Infelicities of the admissions and orientation process

Ruh roh! Felicity’s going federal, and she’s going for a full fortnight!

It’s the dumbest shit ever. Two weeks in federal prison, and they’ve got to give her the full initiation: the strip search, the medical and psychological intake screening, the threat assessments, the A&O book, supposedly the single roll of toilet paper to last her through her stay.

Does any of this horseshit sound serious or sensible? Of course not. She’s a grasping social climber, a crook, and maybe an asshole, but none of this serves any believable public interest, let alone a public safety interest. There are women who need to go into the big house NOW: crazy bitches wiretapped in flagrante delicto trying to arrange hits on their estranged husbands, to take a glaring example. Felicity Huffman is obviously just a scapegoat. This isn’t a serious process; it’s a self-serious process. Why else would Andrew Lelling be a party to it? Huffman didn’t do it the right way, by paying for a new campus building in her name and happening to have her brats admitted to study (sic) within the hallowed precincts of that fine institution. Bitch tried to use the discount window.

Ruh roh!

The story above about the single roll of toilet paper as part of the intake dop kit is a window into the philosophical abyss of what we like to call criminal justice. I haven’t confirmed that the BOP ever does this, but neither, I suspect, did the authors of the wire report where I read it. One of their other comments was that Huffman would be “stripped searched.” The wire services are fucking content farms now. Our Hearts Go Out To The Muffman Family, Sad Day For Filliam H. This shit might as well be written by a surplus Indian sperg, in between rounds of despair over the time-delayed ramifications of sex-selective abortion and infanticide, articles about how if you don’t know what “on fleek” means that may mean that you have never had a girlfriend, and gang rapes on the Delhi bus system.

Reporting and editing standards have gone to hell, not at all in the dipshit nostalgic sense that the whole darn world has gone to heck, but in the sense that it was a lot harder to get away with that sloppy shit through the broad middle of the twentieth century, whether because an editor would have caught and corrected the sloppy copy or a newsroom boss would have shitcanned the motherfucker who wrote it for being a derelict son of a bitch. More specifically, though, journalistic standards in the United States for reporting on prisons have never been any good in my lifetime.

Nobody who opines loosely on prisons in the guise of reporting in this country has a rudimentary layman’s interest in or grasp of penology. If they did, we wouldn’t keep hearing shit about how federal prisons are posh or cushy. Of course they aren’t; they’re fucking prisons. Where the hell do we think we are? Norway? Ain’t no cracker bunking with Breivik in any of these joints. There’s a tennis court? Correction: there WAS a tennis court, back before the tabloid-grade business press stirred up a moral panic about coddling white-collar inmates? That’s real nice. Andrew Chan had tennis court privileges at Kerobokan. As you may recall, he was passed away in the middle of the night, tied to a cross with a chest full of lead. Or, if you write about prisons professionally as a journalist in this country, you may assume I made this story up. How fucking idiotic are these journalists to think that prison athletic facilities are a bad idea? The regulars at the Butner Jewish Gentlemen’s Kaffeeklatsch get by peaceably enough in their idleness, but they sound bored out of their minds, and Madoff gets annoyed with the rest of them for spending so much time gossipping about who’s queer.

Sure, some prisons are better than others, and the lower-security federal facilities are apparently better than most state and county facilities. We might think of FCI Dublin as Felicity Huffman’s reach prison. Perhaps Alderson can be her safety. It’s a good thing. So, in fact much more so, is the alternate timeline in which Robert Sanchez decides to reach for the emergency brake in the interest of passenger and crew safety.

I insist on using words, or as a single mother friend would call them, my words, appropriately. Sometimes.

God protect us from the yuppie sunk cost FOMO assholes if we insist on assessing Huffman and her fellow discount window shoppers as products of a disordered culture. That would surely ruffle the wrong feathers and break the wrong rice bowls. The entire culture of the elite college application process is astoundingly fucked up. Parents routinely try to haze their children into academic programs that exist to further haze them, and they pay top dollar for this. Most of the children involved are unemancipated minors without the resources to safely flee, so this process as it has come to be practiced is, every bit as much as incest or domestic battery, child abuse. One difference is that if a stepfather is charging around the trailer in a wifebeater with a razor strap in hand, the authorities and informal community leaders may take allegations against him seriously.

The mental health effects of this dogshit-stupid rat race are measurably terrible. A youth minister friend asked something like one or two dozen teenagers for suggestions about what they perceived as the threats to their peers’ welfare and safety that they felt needed to be addressed. Every last one of them brought up mental health. The community where he works is not, by any indication I’ve heard, in the top tier of tiger mom hazing SuperZIPs. It’s bad, but it is not the worst. My childhood hometown of Palo Alto has had rashes of adolescent suicides by Caltrain, often by high school students on their way to school in the morning. That said, if kids there are being pimped out to any of their local Brett Kavanaugh coach figures, I haven’t heard of it.

I have, of course, heard of Blood Will Tell, the true story of Kenneth Fitzhugh, the Charles Cullen-looking lowkey creep who coached my youth soccer team and later highkey murdered his wife for love AND money. Love too encourage youth sport’s,,

The Operation Varsity Blues prosecutions are an official terror campaign against the upper strata of the petite bourgeoisie, along with whatever haut bourgeois or truly rich are socially needy enough to ape them in their desperation to get their precious brats into good schools. Filliam H. Muffman fell for the siren song of this vicarious academic achievement, even though it’s hard to imagine how their daughters, no matter how lazy or hapless or dull, would fall from their station into destitution if they applied the least prudence to their financial affairs. If Macy no longer thinks he married right, he’ll never tell Terry Gross. Lmao, I recall he got henpecked as Sgt. Mooney, too. Cherzhez la fucking femme.

The target demographic for this terror campaign is narrow, perhaps surprisingly narrow. It sounds broader than it is because it’s the native class of most major-league working journalists today and the target of most coverage in general. It’s had many names: the Talented Tenth, the Outer Party, the Nomenklatura, the Downton Abbey audience. The very top fractions mostly transcend this particular crassness; as USA Lelling helpfully pointed out, they can afford to sponsor named university buildings. Some endow entire graduate or professional schools in their own names. The Bezoses and the Gateses need not stoop so low. The Greater Kardashians, too, may rise above this fray, although certainly not for taste. They seem to be perversely inoculated against academic social climbing because their personal brands are so vapid and tacky. The most famous Armenians, they are also the least Armenian Armenians. Good luck finding a tile dealer in Fresno who’s proud to raise a navelgazing dipshit of a daughter who marries a black guy with overt psychological, personality, and behavioral disorders.

This is why I trust the Kardashians. They are ethnically unifying, not clannish and divisive. Yeah, yeah, they’re a garbage family. I’ll say it again: the Armenians, not Warren Zevon, are the Jews of Fresno. This is why I trust [all genuflect] Joey Buttafuoco. The guy could sire the next Billy Joel with that act. Far be it from me to trust Brender and Eddie and their idea of spanakopita, and ideally a guido isn’t such a thug when he steps out on his old lady, but I’ve seen some of the horror shows that pass for wholesome ethnic identity politics in this arrogant shithole of a country, and my good honky, the tawdry ones are never the worst.

Think about it: it’s earnestness that got Rick Singer, Felicity Huffman, and the rest of his clients into their big jam. They were deeply cynical and conniving about their ability to game the process, and they were shamelessly corrupt, but they fundamentally believed in the capacity of the process to serve them and their college-age children, if only they played it like the cheap fiddle that so many parents in their circumstances hope it to be.

None of these parents or their facilitators wanted a thing to do with boycotting, bypassing, objecting to, or in any other way standing up to the college admissions process. They very much wanted to make it work. They were fundamentally conservative, not revolutionary. They were there to quietly pay off the gatekeepers, not to rock the boat. The furious moral panic over their corruption of the process wells up in parents and students who are resentful that their sunk costs, financial and personal, have been neutralized by plain crooks who did exactly what they would have done themselves had they had the audacity or the ability. This is an extremely reactionary conservative way of thinking. Do not listen to what they say about their cultural or political affiliations; they are NOT liberal. This is a deeply illiberal way to live, and certainly to make one’s children live. It makes perfect sense that so many of them voted for the easily scandalized tryhard schoolmarm in 2016 and vociferously against the class clown. This was widely reported as a liberal movement against conservatism because political labels in the United States today are whatever the hell some lunatic or grifter or plain scumbag with a stake in the matter declares they are.

Brett Kavanaugh is conservative. Hillary Clinton is liberal. Carley Gomez can’t keep her hands off me. These, my fellow Americans, are our truths.

We’re officially scandalized at the possibility that Olivia Jade Giannulli, a young woman publicly aspiring to become the Platonic ideal of the thot, was not academically fit for undergraduate admission to the University of Southern California. This is what we are as a nation. The usual bougie suspects are speaking for and over the rest of us again, on our behalf. Groovy shit. This gushing, driveling Instagram idiot learned of her parents’ indictment and USC’s mounting concerns about her application file while she was partying on a billionaire’s yacht in the Bahamas. Mr. Caruso, bae as fuck for his bitchin’ boat, caused additional awkwardness on Montepuliafito given the ever more embarrassing circumstances, as he was the chairman of the board of trustees.

The Juice, the Original OJ, didn’t go to USC for the academics, either. Score one for Joel Kotkin’s lament that African-Americans just can’t hold the line in the Bayview. Chuck Quackenbush moved to Florida to enforce the law; the Juice, to flee it. Contra the Latter-Day OJ’s assumption that enrollment facilitated game attendance, If I Did It is the only motherfucker to be told he’s not welcome at games, and even in his case I’m not sure they promised to have him arrested if he darkened the stadium door. Knowing him, it’d just be another cop squad to have over to his pool. Mofo went home to Brentwood estranged from all his old friendly neighbors, kept company poolside by an entourage of his recent jailers from Men’s Central.

Then he went to Las Vegas, and for a spell further north than that. Go Pack!

Your jailhouse dop kit, that is. It’s time to go coach some damn softball, buddy.

We’re all worried about the academic sanctity of the university that admitted both of these fucking dipshits. Its medical school is a riot, too. Chelsea Clinton graduated from Stanford. That woman is so stupid in public that she should be embarrassed to have been admitted to a four-year program. That fucking falsetto bass blood bitch Elizabeth Holmes donned the Cardinal, too. Remember, however, that not all Supreme Court justices have a Stanford pedigree; saucy boi Brett Michael’s is from Yale.

How is it possible to be aware of these asshats and their scholastic pedigrees, even dimly or in general, and believe that undergraduate and graduate admissions in the United States are governed strictly by merit? This shit is too crazy for the night shift at Market East. Clearly the universities are selecting for some extremely stupid and bumptious students. JFK, serviceably intelligent and quite insightful as the president, was admitted to Harvard on the basis of an application essay that was fucking retarded. What is a Harvard Man? Why, he is the epitome of the Harvard Man, which a Harvard man aspires to be, involving some culturally appropriated WASP honor and stuff. Broad-Bangin’ Jack was never at the bottom of that slippery slope. What he had the family ghostwriters craft was an improvement over what Megan McArdle, a Penn and Chicago alumna, publishes under her own name.

These characters are collegiate because they are smart, and they are smart because they are collegiate. Would real smarts include arguments beyond crude tautologies? Worry not your uppity little head about such things.

This isn’t just something I’ve studied. I’ve personally known many such cases. Dickinson taught them the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills they needed to succeed in the world, skills that they in absolutely no way demonstrate in the course of normal conversation, the way I’d expect of an educated person. It’s Dunning-Kruger for braggarts. Knowing many genuinely educated and intelligent people since childhood and then interacting with these fucking assholes is surreal. It’s an out-of-this-world contrast.

There’s also, of course, the cult angle. Man is born free, and yet everywhere thirsts for Shoko Asahara’s bathwater. By “everwhere,” I especially mean fancy schools in the Northeast, although I hear it was once quite a popular drink in parts of Japan as well. *Most five minutes to midnight house of detention voice* Teacher, do you float? We often review just how insufferable this shit is, this cowards’ Scientology. The Church of Scientology has goon squads, and the FLDS outfits in deep Utah have pet cops and members on the force. Dickinson College has sniveling putzes and cowards, Kavanaugh replicants minus whatever difference in cocaine titration stands between them and a gig coaching girls’ basketball in More Than Friendship Heights.

It says something bad that the constant appeals for charitable (sic) contributions coming from and on behalf of this execrable college administration and others like it seem for the most part to work. It’s that cult programming again, plus the vig that we pay to the local mobsters who stand between us and an accredited education. (Who the hell is us?) Mafiosi are nothing if not organization men. American higher education is the extortion of the Sopranos with the aesthetics of the Osteens. There are exceptions, but it takes some searching to find them. The bagmen at the rest are basically Rahm Emanuel telling us to go fuck ourselves for not giving him a love offering as a sign of respect for those public school teachers whom we admire.

Schools that don’t feel like spending the whole store on general-purpose yuppie prestige often lavish it on sports rather than, you know, the school parts of school, the parts failing to capture Olivia Jade’s interest as a Trojan matriculant. Here we can hazard an answer to Jeffrey Epstein’s question as academic benefactor about what does that got to do with pussy. Organized athletics are ordered to determining which warrior gets to take which fair princess into his bed. Schools try to operate academic programs in the midst of these lechers, not surprisingly tending to include in their orbit the likes of Our Lord Joseph’s Servant Gerald, Lawrence of the Labia, and J. Denny Dundiddly, because wrestling is as heterosexual as One Direction. On the teams themselves, we occasionally discover young men of character such as Daniel Holtzclaw, who, tiring of ritualized violence against other gentlemen as a show for the ladies, moved on to direct, unambiguous sexual violence against women he fancied.

We’d be better off with an academic model more like a monastery next to a whorehouse. Yes, Dreher, this is a Benedict Option. Mind you, I’ve got nothing against women’s athletics or academics, and since I’m not running Georgetown Prep I’ve got nothing against Catholic education. What we’ve so often got now instead under the auspices of academia is the sexually deranged remaining chronically horny in the worst ways for the worst vices. This explains both of our cases of OJ. He’s in it for the pussy; she’s in it for guys who are in it for the pussy and other girls who are in it for guys who are in it, in a cultural recursion skipping straight into Gomorrah.

There are paths out of the ape pit. There are also, crucially, gatekeepers lurking around these paths, doing everything they can to lure us all back into the pit. Under these circumstances Olivia Jade is something like a honeypot. There aren’t good reasons to select this dimwitted teenybopper for admission to a selective (uh?) undergraduate program revolving around a meathead sport played so wantonly under academic auspices in this country that Stanford is renowned for fielding the only Division I football team in the land whose players don’t speak like communications majors. I’m not saying this is true; I’m saying people believe it.

Seriously, everybody we’ve heard about at USC should have enrolled at Pasadena City College instead, as Hugo Schwyzer’s gofers and understudies. It’s possible to run more or less the same shitshow for less or much less the budget. Of course they’d complain bitterly about how they aren’t getting any marginal utility in their fight to the death with other social climbers by enrolling in some discount no-cut community college program when they could be maintaining their conceit that they’re at USC for the education.

If we’re going to have a bunch of no-account wankers in this society, and our revealed preferences say that we are, we ought to stash them at the indefinite junior college level instead of putting admissions office shitbirds at fancy schools in positions to be bribed and probably blackmailed. This shit is a small example of what we get for being a developed nation, by the way: half the social and human development outcomes of the early Schengen countries for easily double the cost. Europeans don’t so much get launched into positions of authority, prestige, and above-market pay for pretending not to be like this. (The Brits, obstinately not parties to Schengen, slouch in our cultural direction.) Our huge categorical error is to assume that we, as Americans, don’t have lazy bastards, or that if we do they’re all poor welfare queens, not middle-class salarymen (and women!).

What we’re doing here is developing. We’re moving from degrading, low-value folkways, like getting paid to pick fruit, to self-actualizing, high-value forms of cultural refinement, like paying to be a bitterly thirsty incel at Warped Tour. The closest Gwyneth Paltrow gets to taking up a craft is hawking exfoliating stone dildos. Absolute dipshits like Markian show up on the stage, barking for their own carnivals, and there is not immediately an overwhelming consensus across all spheres of cultural influence that these are examples of how some people unfortunately lead pitiful lives, and there’s no need for others to live likewise just because there are bad role models in this world.

Fat Cracka’s got a question from the cheap seats: If taking freelance photographs of fancy restaurant meals for a living is valid, why isn’t unemployment valid? I feel decadent for getting a ten-buck bowl of hot and sour soup, like, once a week and not letting it go cold just so I can filter it on the goddamned Gram. Given what monetary, industrial, and labor policy have been in this country for the past few decades, we’re going to continue to have the unemployed among us, and I get that there will never be a Final Solution for showboating dipshits who beclown themselves on YouTube. What I don’t get is why we celebrate every parasitic circus freak who barges into our field of vision as a reputable, productive member of society and simultaneously blame campesino lettuce pickers for being poor.

We’re told that we need to stay in school to rise above this sort of backwardness and poverty. And then what? Get jobs in communications? Vlog about what it’s like to wear makeup or date a Latina? Many Latinos speak English; believe it or not, they include Antonio Villaraigosa. I thought I’d mention this since 1) Nob Hill Dreamboat needn’t be the only Golden State Greasy a cracker funs from time to time and 2) “influencers” rarely seem able to name a recent governor or big-city mayor of anything.

Mechanical problems that kept me out of North Carolina this week got me onto a flight from Philadelphia to Albany near a guy who was on his way back to his optional no-show job in Cuomo communications from a solid week of getting tore up with bachelor party buddies around Seattle. He kept telling his seatmate, who himself was preparing to finally quit his nursing and clinical education jobs to focus full-time on his hipster T-shirt startup, that he had decided not to go into work after we landed. I didn’t figure the guy did anything useful. Color me shocked that the State of New York pays him to do PR and/or to fuck off to Wizardland at will like a Harry Potter extra.

Then again, dude sounded way more tired of drinking than the target market is for gambling, the new cherished growth industry in Upstate New York. It’s just beautiful. They used to figure that the way to be economically productive in the Mohawk Valley was to produce or ship something. These days, any scam that allows some loser to be paid minimum wage to mop up alcoholic tourists’ vomit is economic development and job creation.

Meanwhile, out west, the most reliable way to get trained for a fire crew is to be a felon, just not the kind of scary felon who seriously needs to be in prison, but rather a tractable one who got press-ganged into the system for something bogus and then offered work-release. The Norks do this to, like, two dozen Japanese abductees and it’s a major international scandal; Kamala Harris does it to her own constituents by the thousands, and her fellow Democrats can’t imagine that she’s an extra-creepy version of Melissa Ann Shepard who’s too haughty to make a buddy some coffee.

And yes, Felicity is a federal case now. She’s in line for a register number and a personal copy of 73 pages of A&O boilerplate, along with all the other good-ass hazing rituals that make life so rich at Dublin, all for a two-week bid.

This is supposed to send a message. This is what the creeps behind draconian object lessons always say. The message it sends to roughly the bottom two thirds of Americans is that they’d get less time for corrupting the college admissions process than it would take them to bail out on a shoplifting charge. Ordinary Americans who get booked into jail during benders or mental health crises on disorderly conduct charges because it’s that or an inpatient psych bed, and there isn’t one, can go months without their cases being heard, inside the whole time, just because the system is too derelict to grant them the speedy trial that is their constitutional right.

A healthy polis would orient Felicity Huffman’s sentence in an accurate penal context. What, us healthy? Aw, no. It’s all about the humiliating narcissistic injury to Filliam H. Muffman. It’s all about high school gossip reworked into a grand Orwellian telescreen morality play, entirely for our cheap thrill and not at all for our actual moral or civic formation. God forbid the news business to focus on real news and risk giving us the humane education that we so miserably fail to get in college. Huffman and her fellow charged are failures of humane education; they wouldn’t be going to such lengths to get their brats into fancy schools if they weren’t. But must those running the news business be such intellectual failures, too?

They’re surplus elites with fancy college pedigrees, too. You tell me.

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