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Thursday, October 20, 2016


Man in Celebrate America T-shirt in Friendly Lounge--Italian Market


Monday, October 17, 2016





It's OK to cry--Old City



Soldier with Bible--Old City



Hank-Old City 3



Hank-Old City 2

Hank-Old City 2 (detail)

Hank-Old City 2 (detail 2)



Hank-Old City

Hank, 70-years-old, is the next Obscured American.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Germany Update's Update

I forwarded to my Frankfurt friend two comments:

Dear Linh,

Love your reports, but I must take exception with your refugee excitement. In my local area of Oberbayern, our village of 8,000 souls has 'taken in' about 200 refugees with no problems. They are starting to work productively and will integrate surprisingly quickly.

1 million very foreign refugees is a drop in the ocean of 80 million Germans. Germany ( or at least Bavaria ) has a powerful culture which isn't going to be changed on tiny bit by the latest wave of refugees.

I agree that the push towards assimilation needs to be ernest. Deportation for the slightest criminality should be swift, automatic, and require the barest minimum of judicial process.

My personnel observation of the flood of refugees in Rosenheim & Munich during August, Sept, and Oct 2015 was they appeared in the main from levantine merchant classes. I suspect many are Christians.

Germany desperately needs population growth.

please keep writing, really love your reporting

Alonsa [not her real name]

Gordon K. [at Unz Review] says:
October 13, 2016 at 9:31 pm GMT • 300 Words

Let me put the comments from a Frankfurt resident in perspective – because I am a Frankfurt resident as well and because I work close to the Frankfurt main station in that very area the text claims german police to have lost control. IMHO that is an exaggeration. While there are always 20 to 30 young men of mainly north African origin around apparently selling drugs and while police is complaining that it is hard to get these people convicted in court, I wouldn’t say that police has lost control. While these young men are said to get aggessive from time to time I haven’t seen it. Most of the time they don’t interact with residents or travellers or tourists.

Those guys are either refugees or (I guess more or less) illegal immigrants from failed north African states destroyed by NATO and/or EU imperialism. They may have experienced violence and drugs throughout their lives. In Germany they can’t get jobs because they often only speak arabic or aren’t allowed to work. They don’t get few if any welfare payments from the government but live in a rich society with lots of expensive consumer goods. So selling drugs may seem like an easy solution to them. The government gives them little or no money to sustain themselves and does little to nothing to integrate them into german society. Few german language courses available, housing them separately from the german population. So what are their choices? Blaming muslims in general or some kind of loss of german identity for those problems is overly simplistic – and like almost all simplistic solutions wrong. BTW: We had at least one employee of our company harrassed by police while going to work from the station (or going home in the evening). I sometimes contemplate whether I should be more concerned because of aggressive police officers (even though this problem is certainly not as bad as in the US) in Frankfurt.

My Frankfurt friend responds:

Hey Linh,

I'd rather say the responses are stupid.... or even dangerous (sigh)…. I will try to explain:

I also have had no bad personal experiences with refugees - but it doesn't mean, that I don't see the problems. If this village in Bavaria Alonsa is talking about really "integrates" the 200 refugees into the workforce, it would be a miracle - but still a local one. All other messages from all over Germany are rather bleak:

The big German corporations wanted to hire refugees by the thousands - so far 200 have been hired (in over one year). Great.

Also in Bavaria, in Rosenheim (nice city), the local authorities started a huge campaign to integrate young refugees from Eritrea, Afghanistan, Somalia etc. into the workforce, once the huge wave came in. Germany already has a rather good system of integrating people via different measures into the workforce.

They tried everything – courses, to learn German, trainings on the job, courses, to understand the German labor world etc. – and guess what? After half a year they had to admit that they failed. Why? Simple – the refugees just didn’t have the knowledge due to lack of education to understand the German labor market – its complexity, the way, things are done here etc.

Of 100 or 150 refuges ONE made it into an apprenticeship to become a skilled worker. All others had dropped out of the apprenticeships they had been offered. Too hard- too little money – no motivation etc.

And these were the youngest, Linh – the ones, where some people had hoped that THEY will be the ones to be integrated quickly - well – they were wrong.
One CEO of the Project in Rosenheim said to the press, that due to their experiences, she thought, that about 80% of the young Refugees in Rosenheim were not fit for the labor market – and that it was next to impossible to make them fit, because they lacked even the slowest standards due to the immense differences in the education systems.

The German labor office stated, that they think, that after one Year in Germany, 10% of the Refugees should get a job (which sounds rather optimistic or even absurd). And that – Hurra! – after 12 years, up to 75% of the refugees should have a job.

Can you name me one country in this world Linh, which makes such an insane immigration policy?

Now some people say: But with Syrians it’s different! They are so well educated (and yes – we have PR Campaigns telling us over and over again, that all these Engineers, Computer Experts, Designers etc. will contribute oh so mightily to the German workforce – HURRA!).

Sometimes I really fear for my compatriots- is it German nature to be so easily fooled – then – under the Führer – and now? But back to the topic:
The propaganda– sorry – I mean the news – is telling us, that half of the Refugees have at least completed secondary school – so the Headline in this article is: Highly qualified, but without apprenticeship- oh God, the stupidity of it all….. well, at least even the official media states, that only minority of the Refugees have completed studies or are able to study. But let’s look into it more in detail.

First of all – this is all according to what the refugees said – there are no credentials, no certificates, nothing, to prove they told the truth. But okay, let’s assume, they told said the truth. Let’s look at the Syrians:

2011 they made the latest TIMSS tests. TIMSS means “Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study”. They do these tests, to see, how good is the knowledge of pupils in these areas in fourth and eighth grade. 2011 45 countries participated for eighthgraders. Syrian pupils were participating – and Syria was among the lowest ranks – combined on place 39.

Germany did not participate (we follow other tests called PISA) – but the US did – and reached places 9 and 10.

In the famous PISA tests for mathematical skills, where 65 countries participated, Germany reached place 16. The US reached place 36. Syria did not participate.

Now – we all know, that tests also have faults – but still: When you look at these results, one should start to think. A German education expert, Ludger Wößmann, did not only that, but he looked in May 2016 into the Syrian school system once more and compared it with the German school system – and came to the-not-so-surprising conclusion, that Syrian Eightgraders lacked about five years behind – in comparison to German Eightgraders. This was due to the fact, that the standard of education in Syria is much lower – education in Syria was more orientated on Sharia and Religion.

The same had to be said to the Syrian apprenticeships, when they were compared with German apprenticeships – the methodology, the curricula etc. – everything was vastly beneath the German standards.

The board of Trade Munich, an institution not really known for many Nazis among their staff, conducted a study this year, where they did research on Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan young men, who had started an apprenticeship two years ago (before the great migration wave came) – and found out that, after two years, 70% had canceled the apprenticeship.

Too hard – too little money…. Etc.

Again – I want to emphasize that this was, when circumstances for support etc. were still good – now the circumstances are much, much

So all in all – I don’t know what’s more scary Linh – people like Alonsa, who still delude themselves and reject to see the disaster, which is coming – or the disaster itself. I don’t know.

Still – it is the destruction of Germany and we can watch it in a first row seat…. The refugees act as a sort of fire-accelerant…. BECAUSE – guess what our officials are already thinking about? Because the realization slowly creeps into some minds above, that not all is well in Denmark (or Deutschland rather), some people have already said , that…. We should lower the standards for students! And for applications! And for education! Hurra! Great idea! That’s the way to compete in the 21century – Hurra Hurra und dreimal Hurra!!

Okay- enough of that- as to the second guy, Gordon - he is insofar right, as one can surely still walk and travel through the central station in Frankfurt (I do, too). The police said, that they have lost control and were solely referring to drug selling – so it does not mean, that we have civil war already at the central station - we don’t. But the atmosphere is changing for the worse – and I know women personally, who don’t go to the Central Station at night anymore alone, because…. Like everywhere.

As for the second argument, it is the typical leftist attitude to switch the responsibility – the poor refugees, who start selling drugs, have no other option – that is just crap. It is true, that many of them are housed badly sometimes, but they all have a roof over their heads (and many German homeless people don’t!!). They get between €140 – 350 a month – which is not good, but not bad either. The way, to let them wait, until the asylum procedure is finished is bad, I agree – but all this doesn’t excuse refugees from stealing, dealing, raping or whatever!

This is the twisted mindset of the left, where they are sooo empathetic towards poor strangers, but they would NEVER show the same to some poor German bastard, who yelled in public something like “Fucking refugee” or even had a fight with a refugee, because he has lost his job, cannot afford the travel by train to see his mom in the north and sees these young men stepping on trains, not being controlled (they are refugees! Nazi!) and he lives in his shitty apartment, no chance for a change and sees, how some of the refugees get nice new apartments in new, extra build houses (it is our obligation! Nazi!) and he cannot afford the extra treatment by a doctor and sees refugees being transported by Taxi to a doctor (it was an emergency! Nazi!) etc pp.

And slowly, but surely, his anger is rising….. and one day it will explode. And THEN! Comes the final twist – because then, the media and the left have the final proof: SEE!!! We are full of Nazis!!! Shame on you Germany! (And if a refugee plants a bomb? – Ah – we must understand him! He is traumatized! Oh the poor fellow….).

These people sometimes make me sick Linh – they do, what Jesus told us we should never do – they condemn others – and they have huge, huge bars in their eyes…. Hypocrites of the highest order.

Well……It will fail – in the very end it will all turn to dust – but until then – it will be a zoo. Or something resembling a Blade Runner scenario. Not too nice, but inevitable.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

An Update from Germany

As published by Unz Review, LewRockwell, CounterCurrents, Intrepid Report and The Truth Seeker, 10/13/16:

Germany is smaller than California. Within the last two years, it has allowed in roughly two million Muslim refugees and immigrants, all by fiat. Having no voice in this radical demographic change, many Germans are fuming.

Last year, I wrote from Leipzig that Germany has lost its autonomy and sanity. Teaching at the university, I registered that all my students were openly sympathetic towards Muslim refugees, so I suggested they look harder at their government’s complicity in the US’s endless war against Muslims.

The best way to help Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans and Syrians is to not kill them and destroy their countries, obviously. My students couldn’t quite go there, however, for that would entail them being “anti-American,” a big no-no in their vassal state. In the lobby of my university building, there was a banner admonishing against xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.

The biggest taboo in Germany is Israel’s role in this serial destruction, and not just of Muslim but European countries. Badgered for decades with Holocaust guilt, no self-respecting German can bat a dark eyelash in any Jew’s direction. They cannot probe George Soros, for example. Though Germany was being purposely dismantled, my students could not see it.

Yesterday, a Syrian terrorist suspect was taken into custody in Leipzig, only to be found dead by suicide hours later. Of course, it’s a preposterous story. One can expose false flag events and planted stories while acknowledging that real crimes by Muslims are also occurring, however. As with the amplifying tension between blacks and whites in the US, Muslims are being deployed in Europe sow chaos and disunity.

Millions of young, impoverished young men from cultures that frown on alcohol and the exposure of female flesh are being imported into a country of huge beer steins and nude sunbathing. What can go wrong? A friend of mine in Frankfurt gives us an update:

Things are slowly sliding into chaos. “Refugees” keep pouring in (600,000 so far this year). The Secretary of the Interior proudly announced that, last year, only 880,000 refugees came to Germany, not 1.1 million, as was said before. The problem is nobody really knows how many refugees were never registered. The borders were open, they are still open, so people came and just vanished.

A good example: In the summer of 2015, just before the refugee crisis got into high gear, we had the G20 meeting in Munich. It was intensively protected with tens of thousands of policemen in Bavaria. During one week, the police conducted border controls, and guess what? In one week, they “found” 14,000 illegal persons—persons who had secretly sneaked into Germany. That was in only ONE week. They haven’t done that since.

Cities are changing—when you go to the central station of any German town, you see lots and lots and lots of foreign men—Arabs and Blacks etc. In Frankfurt, the police admit that they have lost control of the central station (in regards to the selling of drugs and petty crimes).

In Leipzig, a famous club in Connewitz called Conne Island had to admit that they have a teensy weensy bit of a problem with a new clientele—that women didn’t feel save anymore, that violence erupted on many nights, that women were sexually harassed, etc. Therefore, they increased security measures. Though they really tried hard not to appear racist or anything like that, everybody with two brain cells left knows of whom they were talking about.

But still, we are officially told that there are no problems with increases in violence, theft, rapes, drug pushing, etc. What Germans see is something different. Anger is rising. We have rapes and other incidents on a daily basis.

In Dresden, some German youths threatened Syrian kids with a knife. This was widely condemned by the media. Then some German threw some really big fireworks at a mosque. Interestingly, the press reported this as a “bomb attack”. Now, we had a “bomb attack” when a refugee blew himself up in a crowd with some real explosives, killing himself and wounding 10 people. Though this was a real bomb, we are told that we have to despise and condemn those who put fireworks at the front of a mosque (hurting no one and not destroying really anything—only the wall was blackened).

Yet in regards to the refugee who blew himself up—or his colleague who (luckily) unsuccessfully tried to hack people to death with an axe on a train—nope, he is not to be condemned or despised.

We are constantly told that these Germans who attack refugees, as recently happened in Bautzen in the east of Germany, are “the ugly face of Germany”—something to be ashamed of. Yet we are not told that before some 80 Germans and some 30 refugees in Bautzen got into a fight, that for weeks and weeks the refugees in Bautzen had been getting drunk in public, harassing women, shouting abuses at passers by, etc.

And we are never, never told that refugees showed the “ugly face of Islam” or whatever, when things like in Cologne happened.

The cloak of political correctness is very heavy and thick now, hanging over everything.

A few days ago, a Syrian extremist, member of ISIS, escaped a raid by the police, who tried to get him (he was just planning a—you guess—big bomb attack at an airport), and while he was fleeing, he was caught by three other Syrians, who held him, tied him with a rope and took him to the police.

Schau an—the poor bastard hanged himself in his cell in prison. Funny, how all these terrorists never seem to survive their actions that long. Of course, there are rumors that there is something suspicious about it. We will never know, I guess. The secret services are surely behind some, but not all actions. It's a mystery—and the one who tries to look into it can’t lead to a happy life, so few dare.

Now the press is full with coverage about the “first Syrian heroes” of Germany. Funnily enough, only nitpickers mention that, according to German law, binding somebody is illegal (German law has some exceptions for people to act in self defense, but this was no such thing).

A few months ago, three Germans did the same thing. They held an Iraqi who was threatening people in a supermarket with a bottle, tied him to a tree and informed the police. Oh, the condemnation! How could they take the law into their own hands! Shame, shame, shame on them! No tolerance for this!

But here, with these three Syrians doing exactly the same thing, it’s all good. All nice. Heroes. Brave boys. Hurra Hurra und dreimal Hurra!

Really, some people get really frustrated because of all this, some will soon turn to violence, and others are just leaving. We know that especially highly qualified Germans are silently leaving the country, going to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, anywhere else, to escape this change in Germany.

Because a change it is, and not for the better. It seems somebody high above is hell bent on changing the very fabric of German society. And most people are so busy with making money, looking after the family, etc. that they really do not realize that the dismantling of Germany is well under way.

Okay, we already have parts in cities where the police are losing control and women do not go there alone at night—but no, these are no ghettos. Not yet. And if, as happened in Bonn, a language school has issued a warning to its foreign pupils to not go into certain areas because of the danger of getting mugged or raped there, if the school says it has recorded over 250 incidents of pupils who had had bad experiences in these areas—ah, come on, are you racists or what?!

Yes, we have more and more mosques. There are former Muslims like Sabatina James or Hamed abdel-Sayed who are criticizing Islam, but they are only fringe figures. When Sabatina James says on the prime time news that child marriages, which are growing in number, are horrible, she is told by our anchorman that not all are horrible. Some are good.

Oh happy country! Slowly, slowly, streets, cities, the way of life, etc., are changing. Let’s ban pork in Kindergarten—all right. Let’s call the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) Wintermarkt from now on—in order to not offend anybody. Let’s make separate days in public baths—one for the women, one for the men. And lastly, let’s tell the Germans that sharia is not all that bad—in fact, it perfectly matches our Grundgesetz, the constitution of the Federal Republic!

It is really strange to see all this, Linh. Slowly, slowly, our country is changing before our very eyes. Now—in danger of repeating myself—I do not blame Muslims in general. They are just pawns in a game, as I said before. But one has to be willfully ignorant to not see that this path that we are on is heading towards hatred, violence and (maybe) finally civil war.

My take is that the East Germans will resist it first—maybe they make a putsch or something like it and get out of the Federal Republic. It is possible.

You cannot change the whole fabric of a society and think that everybody will welcome it. The German structure of Germany, its very own culture, would change in such a way, that it wouldn’t be German anymore. It would be something new. Some will resist that, and I guess it will be the East Germans.

As the CIA once stated—by 2020, we should have civil unrest in Europe. I guess we might even start earlier.

Of course, I sometimes wonder WHY the powers that be want the destruction of Germany, but that is speculation. What counts is the result.

And this is clear: Germany is slowly eroded, changed, morphed into a multicultural society with no roots, where all groups watch each other suspiciously, where the few rich live well in their gated communities, while the rest of the population tries to survive another day. That’s the way.

Still, there is hope because there is something called fate. And I guess (or hope) fate has some surprises for the powers that be. In the very end, things may turn out differently. We’ll see.

This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
Not with a bang, but a…… bigger bang. :-)


Wednesday, October 12, 2016


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Monday, October 10, 2016

Obscured American: B.B. the Bartender

As published at CounterCurrents, Unz Review and Intrepid Report, 10/10/16:

The flame-like tree and yellow stars from Van Gogh’s Starry Night burn on B.B.’s right shoulder. Blonde, slim and 33, she bartends at Friendly Lounge twice a week. She calls everyone “darling,” as in, “Are you good, darling? You need another one?”

When B.B. told me she had lived in the Tenderloin, had drifted much, was fond of Jameson and yearned to write, I trumpeted, “I’ve got something for you!”

My apartment was but half a block away, so I went home and grabbed Yasunari Kawabata’s Palm-of-the-Hand Stories, William T. Vollmann’s Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs and Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son.

“Check these out! These will turn you on and get you going!”

B.B. wasn’t familiar with Kawabata and Vollmann, but Jesus’ Son was a favorite. From memory, she quoted from its first tale, “I knew every raindrop by its name. I sensed everything before it happened. I knew a certain Oldsmobile would stop for me even before it slowed, and by the sweet voices of the family inside it I knew we’d have an accident in the storm.”

“It doesn’t get any better than that!” Feeling inexplicably entitled, I then treated myself to a Maigue of Jameson as I heard B.B. confide.

We’re white trash. I'm third generation American Irish, you know. When we came to this country, we were trash. We’re still trash now.

My aunt's husband would steal her car once a month. He would go, “Honey, I have to go run this errand,” and he would be gone for a week. He would be hacking on MLK or Mickle Boulevard. Generally, his passengers were people who were trying to procure drugs or a prostitute, you know. They’d get pulled over. People would shove their drugs in the car.

My aunt would report her car stolen, and the police would recover it in Camden, usually abandoned somewhere because he was off on a crack binge. When she got her car back, she’d call my mom’s house and I’d go over in the middle of the night to search it for drugs. When I found bags of crack, which I always did, she’d give them to me to go sell for her, then I’d split the money with her. That was normal for me when I was 13-years-old.

I had a cousin who was a prostitute. Somebody threw her out of a second story window, with a trash bag full of her clothes after her. She rolled off the roof.

My stepfather was a Jehovah’s Witness, so we never celebrated birthdays and things like that. I don’t even know what my mother’s birthday is. When I was a little kid, I had to leave the classroom for all the other kids’ birthdays, and for my own birthday as well. It’s so absurd. I wasn’t allowed to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

So much of my life was determined by that religion. My stepfather, he honestly believed that these were the words of God. You’d be hard-pressed to ever convince him that it was just some moron. Just go to the Wikipedia page for Jehovah’s Witnesses, and read how that religion started. It’s absurd.

My stepfather, the first woman he ever dated was my aunt, my mother's older sister, and she broke up with him because she thought he was a weirdo. My stepfather was 34-years-old when he started to date my mother. She was his second girlfriend ever. He never had sex with a girl. He never had an intimate relationship with any woman. He never moved out of his parents’ house. He was a 34-year-old virgin who lived at home, and to him, that was the right way to live.

And this guy was the preeminent source of information on the world. This man who had zero life experience knew every goddamn thing.

My stepfather was abusive physically, emotionally and sexually. He was a pervert, a sicko. He would punish me for the smallest infraction. For breaking a glass, I would be made to stand naked in a corner, on one foot, with my nose touching the wall, which was impossible. I was only four. I should have been in bed. That’s not even the tip of the iceberg, you know, and he believed he was right. He had a profound, profound mental illness, but not according to him.

For all of his religious, self-righteous indignation at my choice to read books and pursue art, since he’s the preeminent source of knowledge for every situation, you know, this all-knowing, Godlike being he designated himself as, he lived in sin with my mother for years.

He slept in the same bed with her, having sex with her, and not reproducing children. According to them, sex is for reproducing children, not for the pleasure itself, but he lived in sin with my mother for years. They were together for 10 years before they got married. Even as a child, I called him out on it. Their justification was that we, my brother and I, were such a burden, our sheer existence was such a burden, that the only way to offset that was to live in sin, so they could receive welfare.

My mother worked occasionally. When I was little, she would just stay in bed all day. She would get up about half an hour before my stepfather got home from work and pretend she had done things, but she didn't do anything. I would sit there by myself all day. She watched soap operas.

For a few years, she worked, then she would be out of work for a few years, then she would find another dead-end job, then she would lose that job. It was just a series of dead-end jobs that she couldn't keep.

I’ve always worked. Even when I was a kid, I’ve always had a job. I worked two or three jobs at a time. When I was 18, I worked at a comic book store, and across the street, there was a Toys R Us. For years, I would do their stocks for Christmas, and I did Halloween Adventure. You know, I was a manager for them. I would travel up and down the East Coast to set them up for the retail season.

I was sleeping in my car a lot because I was working so much. I would get out of my job at the comic book store, sleep in my car for a few hours, then go to Toys R Us to work all night.

I got my mother a job at Toys R Us. I got her a job at a supermarket where I worked at. She could never hold a job, though, for long. It was always somebody's fault, you know, she couldn't work.

My dad had a job with his uncle who owned a sheet metal business in North Philly. My dad died on my 19th birthday, at the exact time that I was born, 8:35PM. He died of a cancer in the fluid that lines your lungs. He had worked around asbestos for one week of his life, 20 years prior to becoming ill. One week.

My father was a functioning alcoholic. I didn't see him a lot. He had visitation when we were little, but he would show up too wasted to take us anywhere, or he wouldn't show up at all. We really started to see him when we were, like, 15, 14. He’d come around, and then we wouldn't see him for huge gaps of time. My father, he came back when I was 17, when I was out of the system, when I was free again. I saw him then.

My father actually tried. He tried his hardest to stay sober, and he tried to keep me with him. We were sharing a two bedroom apartment with my father, my stepmother, my step brother Steven, my half brother Sean and myself. Me and my dad slept in the living room. I slept on the love seat. My dad slept on the sofa. The judge didn't find that to be a suitable living arrangement. It was far better for me to live in a jail cell, among strangers. My father tried to hard, too. He tried to stay sober to keep me. I know that it hurt him deeply that I got taken out that time. I know that he felt like it was a personal failure of his.

I hadn’t broken any law, so they couldn't put me in jail, but they couldn’t release me because I had nowhere to go, so every 28 days, they would just move me to another facility. Imagine moving every 28 days when you’re a teenager. Imagine changing schools every 28 days.

I was stuck in this quagmire for years. There were so many youths that were in a similar predicament. I wasn't in foster care or in a group home. Group homes had a shortage of beds, and they were generally reserved for people who had broken the law.

I was locked up in Bordentown, which was a maximum security youth detention. It's where they sent murderers and rapists if they were under 18, you know. I was locked up in Lakeland, which was also a maximum security detention center.

I shared a cell with a girl named Belinda. Belinda stabbed her boyfriend to death when she was 14 for a gold chain and a pager. She killed her boyfriend. That's who I shared a cell with. I had a mat on the floor. Belinda, I’ll never forget her. She was 17. She was going to get released on her 21st birthday.

I was the last person in New Jersey to use the slave law to sue the state and my parents to get custody of myself. I became emancipated. I was recognized as an adult at 17.

I was in the system for five years, so I had five years to look into it. Immediately, they changed the law. You can't do that anymore.

I had an extremely dedicated social worker. At the time, I was an asshole and didn't appreciate her for what she did for me, but that woman genuinely cared. Most of them don't, and it’s because they are underpaid and overburdened. They have massive caseloads and people just fall through the cracks. I could have been one of those. Thankfully, I did have one or two people who were in my corner. Otherwise, things would have turned out much differently.

I left home when I was 14, and I have never been back. The last time I saw my mother was at my father’s funeral, when I was 19.

My grandmother and I were very close. I lived with her off and on. I quit school my 11th grade year to take care of my grandmother. She passed away when I was 17. After she died, I left for California.

At 17, I moved to San Francisco. I had never been out there. The plane ticket was $233, one way. The plan was to just go there and get a job. I had $40 in my pocket and no place to stay. Before I left, I did a little bit of research on Wikipedia. I knew nobody out there.

A lucky thing happened to me. When I got to San Francisco International, I found a couple of cameras. To this day, I wonder about the origin of these cameras. On them were all these men of Middle Eastern descent. Obviously, I don't know their national origin but they looked Middle Eastern. There were all these photographs of underpasses and bridges. It's like I found some terrorist’s fuckin’ cameras!

I didn't call the police because I needed the money. I hocked them. They were good, high end cameras. I had to feed myself, you know. I got a BART pass. Transportation out there is beautiful. It's not like here where it’s poverty transportation, meant for poor people. Rich people have cars. Out there, it's for everybody to use, and it’s very effective and efficient. I just used my BART pass and traveled all over for a week. I got to know the city. I went on every train and trolley line, you know.

When I first got there, I lived in the YMCA, in the Tenderloin. It was $35 a week. There was a shared bathroom but you had your own private room. It was fine. The Tenderloin is still nicer than any neighborhood I grew up in, and nicer than any neighborhood I lived in in Philly or New Orleans.

I found a job within a week, at Trader Joe. Eventually, I moved into a beautiful apartment on Polk Street, three blocks from the wharf. I stayed in San Francisco for just over a year.

When I was 30, I moved to New Orleans. I lived there for over two years. New Orleans is like a different world. It's the last Banana Republic. It's as free as you can be and still be in the United States.

I got a job immediately but it wasn't a good job. Eventually, I lucked out and got a job at the Dungeon, a heavy metal bar. It's been there since 1969.

When I first got there, I went out and bought an 8th of weed, you know, really nice weed. I was going around the city, drinking. I was on my bike, riding around. I ended up locking my bike up, because I got too drunk. Eventually, I wanted to take a cab. The driver agreed to take me back to Araby, which is as far south as you can get in New Orleans and not be in Chalmette, the next town over.

The guy drove the dead opposite direction, towards the ghetto. It makes the worst part of North Philly look like a beautiful suburb. The guy drove me to some seedy motel, then tried to jump into the back seat with me, so I ran out of the cab and into the motel. I was just banging on doors. I didn't want to end up murdered or raped or, you know, left in the fuckin’ bayou.

The cab driver called the police and said that I refused to pay my fare. The cop then robbed me of all my cash, my whole paycheck, all my weed, then left me there with no way to get home, with no idea where I was.

I don't trust people who don't have a distrust for the police. I have never, ever met a good one. I have friends who have stories that are worse than that.

You know what the cop told me? I said, "How can you do this? You're supposed to help me. This man drove me me here and I don't know where I am." He's like, “Call the police!” That's what he told me to do, and laughed, after he had robbed me. The police told me to call the police.

I think men's experiences and women’s experiences are much, much different.

The cops in Camden would pick up the prostitutes. They would haul them in for solicitation, then take them to Morgan Boulevard and fuck them. If the girls didn't fuck them, they knew they were going to jail, so the police basically raped people. It's like, who cares about her, she's just a whore anyway.

The police there was so bad, they had to fire them all. Everything had to be cleaned out, it was so fuckin’ corrupt. They have cameras in place of officers now. They can pinpoint a gunshot within feet of the bullet striking. It's fuckin’ amazing. They can tell an automatic rifle vs. a shotgun. They have cameras throughout the city.

There is such a distrust of the police in Camden, people take care of shit themselves, like if they found a pedophile on the block, they would just beat him within an inch of his life. They would rather handle things themselves than call the police. When somebody robbed a house, they would just handle it themselves.

Things happen for a reason. People don't have this distrust naturally. Most white Americans are raised to trust the police.

If you want to get a view of humanity, if you want to see how the other half live, go over to Camden and take a walk through the streets.

I like gritty cities. I like New York before it got cleaned up. New Orleans, Detroit, Philadelphia. Detroit is great for exploring, if you like urban exploring. There are all these abandoned buildings. Last Christmas, I went out to Detroit and stayed for a while.

There's a huge transient population in the United States, and places like San Francisco and Los Angeles attract that. Our system is specifically built that way. Capitalism is designed to create a population of disenfranchised people. Many people have heard of Skid Row, but they can't wrap their minds around it. It’s larger than all of these little, tiny towns in Pennsylvania. It’s massive.

New Orleans is much the same way, but they have these squatting laws. You can squat in a building, you know, if you invest money into that building. If you get the plumbing, you can take control of that building and it can be yours legally.

I went down there to get serious about my writing, but I became serious about my drinking. I was interested in fiction. I still write, but I haven't had anything published in ages. I always carry a notebook. I think my real life gets in the way of my intellectual or interior life.

You have to make money, and the past several years, I've had a lot of moving. Moving is good but also exhausting. I like to switch it up and I like to move around. I've been back to Philly for a year-and-a-half, maybe, not even, and I've moved, like, I can't even tell you, 30 times maybe?

I spent the last two days in Doylestown, at my ex-fiance's place. We've been broken up for about a month. I was in jail for a week about a month ago. It's a long story. Charlie was wasted and accused me of stabbing him. He had a cut about this long. It's a little, tiny cut. He produced the knife.

With domestic violence, they don't play around. Having been a victim of domestic violence, I can give you an example. I lived with a man for a year or so. We both drank a lot, like, we drank a lot. He would get into these rages. He was sure that I was cheating on him and I was lying to him, and he would hit me out of nowhere. I never called the police on him but the neighbors did, and he got hauled off to jail. They don't play with that. If they let you go one time, the next time they come out, it's to pull somebody's body. People get killed.

I have a good friend who's a criminal defense attorney, one of the best in the state. He took my case for free. Charlie hasn't shown up for any of the court hearings. The last one will be on the 7th of October and it's going to get thrown out, hopefully.

I don't want to sue him. I don't want anything. I love him. I want to make things work with him. I adore him. We were engaged for about 6 months, and we'd been together for 2 years.

I met Charlie in New Orleans. He's the only reason why I came back here. Charlie is from Philly. He was homesick and he missed his family. Down there, he couldn't make the kind of money he was used to. Our relationship was going to end. He was going to leave and I was going to stay. He asked me to come three times. The third time, he promised that he was going to be good to me, someday.

Charlie works with his family. He works in construction, demolition, renovation, that type of things. He's not hard up for money. He's a fuckup in many ways, but not that way. Charlie’s a 35-year-old child. It's a plague of our generation. I've met people who came from far less than him and have struggled far more, so no, I don't see that as a viable excuse.

I was in the Round House for over a day. It doesn't sound like a lot of time until you are incarcerated, when you're in a 4 by 4 by 8, and you share that with two other people, and all you have is an iron bench and a toilet, you know, and a cheese sandwich every 12 hours, and a 6 ounce bottle of water. Twenty-four hours doesn't seem like a long time but it feels like fuckin’ forever when you're there.

I was in county jail for a week. It was a fairly awful experience. It was dehumanizing. It was meant to be dehumanizing. A week is nothing, but it was the last week of the month. I missed my Saturday shift at work. We were moving out of our house. We had to be out of the house before the 1st, so by the time I got out of jail, I had one day to find a place to live and pack all my belongings. If I hadn't been bailed out of jail in time I would have lost everything I owned. I would have been on the street.

Bail was $4,000, so it's 410. I got my job back, thankfully. I could have easily lost this job. I would have had no money and no place to stay. I had no phone in jail. When you're arrested, they don’t just give you your things back. They hold it. I had to get a ride back up to State Road to get my things back. It had to be between 9AM and 11AM. They make it very difficult, too, especially if you're poor. They released me at 9 O'clock at night, and I didn't have my phone. They give you a dollar for a transfer and a subway token. That's our system. If they release you from the Round House, they don't give you anything. If I had made bail there before I got to county, I wouldn't have had a dime to my name. It's a terrible system we have in this country.

When I was arrested for this domestic violence incident, this aggravated assault, alleged stabbing, they didn't even ask me anything. They didn't take photos of my bruises and I had these bruises on my face and body.

This whole thing is biased. Anybody can make an allegation against you, and you don't get an opportunity to defend yourself. You don't get to speak to the judge. You speak to your public defender at court, five minutes before you get tried, so they don’t know you. They don't care about your case, you know. It doesn't matter.

This system is not designed to help or support people. It's not with justice in mind. Most people have no idea.

The media portray the Black Lives Matter movement or just my entire generation as, like, this privileged, entitled, PC, spoiled generation, but they have no idea. We’re a generation of kids who grew up alone, with no fathers. When we’re 8 years old, we have keys to our houses, do our own laundry, make our own meals. We've been on our own our whole lives.

This is the first generation in American history that are less educated than the generation before us. We’re underpaid. We’ll never own houses. We’ll never pay off college debts. Those of us who did go to college can't pay off student loans. We're underpaid, and there's nothing to do about it. There's nowhere to go, you know.

In essence, we're totally screwed. I know this sounds awful, but the best thing that could happen for this country is for the Baby Boomer generation to just die. Like, they ruined everything for everyone. They fucked us all.

They could be working class and have a good life. They got the middle class but then they destroyed it. They destroyed it. Greed destroyed this country. The middle class then and middle class now are not the same thing. There is no true middle class.

My mother's generation and the generation before them, they could go to college for a reasonable amount of money. They could get a decent job. There was a salary. Imagine that! Nobody can imagine having a job with a salary, with benefits and health insurance. I have never had health insurance. Never!

I don't have Obamacare. When I filed my taxes last year, I didn't even get penalized for it because I didn't make enough money. Technically, I qualify but I don't want to deal with it. I don't want anything from this government. I don't want food stamps. I don't want their money. I don't want anything. Keep it! I don't want to feel beholden. I don't want to feel like I'm getting something for free, you know. My teeth are broken, I go to the dentist and get them fixed myself.

I don't mind working for what I have, and I don't mind going without. If you get really sick, you can go to the hospital and say you’re indigent. They can't deny you service in an emergency room. You need to be very specific with the words. You need to say you’re indigent.

When they ask you your name, I usually never give them my real name. I have, like, $7,000 in medical debts. You can go bankrupt and it doesn't clear you of medical debts. So many Americans go bankrupt because of medical debts, but they will still owe that money.

There is a huge wealth gap in this country between the haves and the have nots. I think a lot of people don't realize it. I think a lot of white, southern, American people think that brown and black people, if you keep them down, if you cut those people out and keep them oppressed, that somehow they’ll be able to buy into a system that was never designed for them in the first place. That somehow brown and black people are the ones, they’re the cause of the problem. They've been fed that their whole lives.

They don’t realize that it's not an issue of race in this country. It's an issue of wealth. It's an issue of class. It’s class warfare. By dividing us in that way and keeping us separate, by keeping us occupied with things that don't matter, we don't see the larger picture, which is the wealth inequity in this country.

When you’re mad at the guy who makes $8 an hour at the bank and the CEO is taking $200 million bonuses to rip you off, you’re mad at the wrong person. There's a whole lot of that going on all the time here.

The poor white people, they are mad at the government because we have a black president. They're mad at black people and brown people for being poor even though poor whites represent the largest proportion of people getting Medicaid and food stamps. White people receive more of that than any minority in this country, you know, but they think that if they can keep those people dispossessed, they’ll be able to buy into the system where they’ll make more money. They’ll be able to work or buy their way into being in a higher class, but that's not the way it works.

I’ve known this one black kid since he was 14 or so. He’s like a little brother. I look out for him. I consider him family, but we don’t share any blood. I love him.

He’s got a good head on his shoulders. He’s 19 now. He was born in the hood. There's no opportunity for him. His little brother is in jail. His older brother is in jail. He's the only man in his family that's not arrested. He takes care of his grandmother and his mother. His grandmother is 96-years-old. He supports his brothers. He puts money on their books, pays the lawyers. He works his ass off. When that phone rings, it means he’s got work. He’s got to hustle off and go sell drugs.

I make him come by once a week to say hi to me. He doesn’t get anything out of it. I want to make sure he’s OK. When I was in jail, the only person whose phone number I knew was his, so I called him. Through him, I could talk to other people. If it wasn’t for that kid, I’d be sitting in jail still.

I’ve been engaged three times. I’m loyal to a fault. I’ve never cheated. I’ve been cheated on so many times. I don’t understand people who need to do that, and it’s not like I’ve had no opportunities. As a young woman, people hit on you all the time. It seems so sad. You must have such low self esteem to want to be validated in that way, to need that attention. I don’t want that attention. I don’t see the point. It’s just sad.

When I was younger, I wanted to be an architect or a writer. I wanted to save enough money so I could travel. People are fascinating. The world is beautiful. The country is huge. The world is massive. There’s so much to see.

I’ve never understood people who don’t travel. Most people live and die within 50 miles of where they’re born. That’s statistically a fact. I’ve always had a wanderlust. I’ve always liked traveling. Moving around so much as a kid probably has a big part to do with that.

I wanted to tend bar, because that’s a job skill you can take anywhere you go.

I never did anything I couldn’t walk away from. If you’re a bartender, drinking is a lifestyle, but I never became addicted. I don’t get drunk anymore.

People go, “Oh, I don’t know where I’ll work, and where I’ll live.” That doesn’t even occur to me. Like, I know I’ll figure it out. I’ll always land on my feet. I’ve slept outside, you know. Things happen. I’ve never gone through a large gap of homelessness, just a couple days here and there.

I know plenty of people who feel anger about their hardship and their lot in life, but it didn’t serve me any longer. Forgiveness is an amazing thing. I’m an adult now. I can’t be angry about something that happened 20 years ago. What’s the point? For so long, I was so consumed by anger, I didn’t feel anything else. I couldn’t love. I still don’t trust people. I’m not capable of it.

I love my fiance. I have faith that he can change. I want to give him an opportunity that was denied me. If you want a second chance, you must give it. If you want love or forgiveness, you must give it. Being angry made my heart sick, my head sick. I’ve been physically ill from stress, from sadness. I couldn’t get out of bed. You must put a tourniquet on your anger or it will eat you alive.

Some people have the hardest time admitting they were wrong in the first place. It’s out of the question, you know. My mother never acknowledged that she was wrong. She was never able to apologize to me because, in her mind, she didn't do anything wrong. She can't even see her part in it. She allowed my stepfather to do what he did to me. She was abusive by her inaction.

I’m not angry with her. I feel sorry for her. I wish I could help her. I wish she could step outside of herself and see, that they can both see what they’ve done. I just feel sorry for them. With that being said, I can’t let them be a part of my life.

I feel like the luckiest person who ever lived. Most of my friends are dead, or tied down with a bunch of kids they don’t want and can’t take care of. I’m in an occupation that I love, and I have my freedom.


Friday, October 7, 2016


BB and Josh in Friendly on 10-6-16--Italian Market



Friendly Lounge on 10-7-16--Italian Market

[Friendly Lounge]


Thursday, October 6, 2016


BB serving Miller champagne style--Italian Market

B.B. serving Miller champagne styled at Friendly Lounge. She's the next "Obscured American."


Obscured American: Amanda Zinoman the Film Editor

As published at Unz Review, CounterCurrents and Intrepid Report, 10/7/16:

Yes, it is a bit odd to include Amanda in my series of obscured Americans. She is a very successful editor of films that have appeared on television and in theaters. Her credits include Paul Bowles: The Complete Outsider (1994), Carmen Miranda: Bananas is my Business (1994), The Lost Children of Rockdale County (1999), Drinking Apart (2000), The Last Jews of Libya (2007) and Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness (2011). With Susan Hagedorn, Amanda also directed Deputized, a PBS documentary about the murder of Marcelo Lucero. An Ecuadorian immigrant, he was killed by seven Long Island teenagers out looking for “Mexicans to fuck up.” Jeffrey Conroy, 17-years-old when he fatally stabbed Lucero, was sentenced to 25 years.

Hagedorn and Zinoman call their film Deputized because they feel that the entire community abetted, and thus deputized, these teenagers to go out, hunt and beat up Latinos. It was a sport known locally as “beaner hopping.”

Amanda comes from a family of high achievers. Her mother, Joy, is the founder of the Studio Theater in Washington DC. A younger brother, Peter, is head of Vietnamese Studies at UC Berkeley. Another, Jason, is the comedy critic for the New York Times. This April, HarperCollins will publish Jason’s book, Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night.

Last week, Amanda and her seven-year-old son, Jonah, drove down from Brooklyn to register voters in Philly. I met my friend of nearly two decades in a park. As Jonah played, we talked about her life.

I was born in Bangkok. My dad was a diplomat. Not a spy, a diplomat. That's much more boring than being a spy. We lived in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Laos, then Boston, then Taiwan for a year, then Malaysia for three-and-a-half years, then back to the States, to the DC area. I went to high school in Maryland.

I was taken care of by this Thai amah for the first four years of my life. I never saw her again. I have pictures of myself with her. The first time I had acupuncture, I was laying there and all of a sudden, I had this memory of myself crying hysterically at the airport and hugging someone. I described this to my mother, and she said that's exactly what happened, “You were saying goodbye to Ari at the airport. She’s the woman who had taken care of you your whole life.” I spoke Thai with Ari and English with my parents.

I think I'm especially able to relate to the race stuff from being the other, growing up. My view is a little wider than most Americans', maybe. I've had other experiences besides my own little New York world.

This is how I adopted Jonah. I put an advertisement in PennySaver, then got an 800 number. Some people were really gross, like these men calling to say, “How much are you going to pay for my baby?”

I didn't care if I had a black or white kid. That's the first question his birth mother asked me, if I cared about race? I said no. She said she didn’t either. I said I thought it's better that they’re all mixed up together.

I sent her this book about me. To make up this book was the hardest part of the whole thing. I had to talk about my family and me, and what I was going to have for this kid. I sent pictures of me and pictures of kids in my neighborhood. I told her I could afford to pay for his college education. It's a roller coaster when you're adopting. You have a possibility and it may not work out.

I was in the room when Jonah was born. I cut the umbilical cord. It was just me and her. I stayed in the hospital overnight with Jonah. His birth mother doesn't want to confuse him. We text a couple of times a year and send pictures. I think she's had another kid, which she didn't tell me. I saw it on FaceBook.

Since I'm a single mom, I need people around me to help, and I have a great community of other single moms, with some transracial, some not. Some adopted, some gave birth. I also have my neighbors and friends. We can't walk down the street without people knowing us. If I'm like, “Oh my God, the babysitter is late, I'm late for work,” the neighbors will take Jonah for 30 minutes.

I don't go out at night because on top of a movie and dinner is an extra $75 for the babysitter. It's $15 an hour for a babysitter in New York. It's an extra $75, so I don't go out.

In the city, camp for the summer is, like, 4,000 bucks. A friend of mine moved to Long Island and it’s 400 bucks for the whole summer. One year, I made a film for the camp so Jonah could go for free, but then you have to make the film!

I stopped buying clothes. It's all hand-me-down for both me and Jonah. It's fine. A friend of mine's son is getting married in LA. I want to go but I can't. It’s expensive to travel with a kid.

Jonah's fun to travel with. He's really interested and open and curious. When I was a certain age, I traveled all the time. Now, I have to buy two plane tickets. It’s a big difference. I want to travel with Jonah to Asia. I want to go with him to India.

Jonah’s very, very physical. You cannot stop him. He gets a lot of confidence from it. His coach told him to stop scoring at soccer because he scored seven goals. It's, like, let the other kids score! I had to put him in a more competitive soccer league. He's over that. Now, we're on to basketball. He told me he’s going to buy me a house when he gets drafted by the NBA!

Jonah's really an amazing kid. The greatest thing about him, and he's had it since he was born, is compassion. Even when he was a little baby, if he heard someone scream or cry, he would look over in that direction. You can't have anything better than that, this caring about somebody else.

Jonah is in 2nd grade. At his school, there's this new kid, Dunya, from the Congo. Dunya was attacked by chimpanzees that were chased by poachers. They killed his brother, and Dunya had his lips ripped off. His face was mangled and he also lost several fingers, it’s pretty horrific. The first day of school, Jonah came home, and this is what I mean by his compassion, all Jonah talked about was Dunya. Dunya has only been here for six months, so he doesn’t have much English, but Jonah has become his friend.

Dunya’s mom died when he was young. He says he misses his mom more than he misses his dad. His dad is still in the Congo. Dunya’s living with a foster family. They worked for an NGO. They brought him over and are paying for his surgeries.

The principal is my pal. She said she'd gotten calls from some parents, asking to have their kids changed class, because they were scared of Dunya. I think that’s disgusting, and she didn’t like it either. First off, what if that’s your kid? Secondly, what an opportunity it is to have empathy. I mean, how hard is it to teach your kids that this kid has been through fuckin’ hell, so be nice to him, and how lucky are you, you white privileged asshole dicks!

The school is so good, although it's not diverse. I'm kind of causing a revolution at the school. I'm insisting that they get real about race. The school did not, last year, do anything for Black History Month. It's there for a reason. Otherwise, you don't learn anything. Jonah didn't know who Rosa Park was. Black history should be done all year round, but it's not done all year round. We are reinstating Black History Month.

We are training teachers, the whole bit. We're working with this organization to teach them about social justice. The bulletin board is out with different issues every week. We did one on Black Lives Matter. We did one on Latino history.

There's a guy we brought in as a consultant. He had wanted to talk about white privilege at a Quaker school, but since it made parents uncomfortable, he had to leave his job. Although he was their diversity advisor, they didn’t want him to talk about white privilege!

One of the women on our school's diversity committee is head of diversity for Microsoft. They're trying to have more training about racial sensitivity. They're trying to find ways to hire more minorities, to have their workforce be more diverse. They do things like training girls in tech. It's kind of like affirmative action. It's paying back. It's, like, you guys have made all this money!

There's a group called Filmmakers for Hillary. These films are shown on the internet, where they can go viral. I'm working with a producer from LA. She wants to do something for Hillary, so she came up with this idea. When Hillary was nominated, a lot of people said to her, “I wish my mother was around to see this,” so we’re asking people to make their own dedication. Do you know Bella Abzug? She was a New York congresswoman who was before her time, and very feminist. Her daughter is in this video, saying, “I wish my mom was here to see this.” Joe Papp, head of the Public Theater, his wife is dedicating it to her grandmother, who was a journalist.

I was a Hillary supporter in 2008, when Obama ran. She’s really competent, smart, hard-working. She was my senator. I've always been a feminist, always, and I think it's fuckin' time!

I edited this film called Thunder in Guyana. It was shown on PBS 20 something years ago, but it's relevant now. Hillary Clinton is not the first American woman to become the president of a country. There's a woman named Janet Jagan, who became the president of Guyana. She was a Jewish girl from Chicago who married an Indian guy from Guyana. It's a great story. She went down there and they founded the Communist Party of Guyana.

Cheddi Jagan was a great figure. He was like, “The Caribbean needs to think of itself as separate from South America and separate from the West.” The name of his most famous book is The West on Trial. Cheddi Jagan was really brilliant.

For years, the US tried to depose them. Janet’s maiden name was Rosenberg, so they intimated that she was related to the Rosenbergs. The US incited race riots in Guyana. It was so alarmed because they were Communists. It was the Cold War.

Jagan finally came into power in the 80’s. When he died in office, Janet took over, then she ran and won. Guyana has an interesting mix, with blacks, Indians and even some Chinese. It's a weird colonial mix, then there's this white woman. There's a footage of all these Indian men talking. It's, like, behind-the-scene election, with this Jewish grandma. Janet was incredibly passionate. She went there in the 40's and flew in on a seaplane. She never returned to the States.

My friend who made the film is a historian, mostly of New York City and the Lower East Side. Suzanne Wasserman has made a few films since. She did one about this Yiddish woman writer, Anzia Yezierska.

The New Yorker just wrote an article about how Hillary is not the first American woman president. The first half of it is about Janet Jagan, and the second half is about how Sri Lanka had a woman president in 1952. All these countries have had women presidents. Indira Gandhi, Pakistan. We act like we're such a big deal, but our country is far behind.

I'm trying to organize a film series at Lincoln Center about women as leaders, then have this panel discussion about what does it mean that women are finally in power? I think women should be in power. I think America would be in a better place.

Even today, this guy said to me, "I don't trust Hillary.” I think that's fuckin' bullshit! It's misogynistic. Why don't they trust her? What does she do that they don't trust her? I really don't understand!

Is it because her husband cheated on her that they don't trust her? That's just sick, misogynistic bullshit. Nobody has been able to explain to me what are her lies? What about Trump?! Talk about lies!

Hillary has been working since the beginning of her career for women, for children's rights. When she was a senator, she busted her fuckin’ butt. She worked in the trenches. She's not, like, showy. She's not like, “Hey, look at how great I am! Look what I've done!”

The atmosphere now in politics is so insane, so who knows if she can get anything done anyway, but she works, and she knows how to compromise to get shit done.

Trump is the last gasp of the Civil War. It’s racism rearing its ugly head. It's white men losing their power, which is true just demographically. When people feel like they’re losing their power, they become more desperate about holding on to it and whatever they have to do to keep it. It’s the most ridiculous desperation that ever was.

I want to tell you a story because it's chilling. We were in Kent, Connecticut. It's me and a friend of mine, a professor in urban studies. She is also a white woman with a black son.

So the two kids were standing outside this sandwich shop, doing nothing. This middle-aged couple came in, and the woman, I don't think she knew I was Jonah's mother, she looked at me then looked at them, then she went, "Wild animals!" meaning the two black kids.

I was pretty freaked out, so I said, "This must be Trump country," and her husband said, "You’re damn right!" He was serious, dead-on serious. It was, like, threatening. All I wanted to do was put my arms around Jonah and run in five hundred different directions.

They were emboldened to say that shit because of Trump, then there are all these shootings, one after another, after another, after another. I don't think it's different than what it used to be, but it's now out there because of the press.

You should take a picture of me. I'm in this thing called MOBS, Moms of Black Sons, and I have a T-shirt with pink sparkle! We're having a big march. I didn't wear it today while registering voters. I thought it would scare people away.

Would you take some of these stickers? These are names of black people who’ve been shot by the police. I don't even know half of them. I had a Trayvon Martin one, but somebody already took it down. Can you imagine?! I put it up at a little corner store in my neighborhood, and the next day, it wasn't there!

I am moved a lot by the racial issue right now, and a part of that is raising my son and protecting him. I would be interested in doing projects that have something to do with race. I got a call recently. It’s a film about hate crimes against Muslims. The director is a Jewish woman. She's so freaked out by Trump that she wants to do something. She’s already interviewed, like, six or seven different Muslim families.

I went to see a play on Governors Island. This island was an army base and there's this old mansion. This neighbor of mine is black and he's in the play. It's Chekov's The Cherry Orchard, transposed to the antebellum South and performed inside one of these mansions. I took Jonah and it was great. I was weeping. Like all of Chekov’s plays, it's about people who own the big house and are now losing it.

I realized I was weeping for the white woman who was losing her power. The slave's son is buying the plantation because he's the carpetbagger now. I was, like, wow, I'm feeling sorry for her, and I realized she's not being so hateful. It made me feel like maybe I should be a little bit more sympathetic to these white people who are losing power, like there is something painful about losing power, if they weren't being so hateful. In Chekov, you feel compassion, like this old way of life, this grand way of life, whatever it is, is disappearing.

There was a talk afterwards, and I think people were shocked that I felt sympathetic towards Madame so-and-so. She was a kind of Blanche DuBois. It's like her world doesn't exist anymore, and there's a new word which is great, but it made me be sympathetic, not to Donald Trump, but to these poor white people, and I don't mean poor like poor, economically. I mean white people who had power.

I did see a lot of poor white people today outside this supermarket on Broad Street. There was a toothless guy. When I was trying to register people, I was shocked at how many people who said, “I don’t care. I don't care about this shit. It doesn't make a difference!”

A friend of mine worked on a film about meth. It’s pretty disgusting what it does to people, and in the fuckin’ middle of nowhere! Maybe it's the same thing, like they say, with crack, that it was put into the country to put black people down. Maybe meth was brought in to make these white people more subservient. It's certainly a scourge and nobody's doing anything about it.

I worked on a film about underground female fight clubs. These are women who live in the projects and have, like, three different babies by three different baby daddies. They wake up in the morning with zero money in their pockets, and they have to find a way to get $100 sneakers for their kids, because that's what's important. There’s a woman who met her baby daddy at the check cashing place because he’s just gotten his welfare check. The way these women make money is these underground female fight clubs. No pulling hair and no biting are the two rules. These women fight and people bet on them. They’re also hired to go beat people up. These are tough-assed women. They’re all black and every man in the film has gunshot wounds, every fuckin’ one. I’m not exaggerating. There's a party scene where they all pull up their shirts and each one of them has gunshot wounds.

I would have been interested in race, but I wouldn’t have been as invested. With transracial adoption, the thing you can do is to become an ally because you’re in the perfect position to be a very strong ally and advocate. You’re invested, whereas these other white people would rather not talk about white privilege. I have a reason to want to make this better, and to protect Jonah.

I like to think I'm confident that Hillary will win, but then people didn't think Brexit would happen either, right? My dad is so pessimistic. He's like, “It's over.”

I'm going to move out of the country if Trump wins. I will go to Malaysia or Holland if that dumb guy wins, but here's the problem: the people who voted for Trump will still be around. They have been so emboldened and told that the election’s rigged. The fuckin’ KKK will be marching in the street. It's going to be bad.

Hillary, at least, she can do something about it, but it's going to be bad when she wins because of those people. It's just horrible. They’re just so frustrated, bitter and hostile.

You know people say, “You have to stay and fight,” but I don't think he's going to win. I can't believe that. I would go to Malaysia. I would move to Malaysia anyway, if I could get a job. Malaysia is not homogeneous, but very multi-racial. It's very interesting, like Guyana. The food is also much better in multi-racial societies!

Financially, I'm not doing very well but socially and emotionally I'm doing really well. I'm not doing reality TV anymore. I cannot work 20-hour days. I don't want to do it and I'm not good at it. I'm good at doing documentaries. I'm good at finding a story that's meaningful.

Professionally, I have a very good reputation but I don't take shit, that's my problem. I speak my mind.



Black Lives Matter stickers



About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.