The moment Trump lost me


As the nasty women say, #ImWithHer. Of course, it depends on what the meaning of “her” is. If you consider Jill Stein and Loretta Sanchez the wrong hers, feminism isn’t really your motivation. If you have a problem with my refusing to vote for the right her, fuck you. Remember, I lives here. Can I come in.

In the end, Trump didn’t lose my vote with his “nasty woman” and “bad hombres” comments, which were just more trash talk from a leading public vulgarian, or even with his petulant threat not to respect the outcome of an adverse electoral result, which, if he followed through with it, would provoke a powerful backlash from all the establishment constituencies he’s spent his campaign alienating to hell.

The moment he actually blew it with me was one that, to my knowledge, got absolutely no mainstream press coverage. In the course of carrying on about his yuge Great Wall and its prospective magnificence, he said that the wall needed to be built to stop the heroin from coming in and killing all the decent Americans’ troubled loved ones in forgotten parts of America. I, of course, paraphrased this more eloquently and credibly than Trump himself did. His own formulation was basically, and I paraphrase more closely this time, that we have deadly drugs in this country because we haven’t secured our entire land border with Mexico.

I found these comments especially worrisome and unacceptable in a candidate for high office precisely because Trump did not appear to be cynically pandering to hysterical nitwits. He apparently believed his own bullshit. These junkies’ survivors in deteriorating parts of New Hampshire are not actually his people–that much was pandering on his part–but Trump sounded like he actually believed it feasible to put an end to fatal opiate overdoses by securing the currently unsecured portions of a single land border.

This is total nonsense. The US-Mexico land border is not an indispensable smuggling route for the US drug market. It doesn’t even come close. Walling the border will do nothing to scale up inspections at ports of entry along its length, which are spotty. CBP officers are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of passenger and cargo traffic. The sensible ones among them give up on trying to hold back that river in the hope of being alert enough to interdict serious threats to the country. A few dangerous zealots try to take up their slack, trampling on due process and human decency in the course of their personal wars on drugs. Others are corrupt enough to take payoffs from smugglers to allow drug shipments through unmolested. These crooks stir up moral panics whenever they’re arrested for public corruption, but few of them are fundamentally dangerous to anyone: they’re glad to let mere drugs through for a toll, but it’s extremely unlikely that any of them are desperate or psychopathic enough to act positively on bribes to approve shipments of black-market anthrax, sarin, or plutonium. They know that the drugs are mainly sickening and killing Americans who have already made the personal decision, against their better judgment, to use hard drugs.

Securing the aboveground land border will do nothing to secure it underground. Whenever one private subway line into Otay Mesa is discovered and shut down, the cartels build another one. Militarizing a border zone some miles wide, on the assumption (probably far too optimistic) that the cartels would be unable to extend their tunnels an equal number of miles, would be politically impossible. The business lobbies would shit a brick if its members were forced to relocate all their warehouses from a new no-man’s-land worthy of North Korea. Congress, led by local representatives and senators, would nix any plan to relocate long-established residential neighborhoods including San Ysidro and downtown El Paso. Everyone with a stake in the matter would go up in arms, maybe just figuratively, at the prospect of moving suburban retail districts catering to middle-class Mexican shoppers out of a militarized border zone. The whole point of the outlets in San Ysidro is that they’re just an S-curve and a border checkpoint away from Tijuana. NAFTA or no NAFTA, there’s just too much trade to be conducted. No one’s going to stop trading American grain for Mexican citrus and avocados, for example. That shit is crossing the frontier one way or another.

The tunnels are a cat-and-mouse game, or more aptly a cat-and-rat game involving Joe Dirtbag’s not-so-work-ethical farm cats and the overfed, hella R-strategic rat colony they stalk only from time to time. CBP and the Border Patrol are basically forced to wait for the latest phone call from some annoyed property manager that the cartels just bored the third portal into his warehouse in as many quarters. That’s an unwinnable three-dimensional game when it’s being played by Vaisya border agents and Dalit warehouse workers against global elite international drug syndicates.

Something else worth mentioning about cross-border smuggling is that gun running is a huge problem, but one overwhelmingly affecting Mexico, not the United States. The US has a patchwork of generally lax gun control laws, with the federal government allowing state and local governments to permit the lawful sale and possession of everything up through light anti-aircraft artillery (e.g., 50 caliber “guns”) and no realistic way to stop the interstate smuggling of weapons. Mexico has a strict federal gun control regime featuring remand on arrival for practicing ammosexuals, regardless of their citizenship. When this gets covered in the US press, it’s usually by way of Fox and Friends having a mad that some US citizen gun nut got arrested and jailed in Tijuana just because he tried to enter Mexico with a loaded assault rifle. #SupportOurTroops #ThankYouForYourService The same talking heads show noticeably less concern about the denial of consular access for Mexican citizens facing death sentences in the United States, or about due process in general for foreigners whose home country long ago abolished the death penalty and whose supreme court recently ruled sentences of longer than forty years unconstitutional. The point is that there are conscientious Mexican officials who try to keep black-market arms out of their country, even though they have colleagues who are too corrupt to give a damn and not nearly enough natural law and sheer manpower on their side to back up Mexico’s positive law against the Sinaloa Cartel leaving a police squad’s heads in a burlap bag on the side of some highway into Juarez. The other point is that these guns are causing far more fatal collateral damage in Mexico than black-market drugs passing through Mexico are causing in the United States.

If the land border were secured in three dimensions to margins that the Los Angeles subway system would be unable to span and all ports of entry were manned 24/7 by A Teams with dozens of drug dogs, there would still be no way in hell to secure the maritime borders against drug-running speedboats. Smugglers have taken to using flat-bottomed powerboats capable of outrunning Coast Guard cutters to drop drug shipments on the San Luis Obispo County coast in the middle of the night. The US Coast Guard is not a boat-deprived agency. It knows how to do a hardcore cool change on zero notice on seas heavy enough to distress Panamax freighters. This doesn’t matter. The drug-runners just wait until the seas are calm and the coast is literally clear and they do their thing. Leon Bridges may be on 92.5: The Krush (still not the Central Coast’s favorite listen-in-prison station) within fifteen minutes of my driving within its broadcasting range, but he is not on the bridge. He’d probably figure that’s an awfully fast and choppy ride, but they don’t care whether he likes the way they sail their ship, now, or whether the Coast Guard does.

No one is securing the Pacific Coast against every panga whose crew has a plan to beach it for a minute or two, throw some bales overboard, and gun it the fuck back into international waters. No one, for that matter, will secure the Diplomatic Mail, which has been used in the past to ship drugs into the Homeland with full immunity. No one will secure gateside airport operations against crooks in ground support positions longer than it takes a drug syndicate to buy off a crook or place its operatives at SkyChef. Not all that much drug smuggling is done by C-Team semiprofessionals like the Bali Nine who tape product to their torsos or swallow a bunch of condoms like fucking idiots. The syndicates have brain trusts who know which airport employees are able to bypass customs because they wouldn’t be able to do their jobs efficiently if they weren’t trusted to come and go from secure areas.

There are always opportunities to corrupt military personnel, too. Fat Leonard pulled it off, after all. If a greasy Ronal Serpas body double running a regional defense contractor in Southeast Asia can buy off American admirals with escorts and nice dinners, there’s no way the drug syndicates can’t establish equally profitable back channels In the Navy (TM). CBP can’t realistically sweep an aircraft carrier for drugs. Hardly anyone there is zealous enough to try, and if they did, they might cross the threshold at which sailors remind them that they have some fucking guns on this ship, too.

Bottom line: we are not keeping drugs out of this country. It ain’t happening.

By the way, I doubt anyone knows yet the extent to which government agents or assets are deliberately adulterating black-market opiate supplies in the hope of scaring the public away from drugs and punishing those who aren’t duly intimidated by their scare tactics. It’s a matter of historical record that the US government deliberately poisoned liquor during Prohibition, causing thousands of deaths, and much of the current prescription opiate supply in the United States is deliberately adulterated with weak adjunct painkillers that are known to be more chronically toxic than opiates. Frankly, moral busybodies in the vice squads have a stronger motive to adulterate drug supplies than do dealers, who have reasons not to want to be connected to dead junkies, even if their market contains many addicts who have a weird, morbid fascination with bad dope sets. Many dealers prefer to do business with recreational users anyway, so that they don’t have jonesing addicts calling them at all hours and cursing them out in the hope of getting an emergency delivery.

If Trump were serious about reducing drug overdose deaths, he’d be talking about funding for treatment programs, not about standing athwart the border like William F. Buckley amped up on coke–a drug that the Donald himself is widely reputed to enjoy as a pre-debate pick-me-up.


Speaking of drugs, the Secret Service just went bitching to the Brahmins about how they can’t staff up because their applicant pool used Adderall to get through college, among other moralizing complaints. LOL. Also illegal Napster downloads and embarrassing e-mails to friends.

Clancy. Damn, pops. Yes, law enforcement agencies end up with staffing and recruiting shortfalls when they reject otherwise highly qualified applicants in order to grandstand about the evils of drug use. I saw enough weird-ass shit in the two days and ninety pages I spent trying to become a San Diego police officer not to blame this on the applicant pool. We weren’t the main source of weirdness there, from what I could tell. And I missed the really creepy parts. I didn’t make it to the polygraph or the appointing authority interview.

If you make the cut for a Secret Service polygraph, you, too, can be escorted from the building by G-men for admitting to past off-label stimulant use while the colleagues whose ranks you were not allowed to join protect high officials in a state of near exhaustion and, if they’ve earned enough seniority, acute intoxication. This is the same agency whose senior agents, including the second-in-command of the presidential protective detail, got away with this, and it recruiters have zero tolerance for applicants who once used disfavored stimulants to stay awake. #StayWoke. Driving drunk across Washington and crashing a government car through police tape at the scene of an active bomb investigation means that your buddy the watch commander orders his junior subordinates to let you go home and sleep it off, but a history of using semilegal stimulants in an effort to stay focused and vigilant for long stretches of hard work is an automatic disqualifying factor for a job requiring its agents to stay focused and vigilant for long stretches.

I’m not all for Adderall. The time I took it, because an idiot psychologist who didn’t listen to my history of symptoms prescribed it to me for ADHD, I immediately came down with a ridiculous case of ADHD. I’d lie on my bed throwing a bouncy ball at the ceiling for half an hour straight, itching to start a five-mile hike through the State Game Lands at 10:30 pm, then go into the kitchen and break down in tears for no particular reason. On the other hand, if other users are able to calibrate their doses more effectively (probably because they’ve kept the damn outpatient mental health professionals out of the fray), they’re probably onto something.

Regardless, students go to such insane extremes to get schoolwork done because high school and college in Bougiekistan today are insane. I didn’t even try because I’d gotten so totally fucked up on Adderall the one time I tried it that I’d quit it mid-course against medical (sic) advice, and I suppose my grades suffered as a result. If my career also suffered, that’s a reason to reform the graduate recruitment process, not an argument for my retroactively using a crazy hard drug that had fucked me the hell up at the low end of its therapeutic range.

Even so, I am not on the Secret Service’s side when it tries to punish behavior that the home and school environments of its most sought-after applicants aggressively encouraged. I might be young (well, not that young), but I ain’t stupid. I doubt that barely over one percent of its applicant pool is qualified to start its academy. That pool is too hotep to include so many incorrigible fuckups who would gain nothing from even more hotep training and command regimes. The Secret Service and the substance-abusing moral parasites overseeing it in Congress are responsible for its staffing and recruitment shortfalls.

The Denver Police Department ran into a similar problem a few years ago when it discovered that thirty percent of its applicants had a history of recreational cocaine use, and not the worst thirty percent. The proposed solution, last I heard about it, was to stop being so fucking absolute about past coke use. The rationale behind this, which more police departments should consider, is that the DPD had other recruitment, training, and supervisory protocols in place to avoid deploying a bunch of raging acute cokeheads, and that there were worse red flags in other, less based parts of the applicant pool (including anabolic steroids, if the recruiters knew what they were doing).

Of course this sort of stance is controversial in law enforcement. Decades ago, NSA polygraphers got one of its future defectors to Soviet Russia to admit to bestiality with a chicken. This didn’t reflect badly just on the reformed chickenfucker; it also reflected badly on the animal vice squad for being sick enough to even discuss such a thing. Normal people don’t go there. Only trusted law enforcement insiders are that sick.

I don’t support the shortstaffing of the Secret Service’s Uniformed Division or protective details. I do support the shortstaffing of its polygraphy units. Everyone of those creeps should leave work every day thinking, why the fuck am I interrogating decent people about this shit; what the hell am I doing with my life. If the Secret Service can’t figure out how to select and train agents who are hotep enough to be, or else to get, mentally and physically fit for duty without interrogating them about illegal downloads of (((copyrighted media))) as teenagers (LOL!), painstakingly calibrated self-medication in college for peak curricular and extracurricular performance, unapproved internet fappy hour, and poor chat room etiquette, its recruitment, training, and command processes are useless. Of course, Washington is swarming with hypocritical, grandstanding assholes who just have to use their positions of official power to force federal law enforcement agencies to make statements about the wrongfulness of drug use in their recruitment processes. Federal law enforcement is one of the easiest targets for moral busybodies to use as a platform to publicly set their favored pecking order.

This shit will endure until the drugs community asserts itself to the same extent that the LGBT, etc. lobby has asserted itself in recent decades. This is why we have openly gay cops and police applicants today, while the Vermont State Police was the only agency I could find, back when I was seriously angling to become a cop, with a drug disqualification policy as sensible as no puff-snort-shoot in the past year, and it’s still considered unreasonably sexually deviant to look at naughty pictures of sexually mature teenagers who might well have been married with a child or two had they been that age in the midcentury, let alone to consort with prostitutes.

Remember, the prudent thing to do is to already be on the force before raping Celeste Guap. Blue privilege won’t wait for you if you don’t first wait for it.

More overproduction of elites: sorry, Mrs. Astor, we’re all out of Waldorfs

Last night I made the mistake of watching CNN [‘s coverage of the Al Smith Dinner]. If you’re familiar with the denotation of long and short forms of mass readings, you know what I did there, and you probably agree that Cardinal Dolan was present to attend to the damned temporalities. That’s as good a reason as any to steer clear of the priesthood (and probably not just the Catholic one, either). Parish priests and bishops in flyover country have to put up with the same general kind of bullshit for purposes of milking their provincial elites, but at much lower production values. The priest who discreetly sees prostitutes or even carries on a low-key affair with a married parishioner may be able to do so without causing scandal. When some bullshit charity dinner is on the agenda, there will be scandal if Father always takes ill for the evening in late October. As a cleric, one is forced to humor these stuffy twits because the diocese needs their money and no one has come up with a more dignified way to extract it from their cold, clammy, dying hands.

As a general matter, the wealthy do not acquit themselves well at their charity dinners. True charity does not consist of donning fine clothes and publicly feasting with one’s fellow wealthy under the auspices of a mutual congratulation society. As a matter of Christian charity specifically, this sort of ostentatious conduct is especially suspect. This is not how Jesus commanded his followers to serve the poor. Yes, there are worldly, pragmatic reasons why this currying of favor with the self-dealing wealthy is necessary, if off-putting, but it is unjustifiable using the Gospels and frankly profane. This is probably why it is fashionable in the Catholic Church to refer to what the rest of us might call “finances” or “money” as “temporalities.” The idea seems to be that a priest ought to be self-aware when he’s debasing himself with worldly profanities rather than things of spirit and service, so that he might have some restraint and decorum in so doing and help direct his flock away from the filthiest parts of the pit. As Donald Trump might have said had he lived in Georgian times, it’s about not plunging too deep into that nasty slut hole.

Giggity. No, unfortunately, not giggity in this case. The Al Smith Dinner last night was one of the crudest things I’ve ever witnessed in Society, and I knew Mike Merksy. In retrospect, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that two notorious social climbers, both widely reviled for their new money crassness and both running for the presidency, would behave rudely at a charity dinner three weeks before election day. A number of states have already started early voting at polling places or mailed out absentee ballots; my California ballot has already arrived in Oregon, where I stay but do not live, and I have already decided not to vote for either of these shitheads, as have a possibly critical mass of Utards, by CNN’s reckoning. It’s crunch time, and the two Very Serious leading contenders from the Very Serious Parties who have forfeited my vote dozens of times over are getting antsy to win this thing already. Being eminent crassnesses, they exploited a Catholic charity dinner, one in which they were seated, respectively, at the Cardinal’s right and left hands, as an opportunity to get in some eleventh-hour campaign smears. Of course it was ugly. Ugly does as ugly is, and ugly is what both of these leading candidates have shown themselves to be time and time again. Yes, they cheapened and coarsened a church event in a way that shocked many high-minded participants and observers. Really, though, the joke’s on us if we expected dignity, good humor, high principle, or graciousness from them.  

Yes, they actually went there, and now we’re shocked, shocked. We might as well be shocked to see Rob Ford stumble into a TTC station, pull a flask out of his coat pocket, and trail off to sleep in a decreasingly articulate screed about the Jamaicans. Clinton and Trump have spent a full year in rough-and-tumble campaign mode, and last night they didn’t entirely step out of character for a scheduled religiously mediated truce in the UFC bullshit. It’s reminiscent of the Twilight Zone episode about the family who came down to New Orleans to watch their patriarch die at the stroke of midnight on Ash Wednesday and became marginally less hideous versions of the masks they were too greedy to doff by the witching hour. #BostonStrong. Last night’s dinnertime disgrace may have just been method acting gone awry. Remember, these are not subtle actors.

Hillary Clinton behaved much more graciously than I expected. At the same time, it was disgraceful to watch two candidates for high office joke about one candidate’s commission of serious, deliberate felonies in a previous high office and her impunity for these felonies. This was different from John McCain and Barack Obama roasting each other about policy differences. They were joking about systemic lawlessness and corruption verging on the collapse of the rule of law. Parties to such crookedness and their political adversaries should not joke about it in public. This is not too much gravitas to demand of our leaders. Gerald Ford reportedly told some golfing buddies that he knew he’d be going to hell for pardoning Richard Nixon. That story (which Internet-Sensei does not summarily confirm or deny) at least features some maturity, responsibility, and accountability. True or apocryphal, that’s leadership. Rich people getting their jollies by watching one candidate for president roast another one for habitual impeachable felonies in her capacity as Secretary of State is not. What’s next? Russell Williams and Stephanie Lazarus roasting each other with sick burns about bite marks as art and Victoria’s Secret as mufti?

Still, Clinton had a certain graciousness about her, for the most part, that was encouraging because her standard behavior on the campaign trail has been so execrable. As they say on the internet, it’s TFW u expected Aileen Wuornos and got Lady Thatcher instead. Her behavior was surprisingly appropriate for the admittedly disgraceful circumstances of this Society charity (sic) dinner (not sic), and anything appropriate from her or her surrogates is refreshing.

Her crudest comments were directed at Rudy Giuliani, who may have been the least sympathetic person she could have attacked in that room, including Henry Kissinger. Let that sink in for a moment. Clinton’s premise was that Hizzoner was implicitly dishonorable: “The Honorable Mike Bloomberg, the Honorable Chuck Schumer, the Honorable David Dinkins–and Rudy Giuliani.” CNN panned to Giuliani after this comment. He looked like he was just about to have an unsuccessful bowel movement and a successful hemorrhoid. Sure, she hit below the belt with that joke, but Hizzoner was an unbelievably self-serious, humorless, miserable bastard about it, and his own conduct as a mayor and ex-mayor of New York City has been quite low and vicious, so as nasty or deplorable as m’lady’s attack may have been, she was still afflicting the uncomfortable-looking comfortable.

Seriously, it was cherishably rare and beautiful in a sick and grotesque way to watch that miserable bastard look like he was struggling to pass three days’ worth of shit just because an erstwhile colleague had said something rude about him at a charity dinner. When something that awesomely offensive is done to someone so richly deserving of public offense, process orientation is the last thing on my mind.

Donald Trump took his Clintonian roasting with surprising graciousness, too, but his own roasting of Clinton was gratuitous not only towards her, but towards their Catholic hosts. He got booed for, among other things, crudely deadpanning that Clinton “hates Catholics.” There he fucking was, a cradle Presbyterian cardinal’s guest trying to stir up sectarian tensions at an ecumenical dinner hosted for the purpose of putting aside sectarian and political differences for the night and doing a measure of good for vulnerable children. And no, he did not have any higher, more principled purpose in stirring this pot. Trump doesn’t give a shit about Catholics. He doesn’t give a shit about Presbyterians, either, who are nominally his own people. He doesn’t credibly care about the welfare of the unborn, although he eagerly panders to their self-appointed defenders whenever he sees a vote or two at stake. His reaction to being invited to this Catholic charity dinner by a cardinal sincerely (if a bit haplessly and ostentatiously) trying to do good works and build ecumenical goodwill was to drop trou and beshit the floor for his own advantage in an upcoming election and post-election career as a B-List right-wing commentator. (“If you have a Bible with you, open it to the Second Book of Huckabeeans….”)

That comment was just shitty. It was morally parasitic: in a stable society with functioning institutions and sober countervailing leadership, this sort of rhetoric is debasing and toxic but probably not deadly; in an unstable society with failing institutions, it leads towards a Rwandan night of the machetes. Cardinal Dolan was a hell of a good sport to put up with that shithead so graciously even after he tried to set his assembled congregation against another Protestant guest using the crudest, most inflammatory sectarian language imaginable. We’re very lucky as a country that his hosts immediately rebuked him for waving the bloody shirt in that venue. There are other societies where leaders use language no coarser than Trump’s to provoke ethnic cleansing or civil war. We should count our blessings that we instead got to watch a visiting oaf scandalize a ballroom full of posh stuffies after being introduced by an MC who had to push a walkie-talkie button on his neck every time he spoke.

We’re living in an episode of South Park. 

A substantial overproduction of elites: your momma’s so fat, even Donald Trump called her fat!

Far be it from me to refrain from pigsploiting St. Louis White Community leader Sam Dotson for being a sworn stout shorty. When I see the morbidly obese undertaking their belabored pilgrimages to the food lines at all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets, I snicker a bit inside, and sometimes outside as well; the struggle is real. When I see portable nasal oxygen canisters being brought along on this journey, I don’t know whether to snicker or cringe, so I usually do a bit of each, as one does at the buffet. The only reason Billy Nungesser third helping of jambalaya memes aren’t a regular feature around here is that Sam Dotson Steak-n-Shake clean plate club memes are. The chief is White, his shirt is white, and by the time he’s done, his plate is nothing but white. If that won’t make Ron Johnson go pale with embarrassment, maybe the stuff he did in Ferguson when he wasn’t being professionally woke with a public employee pension to show for it will.

Nah, I didn’t stop by here this morning to be that woke. I came here to titter about fat people. Ooh, I just said “tit.” Giggity. It calls to mind Sound and Pound with one of Tacoma’s thicky tricks, which I still haven’t arranged because I’ve been banging a hella skinny chick in Oregon instead. I’m still a chubby chaser; I’m just not entirely up for that particular chase at this particular time. The last time I was in Atlantic City, I worked some skinny girls into a lather by having said of one of our new drinking buddies from Connecticut–very quietly, mind you–something like, “That fat chick is super hot.” Which she was. If these politically correct skinny chicks had never disingenuously manipulated a BBW for their own crude psychosociosexual advantage, I’m Rob Ford. I much prefer a different kind of PC: Pierce County. And yes, I’m full of shit when I act like I’m too classy to go to Spanaway to schtup a chubby.

So maybe my testimony isn’t the most credible when I swear that Donald Trump’s views on fat women are a problem. But here’s the thing: his views on fat women are a serious problem. And because he’s running for the presidency, they’re now one of our national problems.

This is a man whose views on women’s ideal figures are ostentatiously misogynistic. “I wouldn’t bang her personally, but maybe someone else would” isn’t good enough for him. (Yes, most men sexually size up (heh) the women in their lives, and yes, most women use this male sexual interest to their advantage, some of them quite crassly so. No, this sexual interest does not make us all literally Brock Turner. I was going to say that it does not make us all Robert Pickton, but giving a shit about the murder of poor, nonwhite hookers by sexual deviants apparently isn’t the done thing.) Trump needs to set and police the weight limits. These weight limits need to be low and strict. If they aren’t, he can’t get the psychosexual thrill of making his socially climbing distaff pushovers do tricks for him. (“It’s not a trick, it’s an illusion! A trick is something a whore does for money!”)

None of this is really about whom Donald Trump and his old boys might want to bang. It’s coquettishly made to look that way, within weirdly repressed and hypocritical limits, but it’s really about the toxic male prerogative to control women. It isn’t about sexual gratification; it’s about psychosexual aggrandizement. Sexual intimacy with a reasonably attractive woman a man who isn’t dead broke can pay for from time to time with a prostitute, who is unlikely to let men boss her around. If she’s up for some more five-way chili, she won’t mind channeling Julia Pearson and being all, “Doyle Samuel, you’d better not eat ALL of that!” (This piece is categorized under Thick Bitches. I’m just keeping it plural. BTW, they say white’s a slimming color. LOL.)

Successfully turning women’s nutrition into a shit test and being in it to win it is a trickier, and dirtier, thing for a man to accomplish. It’s a soft application of emotional abuse, which, again, prostitutes are pretty damn unlikely to humor so meekly. If a woman doesn’t naturally have high metabolism or a small appetite, her only way to keep a public misogynist’s approval in the sort of beauty pageant that Donald Trump enjoys is to resort to pathological manipulation of her own bodily functions: throwing food away when she’s still hungry and not at any risk of significantly overeating, becoming anorexic or bulimic, using laxatives absent constipation.

Wanting to dictate another person’s bodily functions is just fucking sick. There are times when a loved one is drinking or eating to such pathological excess that an intervention is warranted, but a decent, normal, healthy person doesn’t relish such a duty. Donald Trump has spent much of his career making a show of policing women’s bodies. This is one of the alarmingly pathological things about the beauty pageant scene that gets surprisingly little mainstream attention. Not only does it hammer home the message to women that they won’t be valued unless they’re beautiful, it also warns them that they won’t be beautiful unless they have the figures of pre-Title IX stewardesses.

Again, prostitution is not so cutthroat. A sex worker needs to appeal sexually only to enough of a customer base to keep getting hired regularly. If she has regulars who feel comfortable with her, being declared sexier than every other woman in a field of fifty or two hundred or whatever the hell is irrelevant. The point is probably moot, Springfield. No, it’s definitely fucking moot. Hookers aren’t made to dress up like whores and do a song and dance on a catwalk before leering men and crazy bitches who are trying to live vicariously through them, but with the stipulation that they dare not be found to really be acting like whores, however the organizers and promoters define whorishness. Not many forms of sex work get more deranged and hypocritical than that.

This is the background to how we ended up inviting complaints about fat women into our national political discourse. Donald Trump professed to be butthurt that some Venezuelan lady put on weight. This is the damnedest thing to find troubling about Venezuela. Venezuela is in the midst of an economic crisis to severe that its grocery stores can’t keep basic staples and toiletries in stock, and our leading presidential candidates are arguing about whether or not one of them disrespected a D-List Venezuelan celebrity who happened to be in his eye candy harem by calling her fat. This is the same level of seriousness that these candidates are bringing to bear on more important foreign policy questions, too, such as whether the United States should continue helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen into the stone age and plunge the national dick into the Russian hornet’s nest because some chickenhawks in Georgetown are butthurt about Putin for vaguely explained reasons.

That Donald Trump claims to take it personally when women gain weight on him should not be a matter for prime-time political discussion. It’s an uglier assertion of male dominance than most Americans will normally contemplate, but we have other venues to litigate it. Unfortunately for the courts, these venues include the courts. We needn’t litigate these disputes only figuratively. Trump has a long history of rude and vicious behavior in his public life. The very premise of The Apprentice was managerial behavior so hostile that it would likely get a real-life boss not protected by carefully worded actors’ contracts sued for workplace harassment. And what did anyone expect Trump to discuss with Howard Stern? Gregorian chants and praying the hours?

If he were running against an opponent interested in policy more than scandal-mongering (say, an old Brooklyn socialist from Vermont), we might not have to listen to all this seedy, distracting shit in the guise of political coverage and commentary, but he’s running against one of the most distrusted, compromised, and notoriously unscrupulous politicians of our time. Wow Much emails None wasserman Where fbi Omg julian assange Very podesta. A moral panic over Trump’s sexual proclivities, roughly the same ones that Trump has made prominent features of his public life for decades, is more useful to the Clinton campaign than anything having to do with the Clinton campaign itself. This was not and still would not be a problem with Bernie Sanders because he never had any need to hide from his own past, but he’s too busy trying to do team of rivals shit in backrooms with the Clinton machine when he isn’t at work in the US Senate to fit in television appearances in the hope of deweimarizing the national political discourse.

That’s the other thing. Trump’s ostentatiously misogynistic toxic masculinity avoided, and fairly narrowly so, being played off directly against Sanders’s healthy, decent, edifying masculinity, which incidentally would also have faced Jane Sanders, an exceptionally well-adjusted woman, off against Melania Trump, an unfathomable freak. Instead the vulgar, leering oaf gets to have his one-on-one with the first woman to run for the presidency as a major-party candidate, who is also one of the most hated and distrusted yuppie shrews in the country.

Imagine a three-way bitchfest between Phyllis Schlafly, Murphy Brown, and Crystal Harris, stomping on a human face, forever. This cup is ours, not to be taken from us. The solution to toxic masculinity is toxic femininity. Women are from Mars, Men are from Penis.

Couldn’t we turn to a good wife (TM) like Patty Blagojevich to lead us out of the pit, since she may not look like she knows what the fuck just happened or where the fuck she is, but at least she’s trying to find the way to something less disastrous? Of course not; she isn’t enough of a public feminist. #ImWithHer. In that case, couldn’t we at least arrange coffee hour with Melissa Ann Shepard? No, again, of course not; Sweet Melissa isn’t THAT toxic. Why go for a femme semifatale when we can get one who celebrated the sodomy in extremis and summary execution of Muammar Qaddafi? No G-man ever ordered Hillary Clinton to stay off the internet. (The Rod Unspared should be grateful that FCI Englewood’s Coffee Hour is #EasyLikeSundayMorning and free of #CanadianContent. #AmongOtherDubiousHashtags.)

In the eighth or ninth year of what is frankly an enduring economic depression, this is the presidential race we get. We get our damnation not in the life to come, but, as Michael Feldman always says, in life as we know it. Jeremiah Wright has had his prayers duly answered in his own time. This is some real Caligula-at-the-Cabaret shit. We’re watching in real time how once proud republics go down in flames. It’s open, shameless decadence, and not in the sense of OMG too much of too many kinds of chocolate in this death by chocolate cake. This is the kind of leadership that brings on decades of tyranny or centuries of banana republicanism.

A healthy republic is more easily preserved than restored, and we’re failing to preserve it. It’s a very bad sign that the current presidential election has been turned into a public referendum on rape culture. There are other fora better suited to the indulgence in a moral panic about rape, but the election is the only one that allows Hillary Clinton to try crudely to distract voters from her aura of scandal, including her history of smearing women who had accused her husband of rape. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support this particular woman, you know. #LeanIn, bitch.

One of the indications that the race has gotten really fucking decadent is the specific sort of rape culture that Trump’s feminist opponents claim to find so, shall we say, deplorable. These women never point to Jannie Ligons or Celeste Guap as victims. Those two aren’t white enough, and they definitely aren’t vulnerable enough. Besides, why would a woman want to be raped by a racially mixed group of cops from crappy parts of the East Bay or some Hapa misfit patrolling the Oklahoma City ghetto? These women like their rapists rich, white, and privileged. Brock Turner verges on their platonic ideal rapist: white as Wonderbread, brought up in North Affluenza, doesn’t give a shit about women’s Christian womanhood but also isn’t a trashy bruiser like Ben Roethlisberger or Eminem, so m’lady probably won’t get hurt that badly by his ministrations. For the college woman who’s looking to get gang-banged by the lacrosse team instead of the basketball team for once, there are worse things than a little blind drunk sumfin-sumfin with Blondie behind the dumpster.

No, I do not believe that the moral panic over Brock Turner is free of seedy psychosexual projection, and I do not believe that his crime was particularly heinous or that he is a significant threat to public safety as a released convict. For similar reasons, I do not believe that the moral panic over Donald Trump’s supposedly predatory sexuality, some of which is established only by Trump’s bragging to other men who cherish tales of sexual conquest as a form of male bonding, is entirely aboveboard, either. He’s another rich, privileged white guy, and one whose personal brand proudly features sexual dissolution and vulgarity at that. The sexual impositions that are so upsetting #ImWithHer generally sound like something out of Mad Men or Coffee, Tea, or Me?. (“Would you care for some TWA coffee, sir?”) This isn’t so much sexual harassment in the sense of suing some lecherous shithead into compliance with the law as it is sexual harassment in the sense of a soap opera as VA training video, featuring dead sexy harassers and harassees (what rhymes with “her ass meant?”) and narrated by the Director of Veterans Affairs, seated next to a hearth like a poor man’s Alistair Cooke.

We aren’t just slouching towards gonorrhea. I mean, uh. We’re slouching towards a specific sort of Gomorrah, one in which coquettish tarts with drinking problems arbitrarily accuse men of rapes they never committed as a way of getting even or obtaining undue dating leverage over them. By many accounts, a number of Western universities are already there.  We’re using a presidential election to mainstream this sick culture in which a couple of horny college students who have a poor sense of give-and-take because they’re haphazardly trying to negotiate consent through an alcoholic fog make for a more compelling sexual assault case than Daniel Holtzclaw handcuffing a woman to a bed and ordering her to give him head.

Of course we shouldn’t be trying to work this shit out in a presidential race. But Trump outwitted a dogshit field of competitors in a dogshit party and Clinton slashed and burned her way to victory over a rare reformist, so here we fucking are.

Homecoming, a decade later

Oleander, growing outside their door, soon I’m gonna throw them bodily into that bush, the whole lot of them. That’s how insufferable the alumni at–yes, I must–my old school are about Alma Mater, Tried and True. (The tune was jacked from “O Christmas Tree,” so I wouldn’t discount inbreeding.) They really are that bad. There are decent, righteous ones among them, maybe even a silent majority, but as students of American history (not required nearly enough at Dickinson College) know, silent majorities yield tricky Dicks.

If I sound like Adam Gellin, the question to ask isn’t why I’m such a pain in the ass, but how and why your institution produces people like Gellin and me. Realize that when I kill a cracker’s college buzz, I’m never treated like I’m legit crazy. I’m not treated like a bum who’s rocking back and forth on a bench in a SEPTA waiting room, muttering psychotically about smashing some poor bastard’s knees in with a two-by-four and a sledge-HAMMA! I’m treated like a threat who’s best neutralized by gaslighting my explicit testimony into the realm of subjective feelings.

It was a real red pill moment for me when I first came across Lambert Strether’s comments about how neoliberals are always referring to other people’s “feelings,” the point being that they “feel that way” and the neoliberals probably profess to be “sorry” that they do. Funny thing: this isn’t how they act when some meretricious or blame foolish gasbag erupts a choking cloud of point-source nonsense onto a TED Talk stage; that shit is always the moosehead truth. “Feelings” are what dissidents have. “Major mental illness” was what Adrian Schoolcraft had when ESU disappeared him to the loony bin for blowing the whistle on CompStat data fabrication. It was also what Brezhnev-era Soviet dissidents had throughout their commitments to state patriotic psychiatric hospitals.

These things are related. I have to keep reminding myself that I was, and in some ways still am, on the fringes of a cult. Dickinson College isn’t the subject of positive feelings, only negative ones. When alumni have a lifelong era of good feeling about Dickinson and no idea how perverse this sentence is, no one says that they feel this way. It’s understood that that’s the way it is, even among a crowd that doesn’t know Walter Cronkite from Walt Parazaider. (#TeshTips: too much cool change shit with the TV money late in life vs. too damn much flute solo in live concert.) When I express my disgruntlement and disgust about how the Dickinson administration has corrupted the institution under its auspices and indoctrinated the morally impressionable among its students and alumni to poison their own souls, suddenly this is about how I feel, in a way that the idolatrous veneration of Dickinson and that stupid Benjamin Rush statue on the Quad is not about how the assembled faithful feel. In Soviet Russia, you feel for CHAKA KHAN!

Don’t blame me; blame Amtrak for scheduling its only train out of Grand Rapids at 0600.

It’s the Veneration of the Cross for shitheads in Lacoste who serve Mammon with all their heart. The one holy catholic and apostolic church, etc., has the Stations of the Cross and the Sorrowful Mysteries; Dickinson has that time back in the twentieth century when Leon Fritschler ran a sloppy financial ship and F&M more than Swarthmore was counted as a peer institution. By the way, *GO DIPLOMATS!* Where religious elders of various faiths (no, not you, Osteen) are contrite on behalf of their congregations for a history of simony, the sale of indulgences, the harboring of predators in positions of clerical authority, Constantinian deals with worldly devils who usurped civil authority to their own despotic ends, and similar breaches of faith and trust, Dickinson College regrets only that it still falls short of the mark in its quest to be Harvard’s true peer, that it is to this day a lesser, country-cousin Whore of Babylon, awaiting, possibly in vain, the day when it may properly debut to the Society it so desperately apes.

I haven’t met many people for whom it would have been in character to go on a low-wattage radio station and berate followers to get their balls clipped. Bill Durden is one. That man wasn’t capable of being another Charles Manson, but he was capable of being another Charles Dederich. I heard it in his voice and I saw it in his eyes. In retrospect, the bad cops he covered for, Paul Darlington and Richard Sexton, had the look of viable Jon Burge and Daniel Holtzclaw reduxes. Or maybe preduxes; I have never pieced together a comprehensive history of either of them, but between what I personally saw of them and was told by credible third parties, I have to assume that the arc of their careers was ugly. The difference between Dickinson College DPS and the Oklahoma City Police Department is that the OCPD takes false imprisonment under color of authority seriously, does not hesitate to investigate its own rogues, and does not have a dirty mayor covering for its cops when they go rogue because they might embarrass the city.

This amoral, intellectually bankrupt, utterly meretricious Mr. Chips fuckhead bamboozled probably over a decade’s worth of the Pareto power players on his college’s social scene precisely by being such a constant, unrepentant bullshit artist. To answer Zachary Karabell’s question, “What’s College For?” (“Prepositions: What are they good for?”), not that. Or so I thought before I matriculated into the gaslit fog bank. Several thousand people still regard Bill Durden and Benjamin Rush as demigods because he presented Rush as one and spent his presidency increasingly basking in the old quack’s reflected glory. When it isn’t infuriating or excruciatingly demoralizing for some reason, it’s still goddamn insufferable.

Here’s the other thing: this is a cult that Serious people take Very Seriously. With more marginal cults, there’s an overwhelming consensus–mainstream and alternative, blue pill and red–that they’re cults. Synanon corrupting the Marin County Sheriff’s Department? That’s a cult. Charles Manson ordering a murder spree and having his hippie bimbos sing hymns at his trial? That’s a cult. Jonestown? That, to Kool-Aid’s embarrassment, is a cult. Some fat blind guy who says he can levitate ordering a gas attack on the Tokyo subway? That’s a cult. Scientology? It’s stuffed to the gills with rich celebrities, but it’s weird enough to be a cult. Even the Roman Catholic Church, which has a recent history of scandal and the current misfortune of operating in an aggressively secular mainstream zeitgeist, is widely smeared by the influential and the powerful as a cult in all but name.

Just try arguing to these same trendsetters that some prestigious university, cherished above rubies in the venerable pages of US News and World Report, meets the standards for being a cult: systematic internal propaganda, brainwashed followers, coverups of institutional wrongdoing, retaliation against whistleblowers, emotional abuse campaigns against openly disgruntled members or ex-members. Cool cats gonna get a hot temper if you start talking like that, dawg. These are the things we (“we tortured some folks”) revere. C. S. Lewis supposedly said something to the effect that if men are forbidden to honor kings, they will honor the likes of sportsmen and famous prostitutes. I read this at Return of Kings once, and I don’t feel like looking it up, so do it yourself if you must. Two counterpoints: 1) The Kardashians are less inbred–MUCH less inbred–than the fucking Windsors; 2) Downton Abbey. If I ever have daughters, I’ll be the oddball who’s always homeschooling them to be yeowomen, not princesses. Ladies: that applies to stepdaughters, too. The Kardashians may not intrisically be an argument for hybrid vigor, but the royals they crowded or, shall we say, enclosed into smaller sections of the celebrity gossip rags sure are.

Some say that natural law is ordered to the admiration of great men (“men, women, and clergymen”). Regan? Your thoughts? I figure that if we really, truly have to end up admiring such useless scum, the impending Charles III might as well come over and stick it up my ass right now. Or he could send some surrogate from one of the public schools; for straight guys, they’re awfully into that kind of thing. Maybe it’s just shit at the top. I’m writing this in Chicago, so probably.

Intelligence for Your Career (TM): You aren’t allowed to call a school a boiler room scam unless it advertises to the poors. Try to at least find an ad for it on a city bus before you start talking like that. If it advertises on daytime television, it’s safe to ridicule, but watching daytime television is not a hallmark of good breeding. Remember, when one says that it’s acceptable to royally screw one’s cousin, the screwing had better be aristocratic at the least, and Kentucky hain’t got the gentry, now.

I guess I’m harping on this shit because one of my new in-laws assembles genealogies on everyone who shows up in the family, partly to prevent inbreeding. Also, I was on a bus this morning nigh two hours before the ass-crack of dawn. That must have helped cross the wires a bit. It’s a bunch of white people who showed up in the family this time, and from what Genealogist Uncle told me, he hasn’t traced his family bloodline back to Whitey yet. The only ancestor he’s been able to trace back into Antebellum times was a freeman; he indicated that he hasn’t been able to get anything useful from plantation records. In other words, it’s probably safe to say that his family and ours are brothers by very other mothers, although God knows what kind of breakthrough he may find with the right records showing that his son married a tenth-degree cousin because oops.

What the hell was that? I believe it’s what Mrs. Hibshman called “taking our thoughts for walks.” Or, in my case, being taken for a walk by Thought. Damn do I hope American doesn’t squeeze me in next to some musky-smelling guy with huge wandering biceps tonight. Genealogy in the interest of not breeding a bunch of Kiryas Joel retards is bougie bougie, and our new extended in-laws in Michigan are bougies who pretty much run with other bougies. I’m probably on track to be gang-flamed by white supremacists from MPC private chat boards again for admitting that most of my relatives in Michigan are black people. They’ll probably be all like, come on, faggot, you admit you got jumped by that kill whitey in black Kensington. Yeah, and I nearly got my white ass stomped into the pavement by an Ed Hardy thug in Huntington Beach who was even whiter than me.

But my point, since I’ve finally wandered into one again, is that my parents and I went up north after the wedding, into super-white parts of the Lower Peninsula, in a number of which one might summer. They don’t allow visible collections of deposit bottles on BATA buses, and that ain’t a public health concern, cracka. One’s precious, painstakingly cultivated aesthetics might be upset by such a sight. Yeah, BATA puts a farebox in the front of an old school bus and calls that transit, but still, this is Interlochen country, bitch. Bay Harbor is even worse. That was a project to make a Superfund site in Petoskey safe for Vineyard Vines. A big part of me cringed violently inside the moment I laid eyes on it. That Hyannisport-ass white-gray shingle-and-clapboard bullshit screams useless highbrow parasitism. It says, we must be good New Englanders, but not the kind of New Englanders who keep New England from falling into a terminal famine. It’s the aesthetic of people who skim first fruits off the labor of everyone else, not only in their own country but in dozens of banana republics as well, and stash it safely beyond the reach of the grubby masses, to be privately enjoyed by those of taste. Bay Harbor is just one of the latest cool places to shoot this load of seed all over the earth in a place where one’s failspawn will have only one bus run a day in or out of town at their disposal, which may or may not have same-day connections to points more than two hundred miles away.

That’s the last fucking thing I need with my parents living in the Adirondacks for vapid lifestyle reasons. Let’s spend eight or nine figures cleaning up a filthy old industrial site for a bunch of preppy assholes and pay for it by giving the noticeably less white population of Flint irreversible liver damage because their city water is now toxic. But even the very architecture of Bay Harbor is enough to give the downwardly mobile woke a heart attack without electrical assistance from the RCMP. As Constable Millington’s fellow deadly friend Justin put it, maybe you should go and stun yourself. I know it when I see it, and it’s obscene.

I’d rather have Gerry Rundel as my white ally and fishing buddy. No one warned me to avoid this crowd when I was applying to colleges. It never occurred to any of them that they might possibly be on the fringes of a toxic milieu. They didn’t want to criticize their own people. They left that to me to do after the fact, after I belatedly realized that I’d gotten mixed up with cult shitheads who despise the poor.

How the hell can I fit in with them when I’m homeless? I have more in common with the woman I talked to at the bus stop on the south side of Grand Rapids this morning who had fled her violent live-in boyfriend on foot in the middle of the night. Shit, I have more in common with aggressive panhandlers who hang around train stations like temple beggars than I have with classmates who pay their way into highbrow donor networking scams at our alma mater. John Dickinson Society my fat white ass. What these fuckers will never explain is why, if they’re horrified or scandalized that I regularly sleep in my car, they don’t hook me the hell up with a decent place to stay and maybe a job. One of the old-school traditions in Chicago was something like my nephew needs a job in the streets department because he got fired from the grocery store for being an incorrigible lush, so how about you give that sauced mick a fucking job, and the streets department foreman gave Paddy a shovel. As the Civil Rights Act took hold and the white riots in Cicero receded slowly into the past, the machine started hooking the brothers and sisters up likewise, and now Kevin Atwater is a valued member of Intelligence.

Here’s the problem: I can’t get jack diddly from these dipshits at Dickinson who keep telling me to do more networking. They want me to pay into their institutional racket because Dickinson is such an excellent school, but when I complain that my own outcomes as a graduate have been terrible, they tell me that this is because I haven’t networked hard enough. It’s to Dickinson’s credit when its alumni succeed, but its alumni’s fault when they fail. How fucking convenient.

You know what’s more respectable than this? The city government not having any state infrastructure appropriations this year for street repairs because the governor stole the money, split it with his cronies, and will be spending the decade in Colorado now. When money is dumped down a cavernous fucking hole in Chicago, it’s because it got snatched by crooks again, and there’s no need to gaze into the abyss to know that their partners in crime are lining its bottom, soaking up that sweet, sweet dewfall. Rahm “Secretary of Go Fuck Yourself” Emanuel pretends to be a high technocrat injecting reason, rationality, and merit into Chicago’s sclerotic working-class machine politics, but the old boy isn’t so popular these days. That tends to happen when the neighborhood school closures one ordered for the sub rosa purpose of diverting public moneys to Wall Street get commuting schoolchildren killed in gang shootouts on enemy turf. That tends to happen when one’s police keep brutalizing and killing citizens arbitrarily in ghettos that they somehow, despite their sheer manpower and firepower, cannot keep from festering as war zones. In spite of all this, it’s a cherished tradition in Chicago for constituents to hound their aldermen until they deliver the damn goods. With shoulders that broad, they’ve no shame in smacking Mama Sugar until she yields the tit.

Do I sound like I care that this is crass? Here’s what else is crass: paying a thousand dollars for admission to private cocktail mixers with other people who are moneyed enough to cough up that cool grand. That’s corruption. It’s crooked. Doing that under the auspices of a country club is gross; doing so under the auspices of a college is all the more revolting and scandalous. These are people who cannot limit themselves to keeping their private gentry clubs tolerably greased; they must also profane the academy. Start researching community colleges and state directional schools, guys; these pricks are dug in for the long haul.

What normal people try to juice out of their not-so-fresh governments is ever so much more pragmatic and frankly modest than what most of my peers have tried to extract from Dickinson through their transactional profanity. “My son-in-law needs a job with the CTA because he’s an idiot and I don’t know how else he’ll support my daughter and grandchildren” is a hell of a lot more defensible than “I must socialize with the clubbable at all costs.” I cannot exaggerate how fucking sick I get of listening to the shitheads who are aggressively corrupting a good school that I attended presenting themselves as high meritocrats in one breath, inadvertently admitting to their involvement in pay-to-play corruption in the next, and catfishing as whatever weird hybrid of Horatio Alger bootstrapper, sleazy highbrow influence-peddler, supercilious aristocrat, exquisitely cultured Renaissance man, and Greek Life degenerate they find most expedient at the moment. There are times when I can hardly believe what I just witnessed from these freaks. They’re that bizarre. They can’t help but gaslight everyone around them.

No matter how impossible I find it to discern what I am positively called to do with my life, I have no trouble taking one look at something like the John Dickinson Society and saying, “Not that.” Christopher Lasch must be looking down on that and thinking, Sweet Jesus, I knew it. I don’t know how to reconcile my tangential involvement in the Dickinson social scene with my business entanglement with the likes of Pot-o-Shit Friend. I understand that the discussion of some asshole shitting in a trash can is not generally considered fit for polite company, but I don’t talk about that dirty bastard to shock people. I potentially have a lot to gain by finding someone who can actually help me resolve the nightmare that Joe Dirtbag has made of his farm and my socioeconomic circumstances. As in, do you know anyone who’s barred in Oregon and can make sure that nothing of the sort ever happens on that property again? Or, do you know anyone who can get me into housing so that I’m not sleeping in my car so much?

The basic problem is that these are precious, easily offended souls who do not want to hear about recent unpleasantness like homelessness. Well, shit, I don’t enjoy being accosted by panhandlers on my way out of a subway station, either, but the poor we will have with us in Ephesians 3:20 abundance always, especially if we keep being such touchy little pansies about their existence. #Adulting isn’t just about buying a grave site for one’s own ultimate use (my youth minister friend got dozens of likes on Facebook for posting about this; Kyrie eleison on the highway in the night), or trafficking semi-woke Kajieme Powell knifemanship memes for no good reason. It’s also about dealing with unpleasant, unsettling truths and maybe, just maybe, fucking doing something to improve them. #EngageTheWorld. Much fun has been made of university “safe spaces” in recent years, and not without cause. But what the hell else is a John Dickinson Society private mixer than a very expensive safe space? What else is a country club, for that matter?

Compared to what I hear from people I knew in college, with the shit I see on the streets, I might as well have made the Bataan Death March to the My Lai Massacre. Give me a second to pull this list of PTSD symptoms out of the breast pocket of my overalls and let me tell you about my trauma. And though time goes by, I will always be, in vaguely traumatic, 100% service-connected circumstances with you in 1973, singing, here we go again. #MillennialPledge No, I don’t want to be a trauma whore just because I witness other people living in hell on the streets, but if affluent people who shield themselves from their own country’s misery find it offensive that I expose them to a tiny measure of it in the course of explaining my own diminished circumstances, that’s their fucking problem, not mine. I wasn’t put on this earth to kowtow to the exquisite feelings of shitheads who look down on me for being a loser and, with rare exceptions, do fuck-all to get me out of the rest areas. I may, however, have been put here to tell them that we have a problem and that we’re hopeless to treat what we refuse to examine and diagnose.

If they don’t like dealing with the homeless, that isn’t my problem for being downwardly mobile and homeless. I never did any of this as some kind of prank on the BoBos. If they don’t like dealing with the uppity poor, who expect to be treated as equals, not meek inferiors, that, yet again, is their fucking problem. I’m not anyone’s Pullman Porter. Randolph unionized that shit decades ago. Jackson gave white boys the right to exercise that funky franchise until they die a century before that.

I lives here. Can I come in? The answer, by the way, is yes. We get to talk back now.

Against Against Trump Again

The moral outrage comes from some awfully disreputable corners. Carly Fiorina rises again to assert herself as an arbiter of good conduct in public life. Can you fucking imagine it? This is the woman who distinguished herself by trashing Hewlett Packard. She’s the one who so ruined HP’s workplace culture and product reputation that alarmed Hewlett and Packard scions–the farthest things from failspawn in the annals of American wealth–beseeched the board until it paid her to go away.

This walking managerial-class dumpster fire and C-list permacandidate is now being trotted out on Facebook for expressions of outrage that Donald Trump made some rude comments, dispositive of nothing, some years ago in which he bragged of having snatched some women by the snatch. What the Donald bragged of doing in general terms on the set of a reality television show is now more believable and damnable than what the Carleton did on the record as the chief executive officer of a Fortune 500 company.

First point of clarification: how goddamned stupid are we to consider a thing like that? These incidents are not on the same moral plane. Trump’s comments were gross, in all senses, but they were vague, made in a milieu that esteemed shock for the sake of shock, and made under penalty of nothing worse than possible ridicule or rebuke by those who do not enjoy Howard Stern.

Second point of clarification: how the hell is this decade-old incident of rude bragging getting round-the-clock news coverage while Donald Trump’s imminent deposition in a civil suit over the alleged rape of a thirteen-year-old girl getting coverage only in alternative and samizdat outlets? Let’s consider the contrast here: one of these situations involves the candidate having talked in general terms about his habit of sexually assaulting strange but unspecified women, and having done so in circumstances strongly favorable to exaggeration for purposes of male bonding; the other involves A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FACING DEPOSITION FOR INTERNATIONAL ABDUCTION AND CHILD RAPE. Again, the incident that bothers us, or so we’ve been told to feel, is the seedy locker room talk, not the conspiracy with the billionaire pervert to spirit vaguely pubescent girls into international airspace and foreign countries on a private jet for the express purpose of sexually assaulting them. It’s like sending Daniel Holtzclaw to prison for 263 years on eighteen counts of Uttering Suck White Dick in the First Degree but acquitting him of all rape, sexual assault, and stalking charges. It’s absolutely fucking insane.

Carly Fiorina will now have us know that Donald Trump does not speak for her or for the Republican Party. Third point of clarification, because why not: when did Carly Fiorina, a candidate who was beaten just this year in the Republican primaries by several other candidates, including Donald Trump, become coextensive and coterminous with the Republican Party, whose presidential nominee is now Donald Trump? Elements of the old-guard base seem to like her, but they weren’t the only ones voting this year. Every one of their great conservative hopes got thrashed. When they finally coalesced, after a fashion, around a single candidate, they did so around the abrasive, sanctimonious Canadian-born son of a Cuban father who had alienated his own Congressional caucus by being a raging prick. They tried to choose the constitutionally dubious guy that everyone who knew him hated. That gambit fell flat, just as had all their attempts earlier in the race to force other garbage candidates whose platforms had popular support in the single digits through the nominating process. Now they’re butthurt that the Republican Party can’t change its nominating rules ex post facto to move a vice-presidential candidate who didn’t even run in the primaries up to the head of the ticket for no other reason than the current, duly nominated principal having said a different kind of offensive shit than had been assumed customary on his part.

Every weirdo, scammer, nutjob, and antisocial asswipe from the Republican old guard has been brought out by the bipartisan haut bourgeois elites to express outrage at Donald Trump’s newly revealed frank crudity, which may well have been nothing but bluster from a man notorious for exactly that. Suddenly sworn Democrats are extolling Mitt Romney as a paragon of principle and plain dealing. Muh 47%. These aren’t strange bedfellows, though, so much as partners in graft. The established elites don’t like the proles showing up in their electoral process and shaking this motherfucker up. Only a handful of marginal cranks had anything critical to say about Donald Trump for his wanton humiliation of subordinates on his Apprentice franchises. Who wants to listen to a preachy buzzkill, after all? When he ran for the presidency and called bullshit on all the Republican scam artists and self-dealers, that was when the gloves came off. That was when he suddenly became anathema for high-minded moral reasons. The first serious candidate to show up in the Republican primaries since at least Nixon with a platform to restore a version of the New Deal is also the first to be roundly repudiated for unprecedented bigotry, even though mainstream Republicans have notoriously been dogwhistling to bigots since the seventies? Eww, the Hardly Boys are getting a clue! This isn’t principle; it’s crude self-interest hypocritically masquerading as principle, and it’s being advanced in service to a nominally leftist candidate who is practically the apotheosis of self-dealing in the guise of self-righteous public service.

Beyond some point, which we’ve probably already passed this year, there’s nothing better for voters to use to reorient themselves than horse sense. Those in positions of authority are, to be generous, pretty clearly giving us bogus signals in the hope of luring us off some precipice because we can’t see our own way through all their fog. Under this gloss, we might want to ask ourselves why all the bougies, ostensibly from all political backgrounds, so vehemently hate and distrust Donald Trump. It’s nigh impossible to catalogue all the odious stances and candidates that both major parties have put forward in recent decades who were not Trump, so why does this particular vulgar blowhard get under their skin so? My horse sense says that these are people I cannot trust because many of them have been, and some continue to be, actively untrustworthy around me in a way that the lower classes do not. Their lecturing me, among others about the need to vote for the woman whose machine threw my preferred candidate under the bus doesn’t help their case. Their ulterior motive here is not hard to discern. Do they seriously expect us to believe that this is the first time in their teen or adult lives that they are not acting as self-dealers? Shit, I’m afraid I can answer that. It doesn’t occur to them that what they’re doing is in any way self-dealing.

Fuck them. If they aren’t on my side, I ain’t on theirs.

Mike Pence is said to be “apoplectic,” among other adjectives of outrage, over Trump’s old comments indicating predatory misogyny. What a fucking creep. This is the guy who caused a rural HIV outbreak as governor of Indiana by throwing his weight around to nix a needle exchange program for heroin addicts in Scott County. He’s the one whose moralizing about abortion has Purvi Patel serving a twenty-year prison sentence for an unauthorized miscarriage. It’s one thing to have to listen to the likes of him on some street corner where he hangs out all day, hollering his word. It’s quite another to have mainstream media dignifying his every sleazy, creepy, ruinous policy move by the sole virtue of its having been done by a serious Republican who is respected by other serious Republicans.

Trump’s reluctance to appeal to the religious zealots as well as the starve-the-beast movement conservative self-dealers makes him one of the least noxious politicians in the Republican Party today. The constituencies that he took on are statistically marginal ones that have bullied their way into control of large swathes of public policy. By choosing Pence as his veep, Trump divided his own ticket against itself–if he is the one who made that decision, that is. I have yet to peer far enough down that rabbit hole to see its end, but the conspiracy theories make enough sense not to dismiss out of hand. With the policies he’s been advocating, it certainly doesn’t sound like Trump’s idea to elevate that shitnuts to the Vice Presidency.

Again, dude shows up and wins by repudiating, like, half or two thirds of what has made the Republican Party poisonous for forty-odd years, and HE’S the one who is beyond the pale for acting consistently with a crude celebrity persona that he has maintained for decades? That’s some of the most ridiculous bullshit I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot of political bullshit.

No, Trump’s language and behavior don’t look good. Neither do the Clintons’. They’re the ones who are implicated in the intimidation of the Justice Department and the FBI. The Trumps and the Clintons are said to be friends after hours, so as always, every time I toy with the idea of voting for Trump, I remember something reminding me that Stephen Harper can’t hold a candle to him for sub rosa sleaze.

We aren’t living in a Weimar Republic redux because a bunch of bougies who don’t want to lose their perks and privileges keep accusing the guy who says he wants to make them share the wealth of being the next Hitler. We’re living in Weimar because they’re dictating the terms and the outcomes of our national politics. This shit makes Robert Pickton for Secretary of Agriculture sound like an undeserved mercy. It makes Gerry Rundel for director of the Fish and Wildlife Service sound like the blessed Millennium. Don’t be worried when I point out Millington for Sheriff endorsements. Be worried when I endorse Northside Juice for Southside President. I swear to God, that much is not a joke. Just look at the alternatives.

Cold Chicago morning and shit

The main thing I’m trying to accomplish this morning is to stay awake long enough to hump my shit over to the Greyhound station (yuck) and catch the 10:45 Dirty Dog to Ann Arbor. I flew in from Seattle on a red eye last night, in a middle seat next to a smelly guy with huge biceps that kept colonizing my arm space. I spent the first half of the flight with my left arm in a state of fairly bad pain that I couldn’t really alleviate by repositioning it. When I started getting some sleep during the second half, Arm and Jammer bumped into me on his way back from the lavatory, and then the plane started shaking, sometimes violently, until 5,000 feet or so on approach to O’Hare. Thanks, American!

It was cheaper than flying to Detroit, though, and O’Hare is a more manageable airport with better ground transportation. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped Chicagoland’s neoliberal assjobs from jacking up inbound El fare from $2.25 to $5.00, just to hose the traveling public in a special way. They get off on that kind of sick shit. Some of these rents may trickle down to the operation and maintenance of CTA infrastructure, but if that’s the purpose of the fare increase, I’m Carl Sandburg, and my shoulders are even broader than Arm and Jammer’s.

Here’s an example of what the City of Chicago is not doing with its tax receipts. When I landed this morning, it was raining hard enough for my bags to get wet on their way to baggage claim, in a beautiful synthesis of weather, personnel, and infrastructure fuckery. It started getting light while I was coming into town on the Blue Line, and there were some really neat colors breaking through the gray over Lake Michigan and downtown. Sally don’t you. When I came out of the Clinton Station fifteen or twenty minutes after the brilliant salmons and reds, it was raining steadily and nothing but gray. This is not, however, a White Whine about Chicago having crappy weather. This is the Midwest. It’s been known to fucking rain around here, and this morning’s rain was nothing special.

So of course there were two or three inches of standing water at the intersection of Canal and Van Buren, right across the street from the Union Station parking garage. Why wouldn’t there be? This is the town where the aldermen deliver the goods.

This isn’t Las Vegas or San Diego, where dipshits in the streets department who get caught off guard by rainstorms can plead that, well, this only happens a few times a year, so, like, we weren’t expecting it. Chicago gets rain like this morning’s every month of the year, aside from a winter month here or there when it doesn’t get warm enough, and then it usually dumps a shit ton of snow. Standing water covering a crosswalk in a downtown intersection on account of an hour of light to moderate rain is the result of thumbs-up-the-ass behavior in the city government.

Or, more specifically, Rahm Emanuel trying to trash the unions again. The deterioration of the streets and the El system coincided with chainsaw massacres of public works budgets. The people who staff these departments may smack Mama Sugar until she yields the damn tit if she’s being ornery, but when they’re on the job, they get shit done for their pay. Neoliberals like Rahmbo consider this despicable. They like their servants poor, desperate, and, as the woke say, servile.

On my way into town this morning, I was approached at the airport by a well-dressed panhandler with a sob story about having had his car towed and being “in a jam,” saw a hunchbacked hobo of probably no more than forty board the train at Belmont with a lit cigarette after twice asking whether the train was going downtown (surely Rod Stewart will agree to see him tonight), and watched a guy struggle to fit a huge laundry bag-looking sack full of fuck if I know what in the way of clothes onto a narrow escalator that didn’t want to accommodate his heaping drawstring carpetbag of junk. Shit’s on the skids. Why dude needed to take all that shit downtown I can’t say, but it didn’t look good. Curbside at O’Hare, there were signs asking travelers to report homeless people they encountered at the airport to a private rehab agency for intervention. (We aren’t all on drugs, bitch.) What the police are doing about this is standing guard at arbitrary posts in the middle of concourses at Union Station dressed like they’re trying out for Latin American death squads, like Dog the Bounty Hunter aping a Secret Service agent. We have a security state, but we do not have security. One dasn’t do community policing by getting on good terms with the ghetto dealers and hookers until they rat out the kill whiteys, but closing public schools until students are forced to cross rival gang territory while the district hands out windfalls in the nine figures to Wall Street is cool as fuck.

None of this is cute. None of it is a series of foibles. It’s extreme misgovernment and dysfunction slouching towards third-world standards of performance and accountability. There’s a budget to hire cops to put on khaki jeans and get creepy in transit hubs, but there’s not a budget to install and clear storm drains. Of course, Chicago has been dicking around with this shit to varying but always unacceptable degrees since its founding. I don’t know whether anyone can definitely say why. If we blame it on Polish and Irish cops, we might want to account for why Polish and Irish cops don’t act like that in Poland and Ireland. Chicago has always had more than its share of mobbed-up thugs and greasy hustlers. This is unfortunate for a city that has a strong reason to exist as a transportation hub, among other things. In Vegas, a half-assed real economy grew up to service the mob rackets. In Chicago, the mob rackets congealed around a strong real economy, arbitrarily destroying those who kept this real economy running whenever they rubbed some thug the wrong way.

Some additional words about the Chicago Police Department are in order. NBC is totally out of line for lionizing the worst of the CPD. Chicago PD presents Chicago as somehow an underrated reservoir of middle-American values of grit, energy, and hard work, which apparently includes pinning a murder suspect to the ground behind a warehouse and threatening to gouge his eyes out with a bowie knife until he gives up his accomplices. To the extent that this is an accurate reflection of the real Chicago PD, and unfortunately it does have a basis in reality, it raises some troubling questions, such as why Chicago’s good cops don’t assassinate its rogues. Stauffenberg, what’s your twenty? A tiny handful of extremely bad cops are allowed to turn entire neighborhoods against the entire department, including its good cops, by engaging in extreme violence under color of authority to no ultimate good end. Jon Burge sent a bunch of innocent men to prison.

This idea of Hank Voight being a misunderstood man who lives by a misunderstood code that allows him to clear the cases other cops can’t crack is total bullshit. The CPD might as well commission MS-13 and Knights Templar hit men as district detective-commanders. A handful of crooked, out-of-control thugs are ruining a department with a lot of top-notch patrol officers, and NBC makes it out to be nothing worse than admirable men and women who are a bit rough around the edges. The real Chicago Police may not be able to keep you or your children from being gunned down in the crossfire of some gang war, but it’s fully capable of abducting you into a secret interrogation facility and torturing you with electric shocks to your genitals until you confess to whatever it’s time for you to confess.

At least I got to see the Chicago Fire Department–the real one, the one without all the Limeys and Aussies–respond to a service call at Union Station this morning. It was probably for the emotionally disturbed lady I saw yelling obscenities on her way into the waiting room. I don’t imagine the khaki guard was cool with that, although they deserved far worse for being such creeps. The neatest thing about this CFD call was that one of the responding firemen was fat. I don’t mean fat like Mouch. I don’t mean fat like Sam Dotson. I mean fat like Ronal Serpas, but sloppier and slower. Nobody’s actually falling out of a fifth-floor apartment window and getting impaled on a row of metal fence pickets. Nobody’s larping Backdraft. Not that I saw this morning, anyway. Big Boy doesn’t mind having a boring job. He doesn’t mind having a third slice of deep dish. It isn’t just the jacket that makes him look chubby.

I assume I’m about to see grosser fat people in closer quarters on Greyhound.

Personal branding

Questions of why I’m so candid on social media have come my way again, and once again, I’m disturbed that I’m fielding them. The particulars this time weren’t too bad intrinsically, but their context is damning. The Insurance Schmuck suggested that maybe I was shooting myself in the foot by indiscriminately publishing every brutally honest thing that came to my mind without regard to the audience that would be able to see it. When I told him that I’m extremely careful about privacy settings, he sounded somewhat relieved, although not entirely. He was probably feeling an element of not wanting to get into an argument about moral courage with Lech Walesa again. We might say that solidarity is not a core value in the insurance business. #PassItOn.

Still, his concerns seemed sincere and well-meaning. What disturbed me was that he was basically concern-trolling me by accident. The Insurance Schmuck has had it beaten into his head by forces much larger than himself that there are socioeconomic consequences for candor and that this is a tolerable social arrangement, not cause for a sustained mass rebellion until the creeps and crypto-Maoist cadres enforcing this regime stand the fuck down. When management is snooping into employees’ or applicants’ social media activities, for example, there is a simple stance that labor can and should take: one toe over the line legally and we’ll pack you off to federal prison, where you will be enjoyed by more permissive privacy settings. Management goes there because it rarely faces consequences for going there. As I told the Insurance Schmuck, if employers breach privacy walls in the course of snooping on their employees or applicants, that’s tantamount to the interception and examination of their mail, which is a federal felony.

Having third-party informants who have been given access to their social media accounts is legally less extreme but morally no better. In some ways, it’s even more pernicious, since it destroys social trust and cohesion by cultivating a society of stool pigeons. If we’ve crowdsourced the Stasi spy network, that’s a reason to be ashamed and scandalized, not proud. We shouldn’t be able to live with ourselves if we’ve been perverted into a nation of cowards and narcs.

Of course, I sound like Vaclav Serpico Snowden for sitting down on a sofa in a coffeeshop and asserting any of this. We have in fact become a nation of cowards and narcs. The slave mentality keeps rearing its hideous head, often through a plantation system that has never been properly demolished and replaced. The United States government blazed the trail for free speech, but US businesses keep making the world safe for corporate propaganda and private law, the original privilege. The organizing philosophy, although it’s rarely stated explicitly, is that you’ll get a job if you watch your damn language. This is the case except when it isn’t. Sometimes you get a job for toeing the company line, and sometimes you don’t. Nice job selling your soul to the Devil there; shame the old bastard didn’t make the least effort at offering a fair trade for your trouble. Gotta do what you gotta do to get by, though, and that’s more than it used to be these days since we’re too chickenshit to organize unions.

This toxic crabs-in-the-barrel mentality bleeds over into more strictly social spheres. A drinking buddy of the Insurance Schmuck’s and occasionally of mine moved from their Philadelphia striver suburb to Seattle for work and inadvertently annoyed some people by posting what they thought was too much self-indulgent nonsense on Facebook. I was almost completely on his side, though, for a couple of reasons. First, even though he posted exceptionally large volumes of all sorts of shit, some of it incomprehensibly weird, I never got the feeling that he was trying to gaslight, catfish, or otherwise manipulate anyone. This was a welcome respite from the torrent of blatantly staged bullshit that other Facebook friends of mine were simultaneously vomiting into the ether for purposes of personal branding. Second, this friend of ours was depressed, and pretty badly so by many accounts, in a city with stratospheric levels of depression, seasonal affective disorder (a Pacific Northwest classic), self-harm, and suicide. Seattle had something like the highest or second-highest suicide rate of any major city in the United States, the other of these cities being Pittsburgh, where word on the street was that the rain had a way of getting the Hunky-McCracker cross-breeds down. Having large Japanese and, don’tcha know, Nordic populations doesn’t help Seattle on the mental health front, but there’s some damn weird light up there in both summer and winter, and in winter it’s weird in a who-turned-the-sun-off way. That’s why Jimi Hendrix led by example with that funky music instead of telling depressive white boys what to do with their lives. The suicide rates are higher yet towards the open water: Hoquiam, Astoria, the two-bit reservation towns, all that shit. Find Kurt Cobain’s body in the pond, spend the first two or three decades of the internet age cluttering AOL and then Facebook with stories about how one remembers where one was when they found Cobain because one is a nineties kid, that kind of thing. Or maybe, for the love of God, turn to Leon Bridges for some smooth, smooth poison control. Then again, what the hell does he know about the cool change Christopher Cross crap? He’s from Dallas. He won’t weigh you down in Galveston, oh–God, not another white boy singing about self-harm. When will they, by which I mean we,when will they ever learn?

What in hell was all that? Well, this is the internet, so what else did you expect? Most of you came here for Dubai Porta Potty. I see the page view statistics. I peer into the intellectual abyss of the mass man. What I see in that void tells me that I need to up my Great Multicultural Embarrassments of Canada SEO game. Monty Robinson Russell Williams Robert Pickton Melissa Ann Shepard Rob Ford Jian Ghomeshi Weiguang Vince Li. Also Gerry Rundel, Kwesi Millington’s white ally in arms and at sentencing, because white allies are a culture, too. Look, I’m just trying to make sure that Mark Saunders is too embarrassed to try to impress me into service as an ally of any race. Dude wasn’t chief for a full workday before he was arguing with reporters in defense of the mass carding of Jane and Finch. He’s also a prominent sworn enemy of the reefer, in both senses.

If Big Rob hadn’t drunk himself into an early grave, Toronto today might be only five or ten years away from the urban apotheosis of woke multicultural epicurean libertarianism and expanded subway service. Like, hey, mon, I’ll try to stop the cops from hassling you over the doobie, but in the meantime, maybe take the TTC downtown to smoke that shit if your towelhead neighbors keep moralizing on you and ratting you out to five-oh, or come out to Etobicoke, ’cause I know some forty-five-year-olds who will smoke you under the table in their parents’ basements, and I ain’t talkin’ dank Bob Marley skunk cabbage, either. That strategic lard reserve was starting to come around on the excesses of prohibition, and he, maybe uniquely among GTA leaders, had the weird combination of cynicism, brute candor, and horse sense to make the tapestry of tolerance work. He was a sort of bottle rat Tito with an eating disorder.

John Tory? LOL, friend.

What that lengthy excursion on the T’rana Trippin’ Trolley has to do with the abject moral cowardice of insecure American social climbers is that it’s less depressing than extant sociopolitical dynamics in the United States. Or in Toronto, from what I hear. I don’t always say this, but Haidt-fuck me now, Ghomeshi. I’d have to be paid a commission to assure anyone that that isn’t making the cut. Why the fuck am I still writing all this shit about Toronto? Streams of consciousness are like streams of urine: once they’ve been cut off, there’s no telling when they’ll be possible to restart. Ask your doctor about whatever the FCC is allowing big pharma to advertise on dinnertime television for Boomer dick problems.

The crux of the problem is labor trembling in fear that it will be fired for offending some asshole and censoring itself in desperation. Corporations and neoliberally corporatized nonprofits and government agencies threaten to fire employees who challenge the company line. Activist cadres living their lives out in university or corporate veal pens while the real power players make fun of them for being losers threaten to get dissidents fired for political incorrectness, intolerance, realtalk, sexually or racially tinged rudeness, or whatever we might wish to call it, regardless of the insolent speaker’s contributions to civilization. Think Camille Deng pretending that she isn’t a marginal bit player compared to Hoyt Thorpe or, better yet, compared to Thorpe’s father. Some crooked or gratuitously officious shithead is allowed to dictate our language not only during business hours, but after hours, too. Robber barons and moral busybodies: get you a society that gives aid and comfort to both. It should be obvious that this is corrosive. For many Americans, however, it’s a “Wet? What’s ‘wet’?” moment.

Of course, we’re trained not to notice these things. We’re taught to redirect all the distrust and anger that we feel for our shitty institutions towards two-bit scapegoats. Our schools and our employers can’t possibly be the problem. We must have been microaggressively raped by some frat bro the other night. That way the administration can be our savior by erecting (heh) emergency phones topped with blue lights every few hundred feet on campus and subjecting everyone to unctuous lectures on sexual consent. We must have been sexually harassed by some rogue leering shithead boss, because otherwise we might start noticing the structural tortiousness and criminality of our employers. Don’t worry, the Oklahoma City Police Department brought Daniel Holtzclaw to justice, so there’s no way that police departments in the East Bay are covering up the serial rape of Celeste Guap under color of authority and threat of arrest. Outlandish, unsupported claims of amorphous cultural toxicity are cool, but there can’t possibly be anything pathological about our cherished institutions as institutions. The Tsar has no fucking idea what the Cossacks are doing.

John Stumpf was not summarily fired over the bogus accounts scandal at Wells Fargo. These things are related.

When I referred to “us” two paragraphs above, I was referring in particular to the managerial class, which in the United States has levels of formal education, income, and net worth far above the averages for the American population as a whole. #NeverForget, the United States was assembled from a patchwork of slaves states, with a couple of minor free states in the far north. All kinds of egregiously depraved shit involving the behavior of American institutions and leaders that makes no sense at all under a gloss of vigorous liberty and the bravery of freemen makes horrifically perfect sense under a gloss of systemic slavery and oppression. I’ve seen rules of thumb that a slave society needs to give somewhere between twenty and thirty percent of its population, at a minimum, power over others and attendant disproportionate wealth in order to remain stable. That is, a significant minority needs to have much to lose in the event of liberation and reform, or else the whole thing will go down in flames. O’Hara, she don’t whip her own darkies.

It’s this managerial class that remains emotionally invested in the legitimacy of institutions, no matter how illegitimate they keep proving themselves. This is the constituency that reveres prestigious colleges, especially its own alma maters, no matter how unabashedly corrupt they become. This is the constituency that most reveres college in the broader sense as an overarching institution and an ideal, no matter how much sheer venality and sleaze becomes the norm among mainstream college administrators or how little college degrees do for their less successful holders. Marginalized college graduates are legion now, but the elements I’m describing either don’t notice this or find ways to blame their failed classmates for their own failures. Their myopia can be insufferable. The lower classes might be expected to be parochial and ignorant of classes higher than their own due to their financial entrapment in extremely limiting circumstances. If they can’t afford to drive or to move out of seedy neighborhoods with functionally useless public transit and generally shitty services, the closeness of their horizons is largely out of their control. When the generationally affluent have no fucking idea how the poor in their own towns live, it’s because they choose to be sheltered. They’re the ones who can afford to venture out beyond their own native habitat. It’s their choice to inhabit an archipelago of Potemkin Villages. That this is a choice becomes clearer whenever they react angrily to intrusions by the lower classes into their world. Some of them do this quite often.

Chris Arnade’s back-row kids don’t trust shitty institutions. They’ve been done bogus too many times to be so naive. The ones who still have this trust have either been financially backstopped against immiseration by exploitative institutions or bought their way into positions that shield them from the more destructive excesses of institutional rent-seeking. Put another way, if your parents bought you a ten-thousand-dollar country club membership and you talk the Horatio Alger story of your own life, you’re full of shit. Full stop. That is not meritocracy.

I’m exposed to enough of this sort of kin-and-cronies slushfunding, either from secondhand stories or directly as an occasional hanger-on, to wonder whether the concern over my online candor isn’t motivated by a fear that I’ll successfully call bullshit on some scam or racket or puddle of sleaze and embarrass the bullshitters involved in it. Tough titty. No one has paid me to run marketing for any of these hustlers.

What should we make of those who have been paid to run the marketing? Probably nothing reputable. I’ve met a number of communications majors, all of them somewhere between ditzy and idiotic, and a number of liberal arts types who went into public relations, who were smarter but not enough so. An increase in intelligence in this crowd mainly results in an increase in carefully whitewashed neurosis and fear. There’s something to be said for being dumb and happy, especially when one is backstopped in tolerable comfort at one’s childhood home. (These chicks, no matter how unemployable they seem, aren’t living on the streets. I don’t see them at the rest areas.) If nothing else, the really dimwitted ones aren’t wasting their minds. It would be a terrible thing to inadvertently disappoint Dan Quayle. It might inspire him to additional public speaking. Speaking of public speakers who are available to small venues on short notice, we might say that these women Communicate to Create (TM) a sad world of half-articulate talking points and tragically wasted careers.

Oh, snap! I bet that came as a shock.

Men can embarrass themselves in a satisfyingly similar fashion, too. Millington made it through Depot, and just look at him now. With chicks, though, it fits more easily under a gloss of fun-timey psychosexual dysfunction in the academy and the workplace, including sexual harassment, sexual quid pro quo, rape culture, and a sense of vaginally derived insecurity. We’re litigating a loving spoonful of these recriminations in our current presidential race on account of the Venezuelan lady who got fat, so God bless America. Women in particular have to watch how they present themselves, to walk that fine line between being not enough of a tease and too much of a slut. Their drunkenness and promiscuity in out-of-state beach towns could endanger their employment by institutions that are not religious orders if they let evidence of it slip on Facebook. Meanwhile Kim Kardashian’s electronic samizdat of nudie Judies is antifragile, but only as long as she, the daughter of a prominent criminal defense lawyer, doesn’t do anything compromising, like contribute to a law review article under her own name or say something openly coherent in public.

This is how we end up with social climbers publishing photos on Facebook of themselves holding mixed drinks on Caribbean beaches, but not drinking them. This is why we’re having our moral panic over sexting, even when it does not involve Anthony Weiner. That weirdo is less neurotic than the young social climbers I’ve been describing. Do you realize how fucked up that is? He knows he’s off and admits as much. He is to electronic flashing what Rob Ford eventually was to crack use.

It’s worth stressing that we expose ourselves (heh) to a reinvigorated culture of blackmail by submitting to these hypocritical strictures on sexual expression. Weiner, shall we say, put it all out there on fairly short order. The prospect of being fired for harmless after-hours monkey business that happened to be discovered by management in the course of some electronic witch hunt or meeting with an informant is chilling. It’s systemic J. Edgar Hoover.

Meanwhile, there’s no discernible code of etiquette informing the social media publication of material that might upset the poor in one’s life. There’s no lower bound on the obnoxious broadcasting of photos and status updates from stadium skyboxes, luxury vacations, and the like that will provoke significant scolding for being inconsiderate of those who can’t afford to live like that. This is probably because it is assumed that one will either not have the poor in one’s life or will have only the meekly, obsequiously, subordinately poor.

I’m probably more considerate and restrained about broadcasting this sort of thing than my friends from high school and college are. I don’t want to be the dipshit who makes the poor feel unworthy, ashamed, and humiliated because they can’t keep up with the Joneses. I’d rather annoy some bougies by being a buzzkill when they’re looking to flaunt their affluence than afflict the already afflicted by trying to curry favor with people who have a decade-plus track record of pretty much not hooking me up with the good stuff.

What the hell did I do to end up living a society where rebuking the talented tenth for flaunting their wealth and privilege makes me feel like Adrian Schoolcraft? God. Was I Henry VIII in a past life? What is wrong with this country? Why are we embarrassed to be whores or whoremongers or out of work and adrift but not embarrassed to sell our souls to every sleazy, cult-like racket proclaiming its own authority that wanders into our view?

Sometimes I think that Orwell was over-the-top to have Winston Smith say that the salvation of his country would come from the proles. Other times, I remember that “Look, you can’t leave your shit all over the floor, this is the incall room” is a huge improvement over “watch what you say or you’ll get blacklisted.” They don’t like to hear this at the Maryland Bar Association, but there are times when I, too, STRAIGHT UP NUTT IN THAT BITCH. (Getting through law school and still using that second T is a problem, though. Katie door the bar.) For a prudish society we’re sure awash in public indulgence in sexually explicit material far worse than that. Like Levi Johnston, I’m a gentleman, Larry. I don’t kiss and tell. I do, however, sometimes do what the other Larry, Craig, called “nasty naughty” with women who have the courage to advertise their milkshake on the internet under their own likenesses. That way I don’t have to cruise airport terminals.

Give me lip for not being a total abject chickenshit about these things when SVU has been relegated to late nights on D-List cable channels. There’s nothing wrong with Sound and Pound, even if it’s a bit trashy to get it in Spanaway.