Cholleycod College Awna Bawd

A friend of the family returned home over the holidays from her undergraduate studies at Boston University complaining that a professor had baselessly accused her of cheating on a test. She said that she’d had to get pretty aggro about her high school academic background to get the prof to simmer down about this bullshit. We’ll call this family friend Real-Life Rosalita, for reasons that will become apparent to the keen Jersey seaboarder in short order. Any additional ethnic or geographical inferences about the young lady, however, will be your damn fault, not mine. It ain’t me, lawd; Fat Cracka ain’t on the hook for any of this.

The professor’s basis for accusing Real-Life Rosalita of cheating was that she couldn’t possibly know so much about music theory. There’s an old Anglo-Saxon saying for what the good professor did: pulling it out of her ass. She had no reason to be familiar with the extent of R-LR’s academic or intellectual background. Universities, in principle at least, recruit students with diverse interests and talents, even if in practice many of these turn out to be chugging Natty Ice, glassing a poor schmuck for looking like the guy from UB40, and the recreational anal administration of hard drugs. BRETT MICHAEL WHADDUP DAWG. These are some of the Rumsfeldian known unknowns: no professor is clairvoyant enough to know what a given student knows about anything in particular from outside the stony gates, but every professor should have the common sense to assume that it might be something, even something impressive.

Additionally, women can be freshmen, too, and Real-Life Rosalita is merely a freshman. We should all be outraged that she was held responsible for such venial sins. Johnnie Cochrane, pray for us. If I, Atticus Binch, have a fit about this shit, oyez, my good twit, you must acquit.

Alas, this isn’t nearly the overreach it should be. 100-level survey courses are not the front line in the war for academic honor or national character, and anyone with a PhD, let alone a faculty appointment at a four-year school on the T system, who insists that they are is an embarrassing fool. That isn’t what it takes to get Charlie off, lady. CHAHLEE! Real-Life Rosalita mentioned that she is considering enrolling in a BU survey course on, I shit ye not, science. She’s the freshman, not the provost; I dare say, the academic degradation is coming from higher on the totem pole and, cheat or no cheat, she is not its channel.

She didn’t cheat, though. I can’t swear to it, but I’m pretty sure. She’s a decent amateur musician with a number of K-12 music courses under her belt, and she’s no dummy. It’s a great deal easier for me to believe that one of her professors is an insane asshole. That sabbatical temp nutjob who called me into his office and violently cursed me out for getting a 7/20 on his dumbass research prompt on Hindu something-or-other convinced me, probably for life, to err on the side of student accusers in such situations, all else being equal. I wasn’t the one complaining that I’d gotten a shitty grade for doing a shitty job; he was. Dude was completely unhinged, and it wasn’t the first incident I’d witnessed indicating his unfitness to teach.

I suspect that I could have secured approval to withdraw from the course after the normal cutoff date and an internal no-contact order from the college by serving the college counsel’s office with a sworn affidavit describing how this professor had harassed me and providing my notice of intent to sue the college if he ever crossed me again under its auspices. I could have demanded that they make a basic effort to keep him the fuck away from me.

The problem was that I was intimidated as all hell. I had been raised to tremble before dissatisfied teachers and professors like a sinner before a pantheon of vengeful petty gods. And I was far from the only one raised that way. Moral panicking about entitled students and their helicopter parents demanding A grades for F-quality work get the attention. That’s bullshit, but it isn’t particularly representative bullshit. Plenty of students and parents are quietly cowed by the whims of bumptious faculty shitheads. Hardly a word is spoken of them, but they’re legion.

The line between those families who tremble before teachers desperately hoping for the mercy their chopper-parented brat needs to thrive and those that march into the office and angrily demand their due is a thin and yet fuzzy one. There’s a whole lot of class baggage determining its exact contours, subtleties that I can vaguely discern but lack the energy to contemplate; in short, it seems to be a case of different kinds of bourgeois folks having different kinds of strokes.

Again, that wasn’t what I was doing. I figured that 7/20 was in the range of what I deserved for my shitty effort, since anything from 0 up to 12 or 13 would have been reasonable. And again, this wackjob prof was the one flying off the hinges and yelling at ME. I was scrupulously refusing to make a scene about how unbelievably atrocious this fucker was at teaching–supposedly a core competency for a seminar instructor at a liberal arts college, but the deal seemed to be that the department was willing to suffer this dud for two years until the eminence grise he was replacing could return from his study abroad assignment in Europe–and this son of a bitch still had to lash out at me like an absolute maniac.

To finally blunt by damn point, this asshole was an excellent object lesson in what NOT to be as a professor. The guy was supposedly ruing his invitation to relocate to Indiana for the balance of his career and professionally suckle the Midwest’s stout balls, Tate: bleak enough, not a situation I envied, but also not my fucking problem. (The gag is still good, and equally awful.) (Ooh, I said “gag.” Giggity.) I wasn’t why this dipshit had a crappy life, and neither, as best I could tell, were my classmates. We all conceded him a huge amount of moral hazard to be an emotionally volatile and abusive fuckup around students. A healthy community would have found one way or another to intervene and tell him in the bluntest, broadest possible terms that he did not have the latitude to take out his frustrations on students just because he was having an anticipatory Hoosier huff, or for any other reason, because instructors are NOT allowed to treat students like that.

I don’t actually know whether his coming banishment to Muncie was why this guy was being enough of a prick for Sexy Male Nurse Lynn Majors to give him one. It was openly prejudicial gossip from a classmate I knew to be a bit rich and stuck-up. In any event, this sort of petty, emotionally overwrought bullshit is common in academia, and what I’ve described is hardly the worst of it. Much of the celebrated rigor of academic life is frank hazing, but it should come as little surprise when so many schools refuse to dissolve fraternities for being RICO-ready criminal gangs just because they commit manslaughter from time to time and God only knows how many rapes.

Any academic who works out shits issues, as we like to call them, on undergraduates is a fucking loser. I’m sorry, by which I mean, I am absolutely not sorry. That’s the new gender-neutral third-person singular, by the way, although the singular they is still okay in the comments; the literary standards for comment publication are that there are no literary standards. Nah, on second thought, that’s unfair. One of the amazing things about Online is that I never read anything as brain-scrambled and illiterate as the student papers I peer-critiqued as an undergraduate. I’m on here looking up Wesley Willis records and shit, and maybe once a month, if even that, do I come across anything as embarrassingly fucked up and lame as the shit my peers were turning in for bachelor’s-level academic credit.

Let’s be fucking real here. Undergraduate applicants aren’t admitted for their compositional skills. Have you ever read JFK’s Harvard application essay? There are only two conclusions to draw from that happy horseshit: 1) the boy wasn’t too bright, or 2) all the money in the world for tutors and ghostwriters and the best his family could come up with was THAT. He wanted to honor Harvard as an honorable Harvard Man. Don’t we all?

We’d be out of our minds to expect the average undergraduate to be Pynchon or, like, Didion or Chaucer or some shit. Good God. They’re all of 23 or maybe 25 by the time they graduate, and that’s if they’re slow starters in life. FAT CRACKA REPRESENT. Some of their writing is crap? Gee, one doesn’t fucking say. They didn’t do the reading? Maybe it sucks ass, too. A bunch of harried, sophomoric, economically dependent older adolescents who’ve spent their lives to date jumping through hoops and kissing ass to get ahead aren’t all going to be competent writers. That expectation is completely nuts. Even without the writing assignments undergraduates are routinely overscheduled to the point of exhaustion and self-harm, and it’s impossible to find anyone at the student health center to publicly cry foul about this arrangement. (Hmm. Ricebowls to fill?)

There’s entirely too much pretending that this shit has deep meaning and isn’t just another series of show dog stunts, but even the most sycophantic college students realize on some level that their usual writing prompts are absurdist exercises in futility and wasted effort. If the faculty want their students to develop the discernment between art and garbage, would it kill them to have some themselves? Are we really expected to pretend that Theodore Dreiser could write worth a damn? James Joyce? Mick please, was that cunt even lucid? Maybe we uneducated little twerps don’t always show up for our schooling with the best taste ourselves, but one thing that bears mentioning about the Wesleyan songbook is that it has storylines that can be followed with some basic context. It’s usually, like, Harry Caray karate-chopped my ass down the El stairs at Addison; RED LINE!

We hear an awful lot of bitching and moaning these days about how uppity proles have unsheathed the long knives against the experts. I cannot fucking fathom why. Just offhand, I can recall incidents in which teachers, professors, or periacademic authority figures arrogantly declared that: 1) legislation decriminalizing marijuana use is out of bounds at Boys State (because Pennsylvania has never been governed, ministered to, or coached by leaders of bad character); 2) the insurance industry will never allow the drinking age to drop back to 18 (as any reputable history professor knows, that’s a constitutionally established coequal branch of government; we are Farmers, buh-buh-buh buh-buh-buh-buh bitch, and also Penn State!; 3) Switzerland never had any late medieval or Renaissance history worth studying (too little defenestration?); and 4) we’re reading Beowulf in the original because it’s in English. School could be an intellectual adventure into unimagined worlds, or it could be just another double shift down the shaft at the ass mine. There’s no telling.

What can be predicted is that no matter how deranged or retarded the lesson is, some asshole in a position of authority will react to every critical question about it by getting sore and piping up about how ignorant shitheads are desecrating the sacrosanct. This is a great way to complement hissy fits about the plagiarism or ghostwriting of shitty undergrad liberal arts term papers on shitty prompts as a grave violation of the most inviolable and crucial standards of academic honor; reckless, baseless accusations of cheating on tests bubbling up from the same pathetic, chronically frustrated, sputteringly impotent cranny of the soul; or verbally abusing students one barely knows pursuant to an entirely hallucinated mentor-mentee relationship.

Helicopter parents rightfully get a lot of shit for verbally abusing their children’s professors over grades that are poor but reasonable, but as rotten as they are, at least they’re just pushing their customer end of a customer service relationship too far. Professors who refuse to behave professionally in the presence of their students (yes, genius, there’s a reason for the etymology) provide atrocious customer service in one of the most expensive, inflated, RICO-ready businesses operating in the USA today. Heh. That’s about the quality we can expect.

None of the students enrolled in these abusive professors’ classes or the parents paying for their studies would go back to a greasy spoon diner with verbally abusive waitstaff charging $25 a plate for half-cold, half-lukewarm, possibly cooked eggplant parm. Four years under the authority of unprofessional professors at a fancy private university works out to something like 8,000 or 12,000 servings.

Of course it’s a fucking racket. What else would it be? The way to keep the unmentionable temporalities from sullying this beautiful enterprise of the mind is to stop charging the median household income in annual tuition and fees. That’s what would quiet the student and parent grievances about bad customer service. It IS a customer service arrangement at that price. That’s all there fucking is to it.

There’s no excuse for some of this professorial wilding. Any dipshit vaguely familiar with education knows that accusations of cheating are liable to be construed as slanderous fighting words and that it is reckless to make them without evidence. And shouting belligerently at students one barely knows in nonemergency situations? Excuse me, asshole, if you were Staff Sergeant Marky Mark I’d be getting Blue Shield and a cop salary. If you’re losing it because you’re unhappy with the job you took in a rustbelt shithole as an R3 humanities deadender, that is not my fucking problem. Leave the rest of us the hell out of it. Say, sorry I didn’t return your call. I’m using that one-way ticket out of South Station on that good-ass Lake Shore Limited 449, train status: departed.

Putting it like that is a bit fucked up, but the principle behind it isn’t. If it’s obviously bullshit undergraduate scamming under authority figures who show absolutely no sense of perspective and get belligerently bent out of shape with their own students, why shouldn’t their disgruntled students walk away? Why shouldn’t they leave town?

I would hate to skip my $6,000 bachelor’s-level course in Science. I’d hate to waste any of that sum on, say, super-elite Amtrak Guest Rewards status, which wouldn’t guarantee anything but, like, hundreds of dollars of free travel valid anywhere on a rail system thousands of miles long on all but a week or two of the year. That would be lame, unlike Sam Cooke-level remedial science book studies. And be sure to sign up for Gary Johnson’s International Relations 420: War in the Middle East: What Is That Good For, Or All About? I Mean, Syriasly.

Anyone who takes that kind of seventh-grade distribution-requirement survey course bullshit seriously as collegiate instruction worth collegiate money is either being punked or brought to heel. That isn’t a college education in any reputable sense; it’s a crude operant conditioning scam. College really is, as I saw it put on Twitter, the company store for the middle class. These are the #TeshTips necessary for a true education. If these were the liberal arts, they wouldn’t be paywalled in expensive, selective colleges under the supercilious eye of a gatekeeping staff of administrative shitheads constantly on the lookout for reasons to reject applicants for being insufficiently compliant. Bend the knee, kid, or else.

Real-Life Rosalita was talking about dropping out of school and shacking up with her upperclassman boyfriend in California after he graduates. She said he’s some kind of child prodigy game development wizard on the Peninsula. I nearly explicitly encouraged her to go. She also talked about moving to Hawaii with him because he’s rich, and I vociferously warned her against that, knowing that it’s very much a strange and faraway country, and also one with unusually high airfares. I couldn’t warn her against California, not when she already had a local contact who sounded pretty solid, and certainly not when I was all of a week and a half past riding the lead car of a BART train to Richmond, quietly crying about the heartbreaking beauty of date palms and live oaks and shit.

The only strong reason for Real-Life Rosalita not to follow this dude out to the Bay Area is the likelihood that some admissions asshat will try to jam her up if she tries to reenroll in one of what are incorrectly referred to as good schools. As I mentioned in these pages some time ago, there are only two good schools in the Americas: Ryerson and Trinity Western. That, incidentally, is why I’m not the one plagiarizing anything: as far as I can tell, absolutely no one else has written about this stuff. As they say on their way into other parts of the West Coast, how shocking. It’s an efficient country, though, Canada, handling arrivals and departures in the same hall.

I quite doubt that Real-Life Rosalita will actually drop out and shack up with her college boyfriend. She’s too studious and dutiful. I won’t exactly be against it if she does it, though. It’s not like she’s being prompted to write anything more worthwhile than another round of shitposting about the Mounties. She’s enrolled at a school that comes way too close to calling its academics “science class.” It’s bad enough that we have high schoolers using that kind of language. College students? If I may lower the Bloom, that’s disgraceful.

This is an entire industry operating as a wholesale extortion racket. It’s systemic enterprise corruption enforced with threats to ruin young people’s careers and lives if they don’t comply. The only way out is popular defiance. Everyone who refuses to take part in this extortionate bullshit is doing a part to starve the beast. The real scandals of higher education have never been figments of the anti-intellectual fever-swamp hive mind. As I keep banging on about, many fancy schools do a terrible job at educating their students. Rod Dreher can be a poseur and a dork, but the Benedict Option is probably a more important and broadly applicable model for reform than he imagines. It can’t just be a Liberty University clone, either, pipelining hardline right-wing strivers into the federal judiciary and administrative apparatus. Every parallel institution that weakens some small part of the university-industrial complex by rendering it irrelevant is a godsend.

By the way, fuck off about college as a celebrated rite of passage. I can goddamn well do a forty-gallon winery crush or press run from start to finish unassisted using entirely manual equipment if there’s no one to help me. That’s passage enough, and I’ll be making legal threats against anyone who tries to haze me under those auspices ever again. There’s something badly wrong with us as a nation not to figure that it’s enough for our young people to become competent, responsible adults by learning trades or holding down jobs. There’s also something wrong with us for complaining about employees who walk away because their bosses won’t stop being assholes or dipshits or harboring such on the payroll.

It’s not like most undergraduate programs teach anything useful or have working professional pipelines for their graduates. *Extremely Dril voice* We are told to study “history,” by people who care not about Her Story,,, It’s a recurring Gag Me Ghomeshi to see some fuckhead in the alumni magazine bragging about how his (or her!) fancy college prepared shit for professional life by teaching critical thinking and writing. Are you fucking for real? How the hell is anyone with an interest in either of these skills unable to develop them online?

No, I’m not kidding. Not at all. The only conclusion that can be reached from these premises is that the most academically capable and qualified college applicants matriculate semiliterate and with no functional reasoning skills. This is, as we say in our syncretic post-Norman English, fucking insane.

In point of fact, they’re lying to us about that. Colleges recruit and graduate many students who didn’t need an institutional education to function intellectually, and they recruit many others who are functionally retarded when they enroll and remain so after they graduate. #TeshTips again: It’s these stupid ones who are good for alumni donations. I’m not the only one to go to school in Brain Washington. There are many such cases.

Once again, the sensible way to waste money in Boston is to stay the hell off campus and drop $5.50 or whatever to go joyriding on that fine-ass local rolling socialism to Wonderland. I’ve kicked around landside in airports enough to know that Body By Pastrami is one himself.


The passion that kills

Someone pissed on the floor of the Metro 181 bus. I couldn’t locate it but I could smell it. Rock’s cooking what now? It took me an hour and a quarter to get back to Union Station from the near eastside of Pasadena; forty minutes of that was waiting for the piss bus in front of a 7-Eleven. The sidewalk was strewn with bits of pickled jalapeno. A lady kept frantically storming in and out of the 7-Eleven, sometimes with the security guard in tow, insisting that someone had stolen something from her and fled the premises. “He’s going to have diarrhea,” she said. I don’t doubt it, but I didn’t need to hear about some dude I’ve never met imminently cutting loose and pissing his ass.

In a broader cosmic sense, though, we all need to hear about that, some of us much more than me, but still. LA has hepatitis outbreaks instead of public restrooms. It’s got my sweet-ass 181, the squalor of Colorado Boulevard. There’s always space for another use on that ride, and it appears to get cleaned more often than the bathrooms in MacArthur Park. Good Lord, I don’t think I’ve ever peered into a public facility so life-threateningly filthy.

The boarding announcement says that the 181 goes to HOLLYWOOD! and Vine. Whoa, whoa, calm down there, buddy. I’ve been there. It ain’t all that. Everyone assumes Hollywood is glamorous, and since the Boulevard goes right through it, that strip must be the bomb, too. They’ve all got it confused with Mulholland and shit. The stars don’t live there. They come down the hill for screenings and sidewalk dedications and the like, then catch their on-call rides back up for the night. Maybe some of them live in the Scientology highrise, or crash there from time to time. If you’ve heard of them, they’ve probably leveled up into a private compound, just like the rest of their pals. Hollywood Boulevard literally runs through Hollywood; figuratively it comes nowhere close. I’ve walked that fucking strip. It’s nothing like a decent neighborhood should be. On New Year’s Day they had a bunch of food carts out on the sidewalks and more quasipublic bathrooms than usual closed because fuck all y’all.

Anywhere to buy diapers around here? I’m, uh, asking for a friend. He’s into that kind of thing. It just goes to show how utterly mediated the mainstream American experience is that some of the swankiest parts of our second-most populous, and possibly our most prominent culturally, get confused with that seedy fucking dump. Hollywood Boulevard is the equivalent of a mashup of the Bowery and a tourist trap stroll along the Atlantic City Boardwalk, minus the shitters. Confusing that with wherever the fuck Charlie Sheen is motorboating freebase out of some ten-thousand-an-hour call girl’s rack tonight is totally brainscrambled. It’s like getting Mott Haven mixed up with Central Park West. And that doesn’t even account for all the hustlers. Everybody’s got some penny-ante pitch to shove in a tourist’s face for poverty wages. They probably think they’ll be stars someday. More of them ought to go back to the Quad Cities for an apprenticeship, or just to move back home or work in a QuikTrip or something. The Southwest Chief departs at 18:00 sharp.

Got that, Seeger? You said it; you can wait around for her, but she ain’t coming back to you. The people I know in SoCal, mostly Orange County for what it’s worth, don’t have their heads all fucked up like that. The OC is a twilight zone in its own right, but it’d really suck not to know anyone in the area who isn’t a knuckleheaded thirtysomething permawaiter still hoping to make it big someday. A SAG card isn’t necessarily worth John Dennis Diddly, either; it’s a backstop against the worst shyster scams in the business, but they don’t advertise the long, fat left tail of losers who get a commercial gig with a signatory every few months or can’t afford a decent can of pork and beans off the residuals from being an extra twenty years ago. As I said, there are apprenticeships back east. It might be possible to get one in, like, Vernon or Bell, too. That would mean not being a pretentious dipshit who’s never heard of statistics, though.

Supposedly a lot of these aspiring actors are funded by M&D Bank these days. Do I care that they’re leeching off their parents? Nah. As long as it keeps them out of my face with some shitty sales pitch because they need to make rent, I’m cool. As long as someone else is tipping the Dunkin’ Doorman, for that matter. As long as it ain’t me, lawd; that’s bus money.

There are enough hardcore down-and-out street people without another cohort of desperate losers roughing it in Greater Skid Row. They run a reverse curfew on such cases at Union Station every night; 0100 is supposedly the hard witching hour, but the bum’s rush usually starts before that. Where the fuck else are those losers supposed to go, and what the hell are they supposed to do? If the cops and Jay Gould’s half of the working class hired to harass to death the other half of the working class were replaced with an equal number of social workers LA would be able to make some real progress getting these poor bastards off the streets. Parker Center doesn’t need to run a pork rally right there. Metro doesn’t need to expand see something/say something to narcing on panhandlers. For fuck’s sake.

It’d be one thing if Union Station got all the bums instead of Skid Row. It’s quite another for it to be an overflow catchment for a community that routinely shits on the sidewalk. Union Station is one of the gems of American Art Deco. It’s a premier gateway to the second-largest city in the imperial power commanding a unipolar international order. They can’t keep the fucking bathrooms clean and ventilated. They can’t find a place for the neighborhood bums to lay down their heads and their stuff. *Astonished Ethiopian bus driver voice* Wow, you have a lot of stuffs!

Speaking of Ethiopia, there was a 787 in from Addis Ababa via Lomé while I was in town. It was hilarious that it flew so near Charleston on its way west; if you get either of these references, you’ll agree that they were completely unnecessary. Waka waka hey hey, baby. I left it to my evangelical cousins to ever so briefly bless the rains by Speedbird and slow van, in Ghana, better known around the congregation as Africa, but what sticks with me about Togo is an old article in the New York Times about Ghana’s cardiac surgeon, who was also Togo’s cardiac surgeon. I go to mass and I pray, but excuse me, the Jesus Film is not what any of the natives in question need. Neither is that state-of-the-art Trans-African big metal.

It’s just fucking peachy that we’re connecting all the places with the worst human development. Togo is obvious, Ethiopia is lower-key but has a much more impressive rate of late-model Boeing penetration than cell phone ownership, and Los Angeles has shantytowns and fecal communicable disease outbreaks truly worthy of the Third World. The US is the richest country on earth, but for whom?

I know, we aren’t supposed to ask that.

P. J. O’Rourke’s Anacostia Slow Boy was absolutely right. Many of us lives here; can we come in? I, for one, would like to actually live somewhere in that country, California. I’m goddamn from there. Problem is, I moved out on the verge of my tenth birthday, and since then it’s been given over to H-1B’s and Chinese birth tourists and raging apex predator shitheads like Elon Musk. They buy the citizenship I have by birthright and then price me and my kind out. There’s no room for that normal local kine in this ecosystem.

By all means, blame this on Mexicans outworking the native likes of me if you want Stephen Miller to be our next president. We keep getting the kind of cultural exchange that results in taco carts, not the kind that results in decent and adequate public restrooms. This is not a state of affairs that favors temperamentally or philosophically conservative political leaders. It’s much closer to one launching some undersexed, funny-looking Santa Monica fascist weirdo with spray-on hair into a high public office that he will inevitably use to beef under color of authority with old neighbors he never cared for because they were the ones having all the torrid affairs with their Latin nannies.

*Appalled Billy Joel Voice* Sweh to God, I thawt they wuh just rolling into cawpawts awff PCH at two in the aftanoon to get fifty-dolla uhly-boyd rub-and-tug specials from some nice MILF. Christ.

Sometimes it seems like the only one from around there who didn’t get exiled to Hemet or Indio is that fashy prick with the canned hair. I’ll be damned to abandon my first home state to such trash. Thirtysomethings with no work history playing video games all day in their childhood bedrooms in Apple Valley aren’t the most dyscivic thing to happen to California. They’re just one of the symptoms. At the risk of going all Gavin Newsom on a coddled wine mom’s ass, I demand a California that works for all Californians. Big deal if Californians now and then include some rich girl form CB East, to repeat myself, whose feelings on the relative value of homeless people versus stably housed dogs are as reprehensible as she is peppy and cute. I’d rather not give aid and comfort in that case, but there are countless decent, normal Californians who are getting absolutely screwed over by what has happened to our state, and besides, a growing population of the broad middle class will tend to either shut a rich girl up or drive a rich girl out. In re: Hall and Oates-grade rich bitch Elon Musk specifically, I’m all for repatriating that Boer creep to his home and native land, in particular to the ass end of Churchill.

Oh, and lose me with the fucking movie star bullshit. Just because it’s on the boob tube doesn’t mean it’s real. You, young lady, will not be the next Gwyneth Paltrow. Ain’t happening, homeskillet. Girlfriend had rich, hella connected parents, and look at her now, selling vag eggs and quack laxatives and shit. If a forever prospective cinematic return on investment is what it takes to keep the Lena Dunham-style accounts receivable operation going and another hustler off the streets and out of my face, fine (Gloria in motherfucking excelsis, I already know where to find the Dunkin’ Doorman), but please, stop acting like this was ever what made California worthwhile. There are hardly even any Mary Jane in Autumn positions available these days.

Send me picture postcards, you absolute dipshit. At least that will help fund the Post Office.

Jack Hoff Boulevard

Fox News was playing on one of the two televisions in the truck stop Arby’s on the way to Fresno, in Deep Deplorable Country, for those who don’t care to distinguish the electorate from the citizenry from the population. The other TV, the one with the audio, was playing a crappy blaxploitation family sitcom, but not the fun kind that dorksploits the shit out of some Dotsonian token whitey. (What can I say? I appreciate seeing my Community represented in the arts.)

Fox News is a jarring experience for those of us who normally follow strains of political thought featuring a measure of principle, rationality, goodwill, good faith, decorum, or anything else worthwhile. It’s nothing but raging Id. Hannity and Ingraham were on to keep me and my Reuben meal company. Hannity is the kind of puffed-up, perpetually aggrieved mick I never see among the actual Irish from actual Ireland. We did something bad to them, Paddy. Ingraham constantly looked like she’d just smelled shit. She was in a television studio, and I’d just driven past a string of feedlots and big milking parlors. Go figure. There’s something really wrong with these people for being able to look themselves in the mirror when they always act like that, in public, no less. It’s stunningly graceless.

The closed captioning was hilariously fucked up, as is to be expected of any on-the-fly dictation of the angry stream of consciousness pertaining to exceptionally privileged people’s elaborate persecution complexes. There’s no way Fox pays the dictation typists enough to do a good job simulcaptioning the divas in front of the cameras doing a terrible job. That’s mid-six figures, minimum. Seriously. It has to fall somewhere between interventional cardiology and neurosurgery in terms of difficulty. That’s why the dubbing was such crap.

Hannity and Ingraham were both sore about AOC and her Green New Deal. Ingraham, I think it was, put up a graphic of the things Ocasio would be taking from us hardworking Americans: to wit, our Impala, our head of beef, and our 767-200. Flying that bitchin’ Boeing big metal without the winglets to own the libs: truly this is the American way. Ingraham got all upset about the “liberal sensitivity trap” and some shit involving Bette Midler, but not Hands-on Geraldo and poppers. The snowflakes were overreacting to makeup that was a shade too dark for their delicate sensibilities. Whomst among us has never accidentally gone out looking like Colin Powell and/or Kwesi Millington? Uh, I haven’t, bitch. I don’t do that. Hannity had some guy on who was identified as a “chief meteorologist” to talk about how sometimes it be hot and sometimes it be cold and people say there’s a lot of heat going into the oceans and stuff, QED carbon dioxide isn’t a greenhouse gas.

This stuff is insane. I wouldn’t be able to make it up if I didn’t see it on the air. Conservatism isn’t some gay shit about trying to be considerate of others or responsibly steward the lands, waters, and skies that we have inherited. It’s about insisting that wearing an unexpectedly dark shade of powder is the same thing as covering one’s face in shoe polish and swearing on the family bible that no one can smell a thing when the entire family has been shitting on the shag carpeting in the living room. It’s a seventies décor; the colors match. Check it out.

Ingraham had a black guest on by, Scout’s Honor, the name of Niger. I misread that exactly as you think I did. Where the fuck do they find these people? Whiting Honkkinen-Krakkersen is totally just a regular guy from Hibbing whose mother miscegenated with the Norwegians, not a stage name that Louis Farrakhan made up. This fucking blackface shit. How the fuck can anyone go home with any self-respect after acting like it’s normal, just like if you put on some John Boehner-shade makeup or something? If Northside Juice with his face covered in that alabaster plaster and a color-perfect mold of Michael Slager’s slickback on his head, I wouldn’t think, oh Lord, that’s a Vitamin D deficiency, too many brothers getting posted to Fort McMurray all winter. (#TeshTips: It doesn’t go so great for the whites or the indigenous, either.)

As I said, I do not do blackface. I have never done that. I have never thought about doing that. To my knowledge I don’t know anyone who has done that. I don’t know for sure what I’m missing, but no one has personally disclosed that to me, and I’m sure that I know many white people, including a lot of affluent ones at that, who have never come close to smearing shoe polish on their faces. The people defending this as some kind of innocent prank tragically misunderstood are the same ones who will turn on any fellow white, including any affluent fellow white, who isn’t in league with them in a way that they admire. The guy who called me Fat Cracka on the Sacramento light rail was at least honest. Meanwhile we have an entire cable news network devoted to bitch-ass crackas, plus whatever mercenaries of color they can dredge up for a shitty McLaughlin Group.

Of course these fuckers act like AOC is running the same shitlib guilt trip about carbon austerity as penance as any other Al Gore-grade hypocrite. The Green New Deal explicitly turns away from the shambolic, half-assed penitential construal of green living and towards a constructive model that will make it more possible than ever for ordinary people to lead decent lives in an environmentally responsible manner. Some of the details seem overly ambitious (nuclear power will be a crucial bridge through 2030 at the rate we’re going, barring radical conservation), but it’s worth a damn try. The idea that Ocasio is out delivering another Al Gore-ass homily about your most grievous fault more than her own is completely misleading. It’s fraudulent.

Thankfully fewer and fewer Americans fall for that bullshit, and more and more are recognizing with alarm the climatic shifts and weather weirding of recent years. Is the settled chemical and physical science of carbon as a greenhouse gas, dating back well into the nineteenth century, a grand conspiracy? Whom are you going to believe: Sean Hannity and his crazy pet meteorologist, or ExxonMobil’s internal long-range planning documents and technical memoranda? The average American who pays any attention to the weather knows that the climatic feedbacks are more complicated than bumping up the radiator thermostat. It’s a crazed minority that falls for aggrieved nonsense like, well, now, sometimes it do be cold, tho. Muscular government intervention is popular again, too. We need to go rape hornets’ nests in the Middle East and now Venezuela, but we can’t do anything about PG&E letting its grid fail whenever there’s slightly extreme weather, then paying its investors and executives with funds stolen from its maintenance of way budget? Get lost with that.

Conservatism used to feature a high regard for the observable truth, including the ugly parts, and an adequate measure of personal and social responsibility to at least take a stab at holding together this broken world instead of flippantly making it worse. On the parts of the internet where I was brought up it still does. Those who most loudly claim its mantle today insist that it really means insisting that taking a shit in the toilet is the same thing as taking a shit in the bottled water dispenser, that contaminating the food supply with fecal coliform bacteria is a liberal hoax and also totally normal because the libs are getting triggered again, that it’s totally okay to vent heat-trapping waste gases into the closed system of the atmosphere with utter abandon because that’s also a liberal hoax, and that nobody affiliated with white fraternities at fancy Southern universities ever made fun of black people at parties within living memory, although blackface is also just a slightly darker shade of mascara.

These are evil people. They deserve to be mocked, ridiculed, and humiliated until they shrink into the hard margins in a spirit of total mortification and shut the fuck up. They’re cordially invited to shut the fuck up about the flight that I have to catch to Phoenix tonight. I’m coming back east for dental work, asshole. Mark my words: no one you’ve heard of at Fox News flies coach into Logan at 0530. They live high as hell on the hog.

Laura and Sean are called to proceed in a spirit of holy silence to get Charlie off. CHAHLEE! Never mind. That’s an honest job. They aren’t here for honest work. Somehow we’ve managed to hang onto a few leaders who are lucid and know how to get shit done in spite of them, and in spite of their audience. Remember, the sitting president watches them. He cherishes them as his Rasputins. He totally knows how the air traffic control system works, and the climate, and what it’s like to shop in a grocery store.

Others will make fun of this crew for being conservatives if they must. We’re all free to make fun of Rob Ford for being quietly sober. Me? I make fun of them for being hateful, willfully stupid, graceless projectile shitheads. Anyone who carries on like they do in public is fucking asking for it.

Shartland Values

The sleazy, treacherous business of the Trump Organization scrambling to abruptly fire veteran hospitality employees its managers had told to come back with BETTER fake documents for their I-9 fraud is as disgustingly All-American as anything in this great land. It’s classic. I’d hoped against hope for better out of Donald Trump, for the sincere alarm at the rampant, festering lawlessness surrounding our disingenuous immigration regime that I still sometimes think I see in him; he certainly has a way of getting enthusiastic. Unfortunately he’s a horrible case of raging psychological projection. Here we are with this scandal about sending the illegals back to the barrio storefronts for better bogus papers, an especially seedy version of the same shit everyone in Trump’s class does.

The other projection scandals? The ones about sex? God help us all.

This is, again, not a degeneracy that arose suddenly and sui generis with the current Oaf of Office. A drinking buddy during my freshman year proudly showed me his fake Ontario driver’s license, the one with the Genuine Seal of Authenticity. He told me that it hadn’t scanned at the package store, but the clerk had manually entered the personal information from it and gotten an electronic approval for the sale.

This was in 2001. Some transnational criminal gang had stolen drivers’ information from the Province of Ontario and used it to sell fake ID’s to Americans looking to purchase alcohol underage. No matter how harmless this particular use is–I don’t particularly give a shit if some lush in Thunder Bay is impersonating me to buy booze–it’s a bad custom and a bad precedent, not to mention a genuine international incident. The cryptofederal drinking age in the United States is driving large-scale breaches of government databases not just domestically but also in Canada. It’s scaling up criminal activity that, in a more reasonable country, would be limited to the likes of spycraft, illicit migration, and smuggling.

The license this buddy of mine (not exactly a friend, but all right as guys go) showed me was totally ridiculous. I had never seen an Ontario driver’s license, but I knew they didn’t look like that. The clerk who ran it must have known. #TeshTips: They don’t have to explicitly call it genuine if it is. Everybody fucking snickers about that kind of thing, like it’s cute. A few permacops shit their shorts in self-righteous rage, but everyone else thinks it’s just a rite of passage or some shit.

We’ve got a close version of that going on with illegal immigration. Everyone has a Mexican gardener, a Mexican maid, a Mexican construction crew, a Guatemalan nanny. Duh. I don’t have any of that, but they didn’t come up to the rest area at Dunnigan last night to knock on my door and ask me. This shit has been going on for my entire life. I remember it from at least the mid-nineties, when I was in my early teens. Everyone kept acting like it was rude, even scandalous, to question the ethics of hiring the Latin American peasantry to do all the grunt work. It’s mostly gotten worse since then.

Trump was an inevitable reaction. The Democrats ran a crazy bourgeois-supremacist yuppie ur-shrew in the general election against a Republican who seemed relatively coherent and sincere about putting working-class Americans back to work. He kept getting enthused about industries with a history of high union representation, at least regionally: factories, steel mills, trucking, mines. Lose me with the bullshit about how this was just a cracker call; the Yanqui noble savage worshippers who snivel about the industrial jobs not coming back have no fucking idea of the actual racial composition of the industrial workplaces they smear. It sucks ass that we got a sundowning fash-friendly tweaker prick barnstorming about industrial policy instead of Bernie Sanders, but the Democrats are as the Democrats do, and the Democrats do it dirty.

It was past time that someone reassert the dignity of the native working class against the neverending smear campaign by the Clintons and their ilk. The noble savage worship about how hard Mexicans work is completely out of line. The tale of Latin Stakhanovites and lazy Anglo junkies is a setup for a bum fight. Those orchestrating it don’t actually respect a thing but their own brand of high-caste parasitism. Writing off one’s own countrymen as unemployable is atrociously poor form, but the bourgeois supremacists behind this divide-and-conquer scam offer their cherished campesinos rather damning praise for their efforts. They insist, on behalf of their entire nation whenever they can get away with such a bumptious fraud, that it is right and just that shanty Latins magically show up as needed to meekly do all the grunt work, because Mexicans are superhuman roustabouts. They aren’t foreigners; they’re fucking elves.

Think about the dripping condescension needed to maintain this attitude. Think about what it means for immigrants trying to assert their human and civil rights, like anyone else working in the United States, under the jurisdiction of its courts. The overclass wants them here precisely because they’re second-class, if even that. It has jack shit to do with theier dignity and everything to do with their exploitability.

It’s fashionable to act like this arrangement is a beautiful part of the American Dream, to pretend that this peasantry is on the road to prosperity. Fuck off with that. Some of them do well, but this immigrant success story is premised on ignoring how ordinary farm workers live: to wit, in crushing poverty and squalor. This regime brings cohorts of unenfranchised, unbanked foreigners into an alien country where they get screwed over by a financialized economy designed to commit usury against them at every opportunity. If stoop labor in the Salinas Valley were a path to prosperity, it would be a path to prosperity for the native stock, too. It’s easy enough to understand why indigent foreign peasants tolerate conditions that most Americans would flee, and it’s excusable enough, but it is in no fucking way ideal.

Every American who orchestrates it should be prosecuted and sued into penury. Why the fuck did we secede from the British Empire? Did we do it for this caste system? Good God. That’s exactly what it is: a caste system. It’s a bunch of gentry asshats who own prime farmland by the full section and won’t hire Americans because we aren’t Dalits.

And now look at the guy who ascended to the presidency with the closest thing to an agenda to reform this regime, with his golf courses and his back-of-the-house shysters telling the illegals to go back to Queens and get some better fakes. Sure, he was a known crook, but I’d hoped, as had many others, that he’d gotten tired of the game and was ready to rein in his peers, or at least that there were some limits to his crookedness. Oops. Oops, too, for the systemic disintegration of community that permits scumbag tactics like the Trump Organization’s.

Scandals like this one will alienate much of the tentatively attached working-class and underclass swing voter pool that got Trump over the top. Appallingly, however, they’ll charm the hell out of his core base: the car dealership assholes, the reactionary dentists (if I may risk repeating myself), the orthopods and cardiologists, every shithead with a grain elevator who ever barked at some American hired hand over the phone that he wasn’t allowed to quit and had to come back to finish shoveling rat shit off the top of a hopper of coriander seed to prepare it for export to India. These are ones to regard the rules as humiliations for the little people. Civil asset forfeiture without conviction isn’t exactly a rule, but it’s for the little people, too, not for some lace curtain honky mobster’s plantation after he’s convicted of serial I-9 fraud.

I don’t know what the fuck to do about this arrangement, other than to start by doing what we can to stigmatize immigrant scab labor and really stigmatize those who hire it to the exclusion of Americans who won’t stand for a whole lot of degradation. Voltaire had some Frenchie or other saying that we should cultivate our garden. Garden? I don’t gots dat. Maybe that chick who offered me a ride to the Snoopyport knows where to find a plot around Santa Rosa. Jeffersonian agriculture as I’ve come to know it too often involves aliases, trash cans, and sudden moves to North Carolina. I’ll be adding the police and a hazmat squad next time.

I don’t want no sexy male nurse coming at me dressed like that, Lynn

A little prick could be the last thing you feel on this side of the veil, but we aren’t here to do fun stuff, Harris; we’re here to do civic stuff. The Sexy Male Nurse Lynn Majors meme isn’t the sign that things are about to get better; it’s the sign that things are about to get much, much worse. Because a little prick is much likelier to be any of the hundreds of professionals (gutwrenchingly sic) who make NPR the very special operation that NPR is.

As I said, eh, dis is gonna be BAD! Actual nursing would probably be pretty gross, too, but at least that’s gross for a reason. Plus, for those who are committed enough, there are ways to get paid to listen to hospital coughs. Heh. I just said “committed.” Sexy Male Nurse Lynn Majors, infamously impatient on the floor, died as a sort of inpatient, literally on the floor. I wouldn’t write this stuff if it weren’t awful. On the other hand, I was never on the census in the Dirty Jerz back when they were cullen the herd. It’s like Muhammad Ali and the Viet Cong; their beef isn’t with me, nor mine with them.

We still haven’t gotten around to what NPR did this time. That’s for the best, but all good things come to an end in our broken world. To wit, NPR celebrated TLC’s “No Scrubs” as its latest “American Anthem.” I am absolutely not linking to that shit; I sporadically have self-respect. The entire series is stupid. They’re probably trying to signal on the subliminal channels that these songs are suitable alternatives to our national anthem, as a way to own the conservatives; the problem with this premise is that the Star-Spangled Banner is pretty good when, say, Roseanne Barr isn’t performing it, while NPR’s idea of music has a way of really sucking ass.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong of them to try to trigger Donald Trump by disrespecting a patriotic hymn he’s always barking about but totally doesn’t know, but couldn’t they trigger the Oaf of Office by proclaiming national reverence towards a pop song that doesn’t suck? Of course not; this is NPR.

“No Scrubs” wasn’t even one of the better songs to hit the charts like Art Acevedo his wife in the nineties. No, I wasn’t born to sing the blues; I’m a California taxpayer, so I’m just here to fund the blue, and let some punk-ass Chips pop themselves out of the proceeds. You know what they say about the Crips: lighter shade of blue, no cross, no shield.

This is still somehow less fucked up than All Things Considered. But how could it not be? I’m not on here preening about how TLC taught America a beautiful bit of Atlanta street vernacular, the better to dis our he-deadbeats. I recall that being around the same time as the festering moral panic about “deadbeat dads.” Ricky Ray only got to eat his last dessert once, and the Big Dog, certainly one to treasure and provide for all children he sired by all women, needed more meat to feed into his ravenous maw. It wasn’t just him, of course, but Slick Willy never let scruples, his own or anyone else’s, get between himself and an opportunity for human sacrifice.

So, in the midst of this latter-day Daniel Patrick Moynihan-ass bitchfest about niggas who don’t have anything to DO with their kids, as they say on the Sacramento light rail but not on Cap Radio, TLC hit the airwaves with its song about how they’re sick of deadbeat dickheads giving them the time of day. I might have been young at the time, but I wasn’t stupid enough not to tell that this was a coarsening of public manners. It prefigured the brash crassness of Meghan Trainor, but with a whiny, earnest preachiness, none of the verve, and none of the Lane Bryant. They’re all like, fuck yeah I’m a hard bitch from Atlanta, and I’m like, ooh, Summer Benton, and then they turn out to just be basic bitches calling Whine One One to report all the neighborhood dudes for being bumptious forty-niner assholes who think they deserve a date even though they’re riding shotgun. Lose me with that shit. If they’re gonna complain that the fellas in Atlanta are broke-ass carpooling tag-alongs, I might as well complain that Atlanta has too many high-maintenance basic bitches and not enough dead sexy homicide detectives abducting me into that disused warehouse. I mean, just for the afternoon, and not some toothless Delta trailer park horseshit like we hear about from the Pervert’s Flat district of rural Antioch.

We’re talking about STANDARDS here. Rod Dreher may need Ariel Castro, but I don’t. As I said, I could tell at the time that “No Scrubs” was coarse and coarsening. NPR got some fuckhead from a nightclub or some shit to enthuse about how after that song came out all the guys were looking in the mirror and wondering, damn, am I a scrub? I saw no need to look; I knew I was what they had in mind. I abhorred the idea of getting a car in order to impress some ditz; it was everything dysfunctional and immoral about modern America. I had absolutely no idea at the time where this bullshit about the scandalous dereliction of the passenger’s side originated; I’d have been doubly appalled had I heard that it came from the only city in the Deep South with a working rapid transit system. Was this what we were doing to prove our reproductive fitness now? Bull elk and the like do worse, but aren’t we supposed to be better than that?

It becomes impossible to find record producers whose ethics and aspirations transcend the ape pit. They presumably don’t want their own children being raised in such a coarse, harsh Darwinian hellscape. Then someone like Elliot Rodger hits the scene, and one has to wonder. When they take on characters like Robin Thicke, Mick Jagger, and Soulja Boy, do they get high on their own supply, figuring that they’ve already got that sweet discount on the good shit? We’re moaning about some dude being an incorrigible loser when he gets along well enough with his peers to keep getting rides. Are we really chronicling society’s dregs here, or are we sore that we have to do the same give-and-take with someone else because we don’t want to buy a MARTA card?

We’re obviously normalizing shit that shouldn’t be normalized, like insisting that everyone have a car for no particular reason because otherwise some bitches from the hood may lay down another dis track. The Los Angeles Basin shat noxious gas into the skies with utter abandon for nearly half a century for the same reasons, plus some: not all public corruption in the Basin pertained directly to the police, setting up a joint powers authority to run Red Cars straight back up Goodyear’s ass was le hard, and a city bus was never the optimal platform for convening a garage band and yelling “WHITTIER BOULEVARD” all night long.

We’re also normalizing the idea that hollering at strange women is a class privilege. Allow me to get back up here and bitch about how the lady who called my aloha shirt “jazzy” at the Bonneville Transit Center was too fat and slovenly to speak to me. A cute barista at the landside Dunkin’ at BWI lowkey liked one of the same shirts, maybe the same one exactly, but allow me my bitchfest to snivel about how women I don’t want jumping my bones right now have the nerve to speak to me in public in that fashion.

God. What princesses we raise. Everybody back then needed a bigger and bigger SUV, too, to see over the lowrider losers and steamroll their shitboxes in the event of a crash. That’s how we ended up with fucking Hummers. Again, shitting choking filth into the heavens for no good reason. We’re still choking on it. Ghomeshi intrudes and Ghomeshi retreats, but carbon love us longtime.

A chick offered me a ride to the Sonoma County Airport over the weekend. True story. I passed on it because I was able to walk to the Snoopyport and get my car out an hour before she was able to line up a babysitter. Not all women are, as they say, like that. It’s true. #TeshTips, though: they’re probably high-maintenance bitches if they’re on the radio. We ought to encourage our boys to seek out women of better character who aren’t verbally abusing them for carpooling, since it isn’t the misandrist dis track broads who will ferry them curbside, but I guess that wouldn’t be as much fun as honoring women who are paid to bitch and moan about how homies be riding shotgun and hollering instead of being all meek and George Benson-like about how they’re too broke to get a date.

We’ve ascertained why and how this garbage hit the Top 40. It is the jungle in which we rumble. What we haven’t determined is why it’s on NPR, other than, hey, doggy, this shit sucks.

In short, NPR lives to make the nerds feel hip. That’s what’s going on, Randol. The “American Anthem” series has the added benefit of force-feeding the dorks their mandatory cultural references, like, we don’t normally play these tracks, but other stations do. Either a dipshit hears it and hears about it for the first time, or a dipshit recalls high school with a pang of nostalgia and thinks, hey, I remember that! As I said, this ditty sucks. Hansen was better. It doesn’t matter, though. It was on the air. It was inescapable. The mean girls have jack shit on us; we all went there.

Billy Joel or Rodriguez would have done a better job on the theme of in-your-face deadbeat dudes, but no one consulted them. My understanding from the late midcentury is that Josie was still a hot slut when she came back from her vacation, but that’s just one young lady, not the entirety of modern womanhood. We’ve got Thicke to instruct us in their ways now, and we’ve got TLC for the menfolk.

This is how NPR pretends to be cool. It’s cringeworthy and pathetic, but it is what it is. NPR listeners aren’t a bunch of out-of-touch fuckheads who always come back from the dorkfest with another tote bag; they’re out-of-touch fuckheads with tote bags who namedrop TLC. A cultural deep dive into one of the most obnoxious and amoral songs of the nineties is the cure for autism. We’re all well-rounded, socially astute, and engaged with the mainstream now. We have the Codeswitch Team to teach us how to interact appropriately with black people, and we have Randol to teach us how to interact with White People.

Did I mention that these needy bitches demand external validation and affirmation for their every eccentric interest? I’m not on here complaining that no one else is really into RT’s Can Car consists and demanding validation for the joyride I took down to 4th Avenue after I picked up my mail this morning just to get a bit of that smooth air-ride Canadian action. That was fucked up even by the prevailing community standards around here, but it could be worse. The railfan community has, as the President might say, many such cases. Yet I’m not even saying, yo, someone come talk to me about this trainspotting shit without being all autistic about it.

That isn’t how they roll on NPR. The listener pool has these pangs of worry that maybe it isn’t a mainstream community, a perfectly reasonable concern informed by the truth that going out in public with an NPR tote bag is hella fucking weird, but instead of thinking, gee, maybe we should turn off the radio for a bit and do something else, they get a pop culture segment.

It’s another fucking class for these teachers’ pets. That’s exactly what it fucking is. These assholes can’t just chill out and enjoy anything. I got more balance into my life by wasting an hour taking the damn light rail to North Land Park. Freeport? More like Slaveport for them. They need a dork squad from the most socially dysfunctional part of campus to remind them that they used to hear shitty pop music on the radio back before they shoehorned their lives into the Baby Einstein tiger mom careerist horseshit and they still maybe had some buddies from the wrong side of the tracks. And I don’t think most of them are doing anything really compelling with their sacrosanct careers, like death penalty appellate law or skull base surgery or some shit. It’s possible now and then, but I’d wager that the vast majority of them are fucking useless and would do more for society by spending the hour from first light to half past dawn cutting lettuce. This is especially true if we focus on the ones who are really into the cultural exchange segment horseshit. I’m not so concerned about the more or less normal ones who leave the radio on for that crap because the commercial drivetime programming is even worse.

God willing I won’t be back here to denounce NPR for another round of tranny stuff or Radio Mille Collines fuck whitey agitprop. But I offer no warranties. It’s a fucking cesspool. There will be more of that trash for sure, and through my most grievous fault, I’m sure I’ll end up hearing it. Better things might come out of the imperial center, but they rarely do. So, until we convene again under these same rotten circumstances, be ill, work yourselves to death, and don’t touch me like that, Dennis.

Our Crowd? Buddy it ain’t mine

It turns out that Howard Schultz is a real shit. Honestly, I didn’t see this coming; I was aware that Starbucks was a problematic fave for many of us, but it has never seemed to be in remotely the same category of evil as Walmart or Amazon, and Schultz seemed modest and decent enough by the standards of our postmodern captains of industry.

Then he launched his run for the presidency. What a fuckhead. When Bernie Sanders walks into a brighter, harsher spotlight for being an A-List national political leader, he gets exposed for having honeymooned in the Soviet Union without incident, bought a few lakefront properties on a rather affordable lake, and been saying a lot of the same quite sensible things quite consistently for decades; after a couple of years living under this sunshine, he’s still basically beyond reproach. Schultz couldn’t go a week without making a colossal ass of himself. He doesn’t wear the New York Tenement Jew upbringing well. Sanders comes from roughly the same childhood milieu and manages not to have that awful chip on the shoulder, so it’s more than just environmental factors making Java Boy such a grasping, cutthroat, socially climbing jerk.

We’ve already suffered through Hillary Clinton’s class-suffused outbursts cycle after cycle; we don’t need a presidential run by a sniveling Boomer schmuck who is charging from middle into old age still resentful of his father for buying used tires and driving a diaper delivery truck. Corporate America selects for such amoral strivers, but we have no need to suffer them as our elected officials.

Schultz also turns out to be stunningly cheap. This isn’t a way of life that can just be swept under the rug in times of Twitter. CNN can’t ignore away the time he sent a $5 gift card in a fancy box as a token (even three on SEPTA) of his appreciation to an outside business partner for the successful closing of a multimillion-dollar marketing deal. These scandals don’t make the oral-tradition samizdat rounds as a game of telephone anymore; all parties are welcome on the 24/7 party line. News comes straight from the horses’ mouths these days. Sure, it can get mixed with any amount of bullshit and outright frauds and hoaxes, but so can the mediated news from the institutional power players.

This dude isn’t a visionary with a troubled or conflicted personal past. He’s a big-league thug hellbent on pulverizing the remnants of the very social safety net that made it possible for him to be raised in a decent measure of lower-middle-class stability and prosperity in the midcentury rather than the constant chaos, poverty, squalor, and instability of the dispossessed lower classes today. This platform is of course exactly what the American public does not want by a margin at least two to one, but never mind any of that.

Schultz had his meltdown debut hot on the heels of the Davos wankfest. When I say that I thought Schultz wasn’t too bad until he announced himself as our next president, Davos is a prime example of what I mean by comparison as the bad shit. It’s mainly that I heard nothing that I could recall about Schultz being a public money wanker, while every year I’d hear some increasingly appalling story about what his peers were up to at Davos. I believe this is the second year they’ve had the “live like a refugee” simulation; you don’t have to do that, but your buddies will look down on you if you’re that reflective and humble. That’s some unbelievable Marie Antoinette cosplay right there. These fuckers must really, truly not study history. That is specifically the most infamous case of literally fatal tone-deafness in Western geopolitical history. How the fuck does anyone not even intervene and tell these fools that this is maybe a bad idea?

These out-of-touch twerps are the last people to have any fucking idea what it’s like to be a refugee. I’ve been homeless enough to have a dim, partial sense of it and still know much of what I don’t know. These pricks? They’re the ones who flew an estimated 1,500 private jets into the area this year for the World Economic Forum. They couldn’t even planepool in from Teterboro. No, nothing but the most opulent accommodations for these characters. Meanwhile I’m doing shit like sponge-bathing in a train lavatory on the way across Missouri. I’m living the dream a lot more than I make it sound when I put it that way, but still, it goes to show how utterly divorced the Davos bigshots are from any sense of modesty and self-restraint.

These assholes went skiing in Europe. I get it: I’m familiar with Europe, and I’m more recently and personally familiar with skiing. I’m even familiar with literally looking down on the erstwhile honorable skier Rod R. Blagojevich. What I’m not doing is acting like hanging out in nice coffeeshops in the nice part of Albuquerque while I kill time waiting for the next train to the coast is a form of charity. Lose me with that.

Seriously, it’s the moral posturing that will do these assholes in. They’ve lost the sense of discretion that their class had two or three generations ago. They’ve lost the wisdom of not flaunting their wealth before paupers who can be assumed to be resentful and angry and to have a real fight in them. Not calling their pet journalists to chronicle their worst jetsetting would be a good start. It really is not in their best interests to be photographed astride that high horse.

Leaving aside the purely economic parasitism, the cultural parasitism necessary to make this alpine wankfest possible is absurd. Switzerland is one of the most stable and broadly prosperous countries on the face of the earth. It may have gotten that way by turning a blind eye to certain artworks of proximal German origin and otherwise questionable provenance (yes, we are familiar with the term; it is one of our national languages), but it didn’t get that way by brutalizing the local proles for a quick and dirty profit. For better and worse, it has the national cohesion that the ilk of Bill Gates, Howard Schultz, and Jeff Bezos spend their careers destroying whenever and however they can.

It’s a variation on the theme of not paying the Secret Service but still making the agents report to work as scheduled. None of these motherfuckers would survive in the state of nature that they impose on their neighbors. They’d be clubbed to death. That they are not is a testament to the endurance of civilization and its norms in the face of their endless assault. I’m not here to say how long this dispensation will endure. I’m here to wrap this baby up and head down to Alvarado, where they’re both afternoon trains today. God bless BNSF.

Some of us live closer to the real world and can explain the ways in which we do not. Nothing but respect for my Duke Shitty 66-Central.

The old college try-hard

Oscar Meyer has made itself the butt of a great deal of ridicule and contempt for a help wanted ad explicitly requiring a college degree for positions driving the Wienermobile. The negative reaction is entirely appropriate: these are glorified traveling food expo positions. Sure, the job involves driving a custom rig, but all sorts of high-value and high-risk cargo, from new cars to nuclear waste, is transported on the roads by professional drivers who never had to go to college to get their endorsements. All sorts of freight that makes the Wienermobile look like an absolute joke rolls by unnoticed with some dropout-turned-GED conferee with a few months of trade school at the wheel.

Let’s be real here: driving the Wienermobile is a fucking carny gig. Some asshole is always intoning about how it is a brand ambassadorship, a crucial position requiring those holding it to professionally represent their employer and its products. This might be a point partially well taken if the company in question weren’t selling fucking hot dogs, the great All-American repository of leftover “meat.”

The Jews are onto something with the kosher laws, maybe not the same something that I’m normally on, but still something worth some consideration. Every time I get a Hebrew National hot dog on the train, I think, hey, no shit, this actually tastes wholesome. It also tastes like someone in the test kitchen wasn’t a total derelict about the seasoning. Forgive me, however, for not revering Corporate America’s self-serious efforts to use compulsory, mothership-regimented fun to rebrand a style of sausage generally made by shoving all the stray morsels of garbage meat into a grinder full of barely edible chemical additives as something worth putting into one’s mouth. Chef please.

#TeshTips: If you have to go to such lengths to advertise it, maybe it sucks. Hot dogs are a fair food for a reason. That reason is that the other food is objectively awful itself. I’ve eaten hopefully a bit less than my share of whatever the fuck they put into the sauced-up batter-fried onion lump at the Farm Show. We’re taking ingredients that might be decent by their intrinsic merits and soaking them to our own atherosclerotic death in grease. It’s what we do at the state fair, the county fair, and, who dat or otherwise, the parish fair.

Fine. But let’s not get all sanctimonious about brand reputations and the qualifications needed to maintain and advance them. Fuck off with that bullshit. Being a circuit-riding salesman with a rig that’s basically a fucked-up redesign of a midcentury modern Italian express passenger trainset mounted on a van chassis is, again, a fucking carny gig. We are not having an adult one by acting like the recruitment process for this job should resemble something out of the Peace Corps or the RCMP. That’s totally bogus.

We should not stand for such fraud. We tolerate it to our own ongoing degradation. Oscar Meyer cannot run its expo operation under such excessive workplace conditions without an already degraded applicant pool. In a healthy society, a job like that is either very well compensated with low turnover or poorly compensated with high turnover. If Oscar Meyer isn’t offering base compensation that at least pushes six figures for that stupid grind, its managers should be wrangling the same personnel dregs as any other carny boss. Well, shit, Dwayne ditched us in Cedar Rapids to shack up with some broad again; last time he did that it was in Carson City, and it took him months to bum enough bus fare to catch up with us in Tacoma that summer.

That’s who these bumptious brandwhoring twerps should be hiring to drive their Slimy Dog. It should be impossible to recruit anyone better than that. This story is one that makes me admire the Japanese, perhaps against my better judgment, for having so few children. There shouldn’t be any spare young people to submit to a competitive interview process for a full-year commitment to intern as a delivery driver-cum-pep rally costume performer. The situation should be one in which, once the gaming dipshits, internet dipshits, and other culturally adjacent shut-ins and mental health outpatients (and inpatients!) are accounted for, the entire youth population is too busy apprenticing to learn an actual trade or profession with some actual value to society to fuck around touring the country in a custom bus shilling for a hot dog company.

There’s a painfully obvious overproduction of elites at play here. Paul Ryan was an Oscar Meyer hotdogger. That says most of what needs to be said about who they’re trying to recruit for this bullshit: rich kids with good sets of teeth who are too brainwashed or cowed not to submit to the rat race. The brain exists in a separate part of the head from the mouth, and it shows.

Low unemployment and high optimism about the job market are not what enabled this hard line on who gets to go hotdogging. In a healthy economy any twentager who got the gig would feel no compunction about quitting it without notice if it became unpleasant. It’s adjunct sales work. Why did I quit, Carol? Same reason I walked out at McDonald’s, you dumbass. Call me back if you hire a territory manager who isn’t a fucking puffed-up asshole.

It’s anal prolapse for days with some of these companies, but they have yet to exhaust the pool of eager, aspirational young dipshits who assume, as they’ve been instructed, that the company will take care of them as long as they keep the right attitude and the right skills. It’s no coincidence that this optimism, which is often forced and has awfully little basis in the observable truths of the degraded labor markets of the postmodern developed world, correlates with generational entrenchment in the upper middle class. The lower middle is swarming with people who got screwed over one or three or five too many times and can’t help but know better; the working, semiworking, and idle underclasses consistently regard this chipper aspirational talk as laughable bullshit.

It ain’t real sustainable. I try to do my part to chronicle these depredations, but I’m not indispensable at the macro level; in due course of time these contradictions inevitably heighten themselves. If I sound like another coffeehouse socialist with his head in the clouds, I don’t fucking give a shit. Fat Cracka don’t care.

Free enterprise is not what caused this dysfunction and the looming social problems attending it. The problem is with corporate capitalism, not with the Kim regime quietly allowing permaproles to hawk vegetables from their gardens on the street in defiance of the state food market system. Corporate capitalism is responsible for the deadweight cronyism, personnel department blackmail shakedowns, and various other dysfunctions and moral outrages of doing business in America today. It provides the main cultural template that small business owners use to justify their own dysfunctional asshole behavior. Hey, Gates and Trump and their whole crowd are a bunch of grandiose shitheads at work, so why shouldn’t I get to be one as a Dunkin’ franchisee? Similarly, corporate aggression has driven out much of the fabric of small businesses, crucially including small farms, that have historically acted as socioeconomic safety valves to keep the power players from ruining a critical mass of losers and finding their heads on pikes.

Allons enfants!

It’s insane to assume that the capitalist and managerial-class thugs who enforce this regime will rest on their laurels and mellow out once they have achieved a perfectly rational, operationally optimized balance between labor and management interests. Two words about that: ain’t happening. Laying down arms in an adversarial relationship for decades on end and expecting a good outcome because that’s who the universe works is completely fucking nuts. Per what I said above about the lower-middle and lower classes, this style of disembrained thinking abides most abundantly in higher classes, among people who are either permanently or, most often, conditionally sheltered and segregated from real life out in the streets. It takes an education to be that retarded. It really does.

This is no rising tide that lifts all boats. No matter how much planning, funding, and strongarm aggression is put into sweeping the undesirables out of the gentrified neighborhoods when they don’t immediately get with the program, they end up somewhere else. They become someone’s problem, maybe not yours, but bitch you are not everyone. I know that I’m not, so I don’t mind rebuking those who don’t.

There’s no shortage of genocidal bigotry lurking in the hearts of many capitalist true believers, but no matter how ugly the class cleansing they fantasize about orchestrating, it’s a lot harder to pull off when the blood hits the pavement than it is in theory. It must be satisfying to be on the General Staff of the 82nd Chairborne, at least for those who don’t mind being totally mental. Of course, since they’re absolute ghouls, they sure enough set up horror shows that trigger backlashes from an outraged public. Look at the hell that broke loose after the murders of Kelly Thomas and James Boyd.

Believe me: the Albuquerque bus system is one of the better outcomes for a society in which neither the state nor private enterprise takes care of the hard cases. Speak of the devil and holla atcha cracka, I’m back on my 66-Central. I’ve got an extra day here because Chicago ground to a halt just after I got out of town, including the run of fine-ass rolling socialism that I’d planned to take the rest of the way to LA. Don’t say it, Kroeger; shit’s already going wrong. It isn’t enough to know how far east to go past the university, either; dirty white boys got wheels in this town, same ones as I’ve got when I’m the only decently dressed person behind the yellow line on the floor. This is the cultural context. Take your ass up to Menaul and get bodily thrown off the loser cruiser for huffing canned air from under your shirt if you don’t like it.

I’m not making any of this shit up. I’m riding dirty with losers who no-shit make Bevis look like a man of eloquence and decorum. No, I’m not trying to do deep ethnography or some shit. Do I sound like I stay off the 766 and the 777 because they’re inauthentic? Hell no; my problem is figuring out where the stops are, and you can bet your ass that I’d take a nicer, less crowded bus with a better clientele if I could figure out where to board it. I heard about the huffer asshat from a traveling kid on the train; I’m not itching to go slumming after a repeat of that now that I know where to find it.

The last thing I’m looking for is a Jacob Riis journey among Walter White’s neighbors through a strange city I’m hopeless to improve. It doesn’t matter; I’ve got an above-even chance of crashing into it every time I set foot on the fucking bus. Albuquerque is the land of the damned, Reno with a shitty water supply. Occasionally someone pops out of the woodwork with problems that are obviously of a personal nature, like the dipshit who was sitting on the milkcrate under the bush in front of the gas station THE ONE TIME I took the bus more than a mile past Nob Hill. That’s rare, though. Most of the trouble here is fundamentally structural. A city of this size does not simply end up with a bus system infested with people who look and comport themselves like Crate Bae minus the crate. That doesn’t just happen, not when Las Vegas and Reno have (maybe) slightly less surreal versions of the same social problems.

Did Albuquerque drop over a hundred million on a nonoperational, behind-schedule, and over-budget bus rapid transit line, then? Of course it fucking did. Snob Hill isn’t nice enough; that’s why. Fuck all the rest of y’all, including the rest of Central Avenue. The BRT, being in Albuquerque, is called ART. I’m not from around here, and I’ve been here exactly twice in my life as an adult, but I can’t walk outside for half an hour or take the bus a quarter of the way across town without being confronted with the truth that none of this is at all soluble. What the fuck am I gonna do about any of this shit? I might try to do something if I had a clue of where to start, but even longtime local activists are swamped.

It would be good to actually, genuinely clean this shit up, instead of just sweeping it out to San Mateo or Wyoming or whatever and pretending that there’s a transit-oriented Route 66-themed nightlife culture now because the mayor and the city council like the idea. What rules about this arrangement is that it’s America’s future, too, not just Albuquerque’s. M’Duke City is just the avant-garde, the crumbling leading edge of the dirty cracker. Mind you, this is in my experience a racially diverse and integrated squalor. What’s another shitty river to one whose back is already wet? Amen, amen, I say to you: we will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay.

God, this will end up inspiring the New Mexico government to develop its maritime infrastructure, won’t it? There’s already a spaceport down by T or C, and a New Mexico Spaceport Authority to administer it. Hey, that’s how Elon Musk solves the social problems; nothing but respect for my nation’s Afro-Canadian-Americans. Art at the bus stop, to decorate the stations for a bus called ART. There is no bus; the Chinamen who built it fucked up the axles so that they leak grease everywhere, and the Americans who designed the guideways fucked up the clearances. Does anyone in charge down here do anything but chew radium?

Truly Wesley Willis was taken from us too soon.