What do you know about Black Lives Matter? To hear some people talk, it’s a tight-knit, highly disciplined, armed outfit that’s just a snap of the fingers away from taking over large parts of this holy land. Hell, if you’re a Fox News aficionado, BLM is as evil and dangerous a group as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Commies, Tojo’s Japanese Empire, the Kaiser, the Illuminati, and Planned Parenthood all rolled into one.
The truth, of course, is something other.
Here at this global communications colossus, we like to go straight to the source and ask first questions. So, this week both Big Talk and our partner medium, the Limestone Post, will feature Vauhxx Booker, one of the leaders of Bloomington’s chapter of BLM. Wait…, let me modify that descriptor a bit: Black Lives Matter eschews the traditional leadership paradigm, as Booker explains. Better I should say he’s the public face of the group in these parts. So don’t fret, Booker’s not posing in black beret and camouflage fatigues with rifle strapped to his back, directing the troops to take City Hall.
That’s the funny thing about American public discourse these days. There’s no nuance; there are no subtle shades. Our current president reflects that childish view of reality; you know, how he refers constantly, almost pathologically, to things in superlatives. A bunch like BLM can’t just be a group a lot of people might misunderstand or even worry about until they understand it better. Nuh-uh — it immediately must be either the single organization that will save our democracy and if you’re not with ’em, then you may as well be a Nazi, or it is, as mentioned above, a gang of terrorists just itching to get its hands on a nuclear weapon.
The whole current charade of mass and social media information exchange can wear a soul down. Case in point: Sometime last summer I decided to take a long break from social media before I was moved to leap out a window to my thankful death. I felt relief almost immediately. Nothing in the world had changed. I was no less connected to friends and loved ones. But I wasn’t being barraged ceaselessly by the most frightful, existentially threatening news in the world. The effect on my overall sanity was striking.
Now I’m back to sneaking a peek at Facebook and Twitter every now and then, just to see who’s who and what’s what among my pile of “friends.” I did so last night and when I slammed the lid of my laptop down in terror just a few minutes later, I felt it would only take a double shot of Wild Turkey 101 to calm me down enough to get a decent night’s sleep. For pity’s sake, I was made panicky by references to the coming end of the Earth through climate change, a possible Russian-Ukraine war, the world edging closer to nuclear conflagration, encroaching forest fires, Beijing’s unbreathable air, Trump wanting to start a Goebbels-ish state-run TV outlet, GM shutting down American auto plants, Bill Gates warning that some kind of disease will soon kill 30 million people, even how extreme weather is literally shrinking the planet. Each of the respective posters of these spine-chilling items was tacitly warning me, it seemed, that this one thing was going to be the End Of Us All.
For chrissakes, how are we not all tearing our hair out?
It’s not that I hadn’t been aware of these things already. I’d consumed all these news bits from my many bookmarks. BTW, they include:
- New York Times
- Bloomington Herald-Times
- Chicago Sun-Times
- The Guardian
- Al Jazeera
- The Nation
- The Atlantic
- The New Republic
- Right Wing Watch
- Pro Publica
- Crooks and Liars
- And maybe dozen other niche publications and/or sites
In any given week, I scan most of these outlets and thereby get a pretty good picture of what this world is up to. And still I don’t feel as if the top of my head is going to blow off as I do every single time I log in to FB. The whole social media world is turning us into neurotic, quivering wrecks.Anyway, I’m sure there are FB circles where my aforementioned fantastical, fearful description of Black Lives Matter would be presented as gospel. And even among those who don’t fear the brown-skinned hordes lurking around every corner waiting to snatch our guns and our daughters away from us there’s a level of almost willful unfamiliarity with BLM. So tune in to Big Talk Thursday, November 29, 5:30pm, on WFHB, 91.3 FM, and click over earlier that afternoon to the Limestone Post for this month’s edition of Big Mike’s B-Town, both featuring Vauhxx Booker.