May 31, 2020

The Personal is Political

Police the Police

Here at Boredwalk we normally try to focus on content meant to entertain; something of a diversion from the ever-looming existential dread. Right now we can't do it. There's too much wrong, and it's overwhelming.

We don't have the right thing to say. We don't want to hear from strangers that we should "stay in our lane" and not talk about current events. We don't want to hear from apologists who have anything to say to defend the lawless actions of the criminals in uniform who have brutalized journalists, bystanders, and protesters.

These so-called LEOs have utterly failed their communities, their country, and their fellow citizens in such a catastrophic way. They must be held to account. And we don't want to hear about a few bad apples, either; this is a systemic problem that needs a serious, comprehensive solution. We are not safe as a society when we have armed sociopaths hiding behind badges. This isn't a new problem, either — it's always been a problem, it's always been outrageous, and it needs to stop.

We also don't want to hear about how "all lives matter." We don't want to hear about what snowflakes we are. If you post that bullshit below, your comment will be deleted and you'll be blocked. This isn't your platform; it's ours.

If you want to boycott us, good. If you have a problem with any of this, guess what? We don't want you involved with Boredwalk anyway. Our art was never meant for you or people that think like you to begin with. Our business will be just fine without you as a customer or follower; better, even.

This is actually a great opportunity for us to clarify for anyone who hasn't noticed that Boredwalk is owned by two progressive artists based in Los Angeles. We care about the world around us and we care about social justice. These things always have been and always will be an influencing factor in our creative output and brand ethos. We won't apologize for this, nor will we let fear of how publicly espousing our values might impact our business stop us from speaking truth to power.

And about that: if you have a problem with creative people expressing these types of values you're going to have a pretty dull existence. Creativity and progressive values are inexorably linked and always have been. I guess you could just watch Kirk Cameron movies and listen to Lee Greenwood albums if you only want to support conservative "artists", but you can't have Boredwalk. You can't have Taylor Swift. You can't have Sarah Silverman. You can't have Bruce Springsteen. You can't have Lizzo. You can't have our art, music, comedy, and entertainment and expect us to just shut up about our values. You can't have cool fashion, music, TV, movies, art, etc., and not support progressive artists. We have a near monopoly on the arts.

If you're feeling enraged and scared and powerless here's what you can do:

1. If you have the means, make a donation to one of the many organizations that are in a position to help. Some organizations to consider (we have already donated to the ones denoted with an asterisk):


If I missed one it wasn't intentional; feel free to recommend more organizations in the comments below. I would also urge you to make campaign donations to people running for public office who care about making our country a more just society, especially BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) candidates.

2. Demand action from your state and local government. Criminal behavior of people entrusted with public safety cannot be tolerated. It was never okay, and it is still not okay. This is not the country we want to live in, where this bullshit is tolerated. It costs you nothing but a few minutes of time to call state and local elected officials and tell them this is unacceptable.

3. Vote! I know, November is far away, a lot can happen between now and then, but for now I need to hope we still have a chance at a somewhat peaceful transfer of power in January. This means you have to vote. If Joe Biden wasn't your first choice, welcome to the club. I am going to support him. I am going to vote for him. This administration has to go. It didn't invent racism or police violence because that stuff pre-dates the current administration, but they aren't helping. If you consider yourself a remotely reasonable and sane adult, you would have to agree that this administration has been a disaster and vote for the person most likely to get rid of it.

And it's not enough to just vote in November. You need to vote every chance you get. You need to care about who is running for school board and city council and all those minor off-cycle elections with bizarrely worded ballot measures. You need to care, pay attention, and vote. Take the time to google the people running for
roles like judge or county sheriff. If you have time to catch up on TV or internet memes, I promise you can spend an hour or two researching a ballot a couple times each year. I know it can seem boring and not important and futile — I know! But it isn't futile if every decent person does it. It matters. Do it, and get everyone you know to do it. Let people who have the gall to claim they are "apolitical" face social consequences from you for not participating in trying to make things better.

For what it's worth, even people I know in my professional circles who tend to be more politically conservative are desperate to see this administration gone. None of this sentiment should be radical or controversial. Participating in our democracy is patriotic, and it is the decent thing to do. Condemning racism and police violence should not be a "fringe" idea.

4. Stop letting the perfect be the enemy of incremental improvement. The only thing that drives me crazier than the Trump cultists are people who consider themselves progressives but won't vote or support imperfect left-leaning candidates running for office. I have had it with people who think they are radical but throw a tantrum when they don't get their candidate of choice and don't show up to vote. If you do this you're just as much of a problem as the people you claim to oppose. You're not helping, you're actively enabling the enemies of justice and progress and democratic ideals.

I will take Joe Biden over Donald Trump any day, and if you care about progressive values that should be your preference, too. They are NOT all the same. I don't agree with Joe Biden 100% of the time. I would like to see him be more progressive, but I will still vote for him. You should, too. You can still push for more progressive policy while helping to get rid of the most problematic people in government in the only way that is practical at the moment. We might never get all of what we'd like to see in our lifetime, but getting closer to it is better than getting further from it.

There are probably other things we can and should do. I don't have all the answers, but the above list is a start.

Before anyone spouts off about this being "trendy" outrage, I'm not newly concerned with any of this. I'm completely exhausted by all of it because I've been outraged by these things my whole life. I was the kid in middle school who went vegetarian for the animals and the environment (still vegan decades later). I was the kid who was writing letters for Amnesty International in high school. I was the teen volunteering with the environmental club to do beach clean up. I could rattle off the many ways I've made these values part of my every day life but I'm not saying this for cred or to score "wokeness" points; I'm saying it because I bristle at the notion that any of this sentiment doesn't come from a sincere place. This isn't about virtue signaling, it's about making it clear where Boredwalk stands on these things and encouraging the people we can influence to do what they can to help.

I'm sure I'm not everyone's idea of a perfect progressive, but you know what? Literally no one is. I care and I'm trying. My whole life I have always been deeply concerned with social justice and environmental justice. In fact, it's probably one of the things that makes me the cynical depression-prone adult that I am. I look at people who don't feel that way and wonder how they do it.

I don't know how other people don't care. But I do know that I care and I want to be around other people who care, too. I want to make art and content and humor for people who care. I'm old enough to know it's not all just going to go away with one protest or one election, but I know we can achieve something better than what we have now if enough people are pushing for it.