The conviction of Derek Chauvin for murder swamped the news this last week and made it hard for me to think about anything else. It is big but uncertain news. Now that a jury agreed George Floyd’s life mattered, will more Black lives matter to juries?
Chauvin is in jail awaiting sentencing. The fact that he’s spending 23 hours a day in solitary confinement is getting notice. People are starting to call it cruel and unusual punishment. I think it’s a case of advocates not really speaking in the best interests of who they advocate for. It’s hard to imagine Chauvin wanting cellmates. But then, who am I to speak on his behalf?
The flimsiest aspect of the U.S. criminal justice system is the sentencing. Chauvin’s legal team now has to contend with the fact that he committed murder with at least one child among the witnesses. Lawyering is hard. I would never want to be a lawyer. I’d rather be a landscape designer.
Looking for anything else to talk about besides Chauvin’s very bad legal defense is like the last time I considered dumpster diving for food. Oh boy, I can have a wilted lettuce and orange-peel salad!
What is there to do with the fact that Elon Musk is taking time off from building an armada to invade and conquer Mars in order to teach monkeys to play video games with their minds? Why exactly would anyone want a video-game playing monkey at all? Why is the research being done on monkeys? Have scientists run out of 12-year-olds? And when are all these lab monkeys going to finally rewrite “Hamlet”? Do we have to wait forever?
In other news that might make you say “huh,” the Postal Service has been reading your social media posts to see if you might pose a threat to postal workers or other employees of the U.S. government or its associated agencies. And the word is they aren’t taking the time and trouble to click “like” for any of your content. It’s an outrage of monumental proportions. I work hard scouring the internet to find funny memes to steal, and I deserve those likes.
Getting back to the theme of wilted lettuce salad, Washington state is becoming the world’s leader in human composting, as entrepreneurs vie to steal lucrative death business from the casket and cremation crowd.
I want to go out as compost. I don’t understand why it should be so hard. Why all the technology?
It turns out most of our composted loved ones are too heavy. You won’t want to throw them in back of the station wagon and drive them home to the backyard. So the idea of one latest venture is to give you a few pounds of grandma to spread around at home, and keep the rest of her to grow greenery at a park to be set up for the purpose. I’m guessing eventually they’ll want to share the compost with city, state and national parks, too, down the road. Grandma will be part of the circle of life, as she was always meant to be.
Elon Musk will want to set up a human composting facility on Mars. There will be grandmas and grandpas making parks and even farms on Mars one day.
Finally, a shoutout to Councilmember Kshama Sawant. Who knows who Joseph Lane was? John C. Breckinridge? Hannibal Hamlin? Abraham Lincoln?
They were respectively, the vice-presidential candidate and presidential candidate of the main losing side of the 1860 U.S. presidential election, and the vice-presidential candidate and presidential candidate of the winning side.
It was a four-way race, and the runners-up, consisting of the Breckinridge/Lane ticket, represented pro-slavery Southern Democrats. Lane was so strongly in favor of slavery that he gave up being the first governor of the Oregon Territory to run alongside Breckinridge.
This, having come to Sawant’s attention, has prompted her to call for a renaming of South Lane Street in Seattle, which was named after Joseph Lane. I like this.
And I really like the idea that’s going around to rename the street after Donnie Chin. Chin was an activist in the International District who was murdered near the intersection of 8th Avenue South and South Lane in July 2015. The murderer has never been identified.
If that’s not acceptable maybe we could name it Hannibal Hamlin St. We already have an East Hamlin Street, but who cares? This is Seattle.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more in the Apr. 28 - May 4, 2021 issue.