An Apology

Hey guys.

Yesterday I posted a tone deaf rant, which I later deleted out of embarrassment, in a knee-jerk defense of a certain group of people because, well, let’s be honest. My Southern White Man fee-fees were hurt. I’m over it now, but I felt that it was worth addressing again today.

While I still believe that the vast majority of your fellow Americans are good folk trying to make it in a tough world, I also realize that the very moment of your shock, anger and dismay is not the time to launch into a defense of some of the people who put you there.

You can love your family and they can make terrible mistakes. You don’t have to defend the former or the latter, and I won’t.

I don’t hang out with Reddit sociopaths or Sons of the Confederacy, but yes, you are correct. Even grandmothers have some questions to answer. Even the knitting group, if they made your life potentially Hell on Earth. They do. I hope that, in the future, we can all sit down and talk about this, but now is not the time. Be afraid, be very afraid. It is warranted.

I spent the election season trying to write about other things. Initially, I tried touching it from an angle when I had to with a short story about an arcade, but even that felt weird, so I went back to my regular silliness.

A couple of weeks ago I guess it got to be too much to stand, so I started in on the Bob Talbot 2016: FULL COMMUNISM, BABY, thing. I had a great time doing it and I really felt like I was about to experience more of the same, a Clinton presidency, and I felt very comfortable ranting about the threats of incrementalism because that’s what we’d definitely be facing.

Everyone else thought that too. Trey Parker and Matt Stone had to throw out an entire episode of South Park because it was based on Clinton winning. Newsweek had to send out a massive recall for a print run of their new cover story, “Madam President.”

I’m not sure what we’re facing now but I want you to know this: I am on your side. I want to cover this thing from the ground, here, in Arkansas, and show you the real life effects of what has happened. I want to give you stories, not rants about bullshit I know nothing about, and I know I can do this, but it’s going to take some time.

I’ve been searching for stories but so far, to me, this is a sleepy, quiet little town. That will likely change. I am still off work with my newborn son and I return to the store this coming Monday. I’ve been sheltered in this cave with only the Internet to guide me and, as you all know, that is a terrible idea.

I am not sure what the path forward means to me as someone who enjoys writing. I am going to stop telling people how to feel or what to do and either start being funny again or begin to present stories of what is really happening in this community. Either way, I am not going to spend time ranting defending the very people who led us down this dark path. I realize that I am at my best when I present life as I see it, without a lot of conclusions since we all know there really aren’t any. That is my mission.

I have spent the last few days locked to my computer and phone to the point of illness. Until I have something worth writing about, I really need to limit my time online. I gain nothing by gazing hard into Facebook looking for answers when there are not any, and I know from experience my best results come when I go out and live life and report on it.  This is my plan going forward.

In closing, I am sorry, people. I don’t want to add to your hurt and misery. I’m not even going to say, “We’ll get through this,” because we may not. Or I may and you may not, and that really is the point, isn’t it? I recognize my privilege in this situation and it’s not my place to tell you how to react.

I am so, so sorry.

Until then, I’ll be here, watching, thinking, and maybe coming up with an original angle on this whole mess we call life. I’ll spare the Earth my fifth-grade-reading-level rants.

Bobspeed.

2 thoughts on “An Apology”

  1. I have been devastated for days, and have felt like I’m much weaker than the people around me who are still yelling and fighting.

    This made me feel good. You were strong for apologizing for this, and while I didn’t see your original rant and it’s not my place to forgive you for it, I bet I have completely felt what you were feeling when you wrote it, and that rant is not who you are.

    You’ve talked about The Talbot Rage. Man, I have The Zetlen Self-Flagellate. Things get bad, I erupt in this paroxysm of narcissistic world-on-my-shoulders-i-fucked-it-up self-loathing. My brain was too fucked-out to write during that time, but I’m sure I felt similar things: is this my fault? Why does it feel like everyone thinks it’s my fault? If it is my fault, what makes sense about that? Is it inside me? Can I do anything about it?

    I have been a pathetic mess, and because of my media hatereading habits of the past years, I saw a bunch of laughing, sneering faces in my head, the whole time, enjoying my humiliation.

    People are using this metaphor a lot about putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Honestly, I’m so bad at self-care that I’m not sure how to put mine on, but I am trying to be a grown-up, and stop caring how it looks and caring whether or not I seem Woke Online. So I am gonna be a white man with hurt fee-fees for a while, because–though it’s hard to trust any group wisdom right now–I’m choosing to trust the collective wisdom that says that you must self-care before you can effectively care for others. And then, though it feels unsteady and weird to say it, and I’m not sure what it’s gonna look like, I’m gonna get better at politics and helping, and I’m gonna help others.

    November 11, 2016. Realized Bob Talbot was a role model.

    1. Wow, an actual comment. I rarely get these.

      I am glad you checked in. I had noticed your absence during this time and, well, Pepperidge Farm Remembers.

      It’s going to take me a long time to process this, which is weird because this is just the tip of the iceberg. Someone told me yesterday they’d lived through two military coups and maybe we should chill for a moment, but I don’t want to take that out of context. They impressed upon me reasons why immigrants or LGBT people might be fucking terrified, and I realized what a white dude perspective I had been approaching all this from. I will do better, I promise.

      I can’t tell anyone how to deal and I won’t, but what I will do is deliver the fucking news. When I get back out into the world this week I will do so with eyes open and I am going to report on this community. I hope it’s boring. I hope the report is “hey guys everyone is sitting around reading the newspaper and knitting.” I pray to the gods this is so.

      I don’t think it will be, though. Not in the long run, at least, and I have to be here to show the world what is happening. I’m going to do my best to not turn this into some THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE TO DO NOW rant because I am not that guy. I don’t have that mind. I know people who are organizing, and I will assist them, but I have never been the leader of that kind of thinking, other than parroting some shit I read somewhere.

      So yeah man, please take care of yourself. I am already fucking up my pledge to take time off the Internet today but I have people reaching out to me and I cannot ignore them.

      I’m gonna Observe and Report and keep the dank memes to a minimum. I feel like this is my contribution to society.

      And, again, I am sorry, folks, for telling you how to react. That is not my fucking job.

      Peace, James. The world needs you, so badly.

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