Men who stare at pictures of goats

The names of two priests I used to know appear in the grand jury report on predatory Catholic priests recently released by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office. I wanted to check immediately after the report was published to see if I’d ever known any of the priests named in it, just so as not to be surprised later, and seeing only two of them named for what I frankly don’t consider heinous behavior is disappointing and disturbing but not as bad as I’d been prepared to see. The reporting on the AG’s report consistently suggested that the rot went really deep and wide, so I didn’t want to make any assumptions that I hadn’t been around anyone who hadn’t been in deep himself.

The specific accusations against the two priests I knew concerned online child pornography, and both men were cleared by criminal investigations, one by DHS and the other, as far as I can tell, by local authorities. I.e., these guys were looking at some questionable shit online, but nothing outrageously sick, and they were not accused of preying upon anyone in the real world, where one must commit one’s actual predation.

One of the accused was one of the two best confessors I’ve ever seen, something of a clunky dork but a man of what I still believe was genuine meekness and decency. Nothing that he has done online as a mere spectator could negate the value of the wisdom, guidance, and grace he showed me in the confessional. Nor, for that matter, am I at all inclined to ding him for his crappy homilies; big fucking deal that one of the best confessors in the priesthood liked to read clumsily written public addresses straight off a sheath of loose pages with spotty eye contact. NB, in that vein, that the smooth orators so often include abject greasies like Joel Osteen. It’s 3:27 as I write this, so, can I NOT get an amen for that.

Sadly, I’m not too surprised to see this priest’s name in the report, especially on second thought. He always seemed like a misfit and an odd duck. Then again, the worst I can conclude from what I’ve read about him is that he was troubled in private. The Catholic Church has all too many who are troubled in public, so he’s unfortunately an improvement.

The other priest I knew from the list did surprise me by making it. He could be pretty abrasive, but he, again, seemed sincere enough. In retrospect, he was a bit too sexually preoccupied, but not alarmingly so by priestly standards. I’ve been at masses where other priests have hectored entire congregations about sin in the marriage bed; this fellow merely made some occasional comments about, for example, how encouraged he was to hear that so many seminarians were virgins or how he couldn’t be alone in rooms with women with the doors closed. The one sexually disordered comment he made that sounds much worse in retrospect was about how sexual attractions don’t matter for a priest who takes his vow of celibacy seriously: “You can be attracted to sheep, for all I care. The important thing is that you don’t act on it.”

Did I mention that I’m writing this from DA-A-A-A-A-A-VIS? I think it was sheep. Maybe it was goats. And I’m not sure enough to swear on Sherman’s grave or anything that it wasn’t the cradle Catholic reform preacher wackjob who tried to summarily baptize me in his bathtub who made the animal husbandry, or non-husbandry, comment, since the two always talked and carried themselves similarly. I’m pretty sure, though. And I’m pretty sure that they might catch you at it one day.

There’s only one thing that upsets me much about this scandal, specifically with respect to the latter priest. I’m reading tea leaves here, so without the dates I can’t be sure about the chronology or the causality, but if I’m right about it, it’s pretty ugly. Some months after he’d been assigned to our parish–less than I year–I recall, this priest told us out of the blue that he had arranged to leave public ministry on short order and move back home with his parents to deal with a bout of severe stress and anxiety brought on by his ministerial workload. This announcement surprised me, and I had the feeling that he wasn’t giving us the full story, but I didn’t strongly suspect that there was anything scandalous about it. It seemed a bit weird, but it didn’t seem fishy enough to spend time thinking it over or looking into it. Maybe I was wrong about that. I don’t know what to make of it.

What I do know is that if anyone else in the diocese put him up to giving us a bullshit story about why he was going on hiatus from public ministry the coverup was sleazier than anything this priest was doing online. If this was the story the priest concocted of his own volition to save face, I can respect it. If colleagues or superiors told him to lie to us, I cannot denounce it strongly enough. Diocesan authorities owe us, their flock, better than that. Period. We all owe it to ourselves and to our fellow Christians to tell any bishop who pulls that kind of bullshit on us to go fuck himself. We’re in our proper place to tell irresponsible church officials not to arrange the propagation of affirmative lies about the lemons under their midst or in their authority.

How rotten is the rest of the barrel? I don’t know. I see people agitate, from positions of sincerity, for the breakup of the Catholic Church. They’re probably right that the Church is getting special treatment in the investigation and resolution of this epic scandal of child sexual abuse. We don’t have a model or precedent for unwinding a corrupt organization of such size, mainstream authority, and reach. From what I can remember hearing or reading, the civil authorities in the US have never even dealt decisively with municipal police forces corrupted to hell by FLDS town board crazies, and that shit horrifies all the discreet polyg in American Fork.

There is in fact pervasive corruption in the US Catholic Conference of Bishops, manifesting as habitual sins of omission (#TeshTips: not the same as emission) with respect to known predators in the priesthood. Does this mean that the Catholic Church’s diocesan structures should be broken up by the civil authorities as they’re found to be rotten? My heart isn’t in it, but I can’t really argue against it. Some of these guys are in really deep into some indefensible shit.

For that matter, should we abolish the police? That’s another corrupt institution that harbors far more than its fair share of predators but still manages to do quite a bit of timely good. I’m not even trying to be passive-aggressive or shitbird Socratic. These are thorny fucking questions. This isn’t the place to go hunting for easy answers.

Penn State #FOOTBALL? Oh God yes: disband immediately. A bunch of big, strong young men like them should be good to detassel corn or buck hay or maybe heave pumpkins into a wagon.

Here I go again, assuming that glory hounds have any interest in being productive members of society, and acting like I’d tolerate sharing a harvest crew with that lot. But aren’t we all, excluding Sandusky, just, uh, groping around in the dark, where children play.

My bad. That’s supposed to be the park. I had to mentally run the verse again to discover that I’d fucked it up, that my latest little joke was in fact too good to be true, and that all of this is enough to make Terry Kath want to shoot himself again. Speaking of parks, I need to find one to finish drying the laundry I did in the sink this morning, but don’t get your hopes up, fellows, ain’t no bobby sox in this batch.

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Sore Loserman

The Democrats are–where else?–back on their John Birch Society election spoiler bullshit about the Green Party, which is not their party but they’ll still cry if they want to; you would cry, too, if you were one of the most incorrigibly whiny bitches to walk the earth. The latest talking point that they’re circulating about this persecution complex is that a sworn descendant of ancient aliens stole a special congressional election from them in a two-thirds Republican district in exurban metro Columbus and gave it to Keep America Great Again. Never mind that their fielding a competitive candidate in the general election in such a strongly and consistently Republican district is a sign of their own party’s strength and the Republicans’ weakness, or that Alien Boy was not in it to win it with the normies, for reasons as obvious as they are far, far out and away; surely this is all part of a dastardly and elaborate Russian plot to subvert the only democratic party in our democracy.

This Balderson character is a dumbass unto Adam Parkhomenko. It takes an olypmically special mind to produce the GOP’s answer to “How could Bernie would have won?”, and our boy, he’s done it. As I said, the Democrats are doing something right to have Danny O’Connor, the only candidate in the race to make the news without crossing my transom for saying something severely disordered, get into a statistical tie with a Republican in the Ohio 12th. Locally, there’s nothing unusual about a Democrat losing, and ain’t that nice, O’Neill, because nationally, they are good and fucked if they can’t smoke opponents who talk like THAT. “If” isn’t exactly the right word; these assholes are still keeping Parkhomenko and every other fourth-rate West Wing wannabe hack with a habit of sycophancy in their good graces and eligible for policy shop payrolls. It’s Happening (TM).

What the Democratic establishment refuses to get is that we, the people, don’t owe them John Dennis Diddly just because they continue to exist for some reason. That reason, in short, is corruption. These shitheels have a fundamentally feudal understanding of representative democracy, or republicanism, which I most certainly support for the UK as well, the more equitably to deal with the generations upon generations of inbred layabouts that it keeps supporting with council housing and public funds. They represent us. If we don’t care for them, they don’t represent us. Oops. How bow dah. Cash us en masse ousside the party, even the electorate. We have no duty to vote for them just because they aren’t Republicans. Who the fuck do they think we are? If they’re demanding our votes just because they claim to be less grotesque ghouls than the Republicans, that’s a fucking protection racket, and it is upstanding of us, as voters, to refuse to dignify it with our votes.

This is a big part of what happened to Hillary. I, for one, was sick not just of her but of her entire family. That lot had supped at the damn trough long enough. They’d already been given too much latitude to shove the rest of us out of their way and snort condescendingly at us if we dared complain. As individual voters exercising our individual franchise, we were well within our rights to determine that the entire family deserved to be banished from elected office on account of attainder of blood. #TeshTips: We’re voters, not framers of the Constitution; we don’t need approved rationales for how we vote. Hillary was the most acutely objectionable Clinton, but she in no way alone in her viciousness and sleaze. For decades I’d given Chelsea the benefit of the doubt as a child born into an unfortunate and unenviable family environment, but by 2016 she was had gone from helpless innocence through a possible period of quiet complicity to definitive, affirmative, personal involvement in her parents’ careers of epic corruption. Bill had been charmingly sleazy during his presidency; by 2016, he was a cadaverous scold. His aesthetics were the only redeeming feature ever to grace his campaign of robbery and fraud against the public and its institutions; without them, I was and remain done with that bastard. He does not have my patience for his sanctimonious lectures, or for his equally self-serious indulgence in Stephen Foster-ass folksy stories about how he and Hillz were once temporarily embarrassed yuppies. Fuck him. Fuck all three of them. Pity Charlotte, but no telling for how long.

This organized crime family directs the incumbent operators of the party whose operatives are now whining in public about how the alien lineage guy stole their thunder. It figures; this is how Clintonworld operates in its ongoing time of electoral loss. The Trumps are their own class of RICO-ready family organization shysters, but frankly it’s refreshing to give a prime spot on the milk line to Giuliani, the Stepford Daughter, her strong manly husband, the Hardly Boys, President Borgia, and whoever else these Wall Street cokeheads and Habsburg failspawn have hanging around just to watch them push the fucking Clintons out of the way for a few years, into the place where there is much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth and, of all things, still a strong inbound cashflow. Anything to humiliate a family of insatiably grasping yuppies who assume that they should run everything forever and permanently skim an excessive cut off the top has its social and civic benefits.

These asshats’ heads explode when they’re told that they are not America’s natural aristocracy. Why wouldn’t they assume that a third party that never clears 10% of the vote in three-way or more elections is why they keep losing, as opposed to something they’ve done to alienate the electorate? Someone must have brainwashed former Democrats into voting for dead-enders; but of course. That someone, specifically, must have been Russia. Jill Stein, medicine woman and crunchy mama whisperer, is a Kremlin agent, a fifth-column subversive working for the same intelligence services overseeing that troll farm in St. Petersburg and the Siberian ammosexual honeypot who got that schlub in South Dakota to do her homework. Our hearts go out to the Jong and Il families, sad day for Kimberley.

Normal Americans don’t give a shit about this fucking Bircher nonsense. Some of us do appreciate candidates who make comments about how a nuclear war with Russia over Hillz, Psaki, and Nuland having a mad would be a bad idea and a normal diplomatic relationship with Russia would be a good idea. Does the gentleman from Wisconsin have a list of State Department employees in his breast pocket? Does the gentleman have a flask? This shit is utterly tiresome, and a blatant misdirection from our entanglement with our Saudi buddies. Yeah, let’s not say bad things about the government whose PR people just tweeted a picture of an Air Canada 777 flying straight at the CN Tower as a tit-for-tat over some Canuck officials criticizing them for arresting dissidents again. Paul Manafort putting Russian money in Caymanian bank accounts was sleazy, but at least he was taking it from a government that doesn’t have a thing for terror-bombing civilian targets in North America. Come steel THIS beam, Lorena.

The insanely arrogant assumption driving Democratic establishment dead-enders to keep whining about this shit is that there is some alternate timeline in which everyone who voted Green got smacked upside the head with some sense and voted straight-ticket Democrat. Here’s a little secret: it ain’t me, bitch. In fact, it ain’t a lot of us. There is NO counterfactual scenario in which I would have voted for Hillary Clinton. That was not happening. I was not going to vote for that incorrigible shrew and her family, in the Manson sense, to steamroll the federal government and loot the commonweal yet again. If the Greens hadn’t run Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, both of whom I liked, I might have voted for What is Aleppo, even though he lost me on that park bench, because tongue out of the mouth is better than mind out of the head and soul out of the heart. If every third-party candidate I could find on the ballot appalled me, I would have, oh, yeah, baby, wait for it:

MAGA, bitch.

Yes. I just said that. I hate the fascist shit more than most of Trump’s loudest scolds do, but I don’t regret having almost voted for him. Repeatedly forgetting that I didn’t actually vote for him is a mindfuck, but the soi-disant resistance doesn’t act in ways facilitating clarity of mind for those around them. That man was and still is second on the ranked-choice ballot inside me. Don’t accuse me of playing fantasy election; deal with the Harry Potter and Josiah Bartlet dead-ender assholes continuing to vocally infest the Democratic Party and then get back to me. The Donald isn’t my president, but he’s our president. That’s partly because we still don’t impeach him. Impeachment remains a constitutional remedy for bad presidents. We didn’t shoot our last wad as a polity on the Big Dog and the plump Jewess, but if we in fact are what we think we are, I guess we actually are so impotent, just not in the way that Bob Dole’s medicine can treat. This is for once an actual, no-shit failure of mindset: we fail to impeach this asshole because we are of the mindset that impeachment is what J. Denny Dundiddly and Gateside Downlow do when they’re jealous of some intern for having an Arkansas hottie to herself, and not what we do as a nation when the sitting president is abetting Yugoslavia crackup racial mobs and also doing a whole lot of dead-to-rights crooked shit.

Does this mean that I’m #WithHer? Bitch please. Don’t come to me complaining that I didn’t vote for an insane mashup of Eva Peron and Elena Ceausescu immediately after her unrequited ratfucking of the Tommy Douglas redux just because she pretended to be the only alternative to Hitler. Don’t whine at me like you’re personally Argentina. Instead, explain to me how exactly Hillary Clinton herself is not a fascist. No one’s done that yet, so I’ll be impressed if I ever get a straight and believable answer.

Look at it this way: I nearly voted for a guy who didn’t have prisoners working on his household staff, and instead voted for a woman who never had state-supervised house negroes of her own, preferring to take home gardening, the opposite of slavery, a bit too far, lest she be caught singing, Song, Song of the South, Millington for Sheriff and I shut my mouth. *Ricky Ray Rector after-dinner voice* Why, I’ll say, that’s a shock, too. Then again, once whatever this is is over, I should be mighty ready for some dessert. Adieu d’éclair!

Seriously, if these assholes want me, or probably a good swath of the leftist and liberal citizenry at large, to trust them ever again, they need to cut the Lee Kwan Yew shit. They need to renounce Darshan Singh as their spirit animal. They need to credibly repent. They need to stop dignifying Lost Cause propaganda as anything but a vindication of Sherman’s March to the Sea. This isn’t rocket science for decent people. If they can’t do that, I’ll gladly take the prospect of a gerontocracy under Bernie Sanders over the actuality of a WWF-ass gerontocratic smackdown extravaganza featuring President Sundown-Law yelling about shit he saw on Fox News, Chappaqua Ma Kettle calling everyone an bigoted ingrate, and Slick Willie being the horrifying object lesson showing us all in real time that Keith Morrison looks like he’s lost some weight, too.

Don’t watch this alone. Don’t watch any of this stuff at all. It’s gross. But what else would it be? It’s the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton is, we might say, alien enough to get the job of cyclically losing and whining and losing again done.

We can hardly even turn to these dipshits for our entertainment anymore. Fuck them all.

Lying Jordan

Lawrence of the Labia’s most excellent interstate legal adventure isn’t just a Pure Michigan thing anymore. The old chap is still in Tucson for whatever Bulgerville Beatdown is coming his way at the hands of his fellow Arizonans by Assignment, even if Whitey himself got shipped off to Coleman–beautiful fuckin’ day in the new hood, ain’t it, Stanford–but he’s now under indictment in Texas for sexual assaults that he committed during his service at the Karolyi Family Center for Excellence in Gymnastics and Pediatric Gynecology.

God bless us for our devotion to youth sports. Truly this is how we, as a nation, teach our young people how to mature into wholesome, well-adjusted adults of great character. None of these fucking people are normal. Kenneth Fitzhugh was always a bit off, but in the end he was a mere murderer. Did he look like Charles Cullen and also like Ron Johnson’s night-watch necky boi for a reason? Probably. It’s a fun idea, at least.

Bela and Marta Karolyi should have been sued into indigence for harassing minors in loco parentis decades ago, completely aside from what they knew or didn’t know about Larry Nassar. The painful, unmistakable message should have been that they were welcome to settle in the United States and live decently but not to come here and abuse minors in any fashion or to any degree, period. Their stories of Eastern Bloc grit amounted to nothing but excuses for inexcusable behavior in a country where they had chosen to settle for professional advantage, a country operating under a rule of law maintained, inter alia, to limit the excesses of abusive athletic coaches. Damn whatever the hell lax disciplinary standards the authorities applied to coaches in Romania or Hungary or any other late-stage command-economy shithole they and their toadies were interested in using as a contrast. If Bela had been raping boys under his authority because Viktor Orban’s grandfather had raped him when he was a child, he’d still have been charged with rape, since we have defense lawyers to sort out such small details.

Or maybe not charged, judging from Cosby, Sandusky, and company. Justice delayed may be justice denied, but that’s angels-on-a-pinhead shit compared to the public exposure (ew) of a prompt trial and the bodily deterrence of prompt incarceration. The emotionally abusive behavior of the Karolyis towards their charges turned out to be the tip of the iceberg. They should have been told to take honest jobs not involving authority over minors if they didn’t want to be sued to oblivion in open court for abusing minors.

There’s no way to say for sure that their example didn’t embolden Lawrence of the Labia as their employee or any number of other predators who didn’t work for them but noticed the lax standards of professional discipline applied to authority figures in nonprofessional athletics and took advantage of them. There are too many counterfactual scenarios to say definitively and exactly what enabled any particular act of abuse.

That said, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume in general terms that a regime of impunity and justification for the Karolyis for applying emotional abuse of minors as a training strategy encouraged creeps like Nassar in some fashion and intimidated their victims. Lawrence of the Labia had his hubris, and it could be stunning, but it’s hard to imagine that he sought out organizations that ran tight ships in their staffing practices. That would have meant accountability for rogue employees like him. The staff at the elite gymnastics organizations where he worked acted like demigods in a pantheon, ones to be worshiped and obeyed.

This brings up the grotesquely ugly matter of hazing. Hazing is always justified as a toll for admission to some elite that is presumably very much worth joining. Like, if you let this freaky creep cane your ass while you puke your last six shots of Jim Beam into a trash can, you’ll be initiated into the Illuminati or some shit, for this, brother, is fraternity. Anyone with a functioning moral compass who got involved in that shit as a witness or a target would flee at the first chance and call 911. Questions of consent aren’t even all that’s wrong with hazing rituals: even if those being hazed gave meaningful consent, the existence of elite private societies in positions of power initiating their members with such brutality is inherently subversive of self-government and the rule of law. Hazing rituals train generations of new leaders to willfully ignore grave abuses of the vulnerable for crass institutional and personal advantage. Of course that shit should be rooted out, punished, and deterred. There were reasons many classical Romans considered it scandalous for leaders to be in what literally translated as colleges, scandalous enough for theatrical performers to get hundreds of ovations for performing ditties calling out shady leaders for their licentious associations. In the parlance of a newer, somewhat more Anglo-Saxon college (as in, fuck all y’all* and Durden the most)(*admin; duh), the scandal was that they didn’t retreat permanently into the private realm, but inevitably reemerged to engage the world.

The crux of the sickness here is that dreams of elitism breed privilege, in the most precise senses of the terms. Bobby Knight, McDonald’s franchisee, most likely would have lost his franchise and been blacklisted with any other franchisors inside corporate counsel knew how to contact for refusing to get a grip on his temper and throwing a chair across a working kitchen in front of his fry cooks during business hours. Say, would you care to fly to Vancouver and do that in front of the RCMP, ROBERT?

It speaks damning volumes about the business that disorderly conduct in front of tens of thousands of witnesses during live broadcast games and a pattern of assault in various other settings weren’t enough to get the bastard permanently blacklisted from all professional and scholastic coaching positions. America is hardly so forgiving of its ordinary citizens. But Bobby Knight was no ordinary citizen. He was a winning coach. Like JoePa. Who would ever want to jam up Our Lord Joseph over the sins of His Servant Gerald? #FOOTBALL is more important than not raping eight-year-olds in the showers, and WE ARE! READY FOR SOME!

The other cool thing about thing about this episode, of course, was that the NCAA retroactively erased several seasons’ worth of Penn State’s football records, striking Joe Paterno as the winningest coach of all time. It’s reminiscent of the time the UN declared Empire of Japan the winner of the Second World War after assessing the United States of America two twenty-yard penalties for rough play at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by its very offensive lineman, Number 33, Truman. Japan took the ball, ran it to the end zone with ten seconds left on the clock, and Don McLean spent the next hour and a half singing about it.

Stripping Penn State of its official football record as punishment for its complicity in the Sandusky child rape scandal was one of the most bogus, falsehearted feel-good stunts that anyone could have orchestrated. That is, it was right up the NCAA’s alley. It was a laughably crude morality play. Get it? Real winners don’t cheat. My God, My Playing Fields, My Eton. Here were the rather white and generationally bourgeois senior partners in a massive racket to profit from the high-risk performances of a disproportionately black, brown, and proletarian workforce of unpaid athletes, nominally amateurs but explicitly motivated by slim chances of professional success years down the line, carrying on about how their standards of high gentlemanliness had been tarnished by this barrel of bad apples in Happy Valley. Can we stop pretending that any of these assholes give a shit about fair play? They’re shysters. Moral pretensions aside, it’s instructive to be honest with the spectating public that the winners of these pointless contests routinely cheat their way to victory, just as the sworn gentlemen of the British Empire abused every advantage they could muster to batter weaker peoples into submission and penury. There’s no fucking honor in these businesses. Who the hell are we kidding to act all scandalized whenever one of these brutes is exposed as a doper, a wifebeater, a rapist, or Aaron Hernandez? This shit ain’t Mr. Rogers. Are we fucking surprised?

J. Denny Dundiddly got away with his own active boy-fancying for the same reasons, if at a smaller scale. He was the Coach, and what do we say to Coach? That’s right: put me in! That’s the spirit, chaps! And now his fellow wrestling coach, Jim Jordan, is in surprisingly minor trouble for having covered for a Nassar-style pervert team doctor at Ohio State. This motherfucker is even more dangerous and depraved than Hastert, and his colleagues in Congress are much more complicit. Lying Jordan should have been expelled from Congress immediately after he publicly attacked the credibility of one of the former wrestlers for accusing the doctor of sexual abuse. The timing of the outcry in this case was nothing like that in the Hastert cases. Waiting until after Coach has retired as Speaker of the House to confront him for a payout suggests that the petition for compensation may be less about what Denny Dundiddly done than shaking Denny Dundiddly down. The wrestler Jordan smeared as a liar insists that he pleaded at the time for Jordan or another independent staff member to accompany him to his next medical exam to serve as a witness. That was no shakedown scam; it was a sincere, desperate effort to stop an established pattern of abuse under medical authority.

James Traficant got his bellbottomed ass expelled from Congress for less. His deal was basically asking his adult staffers, hey, asshole, when are you coming over to clean my gutters? They could have said, how about fuck you, Jim, that’s when I’m coming over. Did his colleagues, minus inferred mistress murderer Gary Condit, expel him because they had fewer penny-ante in-kind home repair extortion skeletons in their closets than ones having to do with sexual abuse of minors under color of authority? Lying to smear a former student for accusing one’s colleague of sexual assault is outright moral turpitude. If Congress had any standards of decency for its membership, the House would immediately drive Jim Jordan from its midst and refuse to reseat him unless he either offered a sincere apology after a suitable time out or proved that the man he smeared made false accusations.

Instead, this shithead is running to be Speaker. It’s fucking unbelievable. The shamelessness is stunning. On the positive side, surely he’ll make all members stand for the new National Anthem, the Bobby Sox Song. Put on your stockings, baby; the night’s young, and so are you.

Land beyond shame

It was my fault for going into that Chinese buffet again. It was that other bitch’s fault for taking all the damn spareribs. I was standing right behind her, hoping to get mine, when she snatched every last remaining rib, stacking the lot of them like Lincoln Logs in a soup bowl until they were pushing the overflow point. She got at least six of the fucking things, maybe even eight.

There was something disgustingly awesome about the speed and purpose with which she snatched and stacked the ribs, and likewise with the dumb smirk on her face. There was a horrible, all too neat perfection of crassness about the whole spectacle. This fucking bitch was something else. In two seconds she brought me crashing back into an America I’d done my best to forget. Having a mad and overturning a shopping cart full of junk onto a sidewalk is more dignified than anything about her. I spend enough time in Portland to be painfully familiar with the improvements that I’m wishing upon the neighborhood. What’s worse than a shithole with Tri-Met? A shithole without Tri-Met. Junction City represent!

A schizoid meth rage can usually be waited out, and it can usually be kept from recurring through cultural practices such as laying off the goddamn crank. There’s no fixing what’s wrong with the rib lady at the buffet. That shit goes deep. I see a lot of hardcore shit downtown, don’tcha fuckin’ know it, Sally, but it’s usually as transient as those disengaged in it. That guy over there is more familiar with mouthwash and the sidewalk than with putting on his pants? Not good, but we have programs. True story: there’s a wet house in the Twin Cities, where incorrigible drunks go mostly to drink themselves to death, on the condition that they leave their booze stashes with a doorman, check them out when they’d like a drink, and check any unfinished bottles back in; and the crazy thing is that the door staff constantly have to tell residents that they are NOT allowed to store up “wash,” because these mofos actually get sore about having authority figures who will take into safekeeping for them the rotgut from any bonded distillery but refuse to store their Nyquil.

The deep cultural pathology causing a sober grown-ass woman of normal mental capacity to take every last rib from the tray is beyond reach. The only thing I could have done would have been to ask her, uh, excuse ME, but I was too stunned by the sight of her meat grab to say a word, and once she had her pile laid up she was gone. Bish done pulled a real stash-and-dash. There were dozens of people in the restaurant, I was standing barely a yard from her, and she still grabbed every fucking rib on the tray.

I get that we all go there to eat. Fat Cracka, he got a figure to maintain, too. But I don’t muscle my fat ass in on the last two linear feet of spareribs and grab them all while others are waiting to fress from the same island. Good God. Gluttony is normal at buffets. Taking the last half dozen ribs and leaving nothing but a few less-than-bite-sized scraps in a big puddle of drippings is not fucking acceptable. This bitch is obviously living in a world transcending ours. In my world, I and various other diners might like a piece of rib. In hers, she gets ALL the ribs. As the kid in that shitty “Christian” hard-knocks movie about dad getting wrongfully arrested for being in the middle of a fistfight in front of a factory during the Depression told Herbert Hoover, “Mr. President, mommy told me if I come here I can get the BIG porkchop.” I paraphrase. America is a land of much pork, and Washington its capital. Or, as the Burundi Beef Council put it, Beef: If Only It Could Be For Dinner. I coulda been a contenda for that bony cut myself, but guess who came to the dinner line before I did. Hell, who am I kidding? What line? All we had was unfilled space, and Rib Lady to barge in and fill it.

Rib Lady’s cultural context is even worse than American filmography for Christ, and I’ve watched some fucking garbage on screens large and small. I was there when Joe Schillaci phoned in to say that he was “on the scene of that 31 in the Pork-n-Beans.” I was there when Mickey Cohn told the ten-tallboy-a-day greenbelt lush, “I solve these cases for a living. You drink beer for a living.” I’ve watched Police Women of Cincinnati, some of whom I’d sooner expect to see on the other side of the business in Over-the-Rhine for Big Girls’ $20 Blow-and-Go. James “Mack the Pipe” Mack was walking around the East End carrying a different length of pipe.

None of this is any good. It’s still better than Wheel of Fortune. I knew right away who Rib Lady Was. She’d be there for it. She’d be up there dimwittedly angling Pat Sajak for the free Carnival cruise to the Bahamas. You might as well spend the afternoon steaming dim sum in the bathroom; that way you’d have some shu mai to go with the dewpoint of 78. You gotta be in it to win it, though, and Carnival to St. Kitts is elegant. Vanna White would enjoy it, and that’s all you need to know.

Last half dozen ribs off the tray and a hellscape blew open right before my eyes. I’ve seen fatter, I’ve seen sloppier, and I’ve seen uglier. That’s no flag of convenience when the 400-pound guy has Old Glory flying at set mast off his power chair and lama sabathchani he’s actually getting on the bus. But most of these losers know that they’re rolling clusterfucks. They don’t have the sheer self-esteem to think that it’s okay to barge in and take all the ribs. Half the time they need a hand free for that hand truck of nasal oxygen on their way to the buffet line. It isn’t exactly humility, but it’s located in that general direction.

Rib Lady was having none of it. The universe was ordered to her place on Maslow’s fat-bottomed pyramid. The ribs would be replenished, very much as a passivity, not an activity. Work is for Chinamen. The ship is Liberian, the grunt crew is Filipino, and we do not want to think about who’s catching the shrimp. In point of fact, I got the feeling (okay, not such a fact) that the ribs were done for the day, because homeskillet had just taken them all. It had the look of a once-a-day deal. Bitch jammed us all up with that stunt. They weren’t even particularly good ribs; having watched Rib Lady seize them by the lot and then lick her fingers right in front of the buffet, I fished out a scrap and ate it right there. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder or some shit.

If there just hadn’t been any left, though, I wouldn’t have been all hangdog about it; I’d have figured, gee, they’re out of whatever that was. The insulting thing was watching this frumpy, smug dipshit up and take them all. It was disgustingly brazen. It takes some real entitlement to pull such an asshole move in public.

The Wheel of Fortune vibe about all this bullshit was overwhelming. Rib Lady looked like the type to end up with a million in cash and still dress like she gets all her clothes at Ross, maybe Penney if money’s real flush. She looked and acted like she’d just walked in from some shit-tier typing pool in the Quad Cities, another dead-ender wasting her opportunities to do something interestingly working-class, like welding or carpentry, and to do something worthwhile with her literacy. Wheel of Fortune does, unfortunately, require functional literacy and a weirdly broad fund of utterly useless trivia. Contestants have to be able to get into the heads of the assholes who come up with the stupid word games.

I can’t tell how stupid Vanna White is in real life, but it’s painfully obvious that Pat Sajak is a reasonably intelligent man playing a moron on TV. He’s even worse than Jerry Springer. Jerry knows that yelling at one’s baby momma about how she’s a fucking no-good whore is a Queen City thing, too. He may even remember what he earned as mayor. Sajak has to go on air several times a week and act like he isn’t at his wits’ end wrangling a panel of hopeless retards. All too often, he also has to keep a, uh, straight face while some Liberace-grade flamer says that he’s there with his “friend.” I know, they’re keeping up appearances for the conservative little old ladies at home, and I’m okay with that. It’s just that it wouldn’t be so awful if the rest of it weren’t.

At least Alex Trebek doesn’t have to play stupid. Jeopardy is some ridiculous shit in its own right, drawing from not the most balanced contestant pool, but at least the premise is wholesome enough. We invite them over here because they’re autistic; who cares if they’re faggots?

Miso: a kind of soup. What does it make me, then, to have crossed paths with Rib Lady? RSTLNE **T ***TE **T** I’m solvin’ it, Sajak: FAT WHITE BITCH! Fat Cracka had a second Chinese donut for dessert today, too. Why? Because it was a way to make up for prior deprivation, and because I fucking could. NB: a second donut, not a sixth or an eighth or a fifth third.

That was terrible. This whole story was terrible. The half-eaten Cup Noodles on the sidewalk by the bus shelter on 82nd wasn’t worth eating in the first place. One thing is for sure: it belongs there more than it belongs in my belly. Another sure thing is that I’ve never seen anyone as incorrigibly gross as Rib Lady on Tri-Met, and I’ve ridden some damn Tri-Met. God willing, she’ll be too fat and lazy to run into me at the CCC chin-up bar over by the Peavy Arboretum this afternoon. I’m done taking any such hope as an assumption because there are surely those who would assume that I’m too fat a cracker to do any pullups myself and because, to beat bloody tender the worst possible point, I assumed I’d be getting some fucking ribs today.

This is the same assumption my parents made about the quiche when Cousin Gigolo’s mother and grandfather came over to pick up my grandmother and drive her back home. This is the problem with the abundance mentality: not only is it a bullshit excuse for magic; other people perceive the abundance themselves.

Please, to the motherfucking table.

We call this shit “temporalities” for a reason

They had a second collection of sorts after mass tonight, a pledge drive to fund the local Catholic radio operation. I chipped in a little, and I do mean little, something, out of Catholic guilt, I assume. $6.00 was my gift, Pahrump a thumpa me bum, me drumma. I flat-out told the radio station development guy that money was tight, which wasn’t exactly a truth but wasn’t exactly a lie, either. I needed $5.98 for a sourdough round and a container of lemon capellini salad more than the network needed Abe and George plus any contact information I felt like offering to keep doing its thing. I tune in to Catholic radio from time to time, mostly when there’s absolutely nothing else within range but a thousand hills, so to speak, and some of it is better than it might be. And as the development guy pointed out to me when I gave him my poor drummer boy shtick, that pays for fifteen minutes, all in, since the station’s entire operations cost $25 an hour.

This was more accurate than his other math. I’ll be Richard Feynman if he helped us put the $15,000 matching pledge, good only on contributions pledged or deposited into his blue plastic buckets by the end of chitchat hour after mass, into the context of $1.5m. I did some quick math and figured out that the whole amount he was trying to finagle out of us and his generous donation danglers worked out to less than a week’s worth of operating costs. Dude must really have to ride the circuit for this shit. Then again, that’s why he makes the big bucks and I make the small bucks. That’s half an hour’s gross that I gave, bare minimum, for the work of human hands on the fruit of the vine.

You’re all most welcome.

The development guy talked a bit too much like his counterpart my senior year at Lancaster Country Day School. It must have been inevitable. The whole fucking business is a strange attractor for sleazeballs who are just far enough on the decent side of Joel Osteen to make their average mark uncomfortable saying, hey, you’re a sleazeball. Of course this guy is in marketing; it’s either that or a car lot. These guys have their shtick. In this guy’s case, it included, “The Lord works it all out.”

Yeah, but you asked us for the money, not Him. Funny how this providence works, Cianci or no Cianci.

I decided to provide my name and address for one reason and one reason alone: to see how much shit these cats mail me.

If I said you had a beautiful boddie, would you hold it against me?

The Oregon Democratic Party has spent the summer trying in vain to cough up and spit out its answer to Gadsden Lovin’, a Bendover, I mean, Bend internist, city councilor, and all-around hands-on guy named Nathan Boddie. In his defense, he’s into grown women, specifically into their pants by hand. Whatever happened happened at a bar, for whatever the hell the accusation and the denial are worth, and it, the hand or not, went down, the pants or not, several years ago, for whatever that’s worth. He may be denying that he did anything because he dindu nuffin, or he may be denying it because he dunnit and it’s become inconvenient and embarrassing to his current ambition. Tina Kotek’s failures of leadership as statehouse speaker in the midst of an unfolding groping scandal in Salem are, on second thought, not anything causing me to have an opinion; I heard her name on OPB last night and really just wanted to write “Kotek’s.”

This take has aged well, too. We’re assuming that the good doctor did something untoward in the bar, i.e., that the accuser isn’t mischaracterizing frisky but ultimately normal and reasonable adult give-and-take as assault to cover for herself after the fact. I mention this just in case anyone is tempted to confuse a bar with a Shaker dining room. The prevailing community standards are not necessarily the same; you know, #TeshTips and all. Lieutenant Tittytorque yelling at me to take shots of Jim Beam and twisting my nipples was more appropriate at a raging house party that it would have been anywhere that I should have been myself. If I ever catch that motherfucker running for office, I may dox him over more than just the twist-and-shout story; his thoughts on the drinking age being a proper law that needed to be enforced and that he was equally proud to violate by saucing my underage ass to hell were too fucked up to make him fit for election to a village board. In other words, he’ll be a fucking governor someday.

We don’t really know what’s going on, Randol. The hand-down-the-pants thing, which returned results I won’t even name when I tried to research it, sounds worse in the actual context provided by the accuser than it did in the high-frequency OPB updates where I learned everything I knew about this shit show until this afternoon. The accuser said that they were having a routine, safe-for-work talk when he suddenly put his hand down her pants and underpants, flush up against her butt. In this context, it sounds totally gross and out of line, and complaints from other women suggest that the grapevine has long known the dude to be a sex pest. The way OPB keeps describing the panty-raiding allegation is incomprehensibly vague, like something that might be completely unacceptable or might alternatively be a reasonable escalation of flirting with an enthusiastic participant who thought better of it later.

We’re all just, uh, groping around here, trying to, uh, think out loud. Some of the Democrats are expressing outrage that Boddie had the nerve to be such a sex pest and then deny it all when he’d been such a vocal advocate for women, LGBTQ, and so forth. Great: another fucking Hugo Schwyzer/Jian Ghomeshi male feminist character, this time with a medical license. It reminds me of the time back, I dunno, one or two weeks ago, when left activists suddenly started tripping over their own feet trying to apologize for not catching the warning signs about WeirdBirdPal, allowing shit to nonbinarily be a predator in woke safe spaces. A Twitter account got deleted over that one. Sentences got published that should never have come to be in any format, even to mind. Some of the Twitter material still showing up in third-party search results is pretty wack.

Buddy coulda been a radio contenda, like John Hornenberry and Tom Assbrush.

The Democrats are about to lose an unexpectedly competitive seat because their nominee, who hadn’t been exposed as an aggressively handsy prick before the primaries, insists on going down on that ship. I mean, uh, full steam abreast! They’re also going around accusing the Republican gubernatorial nominee, Knute Buehler, another doctor from Bend, of living in Tualatin. Buehler is a sworn male feminist himself, but he seems calm and normal enough about it not to be caping for m’lady as a gambit to get some ass, willing or otherwise.

The Dems aren’t about to question his holistic ethics as an orthopedic surgeon, since they’re all temporarily embarrassed Tom Price-grade orthopods themselves. Even in Oregon these are not ones to inspect tickets on the gravy train, lest their own be found invalid. Instead, they’re out scandalmongering about how their main gubernatorial opponent has a second apartment and has been unconstitutionally living in it. They’re actually arguing that he’s domiciled in Tualatin now and therefore constitutionally ineligible to represent his statehouse district in Bend.

Maybe they can argue next that he spends too much time in Salem, the state capital, to represent Bend in the state legislature. They may in fact be that dumb. I wouldn’t rule that out. These dumbasses act like a man with longstanding ties to Bend lost his residency by occupying a unit that he’s renting for the campaign season so that he can campaign where the voters live and not spend the summer and fall constantly driving back and forth across the Cascades. This isn’t even Milton Street Jersey girl shit with an occasional trip back into town for a stump speech before a dozen supporters and five dozen gawkers in front of City Hall. There’s no scam here.

Notice that the Democrats aren’t complaining about Buehler for spending too much time campaigning to represent his constituents. That would be fare inspection on the gravy train, and remember, we can’t have that. The Democrats do that kind of shit all the time themselves. Not so many of them live in Bend and rent apartments in Tualatin because they have business west of the Cascades. These dipshits must think they can actually jam Buehler up on this bogus grievance.

They’ve got a real great dude running for the seat he’s vacating, too: Dr. Boddie. This shit is exquisite. At least they’re trying to distance themselves from him since he’s been exposed as toxic all of a sudden. It may not be worth much, but it’s worth more than Hillary Clinton. They’d do better if they could stop bitching about their opponents making arrangements to stay near where they have active business. As a registered Sacramento County Democrat who is currently working in Oregon and not currently staying in any of the 100% of Sacramento residential property that he does not own or rent, I’d say that it’s past time for all of these assholes to cut the hall monitor bullshit.

I might as well demand that they represent their base and act like a political party.

 

Inflight magazine

The boss at the new place gave us a couple of days off this week, with our Saturday on a Wednesday (we Americans really do work ourselves sic), so I took the train into Portland to watch that bitchin’ Delta Eurotrash big metal cruise in smoother than a Leon Bridges girlfriend and a she-tweaker thrash around in front of the Greyhound depot, throwing possessions from her cart onto the sidewalk in a fit of rage while a steady-as-she-goes middle-aged black lady with a limp walked over and tried in vain to calm her. That sentence was rather like my quasi-girlfriend freshman year, the one with the devout Catholic parents, the sister with Down’s Syndrome, the psychiatrist, and the atheistic Jew of an official boyfriend whom she’d met because she’d been babysitting for the DA and he’d been working on a documentary about Charlie “Murder is the Charge” Robertson: an absolutely irresistible mess.

Murder was, in fact, the charge; I’d spoil the ending, but we’re already about as much on track as Amtrak 501 coming round the restricted approach off the Point Defiance Bypass. We’ve already met two characters who are fit for the RCMP: Robertson and the she-tweaker. Everybody else is too normal and/or self-controlled. *Righteous Christian Jonathan Josey Voice* How was that thing able to hit the road without me? Speaking of OnTrak, though, this whole thing is about to get even worse. Amtrak has some rather curious priorities, not including any way to pick up or buy a ticket at the Albany station for the early morning rush hour run to Salem and Portland, and certainly not including a stop in Woodburn, but definitely including a regionally oriented, albeit not hispanically oriented, onboard magazine solely for its Cascades trains. There’s nothing discriminatory about any of this; in America there’s no such thing as discrimination on the basis of class, which we don’t have. Duh. Amtrak wants, like, Maria Hinojosa on its passenger manifests, not some loser who picks fruit all summer.

Yo doggies. Fat Cracka in da house. Not technically, but whatever. We’ve already got too much detail and specificity.

Let’s have some more. One of my goals for this trip is to get a bit closer to renewing Select status for 2019, and that I can even imagine doing that is surreal on its own, but more importantly, trains are fly as shit. The sightseeing was mediocre due to morning fog and haze, and I wasn’t quite exhausted enough to fall asleep, so I picked up that fucking magazine. There’s something badly wrong with some combination of Amtrak’s passenger base, marketers’ perceptions of Amtrak’s passenger base, and without a doubt every fucking asshole with a job in marketing. Literate Christian old-timers have said that Guideposts was once a reputable, thoughtful, well-written magazine, but then it started running ads and slipping slowly but inexorably into a sentimental hell. But at least that rag, bad as it may be, holds out promises of something better on the other side. OnTrak is devoted to the celebration of the most insipid bougie regimens of endurance sports and excessive self-care. It calls to mind stories of overfed lab mice who devote every non-feeding waking hour to their own grooming, interspersed with Tough Mudder bullshit.

The most ridiculous article in the current issue was a quick-hit promotional for several WPA-era mountain resorts, including one at Sol Duc Hot Springs, which is, I swear I’m not making this up or misremembering it by more than a preposition or so, “nestled under towering pines and in a quiet peace of mind.” Oh, is that how it is? Let’s look around at that latitude at the local weather and all the Scandinavians, Japanese, and Rez Indians. Within sight of mental health? Geez, Soren, I don’t fuckin’ think so.

Sprinkle your snow on my cedar, bitch. Words used to have meanings. We must be far enough past modern times not to have to keep worrying about anything like that. Keeping track of the differences between physical architecture and mental states of mind is, like, hard and stuff. No, I’m not editing that, either. Modernism must have been getting porked by one’s strapping thick Swedish husband in the shower because one’s high school boyfriend had to go Manzanar, the Army, and the county courthouse for his murder trial. That isn’t exactly normal, but it isn’t the current dispensation, either, because it doesn’t involve uploading one’s mind into a nice forest lodge half an hour up the hill from Port Angeles.

That’s what the magazine fuckhead wrote. If he/she/shit didn’t want it to be construed as an exercise in runaway amateur Gnostic philosophy and where the hell is the nearest locked ward, someone could have read it and thought over how it came across, i.e., crazy enough to track down Wesley Willis for emergency help getting reoriented in reality. On the other hand, copy editors are expensive.

An even worse possibility is that this horseshit was in fact edited. In that case, copy editors are expensive and retarded. As a graduate of a pricey East Coast liberal arts college with more than its fair share of cokeheads and business majors, I have no idea how that could ever have happened. I understand that we send some real winners into government, too. This shit isn’t just bad writing. It’s a comprehensive failure of thought. #TeshTips: If your writing is so surreally atrocious, your thinking sucks, too.

Now, think about people agreeing to have their names bylined for that sort of psychotic marketeering drivel. I know, I know, I’m the Dubai Porta Potty guy. But that was a mostly-okay hot take on something disgusting. These assholes are writing about decent subjects–architecture, food, travel–and they sound like they’d get fired from a sidewalk repair crew because the foreman had finally landed Psychotarp and Mixups in my Mind, the go-to pothole dudes. Being publicly associated with a magazine that runs such brain-scrambled garbage under other writers’ bylines would embarrass any self-respecting writer. Everything about that is disgraceful. It’s possible to publish good marketing copy, not particularly easy (the industry narcotizes many a mind), but there are writers and editors who have what it takes to produce mercenary work that’s perfectly readable. They work for outlets that don’t publish freelancers’ thoughts on how a wilderness lodge is gracious enough to live in your fucking head.

OnTrak’s literary production value and sophistication of thought are both awful. The Sol Duc blurb is its own kind of special, but it isn’t the only floater to drift by in this wastewater stream. The literary return on investment has to be out-of-this-world bad. It’s clear that an ungodly amount of money goes into this rag, since the layout is professional and the photography is better than average for a free magazine, and it figures that it’s a big-money operation just on account of how many businessmen are butting in for their payola. The scandal is that they all have shit to show for their investment in the writing. The other scandal, I assume, is that they don’t fucking care. These aren’t ones to pride themselves on being able to accurately comprehend a single middle-school level sentence in their native tongue, or tell when it’s so fucked up that it has to go straight back to the drawing board.

Look at who runs shit in the Northwest, though. In BC, which OnTrak helpfully informs us has some dim sum joints, it’s filthy rich overseas Chinese whose failspawn get their Maseratis impounded for driving across the Lions Gate Bridge at four times the speed limit. In Seattle, it’s Jeff Bezos and his toadies.

Seattle can be either a powerfully encouraging example or a powerfully discouraging one, depending on the historical context. It was founded by psychopathic robber barons, guys who sound even worse than Bezos in some regards, but then enough wobblies and fellow travelers showed up to put a real fear into the shysters about being beaten to shit, dunked in the Sound, fished out, beaten again, and at some point left for dead, assuming some faint mercy on the part of their captors. That’s how it ended up with a middle class. The sight of Jeff Bezos flooding the zone with chronically hazed techbros and every possible rank of paid apologist to dispossess a city of fishermen and machinists is still gross and frightening, but at least there’s some local historical basis for putting all these thievish, totalitarian creeps in their place.

Going back into territorial days, Oregon has kept its own robber barons and wannabes on a somewhat tighter leash, but as they say about sex in Maine, these things aren’t absolute, just relative. Nothing but respect for my President and his popularity in the Second Congressional District. The prevailing culture in Oregon demands something at least vaguely along the lines of respect and fellow-feeling for normal people, a public rectitude tending to get in the way of Shoko Asahara godliness.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Oregon has an upper middle class. Oops. This shit never goes right. The best-case scenario for the losers and rejects is Wilsonville having a rest area but no laundromat, forcing the downwardly mobile to drive to Canby or Tualatin. There is no worst-case scenario; something can always go worse.

The small mercies of high-end politics in Oregon are puny indeed. In subtle and probably not too fucking meaningful contrast to many other states, rentier politics in Oregon are driven by people who insist that they aspire only to be well-compensated knights, not manorial lords or dukes or kings. The historical ignorance needed to maintain this conceit should be embarrassing, but these aren’t the only high-turnout voters to be beyond embarrassment. There’s a certain disingenuous nerve to these manipulative leeches acting like they stayed in or moved to Oregon so that they would not have to hustle, skim, and steal.

Then again, the bottle bill was doubled to a dime and then extended to cover pretty much everything that California’s does, Chaka Can, Chaka Can, and there’s still no sales tax outside a handful of tiny tax-and-spend showoff cities, a situation for which I can also easily feel. That is, it isn’t all terrible. It’s just really fucking terrible from many perspectives, most of which might as well be impossible to escape from a position of indigence. It can be hard enough just to maneuver one’s power chair off the bus in East Portland without rolling over a pile of trash that someone dumped out of an overturned can all over the sidewalk.

It’s fair enough to complain that I just used an uncalled-for four-letter word rhyming with “feast.” Keep in mind, though, that deep skid row isn’t a block and a half up 82nd from the Global Friends Mandarin immersion childcare program. Additional commercial-free #TeshTips: You are not placing your preschool brats there to make friends. That shit is about training children to take their places as masters of the universe when they may or may not be out of diapers. Great, ni shi wo de fa ken hao pengyou. Groovy shit right there, white girl.

These diverse flavors of horseshit blend together all too coherently. This crap makes sense. Its analysis doesn’t require a desperate search for meaning and pattern in a meaningless, chaotic universe. It demands no quixotic hunt for substance in the great void. Mandarin is the language for making lots of cool cracker money in far China. Cantonese monolingualism must be for dead-enders these days, and everyone knows that Fujianese is for losers from peasant families who work in sneaker factories. No one needs to consort with the dirt people. The local fixers can interpret for the shack trash if it comes to that, so cheer up, old boy, you’ll get by all right with the Empress’s Mandarin in Cathay.

The domestic caveat to this, of course, is our peasant lingua franca. Having the brats watch Mr. Rogers reruns and learn how to deal effectively and graciously with different kinds of people in different situations in English won’t teach them how to condescend to the gardener. Dora will. If Mexicans in fact speak better English than they let on, I can’t exactly blame them. English fluency was how I got into that disgusting argument in Elko with that bitch in the Pacific Grove marathon T-shirt over whether or not I was homeless. Come to think of it, I probably could have gotten her to storm off by switching into Russian and pretending to have forgotten English. It must be horrifying to come to a new country to work, evade the most obnoxious locals by pretending to no comprende, and then watch the same assholes study enough Spanish to worm their way in with linguistically broken, self-satisfied blather about their own goodness.

There’s no need to go abroad to be an ugly American. *Ivan Illich voice of responsible cultural exchange* Don’t even think about coming here without a full handle of vodka specifically for my own immediate consumption. There is nothing healthy about White People’s relationship to Spanish in the United States. If Mexicans were as fluent in English as Quebeckers, they could come up here and tell us, you know what, this job fucking sucks, man, and you’re a fucking asshole to act like you’re doing us a favor. At the same time, we want them (“we”) to be able to navigate the transit system smoothly enough to get to work on time, and we, or, again, “we,” want their children to grow up speaking fluent Spanish as birthright Americans for reasons certainly not having to do with any interest in shooing them into prole jobs by ethnic attainder, because we’d never do anything like that in, say, antebellum Alabama. It’s a bit foily to ask, but maybe we’re dealing with ruling-class whites and honorary honkies who realize on some level that teaching the blacks English didn’t work out so well. After all, it’s how Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez, and I, Crackaberto El Gordo Menchu, all managed to talk back.

This ruling class needs the wetbacks, who tested Chavez’s patience more than they test mine, to tend the fields so that they can keep up the high fancy that the Pacific Northwest is their playground. I’m a hiker myself (I was about to write “avid hiker,” but I’m sitting on ass in a Starbucks again), so I’m not about to get up in anyone’s face and be all like pick fruit white bitch. Recreation has its place. What these preening assholes don’t get is that this place isn’t big enough for an entire fucking magazine devoted to nothing but the celebration of highbrow outdoorsy shit and feasting. That’s every bit as unbalanced as Mexicans doing nothing but work in their waking hours and Yanqui expecting them to be so industrious with utmost good cheer.

By the way, there is a LOT of bourgeois-supremacist white Americans who are chronically sore about African-Americans being indolent. This bigotry does much to explain all the Permit Patty 911 calls over black people napping, barbecuing, and the like, as well as that clinically paranoid Starbucks manager in Philadelphia. This is the underbelly of gushing about how hard Mexicans work. Bougie Americans welcome them because they put off the need to engage with the native working classes–mostly white and black, but far from entirely so–as civic equals with a legitimate stake in our nation. It’s ugly as hell.

Another fun tidbit on this subject: I paged through OnTrak, looking for the, uh, local color, and found awfully little of it. Blacks seemed to be underrepresented in the photography. I’m not talking about corporate diversity initiative bullshit, where there’s always miraculously a stock photo negro in business attire to complement the white models in a conference room that’s too tidy for anyone to be doing any work. What I mean is that some of these photos are from neighborhoods where I’d expect to see blacks on the street pretty frequently, and none are in sight. The most egregious version of this that I’ve ever seen was a promotional poster for Prince George’s County, Maryland, showing a white family in Burberry scarfs and overcoats. Yeah, we’re definitely doing that in PG for reasons not having to do with encouraging any sort of voluntary ethnic cleansing pursuant to the Song, Song of the South, Millington for Sheriff and I shut my mouth.

If you see me walking by, and the smirk is in my eye, look away, Mr. Secessions, look away. I shouldn’t be on topic, but I am. There was a poster in Portland Union Station, for either the Empire Builder or the California Zephyr, promoting Chicago’s “diverse and harmonious neighborhoods.” Why do we even have language? Original sin isn’t a function of knowledge or curiosity. Original sin is being able to put arrant bullshit on that fucking poster. I’m not going to stay out of safe parts of Chicago because other parts are unsafe; I’m not even tempted to stay away from the South Shore Line because Millennium Station is a dump; but large swathes of Chicago are a goddamn war zone. Harmonious neighborhoods? That’s like a slim and sober mayor campaign in Toronto.

I guess token black people were, like, SO 2005 or something. Maybe it’s a Trump thing. Maybe the 911 calls to police up black people minding their own business are, too. It could just be more thorough reporting, or situations in which, for example, Proud Boys are allowed to mount low-level armed insurrections on public streets with impunity. Back in the day, even noted Westwood demographics observer Mark “77th Street Lie Detector” Fuhrman pointed out that some of his best friends were black detectives who played in the 0500 pickup basketball games.

The fundamental mistake that we keep making as a nation, so repeatedly and deliberately that it can hardly be called a mistake, is to assume that we can will into existence and action someone or something else to do all our grunt work so that we can move, pursuant to the natural law of upward mobility, into marketing jobs. This helps explain all the happy horseshit about robots. OnTrak’s target audience probably thinks it would make sense to put serious R&D money into robotic harvesters to pick raspberries for the fresh market. As a working fruitboy, I can say from personal experience that that is a batshit crazy waste of money, time, and talent, but I’m a fruitboy, so they don’t ask me.

Another thing they don’t encourage anyone to do is to ask what exactly is so awful about picking fruit. I don’t mean piece rates that can’t possibly let a childless adult without debt make ends meet or shithead bosses or emotionally draining crew drama or poor onsite facilities; I mean the actual work. Most working-age Americans and quite a few seniors could manage twenty or thirty hours a week doing what I do for about 25 hours a week at the new gig. Why the hell do we need a couple million Mexicans to spend 60-70 hours a week doing that and still living in poverty in spite of it all?

We don’t actually respect hard work in this country. What we actually believe is that the white working class should be grateful not to be replaced by black slaves, their emancipated descendants grateful not to be replaced by Mexicans, and the Mexicans grateful not to be replaced by Somali refugees. This is objectively the revealed belief of our national cultural mainstream. We are all indoctrinated to despise actual work and those who do it. It takes an affirmative deprogramming campaign to transcend this sleazy, intellectually dishonest indoctrination and replace it with anything wholesome or edifying.

And so here we are in this land of contrasts, the State of Blunder. Teaching barely pottytrained rug rats Mandarin by immersion isn’t about giving them the skills they’ll need to function adequately in society; it’s about lining them up to go skimming off the productive economy with rich Chinamen twenty years down the line. I’m bloody fucking well able and willing to be a productive member of society, but I guess I don’t have what it takes to be Jack Ma’s crony.

What I can do is ask what Friend from what part of our Global world dumped the half-eaten Cup Noodles container on the sidewalk by the bus shelter, over a yard away from the consolidated pile of recently canned trash. China could always close down its mental hospitals and release into its streets behavioral health gems who have what it takes to do any of that, but it has gulags and facial recognition software to monitor restrooms for toilet paper theft instead, and we, God bless us, have Uber. We oughtn’t dwell on such small details, though, since doing so would get in the way of admiring the Chinks for being a smart master race of technocrats with jobs for us and the wetbacks for being Untermenschen who mercifully take our jobs. It would get in the way of the comprehensive reordering of every society on earth as a helpless component of one gigantic bee colony.

I still have half an hour before I can tune in live to Marco Werman’s thoughts on matters such as these. How bow dah. Now that’s a motherfucker who doesn’t spend enough time beyond cell coverage in Sol Duc Hot Springs.