Kasich, you uppity bitch

Pittsburgh has a fancy-ass airport express bus, the 28X, to get the fancy highlanders downtown and back in a hurry. The 28X sticks to the busway and the freeway and the mall perimeter and shit (okay, a bit of West Carson, too), in the interest of expediting the good bougie voters with their jobs and all between the islands of good stuff at an adequate altitude above the hardcore flyover country.

Muh fuckin Port Authority 24 Local, tho. What can I say? It came first this afternoon. Hey, that could be a working sociosexual allegory about the riders, too. The poors are certainly said to be less sexually dysfunctional. Giggity. But no kidding, Rogers, there’s some gritty, gritty shit awt there past Mawnt Warshington and the Inclines, dawn in the old mill tawns, and it seems our Buckeye boy Johnny K. didn’t stick arawnd to fix any of it.

When I got into teh dawntawn myself, I double-checked with Google-Fu, and sure enough, that fucker is from McKees Rocks. It’s inconceivable. I’ve seen much, much worse American neighborhoods; McKees Rocks looks poor and seedy but pretty socially functional, maybe even more than average. The bizarre part is that its most famous native son (I have no fucking idea who, if anyone, it’s contributed to our varieties of sportsball) is the Republican presidential candidate who carried Manhattan and only Manhattan. That’s like Sargent Shriver and William F. Buckley running for the presidency and winning only the bad parts of Cincinnati, pretty much just Scott Parlier, Mack the Pipe, and the $20 carside blow-and-go crowd.

I know, I know, that silver-spoon second-generation developer oaf from Queens with the flagship properties in Midtown Manhattan who won all the backwards constituencies in the general election because that crazy bitch smeared the lot of them as comprehensively immoral and implied that they’re all hot-bunking in the same basket.

John Boehner was brought up in even poorer circumstances in an equivalent inner suburb of Cincinnati. The GOP has a real thing about elevating guys who grew up closer to the railroad tracks than they’d have liked and now deplore and look down on their own hometowns. They must bring some bogus air of authenticity to the party’s ongoing campaign to loot the commonweal until it’s flat out of lootables. I’m all too familiar with the self-loathing Staten Islander thing, and I’ve now met that alumni council dipshit with the Hickenlooper-on-steroids Main Liner act and the chip on his shoulder for being from hick-ass Missouri (I’ll shit bricks if it turns out that he’s from Columbia or fucking St. Charles). I’ve basically learned how to deal with the occasional feeling of embarrassment before the normies on account of an early childhood in Palo Alto, and my very aggravating collegiate background has exposed me to plenty of insufferable assholes who use their own proud privilege to shit on anyone and everyone who doesn’t comply with their gross efforts at social control, so I don’t know what the fuck degree of extra latitude I’m expected to accord some toolbox who’s been salty for a decade or five about the petty slights that came from earning consistent six-figure incomes for years on end after an upbringing in a solidly middle-class part of New York City or Joplin, or alternately as Mr. McFeely’s son.

To my knowledge I’m the only party to this bullshit who regularly sleeps in his car. Then again, Palo Alto has to be a much better and likelier place to feel like shit for sleeping in a car as a fully employed and taxpaying member of society than Donner Pass is for doing so as a once again unemployed guy who’s planning to go for a hike after Weekend Edition Saturday. There’s a real failure of perspective here, and it starts to look willful. These shady mofos love them some class restratification and bigotry, with the proviso, of course, that only a bleeding-heart tax-and-spend commie leftist would ever wage class warfare. They don’t want to be on the hook for government services for the losers they or their recent ancestors left behind back home, losers who aren’t necessarily so utterly impoverished or unskilled or dysfunctional and who would tend to converge back on broad middle-class norms with assistance more modest than what the wealthy exurbs routinely demand of their public officials.

An upper middle class and national elite dominated by fifth-generation lawyers who are much because they are Dutch would expose the economic hard right wing to some glaring credibility problems. The hard right will look bad and lose a critical mass of voters if there were obviously no social mobility, and a generationally entrenched, ethnically denominated upper crust would drive home the obvious. (Don’t tell anyone that our current Second Great Depression is making the same point even more grotesquely and horrifically.)

That’s why the GOP enjoys regularly pipelining fresh ethnic talent up from the ranks of Expanding Whitey. What, do you still think we’re all swooping in here from the WASP nest? Why, here’s a wetback’s kid who worked at the family taco stand into his twenties, and here are some other NPR-ready members of Pueblo’s Hispanic Latino community who don’t look too closely at how they closed the mill down and also the bus system is fucking useless, and here’s a shanty kraut with a baker’s dozen of brothers and sisters, and from another few hundred miles up the river, czech it out, here’s a guy who climbed his way out of Hunky Hollow, the point being that every one of these enterprising ethnics believes in our private-sector job creators, and there’s no way that any of them enjoyed a stable home and neighborhood life growing up because dad was a union postal worker.

The great uncrackable nut in this bowl, of course, is America’s established local color, the ones insufficiently blessed by the rains back home. Or, as the drill instructors ask of the new arrivals at the Atlanta Police Academy, do they listen in the Motherland? The Republican Party keeps thinking up and then abandoning schemes to win over African-Americans, but with rare exceptions, the Community doesn’t bite. That’s what happens when partisan hacks use patently insincere and cheap talking points about self-reliance on the one constituency that has most reliably gotten a rough ride in their rodeo; it’s also the last constituency to turn down stable public-sector union jobs, because it knows from painful experience that the alternatives are straight out of hell.

All God’s other colorful people, not to mention everyone who automatically gets the Whitey Sign these days, are useful fodder the GOP’s classic #TCOT argument by anecdote. This includes African immigrants, who presumably become African-Americans while our ethnic rhetoric definitely slouches toward gibberish. No, I don’t mind accusations that I’m more bork than bite. Congress has never refused me the opportunity to rule. Ooh, we’d better airlift the judge to Lehigh Valley, because he just got BURNED.

I can’t blame John Kasich for wanting to move somewhere more prosperous than McKees Rocks or get away from neighbors who live vicariously through the Steelers instead of trying to actualize their own lives. It’s easy to see how an environment like that could get depressing, stifling, and limiting. This is a free country. There’s nothing inherently objectionable about moving somewhere else domestically, or expatriating, for those who feel driven to leave it because they love it. (Muh HRSDC shiznit, eh. *Headdesk* *St. Jean de Brebeuf voice* Oh, you think YOUR eyes hurt after reading all that? Ha!) The dispiriting fourth-turning truth of the matter is that the broad prosperity of postwar Pittsburgh, won at such cost by the unions, was what allowed so many people in the postwar generations to move out into the suburbs and turn into reactionary starve-the-beast nutjobs.

But what’s the problem with reminding Kasich of his own roots? He’d certainly remind me that I was a bougie Palo Alto boy if he caught me saying nice things about socialism and shit. Free market extremism wasn’t what gave Pittsburgh a middle class. Anyone who acts like that was the case is either a lying sack of shit or flaming nuts. Andrew Carnegie was a hideous thug who belatedly made concessions to the employees he deliberately kept in poverty only after they took on his subaltern Frick and their Pinkerton goon squads. A dear friend from Allison Park gave me a blunt assessment of Carnegie’s charitable motivations: late in his life he realized that he was going to hell and wanted to belatedly atone for his depredations in an effort to secure his own salvation. Getting his name plastered on a whole bunch of shit probably didn’t hurt; there are apparently those who get their jollies from such enterprises–say, the current Oaf of Office.

A sensible person has to wonder about someone who was raised on the Allegheny County waterfront in a household headed by a mailman and came away thinking that government and labor unions were the problem. Kasich’s complaints aren’t, like, geez, the city never filled the potholes on our street and that son of a bitch Hoffa was such a racketeering disgrace to the rank and file that I hope they buried him somewhere deep and far away. Having been raised in the stable prosperity nurtured under robust government and high union membership, he’s here to burn some shit down. It’s almost less disturbing if he’s just a garden-variety crook; imagine how sad it would be for a man raised in such an environment to actually believe that smallminded, ungrateful nonsense in the depths of his heart.

True story: I’ve seen Randian RWNJ Republicans brag about their “Pittsburgh Values.” This raises questions, including where in all hell they came up with such an idea. Pittsburgh and quite a few of the nearby older towns are solidly Democratic, anywhere from about 60-75%. There’s an outback of hardcore Republican strongholds surrounding the urban riverfront core and the other Democratic-leaning suburbs (including Castle Shannon, I recall); this outback extends hundreds of miles into the wooded void, practically to the edge of the Main Line and the outskirts of Scranton. But none of this exurban and rural swath is fucking Pittsburgh. “Hey, I’m in Chicago. Okay, I’m actually in Gary. But didn’t that sound nice?”

This is where we get into the realm of Republicans flat-out making shit up. John Boehner is proof of the great opportunity that is America. Look at him, raised by humble kraut barkeepers in a beyond-full house, and he made Speaker. That proves that anyone, with enough hard work and determination, can become the Speaker of the House.

Uh, no it fucking doesn’t. How many speakers does the House have at a time? Hint: the office is called “The Speaker of the House.” (I know, the whole lot of them can’t be induced to stop speaking.) What the hell does Boehner’s success mean even for his own siblings? That’s one position at the top of a national legislative body of only 435, plus some hanger-on delegates from the colonial territories. Not a whole lot of room for contenders there, Brando. Every individual Congressman represents a district of something like 680,000 (look it up for your fucking selves if the precision is that important to you; that’s why we have the internet until next Thursday). That still isn’t awfully many slots for America’s enterprising.

Pathetically, the same people who act like Boehner is a success story for having been so successful in politics, and Kasich too, I guess, if he’s extreme enough for their taste, also get up on their high horses about how the only appropriate venue for job creation is the private sector. They fucking venerate the “job creators” in so many words. What I have to wonder is, if the private sector is so majestic, why don’t they go look for some damn work in it? None of these assholes waxing obnoxious about job creator bullshit in Congress has worked exclusively in the private sector. I have, though. Their fellow travelers in the Randian think tanks and on the opinion pages aren’t a hell of a lot more free-marketed. What in the bloody hell would Megan McArdle have to offer in a competitive free market? Wingnut welfare has many such cases. What self-respecting person who has ever held down a proper summer job would take these useless, bumptious assholes seriously?

If these toolboxes think government is so awful, why do they keep competing for additional terms of paid government employment every two to six years? I’m not over here demanding the abolition of the private sector, and frankly neither is anyone else who isn’t absolutely ridiculous. The fucking Norks barely managed to destroy private enterprise for a few decades, and once the disappearance of their Soviet subsidies along with the dissolution of the USSR blew the shit into their fan, they mostly stopped trying. That’s what the world’s most belligerent and deranged extant totalitarian regime has achieved against the private sector. The infamous Slow Ghomeshi on the American private sector is fictional. To the very small extent that it exists in some greatly attenuated form, much of it is actually the doing of landlord rent extraction. What we hear about, though, is the chronic saltiness of pissant entrepreneurs who think they shouldn’t have to do basic bookkeeping and compliance work instead of getting however shady they damn well fancy come payday and tax time.

Could government be less burdensome and more helpful to small businesses and sole propietorships? Sure. The flip side is that assholes like Joe Dirtbag could start paying their damn sales taxes and stop making up crappy post hoc stories about why they didn’t pay up and shouldn’t have to do their part because reasons. That creep alone blew a good chunk of my goodwill towards the noisy beleaguered entrepreneur with his series of little tax-dodging stunts. I don’t try to buy shit off the books to dodge sales tax, so I don’t appreciate a deadbeat who also doesn’t pay me or anyone else who helps him run the farm cheating the city because reasons.

Let’s not stay so parochial, though. Here’s the Galaxy Brain take: robust government services like the Port Authority and a paid professional fire department can facilitate more private enterprise, not less, by maintaining a functional, reliable public infrastructure that anyone can use without a second thought. That seems to work for the Pittsburgh urban core. The Pittsburgh firefighters’ pension may still be underfunded, but at least the PFD doesn’t have its head up its ass about bringing new hires on board to cut back on the overtime, unlike, say, BART. Then again, BART vs. the Port Authority may well be a case of getting back what we pay in, for what it’s worth. Trolley time isn’t quite make-believe around here, but it’s pretty fucking unintuitive, and its delivery none too speedy.

I’m sure I could find plenty of #TCOT dipshits out in the North Hills and Butler County and shit who assume that the City of Pittsburgh has a private sector every bit as vigorous as Moscow had in the forties, but that’s because our national politics are insane. Our recent habits of stratification and sorting don’t fucking help. Hell, just look at our known Yinzer boy John moving up to Columbus and digging in. He’s got a case of the accent, but it’s too bad he doesn’t have a case of something other than the projectile ignorance of his own hometown’s history to go with it.

At least he won New York, New York. Not Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx, and God no, not Staten Island, but our boy from McKees Rocks cracked the cultural barrier of Radio Deluxe Country. That earnest socially climbing dork couldn’t even get a plurality in Allegheny County, and now that I’ve taken the bus through his old neighborhood with a dozen or so neighbors (Hello!), I can’t begin to convey what a glorious thing it is that he carried Manhattan and choked everywhere else. John Kasich is special just the way he is, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful fucking day.

 

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Down on the Motherfucking Farm

Strangers often assume that I went to Stanford when they see my ballcap. It’s a fair point, but the cap was a gift. All I feel like saying about the details is that I have some family connections to their old school, not mine, and if these details seem so compelling, you’re free to figure them out for your own damn self. Legacy admission? It ain’t me, lawd, and sweet Jesus it ain’t me with that dang drawl of an acksayant after a chahldhood in El Cerrito and shit.

The colors happen to closely align with those of, you guessed it, *MY OLD SCHOOL*, whose swag I in fact would be ashamed to wear, because *GO DIPLOMATS!* For real, I’m routinely on the verge of buying F&M gear out of pocket just to hurt feelings. As they say on the SEPTA 61 bus, I ain’t gonna do any damage, but I’m gonna cut that bitch. I guess I’ve got an awfully fancy education for someone who’s voluntarily stepped onto the 61, but remember, education isn’t the same thing as intelligence, because it’s only with luck and usually some countermeasures that the two overlap.

The Stanford cap, then, doesn’t embarrass me precisely because I didn’t go there. It seems to be my one good cap these days, the only one that I haven’t stained and halfway worn out with excessive farm work and hiking, and it roughly matches my red sweater, which seems to be my only current sweater, period. Heh. Period. Red. Huh huh. Bunghole de Cornholio. Etc.

The Big Dick again Goes Hard. The manager of a diner outside Pittsburgh just asked me whether that was a Stanford hat. I wasn’t expecting anyone there to have a clue (ooh, did you just get one in the last paragraph? I did, too!). I didn’t catch all of what she told me after I confirmed her guess, but I’m thinking she was probably familiar with Stanford on account of the athletics. This is the school that admitted Chelsea Clinton but actually tries to fill its teams with reasonably literate, cultured, well-mannered youth, so that isn’t the worst reason to come across one’s interest. I don’t like to be the pretentious, arrogant asshole who goes around pronouncing others my intellectual inferiors; let’s just say that it doesn’t sidwell with me; but that smug, dimwitted, Arendt-abusing horse’s ass is my fucking intellectual inferior. Oh, yes, I’m sure she was admitted to her fine alma mater on sole and exclusive account of her academic and personal merit, and that I’m St. Thomas Aquinas.

There’s presumably a socioeconomic level above my parents’ at which legacy admissions start to leaven the matriculant pool, even at the Junior University. Far be it from me to disbelieve in the Steyer Shortcut, the Gates Go-Around (to go around the usual gates!), or the Clinton Cutoff. Hillary’s impertinent comment about how her buddy-old pal Mike Bloomberg is a real billionaire was actually obnoxiously pertinent to her gross worldview and to the no less gross corruption that it infused into her 2016 campaign. That’s a bad sign right there: looking back wistfully on 2008 as a time of Clintonian modesty. Most professional observers seem to think that the Clintons are worth mid to high eight figures, but they obviously punch well above their weight, due to the whole Clintonworld government-access thing (public service my fat white ass), so I consider it reasonable to assume low nine figures as a ballpark. I don’t know what the fuck the Trumps are worth, maybe more, maybe less, but they’ve got the presidency now, so regardless of how deep that clown crew is into debt, it’s golden for generations now, and for roughly the same reasons that the Clintons are.

The rich aren’t different from you and me and the Sanderses just because they have more money. That sounds nice, but it just isn’t so. Bernie and Jane have basically the same middle-class values as any number of doctors, nurses, cops, electricians, railroad engineers, and engineer engineers. A combination of thrift, decent luck in the housing market, and high earnings boosts plenty of people into a net worth in the low millions by retirement age. It’s harder for most people today than it was in the midcentury (thanks, guys!), but it still isn’t out of the question for young people who have high earnings and low debt, especially low student debt. (Of course, the relative percentages can still get bad enough to fuck a society up, and we’re already there.)

The Clintons were on track to top out as fairly run-of-the-mill yuppie shitheads, probably in the low millions, until that irresistibly charming little mischiefmaker with the infamously wandering schlong wormed his way into the presidency against an opposition divided between Giant Sucking Sound and Message I Care. That was when Billary was able to diversify from mercenary law, commodities speculation, and two-bit Arkie real estate cons into the good stuff. Wee Billy got the two of them into some legal debt towards the end of the administration by upsetting Gateside Downlow, J. Denny Dundiddly, Friar Dorkemada, and the whole crew with that little something-something with the plump Jewess, but that was perfectly easy and quick to overcome. They were the fucking Clintons. Retired from the White House, they were also freed from the meddlesome, sexually preoccupied oversight of their enemies in Congress, who incidentally cast aspersions on them for their seedier stunts, like their Lincoln Bedroom payola guesthouse deal.

The Clintons have successfully slashed and burned their way into a rarefied stratum in which the prevailing values get really warped and grotesque. Theirs have always been shit, even for the least reputable and most amoral swath of yuppies, but since their time in the White House, or at the latest a few months after their departure, they’ve been wealthy enough to amass riches halfway commensurate with their own avarice. Okay, half is probably a huge exaggeration, but I don’t feel like showing up out of nowhere with a word like “hundredthway.”

This is not a normal environment. The ambient levels of irresponsibility and unaccountability are stunning. Most financial millionaires have regular contact on a more or less equal basis with normal people from a fairly wide swath of the socioeconomic spectrum. They have no real choice in the matter, even it they’d like one: if they tried to buy their way out of this exposure to reality, they’d quickly go broke and ruin themselves. By somewhere around the Clintons’ level, the wealthy are able to permanently surround themselves with servants and sycophants, to bully or directly buy their way out of legal trouble, and generally secede from real life. Most financial millionaires would be aghast if they peeked inside.

A normal, healthy, sensible, well-balanced person would realize by somewhere in the mid-seven figures of net worth that that’s enough money to live securely and well, that more money might be helpful but that the existing foundation is rock solid and it’s worth giving some thanks. Billionaires, at least public ones, never seem content to enjoy their fucking money. They keep butting into our business. The DeVoses have their charter school hobbyhorse, while the Gateses lit a fire under everyone’s ass about Common Core. Hizzoner Michael Bloomberg couldn’t help himself when the poories upset him by drinking too much soda. Sheldon Adelson strives to be God. Tom Steyer has a compulsion to somehow unseat Donald Trump. Various obscenely rich shitheads like to get up on their high horses about bogus schemes like the flat tax.

What’s striking about Donald Trump in this context is his modesty. He didn’t claim a right to rule the rest of us on account of his wealth or credentials. He laid out a platform, incoherent and contradictory though it was, and encouraged Americans to give him a shot. When he did refer to his own wealth, it was often to admit that he knew the whole game was rigged because he’d worked it and watched it from the inside. If any rich jerk showed up on the political scene without an air of entitlement, it was Trump. This was refreshing.

Hillary Clinton sure as hell didn’t do that. Her entire campaign was premised on the assumption that everyone had a solemn duty to vote for her because she was the most qualified person in the race, how can you possibly not see that, and also a woman, you misogynistic prick. Between these pretensions and the Bernie ratfuck, she forfeited every possible residual bit of goodwill on the part of a huge-ass swath of the voters she needed to win the general election.

The class angle only made her look worse. She screwed over an opponent who was a normal guy with ambitions as normal as any presidential candidate’s and then made that crass comment about how her buddy Bloomberg was a real billionaire, in contrast to the poseur Trump. Okay, but what the fuck is that supposed to mean? I didn’t figure that Trump was a real billionaire myself, or that he necessarily had a positive net worth, but he looked less arrogant and more public-spirited than Hillary, who came with plenty of disreputable family baggage of her own. The possibility that a famous blowhard was bullshitting us about his wealth wasn’t going to cost him my vote under circumstances that included the grotesque corruption, rapacity, and spite of his main opponent.

The ruling class had obviously decided that Trump was a usurper; the bias was unmistakable. Watching him be accused of being worth less than he claimed, i.e., not totally loaded, just super loaded, didn’t help the bipartisan establishment’s case. For the same reasons, it was totally whatthefuckular to watch these stuck-up pieces of shit throw under the bus a normal guy with a normal wife who got along great with normal people and really appeared to feel a genuine respect for them, and then publicly suck up to this droning billionaire nutrition busybody whose shtick is basically to accuse poor people of being slovenly, ill-disciplined, and fat.

The kicker here, of course, was that Trump, uniquely among billionaires of whatever actual net worth, seemed to relish mixing it up with the little people and to maybe be sincere about having their best interests at heart. It’s hard not to wonder what the hell the Democrats thought they’d accomplish with this line of attack. “Oh, that rich piece of shit you deplorables are supporting from your basket? Yeah, well, he isn’t actually a stuck-up, out-of-touch rich guy; he just plays one on TV! Suckers!” That quite nicely complemented the Democratic stance that maybe he doesn’t hate the shit out of you and want you to all die, but we sure do.

This is the same crowd that acts like Americans still admire Warren Buffett and love him long-time for being a famous billionaire. What the fuck, y’all. Socialism is becoming more popular because the economy has been ruined by and at the direction of the very wealthy and an increasing number of us would rather leave less of the total wealth in the clammy hands of some miserly old cunt who takes his grandchildren out to Dairy Queen and acts like he doesn’t know the McDonald’s menu when NPR is along for the ride even though he claims to get his morning Egg McMuffin there every day. Yes, we and/or the government would spend Warren Buffett’s money better.

These rimjobbers are all like, oh, but he still lives in an old house in Omaha. Uh, yeah, BFD, homeys. Bully to that Congressman’s son for buying railroads and shit. Anybody working in the Union Pacific dispatch center is more admirable and useful than that, and Nebraska is also home to the Drought Monitor crew and Irakli Loladze. Who’s next up as an exemplar of heartland values? Sexy male code enforcement officer Lynn Rader? Our old boy Bill Thomas did all right for a fellow who never really left Wichita.

This is the kind of shit we get under leadership that can’t imagine anyone whose interests aren’t dominated by the doings of overhyped rich blowhards and the faint possibility of someday personally becoming filthy rich. Okay, let’s check in from New York on the part of the country where they still have morals and stuff and see what’s doing. Oh, cool, here’s some sermonizing geezer who owns BNSF and doesn’t treat his own children to lunch at Denny’s because he’d be expected to tip.

Stanford pulled the same shit with my Chinese-made hat. A guy passing me on a trail in Nevada City (yup, Wow Much Travels) called out, “Go Tree!” He assumed, reasonably enough, that it was my school as well as his. Yeah, well, Tree ain’t got the roots to support no American textile jobs. From my perspective, a cap is a cap as long as it doesn’t rep Dickinson (I am NOT doing free advertising for those shitheels), but that’s a funny situation for marketing swag for a school whose endowment is well into the tens of billions of dollars.

Will anyone at Stanford stand up to this and ask the development and licensing people, for the sake of decency and community, to have their marketing shiznit made in the USA? Not bloody likely. As Tom Friedman has told them at such tendentious anecdotal length, globalization is good for everyone who deserves good things and also inevitable and shit. It’s why olive farmers in the West Bank all own Lexuses. Every harvest is a December to Remember. Surely the cabbies who always have such interesting, and I do mean uninteresting, things to say to him wouldn’t tell Ami little fibs.

True MAGA, then, isn’t in buying some F&M swag off the shelf, but in hand-stitching and embroidering that shiznit all bespoke-like. Don’t count on my ever doing that, since I don’t have the best follow-through, but don’t count me entirely out, either. Firehat cross-stitched a Fuck Yo Titties doily, so there’s a precedent. Mine, I guess, is Fuck Yo College. I can’t afford to move back to Palo Alto on my own steam after what Stanford has done to the Mid-Peninsula, nay, the entire Bay Area, but I can afford some damn needles and thread, and God knows I’ve usually got the time.

Steamertown USA

All the little kids growing up on the skids say, hey, what’s wrong with him? My sleep patterns, mainly. On alternating nights I’ve been jarred awake by a Next-Gen 737 with surprisingly bad pressurization at 0500 Central and a conductor telling me that we were coming into Cleveland at 0525 Eastern. In the intervening night I slept, no joke, from about four in the afternoon until nine the next morning, with an eleven o’clock snack break for the remainder of a bag of chili lime cashews and some coffee. This is not normal, so what the hell do any of you expect of me?

Cleveland isn’t quite as fucked up as it should be, but it isn’t in great shape, either. It manufactured more stuff back when the fire department had to put out the river, so that much is a mixed blessing, but it’s since fallen into quite a bit of neoliberal marketeering horseshit: a casino in Terminal Tower, the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, a bus called the HealthLine. Meanwhile I couldn’t find a ticket vending machine in the light rail station by the Amtrak depot, which is out by not much more than a dumbass science museum and a wind turbine even though I was on the only train that comes through after, like, three in the morning (surely one must be lonely!). I ended up entering the station backwards and walking out through a gate that had been left open all night. What is this, a Prince number from “Twilight Zone: The Musical?” I’ve been on a shitload of mass transit systems, and I don’t think that would have been normal had I been normally awake.

The Amtrak schedules can’t help, and neither can the condition of the Amtrak depot, but the state of Ohio never seems interested in subsidizing additional service at less fucked up hours of the day. I don’t entirely get the state-level politics behind these decisions, e.g., why Michigan has kept up its Amtrak subsidies, but there’s probably a strong class, racial, and political fuckery angle here. As a body politic, the suburbanites really have it in for Cleveland and Cincinnati, where there be Negroes. Other sorts of po’ folk, too, and Democrats. I believe it was Parma that was for a time the largest city in the United States without a mass transit system. Cleveland and Cincinnati have really neat urban cores, definitely neater than Columbus, but the political and business interest in investing in them is spotty and flaky. Hence light rail stations that look like they were abandoned by a late-stage Polish politburo that didn’t think to turn off the lights. Hence, also, all the tourist trap gimcrackery.

This bullshit was a long time coming. The most exquisite description I’ve heard of Cleveland in the sixties, from my mom, was that the blacks on the East Side and the Slavs on the West Side periodically squared off in race riots while the Italians and the Jews looked on. I can’t help but admire the diaspora Joel/Fischer/Buttafuoco crowd for treating that as a spectator sport. My uncle really should have married an Italian girl. What’s wrong with the Italians complements what’s wrong with the Jews, which complements what’s wrong with the Italians in return, while the Jews and the Poles are too busy with their semi-Semitic bum fight to compliment one another. *Very Temple Clinger Suburban Pollack Voice* Whoop Whoop Compliment. Nah, I shouldn’t be so harsh on that spergy mofo: I’ve never gotten any indication that he understands Jews as a concept, and he’s unfiltered enough that if he did he’d surely have something ridiculous to say about them on Facebook.

Or about us, since I’m Jewish enough for Hitler, and my self-loathing Jew of an uncle with the Polish/Shanty Mick wife doubly so. She’s the one I’ve sometimes been tempted to tell that I’d seen her possible paternal relatives from Staten Island at Hersheypark, but I think they were Black Irish.

#RaceTogether, bitch. The Dirty Dog will be here to pick me up soon enough and I’m already Too Very Online, so until we convene again, full steam abreast!

I, for one, would rather have Geraldo Rivera grab my ass than permanently wreck my own body cutting cauliflower for bourgeois ingrates

That’s a much more coherent and pertinent statement than it should be. I’m skeptical about the syntax, but like Geraldito before the society ladies, it shall stand.

Since Wow Much travels None homeland Very disorient has me on the road to the LAX Flyaway garage for a bus to Las Vegas and a redeye to Chicago (OJ took his straight from LAX on a walkup ticket), we’ll have to make this one a quickie. Forget it, Fogerty, I can’t spend all night stuck in Lodi again.

NPR ran a piece this evening about how farm workers are getting all old and sickly and worn out from repetitive stress. This supposedly has something to do with Donald Trump having put a scare into the wetbacks, cutting off the supply of fresh blood in the fields. Funny thing, though, I recall exactly the same bellyaching about the allegedly intransigent and obstructive anti-immigration forces under Obama and Bush II, so it’s a bit hard to believe that the Donald is causing the planter class to have an unprecedented sad. It’s always the same old fucking song: we don’t have enough Mexican peasants to do the dirty grunt work that our ever-softening native stock refuses to perform, and the only way to resolve this tragedy is to import more Mexican peasants in some fashion or other, legal, illegal, or whatever. If we don’t expedite another incoming batch of Michoacanos, the crops will rot in the fields and we will cause the baby Jesus to cry at the sight.

Agency has an eerie way of coming and going without notice at NPR. In this case, extreme, debilitating repetitive stress is something that just kind of happens, like an early fall rain or some shit. It is assumed that farm work will inevitably ruin the bodies of those doing it, bodies that will no less inevitably be Mexican. I, Jonqui, have done commercial farm work in every one of the past five growing seasons, so I want to reach out and choke these motherfuckers in a proper Hot Ghomeshi, provided that it isn’t too rough on my wrists. These blame idiots can’t imagine that there are bad public policies or managerial decisions that directly make farm work ruinous to the health and safety of those undertaking it.

The growers for whom I’ve done most of my commercial work care deeply and sincerely about the occupational safety of their employees, but somehow NPR never manages to find anyone in the industry who steps up to the fucking plate and makes sure that the help get enough rest, rotation between tasks, and time off for medical appointments to keep themselves in decent health. I’m sure there’s no shortage of millionaire growers with excuses involving competitive markets and low commodity prices for why their employees are in physical ruins by fifty, because the industry is definitely crawling with owners and upper managers who blame everything that goes wrong on their properties, from wage theft to sexual extortion to Joel Salazar-grade drinking water shortages to failures to provide adequate portapotties and the resulting combination of skipped lunches and turds in the weeds, on low-level managers and third-party contractors who, conveniently enough, are Mexicans or foreign-passible Chicanos. One of the most reliable things about the more troubled parts of the industry, along with the endless bitching about how Americans are too soft for the work and there aren’t enough Mexicans to take up the slack, is that whenever some scandal takes root–whenever some crew boss demands sexual favors from the women under his authority and beer offerings from the men, say, or disappears to Fresno with a week’s worth of pay for two dozen employees still payable and no one having the foggiest clue of where or how to track him down–there’s never a clear chain of command or working grievance process. There’s never anyone in a position of power who is identifiable, accountable, and available for service of legal process. The people who actually run the show are somehow never responsible when people working in supervisory positions under their authority and direction turn out to be rapists, extortionists, deadbeats, derelicts, or fly-by-night cheats. All they have to do to avoid liability for their failure to exercise due diligence is to insist that they were in no position to exercise due diligence.

It’s great work if you can get it.

From the perspective of the peasant reserve army that grows our food, not to mention that of Americans who have an unreasonable amount of trouble finding or landing farm jobs for which they’re perfectly qualified (hey there), sob stories about Bette Midler getting groped by Geraldo Rivera become tiresome. It gets hard to believe that it’s newsworthy when Jennifer Lawrence gets up on her high horse again about nosy perverts violating her sacrosanct Christian womanhood. Athletes who take a knee during the National Anthem are making a broader, more principled point than their own positions, sometimes (e.g., Colin Kaepernick) at significant professional and financial expense. The gripes coming out of the studios seem rather more selfish and narrow. We’re talking about people whose very existences smack of immense privilege admitting that they didn’t have the guts to tell off bigshots for being sex pests or blow the whistle at the time but, now that there’s a bandwagon to catch, oh, gosh, it was totally problematic all along.

It’s ridiculous and over-the-top to think that Bette Midler’s one-time entrapment in a Gerry Grab decades ago is a high priority for public discussion and redress. For the love of God, she’s Bette fucking Midler. A Guyland blowhard grabbed her ass: not commendable for the Guylander, but not a particularly noteworthy trauma, either. When I was in college (merely freshman; aaand I won’t be held responsibllllle), I ran with some senior drinking buddies that included the rudest, coarsest imaginable anthracite country motherfuckers. One of these guys sometimes got roaring drunk, yelled at me to take shots of Jim Beam, and pinched my nipples. I find it hard to believe that Geraldo at his worst doesn’t have more class than that vulgar bastard at his best, and I notice that I still haven’t gotten any lucrative screen roles as a result of putting up with Lieutenant Tittytorque.

Accuse me, if you will, of writing a Story Whore submission about my PTSD, of demanding that you let me TELL you about my trauma. I’m really just trying to keep this shit in some perspective. I don’t get the feeling that Bette Midler would think for a hot second about trading places with some lady who’s been cutting cauliflower sixty hours a week for two decades, can’t find a place at the ranch to refrigerate her insulin, and more often than not has stigmata in her wrists.

Maybe we can give platforms to people who have actually suffered physically doing crucial manual labor for a change? That NPR story should be the one that’s part of an intensive ongoing series. The heavy airtime shouldn’t be going to an A List actress who’s suddenly sore about how she once caught Geraldo’s hands on her rump that one time back in the nineties. Forgive me for thinking that this story makes Seinfeld look deep and is the Whitest White Whine since the dumbass who complained that a family vacation to Europe conflicted with some MyPanera points that were about to expire.

This is what a society gets when it takes every sign of its own class consciousness out into the back forty with a twelve gauge and a shovel. It ends up ignoring recurring Daniel Holtzclaw situations because none of the parties are sexy enough and progressively recalibrating its threshold of titillation from Fifty Shades of Gray to Brock Turner to two rueful seconds of Hands-On Geraldo. That is, from the degradation of easily bored bougie chicks to college girls in distress to starlets in what should frankly be mere annoyance. If Geraldo Rivera as the perp is a mitigating factor, Bette Midler as the victim certainly is. This, not homelessness or grinding full-time employment at poverty wages, is our idea of adversity: a famous movie star getting her ass squeezed without permission exactly once.

This is why I prefer to pigsploit that other Gerald and, as I like to say, rundel in the jungle. Jethro Tull may not be all right with that, but Colby Cosh will certainly agree that farming fish is a real trade in a world that could use more people working in real trades, and that I did not, I repeat, did not, just sing a crappy comedy-folk song about anybody. Be thankful as I hit the road and sleep in a rest area again tonight.

Travels with G. K. Chestrubber

Geez, Ole, it sounds like the Keillor boy, the one who went down to the Twin Cities to seek his fame and fortune, let the power go to his head and got himself involved in a little ja, don’tcha know. Now, I’ll always remember what Lina said when you came downstairs from your deathbed and snuck yourself a taste of the lutefisk, how she slapped you and said, “Ole! It’s fur de funeral!”, but geez, he looks like he could use one himself.

Be well, bitch.

Watching Matt Lecher and Lord Ewbegone get the ax on the same day was of some interest to me as a new Safeway knockoff Rogaine user. Lauer has always been an exceptionally handsome man. He was able to come to the studio with late-onset male-pattern baldness, a crappy buzz cut, and the shabbiest beard this side of Al Roker and still leave no doubt that he was handsomer than he looked. Keillor has the opposite problem, an enviably full head of hair that doesn’t keep him from looking like a bulldog with an untreated neurological condition affecting the face. CBS, for its part, managed to play a less glaringly bad hand even worse by seating its morning hosts on dumbass bar stools that made Harry Smith look like he was about to wipe his ass with a handkerchief. I don’t want to beclown myself by saying that there are lessons we can learn from these sorry spectacles, but we can always look on and snicker. After all, NBC wasn’t paying Matthew Todd Wankin’ $25 mil a year for us not to watch.

That said, I didn’t come by just to indulge in gross imagery about overpaid and overrated broadcast celebrities. Most of my traffic is still (of course) for Dubai Porta Potty, so it’s the rest of you who should apologize for your taste, not me for mine, but still, what interests me about the latest gents to get sprayed by this artesian well of sexual grievance isn’t just who’s the better-looking bald guy or who can’t stop wasting his shabbily coiffed hair on his own face. These pages are effortposts, and that alone, good dirty fun though it is, doesn’t justify the time or energy to hammer out a screed. What actually brings me over tonight, rather, is the sick ways in which Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor interact with and inform the atrocious American class system.

Lauer is a middlebrow reporter who won a crapshoot in the big leagues and became filthy rich doing the yeoman’s work of broadcast news presentation on the main stage. He’s exceptionally gifted, to be sure, but there are countless dozens or hundreds of equally well put-together on-air reporters and anchors biding their time at two-bit affiliates out in the bumfuck middle of nowhere for a hundredth of his pay, or less, and the vast majority of them aren’t going anywhere better or more prestigious because there just aren’t enough openings. If Mark Finan or Joe Calhoun, say, were kicked up to the Rock, it’s unlikely that they’d choke under the pressure. The business still has its tendentious dipshits, like Ed Weinstock, the white Art Fennell, and Art Fennell, the black Ed Weinstock, and they’re hardly the worst to be found, but there’s still a huge oversupply of impressive on-air talent languishing in the provinces compared to the tiny number of front-of-the-house openings at headquarters.

Explain for yourself why in the everloving hell Hoda Kotb isn’t working in Mobile or Omaha. I don’t have an answer for everything; sometimes #TheMoreYouKnow, the less you understand, and some of these decisions are beyond forgiveness. Forgiveness. Even if, even if. Of course that was awful, but keep in mind that I’m trying to avoid spending an entire screed writing about downers like NBC.

If I were writing this stuff for financial gain, I suppose Don Henley could sue me for copyright infringement. I have to say that I’m disappointed to see that that ditty wasn’t by Bryan Adams, because that would have made for a smoother segue into our latest recapitulation of Kwesi Millington’s reputation management lawfare against the CBC. I hope you weren’t too shocked to hear about him again. Matt’s able to sue NBC for firing him just for being a handsy fucker with a secret button under his desk to remotely lock his office door because he’s Matt Motherfucking Lauer, bitch.

That, and because our fine continent’s news trusts have deep pockets. What the hell did Northside Juice have to offer a plaintiff’s attorney? Horsemanship lessons for his daughter and the neighbor kids? Actually, Lauer must be in a pretty strong position just for knowing where all the bodies are buried around the Rock. All Meatless Muscle and his legal muscle were doing was shaking the old council oak to see if anything good would fall out. However Matt Lauer and his lawyers are shading their case, what they’re doing by demanding a payout is blackmailing NBC, which, conveniently enough, is the most scandalous, blackmail-prone of the big three networks. One cannot imagine how the network that rehabilitated Donald Trump would have anything to hide.

Matt Lauer was an interchangeable part on a middlebrow morning news program whose host network surely has talent scouts who could call any number of reliable reporters up to the major league from the farm teams to replace him. He’s a talented but not all that exceptional guy who lucked into a rare spot as a headliner and spent the next two decades milking it for all it was worth. This is where the incentives and the behavior turn perverse. It’s precisely because he squeezed so much money out of NBC for so long that he’s now able to squeeze it for even more money because it fired him for cause. Any normal person working in any normal job wouldn’t be able to do anything of the sort. With luck, a nobody who just got fired for sexual harassment on company time might be able to threaten to blow the whistle on illegal or unethical practices involving others and get paid to shut up. More likely, the outcome would be walking away in disgrace, scarlet letter duly affixed, and on the precipice of financial ruin.

Of all the people who need the money after an adverse employment termination, Matt Lauer has to be the damn near the last. Unless he’s been a Michael Jackson-grade spendthrift for twenty years straight, he’s loaded. I’ve seen estimates of his contract being worth up to $25 million a year. At that rate, he could maintain a very solidly upper-middle-class income just on the investment proceeds of one year’s worth of net income from his NBC gig.

In a sane and equitable society, that would mean something, as would the sheer gratitude for having gotten away with sexually predatory behavior under company auspices for years and made good money the whole time. Matt doesn’t live in any such society. He is shaking NBC down for the same reason that a dog licks its own balls: because he can.

Garrison Keillor operated at a lower level of show business for a smaller, more marginal audience, and for quite a bit less direct payment, but he has had a much more notable and, I dare say, pernicious effect on a key demographic of American society. He made a living by poisoning the minds of liberal yuppies in a way that no one else could quite figure out how to do.

Matt Lauer neither reified nor attenuated the fresh hell that is NBC. That mercenary piece of shit could be paid to read goddamn anything on air with a subtly pained but straight face. He could be paid to ask any brain-dead question of any equally brain-dead celebrity that the producers and marketers thought would sell. He never gave a rat’s ass about whether or why some vainglorious asshole was banging some other bumptious fuckjob or about some fashion model moron’s thoughts on geopolitics and how her new clothing line could help.

Again, this is one of the things we can say in Jerry Springer’s defense: though a Londoner by birth and a New Yorker by upbringing, by vocation and avocation both he is a true Cincinnatian. It would be gross to call his feelings about his calling to national broadcasting love, but he makes a solid living doing what he quite enjoys. Whenever Lauer was interviewing some moronic asshole or doing Phineas Gage-grade call-and-response water cooler talk with his fellow overpaid mercenaries in a fake living room, he had a silent internal script running, which kept telling him, what the fuck, man, you’re a tragedy for dignifying this fucking garbage.

I can say the same thing in my own defense that I can say in Jerry’s, only more so. Sleeping in my car two or three nights a week doesn’t force me to debase myself like that, and neither do farm work or the deposit bottle hustle. Chaka Can. Chaka Can. Chaka Fattah’s making less money than that these days, Chaka Can. Make of it what you will that the Dunkin’ Doorman is a civic improvement over Matt Lauer for not having to pretend to be interested in anything other than coffee money.

Keillor’s problem is that his shtick comes from the heart, and his heart is deeply troubled. He tapped into a guiltily, unmentionably avaricious yuppie liberal zeitgeist and focused and reinforced it in perniciously unhealthy ways. We’ll all be dealing with the fallout for a decade or two to come.

Being the alumnus of a fancy-ass school crawling with Main Liner shitheads and wannabes drives this point home. No, I’m not referring to Lancaster Country Day School; that’s a bit of an eccentric outfit, and a plenty wealthy and privileged one, but it’s all right. I refer, of course, to the Big Dick. GO DIPLOMATS!

When I was back for Homecoming over the fall, this alumni council hotshot whom I supposedly shocked by saying that I’d go to a state school in California if I had to do it over again got all defensive on our asses about how he had done pretty well for a hick from Missouri. First of all, I know damn fucking well what Humboldt State is like for a non-matriculant, and I’m not pig-ignorant about Chico, either, town or gown, so I didn’t pull any of that out of my ass. Second, I took our Show Me dude to be just another puffed-up dipshit from the Main Line. It never would have occurred to me that he was from Missouri; the other Missourians I’ve known are mostly chill as fuck, not defensive, disingenuously self-deprecating dorks. If I want to make fun of a Missourian, I have plenty of material on the Highway Patrol; maybe this fool was jealous of Flexineck and the Bone Crusher for hogging my attention. I’m not the one who had a problem with him for being from hick-ass Missouri; that was his problem, and his alone. My dad was raised by a mother who had gone to business school and a K-State grad who had been the first in his family to go to college, both of them from rural Kansas, and none of their kids turned out stupid. The University of Nebraska has fallen victim to some pretty disgusting political interference, but I never figured that it became a powerhouse in climate science by collecting a bunch of retards.

If we’re in the business of making regional judgments, Pot-o-Shit Friend doesn’t say anything good about people from Providence by way of Baltimore who move to Oregon, or whatever the fuck he did, other than be a hipster who, in spite of his trash can, didn’t look like he got enough to eat. I heard bits and pieces, but I never cared enough to investigate. Joe Dirtbag was all like, oh, you’ll hit it off with him, he’s from Baltimore; obviously an erstwhile Philadelphian wants nothing more than to yuk it up with an Old Bay-ass weenie in Coke bottle glasses who has all the force of personality and muscle tone of a wet noodle. So, no, I don’t go touring the Midwest in search of my shit-in-a-bucket constituencies; Midwesterners are sensible enough to appreciate indoor plumbing, and the ones who aren’t I expect to find me in Oregon.

What’s relevant about this particular Missourian is that he’s yet another dipshit who’s got a chip on his shoulder about his backwards hometown. Garrison Keillor’s shiznit appeals to every social climber who thinks everyone else from back home was a hopeless smallminded dolt. He got every fucking valedictorian in the country listening to the same twee, condescending horseshit spoken-word stories about local-yokel simpletons in the Great White North. He got many of them to buy his series of companion novels and read his sermons in the Washington Post. 

Look, I’ve dealt with some fucked up country bumpkins in Pennsylvania, so I don’t assume that life in rural Minnesota is all sunshine and lollipops. I can imagine that it sucks, that it can be awfully stifling and if nothing else bloody fucking cold. Moving to the Twin Cities or, hell, to Santa Barbara might make some sense. The thing about the Lake Wobegon stuff, though, is that it’s so sappy and sentimental. Like, are there really entire towns in Minnesota populated by these stuffy, simpering, tendentious dorks? Listening to these crappy vignettes, I couldn’t help but think that they didn’t square with what I’d been able to pick up about the rural Midwest, specifically, that they were markedly worse. Garrison Keillor routinely ran stuff whose production value was only marginally better than the “Up the Snitz Creek” columns in the Lebanon Daily News. I shit ye not: that was a real column, and it’s a real creek that I’ve never since been comfortable crossing. It’s understandable that such items would be run by the shittiest possible newspaper of record, but Keillor got his crap syndicated on NPR.

There’s no charitable explanation. Here we’ve got this wheezing, sighing, bulldog-looking cunt up on stage telling longwinded, gratingly sanctimonious stories about the retarded minutiae of small-town gossip interspersed with bluegrass jingles about an imaginary brand of fucking biscuits, the kind of childish, nonsensical horseshit you might have to sit through at your second-grader’s school play, and he’s putting it on for an audience of neurotic overachievers who are force-feeding their own teenage children AP coursework and extracurricular activities until they drop.

Again, this toolbox was producing this elaborately twee shit for an audience of highly educated, affluent adults. Mr. Rogers must not have been too emotionally even-keeled and modest for their tastes. That’s what happens when there’s an actual adult in the room who has the decency to act like one: hey, let’s put on our zip-up sweaters and go tour this pencil factory, then we’re gonna talk about some heavy psychological shit, like, death and bullying and stuff, but I’ll try not to upset you, and then, for the fun part, I’m sending you on a special Honey I Shrunk the Kids trolley through a wormhole into a funhouse land ruled by a freaky-ass genderfluid king whose neighborhood mailman is legit bipolar, but don’t worry, you should never feel embarrassed to talk to a grown-up if any of this starts feeling weird.

I’ll actually be on the real Pittsburgh subway-surface trolley system next week, which I assume is also run by and for adults. Yeah, Wow Much travels None homeland Omg mr mcfeely Very disorient. Our old boy Keillor, though. Holy shit. That twit was always ever-so-gently ribbing the yuppies, as if a pleasantly warm slow roast was praxis because, my gosh, dear hearts and gentle people, we all have our foibles. Actual independent thought about the yuppies would be more like the old-school Comiskey Park shit, but nobody ever had the stones to bring a “Go Home Yuppie Scum” sign to the Fitzgerald Theater. Nobody was about to get uppity in there and encourage anyone else to pack that fancy-pants shit up and take it back up to Addison. That would require taking a firm stance, you see. That would require principles.

‘Twould harsh the mellow, and one can’t have that. We’re all just here for an evening of forced levity and shitty spoken-word bildungsroman stories about how we’re all just plain and simple country folks, that we might momentarily forget, and yet be subliminally reminded, that little Taylor here won’t amount to a damn thing in life if she doesn’t get into Haverford. We certainly wouldn’t want her to take a job at some gas station in Anoka County, surrounded by this evocatively narrated town full of hopeless losers.

Garrison Keillor lived his way into some kind of spiritual picture of Dorian Gray situation. I’ve been reading that he wasn’t such a bitter yuppie blowhard and smug, precious dork back in the eighties, when he first became a big deal. It seems that over the years his shtick became both softer and more vicious, that it mutated from jaded, occasionally abrasive truthtelling into its current format of cheap easy-listening hate radio. Like all too many other liberal yuppies, he’s gotten salty about Trump and Trump’s voters for all the wrong reasons, blowing whatever moral high ground and credibility he might have had on self-righteous pot shots. He’s pissed off at all the losers back home who made fun of him in high school and now have trouble getting by on their gutted pensions from the cement factory or whatever, his premise being that they have no reason to be sore about their lot but he has ample reason to be sore about them for being sore. He’s got teenage grudges against people who spent decades barely scraping by in honorable and productive but tenuous lines of work while he jawboned his way to fortune and fame, but reliving high school at his age is less embarrassing than putting on variety show items that would annoy a precocious fourth-grader.

So here he is now, laid low by accusations that are impressively PG-rated. He touched some woman on her bare back when she was upset. He lustfully tried to console a bitch. I’ve been hearing through back channels about stage shows where he got visibly horny with the women performing alongside him, to their discomfort, e.g., some half-assed Al Franken shit. Don’tcha fucking know, Ole. Sven, ya catchin’ any o’ this? Some great Minnesota ethnic diversity we got right here; too bad I’m not awake or culturally aware enough to make fun of the Finns, too. These guys sound pretty rude and obnoxious, but the Keillor stuff especially sounds like it could be handled by telling him, hey, maybe don’t do that again, and I’ve gotten my nipples pinched–not mime-groped, straight-up pinched while I was fully awake–by way the hell worse than Franken. The guy who did it would have been a hardcore douchebag even if he’d kept his hands off my tits. It was some kind of anthracite country problem drinking thing, or maybe this guy and his buddies were just fucking assholes. I dunno.

Geraldo, though? If Geraldo sexually harassed me, I’d have no choice but to consider it a high privilege and honor. I’d want John Tesh to perform a big band number about the incident. I can’t help it; it’s some kind of Long Island deep cultural immersion thing. If sexual aggression is about power, the power might as well come from a true son of the Guyland (Joey Buttafuoco works, too), not from some simpering Minnesota dipshit who’s all bashful that he was caught not being nice. I’m still straight, now, you hear? Okay, the John Tesh comments didn’t do much to confirm that.

But holy hell, are we actually having a conniption because Garrison Keillor put a hand on some crying lady’s back? Is this for real, dawg? I get that we want to discourage sexually forward behavior on the part of those who are too arrogant or socially stunted to respond normally to social cues, but fuckin’ A, we seem to be raising the bar pretty high here and then kvetching that a notorious dork didn’t clear it. And now Minnesota Public Radio is talking about renaming A Prairie Home Companion. They’ve got a different, more Southern-fried earnest mofo at the helm now, and they’re still worried that we’ll associate the show with this tainted dirty old man who once touched a woman’s back and maybe leered at some other chicks.

Here’s an idea: A Prairie Ho Companion. I doubt it’ll be the best work of art about Chicago hookers, but it’ll be better than Sister Carrie. 

This is what I get for not doing my assigned reading in school. I’m out of work again and banging this stuff out at one in the morning for an audience of maybe a dozen. What can I say? Dreiser sucks major ass. And it figures that Lake Wobegon doesn’t have a town whore; it doesn’t have anyone with remotely normal emotional patterns. Hey baby, your chatterbox isn’t working so great on my powdermilk biscuit, if you know what I mean. Hey, Noir, I know you’re watching us, so can you tell me what’s wrong with this chick’s mouth that she can’t get my dick up?

That’s some fucked up fan fiction from a guy (hey, now!) who isn’t even a fan, but it’s normal human dialog informed by normal human interaction. More or less. That’s a low bar to clear because I’m trying to beat a thrice-married dork who acts like the old maid running the village schoolhouse in one segment and an autistic seven-year-old in the next. I’m nowhere close to going fully native.

It’s really funny, as in hilarious and odd both, that this sickly, wheezing, bulldog-looking dork who’s suddenly in trouble for touching a woman on her back while she was wearing a low-cut dress or some shit had a recurring segment that he ended with a line about how all the women are strong and all the men are good-looking. Can you imagine anyone from this crowd raising children who aren’t neurotic fuckups? Garrison Keillor having a regularly scheduled segment in which he talks explicitly about a community full of handsome men is like Matt Lauer going out on the street to look for ugly guys: “Hey there, Savannah, we’re out here in Crown Heights to look for the ugliest motherfucking Jews, and we’ve already found some butt-ugly kikes. Take a look.”

Admit it: that would be an awesome thing to watch Matt Lauer sunnily deadpan. I don’t care how offensive some overly sensitive twit may find it. Normally I’d be hesitant to write anything quite that coarse, but in this case it’s relevant, pretty far out there by any normal standard but not gratuitous. The blunt truth of it is that we are not dealing with normal standards here. We’ve got these self-serious dipshits on our broadcast media studiously pretending that there’s no such thing as the Id while the Id rears its ugly head all around us, more flagrantly than usual. Garrison Keillor is in trouble for barely touching a woman in a manner that few people would find edgy, and Al Franken for posing for a photo in which he pretends to grope a fellow performer’s breasts while she’s asleep. Meanwhile the sitting President of the United States faces no consequences for habitually blurting out fantasies about how he’d like to assault his enemies, sexually and otherwise, for being the target of dozens of specific accusations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and forcible rape, and for having bragged about his incestuous attraction to his own biological daughter.

When the rape culture critics insist that Trump has to face consequences as an example to other sexual assailants, they’re absolutely right. That fucker makes Bob Packwood look like St. Anthony. We can’t be serious about deterring sexual assault, especially from positions of power, when we’re knowingly tolerating a sitting president who won’t stop openly acting like a Borgia Pope. A consistent standard of intolerance for sexual exploitation from positions of power would require the removal of Donald Trump from office for being a ragingly scandalous lecher.

The same thing goes for all his other abuses of power. This guy’s deal isn’t that he likes to get laid. That may actually be what’s up (heh) with Franken and Keillor, and even to some extent with Lauer. (That remote-control lock button, though.) Trump is a grand sadist, rather like Hillary Clinton, but with different focuses. The cultural rot goes deep enough that people are now saying in all seriousness that Matt asked Hillary tough questions at the debate just because he’s a misogynistic sexual harasser. I’ll say it again: I don’t hate Hillary Clinton because I’m a misogynist; I hate her because she’s a grandiose, gratuitously misandrist cunt. Among other reasons, of course. I’m not conceding the moral high ground to anyone who cackled about the assassination of Muammar Qaddafi, not one inch. What’s next: smearing Matt for calling Aileen Wuornos a creep? There must be a special place in hell for women who oppose her, too.

Me? I’m just going hypergraphic and Extremely Online again. My insolence doesn’t translate into power. Besides, come summer, I notice that the above-average aren’t picking a hell of a lot of fruit. That would get in the way of investment banking and shit.

Be Well, Do Good Work, and, ooh giggity giggity, Keep in “Touch.”

Advent for assholes

Sure enough, Dickinson Fucking College got in on Giving Tuesday. That crew never misses an opportunity to forcibly board a bandwagon and chase the almighty dollar. I know about this because I’m on the junk mailing lists. That isn’t why I signed up. I meant to stay abreast of events that might be worth attending and in touch with cool people, not constantly pestered for alms that I’d sooner give the Dunkin’ Doorman and, when I do show up at alumni events, gang-dissed by the most condescending shitheads on earth. They’ve got plenty of people other than me in their donor pool whose affluence is matched only by their vanity, but to call them out of the woodwork they have to blast everyone with their happy horseshit, and all who wander into range walk away dirtied.

Mind you, the Dunkin’ Doorman is still a reliable pain in the ass and a low funding priority, but he compares well. The only way I’ve gotten mixed up with him is by going into the Dunkin’ Donuts across the street from the Atlantic City bus station, and that means that there are two or three fine styles of ride ready to whisk me the fuck out of there at all hours of the day and night, and an even finer style of ride out past the outlets and the convention center. Dickinson collects the very worst people on the Main Line in a remote municipality that might as well not have mass transit. As New Jerseyans go, the Dunkin’ Doorman is a big improvement over the two Italian asshats at our table at alumni weekend, including a guy who was method-acting Rudy Giuliani. Those pushy, condescending motherfuckers didn’t need three minutes to set my feelings about the Italians back a century and a quarter. Instead of belittling me for not being a gung-ho fuckjob about our alma mater and dubiously referring verbatim to Dickinson’s increased “diversity,” which they barely were not, they ought to be quietly and humbly grateful that their wop-ass ancestors weren’t sent back to Sicily, just as I’m grateful that my grandfather wasn’t sent back to Russia for being a kike.

Okay, to England. Cheerio, cunts!

The Dunkin’ Doorman has never thought less of me for being the only whitey in the shop; he thinks less of me because I’m a jerk who won’t buy him a coffee. We judge one another by the content of our character, and I do mean judge. God bless America. As I insist, he’s one annoying son of a bitch, and I don’t seem to be the only person who feels that way, but at least he doesn’t constantly hector me about how a college education that has already cost my parents something like $140 for every day that I was present on campus is worth even more. Haven’t they already coughed up enough for that shit? How are the returns on an endowment principle of over $400 million plus enough to tuition per full-fare student to buy a nice house somewhere sensible not enough to keep that fucking joint afloat? Like public broadcasting, these needy assholes just need to suckle at every possible tit. The Dunkin’ Doorman wouldn’t mind doing that himself, and muscling in on some nonconsensual kaffeeklatsch in the process, but he’s a loser trying to get by in the ghetto (in the ghetto), not a fabulously well endowed college with a rather affluent parent and alumni base.

The faculty, who actually worth a damn, aren’t all stacking mad cash from that gig, but Bill Durden was worth something like $7 million and a free mansion. The general problem here is that charitable organizations are allowed to pay their executives whole multiples of the maximum pay grades available to career civil servants and still maintain their tax-exempt status, no questions asked. The specific problem is that Bill Durden’s fair market value crashed to parity with the Dunkin’ Doorman’s by 2004 at the latest, and then he got involved in a criminal conspiracy involving the college police department and at least two of its very bad cops. Dickinson could have rotated up any number of career faculty members who wouldn’t have wasted our attention telling longwinded bullshit stories about our dear intersectional Founding Fathers and would have been more likely than Durden to promptly clean house at DPS. Instead they recruited an over-the-top Mr. Chips dipshit who evolved into an ever more bizarre caricature of himself. Instead of putting someone accountable in the job, they tolerated a president who obfuscated and lied his way out of a serious crisis that was one whistleblower complaint to outside investigators away from possibly getting him criminally indicted.

What do Durden’s smitten alumni say? Oh, I know you feel he shouldn’t have done that, but he really improved the college’s standing. How can we fire Holtzclaw? His stats are great. Jerry Sandusky: An Appreciation of the Winningest Coach in the Conference. Put me in; I’m ready to play! How can we remove Bill Clinton from office? He’s a liberal! (He damn well is not.)

The Durd’s followers don’t consider the Darlington/Sexton/Fazio clusterfuck a dealbreaker, if they’ve heard of it, because they’re followers in a full-blown cult. Their precious college has a higher calling that putting an immediate stop to criminal wilding on its private police force. It has a higher calling than disclosing the scope of its campus police powers and activities as dictated by federal law. Let’s not die on these piddling hills. Let’s be prestigious instead.

Hence the Giving Tuesday appeal from *MY OLD SCHOOL*. This is where we get into even deeper, more pervasive cult brainwashing. Our national observances of the seasons keep crashing through false floors into ever-deeper circles of hell. We’ve long had Thanksgiving as an observance of late fall, and we’ve longer had Christmas and New Year’s Day as observances of winter. So far, so good. Jesus in fact is not the reason for the season. That’s cheap reactionary authoritarian horseshit. If you want to find Christianity in these pages, scroll back through the archives to the cat stuff. I’m not here to spit out comprehensive apologetics in defense of Christian-occult syncretism, and frankly these pages suffer from a 1:1,312 ratio of cat stuff to Northside Juice and the Shady Blues memes, give or take some math, and some professional standards. From the start, Christmas celebrations incorporated hella pagan imagery and rituals. The old pagans were into some deep shit involving the natural world, and so were the early Christians and the ancient Israelites.

The commercialization of the holiday season isn’t just atrocious Christianity; it’s also atrocious paganism. It’s an utter deracination from everything true and profound and edifying, a stupefying, literally goddamned waste. It is carefully crafted to alienate us from ourselves, our communities, any spirituality that we might discern, and our past, an elaborate, unceasing Bernaysian mindfuck. One could write off the bulk of Rod Dreher’s commentary as the theocratic nonsense of the religiously preoccupied and still be completely convinced that he’s absolutely right about the Benedict Option. Anyone from any tradition that values wisdom or independence of mind cherishes refuges from this hideous onslaught. I’m able to tolerate the hopped-up Christmas schmaltz that they’re playing in this Starbucks only because I’ve gone borderline insensate and need a wifi connection.

This shit has nothing to do with Christ or Christianity and hardly a thing to do with winter as any halfway attentive and perceptive person experiences it. It’s marketing copy in a society whose marketing copy has gone haywire. It wasn’t long ago, well within the time that I’ve been old enough to appreciate these things, that Black Friday was an obscure bit of retail industry shorthand, a term that a person not directly involved with retail would have known. It crept into the loudmouth business media around the turn of the millennium, and then the marketeers decided that it was the ticket to goad reluctant consumers into Stakhanovite overdrive.

If retailers’ business models were so shitty that they operated in the red for eleven months of the year, it’s hard to see how that was their customers’ problem; maybe they should have sold stuff that was somehow worth buying instead. But it is our problem now; they’ve made it our problem. They’ve programmed us to respond like Pavlov’s dogs to discounts on the shit they’re hawking.

Black Friday was historically the first big revenue day because Americans had the basic reverence to spend Thanksgiving doing something other than trampling their neighbors in doorbuster frenzies. This disappointed the marketeers, so they started conditioning the most programmable of us to desecrate Thanksgiving Day itself by excusing ourselves from family dinners, if we even went in the first place, with the most rapaciously venal profanity. They conditioned us to spend one of our most treasured national feast days camping out in front of department stores, waiting on arbitrary opening hours and artificial scarcities that had been calibrated for maximum operant conditioning.

Thanksgiving had always been one of our civic jubilee Sabbaths, a day when Denny’s would be open, as America’s Diner Always Is, but Best Buy would not. As Black Friday celebrations were instituted with ratcheting aggression, Thanksgiving became yet another day that retail employees could no longer expect their bosses to allow them some rest. Compulsory Sabbath observance was a huge labor-left agenda item back in the day; that’s why there’s no Sunday mail delivery. The US Mail is worth delivering on some kind of prompt and regular basis, but instead of 365-day mail delivery, we have assholes shoving each other on Thanksgiving night to get to the last discount flatscreen TV.

We’d have to move into monasteries to get away from this profanation of our high holidays. It isn’t just Black Friday anymore. We started hearing about Cyber Monday, when sheltered dipshits with cushy office jobs spend company time buying Christmas presents instead of thinking about how they wouldn’t gross one red cent picking fruit piecerate if they spent the day diddling around on their phones (you’re welcome), and then the me-too fringe constituencies that were jealous of all the attention big business was hogging started muscling in with their own official marketing days. Now we have Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday. What, pray tell, about the other 363 (or 364!) days of the year that might be available to shop at small businesses or give to charity? Shut up and pay up, asshole.

Dickinson College certainly doesn’t mind using the other 363. If they think there’s some milk to be had, they’re yanking the udder. Far be it from them not to pull that titty, or to ask permission before reaching for mine. As I said, they wouldn’t be able to call forth all the vain shitheads to give alms if they were humble, modest, or considerate.

This sort of invective rubs quite a few people the wrong way. They react to it as the ranting of killjoys. Who am I to be the bitch to kill their vibe? Who died and made me king of anything? Shit, Bareilles is weird as fuck, but she’s better than any of the assholes getting the heavy rotation on easy listening/Top 40 radio this time of year. If you’re listening to it, it’s for you, and if you’re listening to that, you’re one of the programmable ones.

I seek to kill that vibe because it sucks, to cure what’s deep inside my nation, frightened of the cost of airfare to Nairobi. Toto memes have nothing on what passes for Christmas music these days for sheer Potemkin Village idiocy. Bear in mind that I’m not complaining about anyone trying to give thanks, to be still and observe and contemplate the winter so as to understand it more deeply, or for that matter to meet basic material needs; far from it. But the holidays have been perverted into a full month of avarice and ingratitude, an orgy of thoughtless greed. I’m tempted to call it parochial, but this spirit is far too narrow to give a moment’s thought to the needs of an entire parish. The schmaltzy shit they’re playing at Starbucks, and I don’t feel like investigating how many other chain stores, has nothing to do with any of the deep truths of the season, let alone of life in general; it’s muzak engineered to deaden the mind and condition what we used to call citizens to spend more money on consumer goods that they don’t need while their poor neighbors, who still exist even in a society as fabulously wealthy as the United States, go without and are further marginalized into an even more humiliating existence.

Maybe, just maybe, the poor wouldn’t have such a hard time of it if the affluent and, to be even bolder, the shitbirds in the marketing departments conceded that there is some virtue to fasting and being still. Don’t say that it will never happen, but do realize that it’s a tall order, one requiring the reassertion of a long-lost independence of mind and civic courage. Thomas Jefferson, for all his grotesque flaws, damn well hoped that we’d turn out better than this as a nation. That’s why I’m Extremely Online, vomiting forth the liberal arts that I had to steal the time to study when I was in college. Tom Wolfe, as channeled by Jojo and Hoyt, was right: there is no such thing, for we are all slaves. Except for that dork Gellin and anyone who thinks he’s Patton for just for fucking up a rogue Chippie’s face in a street fight. Funny thing: that little beef wasn’t written up as a police discipline problem, either. Wolfe has a keen finger on our arrhythmic pulse.

You’re probably going to have to find your own way this holiday season, just as I have, and for uncountable seasons to come. We’ve got a whole shitload of operant conditioning to deprogram. America has come to be a society that abhors independent thought, even in its universities. The church halls used to be the bigger problem here, but lately there’s been more civics holding religion accountable than there has been informing education or civics itself. If nothing else, we have another month of hellish music having nothing to do with things of God and little to do with things of wintertime to suffer. We might have better Christmas music, even Christian music, but the marketing departments wouldn’t approve. I’m convinced that Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” has saved Londoners and Seattleites from winter suicides. I know, a lot of good it did the drunkard herself, and it’s only a strong hunch, but this is America, so that’s the least bizarre thing you’re allowed to believe without evidence. Great bell section, tho. It isn’t natural law that keeps our honest music so obscure; it’s privately administered positive law. Not that Americans are raised to consider that corporations can exercise any sort of tyranny, mind you.

So all I can offer in closing, on this day that we learned of Garrison Keillor’s pianissimo firing for workplace perv (writers alma knock it off, am I right?), is to note that we once again have Roy Orbison singing for the horny, and to offer what Nicolae Ceausescu counseled in his farewell address to his people:

Step into Christmas before Christmas steps into you.

I’m sure this is literally the worst thing a nurse ever did in Indiana

While Eli Lilly was out running more Tuskegee-grade medical experiments on Indy’s homeless, a newly licensed RN got fired from what sounds like her first job at IU Health for publishing a tasteless but Brandenburg-compliant tweet about the awfulness of white boys and the white mothers who raise them to be so awful:

“Every white woman raises a detriment to society when they raise a son. Someone with the HIGHEST propensity to be a terrorist, rapist, racist, killer, and domestic violence all star. Historically every son you had should be sacrificed to the wolves Bitch”

That’s certainly an indulgence in grand hyperbole and an offense to English composition, and homegirl used some dubious, muddled crime statistics. A scrubbed account under the same handle, @tai_fieri (hey now, haven’t the West Coast Italians been white meat since, like, 1850?), makes Taiyesha Baker out to have pulled a Cella with a professional license, but it isn’t clear whether her account got taken over by MAGA trolls after she deleted it or she reopened it to troll the shitlords.

The least disturbing thing about this scandal is that a nurse wrote some obnoxiously racist shit on a personal Twitter account that appeared to have been semi-anonymous, showing her face and using a handle based on her given name but not directly disclosing her legal name. We’ve apparently got internet sleuths doxing a junior nurse and ratting her out to her bosses. This is vicious, officious behavior that should be strongly discouraged. We’ve got dozens of the creepiest fucking right-wing nutjob sites aggregating this story that really amounts to a nurse being rude online and whipping it up into a moral panic. Human resources is involved, and that means that we’re the resources. Specifically, we have a hospital HR department throwing a new hire under the bus, scapegoating her as a one-off threat to patient welfare and safety, which, statistically, is closer to an absolute impossibility than an extreme improbability. It’s funny, but no one in HR ever says, gee, I’m a fucking grandstanding useless eater with n skill set and no ambition to lead any sort of reputable or productive life, so I think I’ll go fly a sign down by the freeway instead of shitting on someone who just passed a bunch of nursing classes and the NCLEX-RN for being mean online.

Nurse Baker sounds rather prejudiced, possibly unto bigotry, but take a fucking look at the creeps she’s riled up. I, for one, find it impossible not to fully and unabashedly take her side, not to endorse everything she wrote but to rebuke everyone who is willing to turn into a monster in order to punish junior employees like her for engaging in rude dissent.

A tweet montage assembled by PJ media (not sure I want to link to it in case it’s a cesspool, so feel free to look it up yourselves) included an all too apt complaint about racial prejudice in department stores: “Yt women steal more than anyone. they used to fuck nordstrom up. Only blacks got followed by lost prevention tho.” (Sic.) I don’t doubt this for a fucking second; that sort of shit is notorious, a serious, ongoing scandal that realistically will be brought to an end only with undercover stings followed by lawsuits.

Baker also complained about ammosexual white colleagues, and again, as much as I support broad gun rights for hunters and sport shooters and wish anti-gun elements wouldn’t be so ignorant and prejudiced about those who use guns responsibly, I’m all for the ridicule of ammosexual dipshits, who are a separate constituency from normal hunters and shooters. Hunting is a legitimate, useful folkway. I find sport shooting a bit foolish and frivolous, but there’s nothing really objectionable about it if it’s done safely, and every shooting instructor I ever had in the BSA was openly ready to rip any of us a new one for being reckless, inattentive, or, God forbid, insubordinate on the range. I’m glad I’ve done some sport shooting, then, and that I know how to use a gun safely. This is totally separate from believing that yahoos who think they’ll be able to charge into some shootout like Bat Masterson and successfully neutralize the combatants with a Glock that they keep in the purse are sacrosanct and beyond criticism.

This entire uproar is over political speech. There would be no way to fire every nurse who has noxious or bizarre political beliefs and still have a working healthcare system. And doctors? Holy shit, do you realize how many docs make Radovan Karadzic sound like Vaclav Havel? Physicians, surgeons, and for that matter dentists tend towards some fucking horrific politics. They believe some really bonechilling stuff. Some of it is about race, most of it is about class, and when it’s about race it’s reliably also about class. There’s a disturbing, credible body of research indicating that medical prejudice results in significantly worse treatment and outcomes for minority and poor patients, often due to implicit, not explicit, bias.

Coarse online venting or barstool talk is a red herring. The actual threats to patient welfare occur in actual clinical settings and involve actual clinical practices, just as anyone with any fucking sense would assume. A nurse who got her license last month has senior colleagues, charge nurses, and physicians regularly keeping an eye on her work. If she’s mistreating patients and the other staff on her floor aren’t out to lunch, they’ll catch her. This is basic shit.

The perfect is the enemy of the good here. We are never going to have a medical sector whose staff have flawless politics, and we’re fucking retarded if we think that this is even worth attempting. Policing clinicians’ off-duty political lives inevitably results in more staff disgruntlement, worse patient treatment and outcomes, higher staff turnover, and an ever worsening healthcare system. The sort of people who most successfully navigate politicized workplaces are the most manipulative and dishonest. More than a few of them are outright psychopaths. Taiyesha Baker was run out of her first professional job, and likely blacklisted, not for being politically controversial but for practicing poor social media opsec. HR, by gruesome contrast, is full of disingenuous, fake, craven shitbirds who have no principle whatsoever and are easily capable of Eichmann-grade institutional cruelty. These are the ones who are careful with their social media profiles. These are the ones who self-censor and stay on brand. Baker doesn’t scare me; these creeps do.

A well-run hospital or clinic has institutional controls in place to ensure that patients don’t fall victim to poor care for any reason. That includes purposeful mistreatment or neglect informed by the bigoted personal views of individual clinicians. But professional standards are maintained in the workplace, not by hounding employees after hours and ratting them out over politically inflammatory rhetoric that has no bearing on their professional lives. If a nurse is walking the floor muttering, “Damn, I fucking hate crackers,” that’s a problem. If a nurse vents about troublesome patients or colleagues (who most assuredly exist) away from the floor, that’s a safety valve, and probably a crucial one. Hospitals are full of aggravating people and situations, so of course the staff are going to have impolitic things to say about them. HR and other admin scum scrupulously pretend otherwise because they’re sheltered predators who will never concede their own great fitness for defenestration. That’s another great Central European political tradition, czech it out, but don’t worry, no one on the admin wing has heard of Havel, either.

Maybe the only people worse than people who admit to having vicious personal beliefs are those who successfully pretend that they don’t have vicious personal beliefs. That’s who runs modern neoliberal society. Everywhere we go in mainstream society we’re governed from some snakepit. It’s all too plain to see that the caliber of “human resources” “professionals” (I should have given prior warning to ready the airsickness bag) who fire the likes of Taiyesha Baker are incalculably worse and more dangerous than Taiyesha Baker. Does she sound like she has what it takes to get into corporate management today? Hell no. That’s why we should be on guard around those who know when to keep their mouths shut. Or as they say in Alabama, Song, Song of the South, Millington for Sheriff and I shut my mouth.

No, Neil Young is not the most interesting Canadian. No reason they can’t sing that same tune north of the mighty Ohio, even on the banks of–my God, this is true; what surreal providence–the White River. This is like learning of Joey Buttafuoco all over again. It’s better than the possible existence of Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend. He may be a crisis actor for all I know, but it’s a good story. I’m publishing some rude, problematic #content here, too, but HR is what we get by endlessly seeking out politics that are safe for work.

Enough gendered comments about nurses, though. This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned that men can be nurses, too, and it won’t be the last. Nurse Lynn Majors? Ooh, she sounds sexy! Yes, you’re right about that. He’s dead sexy.

Don’t be surprised to read that; be surprised that it didn’t come up earlier. It was a long time coming. So was Mike Pence getting a bunch of people sickened and killed by blocking a needle exchange program in Scott County, but they were his constituents, not his patients, and whatever it is, you’re allowed to do it if you call it policy. Or if you call yourself Eli Lilly, apparently.

Lynn Majors may be the sexiest thing ever to happen to nursing, but I keep getting the feeling that he’s far from the worst thing to happen to it, just as I keep getting the feeling that Taiyesha Baker isn’t the worst thing to happen to Indiana’s white community. It’s not like he cleaned up well enough to get hired at Terre Haute, where they also keep a clean needle and drug supply, or like she got deployed to Vancouver fresh out of Depot. I might be literally shocked to see Gerry Rundel on the scene, but I wouldn’t to hear him rue the day he quit that fishing gig.

You know who’s all about staying on brand these days, though? That’s right: one Kwesi Sekou Millington. #CommunicateToCreate! Just in case Hitler wasn’t enough of an embarrassment to vegetarianism and the health cult, our old boy who sued the CBC for damaging his reputation is pitching something called Meatless Muscle, too. That’s what happens when you actually kill a white guy instead of going online to complain about white people. I’m sure the Dziekanski family is relieved that his problem isn’t with honkies, just with agitated guys.

We’re all living in a Black Mirror episode; I’m just trying to do a little something to chronicle it.

Hey, I just said “black!” Guess I’m not getting a job with language like that.