Adventures in bourgeois feminism

How do I put this delicately? You guys are gonna get Donald Trump reelected. Excuse me, you girls and/or gals and/or strong independent women and/or buddies and friends. I guess those last two are inclusive, but mainly of Canadians, not that I can ever resolve to avoid the near occasions of canucksploitation when Sweet Melissa of the Maritimes herself got a government grant to go on a speaking tour about how to be a battered wife, since the husband she’d run over with her car had a prior scheduling conflict. I’m not here to say that he definitely didn’t rape her, but she definitely did poison that other husband’s coffee on their honeymoon in Newfoundland, and I’m not the only one you’ll find Online.

If I weren’t recapitulating the usual story about how the Lady is my Shepard, I’d be going straight into repulsive commentary that one can’t avoid by refraining from dating online or joining the Halifax Police Service, specifically, NPR. From one perspective, I should have left the radio off when I turned it off on account of the hourly news segment about whiners who got butthurt over #GrammysSoMale. From another perspective, I would have missed a worthwhile roundtable of Ira Flato, Zeynep Tufekci, and some techie Mick Gavin something-or-other about proliferating surveillance technologies. I’d have equally missed it had I merely expected Ira Flato to neurotically chap my ass like usual, so there’s that, too. Look it up for yourselves if it sounds that interesting; I don’t mind readers thinking that I’m not a feminist, but I do mind y’all expecting me to be your ever-loyal link bitch.

Other perspectives include bright-and-early plural ones, with Lionel Osborne. Everybody’s welcome and his son is dead. That’s certainly better than the “female perspective” that a feminist friend insisted would make me feel less kindly about prostitution. This woman isn’t a dummy at all, but that comment was part of a massive, catastrophic failure of American thought. This failure affects a hell of a lot more than just high feminism. This is a society whose mainstream earnestly reads Tom Friedman without asking whether that fool is on speed, or on coke. There’s something pretty wrong when random women who wouldn’t personally feel comfortable engaging in sex work do feel comfortable unilaterally erasing the individual decisions of other women with, you know, other individual perspectives. The blatantly crazy thing to anyone who looks at this mess holistically is that prostitution is the most overwhelmingly female line of work this side of surrogate pregnancy and wet nursing. I’ve never gone around claiming that Cousin Gigolo is statistically representative of the business; I assume there are more women than men turning tricks with their landlords (and ladies!) for a rent discount or waiver, and that most of them aren’t exactly my cousins, either. It’s like Kato Kaelin but with sexual privileges, and also usually with lady parts instead of gentleman parts.

By the way, what’s really wrong with these arrangements is the slumlording, but we don’t do class consciousness around here. That’s how #GrammysSoMale even became, as they say, a thing. We’re all socialized to identify with the most unattainable heights of success and get sore because what theoretically stopped us from becoming movie stars is Harvey Weinstein, not the statistical fact that most SAG members don’t get enough work or earn enough royalties from prior work to make rent. There are, what, five billion people of working age on earth and a few thousand bigshot slots in entertainment, plus a few tens of thousands of less prominent but still comfortable positions? Do the math. #STEM: Making good minds GREAT!

We’re all temporarily embarrassed millionaires. We all just wanna be big rock stars. Thanks for erasing my recurring aspiration to get legal status to pick fruit in BC, eh. It wasn’t enough to leave me to my own devices to run into walls on the HRSDC website. Seriously, I’ve felt about harvest job listings in Abbotsford the way some Mexicans feel about jobs cutting lettuce in El Centro, except that, but for the grace of God and whatever other luck went into it, I’m not desperate enough to climb sacred perimeter fences. But there’s a broader point here. It’s nigh impossible to find Americans, or at least mainstream bourgeois Americans, who admit to aspiring to do an honorable job well and earn honest wages for honest labor. Everyone insists on being excellent, which in practice means going into management and degrading subordinates for profit. It’s easier to make a living under this model by unsheathing the long knives than by developing and applying productive skills. Betsy DeVos swears that she’s all about hard work, but if you’ll excuse my indulgence in radical labor theory, collecting commissions on one’s downline is not work.

Complaining that too few women were honored in the one of the most prestigious music awards shows on earth and that anyone who feels that the honorees were chosen for merit is a raging misogynist is batshit insane. The syntax of that sentence wasn’t much more lucid, but whatever; I’ve shaken off worse than complaints about that, including relationships with leading citizens of Wyomissing. For the vast majority of Americans, including ones from affluent families who are arrogant enough to presume themselves fully exempt from economic downturns, identifying with Taylor Swift is nuts. Using gender non-parity in an awards show to infer a misogynistic conspiracy to marginalize female vocal artists is flamingly fucking nuts. Like, do you cunts EVER listen to the radio? Don’t stop, ’till there’s nothing but the, but the, nah, that was kind of gross. The Krush: 92.5: Still not the Central Coast’s favorite listen-in-prison station. Or maybe, for all I know, it is. I do know that that bullshit station has never hooked my white ass up with a job in the wine industry that it so ostentatiously celebrates.

Our catastrophic failure of thought includes, not surprisingly, a catastrophic failure of empathy. In plain terms, why the fuck would I give a shit about gender parity in the Grammys when I’m regularly sleeping in my car? Normal people with normal concerns quite frankly do not give a shit, and anyone secure and privileged enough to spare the concern for successful female entertainers who got snubbed in an awards show should realize that this is a hobbyhorse with which people of more modest means and more pressing concerns will have limited patience.

Then again, it’s stunning how sheltered some people have been raised to be. They wallow indefinitely in their comfortable ignorance because no one around them has the nerve to tell them that they’re fucking idiots. If anyone stopped by to tell them off for erasing their social inferiors, they’d just angrily erase the bearer of rude news. On Facebook, this can be done in a single majestic click.

Some of them are barely more like Taylor Swift than some waitress; they’re just secure enough. The Insurance Schmuck’s ex-fiancée is one. Like Taylor Swift, she selectively uses feminism to assert herself as a strong independent woman, but she also has an uncanny ability to find affluent boyfriends, and she all but openly cares more about the welfare of dogs than the welfare of the poor. I was warned in the past not to share this story, but fuck off if it chaps your ass, because a few years ago this chick managed to get her father to drive drunk in the middle of the night from Erie to Rochester while the Rochester Police were doing a lengthy welfare check on her and the Insurance Schmuck at her mother’s request because she hadn’t responded to the most recent text messages that her mother had sent in the aftermath of a domestic dispute that these two fine young lovers had had in their hotel room. She was in her twenties by the time this shitshow went down. If I recall correctly, she had already graduated from college.

Here’s what bothers me about this. I’ve had my parents stage similar interventions later in my life, if nothing quite that ridiculous, but I’ve always recognized that these interventions indicated some inability on my part to function independently. This chick is duplicitous enough to want to have it both ways, and from what I can tell everyone around her has spent her entire life tacitly encouraging her to do exactly that. These dipshits think her shtick is cute. In reality, it is objectively antisocial and dyscivic. Scaled up, it destroys societies.

This woman never struck me as particularly talented. In a healthy society, that would be fine because she’d still be able to make a decent living doing something requiring mediocre talent. Unfortunately, she lives in a particularly licentious corner of an extremely unhealthy society. This is why I’m convinced that she specifically is a fount of fascism, under one partisan label or another. And I’m picking on her because she’s frighteningly representative of the failspawn of our generation, in particular the downwardly mobile young women. We have a huge number of children of affluence who are inevitably reverting to the mean in a period of extreme socioeconomic dysfunction and cutthroat immorality. They’ve been indoctrinated since early childhood with a toxic combination of self-esteem drivel, devious horseshit about their own meritocratic worth, and exhortations to greatness.

Do tell that this may not end well when it coincides with a Fourth-Turning secular collapse of the international economy. I’ve been in the schools. I’ve seen it. I’ve met the results of this campaign. Some of them have turned out better than could reasonably be expected of them. Others are fucking nightmarish.

This mishmash of braindead talking points is most effective on the least talented. These are the ones who need to get in on whatever identity politics scam they can to get ahead since whatever talents they do have will leave them in poverty under our current socioeconomic dispensation. Bourgeois feminism works for up to half of them, give or take. Mostly take, because lower-class women know damn well that this song and dance isn’t being performed for them. All this Lean In shit is part of the grand Dunning-Kruger operation to convince children of privilege that they’re as special as their own upbringings and to shield them from the disheartening evidence that their own desultory skills would wash them down into the beleaguered underclass without outside intervention.

Sheryl Sandberg is shrewd enough to tell that there’s a market for this garbage. Oprah is definitely more functional and thoughtful than the women she targets; Sandberg probably is. I mentioned Zeynep Tufekci above, and I don’t recall hearing her bitch about ridiculous petty grievances of the sisterhood. Nor do I often hear women who are competent and accomplished at much of anything, from running a farm to practicing nursing or medicine to just being really fucking well-read and well-spoken, gripe promiscuously about shit like how hurtful it is that so few women were honored at the Grammys and some male chauvinist pig had the balls to justify it on the basis that most of the worthy honorees the committee found were men. I do sometimes hear them complain about the sort of women who do complain about this shit, if you can stand the meta world discord (don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn you about that sort of thing), and I do know that if I saw prominent, privileged men carrying on like on a regular basis and getting platformed by major news organizations I’d be furious.

This still doesn’t answer why I keep listening to NPR. I can’t account for myself, except to say that it’s pretty impossible to catch any of the good stuff without at least risking exposure to something absolutely fucking retarded and disgraceful. #SPORTS are mixed up with shameful talking points about Russian meddling that Scott Simon has been instructed to disseminate, but I end up sleeping straight through #SPORTS, half-waking for five seconds of commentary about the President’s foul mouth, and remembering nothing at all after I’ve finally awoken for good for the afternoon but Chicago Senpai saying “shithole” on air. I’m actually doing all right today, since I caught most of a mostly good episode of Science Friday, which I always expect to suck ass. I don’t suppose I have a good voice for radio, but with talent like that, and the Radio Lab and TED Radio Hour assholes, I can’t say that I’m uncompetitive. As they say about sex in Maine, it’s all relative.

My problem is that I keep listening to a network that revolves around people who at least pretend to be doing something with their college degrees. Before I came in to write this I was scavenging deposit bottles from parking lots in Reno. Grievances about butthurt divas getting other women butthurt because they think they’ll be Taylor Swift someday if only men stopped being so mean obviously resonate with me. I’m in a nice part of Reno, as Reno goes; I’m not a fucking mascochist, now; but I’m not out here pretending that a fancy college education in the liberal arts and also some sciences enable me to function in American office cultures that are Dilbert hell minefields, is why I recognize which cans the State of *OPSEC* Whore Gone will pay me to turn in when I’m next in *THIS PLACE DOESN’T EXIST, EITHER* Slammeth Balls, or produced the literary skill to traffic “lyrics” of “Benny and the Jolts” and “Gerry and the Hearstoppers” “tunes.” Did I mention that modern American society devalues the shit out of independent and informal education, along with independent thought? I don’t expect all of my own material to be original when I’m shitposting about Mounties again, nor do I expect payment for recycling my shiznit. What, me Durden?

As Lenin said, the intellectuals are not society’s brains, but its shit. He wasn’t entirely wrong, and Soviet state radio wasn’t entirely worse than NPR. I’m just some asshole with a blog. They’re just some assholes with a federally funded, Congressionally chartered national radio network. Mark my words: any fund drive that I undertake won’t be THAT bad.

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Siraj and Me

When I saw lefty Twitter elements telling Siraj Hashmi to get fucked for dissing Chelsea Manning, I thought, gee, I think I may know that guy, and then, holy shit, I think I went to school with him. I didn’t recognize his picture, but the name is awfully unusual, and sure enough, it’s the same dude.

My first reaction upon confirming this was to hate Dickinson College even more than usual. Of course our dear Dickerson Collitch was sending meritocratic hotshots to the imperial center to enforce Democratic Party orthodoxy on Ben Cardin’s behalf for a living. *MY OLD SCHOOL* really is a hidden Ivy.

I didn’t exactly know Siraj, but I knew who he was, and by Facebook’s count alone, we have dozens of friends (“friends”) in common. But knowing most of these people is absolutely fucking useless. Learning that yet another social climber I often saw around campus gets a byline to drag primary challengers who threaten the incumbencies of elected officials who feel entitled to their jobs didn’t make me wonder why the hell I’m scavenging deposit bottles for the pocket change (duh: the money), but why in God’s name I can’t get payroll employment and decent housing on demand. No one pays tuition to a bumptious school like Dickinson on the suspicion that the completion of its coursework and receipt of its diploma won’t be a safeguard against unemployment and homelessness. It really is that simple; shove the talk of individual meritocratic pluck back up your ass if you disagree.

It isn’t just the amount of money that that school’s graceless, ungrateful administration hoovers up from all possible directions: I also knew far too many people with overt psychiatric or substance abuse problems that were serious enough to call into question their employability, and as far as I can tell the vast majority of them are gainfully employed, usually in prestigious positions. There’s something other than meritocracy at play when dozens of people who consistently acted like they were on course to end up drifting between rehab programs, psych wards, and SRO’s on the Bowery instead end up living in nice apartments in nice parts of our most expensive cities and holding down well-paid, stable, professional (sic, ish) jobs. So help me, I am not the only dysfunctional graduate among the people I knew there, or the most dysfunctional, and I’m sure in retrospect that there in fact was a great deal of coke drifting around campus, even though I only recall hearing about other drugs (mostly pot, hash, and shrooms). I say this because Dickinson enrolls and duly barfs back out exactly the class of entitled, belligerently grandiose prep-ass shitheads who drive cocaine demand worldwide.

Okay, not so much in interior BC; that disgraced Mountie sarge from the public information office at the Kamloops detachment wasn’t all about selling that base to investment bankers. That market figures, why buy crack already baked when you can bake your own at home, like Papa Murphy’s? *Sloppy second opinion from Rob Ford incoming* Because by the time you’re ready to smoke some crack, you’re too fucking blacked-out drunk to cook shit. I mean, I don’t see why else I’d smoke crack. Do you guys smoke that shit when you’re sober? Jesus Christ, Lillooet must be a shithole.

Cool, the one word that I was awake enough to hear Scott Simon utter on air over the weekend and still remember after I properly woke up. #StayWoke. Monty Robinson doesn’t need crack to commit perjury and DUI vehicular manslaughter. Here we go again; what a shock. I know most of you didn’t come here to rundel in the jungle; y’all are still here for that crap I wrote about Gulf Arab gents shitting on Western rent girls, and that’s gross. Not that I can dictate another man’s taste, of course. As my second-degree acquaintance Taylor Swift always says, haters gonna haidt; sheikh it off.

Surely you’ll be asking the Lord to have Mersey upon me if I force another Gerry and the Heartstoppers meme into this discourse. On this side of the 49th Parallel, it’s traditional for a man to take up fishing for his midlife crisis, so as much as I, SDPD reject and all, admire those who somehow get onto the force hella late in life (Chuck Quackenbush, too), I can’t help but question Fishy Horse’s judgment for going to Depot. No, that’s not true; it’s the recreational fishermen who are disturbed. None of this is to say that the RCMP isn’t a shitshow; it was having salacious sexual harassment scandals years ago, before that was cool, to the point of routinely sidelining disgruntled female constables on long-term disability at 100% pay because their corporals were assholes that the brass didn’t feel like disciplining. The RCM Buddy/Guy RC is a great agency for those who want to get paid to look dead sexy on a horse, then get paid to drink all day in their apartments and/or quietly wish that they were back on the island in chest waders, tugging on a big-ass net.

Dickinson graduates get paid for dumber, more useless shit than any of that. Hell, my parents live near Saratoga Springs, and Sauce Boss never did anything that ridiculous with a horse. That right there is the kind of thing that seems to happen to those who are blessed with discretionary income more than they are with sense. They dress up like Pride and Prejudice extras to go watch runts batter thoroughbreds with riding crops until they break their legs. It’s an elaborate mating ritual, and the eugenics aren’t just for the horses. It’s that feeling when one must court exclusively with those who are suitably white, or at least suitably White, so that those who marry into the family can afford their gambling problems. If you come across a bunch of inbred-looking mediocrities at the track, that’s probably why.

The asshats whose stranglehold on Maryland politics Chelsea Manning is trying to break have more of that hybrid vigor, but this doesn’t mean that they’re defensible. I’m guessing that the Pimlico crowd is Republican, which is just as well, since they’re just about the last constituency that the reputable parts of the Democratic base would want dictating the agenda.

The clarifying thing about shooing the Main Line trash off to the Republican Party was that it maintained a reasonably coherent adversarial relationship between a highbrow reactionary party and a lowbrow leftist party. It forced the affluent to admit that they were looking out for their own class interests, in case anyone was gullible enough to think that they were doing anything else. It limited the cognitive dissonance to have William F. Buckley squaring off against Cesar Chavez or what have you.

What we have today is a clusterfuck. The Democrats still swear that they’re looking out for the workingman, but Katie bar the fucking door against anyone who gets in the way of total yuppie aggrandizement. Then they wonder why the poor vote “against their interests,” since the Democratic Party is obviously defending the interests of laid-off miners and assembly line workers by catering obsequiously to MBA’s, corporate lawyers, and fellow-traveling SuperZIP desk jockeys. The poors must just be a bunch of ignorant,  uneducated religious zealots, certainly not attentive observers fed up with a party that insists on brownnosing every asshole who has ever tried to lay them off and then condescendingly blame them for being out of work.

The Democratic Party’s base in Maryland is said to be even worse: specifically, dominated by government workers. If these were just schoolteachers, yeomen running the region’s public works, and the like, it’d be fine, but what it really means is that the Democratic Party sucks up to every self-serious piece of shit who works for the NSA, along with every equally mentally disordered social climber who is attached in some capacity to Capitol Hill or the White House.

These are the worst government employees in the country. Only Virginia rivals Maryland for the low moral character of the residents it has working in and around government. This is why the Old Dominion has gone light purplish-blue: enough hangers-on in the functionally reactionary arms of the federal government have been convinced that the Democratic Party is the protector of their livelihoods and that their own welfare rises and falls with that of the alphabet soup of three-letter national security agencies to swing NoVa 60-40 or better in favor of Democratic candidates. That, and the Republicans have their thumbs up their asses on the regional traffic problem. Their increasing cultural affinity for the Democratic Party, though, is premised on the party being tacitly but fundamentally reactionary. They’re the imperial enforcer class. They aren’t about to get stoked for anyone who explicitly condemns the imperial order and implies that their jobs make them personally complicit in war crimes.

Hence all the dipshits this region sends to high office: Tim Kaine, Steny Hoyer, Ben Cardin. This list alone includes the weirdo who did jack shit for Hillary Clinton’s campaign except make her look bad by association with him, the gutless wonder who (along with Nancy Pelosi, because of course) forced Barack Obama to scuttle his plan to tax 529 college savings plans, as one does when one represents Affluenza Acres in Congress, and the tyrannically censorious shit ticket who wants to criminalize the BDS movement. That alone is reason enough to run Cardin out of Congress. He’s so eager to curry favor with the worst Jews on earth that he’s proposing to abrogate the US Constitution in fealty to a regional imperial power that, incidentally, once bombed a US naval ship, causing multiple casualties. I’m not exactly Jewish, but I’m Jewish enough to assert that this whole sick spectacle makes American Jewry look bad and that I will blame Ben Cardin if I ever catch blowback for it.

The way everyone involved in this movement for compulsory Zionism and fealty to whatever governments besides Israel’s are sloshing around in the garbage bag of official US allies is batshit fucking insane. Releasing video evidence of war crimes by US military personnel is treasonous, but moving to subvert the US Constitution on behalf of a foreign power is not. In what parallel civic universe is it acceptable to shitcan the First Amendment because a foreign government is butthurt about activists calling it out for human rights abuses? It would really be worthwhile to reinvigorate a Yiddish tradition of shanda smackdowns in this country, just so that troublemakers from AIPAC think twice before starting shit that makes other Jews and Semi-Semites look bad. No joke, I’d rather be ethnically associated with Harvey Weinstein; at least that way, I could point to Our Lord’s Servant Gerald and J. Denny Dundiddly as gentile concelebrants in the fellowship of the grope and the perv.

Siraj Hashmi trots out barely sourced anecdotes about how “some think” that Manning is a traitor who belongs in prison for the rest of his original term and shouldn’t have gotten hormone treatments for the purpose of sex reassignment behind bars. It’s no great accomplishment to find Beltway loudmouths who indulge in such gross fantasies of uninterrupted revenge, but why should the Democratic base tolerate, let alone cater to, this trash sack of bullies and hired thugs? This is extremely illiberal argumentation. A reasonable political alignment might include one major party with a bloodlust for carceral overdrive, but we already have the GOP for that, and that’s as good a place as any to shoo off anyone who tries to corrupt the decency of the Democratic Party with shitty bureaucratic revenge fantasies. I’d be quite happy for the Democrats not to contest the Republicans’ claim on depraved authoritarians and their heinous fantasies of incarcerating political prisoners for decades on end and punitively denying them medical care. That’s hateful, toxic garbage that no decent party should welcome.

“Some” “think” all sorts of crazy shit. This doesn’t mean that they deserve a platform for the normalization of their vicious lunatic notions. The guy on the LA subway the other week whom I had the beat cop go check in on thought that his daughter might be on the train and looked like he might lunge at any of our throats in his quest to find her. I’ve encountered other disturbed people who were muttering stories of blunt-force trauma to the knees or thought we all might be surrounded by portals to other dimensions. There’s no reason to give them a platform just because they have a story to tell. If a nutjob shows up with violent hallucinations and delusions of persecution, there’s no reason not to let him find his own audience, or to have patrol turf him out to the Hollywood Division if he won’t maintain an indoor voice and gait on the train.

We all ought to be as sensible about no-platforming equally disturbed political movements. A college education might be worth something if it taught the discernment between the decent and the indecent, the sane and the insane, and instilled the moral courage to call out disordered argumentation without fear or favor, but it wasn’t in college that I learned how to call out authority figures. As the half-cocked excuse for political science in the link shows, college didn’t do that for Siraj Hashmi, either. That’s a great example of what’s wrong with the selective objectivity of American journalism. We end up with the equivalent of soundbites from Kevin Vickers and Melissa Ann Shepard about whether or not it’s wrong to kill people for money and amusement. There’s no discernment of the bad from the good, and, so long as there’s a faction advancing it, no refusal to give a position a platform because it’s blatantly heinous.

The horserace concern-trolling has Hashmi all worked up about how omg Manning primarying Cardin might make deep-blue Maryland elect, if you’ll get this, a Republican. What, like Larry Hogan? LOL. Love too learn that a novice primary challenger is the reason why the Democratic Party may not have a stranglehold on statewide elected office in Maryland, as opposed to Maryland’s sitting Republican governor.

And if Manning spoils the election for some theoretical Republican? Boo fucking hoo. Cardin hasn’t alienated me to the extent that Hillary Clinton has, probably because ignorance is bliss, but he’s one US Senator out of 100, representing a state that has been exceptionally corrupted by some of the worst possible federal largesse. If that AIPAC-rimming dipshit is indispensable to the Democratic Congressional Caucus, the Democratic Party is screwed.

Besides, Cardin and the voters whose support he most cherishes are exactly the constituency that needs to be humiliated for the national good. We aren’t talking about an incrementalist moderate like Doug Jones running against the execrable Gadsden Lovin’, or Claire McCaskill, a Blue Dog embarrassment under normal circumstances, holding the line against a sexually superstitious religious zealot like Rep. Legitimate Rape. Don’t tell my heart, my akin breakin’ heart. We’re talking about a constitutionally transgressive blowhard running interference on behalf of a foreign government and representing a state where, in spite of the commanding lead that his party usually holds in statewide elections, his partisans are up in arms about how the party will be wrecked by a primary challenge, and he therefore deserves to proceed into the general election unopposed.

Already I like the idea of a Republican junior senator more than that of another six years of Ben Cardin. As a rule of thumb I prefer Democrats to Republicans, but I won’t mind losing one seat out of a hundred to punish these assholes for their boundless sense of entitlement. This is for the same reason that I enjoyed Trump as punishment, and still sometimes do. The people who get saltiest about these upsets are exactly those I want to see humiliated with a dose of their own medicine. If they throw a shit fit over the loss of “their” Senate seat in Maryland, I’ll just point and laugh.

It’s the same thing I would have done had Trump won Oregon or Vermont. The 2016 election was so dynamic, and the underlying sociology so unspeakably weird and unstable, that I thought he had a perceptible chance of carrying California. I didn’t consider twenty- or thirty-point swings in his favor from the professional polls to the electoral returns to be out of the question. In both Oregon and Vermont, I thought that the proud independence of the electorates might sink Hillary’s chances, with traditionally Democratic voters bristling violently at the dictatorial campaign to compel them to be #WithHer. Losing either Oregon or Vermont would have made the Democratic establishment shit bricks. That’s their territory, after all, and they weren’t ones to consider the possibility that it’s bad political strategy to demand the unbroken loyalty of a state whose very popular US Senator they just ratfucked out of a presidential nomination that he would have taken straight to a general election victory. Hell, even a one-state Bernie win in the general or a victorious cruise of the Stein Steamer down Lake Champlain would have been glorious, not just as a positive win but also as a way to pump up the beautiful Hillbot salt works.

Say what you will about my political judgment, but I think we came pretty close to something of the sort. Bernie didn’t win office in Vermont by barking, okay, listen up, you hayseed ingrates, I’m from Brooklyn and this is how we’re gonna do things. He got there and stayed there by having the humility to listen to people. Donald Trump got into office by sounding like he halfway understood the concerns of workaday Americans and maybe gave a damn, while Hillz lost the Rust Belt, Appalachia, and the entire election with her air of superiority. I was intellectually prepared to see her lose a number of solidly blue states by provoking a stealth male backlash against her feminazi grandstanding, along with Oregon and Vermont for being a carpetbagging city slicker who won’t stop telling her inferiors what to do.

In the end, the Donald didn’t win any states that no one was expecting him to win. He did just well enough at the margins in a bunch of swing states to carry the election without stealing any of the hardcore Democratic strongholds for the majestic offering of salt. That is, Democratic voters who were disgruntled with Hillary and her campaign turned out for her anyway. I bloody well didn’t, but quite a few did. She won decisively in many of the counties where Jill Stein did well. Conversely, Trump overcame serious spoiler challenges from Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin, although to judge from DNC talking points they don’t count as spoilers because, hush, let’s not talk about that.

The shitty ingrates who run the Democratic Party have gotten more loyalty from their disaffected base than they’ll ever admit, so I don’t see why they shouldn’t continue to do without mine. Their conversion of an erstwhile labor party to a rallying cry for overeducated douchebags I used to see around campus doesn’t fucking help.

Shithole. Shithole. Shithole. *PISSHOLE* coming out of Donald Trump’s *ASSHOLE*

The only reason I’d be embarrassed by that title under my nation’s present political circumstances would be if I’d reverted completely to verbal reflex and blamed Tom Perez for the Levitical emissions in question, but I was careful enough not to do that. I’m aware that I’ve wagged the rude finger at Bill Durden for quoting himself, but when I licentiously paraphrase myself, at least it’s fun.

So, we might concede, are our national politics, in a grand decline of Rome sort of way. Is this, at last, the final fall, or is there a trapdoor lurking beneath the shithole of our national discourse, ready to plunge us without notice into an even deeper and dirtier shithole? I’m happy to learn that Mr. Trump’s comments were translated into Croatian as “vukojebina,” retranslated into English as “place where wolves like to fuck.” “Wolffuckery” has a certain crisp Anglo-Saxon ring to it, if I doo say so myself, but keep in mind that this is fuckery in the fashion of a nursery, a place, not in that of nursing, the profession of Charles Cullen, Elizabeth Wettlaufer, and sexy male nurse Lynn Majors. Since we’re off the subject, I might as well mention how much fun it is to learn of the death of convicted murderer Edgar Ray Killen. That’s living poetry unto Joey Buttafuoco.

I hardly know where I’m going with this shit (into the hole?), but neither do Congress or our fourth estate. Ooh, please let’s have an episode of the Fifth Estate aboot this incident; I can’t wait to hear the Canucks self-seriously recrapitulate it in their crisp highbrow accents. But I’m just a shitposter with a free WordPress blog. A bunch of professionals who draw solid six-figure salaries either to run or to report on the federal government have been thrown into a foaming crisis over the president basically saying, dude, Nigeria isn’t a place where anyone wants to live.

Context matters, of course, and Trump’s context was ugly, as well as idiotic: that foreigners should be denied the opportunity to immigrate to the United States precisely because they’re trying to flee their impoverished, dysfunctional homelands in search of something better. To the extent that humanitarian concern is a value in our immigration policy, this is ass backwards. The whole give me your tired thing can be overblown and used disingenuously by capitalist overclass shitheads to justify the importation of scab labor, but even so, it has admirably and very reasonably been a point of pride for many Americans that our nation has welcomed so many foreigners from so many troubled countries, often with great success for the immigrants and their native neighbors alike. This is one of the things that foreigners most admire about the United States; hearing good things about America from relatives who immigrated here does a lot more for our international reputation than bombing the shit out of our recalcitrant imperial holdings in the greater Middle East because we’re governed by people who can’t resist an opportunity to rape a hornets’ nest.

The stray thoughts that I have about this shit over the course of five or ten minutes contain more nuance and detail than everything I heard about this dumbass scandal on NPR today. Governmental dysfunction and corruption in the Third World drives much of the immigration that has Trump’s tighty whiteys in a bunch, but instead of hearing about how we’re getting the brain drain and humanitarian flight from these countries, we heard about how African leaders are offended. Just because that’s true doesn’t mean that it’s germane. There was a great deal of hot kabuki outrage on behalf of our hard-working immigrants, too, which inevitably missed the bum fight that the overclass has orchestrated between immigrants and the native stock. In spite of, or rather because of, everything NPR tendentiously tells us about our government, it very rarely tells us how we are actually governed, i.e., by master psychopaths. Thanks to this furor over the president’s recurrently salty mouth, we got to hear about how Paul Ryan respects the shit out of African immigrants in Janesville and will never forget that he’s the descendant of shanty micks. Excuse me, but that motherfucker does not care about the poor of any national origin. He’s a scion of local wealth and power who catfishes as a scrappy bootstrapper in an effort to rob his entire nation of constituents blind on behalf of the serious money that sponsors him.

Here’s another fun item that slipped into the ATC broadcast in between longwinded discussions of the president’s scandalous mouth: an objectivity-boner interview with the bumptious governor of Utah about how a Medicaid work requirement is imperative because Utahans believe in work. That’s nice, but Mormon Madoff affinity scams for latter-day suckers and multilevel marketing rackets aren’t work. I might put partial stock in this happy horseshit if I didn’t know that the FBI’s second largest white collar crime squad is based in Salt Lake City. NPR guests are basically allowed to make up whatever the hell they want. Gary Herbert, our gubernatorial Utard, had a great deal to say about the states as the laboratories of democracy, which anyone attentive and honest would have cut short by reminding him that Medicaid is a fucking federal program. Does this gasbag think he should be allowed to make Amtrak switch to a three-foot gauge at the state line to comply with his construal of Utah’s idiosyncratic railroading culture, too? Notwithstanding the operational and political problems with devolving the administration of Medicaid to the states and their moralizing governments, the feds have no duty to allow the states to torpedo federally mandated and funded social services programs out of devotion to the spurious cultural origin myths of their grandstanding elected officials.

Serious question: does this kind of shit happen in Canada? Feel free to chime in in the comments if you know anything about this. I haven’t researched it in any depth, but what I have read suggests that the provincial options exercised over Medicare administration mostly have to do with things like which specific cutting-edge cancer treatments each province authorizes on its formularies, not whether Albertan values demand the impressment of the poor into workhouses, in contrast to BC values of lounging around on a nude beach all the live-long day and Saskatchewan values under which it’s your own fault if you missed free afternoon chow at the social services center because you were otherwise occupied getting piss-ass drunk in a sod ditch. It appears to be regarded pretty much across the country as an assault on the national social contract to use cool stories about provincial culture as an excuse to deliberately weaken social services. At the very least, the provinces are not given the local option to make up their own human rights and criminal due process standards, as our states are licentiously granted on a fairly routine basis.

Torpedoing Medicaid to spite the workshy poor doesn’t get NPR up in arms, but calling Nigeria a shithole does. They won’t lower the boom on behalf of truth and decency toward the native poor, but for the wounded pride of aspiring foreigners they enthusiastically will. Reading “shithole” above the fold on the New York Times homepage was a salacious joy. If It Fits, I Shits; Hit “Print!” NPR sanctimoniously let us behind the scenes to learn about the process by which it determined that there was a public interest in broadcasting Dick Durbin’s uncut hearsay about Donald Trump’s unutterable comment. Other than having to do its own independent reporting to corroborate the story, it amounted to because reasons. The Cubs will win the World Series before NPR explains why the same standard of newsworthiness and candor did not apply to Rod Blagojevich’s “fucking golden,” which strongly implied his attempt to sell Barack Obama’s former seat in the US Senate and got the Mayor sent off to fucking Littleton, which they aren’t gonna let him leave for fucking nothing. Fly the Fucking W, bitch. It’s also good salacious fun that NPR’s admitted standard for the utterance of “shithole” amounts to only once an hour and only from Durbin’s lips, not their own. Love too use a sitting United States Senator as a shabbos goy for the purpose of repeating the heinous comments of the sitting President.

Damn the FCC; full steam abreast! Ew, that again. It’s true, though. NPR isn’t ready to die on this hill of broadcast indecency in service to the unvarnished truth; it is ready to kill on this hill and fully hold its ground. In a way, it’s like Halloween in Southeastern Michigan for egging the neighbors’ houses, or the strike of midnight in the New Year in Manhattan for flashing one’s tits in front of Nicole Papamichael, or Mardi Gras for flashing the Who Dat on the Horse Squad in exchange for a strand of plastic beads and God willing they won’t pump your torso full of duckshot on the Danziger Bridge. It’s a special time when one is allowed to say “shithole” on CNN, have Dick Durbin say “shithole” on NPR, and/or print “shithole” in the Grey Lady. We can put the eggs back in the fridge on All Souls Day and reclothe our knockers come Lent. Or something like that. *Gary Johnson, tongue all over the place again* What is “Lent?” An extraordinary feast day has been decreed; gaudeamus igitur, bitches.

But to think that this is what it took to convince the chickenshit mainstream media to pull out all the stops and let the word, singular but repeated, fall out. No official policy is heinous enough, but the president mouthing off about how a number of countries that are notoriously abandoned by their most successful citizens, by way of trying to taint the brain drainers by association, did the trick. That was what it took to make the bigshots stop cowering before the FCC: hearsay about the POTUS blurting out one of the Heavy Seven at a meeting with legislators who have pretensions of acting as checks and balances on him. No bullshit, Bareilles, that’s what got them to stop cowering in their hole and be brave for once.

This is an example of the elite pushback that I expected against Trump more than against a second President Clinton. To that extent, at least, I’m still relieved that he was elected and not, so to speak, #Her. But this shows how frighteningly superficial these avowed watchdogs are. A loudly anti-immigration president got into hot water for some uncouth comments about his racially inflammatory reasons for wanting to restrict immigration and the bigoted mechanism that he wished to impose in furtherance of this restriction. Meanwhile he’s the one grandee who seemingly can’t be fired for sexual assault, not to mention for abetting police brutality.

This is a political problem, but Trump is a symptom more than the disease. When push comes to shove, impeachable offenses are whatever Congress construes them to include. In the 1990’s, this was an adulterous office affair. Today? Who the fuck knows. Congress could stand up and say, listen, asshat, there are standards of presidential decorum that we are going to enforce, and going on social media to accuse the leader of a hostile nuclear superpower of having a small penis is a violation of these standards. Congress can make it clear to Trump that the acceptable scope of his duties does not include impulsively mouthing off at foreign leaders in fits of grandiosity and disparaging entire nations in order to dogwhistle to white supremacist lunatics about how he’d rather have more immigration from Norway. Congress is not a body that has the moral credibility to stand up to the Donald for being viciously childish and give him one last chance to act like a fucking adult, but it has the constitutional authority to do so.

We may not be a decadent people, but we’re certainly governed by a decadent leadership. God help us, because we may be on the verge of having a crew of national embarrassments including Chuck and Nancy finally hold Donald Trump accountable for, of all things, insulting black and brown people by rudely denigrating the homelands that so many of them are so eager to flee, not because this is an appropriate process, but because it’s the only politically viable process under our current atrocious leadership.

As they say, Secretary of State Rebukes President; Moron This Later.

Kaiser Permanente makes me want to expatriate

Bear in mind that I’m not one of the loudmouthed whiners who bumptiously threaten to emigrate every time the electorate coughs up a butthurtful president. As the Founders would agree, the President is merely the presiding executive. Yes, Wow Such educational Much insights Omg beth ruyak Very explain. Never mind that this does have to be explained to the brainwashed hordes who stumble around our republic on an endless contact high from the presidency’s inflated, bogus majesty. Presidents come, presidents go, and Trudeau, Canada’s mentionable Justin, is something of a weaselly little shit himself.

US healthcare policy is grotesquely wrong in ways that transcend our presidential administrations. Employer-based insurance arose as a wartime contingency that industrial firms used to woo employees without falling afoul of federal wage controls. Let’s spell it out: that’s “wartime” as in World War II, exactly the war you had in mind. WWII ended in 1945. The UK established its National Health Service before it completely ended wartime rationing. Tommy Douglas rolled out Medicare in Saskatchewan in the early sixties and took it national mid-decade.*Very Gary Johnson voice* What is “Saskatchewan?” Hint: it’s closer to the United States than Tommy is by blood to Kirk and Michael.

There is something deeply, embarrassingly wrong with a country that cannot, over the course of more than half a century, replicate the very successful and popular national health insurance system maintained by the country with which it shares its longest land border and predominant language. (Sorey, mes putains, mais c’est comme ça exactement.) This is not a cultural foible; it’s an utter fucking national disgrace, not to mention a relentless attack on the constituents who are forced to make do with a deliberately sabotaged insurance system. It’s not like we used our national sovereignty to come up with a novel healthcare system that actually fucking works. What we did was take a lame ad hoc arrangement whose very origin was disingenuous, kept it halfway functional for twenty or thirty years, and then spent another thirty or forty years deliberately wrecking it before finally making a half-assed, piecemeal effort at reform that still arbitrarily allowed a large minority of the citizenry to fall through the cracks. We yoked our healthcare system to a labor market that we then deliberately destroyed. On what planet is any of this shit reputable?

My dealings with Kaiser Permanente are a result of the scandalously feeble reform effort mentioned above, euphemized as, LOL, the Affordable Care Act. I don’t want to hear a damned word about how I could have applied for Medicaid instead; in a decent society, I’d have Medicare by now, and you would, too. Those of us who so much as dabble in payroll employment already contribute deductions to Medicare for the care of the elderly, the disabled, and so forth, so why in all holy fuck can’t our federal government figure out how to expand the same system, which bloody well works, to everyone, and stop fucking siloing us into dipshit narrow-eligibility plans for which we may suddenly become ineligible for no good reason? This shit shouldn’t even exist. It’s fine if KP or whatever wants to pitch specialty services to people who are already covered by a functioning national health insurance system, but the patchwork that we have now is criminal. The extra disruptions that it imposes during changes in work status alone are proof of its criminality. The neoliberal weasel pack obviously relishes its use of employer-based insurance as a cudgel to get Americans to seek and hold down jobs, but Medicaid beneficiaries face the prospect of losing eligibility precisely because they responded as intended to this incentive to work, but fuck all y’all, we’re living in an Uber economy now. Say what you will about Tim Hortons being run by absolute shitheads; at least they aren’t in a position to fuck up their employees’ healthcare every time they dick around with their hours or employment status. #TIMMEH!

Thanks to advance premium tax credits whose mechanisms I can’t face researching, I’m now able to pay my premium bills without financial hardship. This would feel like something resembling customer service if I could figure out what in the everloving fuck KP will be charging me if I, you know, need medical care. But for the grace of God, etc., I don’t have any conditions necessitating examination or treatment on any sort of timely, let alone emergency, basis, but I do have some minor complaints that would be worth treating. My blood pressure, on the high side, probably alarms others more than it alarms me. I guess I could use some psych services, but like hell do I have any plans to seek psychiatric care in the United States ever again; that much I WILL be taking abroad, if I take it at all.

More pertinently, I guess, I have a small lesion on my forehead that I’d like to have excised. It’s mostly just a nuisance, but it can be painful to the touch, and it seems too big to prudently excise myself, as I’ve done with skin tags. This is how I know what shits run Kaiser. I researched the cost of getting the damn thing removed through KP’s patient portal, and I couldn’t come up with a fucking price quote. They’ve got half a dozen or a dozen or fuck if I can accurately say how many pissant codes for different dermatological procedures, but they don’t have anything like a standard outpatient dermatological excision cost. It depends on what the doc thinks about my lesion.

If I go to a private dental clinic for a cleaning, the dentist doesn’t tell me afterwards that I’m on the hook for $100, not the standard $75, because my teeth are kind of big and funny, not like normal teeth. Dental care in the United States is a classist clusterfuck, but at least it generally has transparent price schedules. Not being formally trained in dermatology, I don’t know what exactly I have on my forehead; that’s why I’d like to have someone who does know about dermatology identify and remove it. In an accountable system, this would be done by someone whose network doesn’t have a kickback arrangement with the pathology lab, not a presumption of innocence that I’m ready to grant Kaiser Permanente. There might be a compelling medical reason to have the lump put under the scope, but I wouldn’t trust KP to make that decision with my interests in mind rather than its own, or to refrain from soaking me for the path workup just to pad its own bottom line, not when I can’t tell what it plans to charge for the five or, liberally, ten minutes needed to lop it off in an outpatient clinic. Healthcare in the United States is increasingly devoted to the arbitrary hosing of vulnerable patients with junk bills, and I have a $6,500 annual deductible to exhaust before I’ll stop being a profit center for Kaiser.

One of the points of being insured is that it should make more sense to get medical treatment at home than to go abroad. That is not what we have in the United States. It probably makes more sense for me to seek routine medical care in Mexico than from “my” doctor in Rancho Cordova. I can more accurately say that Bob is “my” conductor on the Lakeshore Limited from Buffalo to Rensselaer, since I’ve ridden with him twice. KP’s patient portal gives me the option to e-mail “my” doctor, so theoretically I could badger him with demands to be told exactly what his practice will charge me for treatment, demands that I do not have to make of Amtrak, which discloses the full cost of its fares upfront. I’d expect much less, and probably none, of this sort of blindside junk billing from a clinic in Tijuana, and I know that there isn’t any on Amtrak or MTS. The trolley goes right to the city gates, mostly (muh fuckin Ped West), so it’s mainly a scheduling problem, as in, when does the train leave. I may be wrong, but I assume that a Mexican clinic, private or public, would charge less than Kaiser for exactly the same standard of care, and that a private clinic would probably have a shorter wait time.

William and Mary certainly won’t do, now, but Guadalajara might. Guad is said to be home to one of the crappiest medical schools in the Americas, but I don’t know how much of that is just the snobbery of docs who were admitted to medical schools stateside. Regardless, love too militarily restabilize Grenada on behalf of the US expatriate student body. I’m waxing a bit flippant here, but I am not kidding. We have one of the worst healthcare systems on earth, including the Third World. We’re starting to fall behind Rwanda on primary care. True story: Rwanda has taken advantage of Western foundation money to scale up comprehensive home visits for HIV patients, and meanwhile American hospitals have security guards wheeling freshly discharged patients out to bus stops in the snow while they’re still wearing hospital gowns. This is anecdotal evidence, but try accounting for the existence of these anecdotes. I’m n0t pulling these stories out of my ass. We’ve got a bunch of extremely bad processes and extremely bad outcomes, coupled with the highest costs for patients and insurers. None of our First-World peer nations can compete with what we spend on healthcare as a percentage of GDP, and the rest of the First World consistently beats the shit out of the United States on patient outcomes. How hard do we really think it is for Mexico, with its halfway functional and accountable government, to also smoke us across the board?

And of course Canada leaves us in a cloud of dust. When Canadians come to the United States for treatment, it’s usually affluent ones bypassing the waits for elective treatment at home by purchasing it at a premium from American hospitals. Don’t ignore for a second that they also bypass all the obstructions and traps that American hospitals, often the very same hospitals, set in front of American patients. They pay enough to be exempted from the red tape and extortion. If one of our hospitals even tried to screw them over, they could summarily repatriate and have the Canadian courts order the scumbags to get fucked. US hospitals have stronger incentives to treat Canadian patients well than they have to treat American patients well, precisely because these Canucks have more options at their disposal, notably including the quite adequate hospitals back home.

Let’s not compare Canadians who get their medical care at the Mayo Clinic with Americans who get screwed raw by whatever shitty rent-seeking community hospital happens to be nearest by when they take sick. The Rwandan accompagneteur program, which provides regular home visits to indigent patients living in huts, is a much more apt comparison. I’m not trying to preemptively argue that the Canadian government has never run a useless shitshow of a clinic on an Indian reserve, since that’s plausible enough, but we can’t take at face value the White Whines of Canada’s most affluent medical tourists when they, or whatever stateside shitbirds are defaming their provincial and federal governments from a think tank perch, complain about wait times. Besides, it’s not like I was ever told that I’d have to wait a month and a half to get a bunion examined by a podiatrist in Lebanon, PA. We totally don’t have wait times for non-emergency care in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, or atrocious maternal and child mortality rates.

It’s harder to get an answer from Kaiser Permanente about how much it will charge to lop that fucking lump off my forehead in a ten-minute slash-and-dash than it is figure out from the immigration and HRSDC websites what I’d have to do to obtain legal residency in Canada. This speaks much better of Canada, which is not my home and native land, than it does of the United States, which is. This ain’t a case of love it or leave it. I’m not a loud patriot, but I’m a patriot. I’d consider an offer of Canadian citizenship a high honor, much higher than OBE or OC or some shit, but I would not accept an offer of Canadian citizenship lightly. Expatriating while remaining registered to vote in California, as is my right as a US citizen with established residency ties to California, and using expatriation as the basis for an exemption from the Obamacare individual mandate, is a completely separate matter. That’s no failure of patriotism. Patriotism does not demand submission to the most boneheaded and corrupt dictates of an unaccountable, bought-off government. Neither did patriotism demand submission to the draft and deployment to Vietnam to hold the line against communism in Southeast Asia, or, as this mission was reinterpreted in the enlisted ranks, to kill the fucking shit out of the fucking gooks. Canada came through for us when Lyndon used that fool’s errand to get his constituents killed for the aggrandizement of his Johnson. Canada came through for quite a few of my country’s fugitive slaves, too. I don’t see how it didn’t treat them better than my own people did.

No, I’m not trying to start Canada Day celebrations five and a half months early. That’s not why I maintain the internet’s treasury of Sick Willie, Sweet Melissa of the Maritimes, Colonel Underpants, and Northside Juice and the Shady Blues memes, even if Thick Lizzie is no sexy male nurse Lynn Majors. I’ve heard of a number of serious complaints about communal tensions and problems with the police affecting Afro-Canadian communities in Nova Scotia and Ontario. I’m not about to get up on Monty Robinson’s high horse and insist that Canada is the perfect community for the Community, although, if I did, I wouldn’t get drunk and fall off, and I’ve never committed a fatal DUI. It was fun when Kwesi Millington sued the CBC for defamation, and it would be fun if Sauce Boss sued me for accusing him of constantly falling off his horse. All of this is more fun than health policy in the United States. Canada has its shambolic intersectional creeps, murderers, perjurers, bus cannibals, and drunks, but it also had Tommy Douglas. We had FDR, the half-measure Douglas who left behind the employer-based health insurance system that we still can’t fix. Frankie Boy couldn’t have known what a clusterfuck we’d make of this ad hoc wartime arrangement that was directly not his doing but the doing of Business Plot industrialists who had been brought only partly to heel by popular and government pressure in the midst of a systemic economic collapse.

I don’t feel like dignifying any Merle Haggard-ass blowhards who would like to impugn my patriotism. This is my country, but it’s a deeply sick and dysfunctional country. It’s unreasonable to assume that we’ll somehow magically keep this whole deal together and heal ourselves in due course of time when our national track record of reform is so poor. Go figure that the love-it-or-leave-its cheer on everyone who bails on Venezuela or Cuba on account of grievances with socialistic central planning. This isn’t really about loyalty to place. Michael O. Church is right that America as a concept has historically meant many things, but what’s worrisome is that so many of these things have been powerfully destructive and evil. Our healthcare system as it has evolved for most of living memory is no result of national virtue.

And we’ve damned most of a continent by our very political culture and geography. Canada and Mexico are the only sizable countries that are within close range for expatriation, and they, plus a number of Central American countries, are within firing distance of one of the most insanely grandiose empires the world has ever known. This is one of the really disturbing things about healthcare policy in the United States. This chronic dysfunction and extortion isn’t being codified by the corrupt government of some tinpot dictatorship, but by the world’s sole extant imperial hyperpower. This arguably ignores China, but the Chinese politburo is more pragmatic and less grandiose. Whatever is wrong with the United States will inevitably threaten its neighbors. We aren’t a backwater like Honduras or El Salvador. Those countries have stumbled into national disaster, and we’ve rarely been bashful about giving them a good hard push, but they don’t have the demographic capacity to overwhelm their neighbors. We do. This can’t be good news for North America long-term.

As Juarez said, Mexico is so far from God and so close to the United States. Canada, for its part, has been aptly described as a pimple on the American ass. The saving grace, perhaps, is that Kaiser Permanente can’t begin to work out the billing code to remove it.

A fellow might do better to study an actual broad

One of the neat things about NPR is that it is radio of, by, and for those who know quite well what’s wrong with this American life and seek to learn ever more about our wretched national condition but reliably will not do a fucking thing to remedy the horror show that they so obsessively observe and catalog. Speaking of the devil, Ira and, shall we say, the posse are all woke with the social consciousness about how some schools in the Bronx are worse than others.

Before we proceed, we must have, I believe this is called a prologue, about how I came to hear this episode. In general terms, it was a function of my warm homelessness, not that having a stable place of my own will necessarily stop me from continuing to pull over at Donner Pass on Friday night in preparation for a morning of Chicago Senpai and alpine hiking. That’s not what I was doing for Episode 550. I don’t know who the fuck Enoch Christofferson was, but I was at his rest area, where the local NPR affiliate had the nerve to terminate the Weekend Edition Saturday broadcast at 9:00 to clear the air for Rick Steeves. I’d have set my alarm for 7:00 and dealt with the fatigue later in the day if I’d known that these shitheads had the nerve to commit such a vicious crime against #SPORTS.

What did that fucking American Tourister dork have to say that was more important than Scott Simon? I slept through most of it, in an act of self-mercy, but the opening teaser included a clip from a lady who was all impressed in retrospect with how much she had retroactively learned by reluctantly going on a family vacation to (where else?) Europe in her teens, the point being that expensive international vacationing is never wasted on the callow young.

Staying behind to spend the MyPanera points before they expire sounds wiser all the time. If a teenager is going to be a blame fool regardless, the blame foolish shit will be less costly and disorienting if it goes down right here at home. The only downside I can see is that it might deprive one the opportunity to hear, “Maybe I should take a picture of this plane. Actually, on second thought, I’m not gonna do that. I don’t wanna take a picture of this British Airways fag airline thing that screwed us so royally!” I had to fly to Paris to hear that, from a fellow member of the Lancaster County mental and behavioral health community who had even less business than I had spending spring break in France. The royal screw job in question had amounted to our group’s lead chaperone having to yell at the Irish/Canadian/whatever gate agent at Heathrow when she absentmindedly tried to split the group onto two connecting flights until, five or ten minutes later, she got the lot of us reticketed on an Air Liberté Mad Dog to Orly, i.e., HM Fag Airline Thing. #TheMoreYouKnow #AllonsEnfants!

This was the same kid who got spazzed out by some low-grade bullies and threw a textbook into the guidance counselor’s office window. The window was reinforced with a hexagonal grid of wire mesh, so it was sturdier than Homeskillet, but I wasn’t the steady as she goes on my own overseas trips during high school. I can count no fewer than four trips to Europe when I had acute bipolar episodes, as well as a destabilizing effort to set up a dumbass Stacey’s Mom situation with an American MILF in China and, in college, a dumb haole flash-in-the-pan quasi-romance with a classmate in Hilo. What I got out of these trips was in spite of all the personal and interpersonal bullshit, and against the odds. I was a fucking idiot, but instead of being a fucking idiot in Brussels or Bergen or at 41,000 feet chasing the March sun around the goddamn top of the world, I could have stayed home and been no less ridiculous in Lancaster, a cultural and geographic environment that I basically understood.

The dork who was obsessed with me in college, the one who needed help following me into the student union and staring at me for five minutes straight, had the right idea: she did that shit in Carlisle, which is a super fucked up town, but she only had to drive, like, 90 miles back home to Allentown to spend the following summer bitterly complaining on her DeviantArt page about how much she hated all men. (I assume this excluded the he-dork in the safari hat who helped her follow me into the student union, but who the hell knows.)

The longwinded point here is that our boy from Barstow (the ones who get out are even worse) is either full of shit or out of his mind with his notion that, why, of course the young’uns will be duly enriched by their family vacations in Europe. How that twee, earnest motherfucker is from the same town where I watched a homeless guy haul a trash bag full of deposit bottles from truck stop to truck stop at 3:30 am is beyond me, but being based in the North Sound allowed him to be the respondent in the greatest Dolezal-free internecine fight in Washington State’s White Community when Timothy Egan’s pre-teen son, according to Timothy Egan, blurted out, “Rick Steeves has to be stopped!” *Fluently Florentine Amanda Knox Voice* You said Italy would be a nice place to get to know more deeply, you lying, smirking sack of shit.

Personally, I prefer to cross Florence at Normandie. Never mind, I did the opposite in my parents’ rental car last month. Granted, Perugia isn’t exactly Florence, but neither was Foxy Knoxy exactly the killer, and that didn’t stop the trial court or the British gutter press. The same affiliate that exhorts us not to consider whether maybe international travel is a foolish idea right now for one’s adolescent brat wants us, immediately in the next hour, to try to see things from the perspective of kids from the South Bronx who can hardly function in Riverdale. This is exceptionally incoherent. It isn’t exactly gaslighting, but it sure feels like it. This was why they had to deny my tired vagrant white ass a rebroadcast of #SPORTS: like, European vacation is cool, and here are some poor brown kids who resent the rich white kids for vacationing in Europe, and you, too, can be both a high-volume traveler to Europe and woke as fuck about life in Mott Haven. Let’s get rich and buy our parents houses in the South of France and/or buy our poories full scholarships to Wheaton, receivable upon completion of the fourth round of competitive cuts.

There are two Wheaton Colleges, so of course the one in question here is the secular Masshole version. As they say in the other Wheaton, we’re just simple Christian folk who don’t know John Dennis Diddly about that New English hauteur. A relevant SVU concordance here is the episode about Manor Hall, which sounds a lot like Horace Mann, the one in which the ginger failson living in the guesthouse had gone all Kato Kaelin on his Dick Cheney-looking old man because of his exposure to one of the numerous faculty pervs at *THEIR OLD SCHOOL*, rather than for more general reasons of intersectional wealth, mental illness, and ennui. I guess I’d be a whore-ass man myself if that had happened to me, whatever that may mean. Really, I’m just trying to put off the inevitable renewed confrontation with what utter shits America’s in-your-face preps are. The calmer, cooler, more modest ones can be chill as all hell, but they aren’t the ones who are needed to prop up alumni donations and cocaine sales. Some guy who’s mostly wearing a pink sweater around his shoulders on his grandfather’s spare yacht probably isn’t doing fuck-all for society in any tangible positive sense, but at least he isn’t running FIRE sectors scams on the rest of us like his supposedly productive classmates. I’ve personally met close variants of these characters, and believe me, the Xanax Lacoste crowd is all right. The trouble starts when the Vineyard Vines set comes across its ambitions and its uppers. That’s when I start wondering why Teddy didn’t have room for them, too, on the Ducks ride to Chappaquiddick.

Oh, Matha, what a fine vineyahd! What sawt of grapes do you grow heah? Think about the project that Posse undertakes, sending earnest kids from public schools in the ghetto to fancy-pants residential colleges in New England. How could this possibly go wrong? I went to college about an hour from home after four years at an explicit college prep school, and by sometime in my sophomore or junior year I became overwhelmed by how fucking insufferable the dominant preps, including public high school alumni, were towards anyone who didn’t admire them for their bullshit. I knew a number of Posse students at Dickinson. They were cliquish and reserved, but they were also too decent and focused on their schoolwork to start shit with anyone. If only the preppy asshats had kept to their goddamn selves to the same extent, they’d have spared those of us with interests other than being belligerently haughty pieces of shit, but far be it from Bill Durden and his admirers to spend their free time quietly drinking soda in the Quarry with two or three close friends.

I wasn’t particularly surprised, then, to hear from a Posse alumnus at Wheaton about his academic difficulties, social isolation, and eventual expulsion on account of bad grades. The kid’s heart was in the right place, but he was in over his head. His story about being unable to afford the required textbooks made me wonder mainly about why students with full scholarships are nickel-and-dimed for textbooks. He obviously had exceptional difficulty finding his way around academic settings, including a profound unfamiliarity with libraries, but how did anyone organizing a scholarship program for students from indigent family backgrounds assume that they’d be able to afford the highway robbery prices for shitty instructional materials that lawyers’ children are expected to pay on top of full tuition? Posse is missing some nuts and bolts. Somehow it puts its beneficiaries through multiple rounds of competitive interviews and cuts, akin to reality television, and yet fails to orient them in the campus library. What the fuck?

Of course, the Insurance Schmuck never thought of the library in terms of books, either. Dickinson has a full-service coffeeshop in the library lobby now. I had to drive to Messiah to pick up A World Lit Only By Fire, but at least no one still has to walk around a couple of corners and across a courtyard for immediate bougie snacks any longer.

What I can’t help but wonder is whether some of these kids wouldn’t have done better in the CUNY system or, say, at Stony Brook than going out of state for a proper New English college experience in the Village of Whitey Green. I don’t mean to be a concern troll here, although I can’t object to the accusations. I often think that I’d have done better at Chico State, Humboldt State, or Rutgers than I did at Dickinson, a position that supposedly scandalized that dipshit who was all sore on account of his own hick-ass upbringing in Missouri. For the hell of it, just in case he lived on the same block as Sam Dotson or something, I performed Zuckerbergian Google-fu on his ass, and sure enough, he’s from fucking St. Louis County. More of a Wilsonian background, then, as in Spradling. Bully for him. What an insecure dipshit, though. That explains the Main Line-passable accent: he isn’t actually from some clearing thirty miles out past Branson. This calls to mind Day Quayle’s comments about his own childhood: “I love California. I was practically raised in Phoenix.” This doofus must have figured that I assumed St. Louis County to be one big hickfest. Meanwhile, I spent the summer of 2014 feverishly trying to figure out what was wrong with the police in the county where he was raised, which I took to be an urban policing problem, just as everyone else did. I wouldn’t expect anyone from a hundred miles away to have heard of my grandmother’s hometown of eight hundred in rural Kansas, but metropolitan St. Louis? Maybe our next project can be a debate between Jack Cashill and Emma Sullivan: Kansas City: A city in Missouri, or a city in Kansas?

Honestly, I’m floored that this fuckjob passed himself off as a hick when he went to high school, like, ten miles from the St. Louis Zoo. Good grief. I can’t imagine I didn’t spend my teens around more hicks than he did. He has a Facebook cover photo of a boathouse in the Hamptons, where he claims to summer, and I guess he considers that a step up from St. Louis. I’d hate to have been raised nowhere near a famous TWA hub with nonstop service to multiple airports on the East Coast. What a childhood of deprivation and want.

This is the sort of shit I face from other White People from affluent backgrounds. It’s impossible that most of them aren’t worse to black and brown kids from poor families. Dickinson College won’t stop currying favor with belligerently highbrow shitheads who have a chip on the shoulder because their yachting buddies seem to think that everyone in St. Louis County lives in a tarpaper shack with an outhouse in the backyard. Maybe, just maybe, enrolling first-generation college students from the poorest parts of the Bronx in exclusive private colleges where the socially dominant constituencies consider the entire state of Missouri to be an underserved rural community will have an unintended, and pernicious, disorienting effect on them at a time when they’re already overwhelmed by a process that upsets even students from wealthy, highly educated families.

As peevish as I got about the steevish, my last trip through the San Joaquin Valley exposed me to a certain F&M Bank, its corporate colors a tasteful blue and white, and I’m feeling the space in my wallet for another debit card. This is starting to sound like the worst possible Cee Lo Green number, but it’s true. Say it loud, say it proud, and God willing piss some crackers off:

GO DIPLOMATS!

Like Lynn Majors, sexual harassment can be sexy, and it can happen in nursing. Unlike Lynn Majors, it probably won’t kill you.

If I ever go through with nursing school, or with Canadian residency, it will most likely be, like Elizabeth Wettlaufer, as a Canadian nurse. This is actually a true story. Hoosier source for the dumbass idea that we’re better at medical care down here? Eh? Starting a screed with a sexy male nurse Lynn Majors/Thick Lizzie doubleheader was one of the least disgusting things I could have written about nursing, which is a great line of work to spend listening to sick people cough all shift. A few minutes of that makes me wonder whether I wouldn’t prefer to have agitated patients pelt me with their own shit. Get you a profession that can do you both, such as nursing.

This, friends, is why we take refuge in our memes. Where were you when Jian Ghotmesi, on that September day? I was Online. And I’ll #NeverForget where I was the day they Sad Jordaned Mark Saunders: again, Online. I failed to provoke anyone from the KMTR flame war thread about Donald Trump’s visit to Eugene into calling me a faggot when I chimed in with an endorsement of Kwesi Millington for President (“As they say, he’s electrifying”), probably because everyone assumed I’d made some shit up, so maybe I can convince some hypervigilant authoritarian #TCOT creeps that I consider the Sad Jordaning of the Chief and accusations that his fellow erstwhile Englishman had choked a commissioned air force officer other than their third mate Colonel Underpants seminal moments in my life. Lord have Mersey upon me, but I don’t even mind an occasional Gerry and the Heartstoppers fishing ditty, if I do say so myself. Hand me a government horse and I, too, will be ready to rundel in the jungle.

Any of you still bitching about Nickelback?

Milton Street was a serious politician before he was a possible Philadelphian who didn’t mind being accused of New Jersey residency during his mayoral runs. Home doesn’t have to be where one lays down one’s head, but it might as well. I guess I’d try to be more serious and stay loosely on topic if I didn’t look out on a churning sea of extreme political and cultural dysfunction. It’s negligent but not particularly unreasonable to wonder what in hell is the point of trying to fix this mess. I’d probably like to be more than just a raging freak show as a political observer, but I couldn’t possibly count the number of times I’ve seen some self-serious, moralizing professional who always plays it straight make Milton Street look like the more reputable, sane, and sensible party. That’s pretty much our political class. The Fifth Estate should do an episode about this. It might even be as much fun as the meta-Ghomeshi retrospective.

As an Anglo-American culture, we might determine that sexuality ought to be discussed with some discretion and decorum and proceed to do exactly that, by not constantly talking about sex. We might discuss a lot of things that we don’t instead of those that we do: Benedict Option shit, that kind of thing. In a more refined society, Rod Dreher might not have published an essay devoted to his disappointment at Ariel Castro’s shortcomings as an incarcerated religious contemplative. Or he might have published it away from the auspices and imprimatur of a magazine explicitly devoted to American conservatism. The Cullen Quarterly must not have paid as well.

Then again, are we not an entrepreneurial, materialistic people? The profit motive behind sexually coarse content is obvious, and there’s notoriously a huge amount of utterly mercenary behavior in the entertainment industry. It’s easy to overestimate the degree of coordination and coherence driving our programming and to imagine elite conspiracies that don’t quite exist. Don’t these guys all attend the same synagogues? Yeah, sure, but we oughtn’t write off the chance that their fellow templegoers consider them irredeemable fucking putzes. One’s values do not always sing in perfect harmony with those of everyone else in the parish. There could always be, hell, some blowhard RWNJ general contractor or dentist who aggravates the priests week in and week out but buys regular time to do church business with them by advertising in the bulletin, that kind of thing. Muh temporalities. It’s probably just the affluent congregating with their own kind as it bleeds up into rather extreme forms of wealth and privilege. That is, free association, bitch. The poors would be yuckier, or something.

The point here is that the impossibly contradictory messages may actually be coming from divergent elite factions that clash when they come into direct contact. Reconciling feminist sex positivity with mass fainting episodes over everyone from Brock Turner to Garrison Keillor to Geraldo Rivera is a real headscratcher: are the coeds strong, confident women who can make their own decisions about sexual engagement with men or wilting hothouse flowers, little girls whose hands must forever be held? Does feminism even know what it wants? It’s neater and easier to assume that all this contradictory messaging comes from an incoherent and hypocritical but massive conspiracy by meddlesome elite social engineers than to consider the likelier scenario of a number of influential factions, loosely classified as liberals because we’re led by people with a middle school social studies-level sophistication of political thought, many of which are at significant cross-purposes with one another. If it’s liberal to respect and defend sex workers and also liberal for meddlesome #LeanIn scolds to accuse sex workers of not having an adequate “female perspective,” what is liberalism? What is Aleppo? Who do we have running for the presidency and still not spoiling the election for Hillary? #WithHer? Who “her” this is, bitch?

It isn’t just a huge, amoral, callous, bonechillingly cynical cabal. Wide swathes of our popular culture, news media, and politics are directed in such a fashion, but there isn’t a single cathedral for the rebel forces to storm. There’s no key citadel whose capture will suddenly enable a systemic cultural about-face. The upward mobility of Jews in the entertainment industry from Adam Gellin-ass back-of-the-house songmongering by Irving Berlin for Bing Crosby in the midcentury to the Weinstein brothers at the turn of the Millennium had profound aesthetic effects but embarrassingly weak ethical ones. Basically, the (((invasion))) of the WASP nest resulted in more sex on screen, different sorts of violence, and less Wilsonian highbrow academic racist horseshit, but no general improvement in moral tone. The big studios were releasing garbage then, and they’re releasing garbage now. With some attention and discrimination we can find the occasional pearls in this lagoon of hogshit, but that’s our own independent project to pursue at our own expense.

This is why I have so much sympathy for campaigns like the Benedict Option and the homeschooling movement. Modern society is not on a moral arc towards terminal depravity, and it’s sentimental ahistorical nonsense to say that it is, but it’s hard for an attentive person to miss the recurrent situations in which authority figures provide grossly, wantonly irresponsible advice and cultural models that will inevitably lead the vulnerable into untenable, dangerous, even ruinous traps.

Take songs like “Superman That Ho” and “Blurred Lines.” First off, if a woman asked me to go full Soulja Boy on her, I’d find the idea ridiculous. That it occurred to anyone is a sign of sexual dysfunction; aside from the evasion of consent to degrade and humiliate an unconscious party, the practice isn’t particularly broken as fetishes go, but it’s pretty far out there and not all that self-actualizing. Like, yeah, I could nut in your cunt, or in your ass, or on your tits, or smear it different places around your crotch, or you could suck me off, but, nah, come to think of it, I’ma jack off into a T-shirt and stick it up around your shoulders, in the fashion of a cape. Because it’s so lurid and out there, it’s a great tune for people who don’t actually have sex. It’s classic porn for incels and autists. “Blurred Lines,” by comparison a gentlemanly tune, is an explicit inference of implicit sexual consent. To say the least, it’s ballsy for a man to speak so forwardly to a strange woman who has asserted her own sexual modesty and caution. To say the most, as many have, it’s a wee bit rapey.

This caliber of raunchy entertainment spontaneously emerges out in the streets without any outside prompting, and I leave it to others to clutch their pearls like a covey of maiden aunts at this discovery. Out in the street. Say, have they yet electrified the Avenue? The real question is why the likes of “Blurred Lines,” which might be halfway mentionable in polite company, and “Superman That Ho,” which absolutely is not under any circumstances whatsoever, ever got record contracts. There are gatekeepers in the music business: record companies, DJ’s, promoters, club owners, and so forth. Why do they tolerate this crap? Do none of them notice that the prevailing sexual mores are rather tense and fraught and therefore reconsider this shit on account of the pernicious effects it might have on the socially inept and the impressionable?

Of course not. The thought’s nice, though. If some dude’s hanging out on the corner (cue the fucking CCR, if you must) hollering his word about how sweet and decorous it is to perform upon the nearest passed-out lady a Wet Franken, he’s just some guy on the corner. Nobody sensible expects the street corner symphony or whatever the fuck bullshit Rob Thomas is back up on not to include some blame-fool rude nonsense now and then. Plenty of sensible people would reasonably ask that club owners, entertainment executives, and the like refuse to do business with soi-disant artists who carry on like the trashiest passenger on the 61 Local through Strawberry Mansion. I wouldn’t go out shopping for used cars in Bakersfield using language like that. It’s perfectly consistent with the corporate standards of any imaginable Fortune company not to enter into business deals over songs about rubbing one’s ejaculate on a passed-out woman for shits and giggles. Hell, it’s consistent with the prevailing community standards of most everyone else on the bus. No bitch has the consent to cut me.

This is just another catastrophic failure of leadership over the past few decades, and frankly not an awfully impressive one as the dereliction of our elites goes. American broadcasters are forbidden to broadcast verbatim the pay-for-play comments of Rod Blagojevich, who is actually in fucking Littleton, because that’s somehow indecent in a way that ads for casinos, bogus prescription drugs, and for-profit career colleges are not. There’s hardly a thing that can’t lawfully be advertised to the public under the regulatory auspices of the FCC. There’s effectively no duty not to defraud, let alone not to mislead. To judge from advertising conventions, gambling at second-tier Indian casinos, erectile dysfunction, and opiate-induced constipation are all activities of sexual potency and allure.

Buyer beware is always sage advice, but it doesn’t mean that the federal government has a duty to allow every two-bit con man in the country to air fraudulent advertisements under government-issued and regulated licenses. Or, I have to assume, to allow shitheads to run ads with explicit references to bowel problems at mealtime. There’s no public interest in hearing about how some guy who supposedly can’t shit because he’s such a junkie talked to his doctor about this miracle cure, and so should you, though funny thing, he’s a Mike Rowe-looking hunk who’s gotta be taking TWO mistresses out cruising on PCH in his midlife crisis car after work tonight. Just because Pot-o-Shit Friend would enjoy the programming doesn’t mean that the rest of us care for it. That fucker was a newsworthy threat to public health and safety; I took too much dope to shit is not.

The idea that anyone in a position of power under this regime would choose not to give social proof to sexually gross content on account of the arbitrary, ever-shifting, and weirdly touchy community standards on sexual displays is fucking quaint. Noblesse oblige must have run off to the same places where I keep fruitlessly looking for the labor theory of value; I suppose I’ll let you all know where that is once I figure out where it is myself. That shit is gone, baby, gone.

And yet we’re expected to believe the elites when they insist that they’re looking out for us in the matter of sexual harassment. The first clue here (ooh, are you getting one, too?) is that the only form of harassment that’s ever discussed in the mainstream media is sexual harassment. There are countless other ways to commit harassment, some of them harrowing to the victims, but the one that keeps getting the attention involves sex, and we all know that sex is fun.

This is why so many of these situations just don’t look distressing. It’s no wonder that “hostile work environment” has become a popular euphemism for greatly wished-for situations involving the boss lady showing up with a sexy teacher act and maybe a ruler. The actors in sexual harassment training materials are suspiciously good looking: good teeth, good posture, well dressed, well groomed, freshly showered, handsome, adequately fed but not overfed (I do hella farm work and hiking but I’d be too thicc), overtly mentally healthy. White, too, as a rule.

This shit isn’t training materials or investigative reporting; it’s soap opera escapism. For crying out loud, look at how many fuckable men have been coughed up as abusers. Sure, Weinstein is a fugly, and Keillor looks like a bulldog whose vet botched the last Botox treatment, but Matt Lauer pushing the button to lock his office door at the Rock is an R-rated remake of Fifty Shades. It’s all really suspicious when the same society that’s all upset about these scandals recently threw a gigantic shitfit about Brock Turner but hasn’t heard of Daniel Holtzclaw. If we were looking to understand deeply bad acts and prevent their recurrence, we wouldn’t be worried about that one time back during James Blunt’s club days when Bette Midler got poppered and groped by Geraldo Rivera, that sexy Judeo-Latin beast.

Ariel Castro was Latino, too, but he was just some weirdo who drove for the RTA. We like our abusers affluent to wealthy, handsome, well-groomed, preferably on the swim team, and definitely not driving a damn bus. We can’t let these harassment and rape scenarios get, like, physically uncomfortable or low class. Every woman who got groped or propositioned by one of these entertainment industry sleazeballs and ended up in the news was trying to hack it as a big star, the usual Rachel the waitress shit, for the same reasons that everyone who had a past life was a princess or a queen. Meanwhile I’m over here like, uh, I think I was flailing rice on Borneo or some shit, but I’m not sure. (The she-tweaker who bent my ear in Seattle the other day swore she was a new soul, but I don’t know what all wasn’t getting through in the speedy delivery.) We don’t care to hear about the grievances of peasants.

Okay, the NYT did have that piece on the black female auto workers in Chicago, so there’s that, but we’re still waiting on their wedding announcements.

Crystal Harris really is a sign of our times. We really do enjoy fun stuff and not enjoy not fun stuff. Truly the young lady bears witness to our spirit and proclaims what is in our hearts. Dealing with an actual culture of actual harassment would require maturity. We have such a culture in a bad way, but even thinking about it would require maturity. Civic and social responsibility is too much adulting. Thinking about how damsels in distress were made to feel slightly uncomfortable in air-conditioned office buildings, but in an unspeakably sexy way, often by unspeakably sexy bosses, is fun stuff. That’s more fun than thinking about what I do for, oh, why don’t we call it a living. Help a cracker out with the framing. I quite enjoy working with fruit, which doesn’t spend all night coughing its lungs up in our nursing homes, but it’s some kind of recurrent set of religious vows for laymen, emphasis not on lay, if you know what I mean. Giggity, or not. If you’ve been paying attention, you can see by now why I consider Cousin Gigolo a fucking visionary.

Quite a bit of the sexual harassment carrying-on works out to complaints about a roaring drunk Dagmar Midcap violently pinching my nipples, an unfortunate scenario that is somehow richer and fuller than one in which my nipples go unmolested. I could retell the Lieutenant Tittytorque story, but that was just fucking pathetic, and about as heterosexual as Larry Craig. Supposedly there are embarrassing videos of me online that were taken without my knowledge. I am not going to help anyone find that shit, but I’m also not going to have a Jennifer Lawrence-style high horsemanship session about how offensive and unconscionable it is that anyone would dare look at those pictures. I don’t want to be another one acting like my own shit smells dainty and everyone else’s stinks, even if I can’t come anywhere near the Riveran gold standard of you bet I thought I looked damn good for a seventy-year-old.

And, just like last time, I still haven’t gotten paid for any of this shit. I guess that’s what happens to those who try to do civics from time to time.

 

They should have fired Keillor for his saw about the above-average children instead

My parents waited until they were in their mid-thirties and established in power careers to try to start a family, and after they finally had me, the witching hour drawing uncomfortably near, they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to forcibly enrich me into hereditary meritocratic success. Dickinson College alone (where, as it happens, I am not the only 2006 graduate who has since ended up homeless) can account for that. There was also the usual tutoring (fairly light in my case), music lessons, college guidance/test prep bullshit (basically, go somewhere where the alumni are insufferable fucking assholes who talk about networking all the time but never simply hook anyone up with a damn job), questionable overseas travel, ad maximam nauseam, but, yes, more maxima for others. That I remember my Latin, or think I do, isn’t because I was an overachiever; that was a genteel but shabby sideshow for less winning wieners at the Day School. I learned to write mostly in spite of the pressure to succeed, not thanks to it; a great deal of the stuff I was instructed to read in school was absolute shit, and so as a matter of course I declined to read it and found something better to read instead. More than a few of the writing assignments were object lessons in defense of plagiarism and term paper ghostwriting, at least on the assumption that someone got paid (maybe ever better than that whipped little bitch Gellin) to churn the garbage out for a living.

If Bristol Palin’s children turn out better adjusted and more socioeconomically successful than me, it will be because she’s a decent mother and waiting another couple decades to try to tiger-mom a Keillorian designer baby into forced thriving doesn’t work all that well and shouldn’t work when it does. Do I give a shit that she doesn’t have a husband to go with her children? No I fucking do not. The Johnston boy, none too bright a fellow, looked more trouble present than absent. If Baby Daddy II was bright enough to follow instructions to put a premarinated roast into the oven, good for him, mother, and child. Then again, Johnston utterly confounded Larry King with his practice of “sheep huntin’,” so he’s good for something. #NeverForget. The salient points are that the Mary figure in this downmarket retelling of the Holy Family story (the proles always have known how to fuck, you know) seems capable and engaged enough, and regression to the mean works upwards, towards accomplishment, for the average children of the below-average as effectively as it does downwards, towards not getting into the entire Ivy League on the first try, for the average children of the above-average. I know people who have turned out great even though their fathers were absent, and sometimes unidentified, throughout their childhoods, and I’ve seen no signs that Bristol Palin is on course to raise a brood of hopeless drooling retards, or for that matter tree-shitting Laguna Niguel savages. That’s associated with parental affluence; go figure. Whaddaya mean, we RAISED our precious little monster to be an autist?

There’s obviously a high baseline of chaos in the Palin family (to wit, today’s gunslinging bullshit between Track and the ‘rents, which caused my mom to raise the family as a subject). This is the kind of family whose teenage daughter believably enough would find herself unexpectedly with child on account of her dalliance with a boyfriend too dimwitted and ignorant to do basic menstrual math and bereft of the executive function to stock up on extra condoms when he goes to Walmart. This chaos per se isn’t something that ought to be encouraged as a positive good. “I’m having a kid because my boyfriend is an idiot and we have no impulse control” isn’t an ideal way to bring new life into this world. On the other hand, it takes a certain very real illiberalism and poverty of imagination to assume that Bristol Palin, an older child of parents who started raising their own large family in their early twenties, had no positive reasons to carry either of her healthy pregnancies to term and raise the children she had conceived. Her parents and her younger siblings must have given her an idea of what childrearing takes, not to mention other families with young children she knew from the community. The possibility that she, of all people, turned sixteen well prepared and supported to start a family of her own isn’t farfetched at all.

Sarah and Todd Palin became grandparents at an age when my parents were raising their only toddler, and three full decades on I have absolutely no prospects for children of my own. My immediate family frankly is not the normal, healthy, well-adjusted one in this regard. The Palins are maintaining natural generational cycles. My maternal grandfather was born in fucking 1900. At what point does this stop making sense even if everyone in the family goes to medical school?

I’m not sure how different my mom’s bitching about Bristol Palin’s marital status is from her retarded great-aunt’s complaint to her boss that he dare not be such a Jew bastard and talk like that to a woman who got married in a church with a veil on. Family gossip holds that she and her bridegroom never consummated their marriage. I didn’t need to hear about that, but that didn’t stop the storytelling. I did enjoy the Cousin Gigolo story, and not just as rude gossip; although I’ve never had the heart to say so to my parents, I immediately thought Cousin Gigolo was a fucking visionary. To recap for those arriving late from Dubai Porta Potty, Cousin Gigolo isn’t exactly a cousin, but he is exactly a gigolo. He supposedly screwed his landlady on the regular in lieu of rent. His landlady is as old as my dad, to the day, so this seemed especially wise after he left at least one younger woman with child and the sheriff’s deputies to track him down to my grandmother’s place with summonses and thumbtacks to request that he offer support. He was, as they say at the Community meetings in Sacramento, a nigga who doesn’t have anything to DO with his kids. My guess is that he’d take that more as a racial insult than a sociological one, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever met the guy.

Let’s review the convenient ways to scandalize gossipy bougies with one’s sex life:

–Have two more than amply spaced children out of wedlock and raise them well, presumably with significant support from one’s reasonably affluent parents;

–Shoot a child into one’s hot young thing and then disappear two or three circles deeper into the Nickelback musical of one’s life, with the sheriff’s department in lukewarm pursuit;

–Get free rent for fucking a woman who’d need an Osteentatious Bible miracle to conceive at her age, leaving the deputies free to chase down other deadbeat dads and/or Dunkin’ Donuts specials.

Option 1, the Palin program, is natural and basically healthy. Option 3, Cousin Gigolo’s professional life, is responsible and, most likely, increasingly enjoyable and gratifying as one develops more of a rapport with one’s landlady. (Ben Franklin said it dirtier.) Option 2 is an explicit cut from the “No Fixed Address” album, since the Pork Board won’t have one for you if you don’t have one for yourself. There is no ethical or functional commonality between these practices, other than, per the family retards with their chests full of hope, not getting married in a church with a veil on, you dirty Jew bastard. That’s the same lady who told Staten Island’s premier autodidact, who had come by to tutor her in astronomy, that as far as she was concerned he could take that telescope and shove it up his ass.

Love too graduate from the eighth grade at the age of 22. That’s what a society gets for forcing a woman who felt so bad that Roy Rogers had died in the war and was sure that the army had sent her boyfriend to Hawaii to can pineapples to stay in school: a one-woman York City School District. No joke: she showed my grandfather the postcard, with a picture of a pineapple field on the front and the number of his cannon company on the back.

A frank retard, this woman graduated (sic) into the midcentury and a decently stable life with her husband or whatever the hell sort of sad-ass nutless eunuch my grandmother presumed him. I graduated into, well, not exactly that. All the fucking cultural enrichment and Baby Einstein shit and youth soccer in the whole wide world won’t make up for an adult society in which there are no longer any ground rules to safeguard the welfare of the vulnerable. A few years ago the Palo Alto Daily News, I think it was, ran a multi-issue flame war between a dipshit teenager who wrote a letter to the editor about how Palo Alto didn’t do enough to nurture and enrich its youth and some older, most likely property-owning asshole who bitched about how the kids these days aren’t thankful enough for all their damn AYSO.

I’ve never forgotten what AYSO provided me: the guidance of a coach who looked like Charles Cullen and went on to murder his wife for cuckolding him. I’m lucky Kenneth Fitzhugh didn’t poison the orange slices. If he had, he would have been featured in Palo Alto true-crime potboiler Toxicology Will Tell, the prequel to Palo Alto true-crime potboiler Blood Will Tell. True story. My youth soccer coach legit murdered his wife. It happened later, just as Richard Levine later became Rachel Levine, but not before performing a physical exam on me. Sometimes these things don’t exactly come as surprises. #TCOT might want to check before sending its letters into the editor about how coddled the kids these days are that the kids in question weren’t involved with either of these gentlemen, sic or not. It might also want to consider whether the Palo Alto kiddos aren’t under extra pressure because they’re surrounded by older adults whose identikit Prop 13 ranchers are worth eleventy million dollars for some goddamn reason.

This wasn’t supposed to be about the dude who never quite looked like a dude and still doesn’t quite look like a lady, but God help us, now it is. Don’t let me TELL you about my trauma; tell yourself about the trauma I just caused you. That fucking schlimazel. A J. Denny Dundiddly physical wouldn’t have been so gross.

No, I did not consider wrestling particularly heterosexual even before I learned about Coach’s scheduled sleepaway in Minnesota, but I’m sure it was all straight as an arrow back when the ancient Greeks came up with it. No way was that ever gayer than Larry Craig.

I’d like to thank you all for–coming out today and reading through this crap. I hardly know how some of it spilled out everywhere here myself. Ooh, I sound like I may be getting a clue, too! It’s a miracle that our schools haven’t produced more timid losers with all the assertiveness of Pot-o-Shit Friend. The Millennials have to be the least rebellious rising generation since at least World War II. We’re mostly trying to get along, desperately so, with older generations including all the surviving assholes who threw gratuitous fuck-you-pops shit fits at Woodstock and Altamont. We aren’t doing this for frivolous lifestyle reasons; we’re doing it as a basic survival strategy. Meanwhile, our birth cohorts have more reasons to be up in arms than any others within living memory. We’re the ones whose job opportunities have been replaced with student debt. Thanks, Uncle Joe! We’re the most college-educated generation in history, and hence one of the more permanently institutionalized generations, not quite in the sense of a prison or a mental hospital but not in an all too different sense, either.

There’s endless, generally Boomer-derived, griping about how much shit we get handed just for existing, but what I notice older, more powerful people mostly not doing for us is intervening to put a stop to Lord of the Flies situations. This isn’t just about protecting one’s young from harm, but also about striking the fear of God into predators who will inevitably prey upon someone else if they aren’t intimidated, and into those who are derelict enough to enable them. College, which costs not just a lot of money but buy your kid a house money, is expected to be as comprehensively effective a socialization program as it is a money sink, precisely because it costs so fucking much and requires so much effort just to get admitted. Such an expensive institution wouldn’t negligently house one’s child with someone threatening or dangerous, the sort of person one would otherwise only bunk with in the military or in jail; the dysfunction must be the result of one’s child’s own poor socialization, and not the result of landlord dereliction that won’t stop until someone credibly threatens to sue Res Life. What life skills, exactly, are young people being taught when they’re taught to roll over every time their landlord does something shitty and derelict for four years in a row? Under what other circumstances can a landlord arbitrarily assign incompatible people to share a room without accountability for the adverse consequences that result, not even to the extent of being forced to allow the aggrieved party to move out?

Then there are great Boomer cultural treasures like Joe Dirtbag. My parents are keeping me afloat financially in large part to avoid having to confront him for being a derelict slumlord and deadbeat. I’m the one who called code enforcement after learning about Pot-o-Shit Friend. Nobody can bring the moral authority down on him and the Family Shrew to get them to fucking pay those who directly work for them or maintain their rental units in minimally inhabitable condition.

If Boomer parents want their Millennial children to prosper, they ought to recognize and admit that landowning rentier predators get squarely in the way of the prosperity of everyone living or working under their authority. The Family Shrew and especially Joe Dirtbag are direct, affirmative obstacles to the prosperity of others. The electrician who was living in their garden shed, Captain Flimflam, Lady Pisspan, and Pot-o-Shit Friend are overpowering evidence. So is the manner in which the Ragin’ Canajun cleaned out Pot-o-Shit Friend’s shit shack and disposed of his housewarming gift unpaid and on his own, with what personal protective equipment he could purchase and fit at his own expense. It’s painfully obvious that those living on JD and FS’s property are more likely to prosper if people like my parents and me confront them and make them fucking squirm every time they’re caught exploiting pushovers or the vulnerable, not by my mom or my parents’ friends acting like my homelessness as a Millennial is mainly an impediment to vicarious Boomer self-actualization.

The ones with the money here are substantially failing at a version of George Orwell’s saw about rough men ready to do violence to protect civilization. In this case, it’s not particularly rough men and women ready to speak bluntly to men who actually are rough, and gratuitously so, and call the police the moment they threaten anyone. Assertiveness before these predatory shitheads might make things better for quite a few people; that’s why I called code.

My dad, however, seems to think it’ll be more expensive but easier to just buy me a house. I don’t like the civic and social implications of paying tens of thousands of additional dollars to extract me from a mess that might be permanently solved for all victims by those with the money standing up to the manipulators, but at the same time I’m not one to beg another person not to buy me a house, no strings attached. That, I assume, would be a far below-average process yielding me an above-average outcome, a Kato Kaelin arrangement minus the Juice problem. Back when I was JD and FS’s Kato, and JD offered to will me their house (not sure I should have declined, although there were some significant inherent vices), I fucking worked for them, and there’s little enough labor theory of value in their world that, McGrilled Chicken Sandwich Deal or no McGrilled Chicken Sandwich Deal, I ain’t got no alibi for them now.