Monday, June 29, 2015

What a Month

June ends in just over 14 hours (here in China), and frankly, it can't end soon enough. The world has gone more bat-shit crazy in this solitary month than in the entire rest of my 37 years.

June started with Caitlyn Jenner debuting herself on the cover of Vanity Fair. Next was a riverboat capsizing on the Yangtze River that drowned over 300 people. Sepp Blatter resigned after being reelected FIFA chairman less than one week earlier. It was announced that TSA failed to find 95% of the weapons in airplane luggage. Denny Hastert was arrested for withdrawing his own money from the bank. China hacked the U.S. government computer network so thoroughly even they were like, "Wait, what?" Rachel Dolezal's racial identity was disputed. Sepp Blatter said, "Just kidding." A racist in South Carolina killed nine people, and somehow this ignited a vendetta against Bo and Luke Duke.

Then things really picked up steam the final week of the month. The Supreme Court found that the literal reading of Obamacare would kill Obamacare, as the law's framers intended, so the court re-wrote the statute. This wasn't an interpretation of what someone maybe meant 230 years ago. The intentions of the legislators was obvious and known. They went so far as to say, "In Scenario X, the law will fail," and then Scenario X occurred. The IRS decided to extra-legally stop Scenario X. The court found they had to be allowed to do it, because otherwise, the law would fail. "You can't seriously think they wanted that to happen" is now the law of the land.

The next day, we found out that a completely fair and inclusive institution such as traditional marriage was actually nothing of the sort. Whereas the rules had applied equally to everyone (find one person of the opposite sex who is not already married or too-close of a relative) without regard to sexual orientation (no one asked me when I went to get married if I was straight or gay), now those rules were found to be exclusionary and harmful. "If the court rules this way," said some defenders of traditional marriage, "polyamory and persecution of religious objectors will follow." Detractors scoffed, "That's crazy talk." Within 24 hours of the court ruling came calls for legalizing polygamy and for removing the tax-exemption of churches.

And just in case the Supreme Court's craziness wasn't enough for your liking, they included some bonus craziness: you can be sued for racism if your equally-applied race-blind policy results in different outcomes for different races. Let's say you decide to hand things out based on an alphabetical list. You racist! All those Chinese kids with names beginning in Q, X, and Z are disproportionately at the bottom!

The rest of the world wasn't sitting out Crazy Month. The Shanghai Stock Exchange had spent the first six months of the year building a bubble that burst in June, losing 20% of its value in the month. One day saw an IS attack at a factory in France, one on a beach in Tunisia, and one at a mosque in Yemen. IS spent May complaining about cartoons of Mohammed and then in June decided the best way to honor his work was to offer pre-teen sex slaves as a prize for Qur'an memorization. And the Greek government decided to screw over its citizens as completely as possible by defaulting on their loans but giving a week's notice to their creditors, so they could make sure to not restock Greek banks with cash.


Unfortunately, June doesn't give any indication that it has contained its craziness. Spillovers into July appear likely. What's going to happen after the Greek referendum on Sunday? What's going to happen when the Chinese stock market keeps correcting? What's going to happen when Amnesty Summer II: Montezuma's Revenge gets into full swing? What's going to happen when another white police officer kills another black teen? What's going to happen when China finishes its new islands?

July could end up making June look like Victorian England.

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