* I saw an article stating that Virginia plans to remove all accelerated pre-eleventh grade math classes. The world is insane. I wonder if at some point it will be illegal to be intelligent or to have a certain amount of knowledge. Punishing kids for intelligence and/or effort. "Let's make everyone stoopid."
* I am going to write a science fiction novel where aliens show up and say, "okay, humans, time to have some standards. Enough of the stupidity and laziness. These are the new minimum requirements, so keep up, or this, that, and this will happen." You have to try. You have to know things. You have to be well-rounded. You have to actually live to the fullest, not in the cliched, imbecilic way that people say. Society goes to a better place than it's ever been before, but at what cost? And who are the dissenters? What are they willing to lose?
* Is anything more valuable right now than an excuse?
* It's about seven in the AM. I have written another 700 words into "Fetch and Ferry," so that, in the end, it's 2400 words long. I can write no better. It's as good as "Fitty" and "Nimbus." Also listened to one of the half hour episodes of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, called "The Markham Matter." The half hour ones are not nearly as strong as the five-parters, but this gets closer than most of them. It retains what is best about the five-parters. It's an episode to talk about on Downtown. The episode aired before Thanksgiving, and Bob Bailey comes on at the end to say some pre-holiday words that are rather touching. They'd never be said now. There would probably be an attempt to cancel him. What an ugly time this is, with the very worst of humanity at the very fore of the age.
* If humanity becomes sane again, history will look back upon these days as the WTF Era.
* It's worth reading about the Salem witch trials right now. Because you had people insisting on saying that what wasn't real was real. People were able to make themselves believe. Hysterical, insane thoughts became normalized as rational, as sober. The things that people say right now. I saw someone who worked for Obama, with 200k Twitter followers, normalizing what she characterized as a knife fight as no biggie. Are you that idiotic or that disingenuous if you characterize one human with a knife, going to stab another human without a knife, as a knife fight? Elsewhere, I saw an "activist" who said knife fights have been going on for "eons." The casual disregard of human life. An eon is a billion years. That's not even going through the motions of trying to sound intelligent. You know what it is? It's the ass voice. It's also disturbing when people who were not brave enough to participate in gym class are the ones expatiating about what is and what is not violence and danger. I do think it is awful that a sixteen-year-old child, who was also clearly disturbed, had been let down by people in her life, obviously, was shot. She must have had a very hard life. A tragic life with a tragic end. But you can't let someone stab someone who is unarmed. Is there a better way? I am not an expert in disarming people. How much time that would even take were it possible in this case. Is there anything else that could have been done to reach that assailant before the blade could pass through flesh? One is a certain amount of feet away. The arm has begun its swing. Can that ground be covered? I do know that the people who subsequently try to profit off of a tragedy like this as part of their hustle, would want the police to handle this situation the exact same way if they were about to be stabbed. Or if it were their child. I'm not sure if that's empathy or selfishness or the teaching that comes with experience. I know we have a very cold shoulder for those who are not us. And not in our small group, which is often only the familial unit. If that. There is little empathy in this world, as I have written, because empathy requires things we don't have now. Effort. A huge amount of effort. And imagination. Will. These things team up to take us out of our own lives, and into someone else's. You have to work at it. It's a bit different, but let me give an example. When I create a story like "Fetch and Ferry," to use the most recent example, it's exhausting. So much energy is required. That energy will be pulled from me, and given to these other people who are not me. Two hours' of work can feel like two days. I am using all of my energy, effort, and imagination to go into their lives. To be with them in their lives. Their lives are not my lives. This website has some tag line like, "Colin Fleming, a writer unlike other writers" if one looks it up on Google, I think. That's partially what that means. Other writers just write some shitty version of their own life. Which wasn't interesting to begin with. They're not introducing entirely new people to them, and then going into the lives of those people. The creation of true art is also a process of true empathy. Empathy is not the same as looking at a life and having concern. You have to work to put yourself, as close as you can get yourself, into what that other life, or the situation in that other life, feels like. As if you can feel it in your life. Though these lives are separate. Humans being idiots, and idiocy being rewarded--e.g., Jemele Hill--makes us worse humans to each other. Makes us less able to help each other. To even care about each other. It makes us less fit as parents. As teachers. As friends. Friendship is dying. Many people have no friends. No true friends. I'm not projecting. Yes, I am totally alone. That is true. And though I am friendless, I am also not friendless in the ways that other people are often friendless. They just have people who hit a like button for them in many cases. They are burdened by this unshakeable doubt of where they stand, and if anyone really stands with them. Whereas, I know. Which makes me better positioned to receive true friendship, and to be a real friend, when the opportunity comes, which I have faith will happen. Or enough faith that I keep myself ready. Friendship underpins all. Friendship underpins love. Marriage. Friendship underpins art. Friendship underpins this journal. But you cannot have friendship--not true friendship--without empathy.
* Last night I put up on a post on Twitter about the Bruins possible Hall of Fame players. I said that they have two skaters who are clear-cut, to me, HOF'ers right now, two other skaters who will have a shot based on their talent, and then asked the question if the goalie, Tuukka Rask was a Hall of Famer? Interesting though a conversation would be, I am me, so naturally there was absolutely no engagement, and I took the tweet down. I don't have the ass voice. But as for Rask: He would need one of the three things--a Stanley Cup, a second Vezina, or a Conn Smythe. So, right now, no. And my prediction would be no as well. Was close to the Vezina last year. Would have had the Cup and the Smythe a couple years ago if he wasn't awful in the Finals.
* I shall pitch something on Roy Brooks now, and the best hard bop drummers.