That’s the thing they never tell you when you’re growing up: you missed the best part. At least, most of us did. They don’t tell you: the worst is yet to come. They fail to mention that you are a byproduct of something that will only fall apart, decay, rot over time, and you are the reason why things are slowly getting worse and worse for everyone in the room. No one wants to be a third wheel, but there you are, unwittingly third wheeling the dissipation of love and romance. Isn’t this what it’s like for every child born to parents? As time marches on, and parents age, afflicted by the maladies of ill health and the inevitable fading of youth and beauty. It becomes hard to look at them, at either of them, and realize: this is what happens to love. This is where it goes. This is the monster it grows into. Especially for us, who are just children, and do not really understand love all that well. When we first fall in love, and the specter of our parents, or our grandparents, or our aunts and uncles, or anyone else we have ever known who has loved and then grown old. It doesn’t seem so pretty or so romantic from that vantage. Even though – true love. There is something so beautiful and enduring about it that we cannot possibly fathom that time would do such a horrible thing to true love. We have all been born too late in someone else’s story, just as the bitter ending begins to unfold. Why didn’t our parents think better than that, better than to cast us as characters in the final act of a romantic tragedy. Didn’t they know what it would do to us to grow up in the rot of a festering love, and how could they ever expect us to find love ourselves when we have drowned for decades in their feeble simulacrum of that thing called love.
Well, it’s finally happened. I guess I’m a fucking atheist. *sigh* Even though I still identify as Catholic, I have finally come to terms with the fact that there is no religion, modern or ancient, that makes any lick of sense to me. Honestly, I’m pretty sad about it. Having been raised Catholic, I was always exposed to the heights of magical thinking as manifested in religion. There was always something so fantastical about it – to believe that there is a man in the sky who loves me, well, that’s pretty amazing! Not believing in god is like not believing in Santa Claus or dinosaurs. It’s a lot more comforting to believe that all these things exist, that there is a sense of order, that somebody magical out there cares. (To clarify: I believe in dinosaurs, but I think it’s really sad and boring when people don’t believe in dinosaurs.) In fact, I’m envious of people who can look at a picture of Jesus on the cross and think, “Yes! That is something that happened two thousand years ago, and it is all about me!”
But to think that way is to shirk the responsibility of living one’s life today. Religion as a social construct is a scape goat for weak people who want to blame all of this on some sort of cosmology. Although, perhaps that’s looking at religion at its worst. At its best, religion builds cathedrals, throws parties, breeds love, builds tradition. Magical thinking is what got us out of the caves and gives us purpose. It’s innately tied to our survival drive – the belief that there is something greater out there is fundamental to human ambition, and what better way to embody that than through ‘god?’
While religion plays an important social role, my rejection of religion – which, by the way, isn’t a rejection of tradition because I’ll go back to mass once the vaccine hits – is just my way of saying, “I am content with my life and my existence.” I have no burning questions, no holes in my heart that can only be filled with the idea of something mystical. The idea of god doesn’t really do anything for me on an emotional level. Especially other people’s idea of god. I just can’t wrap my head around an almighty being that will eagerly cast his so-called ‘children’ into the depths of hell because they didn’t praise him. That’s a very narcissistic and fairly anthropomorphic idea of god – isn’t god supposed to be beyond human folly? If there’s some all knowing, all powerful deity in the sky, wouldn’t that be beyond human conception? To claim to know the will of god is a spiritual oxymoron. I can’t really get behind it. God is merely a social concept that people weaponize against each other on a whim. God is a pedestal from which people look down on those they consider inferior. I have no desire to do that. I have no desire to create rules that govern other people. I have no desire to judge. I have no desire for a god nor any need.
This isn’t about being amoral or immoral, because religion as a social construct – while an apt set of guidelines – doesn’t actually change the majority of humanity’s inclination to amoral or immoral behavior. It merely examines it, chastises it, creates shame, and then abandons people to their own shame. This isn’t about ‘good’ or ‘evil’ or any other false dichotomy. If anything, not believing in god is accepting the uncomfortable gray area. It’s knowing that there is no absolute right and wrong in every situation. There isn’t always a winner in every argument, and to pursue god as a solution to the gray area of morality is to ignore the most human parts of humanity: our duality.
Religion is a scape goat. A tool of denial. A comfort zone. The opiate of the masses. When religion doesn’t serve to build society, to challenge us morally and emotionally, to build community – if religion doesn’t do all of that, it destroys us. Which is why religion must be kept in check. Religion cannot be lauded as an absolute power of good. Religion is – like everything created by man – dualistic, capable of both harm and growth.
In the country where I live today, religion has taken a nasty turn and is the excuse that people use to threaten other people’s liberty. Which is why I reject it. The idea of religion itself has been tarnished by the people who have built it, and I don’t want anything to do with it. This country is a kingdom of faux spirituality, from tarot cards to midnight mass to St. Patrick’s Day to yoga. I reject all of it, from my Catholic roots to the trendy new world of astrology. Yes, we need meaning, yes we need order, yes we need rules. I understand the value in that, but me, personally? I’m cool. I’ll take chaos and emptiness. I’m quite comfortable here. There is nothing for me beyond the world I live in, and that’s why I am choosing to live in this world. Because this is all I have, so I better make it fucking count. If there’s more to all of this, I’ll deal with that when I get there. But for now, I’m just going to watch science fiction movies and read about conspiracy theories – because it’s entertainment, and I don’t confuse entertainment with the meaning of life.
That being said, I’m not mad at the people who do need religion. Because while religion does nothing for me on an emotional level, I am a sucker for tradition and ritual, which is why I’ll still be going to mass after all of this is over. I’m aware that there’s value in me sucking it up and showing up for church because it makes my mom and sister happy, and the happiness of the people I love is the most fulfilling thing I can attain in this life, so I’ll fake it through 45 minutes of off key hymns in a cold, grey church if that’s what it takes.
My winter time wasting activity this year is going to be: learning all about QAnon. I’m really excited about it, mostly because now that Trump lost I feel emotionally girded to dive into the cesspool that is America. What is America all about? What did all that Trump shit really mean? It’s not like it’s going away at all. Reading about the fringiest part of the Trump phenomenon is really just an exercise in examining other people’s mental illness and the unique way that America triggers the psychosis of child sex trafficking, lizard people, JFK Jr is still alive, adrenocrome, and all that jazz. The worst parts of America reveal what America is really about, and taking time to laugh at people who have lost themselves in these newfangled conspiracy theories is just another way of knowing myself. I’m not above any of this shit, nor are you. Where we go one, we go all, and the QAnon-ers are going deep into the belly of schizophrenic political delusions. Like it or not, we are going with them. So let’s look at the road ahead.
Well, it’s Bay Area cold which means that I’m still wearing summer clothes but my legs are cold so time to throw on some stockings and a coat. I’m ready to cozy up inside with my TV and my computer, watching non stop crime dramas and laughing at QAnon conspiracy theorists on the Internet. I’m ready for boredom. Lots and lots of boredom. Not that I haven’t been bored for the last nine months, but winter boredom hits different. Being bored in the summer is a point of panic for me, like I should be out there, enjoying summer before the winter boredom hits. Before I don’t leave the house because I don’t want to and not because I can’t. I will be waiting for fresh hells from the comfort of my couch, wearing leggings and a sweater and drinking hot tea. Hot, hot tea.
I woke up yesterday to the sound of honking and shouting, looked at my phone, saw Biden had won, and tried to go back to sleep. God, I did not give a fuck. But this is what I get for deciding to live in a fancy, white, liberal enclave: I get to be bothered by white, liberal bullshit.
Is this what we did when Obama was elected? If anything, I think I was more thrilled by Obama’s election than by Trump’s defeat. I don’t remember people honking and crying and dancing in the streets. Maybe that’s because I didn’t have the same level of Internet access in 2008 as I do in 2020. But I do remember talking to my black friend the night of Obama’s election. He wasn’t celebrating, and when I asked why, he responded, “Do you think that this changes anything?” God, I felt incredibly naive because he was right – eight years later, a white supremacist would take the White House. Which is how I feel today: to celebrate a Biden victory is incredibly naive. It doesn’t change anything for the people who need change the most. It only changes things for those of us who are privileged enough to be bothered by presidential politics but still relatively unaffected in our day to day quality of life.
If I’m entirely honest, I can’t think of a single Trump policy that has had a negative impact on my life. Sure, the culture of Trump’s America was a fucking bummer. I didn’t like the kids in cages, I didn’t like the hysterectomies at ICE facilities, I didn’t like the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, I didn’t like the new tax structure, I didn’t like pulling out of the Paris Accord or WHO, I didn’t like Betsy Devos’s take on Title IX, I didn’t like the trade wars, I didn’t like the stimulus package, I didn’t like the coronavirus response. Yes, these things might impact my life for years to come, but the fact of the matter is I am too privileged to understand the extent of what the Trump Presidency did to this country. Which also means I probably won’t be able to understand the impact of the future Biden Presidency.
Yes, I think it’s cool that a mixed race black and Asian woman from Oakland is the new vice president. I believe that she will be a competent leader and that she will pave the way for other women like me to rise in power in America. However, as a feminist I have learned that just because I support women rising into positions of power doesn’t mean that I have to like them or agree with them. From an intersectional feminist perspective, this is great! From a political perspective, it’s more of the same but in a package that is trying to convince me that I should forget about my political convictions and stand by my feminist beliefs.
There are some things I’m going to miss about Trump’s America. It felt real for everybody. The stakes were high for everybody. We all had to fight. And we fought together. We were side by side in the trenches because even though some of us are too privileged to really understand the full scope of the fight, we knew we had to fight. We knew that without unity and resistance, it would be a quick backslide into fascism. We refused to let that happen, and in that refusal we rediscovered what we wanted America to mean and what we wanted America to stand for. We all saw the ugly underbelly of America. We watched in horror together as the real racism of America reared its ugly head, unfettered and unashamed to be called by its own name. For some people, it was their first time seeing it. For others, it was the same beast it had always been, just pumped up on the steroids of electoral victory. But we fought it together. We didn’t win, but for a moment in time we fought together.
A Biden victory means a return to complacency. For too many people, the war is over. But it’s sham. The war isn’t over. The enemy hasn’t been defeated. The enemy has been unseated, but electoral victory doesn’t change the fundamental system that allowed all of this to happen in the first place. It doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again. Not exactly like this, but it in some newer, more clever fashion. Perhaps it has already happened, and we just don’t know it yet. Which is why I’m not dancing in the streets. I dance in the streets whenever the fuck I feel like it, but for presidential politics? I think not. I’m just going to curl up in a ball and hide inside of my radical ideals and antifascist fantasies. I would dance in the street for his head on a spike, but anything less than that warrants another lazy Sunday, in bed watching TV, drinking tea, and being the apathetic American I always have been and always will be.
Here we are, yet again, on the verge. I know I’m supposed to wax poetic about how this is a monumental moment for all of us, or perhaps I’m supposed to be railing against the insanity of anyone who could dare vote for Donald Trump, yet for some reason I don’t have it in me to neatly tuck myself into one of those political response camps. Yeah, I voted. Yeah, I care mildly about the outcome. Yeah, I’m aware of the repercussions of this election on my life. Yet for some reason, neither blind patriotism nor rabid divisiveness appeals to me. Because I already know what will happen. Tomorrow will come, good news or not, and I will continue to live my life in pretty much the same way that I have always been living it. Tirading on the Internet about racist Trump supporters isn’t going to change that. Gushing over Kamala Harris even though she’s a cop isn’t going to change that. Fuck, even voting isn’t going to change that. (Because I live in California. My vote doesn’t actually do anything in a presidential election. Local elections, sure.)
I’m getting sick of seeing people on the Internet chastise and berate Trump supporters for how the casted their votes. Mostly because: we’re clearly missing something here, people. True, as a born and bred Californian, and a born and bred Bay Arean at that, I live in a liberal bubble that is unscathed by the political duality that scars most of the rest of the country. The idea of a Trump supporter is unfathomable to me, but in being unfathomable, I realize: maybe I should try to understand what the fuck is going on here. Because there’s clearly something that I don’t understand. Painting every Trump supporter as a zany, racist, misogynistic Q Anon supporter clearly isn’t accurate. These aren’t people on the fringe, even if the Trump political movement has embraced the fringe (in a way which *ahem* I wish the left would do). There’s something very average about Trump supporters. In fact, something so average that Trump still has a fighting chance for a second term as I write this. The fact that we can’t see that is evidence of our inability to really understand America, to understand what it takes to win an election, to understand what it means to hold power in America. \
Of course I think I’m an average American. But maybe I’m not. It’s very American for every American to put themselves at the center of the American narrative. But the fact of the matter is, I am clueless as to who the average American really is and, by extension, what the American dream is anymore. All I know is, it’s not the Bay Area and it’s not the people who live here. Perhaps we are out of touch.
There is something fairly ignorant about claiming that Donald Trump is “not my president” if you still live in this country, obey its laws, and benefit from its policies. Even though we in the Bay Area have railed against Trump this entire time, we have always been citizens of this country, and this country has been ruled by Trump. No amount of protesting, hanging BLM signs in the window, or writing angry liberal screeds on Facebook changes that. If you pay your federal taxes, you are an American and you are financially supporting a government that spends money based on Donald Trump’s decisions.
I didn’t leave. I am embarrassed that I lived in this country while it was being ruled by Donald Trump, but I wasn’t so embarrassed that I left. Or even did anything meaningful or significant to stymie his power or his decisions. I have to deal with that, and I have to deal with the fact that regardless of who is president, I will always be benefiting from policies that oppress and exploit other people. Because this is a capitalist society, and our government is designed to support capitalism and all its inherent evils.
Maybe I’m not so different from a Trump supporter, I’m just in a blue-tinged denial. What do Trump supporters even care so deeply about that they’re willing to overlook the racism, the sexism, and the ignorance? Because that’s all I see when I see Donald Trump: he is a leader who perpetuates division, who condones racism, who is misogynistic, xenophobic, and not good at spelling or grammar, at the very least. But I’m not seeing something. Perhaps I’m not seeing the whole picture, or I’m looking at it from a different angle. All I see is despicableness and bile. But someone out there sees unity, hope, progress in the exact same person. Fucking how!? I’m not implying that anyone who sees light in Donald Trump is ignorant, but rather that I am too ignorant to understand what it is that they see.
What do these people value? Over and over again, I see that the single most important fundamental American value is freedom. And, oh, buddy, let me tell you: yeah, I fucking love my freedom. I am one of the most free people that I have ever known, and I am definitely the most free person in my family’s blood line. I try to utilize as much freedom as possible on a day to day basis. I am not a prisoner to my government, to religion, to my family, to my friends, to my boss, to morality, to etiquette, to insecurities or boyfriends. I practice freedom by being the most me that I can be every day, regardless of how obnoxious or annoying it is. The only things that hold me back are money, my gender, and my race. To me, these are the biggest impediments to freedom. I am caught in the trap of capitalism, and it is preventing me from being free to do whatever the fuck it is I want. And ‘whatever the fuck it is I want’ is usually hanging out at my house watching TV and getting drunk with my friends.
Maybe that’s the language we should be using to talk to Trump supporters. They can surely understand that some people are more free than others in this country. Although, that begs the question: are some people more equal than others in this country? And, if so, how do we measure that?
Calling a Trump supporter ‘racist’ on the Internet isn’t going to change anything, nor is it going to help. We look so dumb when we do that. Blanket statements about condoning homophobia and sexism with a single vote cast aren’t helpful. For the most part, battling people in comment threads doesn’t really produce meaningful dialogue, nor does it inspire change.
There’s really only one way to change: come into power. Not just in politics, but in every aspect of this country. Take charge. Take power. Change this fucking shit, even if it takes years, decades, a lifetime. Do not let them get away with this shit. Let Americans have so much freedom that they choke on it and die. Give them the freedom to be ignorant, to be racist, to be loud mouthed and gun toting and angry. But make sure that they know: freedom is not free. If you want to be like that here, then you must suffer the same way that I have suffered for the past four years: with the humiliation of being an American in an America that is defined by its own hypocrisy. It’s not even real suffering, and it’s not that hard to live with. But I am sick of living with it.
When I meet someone new, there are two burning questions that I like to ask them: what is your favorite food? What is the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done?
You learn a lot about a person based on their answers. The first one is benign, simple, almost folksy. Sometimes I ask what is your favorite movie or what is your favorite animal if I want to switch it up. It’s such a little kid question. But it’s interesting to see where people’s minds go with it. It’s not the same as asking “If you were on death row, what your last meal be?” Favorite food can go in so many different directions. Is it your favorite thing to eat every day? Something attached to sense memory or nostalgia? Is there something special about what it’s made from or who makes it? Really, it’s a very emotional question.
Asking about the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done is an intimate question. It’s vulnerable. It’s the opposite of what is your favorite food. It’s a question for adults. What kind of risks have you taken? Are you ashamed of them? Does the question make you uncomfortable? Or are you trying to show off?
I love asking these questions of people, however I have found that people tend to mistake my interest in them for something else. Namely, they think that asking those questions means I want to cook for them and fuck them. Which is disappointing. If I wanted to cook for someone or fuck someone, I would just do it.
My favorite food is ribeye steak, medium rare, served at a restaurant, with all the accoutrements, and a glass of wine. The kinkiest thing I’ve ever done is crimson showers, but that’s a whole story for another time.
We don’t speak. I tell myself that it’s because he was horrible to me, and he treated me badly, and I deserve better than that. Which is true, but it’s more than that. If that is the only reason we don’t speak, then why don’t I feel more angry? If that is the only reason, then why I am consumed with guilt and shame? And I’m talking about more guilt and shame than usual. What the fuck do I feel so guilty about. What am I so ashamed of. Maybe it’s that he treated me badly, and I let it happen. I let it happen because it felt fucking good. To finally have another human being validate my deep self loathing in such a visceral manner. Maybe we don’t speak because I hate who I became and who I was with him. I hate how weak I was, and speaking to him is a reminder of my deep personal shortcomings. I can’t speak to him, because I’m trying not to indulge my self loathing. I’m trying not to be that person, to myself or anyone else. I don’t want to speak to him and be reminded of how bad things can get. How bad I can be to myself. I am ashamed of what happened. I am a coward for blaming him. I don’t want to be reminded of the darkness in myself, and that’s all I can see any time I think of him. The horror inside me, and I would let it consume me whole if it could. But it can’t, because it didn’t, and now I have to live with the scars and the bite marks of trying to be devoured by my own undoing and failing. I cannot look at him, and I cannot talk to him, because I cannot forgive him for leaving me here, alive and intact.
We were monsters together, and we were monsters to each other.
Lately there’s been a lot of anti-tiki backlash in the bar world because tiki bars fetishize Pacific Islander culture. While I agree that fetishizing PI culture is gross, there’s something about this anti-tiki conversation that is missing.
As someone who is part Filipina, I realized that I needed to take the time to unpack: how exactly do I feel about tiki bars? I know that someone of my fellow PI people feel uncomfortable going into tiki bars, but personally I have always loved tiki bars, especially the trashier, kitschier and more throw back tiki bars. To me, there has always been something blatantly gauche about the tiki bar, kinda like a bad racist joke we all know is racist but we still laugh at anyway. Yo, this shit is ridiculous. Granted, there is that subset of Alameda white people who take tiki culture very seriously, but, again, weren’t we always kinda laughing at them?
But that’s not it. That’s not how I feel about tiki bars. To me, tiki bars are quintessential Americana. And seeing as I’m a quintessential American, I think there’s a lot to be said about how and why America has manifested tiki bars as an okay thing in our culture. On a grander level, America is all about colonialism, cultural appropriation, and separating people from their heritage. Let’s be honest about what America has become: it’s a place that people can go to so that they can become lost children. So that they can divorce themselves from their heritage and traditions. So they can start something new, irreverent and iconoclastic, all morality be damned. Whether by choice or by coercion, America is a land of inauthenticity. And what’s more inauthentic than a tiki bar?
But that’s still not it. There’s still my personal experience of tiki bars. Or, rather the mentality that spawned this land of tiki bars. Or, to be blunt: yellow fever. Yup, that’s right, I am a yellow fever baby, born of white father who indiscriminately loved all things Asian. Which is why he married my mother, who is half Filipina. (And also why he had a variety of hob nob Asian ephemera around the house, including Korean wedding dolls, a Chinese scroll painting, and a few Japanese knick knacks. Not a very discerning man, clearly.) My father married my mother in the 1960s, back when race mixing was still fairly taboo and before we had the language and the awareness with which to unpack the various racist microaggressions that white people committed against people of color. So it will come as no surprise for me to tell you that, yes, my father committed a lot of racist microaggressions towards my mother. It’s something that I grew up witnessing, and, unfortunately, because of that, perhaps became a bit comfortable with.
Which is why I like tiki bars. My parents’ favorite date night spot was Trader Vic’s, the original tiki restaurant. There is something about the white fetishization of Asian culture that is normalized to me on such a fundamental psychological level that I don’t think I can ever truly divorce myself from it. So walking into a tiki bar feels…familiar. Comforting. Perhaps a bit like Stockholm syndrome, but, fuck it, sometimes there’s something comforting in the things that are bad for you. Like alcohol.
This is what’s missing from the current conversation about tiki. For those of us who are too far gone into whiteness, what does tiki mean to us? What does it mean to be the product of the yellow fever mentality? When PI activists say that the white fetishization of PI culture is wrong, how do we feel about our parents? About ourselves? How are we supposed to feel when the tiki bar, which in some ways is a reflection of our lived racial experience, is branded as ‘wrong’ and ‘bad?’
I’ve always been confused about how to feel about being mixed. A lot of mixed people feel that way. So this is nothing new to us. I have always felt that I belonged at the tiki bar. That I made sense. The garish fetishization of PI women, the culturally insensitive reproductions of religious artifacts, the cultural erasure masquerading as cultural celebration – yup, I am very comfortable with that. I don’t think it’s right, but I know how to be okay with it because growing up in a mixed household, I had to be okay with it. Granted, being at a tiki bar felt okay for me, but I definitely looked around at all the other mother fuckers sitting there and wondered why the fuck they were okay with it, too. The tiki bar can be home for me and all my other hapa friends, but everyone else? What the fuck were they doing there?
Here’s what’s missing from the conversation about tiki bars: interracial dating. To me, that’s what tiki bars were all about: white men fucking Asian women. White men who kicked it at tiki bars were basically signaling that they were down to fuck Asian women. Which at a certain time was a risky thing to do. I guess what’s interesting to me now is that within white tiki culture, you don’t see nearly as much race mixing as before. What’s worse: a white couple at the tiki bar or a mixed Asian/white couple at a tiki bar?
Eh, I don’t care about which is worse. So much of this irritates me. What irritates me the most, however, is mezcal. Or, let me back up for a second here and take it back to my personal background. My father married my mother because she is Asian, and he wanted to piss off his white mother. However, my mother is half Filipina and half Mexican. She was raised by her Mexican side of the family and despite being mixed identifies more with her Mexican heritage. But that’s not why my father married her. In fact, he pretty much ignored the fact that she was Mexican and treated her like she was 100% Filipina. So in addition to being a witness to Asian fetishization, I also have the lived experience of the cultural erasure of my Mexican heritage by my father.
Which brings me back to mezcal. And mezcal bars. Specifically, white owned mezcal bars. Can we have a reckoning about that? Can we do that now? Before white owned mezcal bars become so normalized that it gets absorbed into American culture as something that’s just fun to do like the tiki bar? Because that’s what’s happening right now, too. I guess there’s something sickly ironic about the fact that tiki culture was born of the Korean War and Hawaii’s statehood. Tiki culture flourished here in California after the Japanese were put in internment camps here. And this love for mezcal is exploding during one of the most xenophobic presidencies in the history of this country and while Latinx children are being locked up at the border. It’s almost like: as soon as we oppress a culture we can then start to reinterpret it as American and reabsorb it into our bloodstream. Like I said: a country full of lost children and inauthenticity. It’s what we do, and we do it well.
Redefining the tiki bar isn’t going to change America. It’s not going to change the fact that we are all Americans, and that means that we are in some way complicit beneficiaries of America’s tradition of cultural atrocities. Of course I support the anti-tiki activists. But I am still very confused about my place in that, about my racial background, about what it means to be American. I’m not sure if I should be loud about this or if I should just…yeah, I don’t know what to do. Does being part white invalidate my opinion on tiki bars? Or does being part Filipina prove their point. Is my existence violence? Or am I overthinking this. I don’t like Asian fusion food because it’s just white washing Asian cuisine for people who think that Chinatown is too ‘ethnic.’ I resent that every mid-tier American restaurant now has tacos on the menu because how can tacos be good at a restaurant where they don’t make their own tortillas and salsa? It’s lazy menu writing. But preferring authentic cuisine isn’t a referendum on my existence as the product of interracial dating.
I love the Black Lives Matter movement for bringing these new conversations about race to the table. Credit where credit is due: we wouldn’t be talking about tiki bars if BLM hadn’t empowered us to talk about our race, too. Thanks for that. But it was only a matter of time before these conversations became personal. Or, rather, interpersonal.
All of this is just to say: if bars were still open, I’d still be drinking at tiki bars, and I’d be judging everyone else there, while at the same time feeling very confused about how and why I was there. But bars aren’t open, so I guess I’ll just be drunk at home indefinitely, which is great because drinking at home means I don’t have to confront the moral crisis of racism in my kitchen full of non-ethnically charged decor and glassware. Cheers to that.
But we will. They say that cockroaches are the only creature that will survive the nuclear apocalypse. I think they’re wrong. I think humans survive, too, because you know who’s more cockroach-y than cockroaches? Humans. We have mastered every terrain from Antartica to the Gobi Desert. We have lived through war, famine, disease, fascism, genocide – all of it. And just like we survived those greater atrocities, so, too, shall we survive this. We’re just not going to have a good time doing it. Which is where all the complaining comes from. We, Americans, are loath to give up our creature comforts and live like the lesser-thans. To Americans, living like a third world citizen isn’t actually living. It’s dying, which is why we think we can’t keep living like this. But we can. And we will if we must. If there’s anything I have come to believe in lately, it’s the tenacity of the human being. Like a cockroach. Even in times like this.