Happy Thanksgiving. This week’s going to be short, but I couldn’t skip it. Who would ever give up an excuse to be useless in the kitchen? Can’t clean up tonight, team, I’ve got . . . my column.
Every week I learn something new by writing this column, and it’s because you, the readers, have started adding your own TGIF items in the comments. This week let’s make it a community TGIF. I’ll start with a few but then it’s turkey-time, and I leave it to you.
What’s the most absurd thing you’ve seen in the last month or so? Think: a jarring new study, a ridiculous CNN segment. Remember to punch a little left and punch a little right so no one gets too comfortable. Keep it tight, keep it bright.
What I’m most thankful for this year (other than my child, my family, my small dogs, and my beauty) is this community. TGIF.
→ The narrative is messy in Colorado Springs: There were three mass shootings this week, a dark entry to the holiday season. One has dominated the headlines. In Colorado Springs, a white man went into a gay bar with a gun and killed five people last Saturday. Colorado Springs is a major hub of evangelical Christianity. You can imagine how the story’s been covered.
It was clear-cut homophobia. It was: “Club Q and the Demonization of Drag Queens.” It was the fault of conservatives like Chris Rufo or TERFs or comedians. Cable news spun into action. My Instagram filled with friends announcing they stand with their gay friends (thank you). The term stochastic terrorism (demonization of a group that leads to violence against them) started getting used to describe anyone who’d ever taken a skeptical stance regarding subjects like youth transitions. Here’s the SPLC running with that.
That story, however, had one annoying snag.
The suspect—Anderson Lee Aldrich—is not a man at all, according to filings from Aldrich’s public defenders. The suspected mass killer goes by they/them pronouns and uses the honorific Mx.
Could Mx. Anderson Lee Aldrich be pretending to identify as nonbinary as a troll, or to be a jerk? Definitely. But there’s no official nonbinary badge given out by the bureau. Reporters who talked about this as a right-wing hate crime pivoted on a dime: Mx. Aldrich is the victim, “harassed by online edge-lords,” according to NBC. (Read a great take-down by friend of Common Sense, Jesse Singal, here.)
It might all be true. Mx. Aldrich may have been driven by self-hatred and by homophobia. Mx. Aldrich may have been bullied. Mx. Aldrich may also be trolling the community he went in to kill. Life’s complicated, and pundits who see the world as a video game of good and evil are quick to make fools of themselves.
One thing to note here is the bravery of the good people inside Club Q, including one dad, Richard Fierro, who pounced on the gunman, and a performer who attacked him with her high heel.
→ Black Hebrew Israelites hold a huge rally that goes ignored: Hundreds of black supremacists marched through Brooklyn this week chanting: “It's time to wake up. I've got good news for you, we are the real Jews.” Videos here and here. They were marching to support basketball player Kyrie Irving who was briefly suspended after promoting a movie that argues the Holocaust is fake. Kanye West, meanwhile, was spotted in Miami with white nationalist Nick Fuentes, a proud antisemite. I hate to say it, but you should watch a Fuentes video to understand how extreme his beliefs are and how alarming this moment is. Here’s one. Here’s another.
Was there major coverage of the Brooklyn march? Of course not.
→ The brave Iranian soccer team: At the World Cup, as their nation’s anthem played, the Iranian soccer team did not sing it. It’s another sign of how deep the rebellion is going in Iran. And it’s unbelievably brave, since there’s a good chance those young men join the tens of thousands imprisoned (or far worse) when they get home. Remember their courage next time the Biden administration insists we need to make a deal with their oppressors.
→ Is there a media company that’s not in bed with SBF? The Intercept, founded as a fierce group of independent reporters, has a big budget shortfall. They were relying on disgraced crypto mogul and Democratic mega donor Sam Bankman-Fried to give them $4 million in funding this year and now, well, now it was all a Cayman mirage. “As of today, we have a significant hole in our budget,” the publication explained to readers. Meanwhile, Elon Musk and Ben Smith, the former Times media critic, are sparring over the fact that SBF was one of the investors in Smith’s new media company Semafor (“How much of you does SBF own?” Musk repeatedly asked Smith).
So, let’s review. The media companies SBF funded are: ProPublica ($5 million); The Intercept ($4 million); Vox; Semafor, and The Law and Justice Journalism Project.
My only question: where is our SBF money? Do you people think TGIFs grow on trees? TGIF seems like a natural partner for FTX. We’re both just two overextended frizzy-haired moguls trying our best, and I’m happy to do three (3) articles to that effect every fiscal year. Where do I send my routing number?