Yesterday was a bizarre day to be an American news consumer. On the left side of the split-screen — I can’t remember which channel I was watching, and I don’t guess it really matters — was a diagram of the nine Supreme Court justices and the lawyer currently being questioned, looking very much like a baseball diamond. This was accompanied by real-time audio as the SCOTUS (Christ I hate that acronym, but it is convenient) entertained the prima facie absurd notion that a president is immune from prosecution for anything he does while in office.

Somewhere the ghost of Dick Nixon is slapping himself upside the head saying “Why didn’t I think of that?” But then at that time, the Supremes had not devolved to the point where such an idea would gain traction.

Meanwhile the right third of the screen was devoted to text updates from the courtroom in New York where ex-pres Fuckface is on trial for Stormy Daniels shenanigans. It was a literal sideshow — which to be honest is more and more what it seems like as time goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in favor of anything that inconveniences and/or incarcerates him. It’s just that this case — where the crime is fairly amorphous and somewhat trivial in the scheme of things — pales in importance compared to what was going on next to it.

I mean, if our legal system can’t hold him responsible for trying to overthrow the government, what is it for? In some parts of the world they cut your head off for that. Oh, what a lovely mental image: the orange head smirking as it rolls into the basket next to the guillotine.

Relegated to the background was what may have actually been the biggest story of the day, the growing protests on college campuses related to happenings in the Middle East. They say history doesn’t repeat but it rhymes — and Gaza is starting to rhyme with Vietnam. I can’t remember seeing the kids this riled up in my lifetime.1

I don’t want to get into the morality of the situation, which is mind-numbingly knotty despite having its roots in ancient tribal rivalries and slightly different concepts of the imaginary man in the sky. But I guess it’s good the Youngs are still capable of getting passionate on the issues, even if they might be glomming onto this one partly as an opportunity to express their ambient inchoate rage against the machine. (As the Youngs will do.)

The unrest has even reached our sleepy backwater campus here in Humboldt, where students occupying campus buildings are currently in a standoff with police and the administration. This caused the cancellation of the 11th Annual Hip Hop Conference, which was scheduled to include a keynote address by Chuck D that I was theoretically going to attend.

This reminded me of back in the day, when I had a ticket to see Public Enemy and the Sisters of Mercy at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, then the show was cancelled because of the L.A. riots. Which seemed like a wild coincidence until I realized I was conflating different events — the concert that was cancelled for the riots was actually the Lou Reed Magic and Loss show. (I never did get to see Lou live.) (The PE/Sisters show also never happened, but for some other reason.)

Memory is a bitch.

Anyway: It’s been amusing/depressing watching all the university bigwigs flail around trying to deal with the situation. It seems like we learned nothing from the Nam era. Will there be a Kent State moment? I hope not, but in the current state of things I wouldn’t bet against it.