Hoodies, Strip Searches, and College: A Salad Bar of American Dread

Even when one or two stories dominate a national news cycle, there are still thousands more circulating beneath them. Most of these are local, which is great luck for local journalists, who can use them to fend off angry senior-citizen complaints that nobody's explained why Dahlia's Café—the one with the all-afternoon early bird!—was replaced with a "Chipottle."

On the national level, though, it's endlessly renewable source of downers for those who'd prefer to think that the Trayvon Martin killing and the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act are the only events fracturing this nation into hundreds of televised screaming assholes and millions of people dumping pharmaceutical-grade dumbfuck into your Facebook feed. In fact, there is so much more than that.

Let's get down.

  • Operating on suspicion that it might be the legal equivalent a minority youth lurking in a subdivision, the conservative wing of the Supreme Court—plus weathervane of the ill-winds, Anthony Kennedy—further ventilated the fourth amendment, ruling that citizens arrested for any offense can be subject to strip searches before being processed into jails. Samuel Alito, who has yet to show off a court style (unlike John Roberts' car-salesman smarm, Clarence Thomas' dittohead-fencepost riff and Tony Scalia's "racist old uncle who brags about cheating on his wife and taxes" impression), seems to be reaching for a real Hannah Arendt banal evil vibe, supporting the ruling with, "Some detainees may have lice."

    Given the ruling's impact on cavity searches for the court's broad definition of contraband, there's your reason why you can be pulled over for an outstanding warrant and receive a couple fingers two-knuckles deep, just like that drunken freshmen-year surprise from an overzealous, bitey goth girlfriend: "You may have lice."

  • Representative Allen West (R-Fl), who non-Floridian Republicans may recognize as "one of our two black ones," supported Representative Bobby Rush's removal from the floor of the House of Representatives last week, because his wearing a hoodie in solidarity with Trayvon Martin constituted a "security threat":

    [security] did not know who it was. And they were concerned that someone had just walked off the street.... [This] is the type of immature gimmickry we see coming from the other side that you know, does not have any place, especially on the House floor and really in the United States.

    You'd be tempted to think this was insane, given that Rush entered the house floor in a suit, was given time to speak by the chair and only later took off his jacket and pulled up the hoodie, but this is pretty much standard operating procedure for West, for whom reality must seem like an endless set-up for an awesome Hitler-related analogy and punchline, and for whom handling a suspect person involves threatening to kill him, dragging him outside and firing a pistol near his head.

    Bobby Rush, for his part, might have felt some solidarity with Trayvon Martin because in 1969 he lived in a house with Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, who were killed in a raid by officers of the Cook County State Attorney's office. The officers fired between 82 and 99 shots in the raid, including two point-blank into the head of Hampton, who had been drugged and was unconscious.

  • Despite the fact that four of California's last seven governors have been Republicans (including noted union leader and serial tax-hiker Ronald Reagan), Rick Santorum couldn't help himself this weekend, drawing on the lazy trope that a state that passed the paralytic and regressive Proposition 13 is nonetheless a roiling mephitic pit of Marxist studies, women with Sequoia-length leg hair, babies being fed bottles of milk soaked in Humboldt County weed and sodomites smeared with, well, santorum. Rick claimed that "the Calfiornia universities"—by which he presumably means the ssssssssocialist public universities, founded by Cobra Commander—do not even teach courses in American history.

    This is just a real amateur move on Rick's part. (Nine of the ten UC universities offer American history courses. The other is a medical school.) As a career Republican politician, he should know how to deploy "left-coast academia." Convincing fellow conservatives that colleges and California are just industrial fag-farms of atheistic anti-white resentment is easy. Don't reach. Say that schools don't prioritize graduate degrees in American history. Claim they're more interested in filling faculty positions in gender studies, African history, Marxist history or post-modernist relativism. All these are interpretive; even academics will have a hard time gainsaying it. And if the specific names confuse the base or sound like moon-man language, so much the better. Save the black-white lie stuff for the big things—like claiming a multi-billion-dollar global organization that skated on decades of pedophilia and obstruction of justice is somehow now America's greatest victim because of the legitimate application of the first amendment.

  • But if it's academic suppression you want, Arizona's got you covered. Earlier this year, the state's Irony Enforcement Division banned a Mexican-American ethnic studies high school program, claiming that it promoted "racial resentment" by teaching kids about the negative history of racial resentment. (Although you can see the rationale. In a state where one group of people can be pulled over based on their appearance and forced to prove their citizenship or else spend their days in a pink-jumpsuited chain gang run by a yahoo martinet who looks like he ate Boss Hogg, learning the history of racial resentment might start to indicate pattern behavior.) Unfortunately, those who supported the ban not only didn't notice that students in the ethnic studies program outperformed their peers on state standardized tests, they now want to apply the ban to colleges.

    "I think that's where this toxic thing starts from, the universities," Arizona Superintendent of Schools John Huppenthal said in an interview with Fox News Latino. "To me, the pervasive problem was the lack of balance going on in these classes," Huppenthal said.

    Now, if there's one thing we all can appreciate about college, it's that it was never intended to be an institution where people were presumed adult and intelligent enough to make critical evaluations about conflicting information on their own. And Huppenthal has a point. For over a century, white people voluntarily treated Latinos like shit because they were racist. But, on the other hand, Latinos were born a different race. So, really, both sides share some of the blame.

    Teach the controversy.

"Mobutu Sese Seko" is founder of the blog Et tu, Mr. Destructo?