Mexicans Quarantined In Ixtaltepec Appreciate Volunteers’ Jokes, Songs ~ NPR

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In the southern state of Oaxaca, volunteers in one town take turns driving a large speaker around. They play health tips, songs and even jokes to the town’s elderly and others under COVID-19 lockdown.

 

To the Next ‘BBQ Becky’: Don’t Call 911. Call 1-844-WYT-FEAR.

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Video by Taige Jensen and

 

New! A Hotline for Racists

Not for a charcoal grill, no charcoal grills are allowed You’re scared. Please leave me alone. You’re white. African-American Illegally selling water without a permit. But with cellphone cameras and social media calling 911 on your black or brown neighbors just isn’t what it used to be. Hi, I’m Niecy Nash, actress, inventor and advocate for not calling 911 on black people for no goddamn reason. I’d like to introduce you to a radical new product that will save you all the headaches of being filmed and outed as a racist douche. It’s called 1-844-WYT-FEAR and it’s revolutionizing the way racist white people cope with black people living life near them. 1-844-WYT-FEAR? There’s a black guy outside my neighbor’s house and he’s walking around. Our experienced staff have been living while black in America their entire lives. Darren, here, is a former Obama aide who had the cops called on him for moving into his new apartment. That is actually your neighbor Michael. Yeah, no problem. Our records are actually showing that’s actually his boat. Yeah, I know. black people have boats too, now. Studies show that people of color are more likely to be arrested, convicted, and serve longer sentences than white people for similar crimes. So calling 911 for non-emergency situations is really just a [expletive] move. I got so scared when I saw a black guy walking around outside. And so I called 1-844-WYT-FEAR. And it turns out we’re neighbors. And I’m a racist. Now black people have been helping white people be better since, always. So she’s looking around and standing there? Regular Frisbee or Ultimate Frisbee? Call it when black people are: 1-844-WYT-FEAR It’s a real number for real white people who should mind their own damn business. What’s going on here? If you have been a victim of 911 harassment please email us at 844WYTFEAR@nytimes.com

2:39New! A Hotline for Racists
Niecy Nash hosts a satirical infomercial advocating for people to stop calling 911 to harass black citizens and to call 1-844-WYT-FEAR instead.

In this satirical infomercial, the comedian and actress Niecy Nash plays the inventor of a new hotline, 1-844-WYT-FEAR. The video advertises a phone service for white people to call when they can’t cope with black people living their lives near them. The hotline is up and running, so give it a ring and spread the word. (Seriously.)

The phenomenon of white people harassing African-Americans going about their day is nothing new, but with the ubiquity of smartphones and social media, everyone can now see how these injustices are played out and lead to anxiety for and material harm to people of color. And this problem is bigger than a few unreasonable white people. Racist stereotypes are baked into our society.

Has someone called the cops on you when you were doing nothing wrong? Email your story or video to The New York Times Opinion Video team at 844WYTFEAR@nytimes.com.

Below is a list of 39 known instances just this year when someone called the police to complain about black people doing everyday activities:


October 2018

Dane County, Wis. When a statehouse candidate was canvassing a neighborhood. (The New York Times)

Amherst, Mass. When a university employee looked upset while walking across campus. (Associated Press)

Milwaukee When a man was trying to get change from his car. (WISN12)

Brooklyn When a woman tried to avoid the rain by standing on a stoop. (NBC4)

Northampton, Mass. When a student was eating on campus. (The Boston Globe)

Mountain View, Calif. When a woman donated food to the homeless. (KPIX5)

Victoria Park, Fla. When a woman attempted to cash a check at a bank. (Miami New Times)

Buffalo When a woman attempted to use several coupons at a dollar store. (The Buffalo News)

San Francisco When a man was checking the alarm at his own store. (KCBS Radio)

Sterling, Va. When a player at a pickup game of basketball fouled too hard. (FOX5)

Upper Arlington, Ohio When an 11-year-old was delivering newspapers. (Newsweek)

Winston-Salem, N.C. When a woman using her residential community’s pool refused to show her ID. (The Winston-Salem Journal)

San Francisco When an 8-year-old sold water outside her apartment building without a permit. (The New York Times)

Orange Village, Ohio When sorority sisters were paying their bill at a restaurant. (USA Today)

Oakland, Calif. When a uniformed firefighter was clearing flammable objects from brush. (The San Francisco Chronicle)

Collierville, Tenn. When a woman was browsing at a store. (WREG3)

Birmingham, Ala. When a man attempted to make a return at a crafts store. (ABC News)

Memphis When a real estate investor was inspecting a property. (The Telegraph)

Brooklyn When a woman was shopping at a vintage store with her daughter. (ABC7)

New York When a former Obama aide was moving into his new apartment. (PIX11)

Oakland, Calif. When three men were barbecuing at a park. (KRON4)

Raleigh-Durham, N.C. When a plane passenger felt uncomfortable about the woman in the next seat. (The Charlotte Observer)

York, Pa. When a group of women were playing golf. (The York Daily Record)

Philadelphia When two men attempted to use the restroom at a coffee shop. (NPR)

The Summer of Kinky Friedman ~ The New Yorker

 

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“Some of the stuff I’ll be doing tonight I’ve only done a few times on stage,” the country musician, mystery novelist, and former gubernatorial candidate of Texas, Kinky Friedman, warns, with his deadpan, mellow rasp. “So I might screw up. It’s possible. And if I do you’ll know because I usually go, ‘Fuck.’ ”

Kinky has been on the road all summer, quietly touring in support of “Circus of Life,” his first new album of original songs in more than forty years.

“Now, in Europe, when I screwed up, they loved it,” Kinky adds, as he begins to strum. “They all felt it was performance art. The audience here has no sense of that. They don’t think it’s performance art. They just think I’m a little fucked up.”

On a recent visit to perform at City Winery, Kinky stayed with his friend Ryan (Slim) MacFarland and his family, at their home, in Jersey City. “What’s it like having Kinky Friedman as a house guest?” I ask Slim.

“As soon as Kinky walked in the door, with his black Stetson hat and ostrich-skin boots,” Slim recounts, “my five-year-old daughter was in awe. He squatted to meet her at eye level, tipped his hat, and asked if she had ever seen a real cowboy before. She loved it.”

Kinky isn’t, in fact, an actual cowboy. But he is a genuine showman, whose credits as a musician include a stint on tour with Bob Dylan, during the 1976 leg of his “Rolling Thunder Revue,” a travelling caravan of featured performers that included Joan Baez, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Neuwirth.

“For Kinky,” Slim continues, “life is the performance. So he’s always on: the cigar’s in his hand, maybe he slept in his clothes . . . ”

“ . . . and he’s knocking on your door asking if you want coffee at some ungodly fucking hour, telling you that you’ll drink it black because that’s how they drink it in Texas . . . ”

“ . . . and then he’s bringing you a cup of dirty black coffee, and you’re gonna drink it, and he’s gonna sit there and talk to you and blow cigar smoke right in your face and you’ll just deal with it because he’s funny and irreverent and you love what’s coming out of his mouth.”

Onstage, Kinky exhibits similar traits, minus the smoke. The next night, in Jersey City, at the comparatively diminutive Monty Hall, a music venue owned and operated by WFMU, the local public-radio station, Kinky introduces “Waitret, Please, Waitret,” from 1976’s “Lasso from El Paso,” his last album of original material. In the song, a customer politely invites a waitress to “come sit on my fate.” After one verse, the unfashionably misogynistic tune is abandoned, despite the cautious laughter of the predominantly middle-aged and older crowd. “Well,” the Kinkster, as he is also commonly referred to, especially in the third person, proclaims, “you get the drift.”

“You know, a lot of people, when they think of Kinky Friedman,” McFarland says, “they think of songs like ‘They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore,’ ‘Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed,’ and ‘Asshole from El Paso.’ The funny shit. But Kinky mostly writes serious, heartfelt songs.”

Before launching into “Ride ’Em Jewboy,” which has a funny title but is undoubtedly his most serious song of all, Kinky (who is proudly Jewish) regales the audience with a seeming tall tale. While on a book tour of South Africa, in 1996, Kinky met the anti-apartheid activist Tokyo Sexwhale (pronounced “sex-wah-lay,” but spelled, as Kinky pointed out, “Sex Whale”), who was imprisoned in a cell beside Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. Every night for three years, Sexwhale told Kinky, Mandela listened to “Ride ’Em Jewboy,” the first song of the rock era to be written about the Holocaust, from a smuggled cassette of Kinky’s début album, “Sold American,” from 1973.

“Ride, ride ’em Jewboy
Ride ’em all around the old corral.
I’m, I’m with you boy
If I’ve got to ride six million miles.”

Toward the end of the evening, Kinky puts down the guitar in favor of a copy of “Heroes of a Texas Childhood,” one of more than thirty books that he has written that isn’t a mystery novel, to read “The Navigator,” a story about his father. “He taught me chess, tennis, how to belch, and to always stand up for the underdog,” Kinky explains before reading, “as well as the importance of treating children like adults, and adults like children.”

Although Kinky has been out of the political limelight since his unsuccessful bid to become the Texas agriculture commissioner, in 2014, he has not forgotten how to campaign. “My definition of politics still holds,” Kinky asserts. “ ‘Poly’ means more than one, and ‘tics’ are blood-sucking parasites.” At the end of the show, Kinky descends into the audience to graciously shake as many hands as possible as he leads the satisfied mob to the merch table in the lobby.

It was a 3 a.m. telephone call from another one of Kinky’s lofty friends, Willie Nelson, that inspired “Circle Of Life.” Kinky was watching “Matlock.” Willie, who Kinky also refers to as his therapist, instantly diagnosed his friend with depression and prescribed him to pick up the guitar and write. “When it was all over, and we were done with the record,” Slim recalls, “and Kinky heard it for the first time, he said, ‘Slim, you’ve made a senior citizen very happy.’ ”

  • Andy Friedman is an artist, illustrator, musician, and cartoonist. He has contributed art to this magazine since 1999 and is currently working on a book of essays and drawings.

 

Weeding The Cosmos

This book resides on my bedside table and on the windowsill by my hammock.  I read it, then I read it again … never get tired of it.

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These poems, quick-flash snippets culled from several years of writings–in solitude, while traveling, in work-a-day routines or high-country switchbacks–spring from a tradition as old as the Japanese poet Basho and still just as lively. Falling somewhere between haiku and senryu, John Brandi calls his three-liners “twists”–bringing to light a distinct American style with roots firmly planted in the natural world and the seasons of the human heart.

“Here are poems which leap into the center of gravity. They bring your own world home and give you a fresh taste of wonder. As delicious as discovering the moon over and over again, this book says–Wake up! Be amazed at what happens, no matter what.”–Natalie Goldberg

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