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@DotPolitics Weekly: America goes two days without apocalyptic racial meltdown. Let’s celebrate

You weekly dose of Internet politics.


Aaron Sankin


Every day we get up and put on our pants one leg at a time, just like everybody else. And, just like everybody else, we generally do so while sobbing uncontrollably because America is a place where police officers can kill whomever they want with no repercussions and there are apparently no dry cleaners left who know how get tear stains out of pants. 

On Wednesday, a grand jury in New York City declined to charge an NYPD officer for strangling Eric Garner, an African-American father of six, while arresting him for allegedly selling lose cigarettes on the street. The decision sparked protests around the county that were, in contrast to the spasm of rage triggered by a Missouri grand jury’s similar decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson, were largely peaceful. We just wish there was some way to have orderly, violence-free political protests that still resulted in CNN’s Don Lemon getting tear gassed on live TV.

We know, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Unless “cake” equals killing unarmed black people and “eating it” means existing within a system specifically designed to shield many of those who do so from facing legal consequences.  

#CrimingWhileWhite illustrates sobering realities of crime and race. Twitter reacted to the Garner decision the way Twitter reacts to pretty much everything: endlessly complaining about it while inventing ineffectual hashtags in a grand masturbatory dance mirroring the seemingly total inability of the average person to have any effect on the racial disparities in America.

But this time, Twitter came up with a hashtag we liked. So, kudos.

It’s called #CrimingWhileWhite and it lets white people talk about all the dumb, illegal things they’ve done and then had cops let them off for because they “seemed nice.” It was as if thousands upon thousands of white Twitteratti suddenly erupted in chorus of guilt-fueled admissions of white privilege. If we hadn’t already expended our daily quotenet of having emotions while putting on our pants this morning, it would have made us all misty with joy. The hashtag was soon joined by a counterpart called #LivingWhileBlack, where African-Americans shared contrasting stories about being harassed by police for just trying to live.

Twitter, you did good this time. Now let’s see how America’s political leaders responded…

Rand Paul finds a way to blame taxes for Eric Garner’s death. We’re not going to make a joke about this. Someone asked a Republican about race relations and he used it as an excuse to go into a tirade about taxes being too damn high. That is already a perfect joke.

Many years from now, long after cat videos become sentient and enslave humanity, your great-grandchildren will look up at your grizzled face and ask, “What was it like on the Internet in 2014?” You’ll sigh wearily and say, “This. It was like this.”

Actually, no one will ask that. The cat videos have very strict rules about human beings not talking to each other. It’s a lot like working at Amazon.

St. Louis police publish tone-deaf Facebook post about the death of Tamir Rice. Protip: If you’re a police officer posting on your department’s official Facebook page about an incident where where a 12-year old boy was fatally gunned down by a cop who mistook his toy gun for a real one, don’t start it by writing “Kids will be Kids?” and definitely don’t end it with tips about what parents should tell their 12-year olds about what to do in case they encounter a SWAT team while playing with a toy gun in order to avoid being murdered. If you do that, everyone will be mad at you.

Here’s a thought: Since the NRA has ensured that the United States may now have more guns than people, maybe the reason police officers are so quick to shoot every 12-year-old they suspect might have a gun is that it’s entirely reasonable to assume every 12-year-old might have a gun.

You know, just a thought.

Reddit’s Eric Garner community is run by white supremacists. Anyone on Reddit can set up a community about anything they want. Since no one had grabbed r/Eric_Garner until Thursday morning, a bunch of white supremacists registered the subreddit and started filling it up with the type of racist junk they hope will fill the hole in their hearts left by their parents’ lack of hugs. Reddit’s administrators pretty much let the site’s users do whatever they want (as long as it’s not robbing the site of site of potential advertising dollars), so the subreddit probably isn’t coming down anytime soon. To paraphrase the aforementioned St. Louis-area police department, neo-nazis will be neo-nazi, amirite?

Data journalism is important, just ask Nate Silver or the beleaguered, under-caffeinated fourth-grade teacher who tried to get Matt Taibbi to knock off that Racket and just learn some damn fractions. But our imaginary version of Taibbi had a point. On it’s own, data journalism is just a lot of paragraphs full of numbers all but the nerdiest of readers will skim over. The more important part of data journalism—the part that involves neither data nor journalism—are the visualizations. Visualizations are how we people make sense of complicated reams of information. What we’re trying to say is that this tweet made us do lulz.

Everything we know about the massive Sony hack.

  1. North Korea was mad enough about a Seth Rogen/James Franco bromance that it may have hacked a major movie studio out of spite.
  2. Seth Rogen makes $1.9 million more dollars per movie than James Franco.
  3. (Presumably) prop versions of a “tablet of weed, coke, pills and panties” for the film cost $250. The cost of the real drugs necessary for filming were not listed.
  4. There is no one on the planet that hates Adam Sandler movies more than the people whose job it is to sell the public on Adam Sandler movies.

Sony Pictures hack reveals a top female executive earns $800k less than her male counterpart with same title (via Fusion). North Korea: Social Justice Warriors. Don’t tell #Gamergate or they’ll send death threats to the three people in North Korea who are allowed to use the Internet.

BREAKING: DRUDGE SIREN: We figured out how to fix Washington.

Ferguson library receives $300,000 from 10,000 donors. After the chaos in Ferguson, lots of Americans were looking for ways to help. Using Thanksgiving as an opportunity to talk to their Fox News-loving grandfathers about how riots can actually be legitimate forms of political expression for systematically marginalized groups didn’t go nearly as well as expected. Instead, many turned their attention to Ferguon’s public library, which received a massive haul of donations. “We have sensible, frugal plans of what to do with [the donations],” said library director Scott Bonner in a Reddit AMA. “We’re librarians and have plans to make sensible use of every dollar.”

All it took to get Americans to care about their basic public infrastructure was a national tragedy that shook the country to its very core. Luckily, we’re averaging one of those a week.

Are you watching Black Mirror? It was just added onto Netflix this week and, since you’re the type person who willingly reads this far into a cynical newsletter about the relationship between technology and society, we think you’ll really like its cynical take on the relationship between technology and society. SPOILER ALERT: The first episode skewers how social media turns politics into an absurd joke that turns grotesque the longer you stare at it through the metaphor of a terrorist’s attempt to blackmail the Prime Minister of the U.K. into having sex with a pig on live TV. Seriously, it’s great.

The producers of Black Mirror should send our payment for this shameless plug to the following Bitcoin address: 1FfmbHfnpaZjKFvyi1okTjJJusN455paPH.

Petition protesting E.U.-U.S. trade treaty passes 1 million signatures. People on Internet use Internet to hate on thing people on Internet hate.

What Canada can teach the U.S. about net neutrality. Nothing. The only thing Americans enjoy learning about who is going to be eliminated next on MasterChef Jr.

Coming on after MasterChef Jr. is Project Runway Jr., which is actually a documentary about working conditions in Bangladeshi sweatshops.

Verizon shuts down controversial tech news site SugarString. The telecom giant thought the world wanted a tech news site where writers aren’t allowed to mention net neutrality or NSA spying. **Sound of shotgun cocking. Cue Arnold schwarzenegger voice** It thought wrong.

And now Daily Dot Deputy Morning Editor Eric Geller gives unsolicited advice to America’s military leaders.

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Aaron Sankin & The Daily Dot Politics Team

Illustration by J. Longo.

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