Crimes in Social Media

Over the years, I’ve often told friends that one of my more odd bucket list items is to spend a night in jail, even if I haven’t worked out a plan to actually pull it off with minimum consequences beyond the actual night in jail. Public intoxication would likely do it, but I’d like to have a clear memory so I can write about the experience afterwards.

Recently I experienced something like this in more of a virtual setting as I was blocked from posting anything on Facebook for 24 hours thanks to some anonymous tattletale. But as my punishment set in, it felt more like standing in the corner during 1st grade then an overnight jail stay.

What did I post? It was actually a short comment on a friend’s post regarding the Trump shutdown. So, here it is in all it’s glory:

Trump needs to do us all a favor and resign but in a way that best suits him—hanging himself in the Oval Office.

Yeah, I suppose it’s a bit distasteful if you’re a Trump fan, but isn’t suicide just a glorious (or “gory”) version of resignation? Besides, I know many that find this particular sentiment as pleasant as a good meal. The truth is, I have several fantasies of Trump’s demise—my favorite version is that he is convicted of treason and tickets are sold for his public beheading on the National Mall where so many people show up, that ticket sales pay off the national debt. In that setting, Trump would finally draw the crowd he wished he had for his “record-setting” inauguration.

Let’s face it, over the course of his life—not just his presidency—Trump is nowhere close to being a model citizen as he has brought pain, misery, and suffering to many, and God knows how many lives he has compromised in a lifetime of underhanded “art-of-the-deals.” And, all of it is well documented along with the greatest collection of lies by any high-level politician. So, the idea of his suicide, public execution or some rogue Secret Service agent greasing him sits just fine with me. There’s nothing redeeming in him as a person or as a president.

• • •

As long as I’m here, another incident came about a couple weeks ago as the result of another Fuckface von Clownstick remark I made on Facebook. Although it didn’t get me banned, a Trump-ass-kissing tattletale sent an email to the college president about my post.

Tim Sedlacek, a resident of North Dakota working in the oil and gas industry (according to his Facebook page) wrote the following:

I am writing you this email about something I find very concerning and very disturbing. You have a professor employed at your institution that is publically (sic) calling for the assassination of President Trump on his Facebook page. I have included a screen shot of said Facebook post. I think the taxpayers of your great state would find it very interesting that they are paying the salary of someone with such radical political views who is not afraid to convey those views publicly. As a professor at a public university he should be held to a higher standard. I hope you take appropriate action on this matter. I will give you a few days to reply to me with your course of action and if I do not hear back from you will be contacting your local newspaper and also other newspapers in Wyoming to inform them about this very disturbing post by an employee of your college.

This sent me to FB Jail

My offensive post: “Impeachment, incarceration, bullet-in-the-brain… whatever it takes, Trump must go.
First of all, a couple responses on my part:

Hey Tim, why be such a tattletale? You could have taken it up with me if you found it so disturbing—after all, you were my FB friend. You could have left a comment, could have sent me a private message, but instead you responded like a screaming little girl with mud splashed on her Sunday church dress. What an asshole.

Secondly, I was not calling for Trump’s assassination. In fact, immediately after the post, I left a link in the comment section to the Black Key’s “Bullet in the Brain” song/video. It’s about suicide. That said and historically speaking, bullets in the brain have been one of several ways Presidents have been removed from office—those well loved and those not so much. Fact! So, if Trump or someone else were to actually pull that off, it still comes off as a working solution for me. But, for the record (and the vapid intellect of those like Sedlacek), I’m not interested in doing such myself, nor do I even have the ability, know-how, or energy to pull off such a feat. I’m simply open to any means it takes to remove this persona non grata (and his ilk) from the White House.

In deciding to take the post down (although not required), I responded to the college president with the following:

I received notice about my personal FB post on Dec. 21 regarding Donald Trump. I’m sure you are aware, this was not a threatening message of any kind—I was just speaking of the various ways past U.S. Presidents (those well-loved and those reviled) have been or could be removed from office. Distasteful as it may be, I suppose it is what it is depending on one’s political views. Further, I had posted immediately after (in the comment section) the song by the Black Keys “Bullet in the Brain,” which is a song about suicide and what I was referencing in the original post should someone like Sedlacek come along and attempt to spin it otherwise.

Nevertheless, I have removed the post from my public feed in hopes that this will be of no more bother to you. I apologize if this put a crimp in your holiday away from the work place.

The other day, I was having a discussion with a colleague about “spending too much time on Facebook.” In light of these recent events, my hope is that this little expulsion will be an impetus to get away from that platform where tattletales and pollyannas like Sedlacek lurk, and perhaps put more effort into my posts on dissidence. So, I’m thankful even if I still haven’t spent the night in jail.

And one last thing, fuck Facebook and its harboring of Russian trolls and its secret love for Trump.

Clichés, Hysteria, Ridicule… and Football

Recently, I wrote the following to the Powell Tribune regarding their lack of coverage (as I see it) in some of the outlying communities.

Dear Editor:
If the Powell Tribune can run a front page story about the monastery’s green light in Meeteetse, why can’t we get a little coverage on the same community’s athletics—even if it’s only the scores?

On a related note, the Tribune had a photographer covering the homecoming parade in Cowley for Rocky Mountain High School and not a word (or image) that the game played that evening was the first home game at their new field. What a missed opportunity that was. I wonder how many of your readers would rather have learned about the new venue and game outcome in Cowley as opposed to the ridiculously overworked piece on the various 3A playoff scenarios—all for a 4-3 football team that will likely be one-and-done in whatever playoffs setting that finds them.
—Morgan Tyree

The 4-3 football team I referenced above was our own local Powell High School football team. In the next issue of the Tribune, the following letter was printed from Powell High School’s head football coach Jim Stringer.

Life’s Lessons (the headline given to the letter)

Dear Editor:
My grandfather was a wise man, and he taught me many great lessons in life. Don’t get me wrong, Grandpa wasn’t a well-educated man in the image of great intellectual philosophers, problem solving rocket scientists or small college assistant professors of graphics arts/printing, however, he knew people and he knew dignity and he knew how to use one to treat the other.

As I learned the value of honest hard work living on my grandparent’s farm during the summer months of my elementary years, Grandpa also taught me important lessons in respect, appropriate social behavior and interpersonal communications. Many of the lessons continue to transcend time as sage clichés recognized and understood by most, such as: “Treat others as you would have them treat you.”

Or… “Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.”

And one of my personal favorites… “It is better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Now, my grandfather knew that the latter was not always possible, so he would sometimes follow it up with the age-old classic, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

While this concept seems to be less and less popular in today’s society of reality TV drama, social entitlement and malicious free speech, it would be nice if an educated fool could ponder the impact of his words on many innocent young men of our community. Mr. Tyree, I have no knowledge of personal wrong doing or atrocities committed on you by members of the Powell High School football program so the motivation behind your deliberate and unprovoked attacks over the years completely baffle me.

Maybe it is because of another lesson I learned from my dear departed grandfather, “Misery loves company.” Mr. Tyree, you must be one of the most miserable individuals around to feel the need to ridicule young men for wanting to be a part of something wholesome and greater than themselves. Professionally, I find it reprehensible that another educator would deliberately and publicly insult the community’s youth and seek to demean their efforts and goals. It is unspeakable and inexcusable, and as a father of a young football player and proud member of our school community, I find your remarks tawdry and offensive.

Considering the number of young men and families you have malevolently insulted within our community, I only hope they will be able to subscribe to another of Grandpa’s wise old sayings, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” —Alexander Pope
Jim Stringer
Powell, Wyo.

Here’s my response to the esteemed coach.

Dear Editor,
“It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds.”
—Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in the movie Tombstone.

After reciting a litany of worn-out sayings that he subscribes to such as, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” Powell head football coach, Jim Stringer then turns around and in the same breath, refers to me as an “educated fool,” and “one of the most miserable individuals around.”

Golly Coach, that doesn’t seem like a very nice thing to say. What’s that your grandpa said again?

And all that for simply saying your football team is 4-3 and “will likely be one-and-done in whatever playoffs setting that finds them.” I actually thought my criticism leveled toward the Tribune was more severe.

I strongly disagree that my brief comment about the local football team was an attack on the community’s youth or families. I am not one to pull punches, and had I intended to insult, it would not have required a long-winded, sanctimonious analysis by Stringer to point it out.

Stringer’s use of the word “ridicule” jumped out at me beyond his “lessons with Grandpa” that he learned long ago. I looked up the word “ridicule” right after reading Stringer’s letter because (as an “educated fool”) I wanted to be sure I really knew and understood its meaning—especially since I was being accused of it.

Ridicule: the subjection of someone or something to mockery and derision. Since when was referring to a team by its win and loss record and predicting they will only last one game in the playoffs a form of mocking… how is it derisive/harsh? How is it so unreasonable as it is realistic? How does a football coach allow such a minor-league quip from a wimpy, 50-year-old rile him?

The truth be told, after spewing such hysterical drivel, I only wish to ridicule Stringer for coming up with such a poor and exaggerated interpretation of anything I’ve actually said about the Powell football program. Might his response be an illustration of the overly-sensitive climate that has gripped our country in the past decade, thus spurring the “Sanity Rally” this past week in Washington, D.C.? Of all the comical signs that were toted around, one in particular seems appropriate for Stringer to heed: “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.”

Ironically, I can’t help but think that our model-of-toughness in Coach Stringer is rather thin skinned—and worse, suggests that his players (i.e., “innocent young men”) are the same. My guess here is that his football players who read my comments have easily recovered from the “ridicule” without counseling. Surely the trash talk they hear from their opponents on the other side of the ball during any given contest will render my words fairly inert in comparison. If not, perhaps football isn’t their game.

From my perspective, Coach Stringer blew a perfect opportunity in the handling of an unintelligent remark from an armchair quarterback (that would be me). Rather than responding with a personal attack on the commentator, Stringer could simply have addressed his team sometime before the big playoff game with, “OK boys, let’s show that lamebrain Morgan Tyree how stupid he is when it comes to Powell football!”

And had they actually won their first-round playoff game, perhaps a sharp rebuke could have followed in the next edition of the Tribune from the team captain that said, “Powell 28, Riverton 14. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Morgan Tyree.” Rather, the seasoned head football coach responded like a spoiled little girl who was knocked down in a mud puddle.

I admit to being blunt and not having the most tact, but in a world full of Pollyannas (i.e., see Stringer’s worn-out and trite clichés), the last thing I want to be is another person who sugar-coats mediocrity in all of its forms—football included.

Perhaps my upbringing in Northeast Ohio (the cradle of professional football by the way) explains my crude perspective on football (or sports)—so, again, my apologies. Fans of the Cleveland Browns, Ohio State Buckeyes or the Massillon Tigers have never hesitated to praise or take jabs at their favorite team.

Be assured, the Powell football team or its coaching staff have never brought “personal wrong doing or atrocities” upon me as Stringer ponders. However, given that the coach considers comments I’ve made over the years related to the Powell football team as “deliberate and unprovoked attacks,” that could explain his attacks on my character.

Nevertheless, I am only a critic and the last I heard, that was permissible, even if considered “tasteless” or not popular. I do not speak as an educator (again, something pointed out by Coach Stringer) when it comes to football as I am not an authority—merely a fan of the game… with an opinion. Therefore, I seek no forgiveness in expressing such opinions as Stringer has subtly suggested. Nor does he need to seek forgiveness from me for the personal comments he’s directed at my character. It’s all good.

Lastly… I like Lovell’s chances.

—Morgan Tyree Touted keeper of “vitriolic negativity”