Grab an airsickness bag and read yourself some fucking Matt Walsh

Matt Walsh is a real piece of work. I kind of wish I hadn’t come across his condescending tripe tonight, but I did, and I can’t exactly unread it. What I really wish is that his meretricious bullshit weren’t ranked so high on Google, but the algorithms are reflections of the hive mind, so let’s take a look at what the hive mind thinks about millennials, Matt Walsh’s people (and mine) and their, or our, failure to launch.

As I said, ready the airsickness bag. You’ll need it just to look at the portraits that Walsh uses on his blog. Who the fuck does this bastard think he is? His poses are the hallmark of a man unsatisfied to convey his own asshattery merely through the written word and hence compelled to provide iconography to underscore the fact, or to use his own parlance, the absolute truth that he is a gigantic self-important prick. His portraits are a useful, if roundabout, way of understanding why in the Eastern Orthodox tradition icons are said to be written, not drawn: worth a thousand words and all that. The good word in Walsh’s case is one of ostentatious contemplation and hipster douchebaggery in loyal gaslighting service of traditional conservatism (sic). That’s why he’s gazing off into the middle distance at an odd angle in front of a stack of a books and an Apple computer monitor (of course).

Zig Ziglar is less offensive, and I have a pretty good idea of why: Ziglar lives in truth and Walsh doesn’t. He’s a bumptious creep, but it isn’t disingenuous. These things are easily enough discerned in the iconography. Ziglar has a kind of Jim Jones/Chuck Diederich thing going on. It’s in his eyes, just as that Rios Montt/Stalin/Assad/Franco thing comes through in Dick Cheney’s eyes. Matt Walsh is obviously a disingenuous little goody-two-shoes shit. If he weren’t, he’d be embarrassed by his own portraits and he wouldn’t publish them as a pictorial byline.

None of this says anything good about his readers. As we’ll see, it gets worse.

Quoth Walsh:

As a young person, I take special note of all the bad press we tend to get. I’m sure you heard about the 18-year-old woman (not kid, not child, not teenager — woman) who sued her parents to force them to pay for her college tuition. She lost the first round in court, but you can bet that we haven’t read the last of this sordid tale.
This is supposed to be probative of something? I don’t recall hearing about that suit, probably because I was too busy reading worthwhile stuff online to check out fringe clickbait items. It arguably says some really bad things about the state of the law, but so do hundreds of other frivolous claims by extortionate or unhinged plaintiffs, none of whom are probative of anything as individuals except their own pathologies. The American legal system is exposed to abuse by marginal nuts of compromised scruples, but a one-in-a-million yahoo gumming up some docket is still just a solitary nut in the national almond hopper.
Note that the plaintiff in question is a woman and nothing but a woman because Matt Walsh says so. Never mind that “kid” is a nebulous term that can refer to anyone younger (or possibly more goatlike) than the speaker, or that 18-20-year-olds are denied a number of significant rights of majority in the United States, or that an eighteen-year-old is by definition a teenager on account of the number 18 being one of the teen series. Eighteen constituting adulthood is an absolute truth, but eighteen constituting a teen is not.

And I thought I was bad at math.

I’m sure you’ve also heard about the various studies and reports, released every few months it seems, confirming and reconfirming and confirming again that people in my generation are very reluctant to move out of mom and dad’s house. A report this past summer found that over 21 million millennials are still sharing a mailing address with their parents.

Wow Much Statistics. Every sample size of n=1 is probative of some shit, again and again and again, and there’s something wrong with young adults using their parents’ permanent mailing addresses for continuity of mail delivery, although Walsh is too chickenshit to come out and say that they’re a bunch of losers. I’ll respect him a lot more if it turns out that he’s taking money from Mail Boxes Etc to promote this garbage.

And, of course, there are the statistics on millennial unemployment, and millennial drug abuse, and millennial alcoholism.

Right, wrong, wrong. Everything that I’ve read about GSS and similar survey results has said that millennials are an unusually sober generation, with the exception of getting blotto to facilitate sexual encounters. As bullshitting goes, two out of three ain’t bad.

Millennials afraid to get married, afraid to start families, afraid to move out, afraid to do anything. Millennials in hibernation and stagnation; standing still while the world speeds by.

Florid much? It sounds nice, but it’s unsubstantiated and meaningless.

We get the picture. It’s not always a fair picture, either. Many of us do not deserve this humiliating reputation. And every person who ‘lives at home’ isn’t necessarily an apathetic loser hiding from work and responsibility, although some fit the bill.

Still, extended adolescence is a very real epidemic in my generation (it’s a problem amongst the Boomers, too, but that’s a subject for a different post).

No. It’s a subject for the same post. Dismissing the same behaviors on the part of a huge, culturally dominant older generation, many of whom are refusing to retire and make room for young people in the job market, is intellectually dishonest. Who does he suppose is modeling this behavior for us? Done properly, rectification of names is not an excuse for blameshifting weenies, but an important part of living in truth. I’m not arguing that the boomers be blamed for everything; I’m arguing that they be blamed for their specific blameworthy deeds, so that we all can identify and hopefully understand what ails us.

Let’s rectify some fucking names. 1946-64 birth cohorts, report for reeducation.

I don’t need any study or statistic to tell me that; I see it with my own eyes every single day. It is a disease that afflicts many in my age group.

Walsh doesn’t need cherry-picked statistics to convince himself; he just needs them to convince other people. He needs color for his word salad. And how did we get to the point at which every halfway maladaptive habit has its own chorus of pop psychologists running after it screaming “disease!” and “addiction!”? The big deal on the religious right lately is porn addiction, alternately referred to as sex addiction. Twelve-step programs are a dubious approach to treating heavy drinking (I occasionally have to listen to their alumni on the bus, and it’s tiresome), so they must be swell for people who get guilted into confessing their online sexual habits to church busybodies. Porn isn’t exactly all happy-happy fun times and sociosexual edification, but it’s a lot less degrading than a twelve-step program mediated by low church laymen. These moral panics about “addiction” often go hand-in-hand with rhetoric about “wars” on whatever the authorities dislike at the moment. I’m on the fence about the ones on cancer and poverty, but drugs? What was that good for? The more I think about it, the more I support John Street’s thunderous prime-time call for all Philadelphians to join him in the “war on violence.”

Bad metaphors don’t always lead directly to bad policy, but they don’t help.

So I’d like to speak to my fellow young people for a moment.

Yes. To us. Do tell. This is elevated, downwardly directed rhetoric in the tradition of John F. Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” and “up against the wall, signora, if you have five minutes.”

I’d like to share with them four absolute truths that we must all accept if we ever wish to find success and fulfillment in this world. These are the things that I’ve discovered in my eight years of independence and self-sufficiency.

The cure to perpetual adolescence can be found in these four realities.

Embrace them, and embrace growth.

The absolute truth. The cure. Four realities. X must be accepted in order to achieve Y. Because these are:

The Four Harsh Truths That Everyone In My Generation Needs to Accept

Let’s very briefly consider some politicians who insisted that everyone get with the program: Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. Hitler? Less so. Mussolini? Hardly. Not good company, even the relative pluralists on this list. Yes, Matt Walsh is more intellectually authoritarian than Benito Mussolini. No, I’m not kidding. This degree of categorical certitude on the part of politicians results in some very strange and unkind reactions by marginally less authoritarian competitors: Lavrenti Beria being shot like a whimpering dog in the basement of a secret police station, Khrushchev berating Stalin on his deathbed, Vietnam (yes, that Vietnam) invading Cambodia to put a stop to the butchery. It’s one of those things where, congrats, dude, you just freaked out the guy who banged his shoe on the podium.

1) Nobody owes us anything.

Literally. Figuratively. Metaphorically. Physically. In the material, in the abstract. In every conceivable way – we are owed nothing. We are entitled to nothing. Maybe it’s been said so many times that the words just whizz right past us, but we really ought to stop and reflect upon this reality.

We are not children. Nobody has to give us anything anymore. We can go hungry, and feel pain, and live without – we will, in fact. And this will be no great injustice because it isn’t anyone’s job to shield us from discomfort in the first place. Nobody promised us a life of ease and pleasure, and if they did they lied.

We have no place to be outraged when we are made to experience some small measure of suffering or sacrifice. This is what it means to exist as a separate, distinct, mature human being. This is what it means be alive. The world has left bumps and bruises on everyone, why should we be the exception? Even if we can think of a reason, it doesn’t matter. We won’t be the exception. Why would we even want to be?

Why does this feel like the ethos of Dennis Rader and the Marquis de Sade? This guy is a hipster Ebenezer Scrooge.

The existential truths at play here are real in a vague abstract sense, especially in a state of nature (I can’t deny that no one promised Somalia’s apprentice pirates a thing while their country’s government collapsed and foreign trawlers stripmined their age-old fishing grounds), but Western societies hardly exist in a state of nature. Basically, no one who celebrates the pain and suffering of other people as morally edifying can be trusted. The exceptions that prove the rule are hardly worth considering. If the advocate of pain and suffering isn’t first in line for the full measure of pain himself at that very moment, he’s a reprehensible fraud.

One of the people I have in mind here is Mother Teresa. I don’t care what anyone else says about her preternatural holiness; whenever she celebrated the suffering of Calcutta’s slum dwellers for spiritually unifying them with Christ while discreetly flying herself and her aides to Western hospitals for medical treatment, she was a fucking bitch, full stop. There is no excuse for that kind of hypocrisy. None. A single comment to that effect is sadistic enough to call into question the speaker’s fundamental character. A decent society takes as kindly to that kind of rhetoric as it does to cannibalism. It’s that pernicious. This is why the old spiritual is called “Gladly the Cross I’d Bear,” not “Gladly the Cross I’d Watch You Bear.”

People who even tentatively argue like that should be faced down in a very cynical and combative fashion. They deserve it, and their society deserves it. What quickly happens when they’re given quarter is that hordes of asshats pop up out of the woodwork and start trying to destroy very basic, relatively low-budget outlays for things like food stamps and public housing, on the basis that they constitute moral hazard. There is very little space between “pain is beneficial for people” and “pain is beneficial for poor people.” We don’t have a cosmic right to have our material needs met, but we absolutely have a right to petition our governments for public assistance and to vote out governments that refuse to provide it. We absolutely have a right to demand that our governments do everything reasonably within their power to provide a basic livelihood for citizens who have been failed by private markets. We have a right, in other words, to demand that our governments minimize the state of nature and the physical and psychological pain resulting from the misallocation of material wealth in societies with ample surpluses.

These are, after all, basic functions of any First World government. Many of the governments that refuse to provide these services are outright banana republics. The United States is heading in that direction.

If Walsh believes so strongly that “it isn’t anyone’s job to shield us from discomfort,” perhaps he’d enjoy not having a bystander shield him from the discomfort of being thrown over a railing into the Gowanus Canal. No one told him that he wouldn’t be thrown into the Gowanus Canal, after all. It’s just one of those things that sometimes happens. Suck it up, bruh. It’s just brackish water mixed with sewage and industrial waste.

2) We have to work.

I know people slightly younger than me who’ve never had a fulltime job. Ever. They mutter things about ‘the economy’ and ‘the tough job market,’ but the groove on the couch and the glossy look in their eyes tells me that video games and lethargy are much bigger factors in their current predicament. The lazy, video-game-playing manchild is a stereotype, but it’s a stereotype for a reason.

Here’s a thought. If you don’t have a job, you shouldn’t be playing with toys. A revolutionary idea, I realize, but it’s something to consider.

There is work to be done in this country, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be the ones doing it. Can’t find a cushy, high paying job with competitive benefits and three weeks paid vacation every year? Join the club, your Highness. Now go flip a burger, dig a ditch, mop a floor. Something. ANYTHING.

There’s an old German phrase for this: “Arbeit Macht Frei.” This sentiment is related to the Southern tradition of instructing the recalcitrant slaves in the value of work, with words if necessary, but usually with whips.

Do not trust people who try to guilt others into joining the workforce and shift blame onto the unemployed. These people do not love the virtue of work. They hate the virtue and want to force it on others.

There is absolutely no excuse for a young person to turn down any job offer.

Time out. There are jobs that are not worth taking because they’re needlessly dangerous. I interviewed for one at a winery not long ago and wrote about it on this blog. It’s not like I’m a workshy shrinking violet; I hate being out of work. It’s just that I value my life too much to work around badly designed and needlessly dangerous equipment for $14 an hour.

I swear, there are people who could do to be smacked. It would be civilizing.

How is it possible that fast food joints across the country go understaffed while 24-year-olds sit around at home, complaining that there aren’t any jobs available?

Does this motherfucker live on Pluto? Between all the places that won’t hire a gringo until they’re flat out of Mexicans and all the places that accept only online applications, there’s plenty of opportunity for a 24-year-old without food service experience to have his application shitcanned, either by a racist supervisor or by an algorithm.

Stop whining. Put on your business casual, walk in there, shake the manager’s hand, ask for an application, get the gig, work hard, operate with enthusiasm and competence. In 6 months you’ll be running the place.

Twenty years ago, this would have been universally applicable advice. Today, depending on the company and the job market, it’s likely to be totally fucking psychotic.

Pay special attention to this six-months-to-management claim. First, it’s statistically unlikely unless the office has too many chiefs and not enough Indians. More importantly, it betrays Walsh’s real feelings about work, or at least what he believes his audience to really feel about work. If he truly believed in the dignity and honor of work, he wouldn’t try to sweeten the deal by telling his readers that they’ll be bossing other people around the joint within half a year.

This is frankly the mentality of a slave society. Slave societies always have large managerial classes. Successful ones have large cohorts eagerly aspiring to the managerial classes. This comes through quite disgustingly in the comments below Walsh’s essay.

We cannot claim that there aren’t any opportunities. If we’re willing to humble ourselves and put in the work, there are opportunities aplenty.

Emphasis in the original. This stuff is insane. One paragraph after promising a six-month managerial track to entry-level walk-in applicants, this fucker is braying about humility, in italics. As Americans, we really need to hold ourselves in contempt for allowing our socioeconomics to become such a clusterfuck. This is a country in which twatwaffles are constantly mouthing off about the importance of paying one’s dues, and rarely in a union context, since private-sector employees have something like single-digit union membership rates, and yet the same fuckheads are routinely chomping at the bit to get into management. Worse, they can’t refrain from guilting other people for not wanting to go into management, as if they’re selling themselves short and embarrassing their friends by being slackers. I can’t stand it. I have an agricultural trade (tending grape vines) that I do well and enjoy, one that some people are able to pick up in a matter of hours but that others are just too inattentive to do properly, and yet I can hardly get away from dipshits without a quarter of my competence in the fields, if they have any, berating me for being a loser because I’m not in a more prestigious line of work where I’m explicitly commissioned to tell other people what to do.

Did I mention that the United States is less entrepreneurial than Germany? Look it up. These things happen for a reason. In our case, the reason is national moral turpitude.

But if this whole thing [Walsh’s blog business] comes crashing down tomorrow, if my uniques plummet and my readership disappears and my ad revenue dries up (and it could, the internet is a fickle beast), do you know what I’d do?

I’d become a trash collector. I’d be a janitor at the school down the street. I’d get a job moving boxes, or clearing brush, or mowing lawns, or cleaning dishes. I’d do whatever I needed to do, and I’d spend my free time crafting my long range plans. I wouldn’t give up on my dreams, but I’d forge a new path. And I’d never stop working.

Whatever the case, here’s what I know I wouldn’t do: nothing. Nothing is not an option.

This is an excellent plan, except for the part about Craigslist gig postings for movers and yard hands getting swamped with fifty or a hundred replies per opening in an afternoon, and the part about discrimination against gringos for buscamos lavaplatos con experiencia.

Did you make it to the Milky Way? For once, this is not an outlandish and incoherent question coming to us on the Top 40 radio stations.

3) We’ll never be successful if we don’t take risks.

I’m talking about smart risks; not guzzling 9 beers and going for a drive at 2AM type of risks. I’m talking about bold but calculated risks.

It causes me actual, real pain when I run into young people afraid of risks — afraid to strike out on their own because it ‘might not work out.’

Might not work out?

OF COURSE it won’t ‘work out’ at first. That’s part of the fun.

OK, maybe not fun, per se. But it’s part of the adventure.

What, we refuse to get on with our lives until we’re guaranteed safe passage and smooth travels? Well, I guess our lives will go unlived, because trust me, we will never be afforded such a guarantee.

Never trust anyone who uses “adventure” in that fashion. I learned this lesson the hard way (sort of) from an untrustworthy relative.

When you’re young — particularly when you don’t yet have a family of your own — you can do anything. You can go anywhere. You can chase any dream. You can move across the country. You can work four jobs at once. You can live out of your car or under a bridge or in a tent. You can go all in. Swing for the fences. Toss up Hail Marys. Whatever overused sports metaphor you prefer — that’s what you can do.

You are untethered and unburdened. You are mobile. You can carve out your niche. You can make radical decisions. You can walk out on that ledge in pursuit of bigger things. You can take risks, because there isn’t that much at stake. Not yet, anyway.

Germany has per capita a more diversified, dynamic, and innovative economy than the United States with a tiny fraction of this hot mess. The uselessness of this marginal grunge troll lifestyle is even starker upon consideration of the large but underappreciated amount of US innovation that is underwritten by government grants or directly undertaken by government laboratories. As someone who has spent a couple dozen mostly winter nights sleeping in his Civic at highway rest areas, I aver that there isn’t a hell of a lot to be gained from it aside from a sore body, a disrupted sleep cycle, and a general feeling of peevishness.

Apparently this bastard makes a living writing this nonsensical garbage. Wesley Willis was more coherent.

4) Nobody cares about our excuses.

The first few paragraphs of this section are too pedestrian to be worth excerpting. His thrust is that talk is cheap and the only thing anyone cares about is competent performance. It’s a cute idea, although not nearly as supportable as it would be if Matt Walsh didn’t have a comment thread pushing 400 for such a meretricious self-published article. Likewise, it would be honorable advice if it weren’t coming from a God-awful tendentious intellectual mountebank.

In due time, however, it gets fun again:

Nobody understands anyone else’s pain and suffering. Everyone’s life is hard. Everyone. Nobody on this planet has an easy life. That simply isn’t in the cards for anyone. No sense in bemoaning the fact. We might as well just get up and get on with it.

We might think our excuses are better because our hardships are greater, but they aren’t because they aren’t. Our excuses are about as valid as everyone else’s.

Everything is equally valid and inscrutable. They aren’t because they aren’t. Holy fucking Pangloss. I can hardly sustain that degree of illogic when I’m exhausted and drunk. It’s amazing that he made it through the essay without a Spanish aristocrat with a dozen surnames and a discussion of the best of all possible autos-de-fe. Seriously, it’s like he plagiarized a Cliff Notes version of Candide.

Another few quips about not being a whiner, and then:

And here’s the good news: we — all of us — have indescribable potential. A young person with ambition, character, courage; a young person willing to work and sacrifice and take risks; a young person who thinks outside of the pop culture, video game, gossip magazine cage; a young person willing to scratch and claw and fight and dig and learn and grow, is an absolutely unstoppable force. A world-beater. This is a person with the power to unlock the universe and bring out its beauty, and truth, and joy.

Dude, ever chilled with retarded people? Some folks are just hella slow and not about to speed up. It just isn’t in the cards they were dealt. It’s easy enough to describe the potential of the 22-year-old with Down’s Syndrome who kept telling me about how wonderful the hot dogs were at the Special Olympics while her dad pulled me aside and told me that they were disgusting: low. Some people will never be brought into the loop about their sisters’ secret Jewish boyfriends in Brooklyn. Some have a lifetime pass for the short bus. I, for one, am advised of the Jews courting the cradle Catholics on the downlow, and I ride the long bus, but none of this means that there aren’t other limiting factors affecting my potential. Judgment, energy level, depressive tendencies, ambivalence, poor boundaries: these are demons of mine, although how intractable it’s hard to really say. What I do know is that I don’t need to be brightsided about any of these problems by some hipster fuckhead with a fourth-rate intellect. I’d rather talk wieners with the severely retarded.

History might be written by the old, but it’s made by the young. Just look at Thomas Jefferson, or Alexander the Great, or William Wallace, or Joan of Arc, or Beethoven, or Frederick Douglas, or Martin Luther King Jr. Young pioneers, all of them. Conquerors, artists, heroes. Martyrs.

That’s our destiny — to be the people who change the paradigm. Not vassals and slaves and mindless, shallow, lackadaisical sloths.

There is so much we can do, so much that must be done, but it starts with accepting the reality of the world in which we live.

This is that reality.

It really isn’t so bad once you get used to it.

This cat has one of the most bizarre writing styles I’ve ever seen. Here, in the space of five short paragraphs, he goes from a cherry-picked list of young leaders (no Washington or Franklin, I notice) to a febrile Jeremiad about not being whiners, like maybe he’s insinuating that Jefferson, Douglass, and King succeeded because they never complained about shit, to a final, terse outburst of Panglossian circular logic. The last line is worthy of Captain Obvious from the Hotels.com ads. Staying in a fleabag SRO isn’t so bad if you don’t mind fleabag SRO’s.

If you enjoyed reading Matt Walsh’s piece on whiny kids these days, you’ll probably enjoy reading his prolific pieces on abortion. I know I won’t.

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