Flipping My Lid: “It’s a Revolution!” (Well, it was *something*…)


An attack on goodness. (Image from

We’re three weeks out now and it seems so calm. Capitol Hill has now seen another Presidential inauguration, quiet and with a brooding military aspect to it, but also a reaffirmation that maybe the adults are back in charge of the Excited States of America¹. Major media are celebrating the Biden/Harris Reset, at times with a gushing “America is back! This is who we really are!” relief that is mildly embarrassing. Canucks like me are used to American excess, like what my football-loving big sister always eye-rolled as “another Pride-Of-America halftime show”. They still believe in comic books, redemptive violence and superheroes. The noble sheriff is back in town. Batman Returns! But listen, don’t get me wrong here: I’m also relieved, as many are, that the American government seems to be on more solid footing, but these are not days of wine and roses.

¹ Tip o’ my ballcap to the great Allan Fotheringham, another one we lost in 2020.

Three Wednesdays ago, as we were treated to video of a tear-gassed woman giving her name and city, and the explanation “We’re storming the Capitol! It’s a revolution!”, and much more jaw-dropping footage, I flipped my lid. I stomped about. I muttered darkly. (I couldn’t write at all.) I was outraged. Indignant. My bride was bemused. She was thinking, It’s not my country. It’s sad to watch it suffer, of course. But it quickens the process – people are going to be shaken up and realize how much they’ve ignored the cracks in the walls. Racism. White privilege. Bipolar resentment. System failure. She’s a pragmatic person. But she wanted to understand, in the days that followed, why I was so combustible, and simultaneously so deeply disheartened, by a mob – stoned on deception and wired on the skewed perception of having been robbed – storming the Capitol building in a mighty country next to my own. I tried to explain my bubbling anger to her. I mean, I know I was fried that day, having run too far for my fitness level. And I *am* an old fart. Maybe Seasonal Affective Disorder is an Actual Thing. (“SAD AT.”) Covid-crankiness? I can’t dismiss that, either. But this was much more.

I came up with three “reasons” to explain how January 6 had knocked me on my arse. (Rationality played only a minor role.)

Actual Reason the First: I love white men. My father, brother, and most of my best buddies and mentors have been white men. I feel a brotherhood, narrow as it might seem, with white men, and in the way that family arguments can grow bitterly excessive, incidents like the Capitol storming turn me inside out. I friggin’ h–e white men. (How dare they stoop so low?) When they kill women they can’t manage, or abandon them; when they take faux-heroic stands against unsuspecting targets of their twisted resentments (a synagogue here, a Black church there); when they “revenge” themselves against innocents who happen to wander into their crosshairs (Virginia Tech, Las Vegas) or target women at a Montreal engineering school, or children at Sandy Hook elementary school – well, I’ve been known to flail about and blister the Interwebs with angry words then, too.

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Thanks for comin’ out, Miguel

Today is May Day. Pinkos everywhere still celebrate it, though it never became a big deal in the Excited States, where it began. (Where credit is due: “Excited States of America” is all Allan Fotheringham, booted from Maclean’s magazine but still kicking at .) It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out today, though, as the minds behind “A Day Without Immigrants” try to show Americans how their lives would be changed without the newcomers that so many former newcomers would love to deport.

There’s a very interesting article by Dave Zirin on on how this would really come home to Americans. What if fifteen big-league games happened today and no Latinos played? Some clubs wouldn’t be able to field a lineup without Triple A call-ups. Over 35% of today’s MLB players, including many of the greatest stars, are from Latin America, and the numbers are going to rise. The third world doesn’t only produce our cheap T-shirts and cool shoes; it also produces our favourite athletic entertainers, including the ones coming from the poverty of the black American underclass. (Hockey, for the most part, avoids this by “virtue” of its fantastically expensive nature. The game has luxury taxes right at the roots.)

Mr. Zirin, as usual, is caustic in his latest column. I can’t always get with his extremism – I like George Will on baseball, for example, though I confess that I haven’t read him otherwise – but Zirin jabs a finger directly on a blister that we don’t want to acknowledge: we will cheer ourselves hoarse for an athlete that many of us wouldn’t want living next door. And there’s the other side of idolatry, too; when we turn against black players (Terrell Owens, Barry Bonds) or Latin ones (is it just me, or did Sammy Sosa take a harder ride than Mark McGwire after the Congressional hearings on steroid use?), it tends to be vicious.

The same dynamic applies to white athletes, too, but to a lesser extent. In professional sports, the performers are idolized or demonized, two sides of the same dehumanized coin. We think little of what conditions they have come from or how many like them are on the scrapheap of thanks for comin’ out, now get lost; and we care little about where they go after their legs do. And we hate them for how much money they make, though we’ll cheer as long as they make us feel better about ourselves.