Protests against the shootings of two black men by police officers shut down main arteries in a number of U.S. cities on Saturday, leading to numerous arrests, scuffles and injuries in confrontations between police and demonstrators.
Undeterred by heightened concerns about safety at protests after a lone gunman killed five police officers in Dallas Thursday night, organizers went ahead with marches in the biggest metropolis, New York City, and Washington D.C., the nation’s capital, among other cities.
Dallas police headquarters and surrounding blocks were cordoned off and SWAT teams were deployed on Saturday after authorities received an anonymous threat against officers across the city, but a search for a “suspicious person” turned up no one, officials said.
The incident occurred as the city remained tense following Thursday night’s fatal shootings of five Dallas police officers by a former U.S. Army reservist. Police asked news organizations to stop airing live video from the area as they carried out the search.
I’m a dabbler by nature. A little Symbolist art here, a little classical architecture there. I have a conversational level of knowledge—or at least impressions—about many things, but a mastery of almost none. I will dip my toes in new waters and paddle around in the shallows, but I’m not going for the free diving record. I don’t have the lung capacity. Being a dabbler serves pretty well, living as one does in a world of opportunity cost and lively receptions where it pays to come armed with a reference or two. If you are reading this, I suspect you may be a dabbler, too. Culture sections attract a type of languid generalist.
Long gone are the ages of witty, thoughtful insults. Today’s Internet wars are shameless, artless, and ephemeral, further cheapened by anonymity and the hive-mind’s attention deficit disorder. But, lucky for us, artifacts of a time when rivals took their intellectual fistfights to print or television still remain.
On November 24, 2014, President Obama betrayed the nation. Even as he went on national television to respond to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the looting and arson that had followed Brown’s shooting in August were being reprised, destroying businesses and livelihoods over the next several hours. Obama had one job and one job only in his address that day: to defend the workings of the criminal-justice system and the rule of law. Instead, he turned his talk into a primer on police racism and criminal-justice bias. In so doing, he perverted his role as the leader of all Americans and as the country’s most visible symbol of the primacy of the law.
I saw an immersion blender for sale the other day—alongside some culinary syringes, cheap rubber molds, spherification tools, and a dusty set of Molecular Gastronomy cookbooks. You remember Molecular Gastronomy? Over the past twenty-five years or so, it repeatedly promised to revolutionize cooking. Modernize it. Scientize it. Change for us all the way the kitchen works. Which it did, to some small degree. But the revolution is over, ending the way that kind of revolution almost always ends: not with a bang but with the whimper of items for sale on a discount table near the checkout line at Kmart.
The first poem of A. M. Juster’s second collection of mostly original verse, Sleaze & Slander, is “Grandmother Gives Birth to Chimp.” The title, as becomes apparent, is from a tabloid. “You never know what ends up being true,” Juster writes before noting a few other things that sound outrageous but could nevertheless be called true: “Amelia Earhart flew to Tumbuktu, / then on to Kansas to escape it all,” “The Loch Ness Monster is quite real, though small,” and “Houdini’s ghost is merely overdue.”