look homeward, angel

Copley Square, a familiar place. A familiar place for beer drinking and hamburger consumption and overhearing hipsters badmouthing Red State America on a snoozy Sunday afternoon. Named after John Singleton Copley, portraitist to the Boston Brahmin. “But the people in this town … the people in this town make me feel like Sean Hannity,” my Obama-voting friend Eamon once told me there on leafy, liberal Copley Square. I nearly followed Eamon up to B-town after college, was planning on setting up above a cannoli shop in the North End and affecting one of those accents that drops the r and overdoes it on the äääää. I could have been there on the finish line that fated day, had my legs blown off by bolts and other metal bits.

I keep pulling lucky numbers, but I know that sooner or later an unlucky one will come up.

… on the Baltic Queen between Stockholm and Tallinn in late winter waters, March, with the broken window glass ice crumpling and scraping the hull of this un-Titanic, playing video games in the ship’s arcade, one has real-looking guns, aiming at real-looking people, my daughter starts to play it. “Aim this way, now squeeze the trigger,” instructs adolescent freckly finnic face (an Estonian though). And at the end of this “game,” after we’ve both been wasted by adversaries, he confides in me in the arcade dark, “I love guns.” He loves guns?

 … Violence here and violence, ultraviolence, sex and violence. New York, Bali, Madrid, London, Boston, more unlucky numbers pulled. And who to blame? It’s not the pretty Malaysian Muslim girls with their peacock-like headscarves and round faces and scooters and ivorywhite smiles. It’s Timothy and Tamerlan and Dzokhar. The social cancer of those who kill and maim and ruin innocents to satisfy a vague political goal and succeed by seeing it never addressed because it is associated with their rotten blood-stained selves.

Some call these murderers “terrorists.” You and I know them better as “idiots.”

24 thoughts on “look homeward, angel

  1. Events in Boston were just so shocking to even comprehend. God knows how it's all gonna end. Internet was supposed to be the great leveller, a true democracy, yet as we've witnessed over the years it can also be used as a vehicle to spread hatered and promote violence. Add to this the clash of civilizations and we're in trouble. Maybe we're just noy ready yet for true global democracy ( or the world wide web). Maybe they should chop it up between countries and regions? But it might be too late now as genie is out of the bottom. All they need to come up with now is a way how to soften the blow. Otherwise this will not just end but carry on for many years to come.


  2. You and I, that is most everyone from the former Soviet union know these two as “churbany”, or “chornye” or “blacks” when translated into English …

    Obvioously very confusing to the Americans here who were aghast last week that Checks would do anything like that …


  3. Ran into one of those bastards in the Army in 1986. Had a snow-shovel turn into fist fight with one of them “dzhigits”. (We were on the detail to shovel some snow and disagreement soon ensued as to lets all work v. only you work)

    Russian wars in Chechnya no longer so unreasonable all of the sudden. 🙂


  4. Not nice indeed. It's views as such that get young men from these countries angry and confused in the first place. There's a lot of racism towards Caucasians in Estonia too. I hate it when older people call them “blacks” or even worse, because there's no need for it. Speaking of race, they're actually as European as Romanians or the Spanish, we don't call them blacks, do we?

    These youngsters are idiots, like Giuostino rightly said. It is probably a combination of factors that contributed towards their “behaviour”. Their race, being at the bottom of the list.


  5. I don't know what demand exists for impressionistic writing these days. Lean and mean seems to be the current aesthetic. I am sure nobody would publish Thomas Wolfe in 2013.


  6. “There's a lot of racism towards Caucasians in Estonia too. I hate it when older people call them “blacks” or even worse, because there's no need for it. Speaking of race, they're actually as European as Romanians or the Spanish, we don't call them blacks, do we?”

    So if people are non-European or black, we can be racist?
    I assume that´s not what you meant, but it follows from the argument. 🙂
    We should be racist to no one, whether they are Africans or Caucasians.


  7. Oh I think there's no need for racism at all. It's just “black” in Estonian language also means dirty or filthy and is used sometimes by some in a derogatory way towards people with off-white skin tone, mainly towards the people of Caucasus.


  8. Well, Mustlased isn't actually offensive. It isn't meant in a derogatory way, and gypsies themselves don't take offence. I remember when I went to a market once with my nan, and there were some Georgians selling watermelons, and my nan was like “kuradi mustad”. And it was the way she said it, the facial expression, she had her teeth crossed and lips barely moving, and it was just outright racist. But once when one of my aunts was conned by a gypsy woman and she was like “kuradi mustlased”, thats different as she might as well said “kuradi Bulgaarlased” as gypsie is ethnicity/nationality, thus mustlane isn't derogatory.

    Mind you, my partners nan used to shout at black people while they were sitting in front seats of the buses, “Get back!” she apparently used to say, well in to the nineteen nineties. How embarrassing must have that been? At least my nan kept her views to herself, lol. Nowadays I just have to correct her constantly, and it ain't easy, but she'll get there in the end. Hopefully, anyway. 🙂


  9. Oh, before you rip in to me, Temetsa, no, I do not think that Bulgarians are gypsies. It was just an example. Phew, nearly stumbled on my own “rake” there. 🙂


  10. A few years ago I was surprised to hear from my grandmother that she thought that black people are black because they are dirty. That´s what she learnt when she was a child. It´s funny and terrible at the same time.

    You are right about the gypsies.


  11. It is so easy not to be racist in Estonia, or Iceland or … anywhere there are no blacks.

    I think it is actually quite racist to live in a place where there are no blacks or “shaded” people.

    Swedes have realized that and they are correcting their demographics. They want to test their non-racist attitudes.

    Much like muslim countries invite christians in and are so nice to them.


  12. A random off topic one, for Temetsa.:) I've been reading up a bit on the upcoming EU US Trade agreement. Does that, in layman's terms, mean that US might be running up for EU membership in the future? As loose trade leads to integration in the long run, as we've seen in Europe over the past half a century.


  13. I know it sounds ridiculous, if you think about it – they even went to war against the British to get the Europeans off their backs. 🙂 But it's just the magnitude of this agreement is overwhelming and they plan to reach it by the end of 2014! Is it much of a topic in Belgian public media? Or are they planning to get over and done with it before the nationalists and fruitcakes get involved?


  14. I never stop adoring Americans for their innocent and kind attitude toward the world at large …

    … it is so cute to see them arguing that there are bad people everywhere … even among czech people …

    Having never met a chechenyan, dealing with them personally …

    Gosh, what my eyes have seen… come to think about it … I've gone so soft living my life here in a cotton ball of the American privilege …

    I am laughing about it all. Bitterly sometimes, but still. Try to find humor in the follies of mankind in order not to go insane. Unless I am already there … LOL


  15. I don´t think that a political union is forthcoming. 🙂 In Europe that´s what happened, but is not at all inevitable. A lot of countries have free trade agreements without forms of political union. But it means giving up some sovereignty as some legislation has to be changed, but I don´t know if there are any important controversies.
    In Belgium it is only mentioned in the economic news section of the newspapers and to be honest I also don´t know so much about the details. 🙂
    By the way, the EU is at this moment also negotiating with India about a free trade agreement.


  16. As far as I know the main controversy lies in tha agricultural sectors, by American standards if it moved before it was killed – it's edible! And European animal welfare organizations won't be going down with out a fight, thats fot sure. Also it was in the news today that European filmmakers are petitioning against it. Whereas Americans are concerned over internet “privacy” (read: failsharing). lol. Environmentalists will also have their say on this, and it ain't looking good…

    I suppose the more detail we get about it, the more controversy will arise. And that's why they keep it quiet, probably.

    Agreement on India is of a different cattle of fish altogether, it's more about what “we” want rather than what's beneficial to both.


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