Y’all know that my sense of humor runs more in this direction than in the conventional one, so I’ll admit to chuckling through this story, in a can-you-believe-this-shit sort of way. Briefly: The State Bar of Michigan held a fiction contest, and awarded honorable mention to a story it later backtracked on and described as “embedded with racist cues,” if you can call the inclusion of an ebonics-speaking bad-guy character named Tyrone Washington a cue and not exactly racism.
The story — “Post-Conviction Relief” — centers around Jack Schoenherr, who’s described as a “soft-spoken and introverted Michigan attorney who had practiced almost exclusively in the area of criminal defense over the course of his twenty-two year legal career” and swore to uphold the state and U.S. constitutions.
Schoenherr’s daughter, Caroline, is murdered by “eighteen-year-old, tattoo-covered, drug-abusing gangbanger named Tyrone Washington.”
Washington is convicted of shooting Caroline in “cold blood with a stolen revolver for no reason other than that he wanted to show off his ‘polar bear hunting skills’ to prospective candidates eager to join his gang.” Bristow described Washington as showing no remorse and even grinning and jeering as Schoenherr gave a victim-impact statement at sentencing.
After the trial, Schoenherr visits Washington in prison under the guise of being his attorney for the appeal. “’You mah appointed lawyer for da’ appeal?’ Tyrone asked,” Bristow writes.
Schoenherr lectures Washington about retributive justice while, “Tyrone drooled and snorted as he slouched further in his chair.” Schoenherr eventually kills Washington with a sharpened pen.
A sharpened pen! (I’ve heard it’s mightier than the sword.) Honorable mention!
Truth be told, much of this tale was sort of scoff-worthy, including that the State Bar was even having a fiction contest in the first place. (My guess is we can lay this at the feet of John Grisham.) I also wonder if the judges, described as “volunteers on (the Bar’s) Publication and Website Advisory Committee,” had ever actually read a work of reputable fiction. And how dense does one have to be not to see the problem here, especially when you consider the story was eagerly accepted by a publication called the Occidental Observer, “which says in its mission statement that it presents ‘original content touching on the themes of white identity, white interests, and the culture of the West.’”
Punch line: The author, a Michigan State graduate, was president of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter there, and before his 30th birthday has a page in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s extremist files. He’s been (self-)published before. His first novel? Was called “White Apocalypse.” He also thinks revenge porn is a liberal plot against blonde white women.
No, it wasn’t a good week in post-racial America, was it? Ask the homeless man who got a beatdown from two apparent supporters of Team Trump. I’ll reserve final judgment on this one — it’s a little too perfect, detail-wise, up to and including the candidate’s description of his followers as “passionate.” But still.
So, welcome to the weekend, all. It’s Crazytown here; hope your environment is a little saner.