For the record, Antifa =/= Nazis

For the record, Antifa =/= Nazis

Antifa has been a much talked about group lately. The discussion started in earnest when they clashed with white supremacists, Nazis, and Confederate sympathizers in Charlottesville a few weeks back during the “Unite the Right” rally. President Trump struggled with the comparison, saying that both sides were at fault. Both sides were wrong. Both sides were morally reprehensible. Equally so. But after the recent violence in Berkeley, even Daily Show host Trevor Noah came out against Antifa’s more aggressive tendencies when battling Fascism (Antifa = Anti + Fascist). In general jargon, Antifa became associated with the left, and Nazis became (well they were always sorta) associated with the right. But that shouldn’t be the discussion. Nazism/Fascism is something that history has already thrown in the trash regardless of what the America political spectrum looks like today. It was defeated, both as a mantra and as political movement. Condemned as something awful and never to be repeated. And rightfully so. This goes without saying. Is Antifa a slightly more menacing and erratic, and perhaps less well-dressed, version of Indiana Jones? He punched Nazis too. Because they were Nazis. We’ve discussed the power of ideology (Don’t Kill Hitler), and we won’t say/we aren’t here to say that the approach that Antifa and other groups have taken to combat the recent rise in visible Nazism is pure, cut and dry simply the “right” course, or the course of action that will solve the problem in the long term. It’s not, and it won’t. As Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin said after the recent clashes on the streets of his city, “Fighting hate with hate does not...
Food & Sex & Everything in between

Food & Sex & Everything in between

It’s been said that food is better than sex. Food is not better than sex, but some meals can and do come (pretty) close. The comparisons are apt. The sensations, yes, the appetites, the insatiable hunger for something so perfect you feel you cannot get enough. When something so delicious passes your lips and you grip your fork, your spoon, the sides of your seat in pure and unadulterated ecstasy. Like honey that rolls slowly, dripping down chins and fingers. It’s sticky sweet. Honeycomb. Along with rank cheeses that assault the senses. Époisses and Limburger. Or along with more subtle cheeses that sit delicate at the back of the palate. Appenzeller Swiss. White cheddar. It’s a sweetness that fills your smells, your taste, you smell, your touch, with a different sort of of sensation. Something you crave. But savory is most necessary (as a paradox, perhaps, of food: the sweetness of dinner comes more from the umami. A richness, sure, but more from the complex flavors of which pure sweetness of sugar/dessert can not alone compare). Breathe in the smell of onions cooking in butter. There is something so very sensual about that smell. Add a touch of (that) honey for sweetness. Add the onions to your steak, cut thin and cooked rare. Have vegetables on the side. Have asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli cooked in oil with a little salt sprinkled on top. Have something from rivers or the ocean: Trout cheeks are the best part of the fish, as soft and nearly as rich as pork belly. Enjoy truffles and pickles and pate beforehand, with the cheese. The tension...
When I think of food

When I think of food

When I think of food, it’s usually of the plate. The plate, clean. The plate, full. The plate, empty again but covered in crumbs, smears, leftover bits of whatever we were eating. Sometimes messy, sometimes elegantly so. The plate that will disappear to be washed and then used again. Washed by someone with wrinkled fingers forever reeking of sweat and the astringent cleaning chemicals. I think of the restaurant kitchen, and the long, often arduous journey that led to the plate in front of me on the table. Hands with knives attached down to the wrist as a natural extension of the arm. Chef’s orders. The cold line giggling, fryers spitting, everything so feverishly hot, everyone desperately sweating. I think about the food trucks lining on streets. 1: tamales, 2: burgers, 3: Korean steamed buns, 4: ice cream truck for dessert. A popsicle in the shape of Sonic the Hedgehog’s head and gumballs for eyes. Perkins was never the best brunch in town, but we went there anyway for 3AM unlimited coffee, 4AM omelets, 5AM bathrooms. This was in the Midway neighborhood. Midway is loud, dirty, fascinating, fun. Ethnic restaurants on every corner: Some of the best Ethiopian food in the city. Some of the best Thai food anywhere. My favorite (some nights) Chinese food at Peking Garden. And then Perkins, strangely, in the midst of it all against the backdrop of a decaying shopping mall and train passing by with heads leaned against the window. When I moved downtown it was Mickey’s Dining Car instead. I sit where Meryl Streep sat and imagine her there beside me. A man...
From the streets of American cities

From the streets of American cities

The girls are chain-smoking cigarettes outside waiting for someone to notice them not noticing anyone else (the paradox of youth). The air is a perfect 80 degrees. Winter is over. The people around us are musing, eternally, how much of their lives they’ve spent sitting in cars. There’s trash on the street. Everything is concrete; the city is winning its war on nature. But weeds still come up through the cracks in the sidewalk. We live in the north. We spend our time in the sun. We drink iced tea from plastic cups. We walk the streets in new sneakers dropped online at early hours from secret sites before anyone else can get them. This is what we do while the rest of the world crumbles. Beauty is still the greatest currency. Except, perhaps, the ability not to feel or care. Flippancy is gold. Time is money and it is on our side. To care is to die drowning in someone/everyone else’s problems. This is youth, and it is the only thing we have. People don’t know anything about us more than that. We’re near corner door in the alley where Bella went to get her baby cut out. There wasn’t anywhere else she could go, no one to help, a sister far away, a mother who told her she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place. She wakes up early in the morning to run. She spent her paycheck on new running gear: shoes, shorts, headbands. I sleep in late and wait for her to call. We wait for something to happen. She’s sweating and smiling when...
As long as we fly

As long as we fly

That was a tough time, and it seemed to have no end. I didn’t know how to get away and I didn’t think I could. The reason why people commit suicide/why they take their own life… the reason why science hasn’t (yet) fully taken the place of religion. Science saved my life, you see, but it didn’t make me want to live. It is questions, gnawing questions like Poppy on a chicken bone that keep me awake at night and then put me into deep sleeps I try and stay in forever. Wrapped in blankets. Wrapped tight around me like a burrito. That’s how Frank would say it. Say it to me. “I’ll wrap you up like a burrito.” Can he answer these questions? Can he tell me why I feel the way I do? To the hospital We rushed downstairs. Gogo is bleeding in my arms. My roommate Mike was jerking off/on in his room. He has a car. He didn’t expect anyone to open his door at that moment. His face was red. “Don’t you…” “We have to go to the hospital. “Don’t you knock?” Gogo bleeding and her eyes going back in her head turning white. The fan spinning reflecting in the sweat on her forehead. I say and I have no time, “We need to go the hospital now right now.” The night is quiet at least. No one on the road, anywhere. One small blessing. Warm summers everyone up north at their cabins, sitting on lakes and drinking beer with fire and fire-roasted meat in front of them. No one on the street to...