Trayvon Martin, Rorschach blot

By Michael J. Smith on Friday March 23, 2012 10:54 PM

A 'gated community' in Florida. Difficult to imagine a more creepy and unreal environment(*). I hope poor Trayvon's family sue the 'gated community' and win big; and I hope the price tag makes such places think twice, in future, about allowing 'neighborhood watch' cop-buffs to operate on their premises.

That, it seems to me, is the story here. The town cops were annoyed and exasperated by this obvious nut Zimmerman; and yet once he finally did the entirely predictable thing and shot a black kid, they closed ranks behind him. I suppose this is because 'neighborhood watch' outfits are subsidiary outriders of the great American cop cult, as oblates are to monastic orders, and something is owed by the priesthood to its votaries. A fan club is a valuable asset for anybody.

That amiable loon Santorum, alone among the "presidential" "candidates", responded as any sensible person would. Everybody else hedged his bets.

The Romneybot characterized the event as 'inexplicable', which would evoke harsh loud laughter if laughter weren't... inappropriate. Under the circumstances.

Nothing could possibly be more easily explicable than what happened to Trayvon Martin; nobody could be more explicable than his murderer; no non-event could be more explicable than the spectacular inertness of his town's police after he was gunned down.

The worst response was Obie's. He's a glib fluent fellow, usually, but he stammered and paused, groping for words like a recent stroke victim. Clearly weighing the electoral effect of every syllable. He slipped, for a likable moment, and observed that if he, Obie, had had a son, that son would have looked like Trayvon.

Did he mean it, I wonder? Though I loathe the guy, I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. But if so, he was wrong. Obie's son would have gone to Sidwell Friends vel sim and would never have been wandering around some dreary Florida suburb fetching Skittles. He wouldn't have looked or acted like Trayvon, and it goes without saying that he wouldn't have 'stood his ground' against some self-appointed authority figure. He would have presented ID, and been conciliatory, and probably Zimmerman would have ended up asking him for his autograph.

And if he ever wore a hoodie, it would have been at a frat party. And it would have been an ironical hoodie.


(*) Apart from a ''studies" department in a university, of course.

Comments (33)

I got Sidwell Friends.

But, god damn. I missed "ironical hoodie." Well done, that man.


Regarding your asterisk, I hear you, I hear you very deeply in fact, but I think you exaggerate a little too much. You navigated academia before, and you navigate the UWS now. With a well-deserved contempt, of course -- but a comfortable contempt, as well. I grow a little weary of this pose, much as I adore what you have to say (and recognize that some inestimable portion of it is comic). As for a gated community in Florida? I think you'd be fucking lost beyond repair there. But what do I really know about another man's soul?

PS Fabulous entry otherwise.


Sometimes I wonder whether the gates are meant to keep the undesirables *in*.


Ink blot patterning for sure

How anyone knows enough here to stake out a position
Better be prepared to hold their ground
if the facts temblor under their feet

To me this media circus deserves to be ignored
by those of us
that aren't
Forced to comment like pols

Ya yathe chief fucked up
Zim should be in a cell right now
Beyond that it's just horn blowing

I completely agree with Father S
We live in cop cult soaked culture

"Cop vs anti Cop" dueling cults culture
Among white Americans that is

Resident and co-citizen Non white nations and national fragments
Justly confront an alien occupation force

Btw fwiw
I found barry's unpolished one liner
sincere ....... moving even...almost moving that is


I speak as a paleface of course

As a member of any oppressed American community I wouldn't miss an opportunity to reinforce the struggle against
The 24/7 reign of terror laid down by the white occupation


Lambert ?
U old dog u
What's up ?

Come here looking for a lost silk hat ?

Comment cages here
Have turned into a nihilist clog dance platform
since last i recall your spats and taps gracing the site


Gated Community
has a broad usage
down here in swamp lot USA

Don't think

John's Island


From what I saw of the real estate, it didn't look worth gating.

sk: the white occupation

You might be surprised by the number of Indian doctors, Haitian franchise owners, Hong Kong businessmen, and Jordanian sales managers living in these gated communities. If I remember correctly E.M. Forster once wrote that whiteness has as much to do with skin color as God Save the King has to do with either of those worthies. In fact, the reactionary sentiments toward the darkies (Upper caste Indians and propertied Haitians tend to have a "wheatish" complexion to begin with which seems to get lighter the longer they've been stateside) some of these arrivistes can recite at the drop of a hat might leave you nostalgic for the shell games of palefaced racism. Whiteness is a state of mind and you don't have to be white to acquire the toxic qualities those on the wrong side of the race-class tracks tend to associate with it.


SK: Yes. Listen to Caribbeans talk about American blacks, at least here in Bklyn, NY. They make Archie Bunker sound like Alan Alda (how's that for a coupla dated references?).


yes, slain Haitian journalist Jean Dominique spoke of the dirty looks and snide comments he started getting from his class cohorts at places like the supermarket checkout counter when he took sides with the darker skinned folks working in the fields. Playing mechanistic games such as "black faces in high places" will only get you the likes of Thatcher and Obama--who went reverse "native" long ago--leaving longtime activists "understandably horrified" at what became of their movement after decades of organizing.


i think several of you hounds
went haring off after your own decoys

the white man's state indeed has its "Fridays"

none the less the color line
defines its basic taxonomy

the exceptions face ever higher standards of accptance as honorary whites

Fadduh Smiff sez on 03.23.12 @22:54:

The worst response was Obie's. He's a glib fluent fellow, usually, but he stammered and paused, groping for words like a recent stroke victim. Clearly weighing the electoral effect of every syllable. He slipped, for a likable moment, and observed that if he, Obie, had had a son, that son would have looked like Trayvon.

I caught that quote, too, the other night. His comment about his hypothetical son and what he'd "look like" was sure as hell no goddamn' "likeable moment". It was a comment just as calcuated for electoral effect -- blowing black voters' dog whistle with a variation on "looks like me" -- and made Obummer even more loathsome to me somehow.

This was one of those times where I desperately found myself hoping that Obummer would please fucking keep his goddamn' mouth fucking shut...and, dependably, he comes out with some nasty lump of lukewarm smarmy mumbling.


O shure yer a hard man, Mike Flugennock!

But you're probably right.


We speak of innocent bystanders: but in the manual of the War on Crime, they are collateral damage.

A cultus for cops? Well, yes. They're part of the televised Holy Trinity: Doctors, Lawyers, Police. These deities were formerly carved from stone: Marcus Welby, Perry Mason, Joe Friday. Now they're profusely flesh and blood, tormented, afflicted, dysfunctional.

It's just a more sophisticated worship. Observe these burdened men and women, struggling with issues, temptations, crises; and yet they break out of their hells and rescue the public. There are truths in these stories, as in any enduring faith. And when the gods themselves appear to fail, the fault is in our stars: tragedies of the "system" or the "culture."

Hence the hollowness of politico regrets. The War on Crime, on Drugs, on Terror: the speeches are the same. We mourn these deaths, but we must not lose resolve, etc., etc.

Peter Ward:
Listen to Caribbeans talk about American blacks, at least here in Bklyn, NY. They make Archie Bunker sound like Alan Alda.

Indeed, the active premise isn't race per se, but keeping the descendents of "freed" slaves in their rightful place. As St. Abraham (Lincoln) himself said, The negro should never be the equal to the white man.


Ward u are a dark side wallower like flugnutz

Ever give it a break?

Poor lanky link

Should I suspect you despise head hunter tribes too ?

Or have you cultivated
a deep understanding heart
for pre state culture
" soul-products" ?


What op said.


Op sez that the SMBIVA "comments cages" have been taken over by "nihilists" performing on a "clog dancing platform."
Fucking clog dancing?
The comment "cages" were the only place of life here, and you've done run us off.


Just this Friday I saw Steve James' documentary The Interrupters, about a group of conflict mediators in Chicago.

It struck me that a lot of the violence in that film was of the same nature as what happened to Martin. Martin was wearing the wrong clothes in the wrong neighborhood, and he looked like he might be part of a group Zimmerman had a beef with, so Zimmerman confronted him, got into a fight, and shot him.

In other words, the central dynamic seems to have been the same one that leads to a lot of gang violence.

I've been thinking a lot about how much cosmetic differences change our opinions. If Zimmerman had been in a gang and mistook Martin for somebody he had problems with, people's sympathies in this case would be radically changed, even though the underlying act and motivation would've been essentially the same.


"'ve done run us off"

i hope not
surely not my intention
as a vigorous thriver on plurality

what would
a solitary and short existence like mine
"drift" towards
without the regular unsoliced administration
of a self confident
blind eye

Karen Horney's Ghost:

Maybe if op were actually a person and not a figment of MJS's imagination this place wouldn't suck so much hind teat. An exercise in MPD isn't that interesting.


i deeply resent the blunt fact no onne thinks i OP
the figment MJS !!!!!!

is it so obvious
i the great and odious owen paine
must be the creature
of a higher creator
not father S ???????????????????????????


i lick my wounds
only because no one else will



here we have a number of socially manufactured
causal elements
each diabolical in themselves
conspiring to produce an atrocity

however i must say
i can't find condemnation
of group definitions
of "us and other "
a very useful point of attack

a reformation movement
must take
the "laws " behind the social formation
of human thought and motive
into account

fail safe systems must be predicated
on such
factioning outcomes
not on the eradication
of these spontaneous human processes

as father said

cops oughta investigate
gun toting one man police force nuts
like zim-zim here

go to their place of residence
and "disarm them "
as a threat
not just to the civil peace
but to the life and limb
of the greater community

just like a chronic drunk driver
might eventually kill some one
so you take away his drivers license

Happy Jack:

A 'gated community' in Florida.

That phrase really tickles the amygdala of people. Richard Seymour goes off about security guards and protecting the property of the bourgeoisie. Belle Waring brings up plantations and Hilton Head.

I get the impression these people have never been to Florida. Every other low-end housing development and mobile home park has them. What retirees really fear is some speeding teenager creaming them as the they cruise the streets in their Hoverounds.


Happy Jack

Yet another reason to say father headed this post brilliantly

The rush to pre- judgement
on both sides of the white liberal /reactionary divide
Is revealing

Polls suggest however
Most folks think Zimm Zimm oughta be in the can now


The white liberals/pwogs are calling for more gun control over this, too (because you know, prohibiting people of color from legally defending themselves is totally anti-racist).

Happy Jack -

Being a Florida resident myself, you're exactly right.


Negroes with Guns? No wonder Robert Williams became the "most feared man in America".


One is quite aware of the existence of downscale 'gated communities' -- and not just in Florida. The interesting part of the picture is not that 'gated communities' are particularly privileged; it's that they're *gated* and there is in effect no truly public space, by design. They're the residential equivalent of shopping malls.


Father has it exactly right

It's not about the one percent here
Versus the swirling surrounding colored hordes

It's about the system self sanctioning super lots
Made of house lots
We job class white types are
sectioned off into

All the better to increase
the sense of
others are among us
When a stray wonders in

A street that carries drive thrus loses this brilliancy
This bright lining of the intruder

Imagine the day dreams of that watchman shooter and cop wanna be

A hero in his own head

Happy Jack:

I don't think you need gates to produce that behavior, op. That's kind of the whole purpose behind Neighborhood Watch, isn't it. You outsource the police function to a busybody, who spends their time on the lookout for "people who don't belong." That's the definition of "strange behavior and unusual activity."

I read somewhere that 40% of the US population lives under the warm embrace of NW in some form. That's why I find the focus on gates a little odd. Zimmerman's actions would be just as creepy in any neighborhood, not just a gated community. But I haven't seen many people question the concept of NW, which I believe is bound to produce an overzealous Barney Fife at some time.


I still remember my favorite Florida gated community, located somewhere in the cancerous sprawl of suburban St. Pete.:

The "On Top of the World" condominiums. Concrete block boxes surrounded by a barbed wire fence, with a gate, of course. On top of the block boxes are playwood constructs propped up by twoxfours....domes, minarets, and other exotica.

Florida...what a place!


Happy Jack is quite right about Neighborhood Watchers, I think. All part of the security theater and iatrogenic paranoia that's been pandemic in American life since, what, the mid-70s?

It's not confined to suburbia either. In my town, in Penn Station and the subways, there are menacing announcements every couple of minutes telling us all to worry about our fellow-straphangers and their knapsacks.

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