Rittenhouse in the Zuckerverse

virtual reality gun
Photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty
Baratunde Thurston
December 2, 2021

One of the most rewarding aspects of my work at Puck has been receiving feedback from our engaged community of subscribers. This week, in the wake of the Rittenhouse verdict, the dawn of Meta, and yet another school shooting, I’m opening my notebook to respond to some of the most urgent emails from readers. If you have critiques, additions, or further questions, write me back at baratunde@puck.news. My inbox is always open.

In the wake of his not guilty verdict, Kyle Rittenhouse has been turned into a hero on the right: he appeared on Tucker Carlson, was endorsed by members of congress, and will be the subject of a documentary. How have you interpreted and internalized the Rittenhouse trial?

To be honest, I didn’t internalize the Rittenhouse trial. I can’t give my energy to every tragic failure of American society. I can’t ingest and process all the racialized trauma this country serves up, just like none of us can give equal attention and empathy to every school shooting. It’s sad but true. I did, however, read up on the trial after it was over and listened to some quality analysis, which helped me to update my own understanding of what went down in Kenosha—primarily that this was a story of white people fighting white people in the streets at a protest over police killing a Black man. I didn’t see that coming! Here are a few other thoughts: