I’ve been wrestling to put the mechanism of abuse into the fewest possible words. Abuse comes in many forms, and every one of them involves (among other things) the violent suppression of someone else’s rightful feelings. There is a common element to all abuse: whatever you think happened to you, whatever you can show me actually did happen to you — fuck you!
It may be helpful to see it set out this way, as I did toward the end the final draft of my letter to my former lifelong friend Paul:
I have to say, though, the schematic of your method is quite elegant. One friend sets out to prove to the other that people are deeply flawed brutes who cannot change in any fundamental way, salutes his friend for his years of efforts to be less brutish, thanks him for his mildness in the face of an angry confrontation, keeps professing ignorance of what his friend’s actual issues are, no matter how clearly stated — eventually provokes an angry response from his ahimsa-deluded old pal. Game and match! Elegant, man, you win. It must feel great.
It doesn’t feel great, obviously, and I am just being a sarcastic dick to say so to this poor, eternally besieged, black and white seeing, zero-sum calculating fucker. However, raising the bar on what constitutes “fundamental change” from becoming much more difficult to rile up (a difficult but attainable goal) to becoming impossible to provoke (a virtually impossible one, given enough time and perverse persistence) is damned clever, it’s what enables the abuser to insist he is right — and to prevail — no matter what the facts of the case show otherwise.
It’s the same as the game run by racists, the segregationists, those afraid and angry at Black Lives Matter for their cruel insistence that our society is ravaged by racism just because cops are continually killing unarmed Blacks with no consequences. Segregationists blame the victims, it’s all they’ve got.
“We don’t have slavery anymore, haven’t for more than 150 years, and these savage thugs are so ungrateful! What did we do? What did our generation do? A few of them get killed when they disobey cops, it happens to everybody, it happens way more to whites than to them . Yet THEY angrily demand a special right to be treated like their lives matter so much more than anybody else’s. That’s why we hate them!”
That evil kid who decided his uncontrollable sexual urges made it necessary to murder seven women and a man? Police spokesman told every potential juror in the country that the poor little mass-murderer had had a “bad day”, and he wasn’t going to go into whether the slimy mass-murderer had expressed remorse, though he pointed out solemnly that the killer was aware of the “gravity” of what he’d done.
In the mind of the abuse/murder justifiers: Asians who are upset about this recent mass killing of Asian women? Here we go again with the “identity politics” and the “politics of victimization.” We don’t even know if this kid was motivated by specific ethnic or racial hatred when he sprayed these Asian women with bullets. Sheesh.
It’s like McConnell, using political power with unprecedented cynicism and a maddening double standard, threatening to release the Kraken and leave only “scorched earth” if Democrats vote to make minority obstruction more difficult for the obstructionist minority. How dare radical Democrats threaten to break the thing I spent a decade smashing with a sledge hammer!!!
Jesus, it must feel good to be that kind of winner, mustn’t it?
Assholes will be assholes, I suppose. The best we can do is the work of trying to making ourselves better, gentler, more attuned.
This is what the treacherous Bill Barr kept insisting, as they tried to turn the nationwide, predominantly peaceful, protests against the continual murder of unarmed Blacks, by police, into a sinister, violent anarchist conspiracy to riot against Law and Order, one that justified deploying massive military force to put it down, counter-insurgency style. Barr insisted many more whites than Blacks were killed by cops every year (note: Blacks are 13.4% of the population, so just statistically, that better be true) and you don’t hear whites whining about it — only Blacks. He pulled a number out of his ass, a small handful of unarmed Blacks killed by police each year, and claimed irrationally enraged Blacks were using this tiny number of people like Breonna Taylor, tragically killed, as a pretext to start a violent revolution. Like that large crowd of protesters by the White House that had to be cleared with chemical irritants, horseback charge, batons, riot forces, when they balked at their First Amendment right to peacefully protest being threatened with chemical irritants, horseback charge, batons, riot forces.
“Pepper spray is NOT a chemical irritant, (you irritating bitch!)” snarled Trump’s always pompous, often unapologetically irrational, bagpiping, culture warrior Attorney General, William Pelham Barr, on national TV.