Jeane was visiting me years ago. We'd been out to dinner. When we walked in we turned on the TV looking for a movie or something. On every channel there was live coverage of a car chase, a white Bronco. We turned it off. And that was how I dealt with the entire epic of the O.J. Simpson trial. I turned it off. I had no interest. I had no opinion. Until the day of the verdict. On that day I was glued to my television. It was so interesting to watch the variety of reactions. Heartbreaking in some cases. Confusing in others but so compelling.
My experience of the Zimmerman trial was slightly different. I watched bits of because it was always on MSNBC. I found it hard to watch and I usually didn't watch for long. On the day of the verdict I was again glued to the television until it was announced. My first thought was, "Not again." I was so angry I had to turn it off. I couldn't shake that anger for days. I haven't really shaken it yet.
The two trials don't have much in common but they were both a hyper public spectacle. I won't argue that we have a right to see what happens in the courtroom but I have mixed feelings. The courtroom is a theater space even when it's not on television. But it should be a pretty boring theater. It should be about flat narratives and details of legal structures. I think it is most of the time. But not this one. This one was about bad jokes and Twitter reactions and endless analysis and chunks of concrete. And a weary ending.
At some point a friend changed her Facebook picture to the Trayvon icon seen now in so many places. I grabbed it myself. I'll probably change it soon.
I used to write more about issues of the day. I've stopped because I worry about the culture of opinion. I want to be sure that if I'm going to write something it's going to feel useful in some way and I'm not really sure it's useful for me to add my angst. But the aftermath of the trial has held my emotion. I'm not even sure what there is to hope for but it feels like there are reasons for hope. There is a conversation happening. There are people sitting in and marching and making demands. I think real change happens slowly and happens in heart and minds. Spectacles can be fodder for change.
I'm still nesting. It's slow going but steady. I get frustrated and then I get over it. Every day the nest feels more like mine. I'm still overwhelmed with gratitude.
There is a pub up the street. On weekends they often have bands. It's loud and goes on into the night. The night of the verdict there was a metal band. Lots of whooping and hollering. It grated on my nerves. I wanted quiet and reflection.
All I feel I have to offer is my attention.