Putting the Weiner into Weinstein

Giggity, etc. The Weinstein thing didn’t shock or even particularly surprise me. I was vaguely aware of him as some sort of studio bigshot, i.e., a presumable sleaze. After the scandal broke, I learned that he’s behind a lot of execrably violent art (sic?), some of it frankly toxic, an oeuvre whose gratuitous coarseness is somehow consistent with his being a leading liberal woke bae. That Reservoir Dogs, the inspiration for Greg Lemhouse’s sworn night watch street gang in Medford, is considered compatible with bleeding-heart liberalism speaks volumes about the abdication of principle at play in our supposedly leftist show business. Fittingly enough, Lemhouse is reputed to have been axed a few years shy of a pension for an outburst of on-duty horn and not for bragging about commanding a Terry Stop crew. Our boy Harvey, for his part, got shitcanned by his family enterprise for failing to keep it in his pants, not for beating the shit out of a casual business acquaintance, and that happened years after a model had reported him to the NYPD for sexual assault.

It’s pedestrian that Weinstein ran a casting couch for ambitious starlets; Gwyneth Paltrow sucking and fucking her way to the top (whaddup, Fuhrman) would be an exceptionally unsympathetic claim of quid pro quo victimization in a society that also includes sexually extortionate farm crew bosses and Cousin Gigolo. Homeskillet seriously cashed out, so cry me the fucking Owens, cowgirl. BFD if the cost of jumping the queue to the bigtime at some sleazy private studio is a load or two of the Harv’s Goop.

What’s impressive is that Weinstein was able to curbstomp a guy he barely knew in a fancy part of Manhattan without anyone calling 911. What’s impressive is that none of the women now publicly accusing him of sexual harassment or assault went public with their own claims, damn the NDA’s, full steam ahead, when the NYPD and Manhattan DA’s office were investigating him for forcible groping. Like, yeah, I believe her because he coerced me into sexual favors, too, that kind of thing. A handful of women could have had their lawyers dogpile Weinstein for petitions to invalidate their nondisclosure agreements as unconscionable, a class action, RICO claims, and of course a massive shitload of horribly bad press. The bad press alone would have shut the creep down then as much as it did just now.

Instead, everybody who was anybody was a fucking chicken. No principle, no courage, no backbone, hell, not even any overpowering disgust, just chickenshit all the way down. No one privately conspired with anyone else to band together and blow the putz clear out of the water: wherever two or more are gathered in my name, etc. Fat chance of that, apparently. No lawyers determined that they were unethically helping a predator maintain an ongoing campaign of extremely bad acts, probably in consideration of their own ongoing pattern of making big piles of money.

Everybody straight up to Cyrus Vance got paid to turn a blind eye. The fact that that alone isn’t an explicit professional conflict of interest is damning of the bar. Oh, no, you don’t understand, contributing to the reelection campaign of the guy who didn’t prosecute my criminal defense client was about civics!

Yeah, and I’m Perry Mason.

To recap, we’ve got nobody whatsoever who feels and acts on a moral duty to report Weinstein for serial abuse (not just sexual, either), and only one victim out of dozens with the nerve to publicly cry out at the time and seek adjudication. It was an open secret that this thug habitually made gross sexual overtures to strange women and explicitly threatened grievous violence against other men, sometimes actually committing felony assaults, but look, you can’t do anything about it, he’s just like that.

It was, however, kosher to occasionally rib the vile lech with plausibly deniable pop culture inside jokes: Family Guy gags, crappy celebrity roast rotines, and the like. *Very Jerry Seinfeld voice* And how about that Sandusky character? Heating oil must cost a fortune over there in State College if he’s doubling up in the showers. Man! *A REAL STAND-UP GUY*

Jer RY! Jer RY!

Meanwhile, the same crowd that spent my lifetime to date, until this month, covering for this exhibitionist who throws other men down the stairs in fits of animal rage will have us know that it’s our feminist duty to call out rape culture and our parallel environmental duty to live ascetically for the climate’s sake, but not theirs to stop jet-setting from mansion to mansion on two or three continents. No man is an island, but Brad Pitt probably owns one. Check for yourselves; I’m too jaded to care.

Nice fire complex they’ve got going in Napa-Sonoma; shame it didn’t jump the line up on Mulholland Drive instead. Focus, William Tecumseh! Focus!

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Maybe they really are dream hoarders

Yuck. It is my lot yet again to relitigate the 2016 election and its ramifications. My mom had to bring Trump, his unbelievable election, and the ignorance of his white trash voters up at the dinner table again, and this time I couldn’t let the belittlement slide. I flat-out told her and my dad that I had nearly voted for Trump and been relieved when he won the general election. I was explicit about why I like and trust Trump more than I do Hillary Clinton: that I was afraid Clinton would provoke a nuclear war with Russia; that, absolutely regardless of the very real US human rights violations that my mom sputteringly brought up as a red herring, Kim Jong-un and his regime deserve to be annihilated for what they did to Otto Warmbier, full stop, and that any government capable of whacking that thug, decapitating his regime, and putting an end to its menace to the international community should be encouraged to do so (I was too wigged out to say anything about the kill box in South Korea, which certainly disturbs me, but I believe fully in the assassination of that third-generation sovereign mob boss by any foreign power, regardless of its own imperfections); that Trump’s working-class supporters didn’t expect much of him but very reasonably put more stock in his public comments about doing right by them, as scatterbrained and dubious as they were, than they did in anything Hillary was offering.

The chronic problem here is that my parents have drunk the full serving of bourgeois liberal Kool-Aid and can’t or won’t admit that they’re proceeding from some really faulty premises, including ones about me and my circumstances specifically. Trump in no way has to be a mensch to get me in a way that Hillary does not, to respect me more than she does, or even to end up doing things that advance my welfare. Multiply my own circumstances by however many tens of millions of Americans are in similar ones, and you can get an idea of how the oaf was elected.

My parents have no reason whatsoever that I feel any common cause with Trump’s herrenvolk authoritarian extremism, or that anyone in particular from the white working class does. Aside from increased restrictions on immigration, which I would hope to see made more equitable and humane that the arbitrary patchwork of enforcement and non-enforcement that we have today, I abhor most of that shit, and Jeff Sessions genuinely scares me, as in not feeling like the kind of white boy he would refrain from having abducted, tortured, and extrajudicially executed. The temperamental and intellectual sympathies that I feel for Steve Bannon as a thinker who gets unjustly shit upon for expressing thoughts do not extend to a refusal to challenge him when he advocates nonsense or evil. His opposition can do better than the projectile vulgarity and feigned anti-intellectual retardation of that putz Scaramucci, the Harvard Law boy.

That I still feel more comfortable with the gist of the Trump Administration than with what I was expecting from a feminazi-themed Clinton redux is because I really, truly do perceive something uniquely dangerous about Billary and the sociopolitical context that they’ve done so much to create. In strictly logical terms, they’re crazier than Joe McCarthy on Russia. The Soviets in his day were Stalinist turned barely post-Stalinist hostile power; Russia under Vladimir Putin is nothing of the sort. The Kremlin has stocked its closet with some fresh skeletons, but it’s no Saudi Arabia, either as a threat to the human rights of its constituents or as a foreign power hostile to the United States. No reasonable and attentive American observer would consider Russia worse than a neutral power that gets caught up in unresolved disputes with its US-allied former imperial satellites. The FSB alerted the FBI to the brothers Tsarnaev; Saudi Arabia commissioned 9/11. What’s worse than just the burgeoning insanity of the educated liberal class on these matters, though, is that it’s being stoked out in the open by operatives of the failed presidential campaign of a notoriously sleazy yuppie power couple, fronted by a shrewishly feminist woman who rode her husband’s coattails to fame and the United States Senate. Your Fleek Abuela, the sworn detail-oriented wonk who wasn’t detail-oriented enough to stump in Wisconsin, lost because the Kremlin put a hundred grand worth of ads on Facebook and hired some third-rate internet trolls.

I dare say that my fears of nuclear aggression against Russia in the event of Hillary Clinton’s presidency have been borne out by the incredibly irresponsible bullshit about Kremlin interference that she has been orchestrating as a twice-defeated presidential candidate and former two-term first lady. This is a woman of insatiable ambition and wrath.

Trump is stylistically rather different, but I don’t see how his public comments are any less responsible or sane. Beefing with Piggy Gangnam Style is rash, and I do not want to see those two bring their nations to nuclear war over their mutually wounded honor, but expressing anger and condemnation at such a vile and dangerous character is perfectly sane. The international community has been struggling almost helplessly to contain that porky thug and his ancestors for practically a full human lifetime while they’ve starved their own subjects at will and arrayed enough medium-range artillery along the DMZ to turn Seoul into an ashtray. That’s without Nork nukes.

As rash as Trump’s public beef with Piggy Gangnam Style is, his rude comments are a potential threat solely because the Nork Dork has carried on and beefed up his family’s tradition of threatening to militarily annihilate its neighbors. That son of a bitch should be disposed of as quickly and cleanly as possible, if that’s possible. It would be fair enough to do to him what he had done to his brother in Kuala Lumpur, sauce for the fat gander being sauce for the other fat gander. That won’t be accomplished by Trump returning fire in an international war of trash talk, but the finest diplomacy the international community has brought to the table has done precious little to make that family behave itself.

At least we have independent civil institutions in the United States. Imagine what the Clintons would do in their absence. Or the Trumps. But the Trumps can’t hold a candle to the Clintons’ established insider political and news connections. They’re decades behind on parlaying the Donald’s specific celebrity as an entertainer into backstage political capital. Surely this helps explain why Trump keeps getting savaged in the mainstream media every time he says something coarse while Hillary is basically given a pass for comments that are equally coarse and sometimes even more disturbing, including her joking about Muammar Qaddafi’s gruesome death. Her thoughtless lack of compassion for a man who was pulled out of a sewer where he had been hiding and beaten and raped to death by a mob was cruel and abnormal. If there is a moral qualification for the presidency that’s worth observing, she didn’t do a thing to live up to it.

Meanwhile we keep hearing all this moral outrage about the rude things that Donald Trump has had to say about various domestic political opponents. Very often the same people fume that it’s outrageous for him to abet the police in roughing up suspects, that it’s outrageous for him to encourage NFL owners to fire players for taking a knee during the national anthem, and that it’s outrageous for him to make fun of Mika and Joe. Shit, guys, we’re gonna have to conserve some outrage here. Mika and Joe aren’t fucking vulnerable. Hillary Clinton sure as hell isn’t vulnerable. If they want to stop being savaged by an oaf of office who can’t help but trash-talk other celebrities, they’re free to retire from public life. In fact, it’s past goddamn time for Hillary and her entire family to retire from public life. Bill has been squandering his fading charm on stunts like cornering Loretta Lynch on the tarmac and beseeching her to think of Charlotte.

We have no duty as a citizenry to cater to the easily bruised feelings of the publicly privileged. As a raging Fox and Friends television grandpa, Trump is hit-or-miss, but when he goes after self-important blowhards who have never put a blessed thing on the line for their principles in their lives, he hits, hard and square. The Clintons, whose permanent triangulation in the twentieth century yielded to crude, haphazard stunts  in desperate pursuit of a dwindling viable base in the twenty-first, are perfect candidates for Trump’s attacks. Hillary is a walking treasury of all the bad things about feminism and none of the good ones. It’s little wonder that Hugo Schwyzer was able to successfully hack his way into overlapping activist circles as a male ally who was in it for the pussy. He’d do well in an environment driven by a logic that the only way to check one’s misogyny is to vote for the centimillionaire wife from the Lincoln Bedroom couple who is also, like, the craziest bitch in the country.

I’ll be damned if I’ll be cornered into voting for a woman who obviously looks down on me and wishes me ill for who I am when I’ve already had so much trouble functioning in the nightmare society that she, her husband, and their coterie have done everything in their power to create. One of the cool things about voting for Jill Stein was that doing so was almost as effective as going straight MAGA in driving disingenuous Uber liberals and parallel affluenza cases into a state of utter apoplexy. After all the difficulties I’ve had, I have no problem making them feel uncomfortable and upset. I don’t mind seeing the shoe on the other foot from time to time. Bill claimed to feel our pain; there’s no reason not to make his current political operation and target base actually, personally feel the pain that they’ve caused in the narrow pursuit of their self-interest.

Trump keeps getting flak for disrespecting hallowed institutions. Well fuck me. These are the same institutions that have double-crossed me and countless people like me and made it nigh impossible for us to stay afloat under our own power. The Congressional Republican Caucus would sooner put me in chains and heave me into the Potomac than serve me as a constituent. So would much of the Congressional Democratic Caucus. So, certainly, would Billary. None of these creeps gives a damn about normal people. Their constituents have to gang up on them to get them to provide basic constituent services, like not further fucking up Obamacare and leaving Americans to die by the tens of thousands. The presidency featured unionbusting under former SAG President Ronald Reagan, IRS audits targeting the poor under Bush I, constant sleaze under Clinton, and overt, uncontrolled constitutional crises under Bush II and Obama. Now some loudmouth from television goes off-script and THAT’S the most unprecedented threat to our government institutions? Like hell it is.

Of course I’m sick of the trite, worn-out, Aaron Sorkin-ass presumption of goodwill on behalf of offices and institutions that have clearly been taken over by looters. I went to school with people who now man this machinery, and I have no doubt that as a group they’re in it for nothing but their own power and wealth. In their professional lives, these are anything but admirable people. It’s a fucking tragedy; some of them could have done something worthwhile instead, but they aren’t about to bite the hand that feeds them so lavishly and risk ending up like me.

If Trump makes them feel threatened, good. They’ve turned into a territorial nightmare, and it’s about time that someone else came around and marked their territory. I routinely see people that Trump has not even started to dispossess freaking out more overtly at the prospect of his upsetting their apple cart than I freak out about sleeping in my fucking car. He swings his dick around like LBJ and smacks random ass-kissing celebrities with it, and these lunatics take it personally. We’ve got sworn liberals out rehabilitating Paul Ryan, the entire Bush clan, the FBI, and the CIA just because some quasi-old money yutz with golden toilets makes fun of yuppies. They’ve gone completely out of their minds because he occasionally humiliates their kind the way they habitually humiliate my kind, and they’re too dense to realize that his insults have not made them any less propertied.

It’s disturbing to watch people who allegedly have the finest liberal arts educations on earth get thrown by such crude stylistic attacks. Only a dimwit should be so easily rolled. That’s because they’re functionally dimwitted. They can’t, or won’t, muster actual counterarguments to Trump’s repetitive assertions that the industrial and mining jobs are coming back. They can’t imagine how this plays better in the rust belt than defending NAFTA as an across-the-board good. Both parties have spent decades by now catering to their interests as educated yuppies, at great expense to the uneducated and the poor, but they can’t imagine why the latter respond positively to a guy who promises to flip the rules back in their favor and fight for their interests.

Trump is all over the place, but some of his assertions are more right than even he may realize. Paying honest wages for honest work is a more equitable and stable economic model than flipping houses, and coal mining is honest work. It’s simplistic, but he’s on to some big things there. If everyone tries to keep collecting rents, before long there will be no one productive enough to make rent. Bill Clinton deliberately set the United States on a course towards everyone scamming everyone else, and W and Obama kept it up to varying but consistently significant degrees. Trump is right that the knowledge economy has dispossessed a whole lot of workaday Americans, not all of them unknowledgeable.

Damn straight I’d rather have a shyster from the real estate business ramble on about these themes incoherently than have the latest political front from a crime family known for its own exceptionally sleazy real estate dealings insist in somewhat more syntactically normal sentences that an economy amounting to serial Ponzi and MLM schemes is obviously sustainable. That shit barely held steady through the nineties, and it crashed into a smoldering pile of rubble just in time for Hillary to lose her first campaign for the presidency. Trump has yet to do anything to cure me of my relief that she ultimately lost her second campaign. It’s refreshing to have, for the first time in my life, a president who overtly shows us how much respect he has for his office and for his constituency. It’s no less refreshing to have the same gaudy oaf of office putting the yuppie swarm on the defensive. Decorum wasn’t taking us anywhere good.

A hot take on DACA

1) Barack Obama, noted deportation machine, didn’t actually give a shit about the welfare of immigrants. He cynically stood back while ICE deported Adam Crapser to South Korea over exactly the sort of trifling paperwork irregularity that is misleadingly attributed to adults who personally chose to immigrate illegally to the United States. Adam Crapser is as culturally Korean as Otto Warmbier. He was shoved into the buzzsaw because his extremely abusive adoptive parents failed to take action to naturalize him as a minor and then, having been acculturated into Greater Spanaway, he fell into an intermittent life of crime. He could be Pierce County’s problem; instead he’s South Korea’s now. And the president who could have stepped in on his behalf and protected him, papers or no papers be damned, as a fellow American? Barry O don’t care.

2) Gee, it looks like we have another of our little federalism problems here. Crapser has state records in Oregon and Washington that the governors couldn’t be bothered to vacate. Oops. It couldn’t be that the governors and, say, Washington State Attorney General are really just craven grandstanders, could it? Might that explain the appearance that the welfare of foreign refugees takes precedence over that of a guy who got chewed up and spit out by the federal immigration maw just because the parents who adopted him from South Korea and raised him as an American were the shittiest derelicts on the adoption circuit?

3) Immigration enforcement is an area of exclusive federal jurisdiction, but immigration non-enforcement is generally devolved to the states and municipalities. Glad we cleared that up. State and local governments are allowed to assert themselves as sanctuaries now, and state governors have been allowed to issue pardons since Jamestown, but being shitheads, give or take a few, they don’t do that. They maybe won’t hand detainees over to ICE, but they also won’t vacate the criminal records of technical aliens who have no meaningful ties to their birth countries. Funny thing, they keep all these small-time ex-cons and child arrivals on ice for years instead of taking constitutionally sound action to permanently regularize their status and integrate them into American society. It’s almost as if they aren’t really looking out for their welfare, but are instead trying to score political points on the cheap and also keep the day labor hiring lots staffed up. It’s almost as if they don’t really want to have more legal, enfranchised constituents when they might otherwise continue to lord it over vulnerable alien client pools.

3a) Allowing the Louisiana Department of Corrections to enslave, torture, and arbitrarily kill prisoners on the intact grounds of an antebellum plantation is good federalism. Allowing the states to authorize their own immigrants according to their own policy goals under federal supervision, after the pattern of Canada’s provincial nominee program, would be bad federalism. Canada is an English-speaking federal nation founded under British common law and sharing an extensive land and navigable water border with the United States. How in the everloving sweet hell would we possibly be able to adopt best practices from such a nation when Ottawa is several tenths as far from the District of Columbia as San Jose? And what sort of healthcare system might those furry friends have? It’s probably just the guys from the Red/Green Show and a neighborhood Indian shaman, so there’s really no need to look there.

Sure, the states would abuse the shit out of any such program and turn it into a scab labor gravy train for the ownership class, but they’re already doing exactly that in negative terms, by establishing local policies that expressly contradict and contravene federal immigration law. What’s our goal here as a nation? Do we have any coherent sense, even at a Schoolhouse Rock level, of how federal we are determined to be? Are we doing anything but setting up state and local governments to be scofflaws before the federal government, to some awkward, confusing, and untenable end? *Larry Craig, taking a stance as wide as the moonscape of Mountain Home* And I believe that the people of Idaho will agree with me that Robert E. Lee is not just a naughty boy, but a nasty, naughty boy.

4) As disingenuous as DACA was, it was implemented to protect and regularize immigrants who had entered the United States as unemancipated minors and subsequently put down roots. There are strong social, cultural, and civic policy interests in protecting the residency and work authorization status of the Dreamers. That’s a kind of dumbass and unctuous name, but the civic reasoning behind DACA is sound, no matter how smarmily and disingenuously it is expressed.

A weaker but ethically consistent civic argument can be made for the Hart-Cellar Act and the family reunification that it prioritizes. Hart-Cellar has helped millions of immigrants immigrate to the United States in a fashion that keeps their family and community ties exceptionally intact and cohesive. It allows them to come here already knowing loved ones who are established in local communities and, unless they’re utterly averse to assimilation (in certain Chinese restaurants, many such cases), to proceed with their own integration in a supportive, functional social environment. It’s a solid, high-functioning policy of subsidiarity. Natural law is decisively on its side.

Fuck anyone who’s butthurt that Hart-Cellar only facilitates the importation of hostile swarthies and beta waifu. It’s an imperfect law, but it’s an exceptionally successful implementation of true, honest-to-God family values. The downward pressure that it puts on the wages of Americans could be mitigated by liberalizing family visit visa regulations and prioritizing residency permits for relatives who are not seeking employment in the United States, i.e., elderly grandparents and the like. We don’t want to be handing out family reunification entry permits to Chapo (oops, we’ve already taken the bastard in, and he won’t be a cheap date for any of us when he’s bundled off to Florence to chill out with Theodore the Hermit and Mr. Explodeyshorts), but our authorities are sensible enough to screen the likes of him out, and besides, the really determined thugs and crooks find ways to sneak in regardless. There’s plenty of room to tweak Hart-Cellar to minimize its abuse as a scab labor trafficking racket.

5) H-2A and H-1B serve no cultural, family, or social interest whatsoever. The holders of temporary work visas aren’t coming here to maintain familial or social ties. They have no civic stake, formal or informal, in the United States or any part of it. They’re nothing but roustabout mercenaries. There are legal farm workers who commute in from Mexico every morning and commute back every evening. Why the fuck should we cater to their interests when their revealed personal interest in the United States hardly lasts for sixteen hours at a stretch?

Besides, if anyone is formally admitted into the United States because management wants to screw over and dispossess the incumbent working class, of whatever ethnicity and national origin, it’s them. The existence of any category of work visa that offers no path to permanent residency and citizenship is a bright red flag. It’s the most unmistakable sign there is that immigration policy is being abused to dredge up disposable scab labor.

Admitting foreigners who are here to visit friends or family is fine. Admitting foreigners who are here to go shopping or to check out the cool shit as tourists is fine. Admitting manageable, integrable numbers of foreigners who aspire to become civically and socially engaged members of American society and perhaps US citizens is fine. Admitting the foreign spouses and other close relatives of US citizens is great.

What’s not fine is allowing corporate scumbags to order squads of foreign temp workers like they’re choosing donuts at Safeway. That’s the point at which the government is right to step in and put a stop to it. Doing so is nothing less than the duty of government to its actual constituents, who in no way include temporary work visa holders. Conflating this with Hart-Cellar and calling it all “immigration reform” is totally fucking bogus, an expression of dripping contempt for those who are already here and trying to hack out a viable existence as civic stakeholders. It’s appropriate to grant a partial stake to immigrants who are settled here or sincerely seeking settlement, and to expand this stake to citizenship as they demonstrate a commitment to the United States. The State Department should get in touch with Adam Crapser and invite him over to the Seoul Consulate for naturalization and a passport at his convenience.

It’s utterly inappropriate to grant a civic stake to foreigners who come in only for work and will be sent home once their temp contracts expire or are arbitrarily canceled by their employers. There’s no legitimate policy interest in muddying the waters and disrupting the labor market with their presence. Dole wanting to save payroll on field hands is not a legitimate policy interest. Google wanting cheaper, more compliant code monkeys is not a legitimate policy interest.

We’re too dense and dishonest as a polity to tell the difference because that’s how we’ve been programmed. Shit, what do I mean by “us?” Grays Harbor County, an Obama-to-Trump jurisdiction, must not be part of us. I’m heading there shortly, or maybe a bit farther south, both to make a pilgrimage to the Cobainian corner of Magaland and to get away from the smoke this evening. Hard red southwestern Washington may briefly be the only part of the Pacific Northwest without smoke, and as far as I’m concerned, the knowledge economy hipster shitbirds in Portland and Seattle who keep voting to dispossess me can fucking suck on it. 

Profiles in Cocksucking: Tyler Cowen

There’s something facially wrong with Tyler Cowen (heh, I just said “facial”; line up for one bitch), but I, Paul “Hurricane of Hidden History” Harvey have just learned the REST of the STORY, and it’s a filthy one. Dude’s always out polluting our discourse by saying things like “get used to eating your damn beans, losers,” but making these foul gaseous emissions sound barely academic enough not to manifestly be the vicious mind fugue of your shitty family elder who watches too much Fox and Friends. It turns out, though, that the bastard’s shady think tank is an old planter-class psyop deployed with Koch Brothers money in reaction to the twentieth century civil rights movement and the rising socieconomic equity that the planters feared.

Even seedier, it apparently moved to George Mason University because it got too toxic for UVA. Yes, that’s our horny, handsy old boy Tommy J’s venerable Shenandoah Chadscape, the one where the MAGA thugs assembled for their torchlit Brooks Brothers Brownshirt march on the quad the other week and that creepy fuckjob from Cincinnati by way of Toledo mowed down the counterprotesters with his ride, just as the Republican Party has been abetting its faithful to do this year. Such an operation might as well be moved closer to the national pundit feedlot and away from the in-state tuition, after all. There’s no need to have a diversified crop of activists and potentially sympathetic Visitors sniffing around and asking what the fuck that creepy outfit is doing anywhere under UVA auspices.

Here we’ve got a piece-of-shit fourth-rate intellect trafficking descriptive and predictive commentary that is actually prescriptive, without a quarter of the nuance and subtlety that Thomas Jefferson or any of the other intellectually curious founding fathers were able to muster in their best moments but with all the moral clarity and courage that they showed in their worst, and the motherfucker keeps getting nationally syndicated interview offers about how today’s rising generation will have to prize-fight for a can of pork and beans if we want to hold out the hope of supper. Bitch never mentions that we don’t need his soft, overfed ass’s permission to put some Bacon into our rebellion. He wouldn’t, would he? This is like saying that Millennials don’t carry or use cash. It’s because we aren’t supposed to do such a thing. We aren’t supposed to not be sniveling, servile little bitches on account of our participation trophies, either. We’re expected to be cowed by think tank dumbasses and their sponsored content butt-buddies in the newspapers who couldn’t win a reputable high school debate with the shit they publish. If that wretched dissembling bastard had to actually compete in the marketplace of ideas (yuck), none of us would have heard of him. His page views would be closer to Psychotarp’s than to mine.

At least he doesn’t look all fucking inbred like Megan McArdle. There’s always another bottom below the bottom. There’s always a deeper layer of slime, and there’s always some fuckjob in the thought business trying to shove our heads into it.

Much Coherent. Wow.

Bumper sticker crops even more obnoxious than the one chronicled in this classic Success is Overrated shortread are too common in hip parts of Oregon to be worth mentioning, but today I saw one in Salem hat blew the prevailing liberal layer of smug the fuck out with a countervailing smugfront from the sniveling hard right, including:

–Scott Walker for Governor (Oregon tags, so yeah, some real authentic Wisconsin values right there);

–PALIN;

–“I have noticed that everyone who is against abortion has been born.” Ronald Reagan;

–Restore the Constitution, a Hillsdale College project;

–Some shit from Reagan about liberty being forever only a generation from disappearing because we stop defending it and stuff (written next to a portrait of Chief Sundown, in any event, but too trite to be worth confirming attribution):

–I Support Our President/God Bless the USA.

I didn’t take an exhaustive inventory, but that was the gist: two governors whose actual political records are at nearly total cross-purposes, one of them having since erased her own record to go on wingnut welfare; a campaign to defend the US Constitution by aggressively subverting it on behalf of religion by means of positive law; a cowardly, servile profession of structural Lewinsky towards a head (heh) of state and government whose very title was meant by those originally conferring it to humble its holder, literally the presiding executive, with a reminder of his office’s tenuousness; some happy horseshit about liberty from a bullshitter who would legislate it away for nothing more than a few dozen electoral votes captured from Mr. Peanut; and, from the same shamblingly ill-concealed Alzheimer’s case whose production of war movies had convinced him that he’d actually gone to war, a dimwitted gradeschooler’s moral logic about abortion.

Faux-conservative, i.e. lying reactionary, elements have had most of a lifetime to erase Reagan’s record as Governor of California, which included not only taking the guns away from the colored folk and incidentally removing a number of them beyond the pale but also signing the most liberal laws on divorce (hence the future White House astrologer, Air Force One dispatcher, and drug scold) and abortion, which Reagan supported even though he’d never been one. The reactionaries have had a bit less than my total time of political awareness to date to fabricate their old boy’s presidency so that it now excludes some of the most active and gracious diplomacy in US history and also Ollie North’s little Hispanopersian thang, to which Visions of a Sunset pleaded psychotic instead of guilty or justified. His heart told him that he dindu nuffin vis-a-vis the assault rifles and the beards and the hostages and the death squads, but the facts told him otherwise. #TheMoreYouKnow. Sarah Palin needed only a few months to convince the same constituency that she had not possibly governed Alaska from the left with the lockstep support of the entire Democratic Caucus and over the fuming objections of most of her fellow Republicans. Mama Grizzly didn’t take shit from the oil companies, unless by “shit” we mean billions of dollars of extra royalties. In the Simpsonian parlance, she made them give the state its fucking stuff.

Rolling #TCOT doesn’t admire these two for having done anything halfway sensible or productive or competent or accommodating of bickering factions. It admires them for talking all bogus on the boob tube and throwing red meat into their lion pit. That’s how Reagan and Palin end up on the same Jeep panel (nicer and newer Jeep than it looked, I suspect) alongside Scott Walker, who is an absolute, unrelenting antisocial piece of shit. Battle Bob, pray for us. You or I can give countless hours of reflection to the moral and practical nuances of abortion, only to see it undone in the public discourse by some opportunistic shitbird from the movies splashing into the fray with scripted comments that are borderline retarded for an adult. I’ve given more thought to abortion just by stumbling across some Chesterton one-liners on Facebook than Twilight in America betrayed during his presidency, to judge from his loyal survivors.

That motherfucker didn’t give the appearance of giving a shit. Instead, like the Big Dog a few years later, but more subtly and behind the scenes, he put a wet finger to the wind (*Big Lewinsky Voice* Hey baby, need to wet it again?) and sussed out a triangulation strategy that allowed him to peel a few states’ worth of authoritarian godbotherers away from Jimmy Carter (whose appeal to a very broad swath of evangelical Christians, especially in the South, has been smeared out of the popular histories) and then successfully double down four years later by not fucking up in the face of a generally improved national economy and an increasingly hapless Democratic Party. Pretty effective for a guy who visibly sundowned during a televised debate in 1984, I have to say. Some liberal media not to point that out, too, but look at how little they’ve actually pointed out about the Donald, including the possibility that he has a negative net worth and the verified truths that he is not a successful businessman and that his book about his dealmaking prowess is vanity press bullshit that he paid a not particularly self-respecting publishing industry mercenary to ghostwrite.

In what otherworldly dimension is this collection of lying, amoral, inflammatory shysters respectable? What the hell of anything that they do is worth supporting? Donald Trump won’t even stick to his guns when a solid majority of his constituents agree with his avowed gut feeling that it’s past time to leave Afghanistan to its own devices. Then there’s his increasingly shrill and provocative commentary on Confederate apologist imagery and those who publicly cherish it. He’s pandering to the neosecesh and fellow-traveling violent trash because they’re his target market for MAGA merch. This fuckhead is willing to literally provoke the start of a civil war because that helps him sell his line of ball caps. The Russia stuff is the liberal Benghazi, but his catering to his own personal brand in the face of imminent threats to public safety and order is an obvious impeachable offense, a turducken of public corruption, dereliction of duty, and deliberate endangerment of the public for profit. Meanwhile he’s bleeding the Secret Service dry and running its agents into the ground even harder than usual by making them fly all over hell with him and his horrific coterie of spouse and spawn, every one of them working some sleazy profit angle at great public expense.

Trump has a history of vicious public bigotry dating back decades, or at least a public appearance of bigotry (the hang-the-bastards invective he published about the Central Park rape suspects was reprehensible), but he probably believes the Night They Drove Old Dixie Down horseshit as wholeheartedly as Reagan believed whatever crap the Moral Majority wanted to hear from him. Maybe these guys believe their own bullshit; maybe these are method acting performances gone totally out of control. This is more likely with Many Sides, who lacks the breadth of experience and training in professional acting that Goodnight Simi Valley enjoyed and used to such political benefit. There is a suite of self-disciplines that Reagan cultivated as a screen actor and Trump, who simply played himself, did not. Reagan discharged the public speaking responsibilities of their office using his long-honed craft; Trump simply discharges all over the place.

So what does that bling-flashing Queens bullshit artist actually think about Marse Bob and Stonewall and that whole gang? Probably not a hell of a lot, in any sense. Jefferson Davis was savaged by his own Confederate planter contemporaries as an intractably disagreeable piece of shit, but that’s the last thing a blowhard like Donald Trump knows about the Recent Unpleasantness. He latched onto the Lost Cause nonsense almost out of nowhere over the summer, probably because Chad Wealthingrape and the boys down at UVA were giving him shout-outs (shouts-out?) and buying his hats. His declaration of common cause with the postindustrial underemployed, by contrast, feels ancient. (Gin and Tacos has a strong counterpoint, very much worth reading, here.)

Many would argue that the difference between Trump and Reagan is that Reagan had principles to forsake, but they’re both so deep in the bullshit that I don’t feel like trying to conclude anything about this. The idea that Reagan had a Road to Damascus experience coinciding conveniently with his campaign for national office during a time of increasing establishmentarian revanchism isn’t awfully plausible, but he was far too skilled and confident a communicator to get tripped up by his being a divorcé remarried to a doofus whose fascination with dime-store occult nonsense was too trippy for the New Age Democrats, not just too heretical for the positive-law godbotherers taking over the Republican Party. Similarly, or maybe more so, the idea of Trump suddenly developing a personal interest in the mail-order statues on the South’s town squares in his seventies right as a bunch of aspiring Klansmen were ramping up their rally schedule doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense.

The real question may be just how much of the American public actually believes any of this garbage, and how reliably this portion votes. The crazy reliably jacks up turnout, so there’s definitely some amplification. The Republican primary electorate is neither representative of nor very much of the electorate at large, but just look at the floaters it churned up last year who barely lost to Trump. And I’m not trying to imply that I’ve stopped considering the Democratic Party a smoldering trash barge in its own right, or Hillary Clinton its terminally grandiose captain.

Either way, to quote Richard Nixon, perhaps verbatim: Christ, Bob, we’re fucked.

Senioritis

The blueberry season is getting close to the end, with a few days’ worth of Legacy left to pick, and I’m getting antsy. Going to Idaho for the eclipse didn’t help. I was out of town for a full week, free of the nagging guilt and acute distress that afflicted me during my walkout last month when I was biding my time in Newport and Portland, and the time to relax was a damn nice refreshment. I also realize that after I got out of Elko, a bleak-ass city where I managed to have an overly athletic she-yuppie in a T-shirt from an annual marathon in Pacific Grove tell me that I’m not homeless because I travel while her husband, in a matching shirt, looked on timidly in something between embarrassment and dumbfounded pain–that after I got away from the surprisingly eerie circumstances of that fucked-up dump of a railroad watering stop and across the unearthly moonscape between Owyhee and Mountain Home, I spent the bulk of my waking hours in Boise and Idaho City around people who were significantly better put together and in healthier and more pleasant built environments than what I normally face at work. An exceptionally friendly and gracious older yuppie couple in a Midlife Crisis Beemer (Mercedes? If they’d been on a train, you’d be hearing the damn specifics) gave me a pair of eclipse glasses right after I pulled into the LDS Church parking lot (initially transcribed as LSD Church; lol) in Idaho City, a few miles into the southern line of totality, a lot that the local Napoleonic faithful had opened up for free with a request on a sign by the entrance that we clean up after ourselves and refrain from alcohol and tobacco use, and with two perfectly clean portapotties on the perimeter of the lot.

Damn, Dynamite, you and the liger came through, man. Groovy shit, cracker. One needn’t grok the Mormons to be able to tell that they do us gentiles many a mitzvah in spite of shit like Jamberry and all the business they provide for the FBI’s white-collar crime division in Salt Lake City. I was straight-up right about that crew, fam. And I was wrong about Boise, which I expected to be a dump but is legit bitchin’.

The real life to which I returned, a bit reluctantly and a day later than I’d been targeting, has me earning four dollars an hour in a very good hour working on a vaguely shabby property (standing portajohn contracts are inevitably Pot-o-Shit Friendly) for employers who try to paper over their recurrently shady business practices by being buddies with me and my exclusively minor colleagues. It may not be a really ominous sign that I’m the only legal adult they’ve managed to keep on the crew for more than a few days this season, but it can’t be good. Most of this shady shit is pretty minor (heh), and I’m happy to give them some extra latitude because they run a scrupulously safe operation in an industry whose prevailing standards include threats to life and limb, but it gets old.

I’m 35 and have a bachelor’s degree. Why do I keep working there? I don’t discuss such things at work; it isn’t appropriate, and it would provoke fruitless chaos in an organization that is already regularly chaotic. One of my motivations is that I love farm work, especially with fruit plants. That much is easily and comfortably explained. The socioeconomic background that got me to the Willamette Valley doing stoop labor for thirty cents on the dollar of minimum wage are a can of worms. Most of the others on the crew this year don’t give me the vibe that they’ve willing to listen and be sensible and thoughtful, and I don’t dare go anywhere near this mess with my bosses. Discussing one’s homelessness with normies, self-described or other-described, is a minefield: hence that PG marathoner dipshit in Elko and her embarrassingly uncomfortable husband.

On my second day back at work after all the cool Idaho shit, the highest-volume picker on this year’s crew bluntly asked me, “Why do you come so late?” After stammering under my breath for a few seconds, I told her, just as bluntly, “Don’t go there.” To my powerful relief, she got the message and didn’t say another word about that. She’s one of nine siblings, three of whom have worked with me, and one of her sisters was the teacher’s pet who tried to sheepdog me back onto my assigned row, which was a useless waste of time and energy, a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it runs in the family. They come from a Warsaw Pact immigrant background that would explain it pretty conveniently. Then again, the third sister, who is doing something that pays kind of decently this year, is nothing like that. But I’ll be damned if I needed another possible stool pigeon on the crew turning me into the butt of gossip. Teacher’s pets are keystones in any authoritarian regime. In the US context, they’re the Uncle Toms. The actual Uncle Tom, the one with the cabin, wasn’t like that, but, well, you know. Or maybe you don’t; I hate to say it, but you wouldn’t be the only one. I knew enough shitheads in college who acted like they’d rat anyone but their true loved ones out to the secret police for internment or gassing or come what may to last me a lifetime. To hell with tolerating another one at a three-dollar-an-hour job. Or two-dollar. Whatever; it ain’t enough for that shit. My punctuality isn’t that chick’s fucking business. Full stop. It doesn’t concern her, and her intrusion into it augured nothing but ill.

I’m glad that I nipped her aspiring keyholder act in the bud, and I’m relieved that I was able to nip it in the bud without walking off the job again. If she resents me for not having to come to work at the same time that she does, she has no business letting it get back to me, and she also has her head up her ass. This isn’t a normal job deserving industry-standard attendance or punctuality or loyalty. I’m already more loyal than most people would think sensible to a company whose internal prevailing standard is maybe trying not to be a total fucking twerp all the time. DiLH told this year’s ADHD twerp that they’d like to keep him on to weed for a few days after the harvest: “Your dad says this is your job to lose.” Personnel decisions involving the Ditzney Princess’s mother were swell, so I gain much by not being a part of the local community, which sounds fucking miserable. That kid wanders around and stares at the river in a vaguely forlorn state of disorientation because his old man thinks it’ll teach him some things about life and growing up and shit. God bless America and the Protestant work ethic. I’ve come to enjoy the kid’s company, but fuckin’ A. I have to wonder how many competent, focused adults the farm has lost because it has all these twerpkin running around, some of them doing God knows what from minute to minute. I can certainly attest that it takes exceptional devotion to the work for a grown-ass adult to come back for another shift with the Ditzney Princess.

The new teacher’s pet has gotten the message, at least. I had some credibility to spare, some political capital, because I’m not a whiny little brat like so many of the other pickers. Office politics shouldn’t be rearing their oily head at this crappy job, and usually they don’t with any virulence. The stuff that Americans find so captivating and resonant on The Office is fucking aberrant. It’s pathological, inimical both to morale and to getting a goddamned thing done at work. I might put up with some for $15 an hour, but my environmental consulting days made me question whether a less sexualized but more vicious version of it was possibly worth $19.75 plus benefits, as most of those around me insisted it ultimately was. Putting up with political bullshit at a portable shitter job site for $2.70 an hour plus under-the-table cash tips as low as a quarter? Go to hell.

That’s the thing. For what I’m earning, that job had damn well better be enjoyable and low-stress and flexible. My bosses don’t pay for the right to make it suck. On the whole, they get this, and I respect them profoundly for this. I don’t mean to imply with my complaints that I’m not immensely grateful for this. I keep coming back to this job and to others like it, when I can find them, because I love the work and consider it a calling. I don’t come to work to be a jackoff or a space cadet. If some of my colleagues consider that a good use of their own summers, that’s their circus and their monkeys. I come to plug in, get shit done, and make money. This feels like an excessively mature stance towards such a badly paid job at such a chaotic, low-key shady company, but no matter how pretentious or bumptious this may sound, the craft transcends most of this bullshit. I figure that some of the twerpkin may come to enjoy or treasure the work themselves or to take pride in it in due course of time, since I’ve seen colleagues who started off thinking that these jobs suck come to enjoy them.

None of this means that anyone has cause to give me lip for not showing up at 6:30 sharp. What the fuck? That’ll cost minimum wage with 100% FICA deductions, no shortcuts, no excuses. Our bosses are chiseling on FICA deductions with the cash tips, which we might as well inflate by two or three orders of magnitude to justify the trouble of reporting them to the IRS. Adulthood involves thinking about this shit. Or, for those who drop out into third-generation disability or professional sign-flying, it doesn’t. I’m working for people who aren’t setting the best example of diligent taxpaying, so yeah. Petty cash under the table, even unto dem shine George coin, doesn’t inspire me to get my ass out of bed right away.

Or out of the driver’s seat. I have no hope of explaining to most of these people that sleeping in my car is better than fearing domestic battery at Joe Dirtbag’s hands, constant domestic verbal abuse and gaslighting from the crossfire of his shitty marriage, or murder at the hands of an ex-Army Ranger paranoid creep of an apartment superintendent. Bizarrely, the Ditzney Princess might have gotten it on some weird level; she had maybe the soberest, least salacious, most empathetic reaction I’ve ever seen to the abridged story of Pot-o-Shit Friend. Still, I wasn’t about to risk the possibility that she’d run her mouth about it and get me into a mess.

And as much as I love this work, I’m not about to devote all my energy to an underpaid job on a shabby property run by a chaotic family on the outskirts of one of the shabbiest towns in the valley and burn the candle at both ends all summer when I can spare some energy to dick around a few hours a day in much nicer, healthier, and ultimately more edifying built and social environments instead. Again, that isn’t a lifestyle concern that I want to raise at work; I’m trying to be tactful here, and I’m trying to navigate social dynamics that could turn into a clusterfuck any minute. I’m not about to go in and tell anyone, yo, dawg, this is a crap job on a property where y’all curate a literal pile of crap in a plastic box in a shithole town, please to take it and shove it until at least 0800 hours daily. I’d like to maintain some fucking subtlety and discretion, and I’m able to pull it off when no one’s getting weird with me.

I haven’t yet gotten tired enough to fall asleep in the afternoon this summer. Given that I’ve nearly fallen asleep at the wheel in previous seasons after work, I dare say this is healthy. I’m not a wanker. A wanker doesn’t pick three quarters of a ton of blueberries by hand in a month and a half in spite of days when management sandbags everyone with row assignments that waste our time. I honestly don’t even know if I’d have picked much more by getting to work on time every day; I might have been too tired to stay so focused and productive. Regardless, it isn’t the business of some teenage gossip who’s trying out for a Mean Girls sequel. Girlfriend, I don’t even GO here! As they say in Midtown, I live by the light rail station in Rancho.

If these twits are trying to learn or, worse, teach lessons about what it means to have a job, I have one: find another job that isn’t such a joke. Spare me the lectures, Weber. I’ve been doing farm work since the current teacher’s pet was in preschool. Scavenging deposit bottles isn’t exactly a job, but it isn’t exactly not a job, and you betcha I notice that it doesn’t inflict an office politics on me as long as I keep an eye out for OTE roustabouts and staties. Chaka Can Chaka Can. It’s something of an Oscar the Grouch/Psychotarp intersectional lifetyle, but those two have better morals than Mother-in-Law on a bad day. Punctuality is for jobs where no one’s sneaking around the edges of Wage and Hour Division regulations and then handing out quarters as tips for a full day’s work.

Every day on the savanna, a lion and a gazelle both wake up, knowing that only one will survive: the gazelle. The moral of the story: be the microdicked shithead dentist from Minnesota who needs a full day and a full night to shoot the lion and then watch it bleed to death from a badly placed arrow wound.

Sts. Francis, Cecil, Cecil, and Jericho, pray for us. You’re shaking my confi–never mind, that’s starting to sound like a Baden-Powell tale. Chesterfield!

Feel free to recommend any money and/or personnel intercessors in the comments. Retweeting cash cats and the $115 badger makes about as much financial sense as taking my ass to work again tomorrow morning. The sad thing is that that’s more sense than trying to spell out adult finances for some teacher’s pet at a job where no one really earns a living. I’d be flying a sign at the rest area if I were in it mainly for the money.

Adulting, bitch.

Total eclipse of the head

Working over the summer in an area that will be under totality and keeping an ear on the radio, with and (preferentially) without Annnnnngellllllla Kelllllnnnnerrrrrr, has given me as much advance notice as anyone on the mess that’s expected to descend on Oregon this weekend for the eclipse. It sounded like a huge clusterfuck was on the way north, so I got out of Dodge on Thursday and started south. As I left the area, there had already been a couple of horrible rural traffic jams around Prineville, but every time I’ve checked Google Maps traffic since, the area looks pretty clear, so maybe the hippie importation into the Ochoco National Forest is mostly complete. KLCC had some ranch owner and real estate magnate on to brag about how his redneck values of self-reliance and grit forced him to do business with hippies in order to make ends meet in tight times, hence his inviting the organizers of upcountry Burning Man onto his property, which is miles from the nearest street address. Dude probably ain’t as strapped for cash as he makes himself out to be, but as Greg Gianforte would say, bullshitting city slickers about such things is the Montana Way.

On my way south, I stopped in Bend, a badly underrated city, as it fell under the pall of smoke from a huge wildfire west of Sisters. I had a panoramic view of the smoke coming across on Highway 20 and then got to savor the flavor for 150 miles. Hours after I left Bend, this jumped a containment line and prompted the closure of Highway 242, the windy mountain cutoff between Sisters and McKenzie Bridge. This is frankly a minor example of the shit I’ve been fearing. An active fire season is always possible in Oregon, and we’ve been having one this year. The more I think about it, the more relieved I am that 242 got closed days before the eclipse: a mass evacuation of flatlanders from the path of an oncoming fire in such rugged terrain along such a windy road would very likely have gotten people killed, quite possibly by the hundreds. Dozens of mostly local residents were killed earlier this year in Portugal when a forest fire that they were trying to flee burned over the road that they were trying to use as an evacuation road and trapped them in their cars, and that was in much more prosaic, normal circumstances that Oregon is expecting for the eclipse.

One of the reasons why I left was that I was worried about a mass-casualty fire scene even worse than that. I’m still a bit worried, but less so, since the traffic jams aren’t as bad as I was expecting. The northbound traffic I saw on my way south was heavy but orderly and not jammed up, and the timing of the eclipse, on the Monday morning of what many tourists will be able to make into a three-day weekend, should limit the rush the day and night before. The Monday afternoon exodus is still expected to be a zoo, though, and I’m glad to avoid that. I’d only get in the damn way. Nor did I relish the idea of sticking around an area where the last two rooms I could find, at a property that I often book for sixty or seventy dollars a night, were going for $1,399, plus generous taxes and fees.

I’m still trying to plan a trip to see the eclipse, but wicked inland, probably in Idaho. Napoleon Dynamite Country shouldn’t attract as many freaks and idiots as the Left Coast. Maybe I’m naive, but no matter how embarrassingly crunchy Western Montana is, it doesn’t have the sheer population to disgorge into Rexburg and Idaho Falls that California has available for John Day. Sensible Mormons seem like a good idea in times like these, and the Wasatch Front has many such cases. Better to have them colonize the eclipse path than the hippie swarm. They tend to bathe.

It isn’t just a matter of avoiding potentially contagious Anglo-Saxonisms such as the itch, the twitch, the mange, and the grunge. The dirty motherfuckers who choose to harbor such wonders (and the traveling ones are moneyed enough that it indeed is a fucking choice) are, as they say in activist communities, intersectional with the carriers of woo-woo. From what I’m hearing, a total eclipse is really worth watching, but I’d rather watch it with Mormon breeders who stockpile canned goods in a bunker than with healing crystals assholes. All the New Age bullshit is about to flood interior Oregon from Ashland and Nevada City and Santa Cruz, in an almost biblical sense, and I’ve had enough of that crap already. If you haven’t been exposed to it, you probably have no idea how fucking obnoxious it all is. The ideas that these losers have about the eclipse have to be UFC heavyweight wrestler fucking dropkicked that dumb bitch I did insane. I get the gist of it and can tell at a glance that it’s all retarded, so I really don’t need the details.

I don’t need another helping of the wholegrain vegan pancakes, either. Mixing whole wheat flour, olive oil, baking soda, oatmeal, and water into a batter (sic, and adequately sickening) might seem like a great idea to someone who also believes in “neurolinguistic programming” (Major Bones: “You realize, all that means is learning how to talk! Oh my God!”) and scatters affirmations that “EVERY DAY, IN EVERY WAY, I AM GETTING RICHER” around the house while snacking on rotten lettuce all afternoon. The Family Shrew earned her epithet in part by being a pushy bitch about how such a lifestyle would be edifying for me, too, and really for everyone. I have never figured out whether the nasty salad mix snacks (without dressing, because that woman knows how to wander out of her fucking mind) were entirely a health cult discipline or had something to do with her and Joe Dirtbag not being able to afford groceries at times when my dad had been giving them tens of thousands of dollars.

So, no, I do not want to go watch some special lunar shit with this crowd. It sounds miserable. It’s bad enough that I can’t reschedule it for a year not featuring a secular high in socioeconomic inequality in the OECD and an allegedly liberal Neo-Victorian IFL Science bourgeoisie that wants to tell the poor how to live and is successfully turning Donald Trump into the Millennium’s William Jennings Bryan as well as its FDR. There was a big-ass eclipse in 1888, too, during the Gilded Age. Back then all the fashionable moral people were open eugenicists who expected their breakfast cereals to double as laxatives and triple as masturbation suppressors. That’s where science got J. H. Kellogg. One fucking loves it. Everyone who wanted a cut of his money for research had to pretend that he wasn’t batshit insane for going to the zoo to watch chimpanzees shit and taking notes. #GorillaMindset. Grant writers today have to pretend that Uber isn’t a mashup of COINTELPRO, Dr. Mengele from the psychology department, and 38 Special Vinny from the taxicab racket, that there isn’t anything wrong with Elon Musk for wanting to colonize Mars and run a maglev pneumatic tube from New York to Washington at a time when no level of government in the United States has the wherewithal to fund a third heavy rail bore under the Hudson into Penn Station, and that Ashton Kutcher and Nicholas Jesus D. Kristof are international authorities on forced brothel labor, coextensive and coterminous with all sex work because they say so.

Shit, white boy. I haven’t even gotten to all the flak that the poor take for being fat. The eclipse is sure to be another excuse for people who expose entire communities to measles because Jenny McCarthy says vaccines are giving their brats autism to accuse churchgoing Christians of superstition. Okay, some cool shit is happening with the sun and the moon, but it doesn’t give some asshole who dicks around on the NASA website grounds to make fun of snake-handling holy rollers for being ignorant and backwards (they know a thing or two about animals, after all), and it doesn’t give some other asshole the dispensation to swirl a fucking amethyst crystal in front of my third eye. I say this as someone who took the plunge and went through with RCIA in order to avoid taking the literal plunge into the bathtub of a wacko cradle Catholic turned hardline Missouri Synod Lutheran/straight-up John Knox Presby hellfire preacher who wanted to summarily baptize me at a soiree that he was hosting.

I’m wary of zealots because I’ve gotten mixed up with a few. There are only two words that I need repeat about my institutional experience with Dickinson College: GO DIPLOMATS! Seriously, I’ve considered actually donating to Gettysburg and F&M just to spite the development office shitheads and the cult horde that they indoctrinate. It’d probably be a five spot, but I’d make damn sure that it’s enough to get my name on a published donor list. The eclipse already has the IFL Science community preening about its own superiority to uneducated religious ignoramuses who don’t fucking love science, so, yes, I’d rather go to Idaho Falls and see if any of the LDS MILF’s made some extra Jello salad. Remember: more sister wives means more recipes.

It also occurs to me that maybe Mormon eclipse-watchers in flyover country are Safety Bear enough not to start wildfires by driving on the grass. John Waters is full of shit about America being able to take in more people because there’s so much space, but there is something to be said for getting into a relatively unpopulated part of the country on a weekend when the populated part where I’ve been working is going to have a wildebeest stampede of flatlanders into climatic and vegetation regimes that they dangerously fail to understand.

There’s definitely something to be said for being rational about this stuff, to doing some real planning and trying to steer clear of those who don’t. The Boy Scouts taught me about more than just Chesterfield. Much of what we did there was retarded, but not all of it was. The BSA isn’t exactly an organization of heteronormative neurotypicality, so Our Lord Joseph’s Servant Gerald applying the DENNIS Method to one’s Heartland under its auspices shouldn’t come as a total surprise, but it did teach us some extremely useful things about gun and knife safety and wilderness survival when it wasn’t handing out merit badges like candy to anyone who spent a week at camp weaving dumbass kit baskets. In retrospect, I side with the kid who got frustrated and threw his basket into the campfire. Those who aren’t into arson can learn much from the BSA about how not to accidentally start fires. It isn’t a good place to send Jim DiMaggio or Sexy Male Code Enforcement Officer Lynn Rader for training (God, not another DENNIS Method), but the worst boys I encountered through it were average bullies or whiny little twerps, not psychopaths.

It’s true that none of my recurring memes are bad by BSA standards. It’s true that what’s most grievously missing from its camps are the camp whores. That sounds like an American Pie sequel, but prostitution would actually cut down on the juvenile bullshit, and it’s a lot more realistic than amateur hour with Mrs. Robinson. These boys aren’t about to get it on with Stacy’s Mom; I was one of them, and I know that we did not got it going on.

It’s a weird damn organization, Rex Tillerson being one of the exceptions that proves the rule, but as I said, it managed to teach some of us some good shit, and the people I’m trying to avoid in Oregon this weekend include ones who never got the personal hygiene merit badge. That’s the one you get by coming out of the bath not smelling like shit. Left-liberals can have a moral sense of purity, too, bitch. People who smell bad after they bathe offend mine, and they overlap significantly with idiots who start fires by driving on dry grass, smoke being another source of offensive impurity, but you know what they say: haters gonna haidt.