Update: Classes no longer require sign-in.
My name is Pastuzo. You may not know me, but you probably know my nephew, Paddington Bear. Like many of you, I too watched in horror as my nephew was arrested while protesting for a free and fair election in which the Republican candidate wins no matter what. I remember thinking this could never happen to my family; that bad bears deserve to be locked up forever and good riddance. Of course, that’s what everyone thinks till they see 240 lbs. of Andean Speckled bear body slammed on the back of a Washington DC police cruiser.
But seeing Paddington restrained with bear mace stirred up something inside me, and now I am begging every citizen to consider the plight of the incarcerated. For you see, if my innocent sweet cub could go from YouTubing marmalade recipes to believing in a global cabal of blood-drinking, adrenochrome-eating Democratic celebrity pedophiles, this could affect anyone. Even me!
I never planned on writing a public missive. I am but a modest former military defence contractor turned billion-bear real estate developer, who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard (the same class as fellow friend of bears, Ted Cruz). I am a bear of God, the 2nd amendment, and – until recently! – supporting tough-on-crime GOP policies. But I cannot simply recede into my den – even though it was voted most beautiful den in Ursitectural Digest in 2013, 2014, and 2016. No, instead I want to use what pull I have to draw attention to the plight of those facing life without parole. Because now, that plight involves someone I am related to.
I used to believe that the punishment should fit the crime, but as of January 6, I now believe that the punishment should fit the criminal. Paddington is a good bear, and an above-average nephew. Although he has recently been misrepresented by the horrible liberal media as a QAnon conspiracist, we all know this to be a lie. He is a gentle cub, who was led astray by YouTube, and the promise of orange marmalade. (The most common lure for bears before the brainwashing begins.)
And while I thought I understood prisons – my good friend and fellow real estate developer Charles Kushner knows them well – I didn’t grasp their true societal impact, until it touched my life specifically. (His son, and my godson, Jared called immediately after seeing Paddington’s grizzly mugshot on OAN). Now, Paddington is at the mercy of a jury of his peers, sentenced by the laws I’ve paid good money to circumvent!
Although in the past I was an active donor to several conservative super PACs and other Koch brothers-backed initiatives, I know now I was wrong. In fact, I’ve spent the last few months learning, struggling, and understanding the cruelty of the criminal justice system in America. I have read books, articles, think pieces, and several long twitter threads. I’ve even watched 13th on Netflix.
Did you know that America has the largest per capita incarceration rate in the world? Now I do.
Did you know that many are incarcerated for non-violent drug offences? Now I do.
Did you know that it is illegal to amass a large cache of weaponry which the New York Attorney General described as “bordering on implausibility” and accessible only by a series of trap doors and riddles about oranges? Now I do.
Because of my newly expedited education, I now believe that the focus of prisons should be rehabilitation, and there is no better place to rehabilitate than a splendid rehab resort perhaps, or maybe any of my several luxury condos in New York. Because we’re the last of our kind. The Andean Speckled bear is an ancient species only found in Peru because that’s where we’re from, and NOT because my great-great-grandfather fled Germany in the 1940s.
If we go to prison, then what? If anyone can be arrested, what does that mean for bears like us? The personal is political – thank you Gloria Steinem! – and now that it is personal to me, I must make my political stance known. Most importantly, my nephew’s life (and my bear reputation) is at stake. Think of the humanity of this one little bear, who once told me if we’re kind and polite, the world will be alright. I would add “if we have several bear-illions to spare,” but I stand by his words, and my nephew, no matter what.
I wish more people were willing to watch foreign dramas. Especially the very dark and possibly gore-y genre ones like Dark, Babylon Berlin, Kingdom, Alice in Borderland, Attack on Titan, Full Metal Alchemist, Steinsgate and more – be not afraid of subtitles!
The proper apple to use in pies is a mixture of golden delicious for taste, and a few granny smith for texture. Fuji apples also keep their crisp shape if you prefer.