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Blog Update for April 29

By April 29, 2020 No Comments

Please do not forget our ongoing for the next week and a half food bank fund drive! Again, half the funds will go to Catholic Charities’ Little Flower food pantry, and half the funds will go to the SAME Café. Again again, HERE’S WHAT TO DO:

  1. Go to Faith Direct (faith.direct/CO524), do whatever it is you usually do, and choose the option OTHER. That will let us know that you want your donation to go to our food bank fund.
  2. Enter 303-529-7436 in the text feature of your mobile device. In the message portion of the text, enter the dollar amount you’d like to give. You’ll be asked to enter 1 for Other or 2 for One-Time-Gift. ENTER 1 FOR OTHER. That lets us know that you want your donation to go to our food bank fund.
  3. You can also give by check, of course. Just send your check to Loyola Parish, 2309 N. Gaylord St., Denver CO 80205. Make the check payable to Loyola Parish and on the memo line put “food bank fund,” or some such.

OK? OK. Many of us were troubled by the recent protest demonstrations against various state and local stay-at-home-orders. There’s a legitimate – though, I believe, wrong-headed and potentially dangerous – argument to be made for restarting the economy, even though some of the protests appeared to have been little more than thinly-disguised Trump rallies. From what I’ve seen, many of the protests took an ugly tone. That people expressed their opinions and even their support for candidate Trump in public wasn’t what made things ugly – tone-deaf, perhaps, and ill-timed on Divine Mercy Sunday, but not ugly. The ugliness came from the shouting and associated belligerence, the sounding of horns, the intimidation, the harassment, the Confederate Flags, and the guns. We’ve all seen the footage – taken in Denver – of an angry woman leaning out of her truck to shout at a nurse in scrubs. And some of the hand-lettered protest signs on display were downright bizarre: What the Second Amendment has to do with a stay-at-home-order is anybody’s guess. As it turns out, the protests may have been staged, funded or at least encouraged by a number of right-wing groups, some few mainstream and many at or beyond the fringes. Disturbing.

Related topic. Really. Trump supporters are often portrayed as boisterous, aggrieved and driven by a generalized and unfocused anger. Whether or not this portrayal is accurate, do they deserve to be humiliated? Consider the recent work of Jordan Klepper. He is a comedian. He has been associated with The Daily Show. He’s bright, talented, erudite, and agreeably passionate about the causes he believes in. He also – like so many contemporary comedians – uses language that, were he to have done so in my grandmother’s company, would have earned him a mouthful of Ivory®. Sigh.

I first encountered Mr. Klepper’s work on … Facebook. Yes, I know. One of his latest projects was the recording of a series of interviews with Trump supporters at various rallies. His purpose in doing so was – apparently – to make fools of the people he was interviewing. To that end, he chose his targets well. His modus operandi seems to have been as follows: First, you approach people who are wearing offensive or inappropriate t-shirts – you know, the kind of folks who could really use someone at home to tell them that under no circumstances are they going to leave the house dressed like that. You chat them up a bit. Then, the ambush: Using a friendly and conversational tone, you pepper your targets with pointed and leading questions about current events or about their beliefs or about their support for Mr. Trump. If you can, you have them demonstrate muddled, confused, or illogical thinking, all the while goading them into saying things that they will later regret having said on camera.

Mr. Klepper is a clever man and he’s good at what he does. Some of the interviews I’ve seen are – I’m embarrassed to say – darkly funny. Some of them are cringeworthy. A man was encouraged – in a tone of it’s all in good fun – to turn around and show off the equally offensive back of his offensively misogynistic t-shirt. Never mind that this same fellow did not believe – and clearly so, if you listened to what he said – that his t-shirt was inconsistent with his repeatedly-stated respect for women. In another interview a woman was baited with the word misogyny, a word she’d obviously not come across before and did not know the meaning of. Which reminded me of the time – in college, no less – when, in class, I mispronounced the word epitome. As every schoolchild knows, the word is eh-PIT-oh-mē. I said, with groundless and thereby hilarious confidence, EH-pi-tōme. In class, in college, in front of everybody.

When you’re the one with the camera and the microphone it’s easy enough to make someone without a camera or a microphone look like a fool. When you can edit besides, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. It may be satisfying at a brute level in the way that revenge can be satisfying. It’s also cruel, and the thing about cruelty is that it’s cruel, regardless. It doesn’t really matter that you’re frustrated with the way things are going in this country or that you feel powerless to stop or even check unjust and destructive political and economic policies or that other people are making fun of people or even that you have come to despair of the gradual coarsening of American culture and life – although on that note it bears pointing out that in that same America, back in the day and long before the first MAGA cap, obscenities like the n-wordwere part of everyday speech. (So much for the good old days.) In any case, I’ve felt all of the above frustrations. Doesn’t matter. To be sure, satire aimed at the powerful has its place, but making a mockery of those who for reasons of education or background or whatever are at your mercy? Another matter altogether, and a problem.

Onto happier things. Guess what? It’s another beautiful day, and the dandelions tulips are still in bloom. Shortly Rags will go for his daily walk, where he will stop to smell – DEEPLY and with INTENSE and CONSUMING INTEREST – something every two feet or so. Which means it will take a long time to get around the block. And guess what else? Today and every day and every minute of every day, you are God’s precious child.

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