Why I Think Impeachment is Important Now

Something I posted on FB. It’s a reply to someone who commented on a post I made in response to Jan 6, 2021.

This isn’t a censorship issue. This isn’t a policy disagreement issue. This isn’t a partisan issue. This isn’t even an issue in the traditional sense of the word.

This is a matter of the very meaning of self-governance in a federated system of government. Is America even America if the executive–with lies, double-talk, dog-whistles, and more–spends four years conning a portion of the electorate into rejecting the results (or even the possibility) of a legitimate election if he doesn’t win?

And he didn’t win. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you in an effort to take your political power away from you and others. And the election was legitimate. And anyone who tells you otherwise is looking to steal your vote.

America is only America if we keep the promise of self-governance. We choose through elections. Trump has, since at least the summer of 2020, been indicating that he would reject any result that didn’t favor him. This is not how people voting works.

Then, at the eleventh hour of the electoral process, he held a rally denying the result that was, at that moment, being confirmed.

And then he sent a mob to attack Congress. And they killed a police office whose job is to protect your representatives. They used an American flag to kill Brian D. Sicknick.

The insurrectionists have to be held to legally accountable. And they will be.

Also: the executive has to be held accountable for the attack on the legislative branch. The tool for the legislative branch to hole the executive branch accountable is impeachment. It’s in the Constitution.

Impeaching a president for leading a movement that violently attacks the legislative branch is not a denial of American Freedom. And supporting that sort of effort is not patriotic, it is un-American and it is anti-American.

So that’s what I think.

It’s Not Magic. It’s a Promise.

When liars in government who are elected to help us govern lie about how getting to be elected works, that’s not a political difference. It’s a broken promise.

That’s all America is, you know. It’s a promise Americans make to each other that we’re going to treat each other like equals under the law. All the Constitution is, really, is a promise about how we’ll govern ourselves.

America is a never-ending unfolding of that promise. No generation of Americans has lived up to that promise, but this generation has loosed the vipers in a way unseen before. In oldtimey days, the vipers crawled around openly, but in the post-WWII era, our social and political leaders killed a lot of vipers, but not all of them. Many of them went underground. Viper handlers have been seeking them out, feeding them, and breeding them for the last few decades.

Since 2016, the vipers of this generation have been crawling around, getting bolder, and poisoning the foundations of the society laid by the people who won against the Nazis abroad and the lynchmobs here.

On January 6, 2021, they attacked. They were turned back, and now–at the eleventh hour (after the eleventh hour, really)–some of the viper handlers are saying, “oops.” Some of them are saying stronger things, to be sure, but none of them so far have said, “kill the vipers.” And, to be clear here, the vipers are not people. The vipers are white supremacy, religious bigotry, kicking people when they’re down, and cynicism about government.

But government is us. Only us. Saying government doesn’t work is saying my neighbors aren’t worth my trust or good will. America isn’t magic, and the Constitution isn’t handed down from on-high. It isn’t supernatural, it’s just super-natural. It’s just a promise for people we make to each other.

So be a viper-killer. Keep the promise.

Image of the preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America. Reads: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Christmas Music & Generation Gaps

It has been suggested that… my observations about a nearly 40-year old Christmas song is… generation gappy. Nobody has floated ageist.

Yet.

So there’s one track that’s somewhat more traditional.

And there’s one that suuuper traditional.

And one more deep cut…

I hope you have a joyous holiday season, and a great 2021. Merry Christmas, everyone.

The Most Wham!y

It’s the radio, of course, so as I tune around looking for something to perk up whatever drive I’m on, odds are pretty good I’m going to come into a song after the opening bars.

Today, driving around, I came across this song’s opening. Possibly for the first time ever in my whole life.

Can anything possibly be Wham!ier than this opening? It’s fantastic!

Of course, the answer to the above question is: the ! at the end of Wham! is the most Wham!y thing ever.

Games and Play

So, over on Twitter, @infinatemao posed a question of play.

With a … clarification…

And, as a game player, and as a dad, I have thoughts. I have a couple of children in early elementary school, and they wander around playing pretend. They’re pals, and it’s 2020, so that’s a good thing. One of them, the younger one, also loves video games. He loves LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Lord of the Rings, Minecraft, Wii Sports, Mario You Name It. Sometimes Goat Simulator. And Sonic, and on and on. These games don’t usually cross over explicitly into their joint play. They don’t play pretend Mario Odyssey, for instance.

But they younger one moves through the house like a video game character sometimes. He scoots sideways, sometimes looking like a Space Invader, sometimes snapping his fingers like a crab. Sometimes he bounds through the rooms doing Power-up Jumps. We send out a bookmark with this years holiday cards–a photo of him doing a Power-up Jump dressed in his Cat Mario Halloween costume.

The older one is as likely to be found pretending to be an animal, or setting up an animal family diorama, or growling around the house like a black panther. Together they play town with Matchbox cars and tracks, solve mysteries with pencils and notebooks, and just talk in that strange lilting way that starts many sentences with, “Pretend that I’m….”

So much play.

There’s a loose use of language when the younger one plays video games, or when I play TTRPG. I say I do things, sometimes, and I say “Dirk Farmer puts on his magic boots,” sometimes. My younger child says, “watch what Sonic does,” sometimes, and “watch what I can do,” sometimes. I don’t think there’s a meaningful distinction to be made there, where in one phrasing there is more playing pretend. In all of those cases, something that isn’t actually real is being given consensual reality by the playing pretend.

But playing pretend doesn’t have to be linguistic, it just gets turned that way almost always when we share playing pretend, though. Because, you know, what doesn’t?

There’s another thing, so stay with me for another moment or so, please. That other thing is embodiment.

For several years, on Thursdays, I attending a thing call the Irish Ceili Dance and Social Comedy Hour. The second half of that was informal. Each week we practiced dances from a book, and we had a stable repertoire of about ten, and we put effort into learning additional one, too. There were probably eighty or a hundred dances.

The dances only existed as nouns when they also existed as verbs. Dancers dance. When the dance moves have all been moved, the dance is done. Dancers embody the dance, give it a reality it does not have when it’s words and diagrams in the book. A dance is a rigid structure–if you don’t follow the moves, you’ll run into (maybe even hurt!)–and if you deviate from the structure, you are not doing the dance. You’re doing something else. And you might step on some toes, don’t you know?

Our group had three rules

  1. Have fun
  2. Get to where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there
  3. If you can’t do #2, go back to #1

So that’s good. But how is it playing pretend? It is not, not at all. It’s much closer to ritual. Within those three rules, we danced all the dances with more rigid structures. When we danced, the more fully each dancer could follow the dance’s moves, the more fun each dancer had, and the less any one of us was there. A well-danced dance was an ego-effacing event.

Playing pretend is also ego-effacing. Maybe less so than dance because there’s often a linguistic element to playing pretend, and there’s only occasionally one for dance.

So, I don’t know. I’m no social scientist. Playing pretend takes an agreed set of constraints, and says, “I do X.” (Or so-and-so who is understood to be a being in the played pretend reality does X.)

Here’s a thing you can do…

You can subscibe to my Grumble Flap newsletter! It’s like this blog, but different and better!

It’s different because when I post here, you get an e-mail telling you that I did that (maybe you do, certainly to you if you’ve signed up for that)! And the things I post here will be different things than the things I put into the newsletter, but they will be the same kind of things!

It’s better because it comes out once a week, probably sometime on Mondays, ideally fairly early in the day (eastern USA timezone). This is better because I don’t post here very much.

I’ll work on that. Basically, I have to get over myself & really internalize the idea that I can post pretty much whatever here. And, also, figure out an easy way to deal with the wordpress interface. It feels like a lot clicking to get anything done here.

Anway. Subscribe to an honest-to-goodness newsletter with my foolishness in it here.

This is a Chair, Use it to Make Dreams: Another New Game

I have no standing in Role Playing Game design, and so I keep poking at it. Someone on Twitter I follow because he’s helpfully vague and dismissive was on about ball peen hammers yesterday. This is a Chair, Use it to Make Dreams is the result.

It is of fantastically high quality.

I also have written two other games which are more like products, and less like things. Chatter/Box

And What’s So Comic About Supers?

Mostly this post is about playing with WordPress & itch tools. Which didn’t go well.