I would have loved writing papers in college so much more if I’d been able to say back then things like “He eventually realized he’d shit the bed on his historical legacy and it wasn’t going to come clean.”

If you’ve ever seen a young Southern white guy who loves Forrest talking about him, you’ve probably come as close as you’re going to come to seeing the equivalent of the Beauty & the Beast dynamic in a straight guy. “Oh, Nathan, he’s not so bad. I understand him, even if no one else does. Only I can soothe his tortured soul. If I hang out and talk about Nate a lot, my other friends get weirded out, but I love him and I just wish they could see in him what I do. Hell, I only wish Nate-eee-poo could see in himself what I see there.” They can redeem the monster, through true love and books.

Anyway, here.


Wicked Smart?

Oh, you guys, just when I’m like “What am I doing with my life? Do the things I do even matter?” I read this:

For some years I’ve been a fan of Betsy Phillip’s writing, she’s wicked smart and has a razor sharp style and calls out BS for what it is. I’m sure some readers get a little uncomfortable with her honesty and her views since she doesn’t shrink away from tough issues. Her work at Pith In The Wind has been a must-read.

That is really lovely. I don’t feel very brave, but that paragraph makes me sound really bad-ass.

Times Like This

On the one hand, I’m going to be so happy when the Butcher’s car is fixed. Because this waking up at a quarter to six when I’m used to waking up at twenty after is doing me in. It doesn’t seem like it should be that big a deal, but it seems like I’m missing some crucial last part of a sleep cycle or something.

But on the other hand, I like having a half an hour a day where we just talk about shit. Not that we don’t do that at home, but… well, no, not really. We’re watching TV or each doing our own thing.

Anyway, I wrote this thing for Pith. What I’m mulling over is that we tell history like it is just one great person popping up, island after island, like Hawaii in metaphorical terms. But you can’t look too closely at any particular person without seeing all the ways they’re tired to the people who came before them.

Rock City Marches

Yesterday, K. hooked me up with a guy who could play all the Rock City Marches I had. It was amazing to be sitting in a room, the three of us, listening to music we weren’t sure anyone had heard in decades.

I really love the feeling of going into the TSLA and finding things and knowing that I might be seeing something that no one has seen in years. But this experience of turning around and sharing it with others is also really amazing.

But, yes, as I say in my post, I ended up apparently a Rock City march short. But on Twitter, a guy from the State Museum offered to see if he could track down their copy.

How is this my life? I honestly don’t know. I have all these incredibly interesting people I know who all are happy to help me feed my curiosity. I don’t even know why. But it’s pretty awesome. My hope is that it’s awesome for them, too.

A Shift

I’ve been around at the other place long enough now that people, finally, hunt me down to tell me things they think I should think about. Like my opinion matters. Or carries any weight. It’s weird, considering how futile it feels to try to get people to change their minds.

I don’t know. Mostly I just think it’s weird. Like, why now, after all this time, am I worth hunting down?

Maybe it’s just the problem with the media pool shrinking. Everyone still in the water stands out.


My Andrew Jackson thing is not coming together how I’d like.

But I wrote about hostage-taking for Pith. I fully expect, since Ramsey appears to be saying that he’s holding out on medicaid expansion because fuck hospitals, this will become a bigger story. It’s fucking evil. Genuine political disagreements I get. Holding hostages because your feelings are hurt? We’re a state, not the fucking mob.

Nashville Scene-ing It Up

I wrote a piece about Joe Carr.. You can tell I was thinking hard yesterday about conspiracy theories and how they work.

And in the actual paper, not on the blog, I wrote a story about Nashville’s first real Thanksgiving and what took us so long to get around to it.

And J.R. Lind’s story about spiced round has convinced me to serve it this Christmas to my family. Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha. I am trying to learn how one serves it, but that hardly matters. When reviving a dying tradition, ruin it! That’s what I always say. (Note: that is not what I always say. Obviously, what I always say is “When reviving a dying tradition, add the Devil and some fool who fucks him.” But that’s not how I want to spend Christmas with my family.)

Tearing Down Buildings

In an unintended, but now hilarious to me, coincidence, my story, “Beyond, Behind, Below“–about what happens when you fuck with a dude’s ancient wreck of a cabin–is out the same day I argue we should tear down the United Methodist Publishing House building and not feel bad about it for even a second.

Anyway, check out the whole issue of Betwixt. There’s some really great stuff in there.

And then feel free to come back and tell me if you like the story.


Rape Stuff at Pith

I wrote about some of the nebulous hand-wringing I’ve seen when people are trying to figure out how the Vanderbilt football player rape could have happened.

I’m really disturbed to see that even Vanderbilt’s dean of students seems to believe in the accidental rapist. And fuck, even if you do believe in the existence of the accidental rapist, surely we can all agree that the accidental rapist doesn’t bring home a passed-out girl, stage a break-in, cover up the moving of her unconscious body, and let his friends take turns with her while he makes souvenir footage. None of that is a mistake. In fact, it shows repeated intention.

Like Sarcastro said on Twitter, the staging of the break-in and the covering of the camera indicate the kind of planning based on previous trial-and-error. I would bet at least one of these guys has previous victims.

Anyway, also be sure to check out the first comment, which may be the stupidest comment I’ve ever gotten at Pith. Which is a remarkable achievement.

Controlling Girls

It’s not just that it’s obviously a lie that having sex with eight people makes you like a cup everyone in a classroom has spit in that angers me. It’s that, at this point, not a single sex-educator in this land can pretend like he or she doesn’t know how terrible this rhetoric is for victims of sexual abuse, because Elizabeth Smart has said so. So, as of right now, even if they weren’t smart enough to get that before, they now know. Which means that, when they spout this shit, it’s literally more important to scare kids out of having sex than it is to have compassion for abuse victims.

Never mind how gross I find it that a woman who is in charge of a place that convinces girls to give up their babies for adoption gets a platform in public schools to convince girls to give their babies up for adoption and no one seems bothered by her vested interest. Of course these women are opposed to abortion and birth control. They need desperate pregnant girls to supply babies for them.

It’s in their best interest for teenage girls to have no knowledge about how to keep from getting pregnant and no option but to carry the pregnancy to term if they become pregnant, because they want those babies.

And they still get framed as the good guys.

Fat and Ugly

The most disturbing thing, to me, about the worst of the Pith commenters is not what they say, which I am pretty much weened off of reading. It’s when people who like me read something and contact me, alarmed by what they’re reading. I’m never quite sure what to say to them. I really, genuinely appreciate their concern. I also genuinely feel sure that anything they do is as effective as spitting into the wind and could lead to needless trouble for them.

But I did laugh at this idea that I’m supposed to be insulted or hurt at being called fat and ugly. Yes, folks, I am. Been fat and ugly my whole life. Even when I wasn’t objectively fat or objectively ugly, there was always some asshole who was happy to tell me that I was fat and ugly. If fat and ugly is supposed to keep you out of the public square, I would have had to stay in my house and never leave starting about five.

I guess it’s supposed to be different, now that I’m grown, and I am actually fat and ugly. Except that now I’m fat and ugly and old, which means that I’ve been around long enough that I know fat and ugly is bullshit, a standard that has no meaning, except that the person trying to hold me to it hates me.

And I’m not sure at all why I’m supposed to care that someone I don’t know hates me.

I Will Regret this Morning

Mrs. W. was kind of limping last night, so when she went to bed before I did, I didn’t make her get up and go to the bathroom before I went to bed. Which meant that she had to go to the bathroom at four this morning. Which also included all her nightly lollygagging. So, when my alarm went off at 6:15, I admit, I decided, “fuck it, I’m going to sleep in” instead of getting up to walk with her.

Which means I’m going to be grouchy all day and that there’s a good chance she will poop in the house, since she’ll be all off schedule. Plus, since she didn’t walk and stretch that knee out a little, it’s going to be stiff on her all day.

So, you know, not a victory of any sorts.

I also wrote a story this weekend which I hate. The weird thing is that I don’t hate it because it’s bad. I think it might actually be fine. I hate it because I find it so fucking unsettling. And I can’t really put my finger on where the unsettlement comes from. I mean, you might read it and like it or hate it just fine, you know? It might not be universally unsettling, just unsettling to me.

But it’s making revisions or even thinking about revisions impossible because I want to rush through reading it, just to get it over with. It’s like I read it the same way you rush past the creepy house on the way home from school.

I think it’s in part the protagonist. On the one hand, the story is about identifying with him and his grief pretty completely and compellingly. And then a thing is done–a sensible thing given the circumstances–and he takes devastating revenge and I deeply dislike it. I guess because I deeply dislike circumstances in which there either is no right thing to do or where the thing that looks like the right thing still costs.

And I wrote this post at Pith, which may be the most bitter thing I have ever written.

Dick Measuring

You know that moment when you’re in a meeting or at some kind of public function where the dudes all get sucked into a dick measuring contest? You know what I mean? Some middle or lower status guy will say something kind of insightful and interesting–“I think we should all move into the shade, where it will be cooler.”–and for some reason that triggers not a compliance with his action, but a huge hullabaloo where all the guys who are higher in status than him or want to be higher in status than him have to go on for twenty minutes about how either it’s stupid to move into the shade and here are the eighteen reasons why, which suggester would have known if he’d only been as awesome as dude now speaking, or how they had the idea to move into the shade five hours ago, when, in fact, the shade was over here, because they’re just that cool. Everyone measures their dicks, rearranges social status based on dick size, and eventually they either move into the shade or the meeting mercifully ends.

If you don’t have a dick to wave, this aspect of male socialization is either hilarious or frustrating, depending on how much of the meeting time it’s eating into or how much you wish you’d brought a huge, but otherwise lifelike dildo to slam on the table in order to be permitted to talk and to get your idea in the mix.

My whole life, up until yesterday, I have always been one of the people without a metaphorical dick to swing.

But I woke up, bolt upright in bed in the middle of the night, after pondering how even my post on Timothy Demonbreun could have descended into “you’re not doing it right” in the comments (which, yes, I am failing to not read), realizing that posting at Pith is invoking a dick measuring dynamic for some folks. Since I’m not shutting up and deferring to their superior knowledge (which would be impossible, since I’m the poster. I literally couldn’t bring that dynamic into play unless I didn’t post but somehow made it apparent that I wasn’t posting because what they had to say was more important.), I’m not signaling “proper female.” And so I provoke the dick measuring.

The thing is that I always tend to tune out the dick measuring in real life, since I can’t participate in it. So, I don’t know if I won. I think I did. I mean, when someone is reduced to “what you’re saying is right, it’s just that I don’t like your tone” that’s winning, right?

Do I burp loudly now or what? Is there a prize?

Yes, I know, the true prize would be the piece of mind that comes from not reading the comments. I am trying to break myself.