Dr. Kaczynski at his most Florentine never had such an obnoxious Ted Hour

Closed-circuit video kills the radio star all day every day on Bombers’ Row, harder than the BOP ever killed Lauryn Hill, the nonwhite who was the new black, and certainly harder than he did with his song. Paul Tanaka and Michael Slager are compulsory Coloradans now, too, so there’s no reason not to bring them into Michael Rudkin’s sallyport for a mass Colorado Rocky Mountain Hahaha, I’m allowed to leave whenever I want, bitch. I feel bad about associating Slager with these shitheads, but not too bad; he and the Rod Unspared are neighbors (beautiful day, Rogers!), and they’re both accomplishing more with their silver hair than I am with my brown hair. Never let anyone tell you that the systemwide ban on hair dye means that FCI Englewood isn’t just for men.

That was terrible. So are those three words (TM), which say too much (TM): Robert Philip Hanssen. *Defiant Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab voice* I don’t know what’s wrong with any of you infidel assholes, but I’m only here because I tried to blow up my shorts.

At least Mr. Explodeypants isn’t getting all up in your face to chronicle NPR. I am, though. You should have known by now that this thing wasn’t about to get any less fucked up. I don’t know whether Guy Raz has a great face for radio, and I don’t care to check, but he sure has an awful voice. Even as House Voice goes he’s a stinker. Maybe that’s why he now hosts a weekly show of neoliberal enrichment seminar excerpts. It’s a great way to get lectured by some bumptious dipshit who at least nominally has expertise in whatever field they’re examining and then get T-boned every ten minutes by the discovery that that useless simpering son of a bitch has his own urgent thoughts on the same subjects.

Today’s sic theme was “adaptation.” First they had some dude on to talk about lost Indians in deepest Mexico who were hella good ultramarathoners into their eighties because they never had running shoes, the point being that you, Bruce, Wendy, and I were all born to run. Baby. Then they brought in a blind guy with a story about how his parents let him learn to echolocate like a bat and find his own independent way in the world instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for himself. It sounded like wise parenting, but I got the feeling that the St. Elmo’s Fire shit was really aimed at people whose challenges were a lot more artificial and deliberate than being blind. It did not, for example, explain why Joe Dirtbag never pays anyone for heavy farm labor, which doesn’t exactly consist of lollygagging all day and having a sad. The episode ended with some artsy-fartsy bullshit about how metal can be hung from the ceiling in a sheet instead of like, sitting on the ground in a big solid block. That segment was so obviously fucking retarded that I needed only ten or fifteen seconds to turn the radio off and revert to my usual habitat, On Line.

The most ridiculous and offensive segment was about Rich Benjamin and Whitopia, his book about the American Whitey Rez. The problem wasn’t that they aired his talk; ever since I heard of Whitopia it’s been on my long-term reading list, and the material I’ve come across about it has always been interesting. What I did not care to hear was their sanctimonious, passive-aggressive framing of white people, many of them also White People, being unable and unwilling to adapt to life as minorities in an inexorably darkening land. Great job making me have common cause with every paranoid authoritarian asshole who cashed out the better part of a million dollars in Prop 13 home equity to buy an unduly large woodlot and a toy barn 45 minutes from Sandpoint.

It’s fucking majestic: here’s another starve-the-beast CalPERS shithead with an ax to grind about the Negroes while he watches Fox News all day in his compound, and I have to take his side 100% in this dispute because this time the liberals really are out to get him, not to mention rubbing me the wrong damn way. I’m a shitposter who drives a used Focus. I’m writing this from Sacramento, one of the most racially integrated cities in the United States. I know full well that the California diaspora loudmouths in rural Idaho are as viciously aggrieved as they are privileged. I’m not down here wistfully seeking an unattainable full communion with Whitey. A lack of white folk isn’t the problem on and around Joe Dirtbag’s farm. That property and that part of the country are plenty honkiful. It doesn’t matter, though, because as much as I enjoy the work I can’t stand the grab bag of dipshits who may or may not be risking their lives by living without heat on property that I’m funding, depending on the time of year and their personal interests. My interests don’t include Into the Wild stunts, but who am I to say that total strangers who don’t have any particular interest in or aptitude for farm work shouldn’t wander onto land that I’m funding, perhaps to live another day, perhaps to die?

There’s no shortage of grandstanding back-to-the-land assholes in the Pacific Northwest who are cordially invited to lose me with their insane bullshit. NPR has made me side with a prominent group of them in a stupid culture war because NPR has once again pulled defeat from the jaws of victory and made itself look absolutely disreputable and pathetic in its over-the-top opposition to a community that is pretty much morally bankrupt itself. When I was in Boise and Idaho City for the eclipse and saw “toy barn” crop up repeatedly in the real estate listings, I lost whatever vague, inchoate opposition I had possibly had to taxing the shit out of those motherfuckers. I’m already in California often enough to be paying significant amounts of sales tax towards their pensions, so I don’t fucking mind the idea that they might be hosed for their fair share of the upkeep for marginal, quasihoused people such as myself, take or take. Cry me the Payette over this tragedy. Hey, I just said “Pay!” That’s freshwater right there, but don’t let it stop a cracker from getting salty.

NPR never thinks in such terms. Doing so would mean questioning affluence and the behavior of the affluent, and we all know that NPR does nothing of the sort. It’s there to challenge explicit bigotry, as opposed to its politically correct implicit forms, and if possible to accuse bigots of being poor. It would be ridiculous to accuse golf-fancying property owners living in gated communities where they resettled for lifestyle reasons of being poor, and even NPR’s capacity for self-ownership has its limits, but it’s technically accurate to accuse them of moving to hella white counties where there aren’t any black and brown folk and waaah, that’s, like, all problematic-like. They’ve got sheer geography on their side: Washington County, Utah and Kootenai County, Idaho are–Wow Very Explain–counties. Adams-Morgan is a neighborhood. Does House Voice live in PG? Hell no. That would be too much Community in the community. This crew lives in Arlington and Wicked Northwest, but not being all pick a bale by sundown and mercy I do declare where’s the General Lee with the heavily black and brown help that runs the physical plant inside the Beltway allows them to play woke. That’s enough for them to pretend to socialize with the local color without giving the average casual listener a tangible reason to call bullshit. Realistically, these sermonizing assholes spend as much time on social calls in Anacostia as retirees in St. George spend at cookouts with Polynesian airport rampers in Salt Lake City, but from thirty thousand feet one sees a lower albedo, so they must be super evolved. #KeepClimbing.

This is how we find ourselves with the most annoying possible Angeleno, who moved to Washington as an adult for his own professional advancement in the imperial center, accusing everyone who moved from Simi Valley to Coeur d’Alene of being maladaptive. By the way, I just accidentally beheld that bastard’s cursed image. The morals of this story are to stay off the internet and, yes, that fucker is about as ugly a dork as you’d expect. Mark Fuhrman hasn’t aged too well himself, but he looked way better than Guy Raz ever has and ever will back in the glory days of the McGrilled Chicken Sandwich Deal. *Monty Robinson transmission incoming, on the radio* Sometimes on a Friday I’ll stop by and have a few drinks, then hit Tsawwassen in my Jeep.

Uh huh. This is a shitty Southland food fight that for some reason needs national airtime, a Jew indulging in a beef with a rough squad of retired Shabbos Goyim for not saying enough nice things about the duskies among whom none of them choose to live. Upon information and belief, Stephanie Lazarus is a Jewess, and a credit to Los Angeles Jewry. We know that Monica Lewinsky makes the tribe look solid in the same way that the Kardashians excuse the Armenians for being the Jews of Fresno. *Warren Zevon, coming back in on all three chords* Lawyers, guns, and my God, this fucker hasn’t even heard of me. Sometimes NPR tries to be subtle. This shit about demographic change and adaptation has all the tact of Detective Suchenfuch talking about the black invasion of Westwood with that amateur she-videographer dipshit. They say that everyone in LA wants to be famous. Furhman was a rare one who pulled it off, like, I totally don’t trust that cunt Captain York, but this broad who showed up in town to be a movie star seems all right.

Send me picture postcards, tough guy. Look, parts of my family are, (((YOU KNOW))), so I’m well within my rights to wonder what the hell anyone at NPR was thinking to have a passive-aggressive Jew go on the record to bitch about how career LAPD cops are maladaptive losers for retiring to Northern Idaho. For crying out loud, Furhman was raised in Washington State, and Raz is a shanda in the best of times. Someone thought it was a good idea not just to give that dorky Hebrew two successive national anchor positions and then use one of them to diss the gentiles at length for having the wrong reaction to their discomfort with nonwhites. Do they even teach logic at NPR? Lol no. It’s adaptive for a simpering dweeb to move across the country for career advancement but not for people who are sick of LA to move inland for lifestyle reasons intersecting with their openly retrograde thoughts on race.

This is the exact level of intellectual maturity and honesty that has our elected blowhards calling every inconvenient mass shooter and jihadist suicide bomber a coward. Anything that we disapprove of is weakness, while everything that we approve of is strength. We might as well give Pot-o-Shit Friend national Saturday evening airtime to denounce Kevin Vickers as a filthy weakling, because, yes, you fucking betcha I just said “turd.” I’m honestly baffled that Guy Raz was able to hack it as a war correspondent. In a way, it’s even worse that he’s merely playing an insufferable wuss, that it’s just an act. It’s like they’re calibrating the whole shtick for maximum alienation of the provincial gentiles. What better than to put a grating Semitic pussy on the air to narrate a story about how a community of street-hardened Heinz 57 honkies are a cultural and demographic cul-de-sac for being such losers that they moved somewhere else because they didn’t like the scene where they had been living?

It isn’t my fault that I’m siding with Daryl Gates and Chateau Heartiste here. NPR forced my hand. I can’t find a citation, but I recall hearing that whitopias are always near polo clubs. On the Millington-Robinson spectrum of horsemanship, polo is definitely closer to Sauce Boss falling head over heels into the creek, which is also the drink. If they aren’t careful, they’ll have me defending fancy shitheads who drink mint juleps at Churchill Downs. Northside Juice never did anything so stupid with a horse, and that storytelling buddy made it through Depot, so we know he wasn’t on track to do anything sensible with one. It isn’t my fault that I’m defending the very worst crackers that I haven’t seen with their pants on the ground on the light rail through Rancho Cordova. It’s the fault of NPR, an organization of blindingly White white people who are even worse.

Good grief, Ghomeshi, there’s no reason to choke only Canadians.

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The permanence of the temporarily embarrassed millionaire

Let’s be perfectly blunt. America, as it is popularly understood and celebrated, is predicated on a carefully unexamined magical assumption of upward mobility for all in due course of time. This is the founding myth without which its sociopolitical regime would immediately collapse. We tried race-based chattel slavery and ended up with a civil war barely beyond living memory of independence, followed by a fitful decade-long postwar reform effort and, not quite another century later, a peacetime federal military intervention to forcibly secure the civil rights of African-Americans in the South over the violent objections of their local and state governments. There’s still a horrific percentage of Americans who believe in eternal racial attainder, but one is socially marginalized for openly expressing anything of the sort outside a narrow, aberrant swath of the Deep South. For all the talk about how racist Alabamans are, that shit hasn’t flown on the shop floors of Birmingham’s steel mills since sometime around the Second World War. You read that right: Bull Connor didn’t even have the monolithic support of his own Whitey local.

This isn’t to say that LBJ called all the Congressional bigshots into the White House shitter for some legislative shuck-and-jive and racism magically evaporated like so much morning fog from Cicero to Southie to the Upper East Side. The point is that it was driven at least partway underground, so that for the past half century bigots have generally had to offer explanations other than righteous racial attainder for why African-Americans continue to have such a large share of the poor outcomes in the United States. Overpowering social conventions have forced them to blame the shortcomings on communal cultural problems (Bill Cosby famously keeping his pants either all the way up or, in the presence of Quaaludes and fetching women not his wife, all the way off) or individual behavioral problems inhibiting individual success (e.g., non-Cosby criminality). The Overton Window was budged pretty hard, and it still hasn’t been pushed back to where it was under Jim Crow. It’s still considered beyond the pale to insist that the black man not be allowed to rise by his own merit because he was put on this earth, and certainly this continent (gee, wonder how that happened), to pick a bale by sundown.

Old-line African-Americans and the more troubled Indian tribes are the only ethnic groups that are routinely exempted from or ignored by the assumption of permanent upward mobility. African immigrants are generally believed to bypass the socioeconomic problems that bedevil native-stock blacks (Nigerians very much so, Ethiopians as a matter of course, Somalis and Liberians somewhat less so). To the extent that specific Indian nations are recognized beyond the Rez as discrete societies rather than a vague red mass, the Cherokee and the Mohawk have a reputation for levels of human development that most other tribes sadly do not. Remember, blacks and Indians are the exceptions here. No other racial or ethnic group on the face of the earth has a significant number of Americans prejudging it incapable of upward mobility upon its arrival in the United States. Yes, I’m including Cambodians and Micronesians. That’s how deep the American belief in upward mobility is.

Occasionally we get a leader who recognizes that ever-increasing and broadening prosperity is happy horseshit and cuts the brightsiding. Clintonworld hates the shit out of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump for calling bullshit on its scam and insisting that something actually has to be done to restore America to what it should be. Trump is mainly a vector of false reform, a man who has shown himself to be evil and surrounded by advisors who are even worse, but it’s striking how salty he made both the center-left and the center-right with a four-word slogan implying that not everything was sunshine and lollypops and it was time for the government to do something on behalf of those constituents it had been forsaking. Trump and Sanders were appealing to an overlapping suite of grievances, so of course they got a huge amount of overlap in their voters (YUGE!). In the past, we’ve gotten blunt candor about things being bad from Jimmy Carter, reviled for years on the hard right for the sweater and the national malaise; LBJ, with the Civil Rights Act and the Great Society Campaign; FDR, with the Four Freedoms, the fireside chats, and the New Deal; and his cousin Teddy the trustbuster. If these guys had had continuity of leadership for a century we might be in pretty good shape today. Instead, the periods between their administrations included a number of horrible bullshit artists: Harding, Coolidge, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, another Bush, Obama, and nearly another Clinton. This ignores all the authoritarian horror shows orchestrated by our best and worst modern presidents alike: Hoover’s ideologically driven ineptitude and consequent rumble with the Bonus Army look benign compared to the eugenicist lunacy and authoritarian extremism of Wilson, who, by the way, blew the singular chance to win Ho Chi Minh over to the American side at Versailles because, duh, that cracker never had any truck with a gook. Yankee Doodle Dien Bien Phu, my old boy.

What’s scary is how rarely we get leaders who have the courage to tell us that we do not and will not just magically end up with a chicken in every pot. It’s idiotic to assume that we’ll automatically remain free, healthy, and prosperous because we’re the greatest nation in the world, ever. It’s deeply scandalous that this is a mainstream political opinion and that dissidents marginalize themselves by challenging it. It’s the language of toddlers at a sporting match. Why would we not be the champions of the world? Of course, “we” won the Second World War, or our fathers did on their way from *FACT CHECK* Bethlehem to Asbury Park for the Fourth of July weekend, never mind that the USSR sustained fifty times as many casualties and had to recapture much of its own most productive territory on its way to Berlin. Yeah, maybe we’re somewhat exaggerating the amount of fashy ass we kicked as one of the last parties to join the Allied war effort.

Fixing the mess we have now means untangling seventy years of ever more muddleheaded national mythology, which is expressed in all sorts of unexpected, disorienting ways. We’re taught that we’re a wealthy, prosperous, stable country, always on its way up to greater things and always lifting up the less fortunate peoples attached to our own. We aren’t taught to ask who the fuck is “us,” an increasingly pertinent question at a time of bifurcation between a lucky, affluent, sheltered minority and a proliferating underclass of the damned. “We” kicked all that fashy ass, came home and porked our Yankee broads for some Boomers, did the civil rights thing, something-something Goodnight Saigon but whatever, spent the eighties getting rich and the nineties cutting our hair and having the emo angst but still getting even richer, kept that good shit going for most of another administration, and then, when it all came crashing down, internationally and spectacularly, decided that it was just a short “recession.” The five million-plus who disappeared from the official payroll from 2008 to 2009 were erased just as effectively from the national discussion about why the hell we even have an economy.

I mentioned the Baby Boom above. It’s axiomatic in hip circles that the Boomers are Satan incarnate, and that isn’t entirely the fault of the small, beleaguered successor generations that they barely birthed. Their most prominent members have behaved execrably for decades and left the young in a world of hurt. In many cases, however, they’ve also ruined their age peers or themselves. It’s Boomers who keep making the news for being too broke to retire. Whether they frittered their money away on stupid shit, lost it to Wall Street scammers, were obliterated by medical debt, or just got vaguely in over their heads in an increasingly hostile economy, it’s gone.

The money they lost in whatever combination of these bad moves and misfortunes isn’t coming back, so we might as well not get too worked up if a different pool of money is diverted to them through, say, Social Security. As a rule of thumb, we need to get these fuckers out of the workforce to make room for youngsters who have never been given a decent chance, and no-strings-attached cash disbursements are the best way to go about it. Also, working the indigent elderly like draft animals when their bodies are already wrecked is evil.

At a more detached philosophical level, though, the proliferation of a new cohort of elderly poor raises some interesting questions about the classic American trajectory of upward mobility. The elderly are supposed to have savings and income because of the magical economy and shit, i.e., Mr. Roosevelt giving us all Social Security, God and Paul Ryan willing, but also a lifetime of thrift and whatever. Or, as the famous RV bumper stickers say, “I’m spending my children’s inheritance!” (Also available to articulate providential respect for one’s grandchildren.) The linear shit is supposed to make everything get better over time.

It sounds ridiculous when it’s phrased so plainly, but this is exactly what we’re taught. We don’t keep seven generations (TM) in bondage; we manumit the children of our Mexicans. The only surviving member of a sibship that the Ottoman authorities otherwise arrayed on crosses on a road into Yerevan begat a rug salesman in Glendale begat defense counsel to Mr. Orenthal James Simpson begat the lady with the famous picture of her ample rump covered in coconut oil begat North and Chicago, but certainly not Humboldt Park.

Divergent lineages begat three successive generations of supercilious assholes who own three thousand acres of almonds and citrus and half the car dealerships in the valley while their self-serious cousin reads the six o-clock news in Fresno, but we don’t need to worry about any of that. I’ll be Mayor Bridgeport Daley if these aren’t classic all-American stories of grit, determination, and in no way unspoken emergent ethnic mafias that make a downwardly mobile honky appreciate Robert Mugabe’s land tenure policies in racially neutral terms. Just in California we’ve had Dutchmen, generic whiteys, Portuguese, Japanese, Armenians, Sikhs, Italians, and lately occasional Mexicans buy up untenably large holdings that leave nothing worth cultivating for anyone else. We’ve got an ethnically-American diverse planter class that won’t hire anyone but indigent Mexicans to do the grunt work on their haciendas (love too learn Spanish!), or Thais if the wetbacks get uppity. Whoop de fuckin do. Dora can teach your children how to communicate with the maid and the gardener while a tiny mixed diaspora drawn and descended from the most ruthless people from a dozen old-world countries exploit loopholes in American land ownership policy and labor law and publicly defame the employability of the US citizenry in a campaign to ensure their supply of unenfranchised foreigners who won’t complain about workplace safety problems and wage theft.

None of this is any reason not to give America a participation trophy. It continues to exist as a polity, after all, and it’s Already Great. That’s why Hillary is here to make it whole again, you deplorable basket of shit. Somehow a generation of young people was ruined by parents and coaches who didn’t go full Karolyi on their asses with constant playing fields of Eton horseshit about how sports are a crucial preparation for life, and yet the deterioration of an entire country’s labor market, social cohesion, morality, and overall health had nothing to do with the same adults failing to adequately steward their society for thirty or forty years. There are people who earnestly complain that Millennials have difficulty finding work and functioning in the workplace because AYSO failed as a vocational training program. It couldn’t possibly be something more proximal, like the modern Anglo-American workplace being a Black Mirror hellscape of precarity, artificial scarcity, and managerial aggression.

We have a republic, if we can keep it. Guess what? We aren’t fucking keeping it. Maybe it really is that the Boomers had it too easy growing up. It’s appalling how many examples there are of Boomers graduating into a healthy job market and society and leaving in their wake an unnavigable pile of rubble and shit. As Stefan Molyneux and his boys like to say, good times create soft men, and hard times create hard men. If I had drawing skills, my DeviantArt page would include reworkings of this sacred instructional imagery to include the Hardly Boys among the Moguls. Ew, get a clue!

The odd thing is that I wouldn’t describe most of what I’ve heard of postwar prosperity as soft or softening on those raised in it. For one thing, we’re talking about birth cohorts that were raised with more marketable skills than young adults today were taught in childhood. These are people who apparently knew how to cook, clean, sew, fix things, and so on by the time they started high school, let alone graduated. I’d be surprised if these skill sets haven’t deteriorated since the midcentury. And there was nothing soft about the yuppie aggression of the eighties. The Summer of Love nonsense, for that matter, tacitly brought out a latent suite of Darwinian behaviors that were antisocial but very much competent and adaptive: being the shithead who scored the pussy in that jungle took adult wiles, not the regressive neurosis and anxiety that plague so many young people today.

The bad stuff wasn’t actually started by the coddled and the soft. It was started by amoral aggressors who took advantage of the prosperous and mildly permissive times of their youth to become ethically and civically lax, then spent their middle and old age responding to ever-worsening incentives and exploiting ever more licentious loopholes. We’re barking up the wrong tree if we think these people fucked up their society and left us with a mess because they didn’t have any work ethic or drive. What they didn’t have was the sense of noblesse oblige to give a damn about those less successful than themselves. This is why we have Uber and unpaid internships instead of a national industrial policy.

To scale the fractal down to the local, where Tip O’Neill claimed to take his politics, Pot-o-Shit Friend is too lazy to steward a healthy society, or a healthy living room. Joe Dirtbag is not too lazy, but he gets his jollies from watching losers live in squalor on his property and illegally charging them rent when he can. He had the work ethic to run a restaurant and still has the work ethic to maintain several acres of wine grapes to near-commercial standards, but as the Ragin’ Canajun perceptively noted, he doesn’t have any maintenance ethic, and so his property is in shambles. Hell, if he were apathetic and inattentive, he wouldn’t try to bait other men into dangerous feuds like he did with me, Busboy, and the cop.

Busboy sitting on ass all the live-long day isn’t the problem in this context. It’s unfortunate, and the reclusive idleness of Pot-o-Shit Friend and Lady Pisspan was really unfortunate, but there is no fucking incentive to have a work ethic around there. No one fucking gets paid, and showing up to work for Joe Dirtbag means risking entanglement in some beef that threatens to turn violent if anyone responds in kind to his fighting words. This fucker owns a couple dozen acres of prime farmland, and it is literally impossible to work for a living for him. If he’s wondering why more people hanging around his property don’t work for a living, that’s why. If he doesn’t pay anyone a cent for doing heavy labor for him or lift a finger to maintain the shanties he rents out, who the hell does he expect to show any fucking responsibility as an employer or a landlord?

This is why the shady pay arrangements at the berry farm where I work the summer harvest doesn’t bother me so much. It isn’t what it should be, but the In-Laws deduct and remit FICA taxes and live by a halfway respectable labor theory of value, not to mention that they don’t harass employees the way Joe Dirtbag does, care about employee safety, and maintain a safe workplace. (Mother-in-Law’s occasional outbursts are seat-of-the-pants emotional failures of self-control, not chilling gaslighting campaigns, and she beats herself up about them afterwards more than I wish she did. If the bullshit stops and I don’t see it back on the horizon, I’m cool.) This is a case where the perfect is the enemy of the good, and the piece rate is good enough.

The Joe Dirtbag situation is an evil which is the enemy of the perfect and the good. He isn’t a decent guy who’s just kind of cheap. He’s a petty feudal lord. The down-and-out exist to be “helpers,” as the Family Shrew says, compliant little fruit bitches and shack tenants who never complain about how they’re paying an adequately housed landlord to live in a fucking travel trailer with a pit outhouse in the yard and no indoor plumbing or farmworkers whose landed boss always has a cool story about how he doesn’t have to pay anyone and will have steam coming out of his ears if anyone calls bullshit.

These fuckers act like the universe will magically provide paid work to anyone who actually needs the money while they Tom Sawyer pushovers into being their unpaid field hands. Years ago JD had the nerve to chide me for referring to a semi-paid employee of his as a field hand. For fuck’s sake, do I sound like I’m offended that my bosses at the blueberry patch refer to me and my colleagues as pickers, when that’s exactly what we are? Again, scrupulous OSHA compliance and partial compliance with wage and hour laws is a hell of an improvement over flippant noncompliance with all laws and regulations restricting nonpayment of wages, the maintenance of death traps, and harassment.

It’s absurd, nay, superstitious, to expect anyone else to step into the breach and abide by the laws of the land and common decency to make Joe Dirtbag’s farm irrelevant to the labor and housing markets when he’s allowed to do whatever the fuck he goddamn pleases at whatever cost to those around him with near-total impunity. Just as with unpaid internships and unionbusting, this shit has a contagious degrading effect. None of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that he’s obtained at below-market rates from investors has gone to ensuring that the winery building is safe, clean, and intact or that anyone on the property has a sanitary place to bathe and shit. The rent he collects doesn’t go to any of that, either.

These are the job creators of American small business. Will it surprise you to learn that JD and FS have dabbled in superstitions about trickle-down economics, just world theory, and how disloyal theoretical customers eating at Burger King and Denny’s fucked up their restaurant business in a market harboring neither of the former? Last I checked, the Family Shrew had a handwritten affirmation on a wall in their house saying, “Every day, in every way, I am growing richer.” Counterpoint: Bitch you are not. This is a woman who has gotten no less than $15,000 from my parents to cover emergency household expenses (money my dad gave JD to buy a new Subaru), in addition to tens of thousands from other parties that are beyond my ability to calculate, and she was still eating half-wilted, half-rotting lettuce out of an old one-gallon sour cream container.

I am not going to find a portal into an authentic or functional working-class existence from either of these two dipshits. They’re proud crackers whenever anyone is on to their schnorring act, mortally offended bourgeois business leaders whenever anyone is on to their insolvency, and humble pensioners just trying to get by in embarrassingly hard times whenever anyone acts like the reputable thing for them to do for their staff would be to set up an accounts payable operation. If they’re the moral standard, I shouldn’t be online writing this shit; I should be out by the freeway flying a sign. I swear, the only thing I’m paid to do when I’m working on their property is to scavenge deposit bottles. That’s it. It’s reason enough to limit my efforts to my own reclamation projects and leave JD to his own devices in the parts of the vineyard he hasn’t abandoned.

We can tell that we’re having a second Great Depression, not a fucking recession followed by a recovery of green shoots and sunshine up my ass and yours, because there are still people living on that filthy death trap of a farm and the county authorities aren’t down there every week to respond to citizen complaints. It’s a version of the rural poverty that preceded and helped precipitate the first Great Depression.

This shit won’t fucking restabilize itself. JD knows all the local do-gooders and half the elected officials. He’s married to a goddamn social worker. There’s no making this shit up. The Family Shrew has a bachelor’s degree in social work and five years’ professional experience in the field, and she’s got people shitting in a one-holer outhouse and sleeping without heat on her property. This is the kind of shit LBJ was horrified to discover in Appalachia half a century ago. But no, it harsh the mellow to blow the whistle on any of this.

Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand. Maybe I’ll be there to share the land and then share my story about it with sheriff’s dispatch. It’s forecast to be down to twenty next week, but as JD and FS will agree, their country cabin is so warm and cozy. FS actually preened about this on a night when Island Boy sent me back down to the farm with a pair of winter socks. A few days later I nearly drove back up there and threw the socks at that mofo, Kajieme Powell with the pastries-style.

This is how they treat family. Franklin Roosevelt bragging about his warm fire on the radio was satire when the Onion published it. Around here, it’s real life. Of course these shitheads assume that blood’s thicker than water. They figure that renting a dump without plumbing from an asshole who presumes himself above all laws is thicker than water, too. Nice phone number they’ve got at Port Coquitlam code enforcement, Willie. Shame if I called it, eh.

I’m one of the ones who thinks of ways to demand redress for these horror shows without resorting to violence. That isn’t all of us in the United States. Put that CCR record on the turntable, look out your back door, and see if that isn’t a storm on the horizon. Ain’t all of us got the Walgreen’s royalties to see us through the bad times, Fogerty.

Will I see you tonight?

Some thug spent most of ten minutes trying to beef with me on the light rail last night on the way into–this is a real station; look it up–Watt-Manlove. I deliberately tuned out most of his screed, on the theory that depriving him of an audience would deprive him of the fun he was hoping to have and that deescalation would be safer than waiting for the police to respond. It was when he blocked two different doors on his way off the train, opening the second one from outside to berate and glare at me after blocking the first one on his way off the train, that I confirmed for sure that he was a thug, not just a loudmouthed punk. He was within seconds of the operator getting on the PA system to order passengers away from the doors by the time he finally walked away, to menace God knows whom else on the streets. That takes a stouter set of stones than it takes to nurse the remnants of a split of champagne on the trolley while freestyling about how the guy across the aisle is a “fat cracka” in a society unfortunately beset by a proliferation of “bitch-ass niggas.”

There are those who would insist that this was a racial problem, but really it was a crime problem. There’s hardly a person in Sacramento whose admiration I cherish less. I don’t give a shit about this jailbird’s thoughts on what a fat white bitch-ass nigger I am. I do mind that he tried to put me in fear for my safety. It takes more than some fool mumbling racial slurs on the trolley to get my guard up: say, repeatedly raising one’s voice and making erratic movements from immediately across the aisle while I ignore the performance as studiously as I can. This dude reflected on nobody but himself and a few dozen or hundred other of Sacramento’s worst parolees and ex-cons, and that’s irrespective of race. I’m not the fool who’s cool with a white guy behaving like that right in front of me in close quarters. That shit is not okay on anyone’s part.

#TeshTips: Some riders have the social proof to licentiously use America’s most reviled racial slurs on common carriers. They’re usually from Rancho Cordova. You and I aren’t. Let us give thanks. Or, as that cashier at the Safeway on Alhambra told the other customer, “He lives by the light rail station in Rancho.” I didn’t need to be reminded, but I guess the other guy did, and I’d volunteered the information myself. Also, I was the one who had made the decision to *STAY, NOT LIVE* out by Sunrise, immediately next door to the guy who called me “sir,” “dog,” “boss,” and “man” right after he got done trying to whup another dude’s ass on the platform for having sold meth to his kid sister.

I have no fucking idea how Lester Holt is from Rancho. #TheMoreYouKnow, the more you realize that not everything in this world makes any goddamned sense. I guess there’s some kind of middle-class community in the neighborhood that’s off the train by seven every night and also isn’t in the news for murdering anyone on Routier Road. The latter, thank God, is who rides the bus in Land Park and Pocket. It would be nice if any of those lines ran on weekends, or, depending on the clientele extended service would encourage, not nice.

The deeper problem here, of course, is that Sacramento can’t figure how what the hell to do with its intersectional criminal, behavioral health, and substance abuse communities. Turning Rancho Corvoda into the banlieue works great for anyone who isn’t also priced out to fucking Rancho. Somehow last night was the night that RT didn’t have any security officers on the train to simmer my boy the fuck down. This didn’t stop the Rancho Cordova police from parking two cruisers on the platform at Power Inn that afternoon while their sworn drivers did some unexplained shit on the trains. Love too have a police force that is allowed to park on the sidewalk in nonemergency situations but not expected to deter street crime on the transit system that it patrols.

I’m still convinced that there are awfully few people who belong in jail, but my swing shift trolley buddy isn’t necessarily one of them. If the Menendez brothers were on the trolley, they’d probably try to teach me chess. Ione isn’t that far away. Stephanie Lazarus, whose doppelganger I saw in a floral print house dress on the Gold Line a few years ago, is all right. Hey, Wettlaufer, you ought to try getting a date with the Ruetten fellow; I hear he’s quite handsome and charming. That was unfair; other than serial murderers, most murderers are pretty reformable. Plenty of others are discharged from prison without hardcore criminal proclivities or behavioral problems. The trouble is with the ones who aren’t, such as the one I got to ride with yesterday evening. I don’t know for a fact that he was in the system, but I can’t see how he wasn’t. CDCR does sweet fuck-all to rehabilitate its problem inmates. If they’re too much trouble to put on a work crew, they’re stashed on some hell yard until they reach their release date and converted into some hapless local government’s problem. That’s why we’ve got this thug on the loose who, let’s face it, is on the fast track back to jail if he keeps getting up in other riders’ faces on the light rail. In the meantime, innocents are in unnecessary danger because no level or agency of government in California is able and willing to control him. Is it any wonder, though, that the judicial apparatus that insists on keeping the Menendez boys in hoosegow for life as heinous dangers to society doesn’t know its ass from a hole in the ground when it’s time to release someone with manifest behavioral problems?

This is the sort of thing that makes me miss Philadelphia, a city of broad shoulders and vigorous natural law whose drivers and private citizens police bad characters on the bus so effectively that the formal police hardly ever have to be called. That is reserved for the aftermath of the knifepoint groping attacks and hammer murders that are traditional on the subway system.

Gotta love any jurisdiction where the security apparatus is overbearing and yet ineffectual. In this context, it’s hard to resist the appeal of foothill towns that basically exclude the rough street element. It’s bad praxis and ethics, but for those lucky enough to be able to get up the hill, it works. Whose place is it to tell anyone else who’s competent enough to get out of Dodge to wait an unforeseeable number of additional years or decades for the dysfunctional valley towns and the even worse state criminal justice system to finally do something about the inadequately supervised assholes who fuck up the light rail system ten hours a day and all day on weekends? Victor Davis Hanson is right: woke and idealistic though one may be, the ground is just more defensible up there.

Good luck getting any transit-oriented development into actual transit-oriented use in a city with a teeming, entrenched transit-oriented unemployable underclass. Sacramento Regional Transit isn’t a public transportation agency; it’s an outpatient psychiatric and social services pavilion. It’s one thing to convince people that trolleys are fly as shit as an ideal; it’s quite another to convince them that it’s worth their time and patience to put up with an expensive system whose ridership is otherwise the hardest cases off every skid row and Section Eight complex in the service area. It takes a big-ass lot of normies to push a system back over the tipping point that turned it into a fleet of hell of wheels loser cruisers.

I’m not complaining that poor people ride RT; that’s the case with every local transit agency everywhere. I’m saying that it has a number of lines, including its entire light rail system, whose riders are routinely drawn exclusively from the most shambolic, disreputable, menacing, hardened, criminally inclined, and flamingly mentally ill people in the entire fucking county. I’m saying that it is not uncommon to step aboard and see no one else in the entire vehicle who is capable of behaving normally and appropriately in a mainstream professional setting for five minutes. Exhorting people who can afford alternate means of transportation to take RT means badgering them to allow extra travel time in order to be the only normal, functional people on a likelier than not dirty vehicle otherwise full of horrific cases that they’d otherwise see only in extreme institutional settings. I’m rarely the least bit afraid for my safety on public transit, but I’ve often come away from trips on RT wondering what in all hell I was doing wasting half an hour in the midst of such incorrigible, unreachable losers. San Diego MTS is another good agency for such experiences, especially during off-peak runs through downtown, not a particular surprise for a city that has been hosing its streets down with bleach in an effort to stop a shitborne Hepatitis A outbreak.

SEPTA is nothing like this. Like the city it serves, it has some serious failures of cleanliness, but I don’t recall ever being on a SEPTA bus or trolley where most of the other passengers didn’t look normal. The old 100 high-speed line, running between shitty termini in Norristown and Upper Darby on a diagonal through a very pleasant and fancy swath of the Main Line, notwithstanding the locals along the way, experiences socioeconomic and racial pole reversals in its ridership between rush hour, which adheres religiously to bankers’ hours, and off-peak, but the off-peak crowd is mostly normal, functional, upstanding people commuting to work or going to medical appointments or the like. This has been the case on every trip I can recall taking anywhere on the SEPTA system. It’s pretty much people who look like they have or indisputably have a sensible reason for traveling across town on the bus, and the one guy who’s occasionally blurting out that he used to have family on Torresdale Avenue (“Dayyum! Shee-yut!”) is sitting somewhere conveniently out of everyone else’s way, peaceably and still.

A bourgeois supremacist might object to contamination by the poors on SEPTA. A person who’s perfectly at ease around the poor in general might become completely fed up with RT’s off-peak services because of the ubiquity of people who are unable and often enough unwilling to function halfway normally in society. It’s a shitshow: some guy opening the slit window above his seat to throw an orange peel out of a moving train, a homeless guy with anger management problems yelling at the fare inspector and anyone else within earshot while lunging around in the stairwell, assholes blocking the doors while the operator barks at them over the PA system to get out of the way so the train can depart, some sauntering yardboy with a jumpy look in his eyes whose pants would be around his ankles if he didn’t have them cinched up with a length of burlap rope for a belt, the front half of the lead car taken up by roller gimps doing electric bumper cars in the aisle every time they board and alight, but not all of them too disabled to get up out of their scooters with a healthy-looking gait and range of motion, like, cool, I’ma stand all the way up like a more or less able-bodied adult and then sit down on this-here seat, so as my rig can have its own parking space right behind the only wheelchair-accessible door on the whole dang train.

#TIMMEH is canon, guys. This is what they call * CLEAN * SAFE * CONVENIENT *. It’s always great and not at all Communist Chinese to reify a public transit system worth riding by putting a ridiculous slogan on the side of the trolley. I guess the budget line item for that happy horseshit is less than the combined line items for actually making the system good enough to attract riders who look like they have somewhere to be at a specific time sometime in the rest of their lives. There might just be a ten or twenty percent chance that a given RT run on one of the bad lines will be colonized against normies, but every other form of transportation in the region, including walking and bicycling in neighborhoods that aren’t overwhelmed by the hopelessly down and out, consistently wards off the third-party dipshits.

On the positive side, a single-ride light rail ticket used to be valid for two hours of this shit, but now it’s valid only for an hour and a half. First prize: one week in Toledo; second prize: two weeks. This is an excellent model for passengers who were hoping to run errands or some shit without fishing out another $2.75 for a return ticket. It’s a disgrace that this city and its transit system are so fucked up, but the $19.50 that I’ve contributed towards the clusterfuck this week is less taxing than my efforts to chronicle the mess. Fat Cracka out.

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.

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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

These blame idiots can’t imagine that there are bad public policies or managerial decisions that directly make farm work ruinous to the health and safety of those undertaking it. The growers for whom I’ve done most of my commercial work care deeply and sincerely about the occupational safety of their employees, but somehow NPR never manages to find anyone in the industry who steps up to the fucking plate and makes sure that the help get enough rest, rotation between tasks, and time off for medical appointments to keep themselves in decent health.

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

It’s great work if you can get it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travels with G. K. Chestrubber

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

Be well, bitch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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