NPR, Wells Fargo, and the uncanny valley of ethics

Scott Simon had this dipshit named Dov Seidman over to his studio this morning to discuss the Wells Fargo bogus accounts scandal from the perspective of corporate reputation management in times of crisis. For someone claiming to be interested in ways for companies to make amends to customers they’ve wronged, Seidman had surprisingly nothing to say about the moral imperative to fire Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf. Wells Fargo has thrown over five thousand regional and branch-level employees under the bus for having had the combination of desperation and bad judgment not to challenge the sleazy boiler room scam that the company had made of their careers, a moral courage that surely would have gotten them fired in retaliation for breaking grander rice bowls. In day-to-day operations, of course, banks are brutally merciless to lower-level employees who are caught so much as pocketing a penny from the till. Sometimes they even fire stable, trustworthy employees upon discovering some one-off petty fraud or theft from their briefly misspent teens. It’s damning, then, that Stumpf has not stepped down and the board of directors has not summarily fired him, even in the face of withering public criticism in the press and open Congressional hearings. Throwing petty frauds and intimidated provincials onto their swords for impulsive or reluctant misconduct is a prevailing community standard, but honorable seppuku on the part of the bosses who allowed (or, worse, ordered) deliberate, systemic fraud against customers is not.

But how can Dov Seidman be explained, and why the hell did Chicago Senpai invite him over to run cover for an extremely scandal-plagued bank? Did (((back-of-the-house operators))) make this decision for him? Seidman seemed so calm, so reasonable, so quietly thoughtful, so serene, so genteel, and yet what he actually said was the craziest fucking bullshit. Listening to him, I felt a gut sympathy for his position, because he just seemed to have such an understated good repute, but intellectually I immediately knew that he was trafficking sleazy elisions and utterly bogus corporate talking points. That is, dude’s dangerous. Some frothing hothead like Jim Cramer or Rick Santelli is easy to dismiss as a cheap special ops mercenary when he spouts talking points on behalf of fraudulent banks. Seidman is smooth without even looking smooth. That’s about as slick as it gets.

To my own annoyance, I know his type from back east. Years before I found myself homeless in the aftermath of a dispute with some of the family white trash on the left coast, I ran in scholastic (sic, mostly) circles that included a number of lower to middling old money scions from a wide, long swath of the Eastern Seaboard, running from at least North Carolina to the cool change parts of Rhode Island and hundreds of miles inland, into the fringes of the Midwest. Oleander growing outside that duplicitous bitch’s door, that kind of thing. Many of these people were visibly off in a borderline or narcissistic/antisocial way, but there were others who had the same understated confidence of entrenched family affluence and socioeconomic clout that Seidman seems to have, along with–this is the bad part–that ability and willingness to competently articulate whatever needed to be articulated for them to get suitably upper-middle-class jobs. The latter are normally much less objectionable in social settings than the former; if anything, they’re often quite pleasant. But at more structural iterations of the fractal they’re as destructive as their bosses and benefactors need them to be.

Seidman is an extreme example. It’s unusual even for dutiful scions of the class I’ve described to get opportunities to air Wells Fargo talking points on a flagship NPR News program. Few of them even aspire to such high mercenary sleaze, although many will go along to get along, usually at lower stakes, because that’s what’s available to workaday lesser old money. To my way of thinking, if I may be so parochial, this crowd, in its ongoing confidence and trust in institutions, looks like one that has never in its aggregate life been afraid of homelessness. Keep in mind, I’m not referring to the sort of shit tickets that beclown themselves on LinkedIn with assertions that they are professional optimists. The psychosociosexual outbursts from the socioeconomically insecure-feeling scions of affluent families with new money worldviews are fucking horrific. It’s run-for-the-hills stuff. Household income is a poor correlate for socioeconomic security in this crowd. Household net worth (an indication of wasting money and credit lines on stupid shit, or not) and generational affluence (an indication of socioeconomic backstops available from relatives, friends, and peers) are more instructive. There are plenty of college boys and girls at “reach” and “safety” schools whose parents make strong six figures but can’t imbue any feeling of socioeconomic security in themselves or their children, probably because they’re being alarmingly frivolous with their credit lines and spending unjustifiable amounts of money on over-the-top Veblen Goods. Using “reach” and “safety” in a context other than “Robert Sanchez should have reached for the brake in the interest of crew and passenger safety” is consistent with digging one’s family into a hole in spite of a household income in the high top decile. (Substitute Casey Jones to taste. I’m a Californian, so Speedy Sanchez was my people.)

This is an important context, I suspect, for understanding why Dov Seidman is such a slippery ass clown. If he weren’t so amoral and self-serious on behalf of scandalously criminal multinational corporations, he might be equally amoral and self-serious on behalf of Yale or Harvard in his capacity as one of its admissions officers. (The better classes of elite failspawn are legion in college administration. The worse classes are disproportionately represented, too.) It’s that overproduction of elites again. They can’t all be Peter Turchin. They were brought up in this deceptively toxic milieu of compulsory respect for all institutions with which they might have contact: their public high schools, or else their prep schools, all universities suitable to their perceived class and accomplishment, any corporation that is selling their families crap they don’t need or might give them a job not requiring them to bodily dirty their hands. Allowing some lesser wannabe elites to successfully demand “safe spaces” for the alleviation of the psychosomatic traumas they claim from rogue individual actors (serial rapists who are also downlow Klan wizards, probably) is safer than defending claims that their cherished institutions are somehow inherently illegitimate. Diversity liaisons can be handed rice bowls of their own to keep the rabble from breaking more important rice bowls. Bet you’ve never sucked white dick before, but it’s safer, much safer in fact, for a sleazy institution with the existential ethics of a cancerous tumor to encourage its students to assert that Haven Monahan is literally Daniel Holtzclaw than to allow memes of across-the-board institutional illegitimacy to take hold.

God. I just discovered through the barest of Google-fu that Haven Monahan is also a Dawson’s Creek character. I don’t wanna wait, for our lives to be over, to make fun of this steaming pile of crazy shit. Or, to quote the spazz case who spent the whole flight from Philadelphia to Heathrow and the connecting flight to Orly listening to the Dawson’s Creek theme song on his Walkman, “I think I’ll take a picture of this plane. No, actually, on second thought, I won’t. I don’t wanna take a picture of this British Airways fag airline thing that screwed us so royally!” (We had almost missed the connection due to a booking glitch until our group leader barked the Irish gate agent into compliance.) On another occasion, dude threw a textbook into the wire-reinforced window of the guidance counselor’s office, stimulating the Lancaster County economy with demand for glass repairs, but the RCMP was otherwise occupied, so he didn’t get tased to death.

As I said, I used to run with this crowd. Robert Dziekanski, pray for us to anyone who’s possibly listening.

Seidman surely doesn’t rely on mere coach like a poor. Wells Fargo must pay him better than that. We don’t need pay invoices to know that he didn’t go on NPR for free, although we probably will need FOIA requests to suss out NPR’s cut of that fat, fat pork. It takes a profound lack of self-respect to whore oneself out to Wells Fargo on the radio, but it takes an even deeper, less fathomable lack of self-respect to do so without demanding what the fulleted lady on the OCTA 43 bus through Anaheim called “Money! Moolah! Mucho dinero! Fly like a G6!” That’s all kinds of wrong, so let’s channel our most Tom Lehrer voice instead and remember not to solicit for our sister. That’s not nice–unless you get a good percentage of her price! Believe me, he was charitable in the midcentury to the Boy Scouts of America of today. And Seidman is no mere town whore. I don’t mean to smear good women, or doofuses who have nothing better to do than offer $20 gay-for-pay behind the bleachers at the Lebanon High School. The old man is closer to Dubai Porta Potty than a quickie in the porta potty. The difference, I assume, is that he’s too amoral to realize that he’s agreed to let psychopaths cover himself in their shit. Coming away from such an experience with a feeling of trauma is a sign of life.

So what did FIRE Sector Radio Faust do instead? He asserted that Wells Fargo is “venerated.” Who, exactly, in heaven, on earth, or under the earth, venerates that piece-of-shit too-big-to-fail bank? Seidman didn’t say. There was no need. It is venerated, you see. It just is. This is why the passive voice is sermonized against by Karl Qualls, among others. Dov Charney’s fellow Dov, Seidman, elided all venerating agency because no one actually venerates that notorious den of crooks. Homeboy just made some shit up. His language was profane, but there is no other way for a gentleman who has chosen to serve mammon, not God. Besides, I frankly have a better sense than he has of where his language falls between temporal dishonesty, blasphemy, idolatry, willful foolishness, and any number of minor and major vices of word that he cannot identify, let alone distinguish from one another.

If I may appropriately use the passive voice, Wells Fargo has been hated and distrusted by its own customers for years, and now it’s assumed a place as the leading national byword for systemic retail fraud against its own customers. I maintain a Wells Fargo account mainly to keep my free access to its ATM network, without which I’d be forced to parse the deliberately opaque fee schedules that interbank ATM networks publish to confuse customers into falling for junk fees. I put up with modest exposure to one kind of fraud to protect myself from inevitable exposure to a different kind of fraud under the auspices of other banks.

Wells Fargo is one of the most hated companies in America today. No one venerates it. Hell, no one venerated it in the first place, not in the Gold Rush, not in the Gilded Age, absolutely not in the Depression, and not in the second Gilded Age and Great Depression today. How pitiful does a person have to be to venerate a bank? A handful of sorry weirdos might, because in any large population its possible to search out and find a vibrant diversity of freaks lurking in the margins, and of course corporate mercenaries can be paid to participate in ritual shows of corporate fealty (but not so much at Walmarts in Germany, where the group cheers evoked the Nuremberg Rallies and sent employees running into the restrooms for shelter). But nobody who hasn’t drunk the company Kool Aid for profit venerates a fucking bank. Even for the truest believers in house veneration is an overwrought description of corporate loyalty. Hardly anyone even venerated Pan Am in its Draperesque heyday for flying dem shine plane, and Pan Am was the epitome of elegance in US commercial aviation that every other mainline legacy carrier aspired to rival.

I guess “venerated” sounds cooler than “respected,” which Wells Fargo also is not. It’s always nice to have some grossly overpaid fuckhead who is too educated to properly use common religious terms in a sentence come in on Saturday morning and steal time from Jewish humor, universal basic income in the time of the robotic onslaught, and #SPORTS. What an ass.

Seidman is clearly trying to brainwash the country into asserting that WE ARE–WELLS FARGO! He wants us all to go full Pedo Bear Penn State.

The Roman Catholic Church’s apologists have nothing on the Nittany Lions for cult creepiness. The vast majority of the faithful who continued to venerate the Catholic Church through the thick of the pedophile priest scandal, and for that matter those of other religious worldviews who saw some irresistible majesty or mystery in the Church, did so in spite of the ruinously scandalous behavior of so many priests and bishops. Other than the minority of perverted or corrupt priests and lay officials who were directly involved in the scandal, I can think of very few defenders of the Church who did not passionately want this tumor of corruption excised from the Church to restore it to full health. The consensus at Voice of the Faithful, the lay organization set up in Boston after the pedophilia scandal broke to fund upstanding parishes and lay services directly and bypass the archdiocesan fundraising structure, seemed to be that perverted priests and those harboring them were fit to be strung up across the Charles River.

What’s happened at Penn State since the Sandusky scandal broke? Pissed off, piss-drunk students had a raging white riot in downtown State College to protest the official erasure of Joe Paterno’s status as the winningest college football coach. Nittany Lion Nation continues to venerate, and I mean truly venerate, JoePa in the face of newly disclosed documents showing that he was aware of Jerry Sandusky’s commission of child rape as early as the mid 1970’s. Fans have been walking around Happy Valley proudly holding placards declaring Sandusky’s innocence and JoePa’s total and eternal awesomeness, among other vile sentiments that a decent person not acting as defense counsel for Paterno or Sandusky would be ashamed to express without cover of anonymity.

It’s some of the sickest shit ever. My own experiences on the weekend sports and drinking circuit at Penn State don’t mitigate this sickness. I kind of made out with some hot chicks on campus a few times, but most of the people I knew there lived in piles of filth. One of the hot chicks who went off the leash to get modestly frisky with me lived in an apartment where she and her boyfriend failed to keep toilet paper in stock during a Saturday night party. When I pointed this out to them, they confirmed that there wasn’t any toilet paper in the entire apartment, but they said it was all cool and they’d get some the next day, maybe. These two were pleasant and mellow as fuck, and I appreciated that, but I wished to hell they’d do better than to make it health-endangering for someone to take a shit in their bathroom. This must be why there are pictures on the internet of partygoers wiping their asses with bath towels. It’s definitely one of the reasons why I’ve got a lead with a soi-disant college girl who’s down to fuck for a fee this weekend. Most whores would be like, for God’s sake we can’t live like this. Working girls keep their toiletries in stock.

I ain’t Captain Save-a-Civvy. I can’t save a civvy.

The public orgy of denial and excuse-peddling that has been consuming Penn State is genuine veneration. That much is legit, although not in any moral sense. It stands to reason that it took hold under the auspices of a football program. #FOOTBALL is pretty much amoral in the best of circumstances. Nice head you got there; shame if it got concussed repeatedly and you ended up donating it to science in your suicide note. We pay professionals to play a gladiatorial game and refuse to play cryptoprofessional amateurs to play the same gladiatorial game on the promise that they’ll make the cut in the pro leagues unless something happens and they don’t. Meanwhile a scandalous number of the latter students (sic) get loose on their campuses and go on rape sprees at drinking parties, usually to have their criminal sexual deviance covered up by craven coaches and administrators after the fact. Penn State distills this combination of amorality and immorality into one sloppy supersized turducken. WE ARE–THE APOTHEOSIS OF THIS SICKNESS!

Wells Fargo, though? Nobody fucking worships a bank. Wells Fargo is a part of this nation’s glorious frontier stagecoach history and shit like that, but few Wild West history buffs are immoral or stupid enough to use its history as a leading financial institution on the frontier (itself more scandalous than is generally discussed in polite company) as an excuse for its systemic fraud today. Again, only a handful of marginal weird people give a shit. The Pinkertons were a part of late nineteenth century US history, too. The NKVD was a part of Soviet history. Slave patrols were a part of Tidewater history. We do not preserve these vicious institutions just because they made the history books by being depraved decades or centuries ago. Well, okay, in the last case, it took a cell phone video to get Ben “Officer Slam” Fields fired as a school resource officer in South Carolina, so there’s that.

Everybody hates Wells Fargo. That’s good enough for government work. Its customers hate it. Its employees, increasingly disgruntled, hate it. Congress hates it, or at least keeps up appearances to that effect in the interest of staying employed. The general public, informed of its descent into ever deeper circles of fraud hell, hates it. If anyone can afford to lose a job without suffering extreme financial hardship, it’s someone like John Stumpf. Unless he’s gone full Stage Five Michael Jackson, he has hella money. He has connections to land new jobs, maybe even ones that will not put him in a position to orchestrate systemic fraud. He’ll be set up with $50,000 speaking gigs. I’d buy a house if I had that kind of cash on hand. So would many Americans.

Venerating a shitty, bottomfeeding bank that habitually scams its own customers isn’t the done thing. I have truly never heard of anyone doing such a thing. It’s plausible, but even Dov Seidman pulled it out of his ass, without the least shred of anecdotal evidence, and he’s doing PR for the crooks.

This country continues to have too little Scott Simon and too much NPR.

More Roseburg, in case you can possibly stand it

Within the last four hours, I’ve witnessed two white trash men walk to the door of their apartment in one of the nicer Section Eight-looking buildings, neither of them wearing shirts, even though it was already 11:30; a midget struggling with a stuffed full-sized Jansport school backpack and two plastic bag in front of a dumpster downtown; two mutually marginalizing men spending their late middle age in Starbucks discussing why men are so horny on Mars, women are so not really horny on Venus, why can’t pills somehow be used to sterilize horny boys in furtherance of a coming utopia, and how, no homo, men can be socially attracted to other men; and a less disturbed older lady telling her husband, gentleman friend, or hell if I know what the fuck how much she enjoys watching Chicago Fire. I’m still overhearing bits of the homoerotic coffeehouse realtalk, so stand by for updates in case there are some.

As Chief Boden always says, leaders lead from the front, and followers watch a black Englishman and an Australian ginger whose family back home are mostly nativist surgeons pretend to be stationhouse commanders in the Chicago Fire Department. #TheMoreYouKnow, of course. The relationship between Chicago Fire, mass ennui, and television viewers whose calling is to do something more with their lives than watch trashy, violent first-responder/second-city-themed soap operas all night is a sad and troubled one, so of course there are Roseburgers who can’t think of anything better to do than to keep watching that shit. We can’t all be above average, Keillor. Because there’s winners, and there’s losers, and that ain’t nothing but a huge fucking big deal in a country that treats its losers as badly as America does, you dumb Hoosier honky cat. John Mellencamp did go on Fresh Air to call the agent who furtively rechristened him Cougar a shyster, verbatim, so I was taking an equally indecent liberty with him above. Dude’s actually pretty woke. His audience may not catch the nuances, though, kind of like Ronald Reagan culturally appropriating Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” as an anthem of earnest patriotism.

(Live update: the no homo realtalk convention just broke up. The last comments I heard were “Jesse Ventura” and some references to what sounded like conspiracy theories about why Jesse Ventura’s sparse public appearances and/or mental state. We will now resume our regularly scheduled deprogramming.)

Roseburg is a loser sump. There are far too many seedy residential motels here for a city of not much over 20,000. One of them has a sign up saying that it rents rooms for as little as $125 a week. This country badly needs more cheap flexible-stay lodging. It also badly needs less of the sort of frighteningly degraded lodging stock that rents out for $125 a week, or close to double that in other rural counties on the West Coast. Some of these properties by their very condition declare, “You’re gonna like the way your car looks when it gets burgled. I guarantee it.” The decent and halfway-decent hotels here aren’t exactly cheap, either, so this is a great place to get screwed into a hole good and hard.

There’s no structural need to concentrate all the trashies, ex-cons, long-term unemployed, and other losers in one or two neighborhoods where there are hardly any middle-class eyes on the street. Then again, inexorable structural or socioeconomic realities are never what inspire the revolt of the elites. That’s just crude group selfishness acted out at the class level by the middle and upper classes. Christopher Lasch focused far too narrowly on the upper echelons in the cosmopolitan urban power centers. If the struggling lower parts of the middle class were inspired to identify with the lower classes, the precariat, and the down-and-out instead of with more secure upper-middles and affluenza sufferers who discreetly hold them in extreme contempt as unmotivated losers who fully deserve to serve as the hosts for their moral and financial parasitism, the homelessness problem would be a shadow of what it is today. The consensus would be that there but for the grace of God go we all, so public policy must be oriented to meet the basic needs of those who have fallen on hard times before it is redirected to further aggrandize the already affluent. Instead, we have a moral panic over opiate addiction, whose shorthand version tends to entrench the defamation of the homeless as a bunch of habitually irresponsible substance abusers. Never mind that public money is regularly handed out like Halloween candy to a rogue’s gallery of extremely wealthy and powerful special interests, why should a much smaller fraction of our hard-earned tax dollars be wasted on two-bit thieving local yokels who are always high on drugs?

The problem with the poor is always that they won’t get with the program. They drink too much. They smoke too much. They fuck too much. They eat too much junk food. They didn’t stay in school. Muh STEM. They’re obviously a basket of deplorables anyway. In the lower-middle class parts of Roseburg (e.g., the Green District), I came across several modest but striving nondenominational churches. The program that the poors around here won’t get with seems to include low church. Or, as they frame the argument in mainstream Republican circles, Ted Cruz and Rod Dreher go to church, so why the “Hell” don’t you? Get it? Snork snork.

Of course Christianity in places as constitutionally ugly as the inequitably misgoverned parts of the United States gets corrupted by politics to very profane ends. Can I get an Ephesians 3:20 amen to that, Pastor Joel? Amen. Amen. A-eheheheheh-mehehehehehen.

Take me to church. I’ll worship like a dog in the–shit, never mind, wrong kind of church. It’s like trying to go to mass and ending up at an altar call in front of a pickle barrel full of copperheads. Ireland today is unchurched enough to legalize same-sex marriage by a supermajority in a plebiscite and to give the world the singer-songwriter of some of the most eerily, irresistibly evocative secular music consciously exploring themes of irreverence and idolatry. Ireland yesterday was churched enough for the enforcement of peasant superstitions and the punishment of those (especially women) who had attracted the attention of its village gossips (also women? do bitches be snitches? #LeanIn #ImWithHer) by means of overbearing establishmentarian positive law. Hozier may not need hard drugs to be disturbed, but the drugs sure helped Jefferson Airplane.

The gosh-darn blasphemous secular music is reason enough to make your kids listen to K-Love instead. But have you ever listened to K-Love? As the unchurched kids say these days, gawd. They could play the Taylor Grocery Band from time to time (no, not the murder ballads), but that must not be shitty enough, either as music or as theology.

Moral panics over the corrupting influence of satanic music ignore questions of Christian ministry, including who will minister to the midgets downtown. Or, in this case, maybe just midget singular. Hell of a place to come across one within 24 hours of rolling into town, though. Are we our brothers’ keepers? Who am I kidding? This is America. Ain’t that. You and me, but mainly just me, because it’s easier to be a self-dealing narcissist when other people aren’t allowed to get in the way by asking for help.

According to television, the Las Vegas Strip has a community of lay midgets and dwarves that the police call in to minister to other midgets and dwarves who may be in danger of smallsploitation and/or annoying the fullsized and supersized by exploiting their own smallness for somewhat bigger money. Small measures for little people, sometimes featuring Wee Man. Social services in Vegas suck ass, of course, so this is probably just a case of deputies having the nearest do-gooder civilian on call relieve them of their duties but not their powers.

No, I was never trying to imply that my own television viewing habits are reputable.

If God’s favor is somehow upon this valley, I’d hate to see God’s disfavor. Nothing holy to see here, folks; might as well get back on the Interstate, probably.

Roseburg

Its native son physician who became the governor shacked up with the pretty social climber who turned out to have been involved in a sham marriage to an Ethiopian gentleman who was interested in obtaining a Green Card. The governor then got into trouble because his new squeeze had NOT fucked the Abyssinian, and they both got into worse trouble on account of the no-bid state contracts that had the governor had awarded to his cohabitant, provoking the inauguration of the state’s first openly bisexual governor. Meanwhile, back home, the dual-national mulatto misfit with the decidedly highbrow English hyphenated surname and the decidedly less highbrow county seat tenement accommodations with his mother got a bit weirder than usual and shot up the community college that was attended by one of the three guys who had been awarded the Legion of Honor for bumrushing the allahu akbar Colin Ferguson wannabe on the fast train to Paris, while, in possibly unrelated news, his fellow train vigilante ended up in the UC Davis hospital for trying to stop an Elk Grove Cambodian bruiser from smacking his girlfriend around on a public street in Sacramento’s premier drinking district for rich white trash of all races.

One must say, Poirot, two out of three is not bad.

Why the fuck am I here, then? As they say on Facebook, it’s complicated. Much less complicated are the circumstances giving rise to the alarmingly high density of seedy cryptoresidential motels around here. That can be explained by a combination of “not enough public housing,” “dey took err jerbs,” and, “yeah, but yinz also took all your own trees, geniuses.” Douglas County is notable among Oregon counties for having pissing matches with the federal government over the flow of railroad/forestry/not enough forestry block grants from the imperial center to the rundown periphery. If Mama Sugar won’t give it up because non-White white people are harvesting the Indians’ ancestral forests as part of a baroque land-swap deal with the railroad system that the Florida venture capital outfit refused to repair and bring back into service because it was too busy extending credit to Michael Jackson for the ongoing operation of Neverland, maybe Mama Sugar can be induced to give it up because crackers are running flat out of trees and/or the cavalier extremist attitudes towards local wildlife that rednecks cultivate only when White white people won’t stop being maliciously cavalier about their livelihoods as provincial tradesmen. TL;DR: Peter DeFazio had better do something to hook a honky up with that sugar sweet right now, but only if local the administrative and business elites are allowed to waste it suitably so that excessive public services are not scandalously provided directly to no-account losers who didn’t stay in school, but no, that doesn’t mean we’ll vote for that tax-and-spend liberal bastard.

Okay, that wasn’t so much tl;dr as Wow Much Words. Shit.

In fairness, I’m writing this from one of the nicer parts of Roseburg, of which there are some, but this city sure seems to have a lot of shit housing stock for one of its size. I saw two skid row-looking cold homeless guys on the streets in Canyonville this afternoon just on my way to and from the rest area. One guy had a shopping cart full to its meniscus with the pile of his collected shitnits. Rural communities are not self-inoculating against urban pathologies. Say it again. Meditate upon it. Cherish this truth in your heart. Maybe it will inspire you to establish usable mass transit and put unemployed tradesmen back to work building decent housing for people who need decent housing.

Another day, another shithole that’s nowhere near any of the vaguely nearby shitholes that might be less shitty. Kyrie eleison on the road that we must travel–assuming that we have a car by which to travel it. Greyhound will bankrupt a cracker around here, but there’s little enough of it that the monopoly fares are basically a moot point anyway. I maintain escape plans in these places. Many who live in them genuinely cannot do anything of the sort. It’s just too difficult. But for the grace of God some of us have not joined them. By the sheer vicious gracelessness of this nation that loudly claims his most abundant blessings, sometimes with evidence but more often against it, any number of us might be thrown into that same pit against our will.

Why in all hell am I wandering into a discussion of free will, faith, and the chronic absenteeism from the troubled parts of his creation of a supposedly caring but all too transcendent God? I’m surrounded by half a dozen valleys and, dare I say, God only knows how many hills abundantly colonized by voters who can’t even define “small government” to exclude chronic aggressive dependency on the federal government, which is a form of big government.

You may not have expected to hear of things that make even less sense than the governor’s mistress-turned-fiancee’s Ethiopian sham husband and the troubled half-English mulatto who shot up one of the whitest, least immigrant towns in the Americas, but sometimes #TheMoreYouKnow, the less you understand. You probably didn’t expect any of this if you came here for Dubai Porta Potty or Pot-o-Shit Friend content, either, so some of you are hitting far above par on the course of life already.

May we all. Just don’t count on Garrison Keillor to pray for those of us who live in Deplorable Country.

It’s a terrible thing to lose your mind, or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is, and not just for Dan Quayle.

The Insurance Schmuck is attending a wedding doubleheader this weekend. The first wedding took place last night in Gatsbyland, the part of the Guyland that publicly defined the up-and-coming for all Americans, not just for those stuck on a big-ass pile of glacial debris. The second, ’cause it’s gonna be forever, or it’s gonna go down in flames, is gonna go down Wyomissing tonight. As another wiener who went to the Day School, and someone who has even driven around the Inner Circle, I’m sure I have mutual acquaintances with Taylor Swift, but I spend too much time scavenging deposit bottles out of trash cans to really give a shit. Frankly, Steely Dan’s old school sounds a lot less obnoxious than any of mine. There’s a single mansion on each of the four corners of the Inner Circle, and a mile or two away there’s Reading.

You know by now what this means: oh, my goodness, the front nine was great this morning, and by the way, Kwesi Millington for Sheriff. Urban Berks County ain’t integrable, folks. It just isn’t. It’s a two-bit Chicago with a pagoda, a place where, I swear I’m not kidding about this, it would take a generation or two of things that have not been happening in Reading to reintegrate the shanty Irish with the lace curtain Irish. Crackas be fucked. Niggas, too. Of all races.

The Insurance Schmuck flew to Denver a few weeks ago and shacked up in a four-star hotel downtown with a chick from Tucson, whom he had first met earlier that evening. This chick is now on the East Coast, acting as his date at the weddings. Depending on the company you keep, your insurance premiums may or may not have contributed to the funding of these trysts. As Michael O. Church wrote, a huge amount of wealth has congealed at the top of American society. This is kind of like the sticky shit that I often find congealed to the tops of Red Bull cans that I’m about to redeem, but not nearly as easy to wash off. The company provided these two with what the PUA community calls “logistics” at per diems an order of magnitude higher than I allow myself in the interest of not sleeping in my car so often, and this weekend this Hall and Oates rich girl got enough time off from her food service job and airfare money to dick around in the Mid-Atlantic with her new playboy.

Yes, these are unstable socioeconomics. If I don’t resent this arrangement, many other, worse-off Americans very surely will. Here comes that springtime for Robespierre feeling again.

You don’t mess with the man from Tuscon, but you do, I’ve been told, mess around with the girl from Tucson, and the polar bear does mess around with the mother of the man from Tucson. It’s been litigated. It got top billing on Popehat for months. Carreon, now wayward son, there’ll be piss when you are done. Tucson Chica is ethnically Dutch and Indonesian, but supposedly she was surprised when I mentioned in passing that the Netherlands had colonized Indonesia. I heard most of this from the Insurance Schmuck, who often enjoys exaggerating the ignorance of others, so there’s that. On the other hand, Tucson Chica was raised in Arizona, and if assimilating the children of immigrants into American culture means not teaching them anything about other countries, well–honestly, I don’t know how to assess that. We don’t want a nation of nerdy suckups aping Marco Werman all their lives, but at the same time, we screw ourselves over by being ignorant enough to believe anyone who says with a straight face that, say, Myuran Sukumaran is the president of Indonesia. A day or two after the Bali Nine and Friends executions, I met a BPD-ish woman on a train to Portland who said that she was planning to move to Bali. She hadn’t heard a thing about the Bali Nine, or the minus two part. Oops.

About the Dutch-Indonesian connection, which recently included the Indonesian government executing a Dutch national, the Insurance Schmuck told me, “They don’t teach that at the University of Arizona.” But that’s bullshit. They hardly teach history anywhere, except to students who affirmatively sign up for some. I’d forgotten about an international colonial history course I’d taken that had briefly discussed the Dutch colonization of Indonesia, so I erroneously told him that Dickinson doesn’t teach anything about Indonesia, either. Even so, that was just one course, and I’d read enough about Indonesia and the Netherlands in the time since to independently become familiar with the gist of their relationship. It’s kind of like knowing that Bruce Willis and Demi Moore used to be an item, if the US government were regularly giving Bruce Willis foreign military aid.

During my freshman year I was friends with an unfortunate dork of a girl who sometimes seemed to be the only other student on campus who had come for an education. She once complained to me that the orientation materials included nothing about cultural events or local libraries. What I realized at the time, but didn’t even want to consider too deeply myself, was that no one gave a shit about any of that. There was too much drinking and carousing to be done. An interest in the nominal purpose of Dickinson College, learning shit about the world, would have gotten in the way of showboating for long-term socioeconomic advantage. On the other hand, doing assigned reading and writing assignments got in the way of my learning how to write. I don’t know what the fuck the purpose of college is. I failed by graduating with a half-assed casual dating history and no romantic prospects anywhere on the horizon. Many of my schoolmates failed by never learning anything about other countries, or about their own. For a liberal arts college, Dickinson has a large and vigorous “What is Aleppo?” constituency. Communications departments at Penn State and (these are separate; don’t ask why) Pennsylvania’s state schools are even worse. But then the graduates of highbrow schools like Dickinson lump all alumni from all nominally inferior schools together with the communications majors, who actually are dumber than dried-out horseshit. The result is structural prejudice and discrimination, but don’t worry, these terms are defined narrowly enough not to break the wrong high-end rice bowls.

Being educated must be less satisfying than bragging about being educated. What’s dismaying about the ignorance of liberal arts graduates from expensive, highly-ranked schools isn’t just that they can be pig-ignorant, but that they don’t know what they don’t know and don’t care. It’s rare to hear the stirrings of a Jojo Johansson-style shit, I can’t put a finger on it, but something about what Coach just said doesn’t sound quite right. And of course they’ve had the humility, if they had any in the first place, drilled out of them. This is how a society ends up with bitter dipshits like Adam Gellin haphazardly carrying the torch of scholarship and Hoyt Thorpe thinking he’s the next Patton for punching out a Manuel Ramos wannabe from the California Highway Patrol in a five-minute street fight. Slaves, priests, warriors: what the fuck else is left?

It’s okay to make fun of the uneducated when they puff themselves up with delusions of education and assertions of good breeding. The guy I worked with at Hersheypark who was pretty sure he’d seen “the mayor of Virginia” didn’t have any pretensions of education. “He’s called the ‘governor.’ Virginia is a state. It has a governor, not a mayor.” “Whatever.” Really, there’s something refreshing about dealing with the honestly uneducated. Some of them even give a shit about learning, but just haven’t done much of it yet. I know people from Dickinson who know less about more subjects than Sam Cooke ever professed not to know. Many of them assume that they’re qualified to rule the world because they went to a good college. A college, even, that is crushing F&M.

As always, go Diplomats!

An overproduction of elites so abundantly deplorable that a single basket won’t contain it all

Liberalism gets such a bad rap because its public face is a bunch of supercilious, sniveling, passive-aggressive, holier-than-thou, easily butthurt, schoolmarmish shitheads who insist that it’s their meritocratic due to permanently rule their inferiors,  i.e., everyone else. Limousine liberals, we might call them, although John Lindsay, being merely high-minded and maybe a bit out of touch, never held a candle to them for reprehensible public attitudes.

It’s no wonder, if you think about it, that these fuckheads are so enamored of Uber. Uber is a car service for arrivistes, including ones who haven’t yet arrived. To understand its socioeconomics, it’s crucial to understand it as a car service in every possible negative sense of the classic Upper East Side car service and then some. Like a “parker, fetch the car; we mustn’t be late to Oyster Bay” car service, it forces its employees to maintain unwaveringly deferential manners before their clients in the hope of not being fired for some trifling perceived slip of rudeness or insubordination. Cabbies are subject to nothing of the sort. Their dispatchers figure that a stuck-up, whiny bitch can ask for a different one next time if she found it so intolerable to ride with a fellow who’s a bit uncouth around the edges. Even black limo drivers in established business relationships with reasonable clients can let their guard down because they know they aren’t dealing with assholes who get their jollies from pushing the poors around. Uber drivers cannot. They have no idea from fare to fare whether they’ll be given a B for customer service and “deactivitated”–or, as normal people say, fired.

Maintain at least a 3.6 GPA or you’re gone. We aren’t talking about the exacting degree of precision and attention that a surgeon needs to make all the correct cuts and none of the wrong cuts, which might be permanently ruinous for the patient. We aren’t even talking about the attention an engineer needs not to Robert Sanchez his train around a curve into the rear end of another train. We’re talking about jitney cabbies who fail to be total customer service rockstars for privileged passengers who feel enfranchised for being able to rate them in instant electronic surveys.

Hey there, girl buddy friend, name’s Kroeger. Get in the shower, cuz you’re gonna get fucked.

Of course this yuppie scum has lined up behind one of the scummiest yuppies ever to seek the presidency. She uses her own credentialing and work ethic as cudgels against those she presumes less educated and lazier. She ran the meritocratic race and won it. She poured her blood, sweat, and tears into the yuppie rat race. How can this blowhard who has never held elected office show up, outmaneuver her to the left as the nominee of a right-wing party, and actually get support from labor constituencies that were her party’s within her own lifetime?

They must be bigots. They must all be bigots.

It can’t be that Hillary and her yuppie horde treat the poor like shit. It can’t be that they act like they want the poor to suffer and die silently, away from them, after they’ve been certified as useless to the talented tenth. It can’t be that they constantly make fun of the uneducated, the unemployed, the unsuccessful. It can’t be that they arrogantly assume the lockstep support of black voters in one breath and smear poor white voters, whose socioeconomic circumstances are closer to the black mainstream than the bourgeois white mainstream, in the next. It can’t be that the Democratic Party has spent two generations selling out the poor and the Republican Party has an outsider presidential nominee who is promising to withdraw from international trade deals that have beggared entire industrial communities. No, it has to be that they adhere to bigotries that BoBo virtue-signalers have rebuked and, in the old Vatican tradition, Indexed.

I have two longtime Hillary partisans in my Facebook feed, both of them frankly embarrassments to the Democratic Party, although the Party as currently constituted is too dense and self-regarding to tell. Both are Jews, and not credits to the Tribe, Lawrence and (((otherwise))). I’m always afraid that one or both of them will start complaining about antisemitism that isn’t there, because they’re already upset about the sort of phantom misogyny that keeps bringing the Democratic Party deeper and deeper into popular discredit. They’re outer party members of exactly the faction that takes David Duke seriously as a threat, rather than as a ridiculous D-List gadfly for appropriating academic activist language to praise “European-Americans” on NPR. I’m Jewish enough to potentially catch the downsides of antisemitism, and in the interest of self-preservation and the welfare of my relatives I have an ear to the ground for antisemitism that materially threatens the communal welfare of Jews, so, no, I do not feel any shame in rebuking striving money Jews, and no, I do not consider it antisemitic to call a couple of specific assholes who started giving me the hairy eyeball long before I said a bad word about them striving money Jews. Calling Bernie Sanders an uppity kike would be antisemitic, but I reregistered as a Democrat and voted for him.

Money Jews for Clinton is a real movement, if one that tries to work quietly. Bernie and Debbie are (((not on such cordial terms lately))), as some of you have surely heard. As with much of her campaign, Hillary halfheartedly copied a reasonable position taken by her opponent–in this case, that it’s wrong to associate with scandal-plagued machine politicians–without actually reforming a damned thing.

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The things I hear from my own Money Jews for Clinton on Facebook, and not just about Clinton, are obnoxious. One of them posted a comment about how she had often been accused of being “aggressive” for behavior that would have gotten a man labeled as “passionate.” I might have believed her if I hadn’t known her to be pushy, self-serious, and censorious in college, and if she weren’t trying to shape public policy today with a mindset that I doubt has improved significantly. I don’t appreciate it when men behave that way, either. This has nothing to do with not liking women who are confident, assertive, or witty. I don’t seek out dumbass bimbos. Some women, though, are just obnoxious. They seem to do the lion’s share of the complaining about sexism, which by their reckoning is always directed at women and never at men, never mind that bitch I’m the one who’s sleeping in his car.

And just look at the standard bearer, pictured above, whom they’ve finally elevated to the Democratic Party presidential nomination, eight years after Barack Obama’s disappointing failure to be assassinated in Kennedyesque fashion before the primaries had been concluded. Criticizing this yuppie ur-shrew is sexist. Not wanting her to become president because she’s articulably disqualified on moral grounds is sexist. How can these male chauvinist pigs stand in the way of the first female President of the United States? Rebuking her for the moral parasitism of her foul-mouthed screaming fits at and around male Secret Service agents in her protective detail is sexist. They have male privilege, so they don’t need anyone’s sympathy just because they’re paid mediocre salaries for a job demanding extreme vigilance and a willingness to put their lives on the line to protect someone who has repeatedly been accused of screaming bloody murder at the help. Sympathizing with female Secret Service agents detailed to the prospective first woman president is equally misogynistic. It isn’t about their T&A; it’s about Hillary’s. They’re the help, too. So are Julia Pearson and “Father Joe” Clancy. Mediocrities who commanded a troubled law enforcement agency but haven’t been accused of repeatedly yelling at subordinates for no good reason just don’t have that wonky presidential qualification thing in their favor. They just didn’t pay their dues in the proper institutions. Sucks to be them. See ya! Wouldn’t wanna BE ya!

Low morale at the Secret Service didn’t just happen. Having to guard the likes of the Clintons, instead of, say, the Roosevelts or the Trumans or the Eisenhowers, can’t be good for morale.

The other money Jew for Clinton whom I mentioned above is a dorky lawyer who posts tendentious lectures on Facebook who posts tendentious lectures on Facebook about how Hillary is obviously the most qualified candidate for the presidency. In one of these, he noted that although we’re all free to vote as we see fit, voting for a candidate other than Clinton might result in the election of Donald Trump. No shit, Dr. Madonna. I had no idea that voting against one of the major-party candidates in an effectively two-party system might result in the election of the other major-party candidate. You don’t fucking say.

What annoyed me about this dude’s lecture was his assumption that his entire audience was horrified by Trump. The more I hear of that kind of condescending warning about the possibility that a vote against Hillary might elevate Trump, the more I want to vote for Trump. The philosophy of lesser evils cuts both ways. I’ve consistently found Trump less frightening than Clinton. This is in spite of all the credible stories of scandal involving Trump, especially his business dealings. He’s running against a family political machine that has had an aura of scandal about it for the entire quarter century that it’s been operating nationally. Worse, the current public principal of this machine sounds temperamentally unfit to hold any power whatsoever due to the screaming fits, is implicated in public corruption involving foreign governments and robber barons as Secretary of State, mishandled classified information on an illicit private computer server for the apparent purpose of obstructing public records requests, appears to have intimidated or corrupted federal law enforcement agencies investigating her conduct as Secretary of State, and appears to be falling into rapidly worsening physical health while her aides cover for her.

It takes a lot for the opponent of someone so compromised to be even more objectionable. I can’t count out the possibility that Trump is somehow even worse, but I have not been convinced that he is. The stories I’ve seen about his off-camera behavior suggest that his rudeness in public is mainly a persona for the press. Trump apparently wants the public to think he’s ruder and rougher than he actually is. Hillary clearly wants to cultivate the opposite reputation. She’s a coarse shrew who wants to be regarded as the cultured, well-mannered lady that, time and time again, in forum after forum, she has shown she is not.

If there’s one party I want to punish this year, it’s the Democrats, not the Republicans. The partiality and fraud of Democratic Party officials helped Clinton beat Sanders in the primaries. The Clintons didn’t let their campaign rest on their vile smears of Sanders and his base. We now have a casually subversive neoliberal grifter catfishing as a leftist after beating back the strongest leftist candidate in generations with a barrage of sleazy false accusations of bigotry. The Clinton machine helped circulate a viral quip about how Anthony Weiner is proof that they don’t have their enemies murdered. What they didn’t explain is how keeping such a sorry loser around as a foil and a target for their unearned magnanimity doesn’t make the Clintons look good by comparison, or why the Clintons keep being accused of assassinating their enemies. Why do they, of all political families, inspire that gut reaction in so many people and keep becoming the subject of assassination conspiracy theories? It’s worth asking what it is about them that leads so many people to believe that they have their enemies whacked. It’s categorically true that Bill had Ricky Ray Rector killed for political advantage, so the precedent has been set. These aren’t petty questions of appearances. This isn’t Tricky Dick looking like crap on television and allowing Broad-Bangin’ Jack’s video vigor to kill his radio star.

And, yes, there are elements of the Democratic base that I relish punishing. I do not cherish the talented tenth shitheads who have taken the party over and alienated a critical mass of the less affluent, turning them into a combination of Republicans and eligible non-voters. I never asked these fuckwads to crash the Democratic Party and drive the left out so that Republican extremists could fill the resulting power vacuum. Their will to power has grotesquely distorted political alignments in the United States, with a number of disastrous results. Sanders tried to restore the pre-Clinton alignment in a manner that I strongly supported and fully trusted, by pulling the Democratic Party to the left. Trump has begun a political realignment by establishing a populist base in the Republican Party, a move that I don’t trust nearly as much and one that few observers expected until he pulled it off. The GOP now contains a strong left-labor base in addition to its traditional stomach-turning mishmash of religious busybodies, tyrannical local elites, and other assorted reactionary creeps. It’s a bizarre political home for the labor left, but when the Democratic Party has been taken over by the Clinton machine and a Republican candidate has won the presidential nomination after appealing to trade unionists with calls to roll back neoliberal attacks on labor, it’s close to inevitable.

There’s no fully controlling for bigotry as a variable in Trump’s success. There’s no way to crack open the minds of whole electorates and determine whether they were taken by his smears of racial and religious minorities or by the sense that he would restore American manufacturing by cracking down on unfettered offshoring and illegal immigration of scab labor. By the same token, though, there’s no controlling for bourgeois class bigotry as a variable in Clinton’s support. She dog-whistled like mad at poor whiteys when she ran against Barack Obama in 2008, so this is just the latest Clintonian chameleon stunt. Back then Hillary catfished as just another working-class broad; this time, she’s the scandalized schoolmarm ragging on the class clown.

And we don’t have a very good idea of how Bernie Sanders, who did not and does not catfish or dogwhistle, would do among Trump’s current supporters in a general election because Hillary and her machine successfully did him dirty in the primaries. Trump beat out multiple warring establishment factions in his primary; Sanders lost to a single ruthless, monomaniacally focused political machine whose only other competition was a handful of dark horses who never got any traction. As things stand now, the more credible major-party populist is a blowhard who consorts with internet trolls and white supremacists. This makes it easier for Democrats to slur the labor unionists in Trump’s base as a bunch of bigots. Back when Sanders was still in the race, the polls had him doing better than Clinton in a hypothetical general election against Trump, but he’s out of the running now.

It’s pretty clear, though, that the Clintons and their ilk are perfectly happy siloing the remnants of the industrial labor left into a movement teeming with uncouth extremists. It’s easier than having to deal with them as an enduring part of the Democratic base.

I have to wonder what exactly the bourgeois supremacists find so objectionable about Trump and his campaign. Are they actually triggered by Pepe memes? Are they afraid that the sans-culottes will rise up and deplorably put their heads in wicker baskets? If so, why? Are they worried that they’ll have to do more actual work for a living if surplus wealth is redistributed back to those doing the actual production instead of credentialed bullshit artists? I know better by now than to take their assertions at face value, so I’m at something of a loss as to what really motivates their politics. Many of them can hardly face their own motivations. The hypocrisy needed to be nominally on the left while pursuing the yuppie project has to be seen to be imagined.

I do, however, know that a great many of these same yuppies harbor ugly feelings towards me for not getting with their program. I deeply resent them for taking such a sick stance and frankly love the idea of upsetting them by voting for a populist who is running against their unbelievably untrustworthy candidate. These people deserve a rebuke from the losers whose immiseration they have spent decades justifying. They deserve that backsass. Yes, Virginia, there is an educated Trump supporter writing this essay. Yes, it’s possible to be educated and vote for a twit whom the more ostentatiously educated hate.

Nice basket there; shame if I stuffed a bunch of you into it. Nice unexplained illnesses the Clintons have, for that matter; shame they always look so terminally ill.

It isn’t always the people you expect to piss in a bucket who piss in a bucket

Let’s hear an Ellis Act story from San Francisco. We built this city on rock and roll your black ass out of Hunters Point to make way for a Shipyard (TM) full of Visionaries (TM). As a friend of my parents said, “The problem with Hunters Point is that it evokes the Negroes.” As the old hood has gotten more expensive, its, shall we say, local color has moved east–quite a bit east in the case of O. J. Simpson–and been replaced by the kind of recent arrivals who–Millington, they’re throwing furniture again, so grab your harpoon, have Rundel grab his net, and see if you friends can’t catch something.

That’s more than the Shipyard crowd knows about fishing, shipyards, or Canucks who should have done more with fish and less with horses. One if by land, two if by sea, and two and a half years for perjury if by air. These cool change bayside poseurs make Christopher Cross sound like John Paul Jones. They consider themselves visionaries for buying into the hip new thing, not for envisioning how the Juice might have cause to stop by with some associates and tell them to give him back his fucking neighborhood. Yes, he’s from a bit up the hill, but Whitey and the Very High Yellows have been running the Community out of Potrero Hill, too.

And everyone else who isn’t orenthally rich. The really problematic thing about Hunters Point is that it’s a historically poor neighborhood. If the housing market keeps going the way it’s been going, the developers will try to gentrify the Tenderloin, too. God knows how they’ll try to rebrand it, but they’ll come up with something suitably ridiculous. If they need to find a way to pretend that a neighborhood isn’t renowned for its al fresco crackheads, they’ll find one. In the decreasingly black southeast, the main thing they have to elide is some unvisionarily poor people. Or, as Cheryl Crow puts it, I’m gonna tell everyone to lighten up.

Our family friend is of a shade that soaks up all too much of the sun all too quickly, but this hasn’t stopped her from pissing in a bucket. Neither has an extremely stable rental history dating back four decades, more than two of them in the same apartment. Her landlord decided that it was time to ditch the rent-controlled poories already, so he gave them notice and put their rather white asses out on the street. Rooted, mixed-income, cohesive communities with sub-Dov Charney levels of wankery are a fucking buzzkill, man. Our friend had locked in her very modest little corner of the City at a price that didn’t bankrupt her, back in the late 28 Barbary Lane days. Like most San Franciscans, and like the socioeconomic mainstream everywhere, she can’t afford to start over at market prices today. She indicated, although I can’t recall exactly how, that her landlord is a decent enough person who had gotten himself screwed over by the same market.

When she was evicted, our friend had already been renting commercial space for some side gigs, so she moved in there and learned some of the neat microwave cooking and dorm fridge storage techniques that, because life is an experience of pain, suffering, and injustice, we more often hear of from hipster shitheads. This commercial space is down by the waterfront, because she’s still a contendah, Brando. It doesn’t have flush toilets, though, just a portapotty. Hence the little piss bucket. It’s a way not to have to go out to the shitter so often in the dark of night. Nurses get paid to take the piss in little plastic containers, but this bucket offers the same opportunity to observe urine volumes per hour, which I’d feel like a real chode for tracking for less than $20 an hour.

The telling thing is that our friend is nothing like Psychotarp, Mixups in my Mind, Lady Pisspan, or Pot-o-Shit Friend. She couldn’t be more different from those losers. She’s lucid, competent, and very stably employed. She confidently calls bullshit on slumlords. She doesn’t see the Catholics, the Methodists, and the Freemasons entering into baroque conspiracies against her.

None of this has stopped her from peeing in a bucket. The housing market in the Bay Area today is a piss-in-a-bucket market. Our friend has said that the Mid-Peninsula is turning into Calcutta. It’s turning into Victorian London, too. Market forces are making it impossible to house the workforce that keeps anything from Mountain View to the Presidio in minimal working order without a combination of illegal hotbunking nightmares and servants living in the basement. The behavior of the wealthy and the extremely affluent in the housing market is so grotesque that the lower 80% can’t make rent and live decently. Capital has been diverted so fully from the dull-normal housing market into the luxury market that thirty-year residents with full-time employment and salaries in the high five figures have trouble maintaining access to flush toilets. The price of some dot-com fuckhead’s bespoke kitchen and juice bar downstairs is some sorry bastard shitting in a gutter, like a dog. The local electorate treats its dogs better than its neighbors. It is not its brother’s keeper. This is probably because brothers talk back and animal children don’t.

Woof woof. I lives here. Can I come in?

A few years ago, I saw a sign in a BART elevator, at Embarcadero, I think, warning vagrants that the BART Police would arrest them if they were caught urinating or defecating in the elevators. Someone, one of my heroes, had scribbled an annotation underneath: “And Pee on U!” Just today I saw a permanent embossed sign nailed to a wall in the Stockton Tunnel asking passersby to please “respect San Francisco” by relieving themselves somewhere appropriate, along with a warning that urinating on public or private property without permission is a misdemeanor. I have yet to see signs asking people to respect San Francisco by not operating illegal taxi and hotel services within the city limits. That would be problematic.

I should go back sometime and take a picture of that bullshit sign. I’ll know that times are tough if that freaky bitch is still tweaking out on the staircase. San Francisco has been notoriously short on public toilets for decades, and the city’s policy solution is to nail a sign to the wall of a dingy tunnel lecturing vagrants and drunks about proper toileting etiquette, including permission to relieve themselves.

Pursuant to Brandenburg v. Ohio, you all have my permission, retroactive to the inauguration of Ed Lee, to relieve yourselves in any fashion you find expedient on any San Francisco Police Department vehicle and on any public or private property within the San Francisco city limits that has been provided for the use of public figures including but not limited to Mayor Lee, Toney Chaplin (shit flows uphill, too, Chief; it goes with the commission), Travis Kalanick, Peter Thiel, Peter Shih, Dianne Feinstein, and Nancy Pelosi. Defecating on their desks is a civic mitzvah. It is the deed of the Visionary (TM). Feel free to share my vision. If my faith inspires your works, we are surely doing some measure of what we were put on this earth to doo.

What, that sounds gross? Go take a look around the Tenderloin and report back to me. You may not know anyone who shits in a trash can, but I knew a guy who shat in a trash can on property where I’m invested. It isn’t just a San Francisco thing. Being stably middle-class and pissing in a bucket while not hospitalized, though, is San Francisco as fuck. That’s what happens when the lights go down in the shitty.

No, my being homeless is not about what precious third parties think about my being homeless

No, I  will not put myself in my parents’ shoes and try to imagine how worried they are about my sleeping at rest areas. That’s irrelevant. They aren’t the ones living like that; I am. Frankly their feelings don’t fucking matter. I’m trying to keep myself as safe and healthy as possible as inexpensively as possible. Catering to the feels of retired yuppies is not on the agenda. Ain’t happenin’, cracka.

I’m not the one who tried to make it personal. Not in the past year or two, anyway. That’s the doing of Boomers who worry about my achievement and its reflection on them. I should be doing something with my intellect, they say. When I propose using my intellect to file a pro se police complaint against Joe Dirtbag, though, suddenly I’m scaring them. I’m not assertive enough, but asserting my right to ask Porky to crack down on fraud and white trash belligerence against me is super problematic. It would upset people. As does my homelessness, which Joe Dirtbag provoked. I still think he was on the verge if battering me the day I walked out on him and the Family Shrew. It’s nothing I’d be too embarrassed to tell a cop. I’ll tell the Sheriff himself if he asks. I’ve never had an Oregon cop act like he’d throw me into a wall in a fit of inexplicable anger. The Man doesn’t treat me like that in Oregon, white boy. Blood may be thicker than water, but it has jack shit on 911. Jim Croce, pray for us. And for Glen Campbell, I guess.

That, you see, is a bridge too far in worrying about my welfare. Helping me stand up to a relative so predatory that I often consider highway rest areas a refuge from him would require too much moral courage. If others want to be moral cowards before the guy who drove me into warm homelessness, that’s their problem. If they insist that I share their moral cowardice no matter what he does to me, that’s my problem, and I’ll make it a police problem the moment I feel the need for a cop. Bitches get snitches, dawg.

That’s what a self-confident Millennial generation looks like. Of course the Boomers don’t want that. Scamming adults who act like adults is a pain in the ass. They’ve purposely cultivated us to be a more compliant market for their cons.

Oh , yeah, I also get to be homeless in California, my first home state, since my parents offered to cosign on an apartment for me only in Oregon, so that the relative I’d already accused of extreme emotional abuse and erratic behavior could more readily act in loco parentis for me. As PJ O’Rourke’s slow friend from Anacostia told the cops with the warrant out for his arrest, “I lives here. Can I come in?” When I ask this of the California state government, the answer is yes.

Trying to explain this shit to current or diaspora Palo Altans who would rather make homelessness go away by not thinking about it can be excruciating. Ramos and Cicinelli I can avoid easily enough. I know where to find cops who don’t freak out over the homeless should I have a use for one. Dion Joseph might find me TOO normal. My trouble is with the civilian affluent. They’re the ones who turn Maslow’s hierarchy of needs upside down for my edification. Why should I have to explain to psychologists and psychiatrists that a self-actualized career is higher on the pyramid than not a not totally chaotic shelter arrangement and a piece of ass now and then? If they reserved their psychology for people who need some damn psychology, they might not be so worried about the very desultory underachievement of their failspawn. Inpatient care for Robert Dziekanski and Kajieme Powell must not be as lucrative. They certainly aren’t around to, shall we say, communicate the new life it created for them.

It would be gauche of me to ask one of my affluent to buy me a cheap house in some ass end of my state. But we homeless get by by being gauche. My homeless vet buddy straight-up asks strangers for money. I pull deposit bottles out of trash cans, as straight up as the bin design will allow. Depending on how fed up I become with Kaiser, I may start flying my own sign about Obamacare and my findom relationship with it. With more money to spare, one can afford to be more precious and proper about filthy petty lucre.

I’m pretty sure I know people who wish the homeless were all crazy or retarded enough for Dion Joseph. That way they wouldn’t have to listen to the lucid homeless articulate the articulable. Backsass is a bitch, but Backsass bitch many of my fellow Americans richly deserve to be. They’ve been asking for it, and when I’m annoyed with this shit as I am now, my word is my bond that they will get some around here.