Fuck Nazis: Preach Beyond the Choir

We’ll never all agree on everything, and who would want to? Our vast array of different opinions are what make you all so interesting (your taste for mayonnaise is what makes you so disgusting). Differences of opinion drive meaningful conversation and make our communities strong. There are, however, a few things that we probably can agree on, like what the left lane is for, and that Prince was a genius.

Universal common ground is hard to come by, but I like to think that we’re all pretty much on the same page about what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend. Of course I also like to think that the United States of America wouldn’t elect a Nazi sympathizer as president. Maybe I’m naive. Maybe I live beneath a stone. Maybe we should talk about this.

Hating Nazis is right up there with bald eagles and apple pie as fundamental tenets of wholesome Americanism, and that fact is as practical as it is symbolic. It was our role in defeating this ideology in World War II that laid the groundwork for the US to emerge as an economic and diplomatic superpower. It’s the foundation of our position in the world for the last three generations. Hell, even Orrin Hatch is unequivocal:

Here, we have an opportunity for common ground: fuck Nazis. If nothing else, we can agree on that, right? Speaking out against Nazism doesn’t make you a bad conservative, and voting for Donald Trump in the last election doesn’t make you a Nazi. Agreeing on this doesn’t mean that we can’t disagree about every other single thing on earth, like heath care, education, guns, mayonnaise, public land, oil, nuclear oblivion, coal, or emails of any stripe. Let’s keep fighting about all of that, because somewhere in the middle probably lies the truth. But on Nazis let’s skip the gray area. Fuck Nazis. That’s baseline.

And here’s where you might become incredulous, because this is my thesis: Nazis are our safe space. It’s one thing that we can all agree on, that we can all be comfortable with – the fact that White Nationalism and the Nazi party have no business on American soil.*

This is an image of America in 2017. We cannot deny or ignore that.

This is important. It’s a pretty low bar but we have, with Nazism, established a position from which we can start talking about race in America without dissonance on square one. (Even Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions have acknowledged that these guys are terrorists.) From here, we can start having the more difficult, more meaningful conversations.

American Nazism is out in the open now. Well-meaning-but-squeamish white people have seen, now, what people of color, Jews, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community have known since they were born: that a degree of racism and white supremacy is woven into the fabric of our nation. Remember that the riots in Charlottesville began over the decommissioning of a statue of Robert E Lee and migrated to a visage of scrivener/slaver Thomas Jefferson, and that this country was built, both figuratively and literally, on the backs of slaves. Like it or not, this is a part of who we are.

Extracting race inequality from class, from immigration, from policing, from education, from any tenet of American life is not something that is going to happen overnight. It’s not something that we’re going to agree on every step of the way. But now it’s unavoidable, undeniable. To look away from what we saw this weekend is beyond convenience and privilege; it’s a willing indifference not only to the consistent, pervasive injustices that minorities live with every day, but to an unambiguous assault on the sanctity of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is not something we can deny. This is not something we can ignore. And we can start the conversation from common ground: fuck Nazis.

Agreeing that Nazis can go fuck themselves is not enough. It’s preaching to the choir, and we’re all singing that refrain. Non-Nazi white folks need to take the next step and confront the reality that White Nationalist ideologies and Nazi pride parades cannot exist without some level of tacit approval (you may know it as “I’m not a Nazi, and I really try not to be political, and I’m really busy with work, and . . .”). Pursuit of the egalitarian society that rests at the heart of American ideals begins with the acknowledgement that we do not currently live in one.

Examining our own racism is uncomfortable. I love the idea that I harbor no prejudices, but the fact is that in a racial society like the United States, that’s simply not possible. At least I’m not a Nazi, and neither are you (or you probably would have stopped reading by now). We’re imperfect Americans, and being better starts with recognizing that we have a problem.

And so this is a call to action, I guess. Not to continue sharing WashPo editorials and Raw Story pseudonews, but to take a moment and consider what you can do to fight Nazism at the environmental level. Condemning what happened in Charlottesville is as essential as it is easy. The work comes with with self-reflection and difficult conversations about what more we can do.



*If that’s not something you can get behind, then, well, shit man. I don’t know.





Frequently (un)Asked Questions

What’s so great about Game of Thrones, really?

What, exactly, are we so worried about with dogs in restaurants? Breweries? Bars?

What if I just walked there?

For how long did people think the platypus was a fake thing?

Why not me?

What if everyone did that?

What does grass taste like to a cow?

Is it the sisterbangin? It’s the sisterbangin, isn’t it.

Do I slurp my soup and just no one has called me out yet?

Do we really need fancy glasses to look at the sun for like half a second? Real quick?

Has the rapture already happened and then at the end of the day none of us were good enough?

Does this story need to be this long?

I know I shouldn’t eat this, right?


Hang the Chef

Look Honey this place has 4.4 stars on Google. Let’s go there. That other place is really just one of those college meat market bars, not any good for dinner. We’ll get a nightcap if we must.

This is nice, no reservations, line out the door. Great sign. Great sign. I put our name on the list. Should be an hour or so. Let’s grab a glass of wine at that tasting room around the corner.

This was a great idea. Thanks for getting us out of town, even for a night. This is so nice.

That little wine place was great. That Macedonian white was lovely. Could you find Macedonia on a map? I couldn’t. Have we ever invaded them? Here we are, still fifteen minutes or so before our table is up. Let’s have a cocktail, the bar looks nice.

It’s perfect. Low lighting, mahogany bar. Short list: sidecar, Manhattan, martini, only the classics. Great sign.

Ooh it’s like we get a booth, but in kind of a cave. A cave-booth. Booth-cave?

Ah, the bread arrived before we did. Fabulous. Or is it the last party’s? It looks clean, no bites, no nibbles. Firm butter. We’ll have to risk it. No crust to speak of. Not a good sign.

Do you suppose there’s a Judo gym upstairs? Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? The second floor seems like a funny place for a riding arena.

How did you know I’d ask for the linguine alla mar? Am I that transparent? So what if we’re 700 miles from the mar. We have jet airplanes. We can have anything we want whenever we want it. This is America. I’m getting the linguine alla mar.

A salad please. Vinaigrette. Raspberry vinaigrette? Perhaps just some olive oil and vinegar. You do know about raspberry vinaigrette, yes? No? They fill old jelly jars with water do dissolve the last bits of preserves, then leave them out in the sun until they start to ferment. Voile. Raspberry vinaigrette. None for me, thanks.

Ah, lovely salad. Lovely salad. Pepper? Please. Now, this is going to be awkward. I like a lot of pepper. I haven’t forgotten that you’re here, and I do still intend to let you know when it’s enough. Let’s get used to this uncomfortable silence. Shoot. do you need to refill the mill?

Oh dear. Clams. A shellfish, as I recall. There are no shells here. Kind of you to go to all the trouble of discarding those for me. Oh dear. This will not do. This will not do. There was no jet aircraft here.

I feel like Carmella Soprano.

The butter is a nice touch. Did you consider any other flavors? Where’s that girl with the pepper mill?

These clams, I admit, are in contention for the best cat food I have ever tasted. That must be the butter.

No parsley? Red pepper? Hell, salt?

I’m so rude, I’m sorry. How is yours? Adequately buttered? Yes, mine too. Do you need a box? No? You’ve had enough.

Perhaps the check.

I’ll make eye contact here.

Missed her. Let me try again.

Maybe we should both try.

Do we pay up front? Oh, no, it said on the menu to remain seated. You’re right. How European of them.

Ooh, here she comes. Shoot. Missed her.

We are forsaken.

Aha! Got her. Here we are. Yes please. Thank you. Lovely. Cake to go, please. Yes please. Thank you.

Burn the kitchen. Hang the chef. God save the bar.

Let’s go to the meat market.



Addressing Heat

It has occurred to some of you, by now, that it is hot outside. This is the time of year in the mountain west when sentiments like “golly it’s hot” and “jee whiz it’s a scorcher” and “goddamn this fucking season I hope it burns in hell but then it would probably like that, wouldn’t it,” ease to the forefront of our minds. This is normal. Completely reasonable.

Summer in the west is good for like 10 days. When the last of the snow has retreated from all but the most stubborn mountaintops, usually some time early in July, the countdown begins. The heat is novel then. Spring is over, the wildflowers have bloomed and withered, and the rivers have eased into their banks for lazy floating and comfortable wading. High alpine trails are newly open and if you really feel like it you can probably still figure out how to go skiing.

But the honeymoon is short lived, and the summer marriage unhappy. Now, confronted with an indefinite forecast of 95 degree days and no breath of moisture it’s our plight to sit back, inhale woodsmoke, and try to nap until October. Here are a few tips for addressing heat and making it through until things look up.

Go To The Movies – The tried and true escape from any insufferably hot afternoon: head down to the multi-plex and catch a movie. The theater is usually held at a comfortable 38 deg F, so bring a blanket if you’re a cold person. Uncomfortable with paying $35 for a movie and crying in front of strangers when Happy Gilmore gets his grandmother’s house back*? Check out an independent theater. The Roxy in Missoula shows the good ones and has live theater and jokes and stuff, too. Also you can buy beer there. Go find one!

Go To The River – This is imperfect advice. You need a river, for starters, and one that doesn’t light on fire. Then you need something to do there, either a kayak, some sort of floating board/tube, or a bunch of beer. It helps to have done sit ups all winter, you lazy bum. Also melanin. You’ll enjoy the river more in direct proportion with how much melanin you have. Lacking float toys, abs, and melanin, I suppose you can always just bring more beer.

Pretend It’s Not Bad – Some people can do this. They either pretend that it’s not hot, or that they like the heat. These people are either liars or daemons. Only daemons like the heat. Do not trust these people.

Think Cold Thoughts – Book a hut trip. Fire up the TGR forums. Shop for skis. Do anything you can to distract yourself from that creeping feeling that you’ll never be comfortable again.

Literally Run Away – Some people spend this time in the alpine. I hear it’s still cold above like 24,000′. And that the skiing is good in Portillo. And the mountain biking is good in Iceland. And it never gets hot in Bellingham. Just. Run. Away.

Go to Space Like running away to Iceland, but better. It’s cold in space. Like, -273 deg C cold. God that sounds good right now. Buy the ticket, take the ride.



*or whatever.



Cars Are Coffins

Last week we talked about cars. We talked about how they’re great. About how they make it really easy to move things like refrigerators. And about how the argument that riding bikes instead of driving is healthier, more affordable, and environmentally responsible* is unassailable.

And then we claimed that bikes are safer, too. And that raised some eyebrows.

“But cars come with a protective candy shell,” protested the denizens of the internet. “It keeps my heirs safe so my dynasty will last 1,000 years!” And then the anecdotes flowed, “I rolled my suburban one time and it saved my life.” If someone fired a gun at you and missed, would you thank them for saving your life?

See because after heart disease, cancer, and respitory disease, cars are the most lethal things in America (not Syrian refugees!). 37,000 people die in these things every year in this country, and the majority of them are in single vehicle collisions. Believe it or not, if you don’t die in a hospital some day way down the road, you’re probably going to die alone on a highway. So you have that going for you.

But you’re careful! You never drive drunk, or text, or get drowsy, or mess with the radio, or eat a cheeseburger. You follow every law, you never speed, and you signal your turns for four seconds before you change lanes. You are perfect. We know, and we applaud you. But there’s still the idiots.

Let’s have an experiment. Go grab a piece of paper and a pencil, I’ll wait right here.



You got one.

Now, draw a box. Now, draw a box that looks just like it, right next door. It should look like this:

Now in each box draw ten dots, and imagine that they’re all just bouncing around, randomly, doing their thing. Most of the time they’ll just bounce off the sides of the box and goe on their way. But every once in a while they’ll bump into each other. This is sort of like driving, right? Right.

In the left box, let’s say each dot travels at 15mph and weighs 200lbs. In the right box, let’s say each dot travels at 45mph, and weights 3,000lbs. That means that in the right box, we have 675 times more kinetic energy cruising around, just waiting to smear you around the pavement. It also means that the dots bump into each other three times more often than in the left box. And that’s assuming modest speeds and a reasonably sized passenger car. Bring that 1-ton King Ranch up to highway speeds and it doesn’t take long for you to be at the helm of your very own murder rocket.

And that’s scary, right? Murder rockets just flying around our nation’s highways and school zones? Texting and driving. The drunks. It’s almost like you need a Yukon Denali just to survive your 3/4 mile commute to the office.

We have to look after our own, after all. If everyone else is driving a murder rocket, then your murder rocket is really more like a murder defense rocket. This point of view is totally understandable. It makes every bit as much sense as filling schools with guns to prevent shootings, and is the foundation for North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Wayne LaPierre and the Kims are smart dudes. They know what’s best for them, and they’re not afraid to pursue it. What’s wrong with that? So hop in, fire up the V10, and next time spring for the grill guard for a little extra safety.