A republic, madam, if you can keep it, and you’re proving that you cannot

It is our lot as twenty-first century Americans to watch the sorry remnants of a once-upstanding yeomanry degenerate before us into Raiders Nation. It is the civic punishment that our betters have found fitting and decreed for us. It is also the civic punishment that we have brought upon ourselves for growing less weary of the Kardashians than of the burdens of self-government.

There’s a line in the Book of Isaiah, translated something like, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” This line is quoted liberally–nay, licentiously–by boorish, crazed, balls-to-the-wall Reform theology scolds with that John Brown look in their eyes, mainly by way of declaring God just and all-deserving of our love for punishing the nonbeliever with eternal, unrelenting Muadh al-Kasasbeh immolation. When ISIS visits this literal hell upon a captured airman for two minutes, it’s a dangerous rabble of psychopaths, but when God does likewise to the damned unto ages of ages for mere disbelief, he’s eminently just. This justice is, shall we say, the healing of the believer’s chest. The five-pointer position here is, to loosely paraphrase the Apostle Paul, that we’re all pretty fucked up, and personally I’m majorly hella fucked up, but there’s victory in the Lord, I say, victory in the Lord, so cling to the Father and His Holy Name, and don’t go riding on that long black train.

No problem; I prefer Amtrak to Norfolk Southern anyway. Calvinist hardliners use this belief in the sinful nature to reach the unsupportable inference that we should all pray for justice, not mercy, but whatever. They don’t really wield temporal power these days, and no, Virginia, they are in no way at all reminiscent of high Persian religious mummers or ISIS or al-Qaeda or the House of Saud, so why don’t you put that silly idea out of your little mind, child.

All that said, looking around Reno, I can’t help but feel that the TULIP lunatics have a point, that there in fact is no one righteous, not even one. I can’t help feeling that I am and always will be part of the problem. I have no fucking idea how to minister to the local down-and-out. I feel ashamed whenever I think about it, but I fear that I’ll do more harm than good if I try, because I know that so many others have seriously fucked shit up with their own good intentions. Some of the down-and-out are scary, the kind of guys who might well suddenly threaten the physical safety or even the lives of good Samaritans, but that there’s more to it than that. Even when I don’t find them threatening at all, I often give them the cold shoulder because I feel emotionally uncomfortable around them. I’m cruel to do this, and I walk away feeling terrible, sometimes on the verge of turning around to apologize and see if they feel like talking, but I keep going because it’s a mess that I don’t feel the emotional energy within me to confront.

There are, of course, worse shames than this in Reno. Much of the city is run by the some of the most structurally shameful organizations imaginable. As SiegelSuites puts it, We Do Background Checks Because We Care (SM). Even by the standards of American marketing and HR, this is a barfworthily unctuous and condescending outburst of concern-trolling, an exceptionally nasty lashing-out at the poors. When I see that name, SiegelSuites, I can’t help but think that the entire company is a shanda fur die goyim, and I’m Jewish enough to be worried about antisemitic blowback somewhere down the line. Jewish or not, of course, Siegel, whoever he is, is a filthy putz. No decent person allows his name to be attached to such a passive-aggressive marketing slogan.

Then there are the casinos. Nevada’s gambling industry, contrary to popular opinion in some quarters, is not a shanda fur die goyim, at least not entirely. Jewish mob figures muscled their way onto the scene pretty much at its inception, but there are too many Italians, of various sorts other than Primo Levi, in middling to high positions to believe that the industry is some sort of grand Jewish conspiracy. This ain’t Hollywood, Vito. Besides, many of the Italians in the gambling outfits are just people who happened to be in Nevada already, and the industry has no problem letting blacks, Irishmen, Asians, Latinos, or whatever rise through the ranks. It’s a meritocracy, as long as you’re willing to play along with all the Oceans 11 counterintelligence shit.

The gambling industry has its victims, though. They’re hard to miss on the immediate margins of the casino districts, around the pawn shops and the seedy bodegas and the vacant lots. It also has subtler victims: the problem gamblers who blow the upcoming month’s discretionary income on losing bets before driving home to Grass Valley, the ones who end up having the family refrigerator repossessed by Sears because they spent too much on the slot machines and not enough on the installment payments. Think you have a problem? Call our toll-free problem gambling hotline. But that’s just a minimalist pro-forma sap to the industry’s killjoy critics. If the industry actually wanted to help problem gamblers, it would advertise the addicts’ hotline in bold print. Instead, the hotline is usually advertised in fine print below in-your-face ads for table game specials. This is because problem gamblers are the casinos’ Pareto power players. Loosest slots in Washoe County!

Please tell me they misspelled that. That would be so fucking cool if they did.

But hey, Biomat is offering up to $295 a month for plasma donors at its blood shop on East Fourth. How baller is that? Donors must have recent proof of residency within 125 miles of the clinic, so get your ass into some of that fine Section Eight up on Wedekind right now. Name it and claim it. Or you could donate, as in, not get paid for it, at the Red Cross, which is probably not right across the street from a completely denuded empty lot kind of back by the railroad tracks, so maybe it’s blood products aren’t quite so sketchy.

Reno would have an underclass making a sorry-ass living by hustling its own bodily fluids to brokers in a pre-urban renewal part of town. There’s a lot of that shit in bad parts of Philadelphia, too. And these are the same neighborhoods that have the most readily available $20 gay-for-pay behind the 7-Eleven. But Bougie doesn’t beat down the doors of the Red Cross unless there’s been a recent mass-casualty event affecting Whitey, so there’s a enduring market for poories who want to pimp out their bodily fluids, just as there is for anyone who’s up to turn some $20 tricks down the hill behind the Winco.

I’m worth waiting for–more than twenty dollars. You are, too. Probably.

None of this shit would be happening in a properly governed jurisdiction. $20 tricks? That’s Children’s Hour stuff, the kind of thing a teenager might do under the bleachers at the middle school because, wow, $20, that’s, like, a whole lot of walking-around money for the county fair. If paying donors for plasma isn’t sketchy, running the donation center in a back-of-the-yards dump of a neighborhood is sketchy as hell, because there’s something very wrong with a blood donation center that isn’t run out of a building where a normal person with options would feel comfortable getting outpatient surgery. Large-scale gambling wouldn’t be necessary in a state whose leaders were confident that they could maintain a healthy legitimate economy. A city with as much vacant residential and commercial space as Reno should have no difficulty promptly getting its homeless into safe temporary shelter. Nevada’s legal brothels, for that matter, are the fruit of rampant crony capitalism, i.e., public corruption.

This crookedness and depredation, however, are cheaper and easier for Bougie than personally taking up the slack. Having the poors donate plasma for diaper money is easier than hauling one’s own white ass over to the Red Cross. Luring Californians into destitution at the slot machines is cheaper than building a legitimate economy and equitably taxing the legitimate economy to pay for public services. Reaching out to homeless alcoholics to get them into suitable housing is kind of expensive, plus it’s le hard and le gross. Their kind would reduce property values. Being paid off by Dennis Hof is more lucrative than telling him to get lost and introducing legislation to let hookers run their own businesses without fear of police reprisals.

Pretending to be libertine is more lucrative than actually being libertine.

While we’re drinking so deeply from this mug of bitter, why don’t we take a look at the wisdom of the crowd, as expressed on Facebook? With luck, it’s less sickening than the Ballad of Scrotie McBoogerballs, but luck is something we’d be foolish to expect. Facebook is known for running creepy dog-ass social controls on its users, sometimes in collusion with the Pentagon, but let’s not kid ourselves: much of what Facebook users themselves choose to post is garbage in its own right. If these people were prone to independence of mind, maybe they’d post something other than cabana pics showing themselves preening on the beach at Grand Cayman, fruity cocktails in hand. Maybe they’d have something to say about politics other than reposting crude #TCOT or #FeelTheBern memes. Maybe the ones trying so hard at personal branding (in the same sense as old-timey ranch hands did to cattle, if you think about it) wouldn’t be so excruciatingly anodyne. Maybe they’d have the moral courage not to constantly censor themselves for fear of upsetting pathetic scolds. Maybe they’d brag less about their cars. Your 5 Series should totally come to hang out with my Civic at the Fernley rest area sometime. They’d get along great with each other.

The only thing keeping probably a quarter of Facebook users from turning the platform into Rich Kids of Instagram is money being tight. By tight, I mean household incomes below a quarter million dollars and American Express insisting on a credit limit. The sandbar at Torch Lake (the same one committed to song by Kid Rock) amounts to a summer breeding ground for people who are unfit to raise children. Extra-special moments in the aforelinked video include a speedboat with a side-by-side array of four outboard motors (at 2:40) and several rounds of group pole dancing (including at 3:00).

The Torch Lake sandbar crowd skews merely towards the upper middle class, not the upper class. Even so, its decadence is advanced. These people are in a Red Queen’s Race for ever more pimped-out recreational boats. The women among them are in a parallel race to act as outrageously whorishly as possible in public, and the men among them are in a parallel race to run the most outrageous bro shtick they can devise. At root, what they’re all trying to signal is sexual fitness, but their entire scene is all noise, no signal.

It’s worth mentioning in passing that this shitshow goes down every year in a state whose largest city is a failed state under international standards, and that the Detroit suburbs are disproportionately represented at Torch Lake. In a very real way, the resources needed to build, maintain, and operate these bitchin’ rides are resources that have been diverted from the maintenance of the City of Detroit. Detroit is obviously much more desperately in need of resources than these lake wankers are, but it’s heavily poor and heavily black, and the lake wankers are heavily affluent and white. That is, if you’re stuck south of Eight Mile, you’re probably best advised to suck on it, and to get used to sucking on it, because the cool change crowd upstate is charmed and you’re cursed.

A healthy polity, one with a sense of balance, would be able to do its private business with its thicky tricks and then, sated anew by its portion of T&A, return to the public business and manage not to utterly trash the civics and government of its country. I know, this sounds like a bizarre mashup of Fanny Hill and a McGuffey reader. But it’s true. We’re an imbalanced, unhealthy polity. This is why we get sponsored content about Pippa Middleton’s ass on Facebook. We click on it, and so it abides with us. We do not, however, click on what it takes to retrieve the bad parts of Reno or pretty much all of Detroit from Third World squalor, because that, cracka, is no mere slacktivism.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll surely say it again: Christian nation my fat white ass. We’re hardly even devout enough to go through the motions. And those who are devout enough to make a show of Christian outreach are often bottomfeeding concern trolls.

Lord have more mercy on us than we have on each other.

 

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