We Must SUPPORT our Boys in Blue
Sometimes I worry that immersing myself in this content on a regular basis has made me a more ghoulish and unpleasant person to be around
They changed up the way the top of the Wheat Thins box opens. No one is talking about this.
I keep changing my mind on the Tom Cruise thing back and forth like Trump basing policy on the last guy he talked to.
If you’d like to listen to me talk with my mouth Teddy Ostrow of my publisher OR Books interviewed me for a holiday in Hell World themed podcast which you can find here. They’ve also got a big holiday sale going on including my first book and titles from this absolute collection of elite posting brains.
In the most recent edition of Discontents me and the gang all shared our favorite newsletters of the year. I recommended Music Journalism Insider by Todd L. Burns + Fingers by Dave Infante (who previously reported for Hell World on an attempt to punish workers for unionizing at a brewery in Minneapolis) + Rave New World by Michelle Lhooq + The End of the World Review by Dana Snitzy + All Cops Are Posters by Katie Way.
Read more about them over there plus everyone else’s picks plus a bit from me on that pathetic dog shit New York Post article slut-shaming a random paramedic for having an OnlyFans.
“Nowhere in the Post story does it mention that it’s a fucking outrage and an indictment of this piece of shit country that paramedics, the people we’ve entrusted to save our lives, do not make enough money, so they’re often forced into taking gig work on the side. Only in New York baby!! And also everywhere in America.”
Speaking of Katie Way I’m turning over the wheel to her today for a piece about what she’s learned digging through the social media posts of cops and the people who love to kiss them this year. Check it out below then stay tuned for more from me afterwards.
If you like what you read here and want to see more outside contributors please help by chipping in with a subscription. This 30% off coupon expires tomorrow.
I Spent the Year Facebook Stalking Cop Lovers And All I Got Were These Fucked-Up Screenshots
by Katie Way
To Back the Blue online, declare that “Blue Lives” “Matter,” point out the Thin Blue Line to the unanointed (it’s the one between us and Criminals!!!!!!!!) and enthusiastically thank cops for Keeping Us Safe, you need a few basic tools. Pro-cop cartoon parodies? An absolute must. The blue heart emoji? Second only to the prayer hands. Airbrush-style gifs of waving American flags, blue-tinted bald eagles, and the words “THANK YOU”? Better have a folder on your desktop full of them.
It’s like this: Imagine the frequency, intensity, and earnestness of posts from your mom who loves the Green Bay Packers, your cousin who’s obsessed with fermentation, or your high school friend who just moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, except they’re all writing heartfelt Facebook statuses about sharing if you agree that 🖤💙🖤 We Must SUPPORT our Boys in Blue 💙🖤💙 and retweeting shit about wanting to run protestors over with their cars.
I started thinking a lot about how social media fuels cop power at the end of 2019, when stories kept popping up about cops getting razor blades and shit put in their fast food. Cops, apparently, live in fear of their local McDonald’s and Wendy’s and Five Guys employees and their prolific, assassin-like poisoning abilities—at least, that’s what they seemed to worry about online. Only, when cops submitted food tampering allegations to the court of public opinion via Facebook, more often than not those claims evaporated after they went viral. I wrote about cops crying “there’s spit in my McChicken!” in March of this year; It happened again in June, when NYPD officers were h o s p i t a l i z e d after milkshakes at Shake Shack smelled “off” and official NYPD Twitter accounts blamed anti-police sentiment.
Sometimes I worry that immersing myself in this content on a regular basis has made me a more ghoulish and unpleasant person to be around. But not only is its rubberneck appeal impossible to look away from, it also makes me feel like I know my enemy by the tenor of their discourse. Once you start paying attention to what cops and their fans talk about on the Thin Blue Online, it becomes apparent that these kinds of dramatics are par for the course. Extreme and violent overreactions to perceived threats is the bedrock of the cop mindset. This kneejerk, lash-out instinct is perfectly suited to platforms like Facebook and Twitter that run on unhinged, bottomless ranting—both angry and effusive.
Of course, the cop internet has also bled onto other platforms: See cops on TikTok lip-syncing in their squad cars, or dancing in uniform in their living rooms. Cop wife content has permanently scarred my TikTok algorithm, which now serves me videos of women dancing to apology voicemails from their cheating husbands and Jeff Foxworthy-chic “You might be an army wife IF…” clips while I’m trying to look at pesto recipes.
It’s important to know that cops and cop lovers aren’t just mad online. (Although they are very mad at the Black Lives Matter “crowd,” Democrat mayors, and “BS.”) They’re also sad at the way society at large is disrespecting the Police Officer, but grateful because the Police Officer does his job anyway. The dominant mood in the cop supporter social media community is a heady cocktail of self-importance and fawning submission.
The fiercest Blue Lives Matter disciples are ready to shoehorn their love for the police into anything they do online. They’ll throw a “Back the Blue!” frame on their Facebook profile picture at the drop of a hat—even though their picture was already an illustration of an angel crying in front of the Twin Towers. Never forget to post!
They’re eager to flaunt the ways they show their support offline, too. They submit photos of Punisher car decals and Thin Blue Line flags and hideous wooden carvings and fake challenge coins they bought off of Etsy for peer approval. They’ve got custom face masks, trucker hats, baby clothes, and cover-up tattoos.
The online cop community has, for obvious reasons, become increasingly embattled as 2020 has dragged on. Which is to say it’s all become funnier, more unhinged, and more perverse. In July cops and their supporters cried on TikTok over the last words, captured via radio transmission, of a Toledo cop fatally wounded in a Home Depot parking lot: “Tell my family I love them”—a hamfisted display of radical empathy which could never possibly extend to any of the vulnerable people police officers brutalized, victimized, or killed this year.
In December they decked the halls with police-themed Christmas decor, topping trees with peaked caps and blue lights and blue lines—because fuck Jesus, am I right? Cops are — hypothetically, if it doesn’t require too much running, or critical thinking, or paperwork — the ones who are ready to die for our sins!
(Side note: A lot of cop support imagery is so Christian that it’s almost… sacrilegious? See: The cross Jesus died on, shot through with a thin, blueish flash of light; the conviction that every time a cop dies “an angel rises;” or a winged badge, ascending into Heaven through a special entrance specifically for law enforcement.)
But far and away the most entertaining part of scrolling through a year of Cop Content has been the way it’s come back to bite the actual cops participating. Every week since the uprisings following George Floyd’s murder, a law enforcement officer somewhere in the U.S. has faced some kind of consequence for their hideous online behavior. 911 operators fired for full-throated endorsements of the Confederate flag; sergeants suspended for posting racist epithets about Kamala Harris; one cop even got arrested in November for posting revenge porn on Tumblr.
I’m hesitant to trust the feeling, but watching cops from Boulder to Shreveport to Cambridge to Coral Springs get busted for Posting makes me feel… a little… hopeful. Not because we’re administrative-leave-ing our way to a quieter, calmer, fairer police force nationwide (that’s all oxymoronic), but because it means other people are seeing this shit too and doing what they can about it. The boys in blue don’t need to do anything special online to keep our collective attention from here on out—all they have to do is keep being themselves where other people can see them.
Katie Way is a Brooklyn-based writer and reporter who covers the wellness industry and internet culture for VICE's Life desk. She also writes about police culture online in her weekly-ish newsletter All Cops Are Posters. Her Her other interests include chilling, hanging out, and having a good time.
Ok it’s me Luke again.
“If a local leader wants to put them out of work, you’re damn right I’m hobbling them from doing that,” Ron DeSantis said on Tuesday. He was making an appearance at Okeechobee Steakhouse in West Palm Beach as the Orlando Sentinel reported.
“If they want to shut down businesses, I’m going to stand in the way. ... I don’t think government has a right to put these people out of work.”
Don’t make me tap the sign again.
“The evidence at this point does not show restaurants are significant drivers” he said. “The vast, vast majority of infections are occurring in peoples’ homes, particularly if you have people getting together,” he said. “So closing a restaurant to indoor dining is going to lead to more people doing that in private homes anyways,” he said.
The problem for DeSantis in Florida as it has been in many other states like New York and Massachusetts where governors have also urged going out and dining “safely” in restaurants is of course that they cannot collect taxes on gatherings in a home. (Not until Chairman Biden has his way anyway right?!) In Massachusetts they’ve recently rolled back the regulations on how many people can be inside a restaurant at once so now you can only have six people at a table instead of ten and WHAT THE FUCK YOU COULD HAVE TEN PEOPLE AT A TABLE RECENTLY? Even under normal non-pandemic circumstance sitting at a table with ten people is a nightmare.
The lion’s share of blame for our humiliating pandemic failure goes to our coward leaders who refuse to simply give us some fucking money so everyone can stay home until the vaccines are distributed but I'm still saving some scorn for people eating at ten tops at fucking roller rink food courts and shit this whole time.
Then again maybe vaccines aren’t going to save us.
I listened to an interview on NPR just now with Dr. Joseph Varon of Houston Memorial Medical Center. He’s been working there for 272 consecutive days dealing with an influx of Covid patients.
“I’ve been sleeping no more than two hours per week,” he told them back in July. “I’ve signed more death certificates last week than in my entire life almost all put together.”
Then in September: “I’m living on adrenaline… And also the sense that if I don’t do what I’m doing right now, nobody else is going to.”
Then in November: “You have no idea how crazy things are. It’s beyond ridiculous. The number of patients has increased. The severity of illness has increased. I truly believe that the next six weeks are going to be probably the darkest weeks that Houston has had.”
Then they checked back in today after news of the vaccine’s imminent arrival. There’s good news and uhhhhhhhhhhh news he said. 50% of the nurses in his unit told him they will not get the vaccine he said.
“Coronavirus has become a political toy. Most of the reasons why people don’t want to get the vaccine are politically motivated,” he said.
Do you feel like you’re in prison? If so don’t say that out loud please you are not in prison right now.
Speaking of Bobby Lewis of Media Matters up there I interviewed him earlier on in the year about how Fox News was handling the news of the pandemic. Not great was the verdict you won’t be surprised to hear. Fox’s early coverage echoing and reinforcing Trump’s constant lies about the virus are two of the main reasons why we’ve arrived at this ridiculous horrific point where 300,000 are dead and plenty of people all around the country still don’t even think it’s real or worth worrying about.
Regarding that feeling that this has all been like being in jail:
Find Taylor Johnson’s latest collection of poems here.
While it mercifully does not seem like there is going to be any large scale mass violence over the very unfair and phony effort to steal the election from Mr. Trump there has been and will continue to be plenty of horrific shit like this story of a former disgraced Houston police captain absolutely losing his mind.
Mark Anthony Aguirre a member of a private citizens group ~~investigating voter fraud~~ or whatever has been arrested for running a random guy off the road and holding him at gunpoint. Aguirre believed the man’s air conditioning repair truck was transporting fake ballots.
“Prosecutors say Aguirre was paid over a quarter million dollars by a private group called ‘Liberty Center for God and Country’ to investigate alleged ballot schemes in the Houston area,” CNN reported.
“According to Aguirre, he had been conducting surveillance on the victim for four days under a theory the victim was the mastermind of a giant fraud, and there were 750,000 fraudulent ballots in a truck he was driving,” the District Attorney’s arrest report explains.
“Aguirre ran his SUV into the back of the truck to get the technician to stop and get out…When the technician got out of the truck, Aguirre, pointed a handgun at the technician, forced him to the ground and put his knee on the man’s back – an image captured on the body-worn camera of a police officer.”
Police found nothing but regular air conditioner repair tools in the air conditioner repair guy’s air conditioning repair truck. The former cop thought the guy was using Hispanic children to sign the fake ballots because their fingerprints wouldn’t be traceable. He thought Mark Zuckerberg had paid him $9.37 million for his work which is some real dumb guy shit making up a number that specific so it seems more realistic.
It wasn’t exactly rare in the old days for me to go absolutely insane off coke and stare out the window for an hour or two convincing myself every street light reflecting off a car was the cops ready to storm my house. I wonder what it’s like to live inside of that paranoid headspace like one of these Trump guys but for every minute of your life? Gotta be a ride.
Ok I had all sorts of other cop shit I wanted to get to in here today but it’s telling me it’s almost too long for an email already at this point so stay tuned for next time.
Congratulations on making it this far. Years as a concept aren’t real but 2020 is almost over and you didn’t die. That’s not nothing.
Thanks to reader Rebecca for sending along this poem.
won’t you celebrate with me
by Lucille Clifton
won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.