Manufacturing surplus citizens

This essay at Counterpunch (h/t Naked Capitalism daily links) makes a fairly strong and chilling case that the US, UK, and Saudi governments and powerful non-state actors directing them deliberately orchestrate both terrorism and high-volume drug trafficking against civilian populations, including their own constituents. It concisely surveys a number of blatant Anglo-American and Saudi atrocities in Vietnam, the Los Angeles ghetto, death-squad Latin America, and Yemen, all places where the governments in question have been caught behaving heinously. A similar case that jumps out at me, and which I’ve discussed a number of times before, is the FBI’s bizarre failure to stop the Tsarnaev brothers from bombing the Boston Marathon, an exceptionally suspicious dereliction of duty.

A lot of really ugly shit concerning Western military and intelligence services and their allies (overwhelmingly sic) has been swept under the rug, and I’m willing to follow parts of the rabbit hole even deeper than Aidan O’Brien leads us. What initially caught my attention about the US opioid crisis wasn’t the emergence of the crisis itself but the appearance that powerful, meddlesome outsiders with axes to grind were stirring up a moral panic about yet another marginalized community. I strongly suspected early on that the actual prevalence of opioid abuse and overdoses was being exaggerated to such extremes that the crisis verged on being a hoax. Some of the media where I was hearing about this supposed epidemic were ones that obviously had no compunction about serially smearing the vulnerable, even entire communities, in the interest of telling a good story and then cashing out in full. The spectacle had tinges of the hysteria over sex offenders, and the United States already had a long, seedy, even tragic history of moral panics over drugs.

At the risk of sounding all Jill Stein autism vaccine healing crystals cuckoo and maybe accusations that I’m from Tiburon, I should mention that I believe in a strong element of magic appertaining to certain lines of evidence and argument based on the position and motives of those making the case. Come to think of it, that’s pretty fucking nuanced and this-worldly for Marin, but whatever; my actual native city has gotten all kinds of fucked up since I moved away. What I mean by magic isn’t what anyone who’s interested in selling you magical shiznit has in mind. What I mean, for example, is that the motives of a private citizen ruing the drug devastation of her hometown are so dramatically different from the motives of a sensationalist news outlet from out of town and the breathless mercenary reporters it dispatches to cover the story that keeping the facts straight isn’t enough to avoid the grotesque distortion of the resulting message once it passes into the hands of outsiders with ulterior motives. Put more bluntly, no one at the eleven o’clock news actually gives a shit about druggies in McDowell County. It’s fundamentally different when someone who genuinely cares about an affected community voices anguish and concern, but that’s not what we’ve got with a lot of the coverage. Instead, we hear city slickers who look down on and distrust and despise Appalachians intoning about the seriousness of a drug abuse crisis in Appalachia. There’s no way in hell that most of the out-of-town journalists and commentators on this beat actually want what’s best for these communities. To them, Appalachians are just disposable pawns in whatever culture war is being orchestrated above their pay grade, but surely Jim Webb will agree that Appalachians have always been ones to take on the belligerent dirty work for the lowlanders.

It’s not just Appalachians, of course. They’re just some of the most conveniently reviled communities currently under popular examination for substance abuse. Of course the trailer trash are all on hillbilly heroin. In the eighties, of course the hood rats were all on crack. In many American communities, especially to points west, of course the white trash is just a bunch of tweakers. Or was, in any event. Used in a vaguely prudent fashion, meth is a drug conducive to getting one’s ass to work, but that assumes that there’s work. Perhaps the streets know something that the official employment statistics do not.

What we haven’t heard recently, at least not from mainstream sources, is bitching about immigrants being up to their eyeballs in the damned drugs. The Gilded Age featured a moral panic about sexually predatory Chinamen and opium. Reefer madness attributed the suspiciously Latin marijuana to Mexicans, also presumed sexual deviants. These gentlemen, we were told, put a white bitch at risk. A hundred-odd years later, the Chinese are a premier model minority and the Mexicans make such dutiful gardeners. We have to turn to the streets to hear anything about Mexicans drinking and driving, insurance optional. Stories to this effect from coherent sources are all over the internet, but they’re never in the news. Why? The Cathedral is masterful at communal smear campaigns, so why are Mexican drunks who come off work dog-tired and crash their uninsured vehicles into locals and their rigs justified in news reports, when there are any, as kind of just having forgotten their driver’s licenses at home? It doesn’t take a license to refrain from driving drunk and fatigued.

The point here isn’t to justify preferentially smearing a certain foreign outgroup. It’s to reiterate that poor white boys and girls are already being smeared wholesale as unemployable junkies (who were until recently unemployable tweakers), and to ask what the hell gives for the campesinos. The whole thing gives off a powerful aura of Friendship Ended With Mr. Cracker Now Mr. Beaner Is My Best Friend. It’s coming from the Cathedral and from management, so we’d all be tragic fools to assume that anyone promoting these memes of hardworking, dutiful immigrants and drugged-to-hell wastrel Americans will ever restore friendship with the forsaken.

My sense of magic in rhetoric was inchoate for a long time, and it may still be, but one thing I can say is that the almost liturgical repetition of stories about workshy, softened, drug-abusing American proles is a fnord and an effort to fulfill an ugly managerial-class prophecy. The workshy part has been constant for decades, whether or not there’s been an acute moral panic over some low-class drug. The Mexicans, we’re told, are here to do the jobs that we won’t. In point of fact, many of these jobs involve a dirty old school bus full of a peasant underclass towing a porta potty out to the job site for ten hours of stoop labor, so it isn’t just that it sucks to cut lettuce. Most of these jobs, portajohn on a trailer or not, are not advertised. As a seasonal commercial blueberry picker, I’m struck by how many packages of blueberries I’ve seen labeled for cities where I’m all but certain, because I’ve searched the regional job boards during the growing season, that there are no help wanted ads for blueberry pickers. One package that I saw recently was labeled for a ranch in King City. I’d seen ads (translated into English, no less) for blueberry pickers in Santa Barbara County, but I’d had no idea that there were any commercial blueberry growers operating in Salinas County. I did know that King City was where the police chief had been leading a criminal ring that stole cars from gray-market field hands. Extrapolating working conditions in the local fields is reasonable. *Downmarket Wesley Willis voice* GET ON THE BUS!

Accusing white Americans of pandemic levels of hard drug abuse dovetails beautifully with what farm country management wants, which is NOT old-stock Americans, of any race, really, working as field hands. In the Northern shorthand, this is generally expressed as white farm workers. In parts of the South, black farm workers from American lineages as old as any of mine bear the brunt of the discrimination. In parts of the South where the poors can’t help but #RaceTogether, management panda-bears the shit out of the local help. The problem with both of our kinds is that we got uppity, whereas the Messicans know their place. The last part applies to just about every state in the Union. The Mexicans are just better workers, though it’s funny that they keep showing up here flat out of civil rights. It makes sense that peasants who have spent their entire lives busting ass in the fields (and often don’t mind being sloppy as hell) work faster than people from middle-class backgrounds who started doing farm work as teens or adults, but that doesn’t explain why so many farm jobs are made needlessly awful and not advertised.

A related stance I’ve repeatedly encountered from growers, which makes me think that a Mugabe/Castro/Chavez expropriation isn’t necessarily such a bad idea, is condescension for daring to show up looking for farm work as a mainstream honky without an ag degree. They don’t say it, but I can read it. It doesn’t matter what these planters think about nonwhites; their attitudes towards fellow white people who are noncompliant with their specific conception of country life are proof positive of Klan-level bigotry. It’s worth jack shit if they’ve got a Portuguese guy and a Japanese guy and a Sikh and a Mexican mixing it up with the Dutchmen in the Farm Bureau local; they still act like I’m an interloper in their cartel for trying to see if they’ve got work that doesn’t totally suck. Instead of a 100% Anglo-Saxon planter class that rigs labor, land, and commodity markets and prejudicially throws its deficient fellow citizens onto the Darwinian trash heap, we’ve got a multiracial planter class that rigs labor, land, and commodity markets and prejudicially throws its deficient fellow citizens onto the Darwinian trash heap. O beautiful for spacious!

Thank God, this isn’t the entire farm ownership class, but it’s a frighteningly large chunk. The political reaction of this class is totally fucking insane. This reminds me, so I might as well pass it on (TM), like other Values (TM): a quick look around Fresno demonstrates that the Kardashians are some of the least problematic Armenians. #TheMoreYouKnow. One of the things that’s so crazymaking about this whole mess is that the owner class, high on its own work ethic, disavows the existence of a class problem in flyover country while simultaneously making it tacitly but unmistakably clear that I’m subverting their class by being a non-wigger white boy in search of menial farm work.

This shit is worse than street people with free fare cards heading uptown to intercept incoming Cubs fans by yelling, “Any of you white motherfuckers want a free ride?” It’s a hell of a lot more racist, for sure (“black motherfuckers” would be equally consistent with the prevailing community standards), and I get really annoyed with shady fuckers who want to sell me discount fare media, so I’m not here to put in a good word for the turnstile hustlers anymore than I’m here to praise the Dunkin’ Doorman.

On second thought, maybe I should be out to praise the low-functioning. We’ve got plenty of the high-functioning running our farms and our other big businesses, and look how that keeps turning out. Oh no, we aren’t racist; we just hate other white people for being lazy, soft, and feckless. H-1B coders with diplomas from fly-by-night for-profit coding schools are totally more competent than Cal Tech-trained American computer scientists. We’ve never had anyone chop his arm off with a meat cleaver because we sped up the slaughterhouse line to the point that Somali refugees are the only way we don’t end up with 400% annual turnover by hiring the most desperate slumdogs who just snuck up here from Oaxaca.

All of this is where we’ve already ended up. The people who run this joint have deliberately given immigrants more hope than they’ve given the natives, and hence less motivation to abuse drugs, but even some of the immigrants are seeing that it’s a damned raw deal. The black working class has gone from a pariah part of the drugs community in the eighties to the downmarket native constituency that one dare not criticize, probably because the Hillbots still expect black voters to do something for them and never notice that they’re being used. The Fuck Whitey chapter of the platform sure isn’t getting them anywhere, but that isn’t the only truckload of bullshit that they’ve brought down on their own heads. Go figure that it’s coming from the same first lady who enjoyed the services of penal house slaves of a certain non-Caucasian persuasion.

I’ve gotten into some anguished spots over my own difficulty finding work, but God knows how many millions of Americans have had it worse and are also being told in even starker and more explicit terms that they are obsolete and to be replaced. No wonder we’ve got an abundance of white folk who are hella into bad dope sets. What the fuck else would anyone expect? The enterprise and the optimism of methamphetamine? I can’t say that I wouldn’t be shooting black tar myself if my prospects crashed down through several circles of hell.

None of this just happened. None of it. It’s more like they scaled up the Tuskegee Experiment by a factor of several thousand, with the drug availability as a surprisingly minor component. They know damn well why we’re sick and dying. They know because they orchestrated the whole diabolical thing.

Winner: Reality

One has to wonder how some of these names are even possible, how, as they say these days, any of this can be a thing: the former Bruce Jenner, inevitably known to Willie Brown’s street people as “a trans-Jenner!”; Rachel Dolezal, the impressively white (and very White) leader of Spokane’s black Community, which one might expect to exist, or which one might not, but which one certainly wouldn’t expect to see under the leadership of the most powerfully Germanoslavic-looking woman ever to culturally appropriate a cobbled-together West African nom de guerre, a spray-on-tan, and whitey dreads: to wit, a trans-Rachel; an intractably histrionic bull dyke with the most impossibly bad fashion sense enrapturing tens of millions of fools of her own making with impossibly ridiculous driveling nonsense, and doing so under (and very much in) the name of Degeneres, E.

More newsworthy things have happened in Spokane since its founding, but to judge from the trans-racially trans-Rachel shit, the city has finally come to the end of a slow news century. It’s been written that there are many lawyers named Lauren or Lawrence and many dentists named Denise or Dennis. I have no idea whether this is actually the case, since I recall that it was written by David Brooks; meet me at the Applebee’s salad bar, where we shall all be eatin’ good in the deracinated neighborhood. Is any of this real? Is there some surreal cosmic force driving the appearance of these uncanny characters in the public sphere? Are they crisis actors in some elaborately staged hoax? Is someone making all this shit up?

We live in awfully strange times. Many my age, give or take, look back wistfully on the nineties as a simpler, less confusing, more carefree time. Our nineties weren’t gay, but Barney the Dinosaur sure was. For the life of me, I cannot remember where I was when I heard that Kurt Cobain had died, or if I even knew who the hell Cobain was before the lake took him. I do remember where I was when I learned that Tim Russert, unbeknownst to both of us, had bequeathed his own tongue-tied failson on NBC: the Post Exchange at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. #TheMoreYouKnow, bitches. I remember where I was for quite a few things. Few of them, as it happens, were Seinfeld episodes. Maybe it was just my young age, but at the time I found Seinfeld incomprehensibly dry. When I watch bits of the reruns these days, I realize that I underappreciated the show in my childhood and consequently what a total embarrassment Jerry Seinfeld’s standup career is.

Seriously bad shit was going down in the world back then, and some of it was even going down in the United States, but the middle-class Americans who spoke on behalf of all normies were supposedly sheltered from it, not living in Waco and all, and so were able to enjoy nightly half-hour meta-jokes about profoundly frivolous New Yorkers with absolutely no work ethic, ironically played by actors with the powerful work ethics needed to show up consistently for high-volume network television productions, and ones in which they didn’t just play themselves like that sloppy failson bastard Charlie Sheen. Grab a beer and relive with me these glory days, back when Michael Richards had yet to turn from a harmless weirdo with the strongest play ethic on the Eastern Seaboard into an orator of racial screeds fit for the San Diego Trolley, or don’t; beer is too damn expensive for my downwardly mobile ass.

I lived through the nineties, and I did so as lucidly as anyone could have at my age. I remember watching the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings on live daytime television while I was preparing to go on some weekend camping bullshit in Foothill Park. All I could really tell at the time was that the grown-ups found it transfixingly seedy for reasons that probably didn’t reflect too kindly on their maturity; I had yet to be trained in sexual harassment by the VA’s Thomas-approved training video with the dirtbag black Alistair Cooke cutting in every few minutes for a fireside chat. That shit reached me at a level that I understood. Maybe, like Britney Spears, I was not that innocent. Maybe I was an old soul or some shit, too jaded for a project as unserious as Seinfeld. I don’t know. With all my soul, however, This I Believe (TM):

Joey Buttafuoco is living poetry.

Followup thoughts on how to get away with racial slurs on NPR

The “raped by a spic” thing from the other week deserves an essay of its own. It felt like a seminal moment in NPR history. Ew, I shouldn’t spout outbursts like that; I didn’t go to school to be a seaman. I didn’t go to school to do a lot of things, for that matter, but writing about this seedy shit is closer to my duty to Engage the World than hustling deposit bottles, which kinda sorta pays the bills.

There are other things that I could chronicle instead, but I might as well say the same thing about NPR first. That, after all, is where I learned the phrase “I want you to be raped by a spic or an N-word.” This really felt like an eerie unleashing of the Brahmin Id. Frank discussions of rape can be newsworthy (e.g., a recent item on All Things Considered about the forcible stripping of a Christian grandmother in Egypt by a Muslim village mob), but the crazy bitch from Georgetown wasn’t describing an actual rape. She was talking about vague trash talk from an internet troll who was taken with the idea of the sexual assault of his political opponents by racially denominated model felons. The difference between actual rape and what this Beltway dipshit suffered is the difference between the stomp whiteys who came after me in Black Kensington and someone hanging out on the internet all afternoon posting “whitey ass cracker bitch” into the void of some AOL flame war. Grown-ups don’t get bent out of shape over the coarse invective of total strangers on the internet who show no ability to cause them trouble in real life. Sure, there are misogynists on the loose here and there, and there are racists, but my problem with the stomp whiteys was that they assaulted me on a public street, not that they didn’t care for white folk; we didn’t have no internet to mediate that interaction, but man, I never will forget the way the one guy didn’t look more than about half black himself. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t care to be assaulted by white thugs, either. These things shouldn’t have to be spelled out, but we’re dealing with some awfully immature people yelling at us from positions of power, so they do.

Hearing a professor go on NPR and utter “spic” without hesitation but practically choke with embarrassment before self-censoriously sanitizing her other fantasy rapist as “an N-word” was revealing. The insistence that “nigger” is a uniquely offensive, inflammatory, and dangerous slur is not entirely off-base; there is something to be said for erring on the side of caution in societies with black-white racial histories as ugly as the one we have in the United States, even if such a taboo is fraught with hypocrisy and opportunities for cheap provocateurs to angrily mutter the unholy of unholies into their phone all evening. This may sound like a San Diego thing, but I’ve heard it on Amtrak coming into Stockton, too, and dude wasn’t even getting off in Stockton. (To my own misfortune, I was.) Still, it’s better than fucking MTS, and I’ll put up with a dipshit if that’s the cost of a ride on the California Clipper.

The thing about the Here and Now piece, though, was that the racial invective was every bit as gratuitous as some asshole blurting out high-frequency racial slurs on the train for no discernible reason. The punks giving m’lady lip over the internet were not credible threats to her safety, and the initial provocation was a pissing match between a bumptious academic and a prominent member of the neighborhood fash over which of them would be kicked out of their members-only gym.

There was no good reason for NPR to be devoting an entire segment to this horseshit. The decision to air it was driven by an interest in sensationalism, not newsworthiness. More cynically, it can also be reasonably inferred to be a capitulation to laziness and budgeting, since interviewing a single crazy bitch about her fight with a blowhard failson over his shock politics takes less work, organization, and money than actual reporting. I have too hard a time with deadlines myself to be very harsh on radio producers for throwing some embarrassing crap together at the last minute to fill the dead spaces, but WBUR presumably has entire staffs devoted to the advance work needed to get its shows on the air, so it’s worth asking how someone so nutty and salacious slipped through the cracks.

An even more cynical take (please, do heat your cabin with this) is that whoever was responsible for this sorry bit of journalism realized on some level that it was exactly the sort of thing that would psychosexually stimulate the listeners. Maybe Robin Young’s scrupulously well-mannered calmness is just a pretense used to head-fake the suits into assuming that she and her team aren’t airing a bunch of Howard Stern content.

There has certainly been an awful lot of carrying on about the very white Richard Spencer and the even whiter Brock Turner in a time of not very much mainstream press attention to Daniel Holtzclaw or the all too real possibility that an active-duty NYPD officer has been serially murdering prostitutes on Long Island. What the Id wants from Turner is obvious: rape, but not really rape in the sense of sexual intercourse against one’s will, just quasi-rape in which the “victim” is pleasantly very drunk but still able to enjoy submitting to Blondie. If the mob had any standards, it would be much more horrified and alarmed by the specter of a calculating serial rapist in uniform, even one convicted and incarcerated, than that of an opportunistic one-timer who took advantage of a woman he found passed out and used such sloppy tradecraft that he was promptly caught and placed under citizen’s arrest by passersby. Of course, Turner was an affluent white guy operating in a power center of affluent white girls, not an Okie Hapa preying on black women in the ghetto, most of them with criminal records.

What the Id wants from Spencer is a bit harder to discern, but it seems to be maybe a less fully consummated experience of vague quasisexual subjugation. If you, too, are a good girl, I know you want it, but I can’t really say what it is. Spencer is clearly being associated, if indirectly, with sexual danger, and not in the sense of Carlos, because that’s just plain gross. This is a bit odd for a guy who sure looks like he’d be into some damn weird forms of submission to the working girls, but we’re talking about an awfully handsome fellow who styles himself a sort of highbrow Nazi and who’s being smeared before an audience with a great deal of politically tinged sexual repression. The looming experience of sexual degradation with Richard Spencer probably works out to something like him cornering m’lady at a house party, calling her a kike while he slaps her ass, Supermanning her with a Star of David that he appliqued onto scrap material from a used T-shirt, and then wandering back to the couch to bounce around between Unz and Roissy comment threads on his phone. Yeah, the guy’s kind of a dork, but he’s exceptionally handsome, exceptionally white, and coded (correctly) as affluent, so if anyone’s going for a 50 Shades of Schindler thing, he’s the man for the job. Any sexier and he’d be Lynn Majors.

Shit, that was dopey, so to speak. The difference, of course, is that where Spencer is a little prick, Nurse Lynn tells you that you’re gonna feel one, and if you don’t want it to be your last, you’ll high-tail it for Rochester and get it from Hastert instead. That was terrible, but it still wasn’t NPR. And that’s probably why I’m still writing this shit for free. I’m not the one serializing badly written BDSM porn for the big screen and then advertising it all the time in the breaks between arguably less fucked up SVU and Criminal Intent reruns. I write effusively about meta-rape only because NPR makes me do it. It’s really a shame that I managed to hear Robin Young dignifying that nutcase’s beef with Richard Spencer but still haven’t dialed up whatever Scott Simon and whoever he had on that weekend had to say about Aaron Hernandez’s career-ending neck injury, pursuant to #SPORTS. These things are through my most grievous, etc. But really, I’m just here to #RaceTogether and to make sure that no discourse about theoretical violence involving African-Americans and Puerto Ricans is put to bed for the evening without a recapitulation of my enduring hope against hope, as a former Philadelphian who still checks in on the old dump from time to time, that Josey’s on a long-term vacation far away.

Come around and talk that over.

More seniors by the sea: spank you for your service

Maybe my cynicism comes at a personal cost. The turd is never the most popular thing in the punchbowl, and many have insinuated that I’d do better in life by being more positive, although few have had the courage to be forthright about it, since they know that I’d dress them down for being craven and brightsiders are not generally ones to enjoy being criticized for their chickenshittery.

On the other hand, positivity didn’t do jack for me back when I had more of it; I don’t count painfully tenuous reprieves measurable in months from the enduring hell of modern American downward mobility as victories, except maybe as the Pyrrhic kind, so I get the feeling that negative thinking or cynicism or whatever the hell else I may have that’s not safe for LinkedIn is actually the weakest link in the chain. And it’s not that I truly have no reason to be positive or hopeful: every time I cause a yuppie offense or discomfort by being poor (define however you fancy; the yuppie swarm certainly does), I count my loss as a victory and a gain. This is why I generally support sidewalk defecation in downtown San Diego. Pacific Beach, too. It forces yuppies to savor the same flavor from which they so assiduously shelter themselves at such great expense, to their own cash flow and to our civics. It shows them that a generational social climber from CB East may be able to buy her way into an apartment in PB (hella West), where the locals show more concern for the welfare of dogs than for that of their fellow citizens, but not permanent safety from, say, now, that didn’t come from a dog. It is praxis.

If I pretended that my country didn’t have a class problem, it would still have a glaring class problem. Some will win, some will lose, some are born to sing the blues, and others are born to use their eerie ability to mimic Steve Perry as their meal ticket out of the Philippines. That a band from the midcentury Bay Area put out a famous song semiconsciously advancing a Hindu nationalist’s resignation to the caste system is not necessarily as embarrassing as CCR. The aesthetics can always be worse, until they can’t anymore (e.g., John Fogerty’s solo career as an intellectual property defendant). So can the simultaneous inflation of the Mid-Peninsula real estate and cupcake retailing bubbles, theoretically.

Where, then, are the old-fashioned small-town values that will fix this crazy world? In your head, mostly. Small towns dumping their social services problems on big cities (or, in the Cougar’s annoying formulation, the big town) is as American as an apple pie on every mother’s dining room table and a dose of napalm on every VC hut cluster. The jungle: one had better run through it, old boy, not walk.

For certain demographics, running, not walking, away from small towns is a similarly good idea. There are, in fact, victims in these political economies. Many of them treat the poor like shit, for one thing, and they’re terrible to political dissidents. The meme that small towns are too wholesome even to carelessly fail anyone is as pernicious as it is absurd, but it has impressive staying power. No one believes such a thing about San Francisco for a hot second, but there’s no shortage of people who construe Norman Rockwell as a news photographer for every cow town rag in the land.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Curry County appears to be a product of demographic cleansing. It’s basically a matter of public record that Del Norte County maintains itself in the opposite fashion, by keeping a couple thousand of the most violent and troubled men more or less or working age in an exceptionally bad and very expensive state prison. That’s over two thousand jailbirds plus their keepers in a county of depopulating county of fewer than thirty thousand. Curry County’s population is growing, but mainly from infusions of honor: its 65+ population went from 28% to 32.1% from 2010 to 2015. Brookings and Gold Beach are tidy, pleasant towns, but I can’t believe that they magically got that way without any social services disincentives when Crescent City is such a mess and Eureka is a socioeconomic dumpster fire. The Census Bureau indicates very few infants and toddlers in Curry County, so the golden oldies didn’t move there to reciprocally honor their birthright citizen grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but it was awfully dumb of me to assume that these Boomers have any to thus honor in the first place. Not many under 18, either, but over 65? Many such cases!

It’s a categorical error, then, to assume that we’re talking about an organic community. In addition to the citizenship of the elderly (who do vote, so maybe it’s just another constituent service), in Curry County WE HONOR VETERANS. A number of counties in Southern Oregon, some of them with local governments that are run on a shoestring that’s frayed to the breaking point, have commissioned such road signs at their county lines instead of paying for actual government services. Maybe the Vietnam-era veterans’ activists wanted that more than they wanted a public library; the noise about Nam certainly comes from a subset that makes the whole lot of them sound like the Pettiest Generation. Let me tell you  about my trauma. I don’t need a list to tell any of you about how often I sleep in my car, but some of them need lists of symptoms for their periodic disability pension reviews, just for reference in the course of describing their own psychological states.

They’re really into Memorial Day in on the Wild Rivers Coast, so much so that the parade in Brookings cut off access to Fred Meyer from 101. Great job keeping the homeless from our coffee, there. I ended up taking a detour on, I shit ye not, Easy Street and going to Harbor to finish drying the previous night’s laundry before coming back in past some of the most hellacious oncoming traffic I’ve ever seen in a town of that size. In Capitalist America, parade rains on YOU! I know, I’m glassing everyone with my mug of bitter again, but I have a point here. None of that shit keeps me out of unbelievably weird and unhealthy socioeconomic situations. Joe Dirtbag is a pretty significant local civic poobah, but that never stopped him from bringing Lady Pisspan, Captain Flimflam, and Pot-o-Shit Friend onto his property instead of a toilet. If I wrote to the city council about his behavior and the condition of his farm, they’d immediately know who he is. I’ve seen civic and business leaders behave in ways that are absolutely execrable. I don’t project their bad behavior onto all civic and business leaders, but I have to assume that I can extrapolate some of it. Likewise, one might assume, based on all the ostentatious honor and thank-yous for their service and the like that are ritually shown to veterans that the United States consistently provides top-notch housing and medical care to veterans in need. In point of fact, it’s less trouble and more fun to organize a fighter jet flyover from Kingsley Field than to deal with the chronic scandalous mess that is the VA. Like Crystal Harris, we quite enjoy fun stuff. Unlike Crystal Harris, some of us don’t ever have anyone as thoughtful as Hugh Hefner around to maybe talk some half-sense into us.

What we do have, if we’re in Curry County, whether we’re of it or not, is KURY-FM, with its afternoon host intoning at length about how Memorial Day is “the reason for the season.” Dude seems to think that there would not be any sort of seasonal celebration of the start of summer absent America’s endlessly proliferating war dead. I don’t even feel comfortable with spiritually deracinated holidays, so I can’t be the only one the fucker’s lost with his sonorous piety. He also wants homeowners to call the Brookings Police or the Curry County Sheriff, at the numbers he reads out on air, if they see, say, a “meth-looking dude” prowling around their backyards, as if alert neighbors wouldn’t spontaneously call the police about obvious prowlers who appear to be high on hard drugs. It’s always nice to have a community radio station that doubles as a broadcast version of Nextdoor, since it’s unimaginable that such a spirit of neighborly vigilance would never mutate into hostile paranoia abusing state power to infringe on the civil liberties of people who truly dindu nuffin.

My favorite civic bullshit this weekend was probably the “Celebrating Volunteerism” newspaper extra. LOL. Love too promote volunteerism as a civic panacea in a county whose economy is based on interstate pension transfers from CalPERS and the Social Security Administration. Also love too travel in a county with such a strong volunteer spirit that it can’t keep its sheriff’s substations open during normal weekday business hours. There are local governments in Southwest Oregon that are deteriorating towards scopes of service worthy of early postwar Somalia. I realize that the HBD creeps will get their panties into a knot about how I’m comparing a Whitey Rez to the Heart of Darkness, but there’s no way in hell these counties aren’t socializing undisclosed costs onto state, federal, and out-of-area local governments. Douglas County has a particularly entertaining version of local self-reliance that revolves around rejecting tax levies by referendum because everyone expected the feds to keep paying the county a shitload of timber royalties for its public lands, even when the industry basically shoots its wad and the royalties consequently dry up. Curry County has dealt with reduced federal timber royalties of its own in recent decades, but for geographical and demographic reasons it’s had an easier time driving out its poors, or maybe more accurately swamping them with affluent retirees.

One thing that can be said for California’s fee-entrapment form of state government in this context is that it at least produces some government revenue, which is theoretically available for something besides Highway Patrol salaries. Josephine County has gone to the opposite extreme by running out of money to run its jail (partly due to a failed ballot levy) and not fielding police night watches.  It’s a shitty tradeoff, though: CHP saturation patrols that produce minimum court clearance fees of $25 over $4 worth of burned-out license plate bulbs versus needing a cop in an emergency and hearing the smooth sound of radio silence coming down on the night shift (on the night shift).

Toqueville commented on Americans’ over-the-top interest in voluntary organizations during his grand tour in the Era of Good Feeling. He also commented on country innkeepers and restaurateurs who charged so much for so little that they were the next thing to crooks, so for a people with so little in the way of personal business scruples we sure had a lot of scruples about the private morals of our neighbors. Toqueville caught the leading edge of the (Orwellianly misnamed) temperance movement and the proliferation of organized teetotalers’ societies that it inspired, and he questioned why a man couldn’t quietly take his water by his hearth instead of making a big public spectacle of his renunciation of alcohol. That’s my question, too. You wouldn’t believe the amount of seltzer water I drink in the privacy of my own car unless you saw the shambolic piles of empty cans strewn about in the passenger foot well. Left to my own devices, I hardly touch alcohol in any form. I do not, however, need a busybody to convict me of the need to do something that I’m doing already because it’s an order of magnitude cheaper than decent beer and significantly cheaper even than garbage like PBR, and I certainly don’t need a fucking meeting.

As an excellent bumper sticker puts it, “I’m not an alcoholic, I’m a drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings.” If I had to choose, I’d take a society of drunks, especially ones who sober up before operating heavy equipment. Drunks are less obnoxious and more prone to mind their own business. I don’t need some timid authoritarian cult follower trying to cure my phantom drinking problem because I unwisely mentioned that I used to drink a lot, years ago. AA combines the meddlesomeness of a camp revival with the administrative pointlessness of a student government meeting. I’d have to be lusher than the Hamakua Coast to even think about getting involved with that bullshit.

In Curry County, they’re able to do Robert’s Rules of Order dozens of times over for meetings to organize petty fundraisers, but they can’t find anyone to staff the sheriff’s substation in Harbor because, just a hunch, they’re too cheap to pay anyone for the trouble. I’m past the point where I’d sit on my ass there for free all day. They’ve got a sign on the door telling people with probation appointments to knock loudly if no one answers. That’s one case where, if you’re lucky, the door will not be answered.

A county government that can’t figure out how to secure basic funding from its own constituents wants its petty criminal element to look gift horses in the mouth on demand. What a fine bunch. They might think of tweaker burglary as social services taxation by other means. I can’t feel too bad for an electorate that complains about getting the Wild West when it refuses to pay for anything more than the Wild West.

A Damn Yankee’s stray thoughts on the latest official Confederate monument horseshit

The City of New Orleans–the municipality with the police department straight out of hell, not the fine-ass consist of Hoosier-overhauled all-American rolling socialism that will take you all the way up the river to the heart of the jurisdiction of another, perennially NBC-approved police department that comes modestly more indirectly out of that same horrid pit–recently undertook the ceremonial removal of a series of statues honoring some of the Southland’s sons of secession.

Proud Mary, pray for us and bless us, I guess. As we know from NBC and, if we’re a bit less civically embarrassing, from the news, Yankee cops never torture suspects in black sites for confessions to crimes that they didn’t commit, threaten to gouge a suspect’s eyes out with a Bowie knife as a way to get intelligence for Intelligence, weigh an enemy down in chains for a live water burial that is stopped in the nick of time by an up-and-coming detective who is rather bizarrely named after the local street system (just one of those differences of opinion that Hank Voight respects, as any sworn thug would), criminally harass and manhandle citizen activists with felony wiretapping charges for videotaping police misconduct, and/or gun down peaceable, retreating civilians in barrages informed by a combination of too much Red Bull, too much training, and too little command discipline. As we also know, perhaps from Richard Engel’s late-night live broadcast, hanging a sad old tyrant b’ism Muqtada for good measure after chasing him into a dirt hole in the ground and orchestrating the ceremonial Arab shoe defilement of his statues magically eliminates the need for civil society, state administrative capacity, police patrols, and the rule of law as bulwarks against years of helter-skelter mass-casualty bloodshed for years on end.

The city fathers of N’Awlins belatedly yanked (heh, I just said “Yank”) several statues of famous secesh from public property in cover of darkness and brought in a crane for a proper daylight Saddam-in-effigy hoisting of none less than Marse Bob Lee himself. This was done because it’s, like, literally 2017 already and shit, and maybe, I suspect, because Mitch Landrieu is literally a scion of the Landrieu family. The Landrieus, they’ve had Mitch, they’ve had Mary, and mercy, mah Lawd, Ah due decleyah, they’ve had Moon. The point being, the official removal of these statues had nothing at all to do with a hereditary politician being too shrewd to give up a gig that spares him the need to do honest work for a living and/or be a discreet family embarrassment ridiculed as a permanently “trusted” charity case. This was in no way a demagogic stunt by a grandstander who’s too white and too outwardly self-respecting to go full Chocolate City (like Ray Nagin, that sad crook who, for some awful reason, is now chargeable to you and me), but who, like any good little shitbird of a professional triangulator, never loses track of which way the winds are blowing, and from which swamp.

Shit, white boy. Can I be an ally without using that kind of language? Sure, I guess so. Can I have fun being an ally without using that kind of language? Hell no. Ellen wants me to have a little, and I’d have more of it if that horrifying, abjectly histrionic, socially climbing bull dyke took her badly-dressed ass back to Metairie and retired from public life. I’d sooner have gone to Coleman and listened to Robert Gisevius weep bitterly all afternoon than watch that bitch pollute my country’s television. Montgomery, where Bobby G. is being warehoused at our expense these days because that, too, is how we try to reify an NOPD that won’t blow you clear into the river with a twelve gauge because a public emergency is its latest excuse for charging around like a Latin American death squad, at least has something like scenery. I’m not saying that I’d get my schadenfreude from the misery of that sorry bastard; I’m just saying that some things (the long fugue of a cop who was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong attitude) are less utterly horrifying than others (a woman who should never have made it onto the traffic accident beat at the lowest-rated network affiliate in Shreveport but is, for reasons generally indicating that we’re a wicked and stupid people fully deserving our own collective punishment, syndicated nationally every fucking weekday afternoon).

There are worse Louisianans than Mitch Landrieu, then. Let us give thanks for the small blessings in our lives. Still, if you’re a New Orleanian, that dipshit is your mayor. I don’t have the Cajun-seasoned pride to know whether the jambalaya and the jazz funerals are enough to make up for that, but I do know, as a Californian, that free fish tacos at a Train deep tracks concert in the one clean part of Oakland wouldn’t be enough to justify a second Gray Davis administration. *Very Michael Franti voice* That’s the sound/of sunshine/up my ass….

Just a hunch, but maybe some of the Who Dat Ah ain’t nevah leavin’ da rivah pride is a red herring tossed out by wholesale thieves to distract goobers from, oh, the condition of the levees and the local police department’s recent history of renting its cops out to restaurants on private details during which they give customers beatdowns for criticizing the gumbo. As far as I know, that only happened once, but correcting it to the singular doesn’t stop a federal police force from looking like maybe a good idea in certain jurisdictions. Speaking of which, I understand the RCMP has a disused gateside foursome available for lend-lease to allies, including an emotionally volatile ginger, a professional storyteller, a guy who doesn’t have to go to Bourbon Street to get saucin’ like he’s in Tsawwassen, and a famous fish friend. Just you try to communicate to create a more electrifying story about seafood and spice.

Mercy, O’Hara, that again! And mercy, most of you are still here for Dubai Porta Potty, but at least I don’t use force of arms to compel y’all to shut your mouths. Gumbo Goombah, on the other hand, is as Southern as sweet potato pie, and he comes from a strain of Southern thought that never asks Admiral Farragut for thoughts on who might benefit from a permanent cool change.

For this crowd, statues honoring the secesh are public affirmations of piety, not the irreplaceable source of their faith. Their investiture with totem-like powers is rather silly. This goes for both sides. I guess I’m not going anywhere in Louisiana politics with an attitude like that, but what the hell, these are not mature expressions of political fervor.

On the secessionist side, it’s awfully curious that, of the losers in all American wars, the Confederates are the only ones with all this venerated public statuary. We don’t see monuments to Arnold and Cornwallis in Saratoga. Rommel and Tojo don’t grace the west end of the National Mall. Vietnam vets are so not Fonda Jane that the latter has taken to speaking publicly about her conversion to Christianity and whatever the fuck it was that she was doing with Ted Turner, not her brief flirtation with Ho Chi Minh, who was much more popular in Vietnam as a political and military leader than Turner is in Montana as an overly moneyed buffalo poobah. Even in Japan, a sovereign nation that bites its tongue internationally not so much because it will be cut off for fielding leaders who indulge in politically inflammatory speech as because it seeks to remain most Uncle Sam’s most harmonious military aid sugar baby and trade-surplus financial dominatrix, it is still widely considered rather edgy and tasteless for politicians to publicly commune with the Greatest Generation at the Yasukuni Shrine.

Sure, the Union had an interest in mending bridges with the subjugated Confederacy after Appomattox, but so did the UK have an interest in making nice with the dear departed colonies after the Treaty of Paris, and as I mentioned above, we don’t do ostentatious Redcoat statuary on this side of the pond. We were pretty sparing in the execution of Confederate officials, too: Jefferson Davis got to spend some time in federal chains for his trouble, but Robert E. Lee was given the deferential Hirohito treatment without intervention from MacArthur, so in the end it was mainly a few exceptional sadists (the Andersonville thug, for example) who took to the rope for their war crimes.

In the midst of this campaign of mass pardon, the Union also undertook the Reconstruction, an ambitious project, foreshadowing the Marshall Plan in some ways, to rebuild the South’s institutions free of the taint of chattel slavery and racial attainder. It was as Reconstruction faltered and then failed catastrophically, a bit over a decade after the conclusion of formal hostilities, that the Confederate statuary started proliferating in earnest. These monuments didn’t cause revanchist Jim Crow aggression against African-Americans; they were lagging indicators of a burgeoning reactionary political regime that was enforcing its will through ISIS-grade campaigns of terror.

The real problem was never some dipshit worshiping an idol of Marse Bob; it was organized terrorism, including Muadh al-Kasasbeh-grade public immolations and thousands of vigilante hangings. To this day, the fundamental problem is a carceral state that strategically targets black communities for the selective enforcement of laws, many of these governing victimless crimes, and the systemic abuse, most egregiously in the Deep South, of prisoners for unpaid labor, much of it heavy and coerced. On their own, the public statues to the Confederate generals would have as much political power as some sperg praying to a bedroom shrine of Father Serra and the Duke of Albuquerque for belated royal Spanish vindication against the usurping shrew QE I and that Swiss prick Sutter. They’re rallying points for a political culture that’s perfectly well entrenched and organized with or without them. They’re really just ancillary expressions of political power.

We can see the same thing with the increasingly gaudy courthouse monuments to the Ten Commandments in Alabama under that endlessly godbothering shithead Roy Moore. Moore was able to carry on his pissing match with the feds to the benefit of his judicial career, i.e., his political career, because Alabama’s entrenched political culture lavishly rewards such ostentatiously pious stunts. Alabama is littered from end to end with Baptist churches. So are some of its neighbors: as an organizer at Lutheran-Episcopal Disaster Response in Ocean Springs told us, “When there’s six of us and six of them, we tend to do things together.” If that stupid granite tombstone of the Commandments in the courthouse lobby was a ministry of Christian witness or a reification of Christian civic virtue, I’m Increase Mather. The public godbothering, this aggressive establishmentarianism, was already an inescapable feature of Alabama politics; Judge Moore was just a sheepdog marking the territory on behalf of the flock.

That’s really all anyone is accomplishing by becoming a party to these disputes over Confederate monuments. They’re pissing matches, almost literally so. Is the Confederate battle flag heritage or hate? Shit, white boy; get you a cracker banner that can be both. They retired the Southern Cross from the South Carolina statehouse after Dylann Roof shot up Mother Emmanuel. It’s so interesting that no one has ever committed a spree killing without inspiration from feverish internet racism message boards and a fixation on that particular insurrectionist flag. A nutty creep with a racial ax to grind shoots up a bible study, and the problem is obviously a controversial flag that mostly inspires others to fly the same controversial flag. Suddenly it goes from obnoxious political recursion to incipient armed RaHoWa.

The Raising Up of the Storm Roof gave the Unionists an unusually convenient opportunity to mark their territory. Mind you, they didn’t flex their political muscle by going balls to the wall over blatantly racist (and very blatantly classist) voter ID laws. Their conception of politics is mostly flipping the bird at Strom Thurmond’s grave as praxis. The latest monumental grandstanding in Louisiana runs along the same lines, except that in this case the retirement of the secesh from public life didn’t obviously have anything to do with anything else. God knows what kind of wag-the-dog trick Mitch Landrieu may be trying to perform; in a city and, for that matter, a state that dysfunctional, there’s no end to the shit that an unprincipled politician would have the motive to sweep under the rug. New Orleans is a Potemkin Village Disneyland surrounded by a barely governed third-world city that is sinking progressively into the outer reaches of the ocean. Then again, the Landrieus have always been good Democrats, so they certainly wouldn’t want the city to rise again in a regressive fashion. Besides, bayou Louisianans have always cherished that seafront lifestyle; this progress merely allows them to live more intimately with their beloved Gulf.

In Post-Soviet America, Gulf of Mexico vacations down at YOU! Ain’t that, well, actually not nearly the scariest thing about America, let alone Louisiana. Orleans Parish has just about the most underfunded and understaffed urban public defenders’ office in the United States, and Louisiana has absolutely the highest incarceration rate on earth. Other countries don’t do federalism the way we do it. In Canada, Belgium, and Switzerland, it’s a vehicle for harmless linguistic snits. In Germany, it’s mostly a budgeting partition. In the United States, it’s a license to raid black urban neighborhoods for plantation slaves to staff Angola. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. Genuine criminals are caught up in the dragnet, too, but that’s practically incidental to the true purpose of this regime, as is any personal reform they achieve. This regime is ordered to the socialization of breeding costs for an enduring plantation system without having to commission privateering raids in West Africa, since it’s always so expensive to bless the rains. Even by the licentious mainstream humanitarian standards that are generally applied to judicial and prison systems in the United States, the Louisiana system is extreme.

Ultimately, the Society for the Prevention of Kwesi Millington for Sheriff loses the energy to fight truly egregious injustices, which are wildly out of control in Louisiana, when it wastes its time and energy bitching about venerable statues of the Confederate officer corps and the waving of the Southern Cross as a bloody shirt for the discount salty crackers. The conspiratorial way to look at this is to conclude that it is entirely by design. By the way, you pretty much have to be on the Asperger’s Spectrum to give a shit about the Confederate political flag, that is, the official colors of the government for which the rebels were ostensibly spilling so much blood. Plenty of people talk about the Stars and Bars, but hardly anyone, especially in the North, even recognizes it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people refer to the Stars and Bars when I’m certain that they have the battle flag in mind. For a long time I conflated the two myself.

Do I care if some loser wants to fly a Rough and Ready city flag over a State of Jefferson flag over a Gadsden Flag over the Cracker Banner over Old Glory herself? Frankly, I don’t, Butler, you shifty creep. My sense of patriotism is not so easily wounded because it is reaffirmed every time a well-governed, duly constituted federal force sits a goon squad of local-yokel tyrants the fuck down, neosecesh or not, and tells them how exactly how they are going to behave as a condition of their presence within the sovereign territory of the United States of America. That’s why these colors don’t bleed; it isn’t the damn dye job. But maybe that’s why I do so much of my politics over the internet. It’s easier to argue over totems than values, and totems seem to be what rile up the screechers.

FYI, Amtrak’s other trains out of New Orleans terminate in New York City and Los Angeles. No matter which direction you head, if you go to the end of the line, you end up under the jurisdiction of a horror show of a municipal police department, and if you want to get to the least horrific of the three, all you’ve got is a train every two or three days that, if it’s running on schedule, pulls in at, like, four in the morning. The real reason to leave on that midnight train to Georgia, believe it or not, is that it leaves at a vaguely civilized hour: namely, midnight. I know, Wow Very Explain. Even so, I like my train service like I like my Deep Southern government: efficient, accountable to its customers, clean (sort of), maybe on time, smooth, air-conditioned, and, oh hell yes, federal.

The bear ate my homework

It should be axiomatic by now that the grand Russia conspiracy theory is a clumsy psyop against the American public, but this is the Democratic Party in the time of the Clintons, so should hasn’t got a thing to do with any of it. The Clintons have never been ones to accept responsibility for things that they can blame on someone else, and they’re getting worse with age. At the same time, they’re entrenching themselves as pillars of the political establishment, where before they were McDreamy the Lace Curtain Trailer Arkie and his rather frighteningly icy shrew of a perennially scorned wife. A hundred million dollars plus of baksheesh plus whatever hits the Clintons did or did not order on their political opponents can do that for a power couple, and we know that they’re capable of politically strategic homicide because Bill didn’t give their political opponent Ricky Ray Rector the opportunity to have dessert.

The Russia thing is pure Clintonworld agitprop. Shattered reports that the Clinton team settled on the Kremlin scapegoating campaign within 24 hours of the Queen’s loss to the Donald. The public bearbaiting certainly hit a fever pitch out of nowhere in a hurry after the election, and the Cathedral hasn’t piped down about it since. Mencius Moldbug is a bit eccentric and maybe goofy, but he seems spot on about the existence of an elaborate insiders’ conspiracy under the auspices of self-dealing institutions and the direction of a malign clerisy. This conspiratorial explanation makes a hell of a lot more sense than the coincidental alignment of a fiercely independent press with the entire Clinton agenda, kooky geopolitical grievances and all. Contra Moldbug, perhaps, this conspiracy may be less a megalomaniacal social engineering project than a function of the Clinton machine’s Ephesians 3:20 disbursements of cash, exposure, and collateral contracts to its legions of camp followers, allowing C. S. Lewis’s robber barons to rape us a bit more softly than his moral busybodies would, or perhaps to kill us not quite as softly as he did with his song. That was wrong, but so is Hillary Clinton being the successful fugeetive from justice and Danbury that Lauryn Hill was not.

You only thought this story was going to get better. Of course it didn’t; it’s still about Billary, and their Infernoesque concentric hell on earth of sycophants, mercenaries, and similar trash is still all about Russia. The Russia conspiracy theory isn’t even fun. The US government using secret bases around Roswell to house its very illegal aliens? That’s fun. Hitting Century Boulevard with the Inglewood mental health community for a conversation about planes that may not actually be on approach to LAX because, well, do we really know that, now? That’s definitely fun. The Russia thing? That’s just tiresome. It’s a constant, self-serious lecture about breaches of propriety from the lying mouths of people who actually have none themselves and are cravenly smearing an agreed-upon scapegoat as a distraction from their own monumental political incompetence. People who are actually crazy can be great entertainment, but the bearbaiters are really just lying sacks of shit who won’t stop bothering us with their endlessly repetitive, ever more mindnumbing lies.

Even if they start to believe their own bullshit, they still lack the polish of the properly crazy. They’re aren’t wandering around a light rail station yelling about dirty-ass motherfuckers who can’t wipe their own asses; they aren’t that novel, or that eloquent. Or so honest, but that much should go without saying. That’s a true story, regardless of whether homegirl is lucid enough to correctly identify the motherfuckers in question or the dates, times, places, or forms of their filth. Her other story, about niggas and prison, was also true, if mangled. I didn’t catch all the details of that one, except to ascertain that they were all over the place, but as the internet autists have taken to saying, there are many such cases.

The Russia stuff didn’t happen. Most of it is as nonfictional as Harry Potter. That’s another story that Democrats have come to enjoy far too enthusiastically, too, less as an opportunity for finite literary escapism than as a biography of what their own lives should be and would be if it weren’t for, oh, Donny Pisspotter and the Kremlin School of Wizardry. Russia didn’t hack US voting systems. Russia didn’t unleash targeted mind control operations against US citizens to compel them to vote for a man they otherwise would have abhorred. Russian agents and assets did cultivate business and political relationships with US counterparts, some of these relationships being unseemly, but so do the agents and assets of every other fucking country on the face of the earth that has more sovereign wherewithal than Somalia or Yemen. Not to put too fine a point on it, Russia dindu nuffin. Big Bear Man dindu nundat, comrade.

The omissions from the Russia conspiracy theory are damning. It’s nothing but shamelessly selective outrage. Michael Flynn may be something of a crook who wheels and deals with foreign unsavories, but there would be nothing unusual about that for a retired flag officer in the US armed forces, or a serving flag officer for that matter. Regardless of what else is objectionable about him, he didn’t set a precedent for dubious foreign entanglements on the part of the officer corps in the time of Fat Leonard. Where do these fuckers live? Mars? Shit, the entire US military is formally entangled with unsavory foreign governments, some of them blatantly hostile to the United States. We’ve got our national panties in a bunch over rumors and feverish inferences that a salty dog general was party to a handful of backchannel communications with Kremlin counterparts in the course of helping set up an administrative apparatus for a first-time president-elect from scratch, and meanwhile we give Saudi Arabia a pass for allowing no less than its midlevel officials to fund and orchestrate 9/11. This is because Saudi is our ally. That’s what allies do for each other: hire suicidal psychopaths to hijack one another’s commercial aircraft and fly them into office buildings on weekday mornings for maximum casualties. Duh. Note, too, that the smearing of Flynn as an international crook worthy of the Logan Act is coming from partisans of–who else?–the Clintons, lately of the Foundation and the Global Initiative, formerly of the Lincoln Bedroom. What crooked foreign government have those two not conspired to gladhand for bribes?

Hostile governments, by contrast, promptly cable the FBI when they have surveilled a US resident associating with known radicals back in the, back in the USSR and have reason to believe that he may be planning bad acts on US soil. The Tsarnaev clusterfuck sure makes the FSB look more concerned than the FBI about public safety in the United States. Put yourself in the shoes of a mythical FSB agent who wishes the United States and its residents harm. You just watched some shithead with a Green Card come back to Mother Russia and yuk it up with a bunch of beards whom you’ve had under surveillance for being involved in a religiously inspired conspiracy to commit secessionist political violence against your country. If you let the shithead go back to the United States unmolested, he’ll be in place to take out his rage on his adopted land and people. If you alert the US authorities, they may decide to yank his Green Card and send him back to Russia, his country of origin, where he’ll become your problem until he finds some other country to take him in. If he doesn’t find a third country to bother, this will turn him into a permanent liability for Russia.

Do you tell the Americans about the Conclave of the Caucasians? Of course not. You let the shithead take his Green Card back to the United States whenever he gets bored with his communion with his old crowd and revert to being a threat to the US’s public safety, not Russia’s. Unless you care about the safety of Americans, that is, and can’t abide the thought of knowingly allowing a religious thug to hatch plots in his birth country and then abuse his immigration privileges to threaten the life and limb of his neighbors in his adopted country. In that case, you alert the G-Men to the Caucus of the Caucasus and encourage them to keep an eye on the creep.

No, I’m not kidding. The FSB, the KGB’s direct successor, was a more credible protector of US public safety in this case than the FBI. The FSB is the agency that took Tamerlan Tsarnaev seriously and sounded the alarm. Of all the Muslims the FBI has surveilled, often without cause, and of all the Muslims its informants have baited and goaded into half-cocked terrorist plots (“Hey man, wanna do some jihad?”  “I dunno, I think I’d rather play some more GTA, but if you really want, yeah, I guess we can do some jihad.”), why the hell couldn’t it put a surveillance team on Tsarnaev, keep an eye on his contacts, tap his phones, and figure out that he was building a fucking bomb and planning to use it? How the fuck is this the one bomb plotter they managed to miss after they were specifically and directly warned about him by a foreign intelligence service? Even if they suspected that the FSB had gotten a false positive, they could have quietly kept an eye on him, just to see if anything was up. They could have checked with local police agencies around Boston to see if they had any intelligence on him. Dude had all the peaceable nature and ethnic goodwill of a young Mark Wahlberg, the Russians were rattled enough about him to reach out, and he’s the one bad motherfucker the combined forces of the FBI and the sworn Southie Irish could neither catch doing bomb stuff nor take down in a meathead’s honeypot? Ooh, I’m getting a raging clue! I think I’m gonna shoot clue goo all over Uncle Joe!

Ah, Maahky Maahk. The basteahd put a guy’s eye oot in a bah fight, but now he’s up theah on the silvah screen, playing a steyahff seahgeant.

Of course these assholes would rather turn the rumor mill against Russia than blame the FBI for getting three people killed and dozens of others liberated of their legs by dropping the ball on a thug the FSB had specifically told them to monitor. Look at how they’re suddenly rehabilitating Jim Comey, all because that oaf fired him and then ran his mouth again.

John Kerry didn’t act anything like this after he lost his own run for the presidency. I wasn’t gung-ho enough to knock on doors for more than a few minutes, but I was gung-ho enough to help man the Kerry-Edwards table at the fairgrounds in a two-thirds Republican county and field rhetorical questions from hostile ammosexuals. When Long Face lost, he was enough of a statesman and a class act to accept defeat graciously and honorably, without running around stirring up a moral panic against a foreign folk devil. There’s been nothing like 2016 (and now 2017, because we’re a wicked people deserving of our punishment, or else horribly unlucky) to bring into contrast just how classy that Masshole was, as a contender and then as a loser. He coulda been one, Brando. Okay, maybe he couldn’ta. He was a weak candidate and a terrible communicator going up against a deceptively skilled communicator who was backed by the mother of all political war machines, but he didn’t make an ass of himself when his Quixotic run flopped in the end.

The grievances about bad processes back then were credible, or at least plausible, mostly having to do with Republican electoral skulduggery, which had a blatant precedent in Florida in 2000. Hence my beloved bumper sticker with a solid blue map of Florida and the caption, “Electile Dysfunction.” I knew conservatives who quite enjoyed it, too. But that was under the leadership of a failed presidential candidate who had some fucking scruples and self-respect and respect for the electorate that had declined to elect him. It wasn’t a simpler time, but it was, at least in this narrow respect, a much less disgusting one.

What we’re hearing now amounts to omg MedvedKekKek1488 called me a cunt and posted some Pepe memes over on Reddit. We’re hearing shock and outrage that the Kremlin hired some internet trolls (which the Pentagon would never do) and bought some PR in US news outlets (which the Pentagon would never do). I couldn’t even get anyone to call me a faggot when I jumped into a raging flame war over Donald Trump on the KMTR Facebook page and noted that Kwesi Millington for President would have been an improvement over that thread (“As they say, he’s electrifying”), so I’m not sure how ubiquitous this Russian troll army was, especially relative to the total numbers of the creepy sockpuppets who keep getting caught using DoD IP addresses to threadjack alternative blogs with utterly retarded drivel.

The Russia thing presumes that voters en masse disregarded everything that they were able to personally observe about their own circumstances and the condition of their lives and everything that they could discern about the candidates for the presidency from countless sources, formal and informal alike, because they had been brainwashed by a almost amateurish Kremlin international mind control operation. The brainwashing aspect of this conspiracy theory is mostly projection; it takes a brainwasher to hallucinate a brainwasher, and the mainstream media constitute most of the ministry of information of Brain Washington. I’m with Sarah Palin on this much: it is in fact a lamestream media, although in the strict sense of the term, the mainstream media are PC Principal-juiced to the lame, dumb ass of TIMMMEHHH, and that’s why they’re dangerous. Objectively, the horseshit about Russia should be too lame to go anywhere, but it’s been propagated among the intelligentsia and wannabe intelligentsia with incredible success.

As someone who has watched otherwise engaged, critically thinking loved ones fall for this horseshit just because it bears the imprimatur of Serious News Organizations and act like I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid for not putting credence in it, I resent this propaganda campaign more deeply than I can describe. Everyone responsible for it should be ashamed to hell, but I know better than to think that that crowd is capable of healthy emotional feedback; it wouldn’t be able to turn its tricks at work if it were. Think “trick” more as in “Tricky Dick” and less as in “thicky trick.” To paraphrase no less than Peace at the Center himself, people have, uh, uh, uh, whores, but some have better classes of whores and don’t glorify it on public television and so forth and so on.

It stands to reason that the Harry Potter set would project credence before the most ridiculous alt-factual propaganda onto its opposition and accuse the latter’s voters of rolling in the deep in a political fantasia. People who cast themselves in their own meritocratic wizard fan fiction wouldn’t be ones to credit a television oaf’s downmarket voters with any rational reason for derailing the ambitions of their yuppie queen. Again, this is not a fun kind of crazy like smashed in his knees with a two-by-four, smashed in his knees with a sledge HAMMER! That’s fun–from a distance, at which God may not be watching us, but at which I most certainly am keeping an eye on the poor man’s Peter Gabriel, as one does who treasures his own kneecaps. You, too, could have a speed train, but not at Market East, cracka. The Harry Potter stuff is just a bunch of self-important assholes who are obsessed with overrated children’s literature because they have yet to mature to Tom Wolfe and show no signs of doing so in this lifetime. Meanwhile they’re pointing and sneering at factory workers, miners, truckers, and farmers, accusing them of being out-of-touch juvenile losers for holding down real jobs.

If the 2016 election had been decided on the conscious, explicit basis of how voters felt about a Democratic Party whose most catered-to constituencies form their politics and their aspirations around bumptious fantasy fiction (including their beloved alt-presidential Bartlett bullshit, too), Trump would have clobbered the bejeezus out of Clinton in a 400-vote electoral sweep that would have spared him the need to indulge in Kobach-compliant White Whines about how Democratic electoral fraud was the only reason he lost the national popular vote. It’s a testament to the graciousness, pragmatism, and openmindedness of the American electorate that anything close to a national plurality of voters was willing to vote for a ticket burdened by all the shitty cultural baggage of the credentialed high end of the Democratic Party. It ain’t me, lawd, it ain’t me that did any of that, but it was quite a few others.

Hillary is the unlucky convict who managed to get shot, gassed, electrocuted, and hanged for the same crime, except that she did it to herself. The same thing is true of the Democratic Party for slashing and burning a path to put that cackling shitbeast on the top of its ticket and then dredging up an unctuous, swish neoliberal obscurity (who conveniently evoked thoughts of sexual weirdness, even among staunch Democrats) to run for veep, on the bizarre electoral logic that he’d bring enough of a home field advantage to carry Virginia. As I think it over, I’m almost certain that Hillary would have won the general election if she had chosen Bernie Sanders as her running mate. As her lieutenant, Bernie would have brought a huge (yuge!) amount of energy and credibility to Hillary’s campaign, enough to easily flip the rust belt in her favor. As a recently ratfucked surrogate trying to reunite the Democratic Party against an opponent whose sworn platform dovetailed significantly with his own, he had no such credibility. Plenty of voters who still admired him didn’t believe what he was saying about the party and the candidates it was now running in the aftermath of his defeat.

The reason Hillary didn’t choose Bernie as her running mate is the same reason why her campaign and the DNC ratfucked him: they all despised and distrusted him and did not want him in a position of influence. Their revealed preference was blatant and a lot cruder than they probably thought it looked. They were sheepdogging us, and enough of us knew it and resented it to sink her campaign in the end.

For a party that swore it needed all the solidarity it could get from points to the left, the Democrats have expended an awful lot of energy smearing Stein voters for ratfucking them. As if we give a shit. Do I really sound like I care that Jill Stein’s other voters were a bunch of anti-vaxxers and healing crystals dipshits? No, that isn’t quite right. Do I sound like I care that butthurt Democrats believe Stein’s constituency to be crunchy energy-field morons who cause measles outbreaks in Pacific Palisades because of some nonsense that they read about iatrogenic autism in Goop? Of course not. I’m not that fucking petty. The rest of her constituency could have been a total freak show and I still would have been, yes, #WithHer. As it happens, I don’t believe these broad-brush smears any more than I believe  broad-brush smears of Trump voters as a bunch of knuckledragging, hopelessly nostalgic bigots. Besides, as proud as I am to have contributed to a 5.5% county-level vote for Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, their national vote totals sucked. Sure, they were third-party dark horses, but even for an obscure third-party ticket they performed weakly.

There’s a strain of Democratic apologist that figures that, well, now, that’s a rather grandiose stance for a California voter to take towards a state-level race that Hillary Clinton didn’t have a chance of losing. Under this condescending gloss, it was acceptable for me to waste my ballot voting for a couple of hopeless fruitcakes because it was going to be canceled out by my mature fellow citizens, i.e., it didn’t make a difference. It did for getting the Green Party over 5% in Humboldt County, bitch, and as someone who likes the idea of a political movement that is on the left but not the fucking Democrats, I can stand by that vote. But what would I have done had I voted in a state that was up for grabs?

I probably would have voted for Trump.

Yes, you read that right. I can’t say so for sure, since I’d been seriously considering voting for California to MAGA, too, but it would have been a factor for me. “How can you POSSIBLY vote for that man?” rhetoric SHOULD backfire. Any candidate whose pitches boil down to a demand that all educated people show their cultural solidarity and intellectual self-respect by voting for her is morally bankrupt and politically weak. These are both things that a great many voters thought about Hillary in the first place, so the sheepdogging frenzy complemented quite nicely their fears of an overbearing, hostile clerisy taking over the Democratic Party against the wishes of its voters.

Republicans and independents had similar but starker reasons to be distrustful, insofar as they didn’t reluctantly regard Hillary as the closest thing to a Republican running in the general election. I have a Republican friend in suburban Philadelphia who voted for Clinton because he was horrified by Trump. Shortly after the convention, he told me, “My only hope at this point is that the Republican Party can rescind Trump’s nomination.” After the general election, he said, “I voted for Hillary and immediately felt bad afterwards.” I felt bad that this fellow, one of the most upstanding people I’ve ever known, couldn’t find anyone running for president to vote for who didn’t immediately fill him with a sense of regret and disquiet, but I can’t object to his discernment that he had to vote for what he considered the lesser of two evils, even a lesser evil whom he found appalling in her own right. Millions of American voters found themselves in a similar position last fall. Some find themselves there at every election. This friend of mine seems more willing to work within the two-party system than I am, or than many other voters are, for that matter, certainly including the tens of millions who are eligible but don’t turn out. Good God, Y’all/Absolutely Nothing is a popular third option, although not one that I can personally countenance supporting.

The friend I just described comes from exactly the constituency that Ed Rendell has said the Democratic Party can and should tap to balance out its losses in the rust belt. Think about that: a sleazy but frankly popular former mayor of Philadelphia and governor of Pennsylvania wants his party to assemble a new coalition from people who feel either no affiliation with his party or a traditional affiliation with its opposition and who feel like shit for having reluctantly voted for its headliner candidate. Can you see now how this party keeps losing elections?

I wonder whether Bernie Sanders isn’t just delineating the extent of the rot in order to have an irrefutable case ready when he finally sets up a third party, loosely resembling the early Republicans, as the new political home for the entire downmarket left and center. He’ll piss off a bunch of bougie Democrats if he turns out to have been on a surveying mission all along, but he’s already pissed them off; much of the hardcore Hillary wing is already apoplectic about what he’s done to their party (i.e., win back constituencies that FDR would have been horrified to accidentally alienate).

This is what Lambert Strether calls deploying the blame cannons. Clintonworld is itching to go full Bull Connor and the fire hose on a critical mass of its own base, which it also insists it needs to win over in order to take back Congress and a large minority of state governments. It’s message is basically, hell yes, we’re on your side, how can you possibly say otherwise, you miserable bastards. Whether the goal is really to win us back or punish us is hard to say, and beyond a certain point–say, the Bern Unit fielding Democratic candidates who aren’t greasy shitbirds–it becomes irrelevant. This is why Tom Perez is trying to ride Bernie’s coattails to something other than centrist welfare press obscurity. Shit. Shit. Shit. This is really impressive. The victorious faction is trying to draft up the hill behind the guy it just defeated. Wow Much pyrrhic Such bizarre None gracious Many hubristic Omg victor caldera Very confuse.

#TeshTips: Look up the second last part in full quotation marks. I was surprised to discover that there wasn’t just one of him. But at least I know when I’ve been watching too much television.

The Clinton team’s smears of swing voters are legendary by now, but they still bear recapitulation just to reiterate what an object lesson in political disaster the whole damn campaign was. There was the basket of deplorables fuckup, which was enough on its own to tip half a dozen states into the shitter. This comment was a gaffe in the truest sense, an indiscreet, politically incorrect confession of unspeakable personal feeling. Voters heard this and immediately knew that it was consistent with what they had feared about her ill will towards them. Clinton’s campaign, the sloppy, unfocused mess that it was, was unable to even start the damage repair that would have been necessary to recover from this scandal, and remember, at its head was a woman who valued repeat visits to Hamilton over first-time visits to Wisconsin.

It’s a major county in Ohio, too, you know. Or maybe you don’t. Clinton was famously touted as a policy wonk who had a masterful command of granular details about everything, for what good that did her in counties that she all but explicitly smeared as dens of reactionary hillbillies. This is another thing that’s alienating about all the wonks and avowedly educated poseurs who couldn’t imagine how Trump ever won the damn thing. They looked down on anyone whose gut feeling or anecdotal evidence said that Trump had a good chance of going the distance as an unqualified barstool bullshitter, in contrast to professionals like Nate Silver, who measure shit. Yeah, their own. The entire Democratic establishment amounts to grown children going, okay, is that a little poopy, or a big poopy, or maybe a medium-sized poopy, and meanwhile they somehow don’t notice that the baby hasn’t been fed or changed all day and the house is on fire. I fail to see what’s wrong with taking schadenfreude in the discovery that overeducated quants can be paid and celebrated for dissing observant, engaged private citizens as lunatics for arguing that the dark horse has a real chance and then, on election night, come away looking like idiots and sore losers. Baby, it’s three am, I must be ornery. That isn’t the only good feel I got on election night, but it is not one that I’m embarrassed to admit having indulged. Remember, that dork Silver still gets paid to look like an upstaged fool. Me, I ain’t never touched dem shine ricebowl; dat kine, it ain’t mine.

What’s worth looking at in a bit more detail is how badly Hillary misjudged the national mood with her yuppie feminist shtick. This turned out to be a monumental screwup. It wasn’t that the country was fundamentally unready for a female president. An environment of systemic misogyny wouldn’t have let Clinton anywhere close to the presidency, and the Clinton campaign made it impossible to isolate the variable of womanly leadership in general from the variables of I swear to God I hate that bitch and by the way that’s a crime family. A key Clinton strategy to was to conflate all of this and shame reluctant voters for not being ready to elect a woman to the presidency. The campaign explicitly ran on this theme with its famous #WithHer rhetoric, and it almost ran with the even more entitled “It’s Her Turn.” As I’ve said before, when that’s the kind of arrogant language that cooler heads have to veto, a campaign is fucked from the start. It’s like starting a golf game from a sand trap while hip-deep in a water hazard.

And it wasn’t just the arrogance or the entitlement. Hillary and her crew were mouthing off with this feminist shit in a time of enduring mass male unemployment, educational underachievement, incarceration, disenfranchisement, unhappy bachelorhood, involuntary celibacy, and general malaise. (Hey, Jimmeh.) If the campaign had actually paid attention to granular data, it would have understood the gist of this situation perfectly well and made an effort, as Bernie and Donald both did, to propose real solutions to the grievances of marginalized men. There wasn’t even any need to explicitly appeal to a sense of men’s welfare; speaking frankly and sincerely about the plight of marginalized working and unemployed people would have been enough.

Instead, Hillary lashed out at the alt-right, a movement that was oriented in large part towards explicit solutions for aggrieved men. This was part of a well-established pattern on the Clinton machine’s part of dealing with dissastisfied constituencies by telling them to quit their bitching, suck it up, and vote for Clinton. It successfully pissed off voters from across the political spectrum. Anyone familiar with the alt-right would have recognized that it was taking seriously some very serious objections that American (nay, Western) men had to the way they were being treated, men who had been left in the gutter by decades of hostile neoliberal policy. Instead of telling disadvantaged men and their loved ones what she was offering them, Hillary went up on stage with a script and bitched about Pepe. In other comments, she or her close surrogates complained to no end about BernieBros, basement dwellers, chicks who were on Bernie’s side only because they were trying to hook up with his misogynist bro followers, and other backwards reactionary elements that any good Maoist outfit would also denounce.

The really stupid thing about this strategy was the assumption that it would alienate only unemployed and menially employed white males. Cue endless carping about the white working class, if you can stomach more of it. This campaign could not fucking imagine that its smears of white working people would be taken personally by working people of other races or that its smears of marginalized, adrift men would be taken personally by those men’s loved ones or, for that matter, that its smears of entire American communities would be taken personally by anyone in a position to swing the election. Oh hai, Ohio.

Stunningly, Hillary and her campaign could not appreciate the optics of running a former first lady with a notorious lech of a husband as the human vanguard of careerist feminism. They couldn’t imagine that this would possibly look bad. In their world, you see, career women were respected, and Hillary was a career woman, not an obscure Ivy League lawyer and commodities inside trader who shrewdly married one of her country’s most preternaturally talented politicians. They were too myopic to appreciate the first two thirds of their candidate’s biography. They had a few million true believers in their orbit who believed this nonsense about Hillary being a model of womanly independence rather than a craven influence-peddler who had parlayed her cockhound husband’s juice into a carpetbag position in the US Senate. (*Very Tom Lehrer Voice* I’m from Massachusetts, and we feel a certain sense of superiority over the other states because Massachusetts is the only state with three senators.) Being unable or unwilling to recognize how sparse these true believers were nationally, they inevitably were also ignorant of how far out of the mainstream their politics were and of how widely despised they were as yuppie scum.

Here they were running a notorious feminazi harpy who had somehow been the one woman to stand by her man while her man stood fully erect for that woman, Miss Lewinsky. The calculating insincerity of it all shone through. Tens of millions of American women would have divorced his sleazy lying two-timing ass. Tens of millions more would have put up with it in some fashion because he was providing for the family or was a good lay or a fun companion but wouldn’t have done so for the purpose of setting themselves up in spousal political careers or cashing out for nine figures’ worth of FIRE sector and sovereign wealth fund baksheesh. Hillary wasn’t just involved in a possible marriage of convenience to a manslut; both she and her husband were tied up with every vile, murderous, explicitly misogynistic government with the money to pay them off. And here this bitch had the nerve to lecture every feminist and woke male ally in the country to vote for her for the sake of women’s empowerment, even though she had possibly the worst feminist praxis of any public figure in her country.

This was a flagrantly bogus campaign by a notoriously insincere and inflammatory politician infamous for despising her own fellow citizens but also ordering them to vote for her. The notion that Hillary Clinton is a crazy bitch didn’t come out of nowhere, and it is not an opinion of male privilege. Where the hell did any of these people get the idea that women never hate other women? Never mind; there are entire textbooks devoted to such bollocks, and their authors, unlike yours truly, get paid to write that shit. Chelsea Clinton is now among them, because mass-casualty crashes of the Staten Island Ferry never kill any of the New Yorkers who could use one. But really, Staten Island always was for the white (-ish; to wit, Snooki and the Situation) scapegoats that an urban overclass so cherishes when it’s too chickenshit to speak ill of losers in the South Bronx. #RaceTogether.

Did it piss off the men, too? Duh. In a sense, the Clinton campaign was a wholesale shit test which she narrowly failed. The Big Dog has too many other options at his disposal to keep passing the Big Bitch’s shit tests (probably one reason why he read embarrassingly treacly neoliberal drivel about “the conversation” of his marriage at the Democratic National Convention). He isn’t the only man who’s driven into the arms of whores by such behavior (many such cases!), but he has more money to accomplish this than most (few such cases!). He’s also the one who famously socialized the maintenance costs of That Woman through the White House internship program and the existing socioeconomic structures of the medical field in Los Angeles. (More #TeshTips: If you’re doing well in it, not just good, that ain’t what you call it, and the kinds of doctors you’ll take into your marriage bed with that kind of language aren’t generally the kinds who are worth having.) This is a fellow who has, uh, uh, uh, whores, and we all glorified on public television his heterosexuality. No, I’m no saying that Lewinsky was a hooker; she was way too crazy and had shit for boundaries. But hey, it was an expensive unconsummated relationship for the taxpaying American public but a free series of blowjobs (and some gross stuff, according to the Smoking Gun) for the leader of the free world and shit.

That said, not all shit tests are designed to be passed. Hillary has a reputation for cursing Secret Service agents into the curtains, and those guys aren’t wimps. As in Alaska, the women are men, too. It’s not like she’s just picking on some shlemazel pool. She hurls abuse, and reputedly vases, at her ultra-alpha husband, and once the outburst has died down, he rolls his eyes and rolls into the sack with whoever is tickling much more than just his fancy at the moment. She hurls much more inexplicable abuse, totally without justification, at the most dutiful hoteps and shanty Irish and Mormon soldiers of the law in the land, and they start the mental notes for their memoirs from behind the curtains; they might as well get some kind of deferred payout for their trouble, too. She smears entire demographic swathes of voters as losers and then turns around and demands their votes on the basis that she’s running against a vulgar nut who hates women, unable to imagine that a number of other women might find the oaf more fun and less creepy than they find her. As Madeleine Albright will aver, there’s a special place in hell for them, notwithstanding the possibility that hell can include a public sphere of recurrent Hillary Clinton, Your Fleek Abuela, complemented with occasional lectures from Your Rabbi, Madeleine Albright. Voters start to believe that their suspicions have been confirmed, namely, that Hillary Clinton is verily one crazy bitch.

Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for all of this.

Shit. Shit. Shit. *PISS* coming out of Tom Perez’s *ASS*

Yeah, that was gross, but what else is new about the Democratic Party? That party is consumed by such a grotesque, overpowering impurity of spirit that it daily haidt-fucks the shit out of its own base, offending us by moral senses we didn’t even know we possessed. Ooh baby, Ghomeshi, don’t stop now.

Yuck, eh. As they say on SEPTA, Dude, It’s Rude (TM). Honestly, though, Sweet Baby J. smothering a bitch with Big Ears Teddy himself on the Market-Frankford Line at City Hall at high noon wouldn’t be as sick and disgusting as the Democratic Party. Nor would it be a daytime knifepoint groping or fatal hammer bludgeoning–both of which are well-known antecedent traditions on the MFL. *Very Economist Eurotrash wanker voice* It’s hell on the El, old boy.

I mention all of this–okay, some of it I mention just to be gross before the grosser, i.e., the party for whose 2004 presidential ticket I did ground campaigning in FUCKING LEBANON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, YOU SHITTY INGRATES–I mention most of this because Tom Perez has been in the news for saying “shit” a great deal in his public appearances. Lambert Strether has discussed Mr. Perez’s newfound potty mouth at Naked Capitalism here and here. Speaking of things that are more disgusting than anything I’ve written about Jian Ghomeshi (I remind you that most of you still come here for Dubai Porta Potty; I monitor the stats), there’s a presumably bottomless recursion to the articles on, for lack of a better term, shit having to do with Tom Perez and the like. To which I now contribute, through my most grievous fault, etc., but I didn’t start it, and again, most of y’all are here for worse than that.

We do not have the omniscient intellectual capacity of gods, so our involvement in this crap, whether as readers, writers, or both, comes at the expense of our involvement in anything else, which would presumably be more intelligent, more edifying, more aesthetically worthy, and frankly more interesting. Then again, the fuckheads who are ruining the Democratic Party are hella into Harry Potter, so maybe not. There is no bottom. The abyss does not merely gaze back; it stares. We’d be better off watching that Missouri Highway Patrolman drill through heads with his eyes at Ron Johnson’s late-night press conferences. Again, that would be less disturbing than examining what’s become of the Democratic Party today. (Note: I am not and have never been a resident of Missouri; your mileage may vary.) So I’m proud to say that I have not read the original pieces that Strether linked in the Water Cooler. No, I have not done my homework. Bitch I’m a back-row kid. Arnade is my homeboy. I stopped reading Sister Carrie the very, to me, sentence that Theodore Dreiser’s writing went definitively to shit, and that was for a high school book report, which I bullshitted after rereading my other reportable book, The Good Soldier Schweik. Sister Carrie was (I’d fucking hope) the worst story ever written about a whore in Chicago, and I, Charlotte Simmons or whatever, don’t hold with that kind of literature. Politico isn’t literature, fam. (At least Dreiser wrote enough shit at once to pretend.)

Besides, I don’t need to read the original pieces to know what’s happening here. What it is, is in fact all too clear. Wow Much buffalos Omg rick springfield Where jesse Very distract. I’ve seen Tom Perez’s stunt before. This isn’t my first time getting bucked headlong into the bullshit at this rodeo. Perez is gaslighting us. The Harvard study discussed by Politico indicated that Teh Millennialz regard cussing as an indicator of honesty and shit, virtues they’d like to see in a politician–say, one not named Clinton. This raises an obvious question: did we really need Hahvahd to tell us this, or did Hahvahd need to tell us this as an administrative condition of its receiving continued funding for the study of why we young punks would sooner trust a hypothetical person who uses vulgar language in public than a deranged ex-first lady with an exceptional reputation for public corruption and a parallel reputation for telling Secret Service agents to get fucked behind closed doors, causing some of them to take refuge behind palace curtains? The whole thing sounds like an I Fucking Love Science article, and the original study comes from the university whose undergraduate school sent bar none the most immature and flippant admissions representatives I ever encountered during my college search to meet with my tour group when I visited the campus. As much as I rag on Dickinson, at least it didn’t have anyone worse than a mild doofus try to recruit me, not a crew of total asswads who treated us like kindergartners.

We can know that Perez is gaslighting us for a couple of reasons. His membership in good standing in the faction that ratfucked Bernie Sanders is one; it would be foolish to trust anyone currently deputized by Democratic kingmakers to clean up that mess and do reputation management. Another is the elaborate, Late Bourbonesque cult of court manners that the same establishment faction self-righteously, and over time desperately, demanded of the entire nation as a condition of participation in the political process. This campaign to smear the legitimacy of Sanders and Trump voters in particular as illegitimate on account of our failing or refusing to participate in the establishment’s bogus court rituals may have been enough on its own to seal Trump’s victories. Stylistically different but substantively similar talking points were constantly being vomited forth by Republican operatives throughout the primary season, followed by endorsements of Clinton in the general election by a number of prominent Republicans. It was almost as if the two party establishments, nominally at such vicious odds, wanted the same downmarket constituencies to meekly shut up and die. Instead, a number of us turned out to vote in unapproved ways, and we’re still hearing about the highbrow butthurt months later.

Perez wasn’t an A-Lister in this DLC court etiquette bullshit, but unlike Trump, Sanders, and their supporters, he was no dissident against it, either. He lived by that dumbass exclusive code, just like most of the Beltway does. This code holds, among other things, that it’s déclassé to use vulgar language in public. This has nothing at all to do with a sense of decency. It’s a way, rather, for some of the most grievously indecent people in the country to exclude their moral betters from politics and maintain their stranglehold on the power, the glory, and, let’s not kid ourselves, the money.

When the Democrats’ new damage control guy suddenly starts using his potty mouth in public, it’s a raging clue (Ooh! I’m getting a clue, too!) that we’re being rolled. Bernie need only raise his voice and speak bluntly to the Queen Presumptuous to be smeared as an unwashed and hence unfit vulgarian by the same kingmakers who have deputized Perez to take the lead on their public relations. The rest of us have spent years being smeared as basically unfit to vote just for using politically incorrect language: for speaking in the Vulgate about race and sex, for showing anger instead of false politeness and being critical of the state of the Union when we have been told to be positive, and for using words that, per FCC decency (sic) regulations and the Sorkinian house style, one would not expect to hear on The West Wing. When a Party enforcer like Perez shows up at rallies with the same parlance that he and his colleagues and bosses would use as grounds to try to bar the rest of us from polite society and shove us back into our deplorable basket, it’s false modesty of the worst sort. Some people take up a habit of cursing late in life due to adverse experiences, mental illness, dementia, or Phineas Gage situations. The Democratic leadership did not elevate Tom Perez to his current position because it took him to be a disinhibited headcase. It elevated him because it expected him to be a competent and loyal chief operative. This is the same apparatus that sprang into no-holds-barred emergency damage control every time Hillary did something that voters might find goofy or disturbing, like faint into the arms of aides. This crowd does not knowingly deputize loose cannons.

None of this means that the Democratic establishment is competent, at least at its nominal raison d’être of winning elections and governing effectively in pursuit of its avowed platform. Conspiracy theories that the Democratic Party is actually ordered towards the professional and financial aggrandizement of its nomenklatura, at whatever expense to its agenda or its viability as a governing party that this aggrandizement may cause, are popular because they’re much more consistent with the behavior of the party over the past twenty or thirty years than any alleged spirit of public service or principle will ever be. The extreme dissonance between the Democratic Party’s enduring New Deal origin myth and the attendant presumption of devotion to the interests of the common man on the one hand and the party’s recent evolution into an uneasy, unwieldy coalition of insatiable yuppie technocrats and a lumpenproletarian client base on the other has provoked an ongoing existential crisis. The sight of a bunch of bitter, resentful, condescending social climbers haplessly trying to rule as the dominant partners in a sorry-ass coalition that they’re forever trying to maintain with submissive partners that they obviously, if usually tacitly, regard as uneducated losers and repeatedly get steamrolled by a Republican Party that’s equally incoherent but more ruthless and skilled makes many people, especially on the left, wonder why the fuck the Democratic Party continues to exist. Glosses holding that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, to take a couple of unpalatable examples, are really just amoral social climbers do much to explain why the Democrats remain so stubborn in the face of both humiliating losses and withering criticism for inadequate representation from left-leaning constituencies that they still refuse, partly for sentimental reasons and partly for strategic ones, to formally disavow. Think labor unions: it’s bizarre that the closest American party to a mainstream labor party cannot reliably turn out the union vote, sometimes in its favor and sometimes at all.

This is a party that despises its own base, and unlike the GOP, it can’t advance a halfway credible cover story to distract its target useful idiots from the useless job it does representing them. It lacks the message discipline, and crucially, it lacks the moral and intellectual consistency to convince its own subordinate constituencies that there’s any basis for its own legitimacy. Republicans at least have the forthrightness to suggest that certain virtuous people (Paul Ryan) fundamentally deserve to rule their moral inferiors (factory workers who don’t have the investment savvy and insider information to get rich from their 401(k) accounts). (Substitute Larry Craig and sodomites to taste, if you have any; I’m just trying to maintain a wide stance on these matters.) The Democrats swear that they believe in equity with all their hearts, that even the poorest, most marginalized, and the most vulnerable deserve a say in the process. When they humiliate losers by treating them like losers, similar to the Republican approach but cagier, they become hated not just as predators, but as liars and hypocrites as well.

Whether or not Donald Trump gives a shit, as Perez insists he does not, is hardly relevant when it’s so hard to believe that Perez and his crew give a shit, either. They’re the ones who have spent their careers sandbagging every effort to implement exactly the social welfare reforms that their own base demands (and that, in some cases, a consistent majority of Americans supports). This is why attendees at the recent Democratic unity tours that he’s been undertaking with Bernie Sanders have been booing at the announcement of his name. They know that Perez and those he’s backing up have done them dirty. Nevertheless, he persists (TM), although to what ultimate effect is anyone’s guess.

The potty talk may just be the latest hapless scheme to badger aggrieved uppity voters into submission. The sheer contempt with which Hillary Clinton and her campaign addressed voters was stunning. Much of it was premised on a self-righteous belief that voters had no reason to be angry, or even no right. Now that the electorate is officially not #WithHer, it’s suddenly decorous to be angry, but only at a specific scapegoat who: 1) beat Clinton in the general election; 2) upsets the hell out of the same Democratic nomenklatura and hangers-on who ratfucked Bernie and derailed his reform platform; and, 3) ran on a reform platform of his own that was arguably much more compelling and credible than Clinton’s, a platform that had much in common with the Sanders platform and gained Trump the support of many BernieBros of various genders and sexualities.

The viable constituency for this nonsense is tiny. I’d guess that it might include a quarter or so of the electorate in a low-turnout year and not even five percent in a high-turnout year. It’s limited to a very special (as in “education”) subset of the yuppie swarm which believes wholeheartedly in woke liberal virtue-signaling, as opposed to being an unabashed mercenary with no core values whatsoever or an enthusiastic player of Glengarry Glen Ross games and believer in some explicitly Darwinian framework justifying them. Of all the worldviews pitched to yuppies, this may be the most internally inconsistent and vulnerable. It’s certainly one of the surest to alienate the less successful, since it requires selling one’s soul not only to an extortion racket but also to an obvious intellectual fraud under the auspices of a punitive regime of political correctness. It just doesn’t require as much mental energy and vigilance to successfully navigate a standard boiler room culture.

The minority that has figured out how to function in the woke yuppie rat race, however, or in any event thinks it has, is extremely predominant in the coastal power centers. This is who runs Manhattan, the Beltway innards, Hollywood, and a great deal of Silicon Valley. There’s some real social proof on this regime’s side. It’s the main operating system of government, the media, big business, and the deep state, and it’s aggressively promoted as the obvious way to get ahead in life. The woke yuppie swarm has spent decades by now looting every institution it can invade, doing so with increasing aggression and arrogance by the year. It does not enjoy the prospect of being forced to steal less or share more of what it has already stolen; hence much of its anger at Trump and his voters, in particular his working-class voters. It’s assumed in these privileged circles that his less prominent affluent voters will be always be allowed to do their own looting, precisely because they’re affluent; the jarring thing is to see the poors demanding a cut of their own in exchange for bullshit like hard physical labor on production lines and lifelong loyalty to companies that turn around and throw them out like last week’s trash. Class solidarity is rarely discussed in polite circles, but the affluent damn well have it when push comes to shove.

One of the things that so infuriates the woke affluent about Trump is that he doesn’t code as properly affluent. He doesn’t kiss the slimy rings that the affluent are raised from early childhood to kiss. He won the presidency with none of the “credentials” that the proper upper middle class so obnoxiously worships as prerequisites for public office (in subversion of the US Constitution’s very specific, very limited qualifications for office): no training or degree in public policy, an educational background that the test prep crammers regard as gauche, no prior election to public office, no prior civil service appointments, no membership in some other politician’s policy entourage. All he had was some crappy TV shows. That this is relevant experience for the “Television” branch under P. J. O’Rourke’s “Money, Television, and Bullshit” model of government is lost on these yuppies. Why would they read a frickin’ conservative (which he isn’t particularly) when they could Netflix and chill with some vintage West Wing? Trump himself seemed to have believed this model when he ran for the presidency, and now, circa Day 100, he’s all like, wow, it’s a lot of work, but don’t get me wrong, I like work. (No, he doesn’t.) Then again, he won the election in spite of this stance, or because of it. Josiah Bartlett is your president in the same way that Mariska Hargitay is my girlfriend: it’s a nice idea, especially for the unabashedly insane. Lt. Benson is hawt, and Martin Sheen, well, he isn’t his own coked-up public failson, at least. Also, I’m don’t go around acting like, hey, I wanted Bernie to win, so I’ma pretend that he’s the real POTUS. Not wanting to sound like the craziest bum on skid row is adequate motivation for this minimal measure of daily realtalk, but then again, I don’t run in policy circles.

Hillary, of course, was the one who was supposed to win that thing. We’ve all heard more about this by now than probably ever should have been written. Even so, new sordid details keep emerging, especially with the recent publication of Shattered, the latest Clintonworld third-party confessional potboiler. One of these details is that Clinton and her campaign seriously considered running under the slogan, “It’s Her Turn.” Just fucking think about that for a second. “It’s her turn.” There goes the entire rust belt, you dense bitch. That’s the kind of shit that cooler, more grounded heads had to veto, and still the entire campaign was a monument to hubris and entitlement under the auspices of career girl feminism. Whoever wasn’t whacked in the head like Robert Speed around there didn’t veto nearly enough of the mean girl from the corner office shit, including the posturing about destroying the coal industry as an offering to Gaia (oops, looks like we just dropped Appalachia into the shitter) and the basket of deplorables line (an ugly attitude, and besides, normal people just don’t use that kind of imagery and syntax). Clinton ran a captivatingly fuck-all-y’all campaign, one that couldn’t have been designed any better to piss off voters in the swing states that all the horse race enthusiasts swore she needed, and still there is this loud and apparently prolific hard core that can’t imagine how she lost to that yutz.

Something I saw recently (I think at Naked Capitalism, as with the links above, but I’m too le tired to look it up) described how many of Clinton’s voters saw themselves in her and therefore took her loss as a personal affront. It may be an indication of my own increasing isolation from my native class that I was surprised to read about the existence of these dipshits, even though at least two college acquaintances who fit the mold perfectly spent the entire 2016 campaign season polluting my Facebook feed, among hundreds of others, with Clintonian agitprop, and that I initially found it impossible to imagine what could drive a person to think like that. For their part, they can’t imagine what would ever drive a person to vote for Trump (uh, the crazy, power-hungry bitch you tried to force on us, you overeducated morons), so the feeling is mutual.

In fairness, this constituency was probably a small minority of Hillary’s ultimate turnout, although it was the only one that seemed to vote for her with any enthusiasm. The environments that produce people who can imagine themselves in Hillary Clinton’s place as anything other than a form of escapism are extremely sheltered, both by their nature and by their deliberate design. Think “reach schools” and the assholes who don’t feel embarrassed to talk about “reach schools.” I attended one of my nearer “reach schools,” and look at how that turned out. I don’t think I exaggerate how stuck up, arrogant, and sheltered the dominant social circles at Dickinson College are. Sometimes, it seems tragic that the Philadelphia Police Department didn’t bomb the Main Line instead. (The actual line could be rebuilt faster than anyone has ever tried to rebuild West Philadelphia. Remember, my great-grandpa was a maintenance of way foreman for Union Pacific, so I know about these things.) The minority constituencies whose support Your Fleek Abuela decided she needed and deserved in 2016 (after her dogwhistling to the discount salty crackers in 2008) didn’t turn out as she ordered them, and the silent majority of them in the provinces (including places like Grand Concourse, because New York is just a bunch of elites) weren’t the ones who were so famously upset about the adverse outcome of the election. A generally underestimated number of minority voters either didn’t turn out, undervoted on the presidential contest, or voted for Trump.

The real enthusiasm for Clinton came from two constituencies. The first was people who expect to always be successful because they have always been successful and come from successful families. The other, much of it regressing to (or past) the mean from successful families, was the temporarily embarrassed woke millionaires. With the former not being the sharing kind and the yuppie economy having been a game of musical chairs since at least 2008, the latter is noisier than it is numerous, and neither one has remotely enough influence or raw numbers to win an election when the losers they’ve left in the gutter show up to vote.

The tide stopped rising a decade ago, and no amount of Pravdaesque stat-massaging can convince those who have been left behind otherwise. What’s left now is mostly a series of overlapping speculative echo bubbles while the remaining affluent stab one another for the chance to stab the truly vulnerable and flee with their stuff. Major costs of living that are deliberately omitted from “core inflation” statistics are rising uncontrollably: medical care, health insurance (sic), food and fuel (not always but often), housing in the fewer and fewer areas that still have decent job markets. As I’ve said before, the Millennials without cars trend is driven to a larger extent than the mainstream press will ever admit by dispossessed young people who quite simply cannot afford the costs of car ownership; it takes an out-of-touch asshole to attribute it all to socially conscious hipster douchebags, but out-of-touch assholes are never in short supply in the modern newsroom. I recently found a listing for a fairly spacious ranch house in Hawthorne, Nevada for something like $115k. That may sound like a good deal on the surface, ignoring the 100% chance that Hawthorne is a shithole and questions of what the fuck anyone would do for a living in Hawthorne after moving there (“nothing” is a valid answer). Besides, that’s a depressed housing market (and a depressing one, for the same reasons), and depressed housing markets don’t provide the eternally appreciating home values that are necessary and proper in a nation of house-flippers.

That’s far from a comprehensive list of grievances that those left out of our (sic) economic recovery (sic) have against our governments and a rogues’ gallery of other deadbeat institutions, both public and private. When so much pain has been inflicted on us for no justifiable reason, it is perfectly reasonable of us to demand that our political leaders feel our pain and do something about it. I don’t mean this in the early Clintonian sense of the Big Dog feeling our pain (and, for a number of the women among us, our more tangible and marketable assets; but, like Larry Craig, I cannot speak from experience). A charming schmuck like him can get away with his lies, endless triangulation, and heartless treachery towards the poor, the uneducated, and the otherwise vulnerable in generally strong economic times by catering to a strong, proliferating middle class and boosting some poors into its ranks (also, by having weak Republicans and a funny-looking Texan with bizarre habits of speech as his opponents).

The problem is, we shot our national wad twice during the Clinton and Bush millennial pump-and-dumps, and we’ve been too spent since then to repeat our earlier performances. We’re in a spot precisely analogous to a cokehead recently passed out from an all-night snort-and-shag, just as we were during the first Great Depression. We never fucking learn. Well, our leaders don’t; whatever popular sense of prudence and stewardship exists in the Clintons’ constituency is of no use to a power couple that has figured out how to get paid off retroactively for putz mitzvahs including the repeal of Glass-Steagall. Billary may not explicitly use the royal we, but they sure live by it.

What Trump and Sanders both brought to their campaigns was an empathy that voters found credible and sincere. Trump’s voters have gotten endless ridicule for believing a word of it from the mouth of their silver-spoon oaf, but again, let’s not lose sight of how singularly bad Hillary looked to voters outside her own narrow liberal elite circle. Talk of white genocide, feminazi mass killing or neutering of men, tacitly military invasion by hostile foreign populations, and the like may sound crazy to the successful and the secure, but they are much more consistent with the lived experiences of voters who are personally vulnerable or who live in areas that have been ruined by strategic neoliberal policy decisions. There are in fact credible antecedents for a secessionist elite selectively using immigrant populations as a compliant reserve army of scab labor, sending other people’s children off to pointless wars to be maimed and killed while carefully sparing their own, and economically destroying whole counties. The notion of wealthy liberals deliberately scheming to eradicate Appalachians from the face of the earth and forever destroy their culture is objectively reasonable when the liberal party’s overwhelming favorite candidate brags about her plan to destroy the coal industry, by most reckonings the closest thing rural Appalachia has to an economic foundation. Clinton’s little-discussed nuts-and-bolts platform for economic redevelopment in Appalachia wasn’t nearly enough to override the popular sense that she hated Appalachian people and wanted them to die. If she didn’t want voters to think that she might be a genocidal maniac who would find a way to butcher them and replace them with a more compliant minority client base, why the hell did she consistently speak about so many of her fellow citizens in such a contemptuous, hostile fashion? They’d be wise to assume that she is of a mind to feed them the literal opiates of the masses (already happening) or send their young off to the desert to be turned into hamburger meat in service to Al Qaeda (again, already happening, but the elites don’t notice it because their families no longer serve in the armed forces).

How did the Democratic Party respond to the anger that Trump and Sanders expressed on behalf of their prospective constituents? By smearing them as negative Nellies, of course. It was unbecoming of them to be negative as presidential candidates in a way that it somehow was not unbecoming of the DNC to tip the scales in favor of its least viable and most reviled candidate or for the DNC and its favored candidate to smear workaday voters by the tens of millions with a single stroke, all of this explicitly in the name of democracy. The Democrat ratfuck squad operated this brightsiding campaign in tandem with a smear campaign accusing its rivals of having bad manners. Trump, who has reveled in his own bad manners for the entirety of his public life, is antifragile to these attacks, not that anyone in the Hillary camp (including, again, the entire DNC, because it is a party of majesty and might) was bright enough to notice this. Sanders is antifragile to these attacks as well, but for different reasons. Although he can be gruff and rumpled, few Americans take him for anything like an oaf; the consensus is that he’s ultimately a gentleman who fights fiercely but fairly (oh dear, one’s mind fills with thoughts of Hahvahd!) for his principles. Bernie enjoys exceptionally high positive public sentiment and exceptionally low negative public sentiment for a nationally known politician. When he speaks ill of billionaires and Hillary Clinton, it’s very widely agreed that he’s standing up to bullies and thugs who tear the public a new one for a living.

Demands for high manners are especially rich coming from and on behalf of Hillary, who has a notoriously gauche and graceless persona. This is a woman whose crude public manners and reputation for even worse behavior in private have serially alienated American voters, including huge numbers of Democrats, along with a reputation for being a habitual liar. Complaining about Bernie’s interruptions and wagging of the Finger of Accusation (didn’t Bill Clinton do that quite a bit himself?) amounted to denouncing the most honest and ballsy peasant in the village for calling Marie Antoinette an out-of-touch crook. The sexism card works only with a small cadre of women privileged enough to think about nothing but sex, and it misses the possibility that other women immediately recognize Hillary as a classic crazy bitch. How many Americans would not relish the opportunity to interrupt a royal grandiosity of her character for endlessly bullshitting and belittling them? For that matter, how many Americans voted against Hillary as a voodoo proxy for bad bosses who would fire them at the first sign of backsass?

When I mentioned above that this isn’t my first time being bucked into the bullshit at this rodeo, I wasn’t referring only to politics, although shitty, disingenuous politics didn’t materialize out of the blue in the 2016 season. The main thing I had in mind was the Go Hard Big Dick saga, particularly Bill Durden’s bizarre gambit to show that he was as hip as anyone afterwards. Durden clearly got worried about the amount of political capital he’d burned with his rabid tirades about the Go Hard Big Dick T-shirts. He had made a laughingstock of himself by verbally abusing members of the student government at the top of his lungs and showing absolutely no sense of humor about a T-shirt which, although admittedly immature, was generally regarded by the student body as some good shit. It was juvenile, but so were we. So, as it turned out, was Bill Durden. He already had a reputation for eccentric grandiosity, which he had painstakingly cultivated with his bow ties, Harry Potter glasses, and flowery (synonym for florid?) orations about Benjamin Rush and how we’d be ingrates not to tithe Noble Dickinsonia our first fruits. We were the ones tittering at a harmless off-color joke; he was the one turning a college into a boiler room scam.

Durden’s idea of damage control was unbelievable. I stumbled into it midway, and I was floored. He was up on stage at Common Hour (a weekly come-one-come-all lunch symposium series) reading from what I took to be a novel about a couple of highbrow New English drunks with a sailing problem. The thing was, I couldn’t really tell what the gist of the story was, except that it seemed to involve a domestic dispute that both parties were trying to resolve by profusely cursing at each other. It wasn’t Wow Much drugs None coherence Omg agent zuñiga Very confuse brainscrambled raving with some incidental cursing, either, like maybe there was some LSD in the mix. I couldn’t make heads or tails of what had these two domestic shitheads so upset, but it was because they were utterly foultempered and foulmouthed, not because they were confused or jittery or distracted. They sounded like absolutely miserable company. Shit, Teddy, why didn’t you take them to Chappaquiddick instead? When I tried to reconstruct this literary tirade for a friend afterwards, I was confounded to gibberish. That’s how badly the cussing had mangled the syntax. It was unfathomable. For a rough comparison, it was Mixups in my Mind’s recounting of the gas station bum fight over the other derelict bum’s fucking dog and Mixups’ fucking rotisserie chicken, but at a hundred thousand times the price point. One does not simply buy into such a lovers’ quarrel, unless one is a Dickinsonian.

William G. Durden ’71 had achieved something rare and precious: gratuitous vulgarity. There was no other point to his reciting this crappy story. It was a shithead’s postwar Ah, Soh Tour with Emperor Hirohito. No, that’s unfair. The emperor was there to listen for once; the Durd was there to lecture, as always. He obviously expected to humanize himself by going on stage and uttering an incomprehensibly dense string of obscenities in his highbrow Mid-Atlantic accent, reading this garbage dutifully from an open book. There was certainly a weird awesomeness about it, just as there would be to watch Emil Skoda calmly deliver sixty percent Heavy Seven content from his couch for five minutes straight (but at a higher emotional temperature, because Billy D. didn’t do air conditioning in public). It didn’t make Durden look down to earth, though. It just made him look like a fucking jackass. Like, here’s a motherfucker who’s in charge of a liberal arts college for half a million a year, and in one breath he’s verbally abusing students over a naughty T-shirt that upset some alumni donors, and in the next he’s reciting a piece of fiction that projects the parlance of the downtown San Diego mental and behavioral health community onto the Downeaster cool change set. *Very Leon Bridges voice* Sail your own damn ship, mister. Honestly, I’m not even completely sure that these pottymouths were described as the Christopher Cross kind; all I know is that it was some of the most pointless sensory overload I’ve ever experienced, and that it made the sitting president of my alma mater look like a raving buffoon at precisely the time that he was trying to make himself look normal.

Durden taking the stage to publicly recite an incredibly obnoxious passage of shit lit for the sole purpose of showing that he was, in fact, able and willing to épater les bourgeois brought Dickinson College into disrepute. This had nothing to do with the utterance of the Heavy Seven per se; it had to do with his vomiting forth an over-the-top string of obscenities serving no identifiable intellectual purpose, ostensibly as a way of exposing us to the arts and letters but really as a way of slumming it with the vulgarians for the lunch hour. It was indefensible. I would not have even tried to justify it to an outsider or refute arguments that it showed Durden to have gone mad. Sure, this Common Hour reading had been for show, but it clumsily stumbled the line between a breach of academic decorum (obvious) and a breach of fitness for high academic office. Dude retired from his office with something like six and a half million in cumulative salary, none of which he had had to spend on housing since we had lent him a campus mansion for the duration of his presidency. It would not have been too much of us to remind him that we were his constituents and demand that, as our lavishly compensated fiduciary servant, he act like a fucking adult in public. It turns out that isn’t just the Millennials who have difficulty adulting, and to the extent that we do have such difficulty, it’s worth considering that hundreds, if not thousands, of Dickinsonians practically worshiped Bill Durden.

Durden’s disreputable behavior in this pottymouth incident, however, went far beyond the merely uncouth. It was meant to look a bit disinhibited, but I don’t think it actually was. At heart, it was much more calculating, disingenuous, and devious. The purpose of his Common Hour oration was to toss us an obscure, inconsequential piece of literature about a salty lovers’ quarrel as a red herring so that we’d stop waving the bloody Go Hard Big Dick shirt. It was a scapegoat for our juvenile sense of humor. Of course, the purpose of the Go Hard Big Dick shirts wasn’t just to be off-color; it was to poke fun at our alma mater by making exactly the crude association with its name that any dirty-minded member of the public beyond the limestone walls would make, for obvious reasons. A fairly healthy swath of the student body recognized on some level that it was healthy to prick (heehee!) that thin skin and let some excess air out of the gasbag. Now now, Mr. Carlin himself reminded us that it’s kosher to prick one’s finger, but not to finger one’s prick; where on earth do I get these rude notions?

As it happens, Dickinson wasn’t the only school in Pennsylvania to get its panties into a Gordian knot over the potentially off-color interpretations of its name, or the most embarrassing at the institutional level. Arcadia College came to be because the administrators of Beaver College refused to transcend the lowest common denominator presented to them by elements of the rabble that enjoyed the obvious sexual insinuations about their school’s name. This is why there is only one acceptable president to govern Arcadia College, by any name it may take for itself: Dr. Mike Hunt.

The Go Hard Big Dick clusterfuck was inadvertently probative of every suspicion that Dickinson’s mentally awake (hey there, Chester!) students had about Durden and his circles of suckups taking themselves and their school far too seriously. I say inadvertently because Durden’s aim was not to show his hand, but to bully and then entertain everyone who had been giving him shit into submission. I’ve never had a very accurate sense of the relative numbers of true believers, dissidents, and apathetic in the Dickinson community, but the Go Hard Big Dick mess did a good job of drawing the battle lines. Durden’s stance was that this was the one sacrosanct thing he had ordered us to respect, and we had gone ahead and desecrated it.

The possibility that the T-shirts were a way to denounce a false idol was out of the question. There was not in fact any transcendent holiness that Durden was protecting, or even any meaningful virtue. He was a chief racketman running interference for his racket. He had gotten all riled up because some asshole alumni had tried to extort him into forcing compliance with an ex post facto morals code that they had no authority to legislate or enforce by threatening to boycott fund drives and because he, as the very well paid end point for all uphill shit flows at his institution, he had been forced to take shit from these impertinent, puffed-up, extortionate busybodies. As a fellow who professed his own love of obscenity at Common Hour, he had been free to use some pertinent obscenity with these bigshot donors for a change, and tell them that he’d be remiss not to recommend a cheese to pair with their White Whine, specifically, a Manchego fuck yourself. It’s always a salty, nutty Manchego fuck yourself, except for the rare circumstances that warrant the recommendation of a Manchego Foquaulliaulle. And if you’re the sort of brilliant internationalist that Dickinson educates, you’ll know exactly how to pronounce that.

These were the lessons we were expected to learn from our education (deathly sic): to contribute on demand to affinity scams; to fold like wet noodles at the first bit of sass from bumptious, puffed-up little punks who demand dictatorial powers to decree their own student code of conduct at a college that they do not lawfully govern in any fashion just because they contribute to its capital campaigns; to be scrupulously well-mannered before public shitheads who have neither scruples nor manners; to be, in general, compliant little bitches in the hope of currying our own extra helpings of that dirty sugar sweet in due course of time. It’s the next thing to a Nigerian e-mail scam or one of those situations in which the other Bernie Madoff with your money. People with bachelor’s degrees in the liberal arts come in for special ridicule when they fall for these scams precisely because they’re expected to be wiser than that on account of their education. We’re expected to know better.

As a consequence of our exposure to Bill Durden’s bullshit, many of us know worse. And no, it is not reasonable to expect people who fall for this shit in a specific area of their lives to be immune to the same fraudulent lines of argument in others. Isn’t the whole fucking point of a liberal arts education to cultivate habits of thought and practice in one’s entire life that protect one from these depredations and help one live in a manner so as not to visit the same depredations on others? But who the fuck am I to carry on about any of this shit? Allan Bloom? After all, I went to school in Brain Washington.

Dickinson College draws the bulk of its student body and the overwhelming bulk of its donor pool from the same dirty strata that the Democratic Party has taken to mining for its own base, since it’s grown so tired of the sorts of deplorables who do, like, actual mining for a living. The pathologies are so eerily similar because they come from the same source. And they conspire to rule us all. They assume that they can muddy the waters by code-switching into the Vulgate for authenticity. They assume they can justly bamboozle us with these cheap stunts because they live in a world where calling out authority figures for bad faith and fraud is simply not the done thing. Why wouldn’t everyone else live by the same degraded moral code by which they govern their own lives? It fills their own rice bowls, after all. It’s some real Ephesians 3:20 shit. Some of us, of course, we ain’t hardly touched dem shine ricebowl, but we’re deplorables, and one needn’t be bothered to listen to grievances from that basket.

The Democrats are scared that we’re getting wise to their scams, hence the vulgarity. They can’t imagine a regime in which the consequences for public vulgarity are nothing worse than a consensus that, hey, that fucker up there is a vulgar bastard, but at least he delivers the goods, while the consequences for dishonesty and fraud are the voters leaving your lying, thieving ass on the sidewalk with last week’s trash at the next election. They can’t imagine an environment in which people stop giving to boiler room affinity scams because they’re fed up with the ill tone of the pitches and can’t see how the money is going to any good end or being stewarded appropriately. They can’t imagine that they’ve depleted the pool of prospective marks who even feel any affinity for these scams because they cannot restrain their own greed and love of exclusivity.

Me? I’m going to get laid, doggy. Nigga why the fuck are you speaking to me in Chinese, nigga? I’m going to El Cajon City to get laid, doggy. If that sounds like language fit for the San Diego Trolley, it’s because I heard it on the San Diego Trolley. The gentleman’s doggy was not his nigga, and certainly Chinese is the traditional and typical glorious language of my niggas. There’s nothing stopping a person with some residual self-respect from getting off in Mission Valley and letting a cholo ride on alone. But that was just a low-functioning oaf. To put it conservatively, Tom Perez and Bill Durden are worth MTS day passes for life; it’s too bad they don’t use some, so that they might associate with their own kind and not with the rest of us. The ones who could really use a damn trolley trip are hardly ever the ones who are taking one. Taking Harry Potter seriously is a different kind of trolley trip, specifically the Pittsburgh living room kind, even if the woke millionaires, current and temporarily embarrassed, who use it as their escape hatch from real life would never move to a community where the mailman, of all losers, is the most respected member. We’re well past the point at which anyone in our cherished fiction has a real job.