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white riot

It was eight years ago, and I was working in a makeshift office near Prospect Mira. Men used the place to sleep with their mistresses at night, but I could be there during the day. There were used condoms and empty bottles in the trash most mornings when I shuffled into the place. There was nothing to eat around there but a McDonalds. It was a very low point for me, in many ways. One morning an old client from New York sent me an email, would I be able to design a t-shirt for an Obama rally? I did, in about fifteen minutes, sending it off feeling a shiver of pride. No one that I knew wanted Hillary in those days, and Obama had his work cut out for him. I think it is purely wishful thinking, but that rally in New York, I think it was in Union Square, that is when the tide started turning or so I would like to believe. In any case, we know how that story ends. Thousands of miles away, struggling to make money, struggling to avoid pissing people off, I did something that might have mattered.

A week ago, I chewed the insides of my cheeks. I stayed up as late as I could, seeing no results to report. It was after 3AM, so I decided to wake up in two hours and check.

I did, and we all know that story too. I sat there in the darkness, looking out at the snow on the trees. There was no sleep after that.

The week disintegrated into the work at hand, playing with V trying to blot it all out, and E with her long face asking me impossible questions. I think she took the news worse than I did.

I started to find catch phrases that stuck to my thoughts - echo chamber sat at the top the pile. How many mornings did we wake up, seeing her 84% chance of winning on the cover of the Times, breathing a careful sigh of relief? Boy, we sure as hell dodged a bullet with this one, I heard myself say every day.

Now, I wonder if people that get shot really feel it. Maybe that is just some action film fantasy, but is it possible - to be shot and be in shock and not feel it? I see the marches, the anger and the fury, the hurt and the wound - all from the other side of the world. Here, nothing changes. The ruble goes up, the ruble goes down. There are giant pumpkins in the stores and you can buy them. They are sweet.



WHITE RIOT

The Clash (1977)

White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own
White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own

Black man gotta lotta problems
But they don't mind throwing a brick
White people go to school
Where they teach you how to be thick
An' everybody's doing
Just what they're told to
And nobody wants
To go to jail

White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own
White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own
All the power's in the hands
Of people rich enough to buy it
While we walk the street
Too chicken to even try it
And everybody's doing
Just what they're told to
And nobody wants
To go to jail
White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own
White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own

Hey, you, standing in line
Are we gonna sign an agreement?

White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own
White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own





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