Hello, Friends of Threat Quality!  I know that I (Braak) recently said that there’d be more material coming on TQP as we tried to find some new approaches to it, and that REMAINS TRUE.  I’ve got a couple pieces in the pipeline/in preparation, they’re pretty interesting to me, maybe you will like them.

However, on Friday my wife had this baby, and it is being very demanding vis-a-vis the attention paid to it, which is disrupting our schedule a little bit.

Obviously, congratulations to me and my wife!  But also, please be patient while I get everything back up to speed!

ice cream

I’ve been watching Louis CK’s show on Netflix, because I don’t want to get sucked into something and my limit on Louie is about two episodes. I can’t binge on it for exactly the same reason can’t binge on Tequila: I usually know it’s too much before I actually start to get sick.

If you’re a woman, engaging willfully with the world of stand up comedy is like choosing to pick up a series of poisonous snakes. The most you can hope for is that it won’t bite you this time. Oh, this one isn’t so bad, OH GOD FUCK NO! One time I dozed off while listening to a Mike Bribiglia station on Pandora and woke up to Daniel Tosh. I can never unhear that shit, and I don’t mean that idiomatically, I mean that I will carry with me the information that I gleaned in the 15 seconds that it took me to stumble to the computer and shut it off for the rest of my life.

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War Games

Posted: August 18, 2015 in Lucas Nguyen, Short Fiction
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“Your grandparents were so lucky,” the bigger boy said to me at play time.  “They didn’t have to live through the Depression like mine did.”  He fiddled with the toy train.

I thought of my grandparents’ stories of civil war, of street vendoring for pennies a day.  But my foreign-born shame followed my family’s bloodline to this nation, where I was born, so I kept quiet.

“I mean, I guess you Vietmanese had a war, too, but it wasn’t like the World War II.”  I thought about the absurdity of boasting “My War Can Beat Up Your War.”  I mentally counted another American who couldn’t pronounce Vietnamese.

“It was a pretty bad war,” I said.

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Prima Facie

Posted: August 18, 2015 in Lucas Nguyen
Tags: ,

Yo, I was at a party and like this woman came up and said ‘now don’t be offended’, and I guess that should’ve been as loud a herald as those trumpeters announcing guests, except her herald was announcing, TOOT TOOT Something Offensive This Way Comes (But Don’t Complain About It When It Does), and then she said something to me in Korean.

I responded, “I don’t understand.”

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for-colored-girls-coverIt is 1999, and Debra Ann Byrd wants to talk to me. We’re on a break from rehearsal of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, which I am directing. We go into an empty classroom and sit down in two ancient institutional metal desk-chairs. She looks at me with compassion and trepidation and says “the thing you’ve got to understand about this shit is: it happens.”

I nod attentively, blinking. I am twenty years old and I have no idea what she means. She’s talking about the words she’ll speak in rehearsal today:

        we cd even have em over for dinner/
        & get raped in our own houses/
        by invitation/
        a friend

Debra Ann tries again. “You’d be sitting there, enjoying the evening with your friend and…” here, a silence as she tries to launch a word that can get from her heart to mine. Instead, she sighs.

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blm _ sandersProtest is a movement, and it has to be judged as a movement. Like it or not, perfectly executed or not, the Black Lives Matter protesters have directly influenced a shift in platform and in personnel within the campaigns of both Seantor Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders.

Yes, protesters who may or may not have been part of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign stormed Sanders’ stage in Seattle on August 1st. This was less well-received than a similar incident where BLM protesters occupied a Netroots Nation conference in front of Sanders and Gov. Martin O’Malley.

The protesters in Seattle were more confrontational with the crowd, and seemed to have a less specific message to get out. To criticize that is to assume their purpose was to deliver a message. It ignores the context of protest and replaces the protesters’ goals with our own. What are our own goals? To be pleased with their message without having our day disrupted. That makes us a bit of an ass.

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david brooks
(I guess I am going to keep doing these.)

Friends, this week’s David Brooks column is…a little bizarre.  I don’t completely know what to make of it.  It’s definitely about Christian homophobes, and how they need to conduct themselves in the new, slightly-less-homophobic America that the Supreme Court has gay-married us all into, and I can’t tell if it’s this clever mixture of diplomacy and stinging criticism, or if it’s just astonishingly dopey.  Experience leads me to believe option two, but…man.

Just, look at this, check this out.

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