Minneapolis, Murder, and Why I Don’t Understand


On Minneapolis

George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a policeman on the Minneapolis force, on Thursday, May 25 2020. I say murdered not because Mr. Chauvin has been proven guilty of such, but because his intent was clear and blatant on video. I have judged him guilty. Thankfully, my judgement holds no kettle to what happens to him. I’m not supposed to judge, I’m supposed to leave that to God.

I also judged the looters in the ensuing riots. Back in 2014, I had a lot to say about the looters in Ferguson, MO after the murder of Michael Brown. This time around however, I want to take a different approach. I’m not going to blame the looters, or even those who burned down buildings. I’ll leave that to God. Instead, I want to focus on how I changed my thoughts.

Trevor Noah Woke Me

Knox Hill

When I look into news stories, I typically look for both sides of a story. Essentially, a “Republican” version and a “Democratic” one. Even so, Noah Trevor is not usually somebody I go to for information. I don’t like how he finds any possible angle to make Trump look bad, namely because I don’t believe he would do the same to somebody he agrees with. However, after watching the far less famous YouTuber/rapper Knox Hill’s video about the Minneapolis situation, someone in the comments mentioned Mr. Noah’s video on the same topic.

What I found in Mr. Noah’s video was a bewildered man attempting to piece together how this could happen. Not bewildered over words or logic. No, this was a funny man not being funny. He wasn’t blaming anybody except for Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. While he mentioned the Amy Cooper situation as a domino, he squarely kept the conversation on why the riots and looting in Minneapolis are happening.

Noah Trevor

I’ll be watching that video several times today. This is the first time I’ve seen Mr. Noah use his clearly wide array of knowledge to break something down so that “the other side” could understand the conviction with which black people live. He spoke on the societal contract, and how black people try to live by that contract even as it works against them.

He doesn’t mock white people, nor belittle white people attempting to understand what is going on. This video is the first time I saw him take off the filter of “comedian” and just be true, raw, and honest in his opinions. I respect that, and I appreciate not being made fun of in the process.

Changing My Eye

I cannot change the fact that I am white, nor that I grew up in the Midwest with a specific set of tenets on how life should be lived. What I can do, what I have tried to do, is understand people who grew up different from me. I’ve failed at times, my core tenets so strong and my life so incredibly different that it is difficult to reframe my mind’s eye.

Thanks to Mr. Noah, the tool I needed for that reframing is now available. I’m looking at this situation through the lens of the societal contract we are all supposed to live by. I don’t agree with the rioters, looters, or arsonists, but at least I can understand what leads them into these acts. George Floyd was murdered, on video, by a policeman meant to serve and protect the populace. That act tore the contract into tiny, unreadable bits and sent a big middle finger to a people historically looked down on in this nation. If those in power are willing to tear up the contract, what do we really expect those being dismissed to do with it?

Final Thoughts

I know that every time this happens, and black people get angry, white people turn around and seem surprised by the anger. The truth is, we are surprised. We don’t know the depths of betrayal you experience, as a whole, every time this happens. We know George Floyd’s death isn’t right, but we have trouble understanding how these events seem to affect everyone across the country. That probably seems naïve, but please understand that generally, white people don’t live in extended communities. Personally, my circle (in town) includes ONE of my neighbors, my mother, sister, her husband, my aunt, my cousin, and of course those who live under my roof. We weren’t raised to be part of the greater community so much as we were taught to watch out for blood.

Of course we have empathy, we feel the pain caused by death, especially an unnecessary one. We’re brought up to have sympathy for George Floyd’s family and friends, and we absolutely do. But until we are taught how to reframe his death as an extension of harassment and cruelty that happens across the country, we just don’t get it.

It doesn’t help that there are indeed racist men and women out there. I don’t know if it’s a minority of us, I don’t have the science to back that claim. But the greater number of white people *I* know are not…not on purpose. We’re learning, and I can only ask that you continue to be patient as we learn to reframe our perspective from our own social structures to those which you live by. It’s not easy. Patience is not easy. I understand that. But it is required. We have to be open and receptive to each other, meaning making room in our lives to understand others. Unfortunately, we have a ways to go yet.

Chasing My Personal Truths


Chasing Fog

I haven’t posted regularly as one is “supposed” to. There’s several reasons for this: the world event known as Coronavirus, starting the first job I’ve had in ten years, and also general depression.

Beyond these things, I’ve come to realize my dreams of writing novels is going nowhere. The reason is because I keep comparing my ideas, symbolism, and themes, with those currently successful in the industry. It’s killing my creativity. Rather than telling my truth, I’ve been chasing the fog, the secret sauce, or magic bullet to success.

I can’t see in the fog. And more so, I’m at a point in my life where it feels important to state truths rather than ostentatious, filler entertainment.

Chasing the Truth

This realization kicked me in the teeth. I thought I was chasing my own thing for a long time but it just isn’t true. I can’t claim to be “starting over” though. I’d barely started my journey at the height of my writing career (which wasn’t all that high if we’re being honest). However, I am starting fresh. I’ve begun reading again: fantasy, self-help books, and book industry journals (and plenty of blogs).

I sit in front of my computer every night attempting to write down words. I’ve started the same story three times with two different protagonists and three different settings. None are good and none are telling the story I want to tell, so I will start again until I get it right.

I’m chasing the truth y’all. My truth. Who I am, the very reason anybody might want to read what I have to say. That’s not easy to answer, but somehow, I know it’s the only way to move forward with any hope of telling an outstanding story.

Chasing Journeys

One rediscovered truth of myself is that I enjoy stories. Happy, sad, bitter, sour, heavy, or light, I enjoy seeing how others interact with and react to the world. If you’ve read this far, please leave me your quarantine story, how are you doing? Are you finding truths of yourself that maybe you tucked away? I’d love to hear your story.

An Open Letter to Interscope

Eminmen Missle Launcher

An Open Letter to Interscope Records

Earlier, I watched a YouTube video from NoLifeShaq titled EMINEM’S LABEL SAW THE FAN MADE VIDEO OF GODZILLA (INSPIRATIONAL). In the video, he detailed receiving messages from Randy Chriz Perera, another content producer on the Tube. As the title of his video made clear, he spoke about the ramifications of Mr. Perera’s fan-made, animated music video for Eminem’s Godzilla (feat. Juice Wrld; RIP).

Dat’s TOUGH!

Much of the video consisted of NoLifeShaq telling Mr. Perera directly to take credit for the work he put out. However, the part I became interested in, what caught me, was that somebody at Interscope who deals with the company’s digital footprint saw and heard Mr. Perera’s video of Eminem’s song. And liked it. And would like to work with Mr. Perera in the future.

That’s what you, person at Interscope, already know.

Now, I’m just another nobody, a random blogger/author with no clout and no stakes in what happens next with this story. But that’s the reason I’m writing this letter. As a creative, I love seeing other creatives receive their due. Assuming Mr. Perera’s video wasn’t demonetized or ContentID claimed, that’s a big W in your favor. I understand these decisions must be made on an individual basis; but the quality of Mr. Perera’s video stands out, especially when TV networks are putting out animation at a far lower level.

Sorry. I’m being a fanboy. Back to the point of this letter.

Thank you

I want to say thank you, Interscope. Thank you for seeing a person’s hard work born of passion and recognizing the talent. Thank you for reaching out to that person and saying you would like to work with them on future projects. By talent alone, Mr. Perera’s earned his chance. I hope you follow through and allow him to earn his keep. Thank you, person at Interscope, for not being a corporate drone that doesn’t recognize the love put into a project that wasn’t likely to make any money.

I personally can’t wait to see what Mr. Perera and Interscope do together.

“Look what I’m plannin!”

The Joker Movie Laughs at Forecasts of Violence


Hi! October has arrived, and I like to celebrate not only the cooling-down effect of Fall, but also the scarier things in life with Halloween being right around the corner. Each post made in October will feature either a subject tied to the month, Fall in general, or fear. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Fear October Banner

Joker Left SideAre you scared of clowns? Personally, I remain only slightly unsettled by them after years of horror movies (namely the original adaptation of Stephen King’s “It”), the recent ruse of public scary clown depravity, and a general distrust of anybody trying to convince me they smile that big all the time.

But, the outcry against the Todd Philips-directed, Joaquin Phoenix-starring title movie The Joker, seems to have little to do with a fear of clowns. Instead the fear seems to circle around how this fictional character, whom started existence in comics back in 1940, will inspire fanboys to execute violence in his name. Specifically, white men are being targeted with this particular fear. The likelihood is high that even CNN is only looking for hate-clicks by bringing forward this narrative, but it managed to cause a call for the movie to be banned from US theatres.

CNN Tweet
via @CNN on Twitter

The other side of the argument is that we’ve seen similar villains in movies for years. Hannibal Lecter, Jigsaw from the Saw movies, and Alex de Large of A Clockwork Orange fame are just a few off the top of my head. The idea that a bunch of white dudes will suddenly turn violent because of a reportedly slow-moving Joker film is laughable, and if someone DOES get inspired, well…

The Other Argument
via @JoeySalads on Twitter

The hate clicks didn’t cause a ban of the movie however. Instead, The Joker laughed atJoker Right Side early low-earning calls by grossing $234M worldwide, ahead of last year’s off-comic movie Venom. People wanted to see this movie despite loud warnings of nigh inevitable violence in movie theatres upon its release.

Movies are an art form that can, and do, inspire people. Much like music, paintings, prose, and poetry. They’re supposed to. Why we would look at this movie and cluck about how it might inspire violence, rather than ask why or how the movie is relevant to today, is beyond me. This movie showcases mental illness at, possibly, its worst. Not because mental illness itself is bad. Rather, it showcases how the rest of us are villainous by ignoring it, and in some sectors we’ve proven the movie’s hypothesis.Joker Full Face

Instead of looking at it for what it is, people are supposedly trembling in fear of a non-existent white-man clown laughing as they die. No. The rest of us are laughing cause it’s not going to happen, especially because of a movie whose title character has been on the big screen several times before.

Blood and Blade New SwordThanks for reading! James’ dark-fantasy novel, Of Blood and Blade, is available on Amazon. Of course, face paint is also available, so there’s that.

What’s It All About?

Banner IMan, starting a blog feels like one big exercise in narcissism. Hi, my name is, I like this stuff, my plan is, my goal is, my life is like, I’m involved in…rinse and repeat about 100 times all in the hopes that you garner some amount of attention from readers and Google alike.

Attention that most writers really don’t want; but we have to cover our bases or there’s no hope at all of getting out there.

So…what’s this blog about?


I want to have fun on this blog. It’s the last one I’m gonna create, and I’ll tweak it as time goes on. But here is my little spot on the internet, and I’d like my little spot to brighten folks’ day at least 90% of the time. You can expect me to make fun of pop culture, comment on popular entertainment, and maybe even put on a written comedy show, if you ask real nice sometime in the future.


Yes, I’m an author so it makes sense I’ll end up writing about books. But it might be in a format you’re not used to…I’ve certainly never seen authors do it this way. Let me know if you enjoy it when you see it!


Not regularly, I just killed my last blog which turned into a political blog so fast I barely realized it happened. However, I’m a big proponent for the “if you stay silent you’re guilty” idea, and I don’t want to be guilty of saying nothing when I could have. I WILL NOT post about Every. Single. Little. Thing. But the big stuff, you can bet your ass I’ll be putting my thoughts out there.


I have a few, including gaming and martial arts. Don’t be surprised if I hit you with an off-the-wall thought about my hobbies here and there. If you enjoy them too, please, engage me and let’s talk about it!


Yeah, that’s right. I’m gonna publish my stories, and hope you click the link and at least think about buying them. However, I don’t write fast enough to spam you with offers, deals, or even new stuff every month. When I do publish, expect a good week of HOLY SHIT GUYS I DID IT AND IT’S OUT GO LOOK GO LOOK GO LOOK! Okay, not like this, but believe me- I’ll be excited.

Thanks for reading about what the Tempered Wordsmith will be covering. If you enjoyed it, please follow my blog here on WordPress, or you can follow me on social media:

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