed its two-faced identity of being ‘for’ the well-being of poor people and non-white people, but also relying on and believing in the necessity of a police state, among other things.
And if we defund the police, not only will all the Black and brown and Indigenous people in this nation be a little safer walking down the street, we can also invest in other stuff we need. Taylor’s article talks about the Johnson administration’s investment in anti-poverty programs; today, progressive politicians talk about things like Medicare for all and a Green New Deal; organizers talk about a Red, Black, and Green New Deal.
In addition to all those programs that are rooted in essential services, don’t forget about the US Postal Service. Currently run by a floundering hack, the USPS has become one of few remaining bastions against fascism, as the entity that processes mail-in ballots. USPS workers are having a day of action today; participate as part of your daily citizenly responsibility.
Here’s to taking on systems we must destroy, as well as those we desperately need, with the fervor of pandas:
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
I have been looking for ~*Hot Goss*~ in the wrong places. I spend a lot of time scouring industry magazines, celebrity gossip sites, and tabloids to find the best of the mess to bring to my readers when the juiciest stories have been hiding in plain sight all this time. Which was how I came across today’s goss – by scrolling through my Twitter feed during my lunch break yesterday, as I typically do most days, and coming across the words “Jerry Falwell Jr.” and “pool boy” in the same sentence.
In case you don’t know who Jerry Falwell Jr. is, he is the president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia – a private evangelical Christian university that has been described as a “bastion of the Christian right” in American politics. Jerry Falwell Sr., his father, founded The Moral Majority and is what my politically inclined American friends say is the reason American fundamentalism is where it is today. So as you can see, the Falwells are somewhat of a dynasty in the American sociopolitical and cultural landscape. An evangelical version of The Kennedys, if you will. Which makes this hot goss all the more scalding.
Controversy has been brewing around Junior for some time now, starting with some (now deleted) racy photos of a party he hosted on his yacht with a number of young girls, women, and shirtless men. Now, in an explosive interview with Reuters, a business partner of Junior has come forward to say that he had a years-long relationship with Junior’s wife – and the evangelical figure himself. And by “years-long” I mean close to a decade.
Giancarlo Granda says he was only 20-years-old when he met Junior and his wife, Becki Falwell, while working as a pool boy at a hotel in Miami Beach in March 2012. From that moment on and until 2018, Giancarlo said that his relationship with the Falwells involved him having sex with Becki while Jerry “watched from a corner.” In his interview, Giancarlo showed reporters emails, texts, and other evidence to back up his story.
Junior, of course, claims that what happened between Giancarlo and Becki was an illicit affair, and that Giancarlo is spilling the tea now to extort money from the Falwells. Giancarlo denies these claims. Me, personally? I’m Team Giancarlo. According to Reuters, the relationship between Giancarlo and the Falwells eventually soured due to a business dispute, which is why this is all coming out now. I don’t completely buy that though.
Giancarlo has pushed back against claims of extortion by saying that not only did Junior know about this relationship with Becki, but he was also an active participant in it. It’s pretty clear to me that Giancarlo is telling the truth, regardless of whether or not extortion is his end game. His relationship with the Falwells lasted years – six, to be clear – and the couple went as far as involving him in their business dealings by giving him a stake in a hostel chain they own. And yes, I absolutely believe that Jerry wasn’t just watching the show from some corner, and that he took part in these liaisons as well.
Evangelical mess is always on another level. The cast of characters are predictable, but the story truly never gets old. I don’t delight in the downfall of others, I just find this to be so funny. And you know what? I truly hope Giancarlo gets his coin. The Falwells have raked in millions of dollars through publicly selling their religious hypocrisy while privately behaving in ways that would get students attending Liberty University fined, suspended, or expelled. So good on you, Giancarlo! We stan a pool boy who knows his worth – all millions of dollars of them.