Saturday, November 25, 2023

Your Absolution For Enjoyment


It didn’t take long. Hours after it was reported that Derek Chauvin was seriously injured  in an inmate-involved stabbing, I was being informed on social media that, well, actually, prison violence is bad and prison conditions are awful and we shouldn’t be celebrating it.

Yes, we should. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating small victories.

And this is a small victory. A very small one, but one nonetheless. Because it’s true that our judicial system and correctional system is unnecessarily vicious and cruel. And it’s true that this one bad apple prisoner is a symptom of that systemic cruelty. BUT.

That systemic cruelty is, almost exclusively, directed at the most powerless and most vulnerable members of society. If you’ve got money, authority, white skin, or all three, your odds of being subjected to that systemic cruelty drop drastically. 

So, then, objectively, if that systemic cruelty were applied more equally, that would be an improvement. Not a big improvement, not a great improvement, and certainly not preferable to a system that isn’t gratuitously cruel to people at all, but better is still better.

So even if you completely ignore the irony of Chauvin having committed a crime unworthy of the death penalty, yet someone deciding to take the power into their own hands and try to administer a death penalty for that crime, I’m still going to take a little time to enjoy the small bit of nuanced pleasure that comes from the wold being an incrementally better nightmarish shithole than I thought it was.

And that doesn’t make me a bad liberal, a bad person, or “no different from them” when I do it.


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