You’re quiet out there now that your leader is gone. Don’t expect us to lower the volume while celebrating this victory.

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Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

It’s funny how an election changes situations.

Many of you have been uncharacteristically quiet over the last couple of days, or maybe Facebook’s algorithm gods are just sparing my sanity. Either way, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the silence right now. Crickets all over.

Unfortunately, posts from some of you popped up all through Election Day/ week, when President-elect Joe Biden pulled ahead of Donald Trump in those crucial swing states. You started to plead with everyone to suddenly get along and sing “Kumbaya.” …

That’s the most frightening takeaway of the Capitol riot arrests.

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“QAnon Shaman” Jake Angeli (Photo: flickr)

Like any action flick worth its weight in popcorn, the January 6 siege on the Capitol building in Washington D.C. keeps taking unexpected twists and turns. One of the latest: Many of those responsible — even the ones who were decked out in outrageous costume-party attire and acting like bulls in a china shop — aren’t all that different from the rest of us.

Off the clock and out of their combat gear, some of these so-called (by soon-to-be ex-First Daughter Ivanka Trump) “American patriots” might even be mistaken for respectable citizens

As it turns out, Trump soldiers are more sophisticated than the images and videos might lead us to believe. The “basket of deplorables,” to borrow from Hillary Clinton, includes all shapes and sizes. Although Democrats, according to statistics, tend to be better educated than Republicans, the extremists on the right encompass far more than those redneck, gun-toting Okie-from-Muskogee types many of us might normally associate with Team Trump. …

When your name is immortalized as the title of an iconic hit.

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Eddie Vedder in Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” video (Photo: Epic Records)

I’ve always thought I deserved a better song. I mean, my name deserved a better song.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate that it got one in the first place. Pearl Jam couldn’t have picked a better name for the anti-hero of its best-known song, if not its biggest hit (Billboard Hot 100 peak: number 79).

I’m a sucker for names with two syllables that end in “N,” but I can’t imagine the tragic antihero of “Jeremy” being anyone with a name other than mine. Would Nathan have had the same ring had he been the one who spoke in class today? …

Don’t be fooled by “woke” race coverage. It’s business as usual.

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Colin Jost and Michael Che on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” (Photo: YouTube)

“A change is gonna come,” Sam Cooke sang on an album that came out in February of 1964. Five months later, with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it did. Since then, the times have kept a-changing, but the burden of being Black in America has barely budged.

Changes, though, keep coming, and ever since the murder of George Floyd last year ushered in a new age of racial unrest and reckoning in the US, a number of mainstream publications and websites have shifted their focus to race-related content. …

What’s the strongest liquid on earth (and in Hollywood)? White girl tears.

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Frances McDormand in Nomadland (Photo: Searchlight Pictures)

My 15-year-old niece recently floored her mother with some Black, bruising teen spirit: “What is the strongest liquid on earth?” she asked. Answer: “White girl tears.” It’s a revelation that has haunted me since my sister-in-law shared it with me.

They live minutes away from Hollywood, a place on earth where hallowed White women have been crying themselves to Oscars for nearly a century. In 92 years of Academy Awards, Halle Berry remains the only Black woman whose tears have been strong enough to score a gong for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. …

Something that was hilarious in the ’80s can age into offensive humor.

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Rue McClanahan and Betty White in a 1988 episode of The Golden Girls (Photo: NBC)

The Golden Girls and Gilmore Girls haven’t aired in their original runs in years, but hardly a day goes by that I don’t see a new story online about one or the other. I’ve recently been revisiting the former and watching the latter for the first time, and I’ve noticed that the two shows with female-centric themes and “Girls” in the title — two shows that were separated by eight years — dealt with race in very era-specific ways.

Gilmore Girls mostly ignored it by creating an almost entirely White Connecticut world, while The Golden Girls confronted it with humor, sometimes hitting the mark beautifully and occasionally fumbling. …

We can’t achieve progress without suffering fools sometimes.

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Photo: Elvert Barnes Protest Photography/Wikimedia Commons

During times of intense political upheaval, social media and the Internet turn into virtual battlefields. Mobs log on armed with fire and fury, cocked and loaded to shoot off opinions — some sound, most not. Knock-down drag-outs ensue.

I’ve been in quite a few online tussles in my time, and over the past year, I’ve tried to fight the temptation to keep rejoining the fray. That’s a battle I’ve usually lost, and like so many other people over the past election year, I’ve had to resort to Facebook’s delete and block functions a few times.

Normally, once an election year has been decided in early November, we can take a break from the political blowouts and regularly scheduled blocking and return to debating inconsequential things like the best movies of the year and the terribly tone-deaf Grammy nominations. …

What’s racism got to do with it? As usual, everything.

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Awful White men storm the US Capitol (Photo: YouTube)

On January 6, I watched a scene unfold on CNN that has been four years or two months in the making. Armed rioters stormed the US Capitol building to block the certification of Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 US Presidential Election, leaving four people dead.

My friends and family members had been worried about fallout since the media called Biden’s victory on November 7. President Donald Trump’s ongoing refusal to accept defeat — which has ping-ponged between comical and terrifying, the latter mostly due to the continued devotion of his diehard disciples — didn’t quell their fears.

I did my part to reassure them. I didn’t think we were on the verge of civil war. I thought it was highly unlikely that Washington D.C. would devolve into the sort of violent chaos that used to erupt in Congress in the years before the Civil War. Fistfights occasionally broke out between elected US representatives over the issue of slavery. Surely the law and order Trump and Republicans claim to love and respect would prevail. …

Love what you do and be ready, willing, and happy to do it for free.

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Photo: QuoteInspector

Remember back in the late ’80s and ’90s when Kevin Costner was a major movie star? For a minute there during the first George Bush era, he was like a one-man Marvel Cinematic Universe, giving Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, and Julia Roberts a run for their box-office supremacy.

I never understood what the fuss was about. He wasn’t drop-dead hunky or especially talented. I figured he was for people who only knew the song “I Will Always Love You” from the Whitney Houston cover version in the 1992 Costner-Houston romantic drama The Bodyguard, or those who preferred Houston’s sledgehammer take to the more-delicate 1983 country version by Dolly Parton, the woman who wrote it, took it to number one on Billboard’s country singles chart twice, and made it into a country classic decades before Houston delivered it to the ages. …

The media suggest I played a role, but it might be too good to be true.

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The trio formerly known as Dixie Chicks (Photo: Wasted Time R at English Wikipedia)

“Omigosh you singlehandedly got the Dixie Chicks to change their name.” — my friend Maureen on June 25, 2020

Last year I wrote what might turn out to be the biggest op-ed of my career. It was a June 17 guest column for Variety titled “After Lady Antebellum, Is It Time for the Dixie Chicks to Rethink Their Name?”

It was a piece that took a bit of convincing for me to do. When my editor first suggested an op-ed about the potentially racist implications of the name Dixie Chicks after another country trio, Lady Antebellum, became Lady A, I was lukewarm on the idea. …


Jeremy Helligar

Brother Son Husband Friend Loner Minimalist World Traveler. Author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” and “Storms in Africa”

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