Atticus Pitch

We’ve touched on mental health above, so let’s return to our Normal One. There’s no need to sugarcoat the floater: we haven’t got a whole lot of it around here.

There are astounding stories of psychiatric dead zones, places where it’s possible to drive, like, 500 miles across the prairie through country that’s home to a population in the tens of thousands and not come within an hour of a psychiatric practice. The other cool thing about these places is that they have some of the highest suicide rates in the US. Great work, fam. We’re really gettin’ er done for the people who git er done. Of course, we have irresponsible country music about cowboys and cowgirls not crying, which doesn’t help: if there are two other families within five or ten miles and it’s impossible to make ends meet, it’s a bad idea to bottle it all up just to conform to the idiotic stereotypes trafficked by opportunists who don’t even live on the range. It really says something about us as a nation, though, that we source large portions of our food supply from mental health sacrifice zones. We really are holding this joint together with chewing gum and dental floss.

This is the brittleness we all suffer because a posse of coke buddies in Manhattan has to make another easy buck at our expense. The High Plains have been depopulating for decades now. It has to make life harder to have all the kids leave town. The pork supply has been thrown into chaos because a handful of plants in the Midwest that process an alarmingly large portion of the country’s hogs were overcome with virus outbreaks. The Smithfield plant in South Dakota that got shut down because a symptomatic worker had clocked back in is said to process 2% of American pork. One plant. That’s insane. And they’re inevitably doing all the same sketchy, dangerous shit as ever, plus some. Ever since about 1980 the industry model has been to hire foreign peasants who live in crowded squalor to work themselves to exhaustion on lines that are run at inherently, blatantly dangerous speeds. The only thing we’re now adding is a deadly contagion alighting on this workforce at a time when it still can not care for itself in general or spatially buffer itself either at work or at home.

What else were we going to do? Treat these losers like people? Like our brothers and sisters, as their keepers, and they as ours? Pay them enough to live decently and take downtime when they need it to rest up? That’s no way to run a business.

The mental have always been in our midst: loners chasing God through the desert, the possessed whose demons Jesus exorcised, ergot victims, town lunatics, mountain men, Woody Allen. What’s new is the extreme abnormality of our times. I’m unconvinced of the realiability of the reconstructed data, but there are indications that the prevalence of mental illness in the West is rising significantly. It says something that so many people insist it is, regardless of the evidence they use or don’t have.

We indulged in autism earlier. Those who don’t use it as their all-access Disney pass are petrified that their kids will catch it. This fear is paranoid: a normally functioning community is unlikely to have more than a handful of social outliers who are too mentally disabled to function adequately in society, and some of these will have other conditions, not autism. Most likely the autists will skew towards the adequately functioning. Who gives a shit if they’re kind of odd? Why is that a problem? Do we all have to be cheerleaders? There’s no way that a community without incest or extreme inbreeding will end up with a fifth of its children nonverbal and throwing the cat at the wall.

Except that isn’t exactly what parents have in mind when they mention autism. They mean raising a kid who spergs out and understands cats more than people. So what? Is that a fucking problem? It isn’t for Charlie Sheen, and we can all see how far short he falls of Anthony Hopkins. The cheerleader question in the last paragraph was not, unfortunately, rhetorical. Yes, they all do have to be cheerleader material.

It’s that above-average thing again. By some accounts Mr. Keillor is one such case himself, and that explains the touchy-feely shit. Translation: he’s a clumsy dork and it took him an hour or maybe a month to do a quarter of what takes Joe Biden five seconds. We have our neurological explanations for Uncle Joe (ain’t fixable), but why do we need one for him? Is it not enough to note that he made a stage career out of wheezing and sighing through readings of his short fiction pieces, some of which sucked? If he’s autism, what the hell does Chris Thile say about the neurotypical?

The reason all the children have to be above-average, but not like that bulldog-looking nerd, is that our job market has come to be understood as having one Temple Grandin position, a few slots for the manic-depressives in the arts, maybe a John Nash kook nook or two in the sciences, and millions upon millions of openings in sales, but not, like, Willy Loman beta male shit. Parents are scared that their kids will flounder academically in school, and the popular explanations of late are all on the Spectrum, but they’re also scared to death that they’ll have trouble developing people skills, now known as “soft skills.” We really don’t do anything anymore if it’s hard, as she said.

Again, it’s because we all scam or strongarm rob our neighbors for a living. We don’t even run an economy based on taking in one another’s laundry. For chrissake we have Mexicans for that.

It’s all too easy to see how people who are fully employable but have mild difficulties reading and reacting to social cues would have trouble navigating the workforce due not to an inability or unwillingess to work, but due to a constitutional inability to convincingly lie. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to bluff under normal circumstances, and I have great difficulty compartmentalizing different truths for different audiences, although I’m okay at codeswitching and staying away from third rails in a number of different subcultures. I’ve never seriously suspected that I have autistic tendencies. What impresses me, rather, is that I’m too anxious to bluff or bullshit, even when I find it reasonable to be dishonest, and that I’m powerfully afraid of falling into a psychotic state if I lie or mislead as a matter of course. All around me I hear people saying things that sound absolutely delusional, things that are lucid in a strict clinical sense but functionally as psychotic as anything I’ve heard from someone actively cursing at ghosts downtown. I often conclude that the only thing I have left is my true witness, my ability and desire to live in truth, and as gross as I feel writing that, it’s true.

It’s something I’m loath to give up. I went to school with amoral bullshit artists, manipulators, gaslighters, liars, and similar scumbags who are now firmly among the amoral elites aggressively driving the productive into the destitute, despised margins of American society. They’re why it’s difficult to impossible to get by doing anything reputable for a living. This isn’t some butterfly effect wizardry story where a roomful of key assholes can be removed from the Rube Goldberg machine and it sputters to a halt because they were the linchpins. It’s more insidious. I’ve personally known maybe a dozen or two dozen truly bad actors, plus cronies of theirs who were class acts but sellouts, but I knew of hundreds more who were at least as bad, and altogether they work out to maybe 4% of the combined student body at a group of elite four-year colleges with combined enrollment of 10k.

The math is yours if you want it.

Is it crazy to surmise that the power and wealth people of this character hold has ill effects on mental health in their societies? Of course not. This is a faction of morally unhinged social climbers who presume themselves lords with the right and the duty to tell the rest of us how to live. Their own mental health, by the way, is terrible.


Atticus Pitch

It’s my fault for listening to Marco Werman’s Two O’Clock Dorkfest. We all have our terrible habits, right? KQED preempted part of the feed yesterday afternoon, which per se could have been a good idea, but reread what I just wrote about who did this. Do they sound like they’ve been acting on GOOD ideas? What could have motivated them to interrupt their own programming?

Why, money. They welcome the money and the cash. Some of us welcome it more gracefully, but some of us also aren’t public radio stations. They cut away from about ten minutes of the Gavin Gabbin as well, on the reasoning that it was an extended Gabbin running until 1:30 but really on the reasoning that they could use some of that sweet long green. Some months ago, during a prior pledge drive, they cut away from Mina Kim’s live Forum interview with Nicholas “my name means fuck you in Arabic” and Sheryl WuDunn. It was a surprisingly good chat, but that aside, Kim is their own host and Forum is their own program! Even if the episode sucks, even if the whole program and concept and all parties involved suck, why put it together in-house, air it live, and then preempt it?

Duh. Money.

One of their bag ladies, I assume she is, Claire Greene or Clare Green or whatever–I think–got on the horn with Michele Henagan from home and said that she was loopy because it was getting stuffy in her attic. Green[e] is one of the characters they only trot out when they want money. I can’t recall their making any other use of her thirty talents. Mercy, she might have fewer, or she might have more, and we know her employer has more, or in any event we think it does because it could have put some aside in a savings mattress or Jefferson Icebox from the accounts already received, via our own. Who knows? They always need more. It’s like a kid who keeps getting Gobias Industries grants from every relative with money, and the family convenes without him in an effort to discern what the hell is wrong with him, and the council keeps drawing blanks because the putz is too boring to have a drug addiction. Radio equipment?

It’s pathetic. They’ve got this bag lady on air, and since we’re all under the watch of the Dread Ailment she’s set up a home broadcasting office, and the only free space she’s been able to repurpose is the attic. Quick reivew: homeskillet is on payroll at a licensed radio station. How hard it is for the techs to wire a feed Henagan’s live broadcast studio and a second studio in the same building? Are these losers operating the most popular NPR affiliate out of a single room, The Studio? Check it out: we’ve got the tape room for the archive, we’ve got the equipment room, we’re in radio so we’ve got the makeup room, we’ve got the studio, and over here we’ve got the game arcade, because we like to have fun.

It feels like some real Dril candles tweet-ass budgeting. Fifty or a hundred grand coming in a pop from “challenge grants” and they’re still setting up home studio feeds from employees’ attics. The whole broadcast-from-home story scans like an op, anyway. They usually have only one or two members of their on-air staff broadcasting at a time, a host and sometimes a live newsreader. Most of the newsroom has to spend much of its time in the field to do the reporting. I guess? I didn’t previously guess that this outfit had an attic. One extra employee who’s personally on air coming to the studio–yeah, yeah, there’s no reason to have Green[e] on, but they think there is–doesn’t seem like the tipping point from health into sickness. It feels awfully like public health theater to have Brian Watttt reporting from home in Oakland and staying off BARTTTT. Put your liquids in your 3-1-1 bag and take off your shoes; we can’t be running a dangerous civil aviation system here, like we’re Qantas.

It’s unimaginably amateurish. Oh, yeah, meant to tell you, Wildcard Line’s busy again, so I’m trying to get through to Nori directly on my HAM set, but it may take a while. Check on me if I’m not down for breakfast. These are Old Traditions, from times before the internet livestream. Pepperidge Farm remembers. Faulkner, oh Lord, Bill remembers. How could he forget? It is not even past.

It’s cool and definitely not a sign of societal decay that a major affiliate of the national public broadcaster has hosts broadcasting from their home attics. When they call us a city on a hill, they don’t exactly specify that the city isn’t a slum and the hill a slope at Fresh Kills. In fact, we’re getting a lot of “fresh kills” from the disease, AMIRITE. #TooSoon.

We have all these contrasts that are striking, as Robert Speed said about his thermos when Dr. Geyer arrived for his outpatient neurosurgery appointment. #TooSoon. Hudson Yards is open and available for well-meaning but hopelessly sheltered and oblivious alumnae from my high school who do God knows what of any use for society to gather for mixers and cultivate their worst rich girl proclivities, but the MTA can’t fix the cracks and leaks in its subway tunnel walls or keep its conductors alive. Sickly street people who haven’t had a half-decent place to stay in over a decade wander beneath the gleaming flagship towers (grab an airsickness bag) of the “up-and-coming,” “revitalized” SoMa. Bizarrely, one of these flagship towers was not only built but sold as high-end condos with its floors not level. We have earthquakes here. That ain’t it, chief.

We built this Shitty and did nothing about the Ghost Ship. 36 died as a result. Many of them were pretentious morons who just needed to make and appreciate their art in Oakland–gritty and authentic, but not, like Vallejo gritty and authentic–and some of their survivors still show up to sea lion total strangers for discussing the ramifications of that fire on social media, asserting the primacy of their private, artistic grief over the public policy considerations of, say, not risking the lives of firefighters by allowing people to inhabit and badly clutter a known death trap. Again, #TooSoon.

We’d hope it wouldn’t be too soon to start cleaning up this hideous mess, and not just pretend-cleaning it up with some more gentrification lofts across the freeway from a junkyard slum. We’d hope for many things: a chicken in every pot, a unicorn in every paddock. Our public health emergency is lighting only the weakest of fires under our leaders’ asses. We can MAYBE do something for the cold homeless, if the landlords don’t strongarm governments for rehousing rents beyond their artificially limited ability to pay, but we can’t deal with the shelters or the SRO’s until after they’ve had outbreaks, and then only on a case-by-case basis, and there’s absolutely no way we can flood the market with public housing sufficient for the poorest of the working class to stop living four or five to a room when they’re already exhausted and immunocompromised.

Our cosmopolitan elites and strivers pride themselves on being supremely rational and scientifically minded, in contrast to oafs like Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis and Tucker Carlson, but Trump is as close to FDR as we’ve gotten since at least Carter (look up Obama’s actual record, if you dare), Carlson has taken to outflanking the left on the actual left in a more targeted and coherent way than the Oaf of Office can manage for two minutes, and nobody in the big Democratic cities does a bloody thing for the poor. The counterargument that, well, some people in government and private charity are doing some things on some of these problems is mildly, vaguely encouraging, but when the sum of that effort moderately alleviates a tenth or a twentieth of the problem, or less, it’s tragically weak.

We plainly do not take any of this seriously as a society. The capital costs of the Golden1 Center could cover the recent annual budgets of Loaves and Fishes for nearly a century; those of the “Big Build” at the Sacramento Airport could cover close to four centuries. These are two consolidated line items for deluxe quasipublic goods whose capital costs could fund the most crucial, and arguably the only good, social services charity on skid row for close to half a millennium at its recent operating budgets. I keep meaning to send more money to Loaves and Fishes, and I’m not resentful that it’s on me, but for the love of God why are our governments not strongarming enough tax revenue out of the rich, and cutting off financial and permitting support for their profit centers cum vanities, to fill the gaping chasms left by the patchwork of NGO charities? Why in all hell must the burden fall onto a small contingent of nuns and whatever lay volunteers they can attract and professional lay staff they can afford to feed, clothe, bathe, house, and counsel a desperately poor community numbering in the low thousands?

This is insane. I don’t mean morally insane, although it’s that, too; it’s hard to resist the temptation to frame willful immorality as unsoundness of mind, and as much as I try to avoid doing so for reasons of rhetoric and self-respect, if I may say so, I can’t object to others taking such a stance when the entire debate has been so deranged for so many decades, especially in the antisocial circles on the right. What I mean is that this dereliction of basic social stewardship is fundamentally arrogant, detached from the observable facts on the ground, and delusional, that the communities they form and the governments they elect are mentally incompetent to keep the population safe. Abandoning people who have been visibly sick for years to life on the streets during a global public health emergency arising from a communicable respiratory disease is the communal equivalent of wandering around on active train tracks in a state of total disorientation, covered in weeks’ worth of filth.

There are jurisdictions where being so incompetent to care for oneself as an individual would easily prompt a guardianship, conservatorship, or involuntary psychiatric hold. If you or I had another person living in a tent in the backyard with a bucket for a toilet and no shower privileges in the house as a form of residential indenture for past debts, we could expect social services and the police to respond.

What I just described is exactly what landlords, hospital groups, collection agencies, credit bureaus, courts, prisons, and other authorities public and private do on a systematic basis to the poor to render them homeless. This is exhaustively established.

It’s bad news in the best of times, i.e., when the worst communicable diseases available in and from the community are venereal and bloodborne, not respiratory. That makes it plausible for the average bougie normcore fool to imagine that it’s just local color for a neighbor to be living on cardboard on the sidewalk and coughing up a lung all day on no sleep and no nutrition, like, huh, that’s a skell right there, but at least I’m clean and not at risk lol yuck. It’s still appallingly unreasonable, but there’s some serviceable rationality in the mix: at least I’m bathed, clothed, fed, rested, safe, and smug, so see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.

The current outbreak is much more serious for the population at large. We’re OBVIOUSLY part of the same disease reservoir; the best luck we can chase is the hope that our end isn’t wet yet. The street people will present at the same emergency rooms where they’re already frequent fliers and expose clinical staff to viral loads proliferated by their own weakened immune systems, along with a spray of every other species of nasty shit they’re unable to fight off for the same reasons: in the vernacular, because they’re too sick and tired to get healthy.

The nurses will then go home to their nice neighborhoods. The doctors will go home to their very nice neighborhoods.

Is this some kind of bleeding-heart no man is an island sentimentality? Okay, I go to confession when the booth has been open sometime since St. Patrick’s Day and I’ve been so much as thinking callous thoughts that I fear have made life harder for some bum I passed on the street, so come over and own my liberal ass with economic facts and logic all you want, but look at it this way: if you don’t personally have affairs with doctors or nurses, somebody you know does. Be sure to up the odds if you’re from a nice neighborhood and went to a “good school,” like Ryerson or Trinity Western, but who the hell do I think I can fool with the shock value: I mean Harvard. It would have been a good idea for Robert Sanchez to reach for the emergency brake in the interest of passenger and crew safety, but good God, some of you really do cry like suicidally despondent ranchers living three hundred miles from the nearest psychiatrist when you apply to Bowdoin and only get in to Bowie State.

Ow, Tate, my balls.

What your husband means by “business in Fresno” is tricks he picks up on Parkway. How do I know this? It’s a true story; it doesn’t have to be an accurate one. There’s a lot of stuff that can’t be known for an absolute fact but can easly be known for a statistical fact, and sweetheart, we’re all part of the statistics. Do I sound like I know this because I’ve spent time on Parkway? Here’s the embarrassing part: all I got was a room, not a girl to share it with me for half an hour.

These are social diseases. Temple Grandin was in the vanguard for arranging for machine hugs to carry her through our strange times. Go figure. The point is, if you think you know somebody who knows somebody who can bribe or blackmail the dean of admissions into admitting your uppity brat into Yale, you absolutely know somebody who knows somebody who’s badly symptomatic and badly contagious out on the streets. For fuck’s sake I have one degree of separation from Dana Rohrabacher, Laird Hamilton, and that guy who hawks CD’s from a cart out in front of the Foodland in Princeville. Yeah, ya gotta ride your pipeline in her Pearl Harbor more aloha, ya? /Juicily disturbed Guy Hagi voice/ See you out in the Pacific!

We can pretend that we’ve banished the stubborn last 10% of underground masseuses and hourly girlfriends (and boyfriends! and masseurs!) to OnlyFans for the duration. We can pretend that there isn’t a new crop of speakeasies whose customers do, in fact, go for the food. We can pretend that being horny for rules means actually following the rules instead of bending them to one’s own convenience and comfort at every opportunity. Oh, but we’re Instacarting our food and being comfy and cozy at home in our PJ’s, just like the government said! Yeah, genius, that was my point. You’re acting like you’re passing the marshmallow test when the point of the test is to eat as many bags as you like and wait for a servant to bring you more from Whole Foods at your command. Congratulations on staying in school and outattaining Nickelback.

We can pretend that we are valuing human life by not seeing our friends or relatives or lovers or fuck buddies or thicke hug buddies or thicky tricks, by staying in and effectively living, each of us, in our own condom. Cutting out the promiscuous, unncessary, often unwanted physical contact and proximity with total strangers has saved countless lives this spring. What’s that last 10% of deferred contact, with our loved ones when they aren’t visibly ill, really worth in the interest of our own health and that of our neighbors? Honestly, I’m not even trying to be rhetorical. This much seems to be a judgment call, one of Solomonic gravity if we examine it too closely.

The problem is that we also pretend to value human life by painting social distancing squares on that parking lot in Las Vegas, delineating for the town bums exactly where to lay down in the lines of sight from hundreds of empty hotel rooms. A serious society would have had the municipal and county governments in strict receivership that night. This still isn’t a marshmallow test, asshole. Lives are at stake.

The permissiveness we extended Carolyn Goodman and her cronies instead was utterly derelict and insane. It’s the licentious recklessness that causes us to live the consequences of our own recklessness in due course of time. “We” may or may not include that wine grandma and her gin husband, but they are foolish enough to spend time in the same city they’ve trashed, so we can’t assure that it won’t.

They’re from Philadelphia. Them and Netanyahu. And Cosby. Give a fat bitch some pound cake, won’tcha, and couldja stop puddin’ your pop where she didn’t ask for it, gramps. Geez. No man is an island, and no man can stand to go to an island without his handle of Bombay Sapphire.

We had our thicc moist boi, the Donald, looking straight at the sun with naked eyes because he’d been told they were going to dim it. Many complain that he’s a stupid asshole with a death drive and no common manners or common sense. They should take a look at Jair Bolsonaro sometime. That one’s a case. We might say that he “eclipses” his counterpart in El Norte the Great Satan. He was off from the start of his presidency, but not one to rest on his laurels, he’s daily exploring new depths of bad judgment and worse health. Bolsonaro is a memento mori of the medically undead. Dulce et decorum est pro Patria in Foro expectorare.

The upper middle class wanted Bolsonaro for his vigor. They wanted him to revitalize Brazil against the decadence of the left, as bodily manifested in Lula. They didn’t even have a sickly, careerist nepotist collapsing into the arms of aides in mild weather and being bundled into a waiting van to deride as their foil. For their showdown with the based, iron-pumping, socially adept ex-autoworker they dredged up a sickly-looking ex-army officer with the eeriest, most uncanny smiles, like the different parts of his face were running on different, conflicting operating systems. What they really had in mind in the way of vigor was that this repulsive and yet bafflingly handsome Lovecraftian swamp creature would gladhand them and somehow, through flattery or probably money, prevail upon his mercenaries to beat the shit out of the poor. A bad knife laceration to the liver and months’ worth of real-time disintegrating lungs and skin tone later, he’s still miraculously ambulatory and articulate. It’s amazing that Edith hasn’t been out to tell us, oh, no, unfortunately Mr. Wilson is indisposed.

Jair Bolsonaro is a walking Picture of Dorian Gray. He’s the picture, and Brazil is Mr. Gray, or maybe more like Dorian Yellow. It’s amazing. There’s no need to understand Portuguese or even listen to his tone of voice as a nonspeaker to glance at a still or a video of him and immediately tell that he is extremely unwell.

This is a fellow who might be taken for an exceptionally dysfunctional mayor or governor. In fact he is the head of state and government for a large, populous country, generally agreed in recent decades to be on the rise, an international agricultural and industrial powerhouse that exports commercial jet aircraft. If BoJo and the Donald were put on standby to serve as his regents or successors, it would be a relief. This dude looks worse than Fancy Nancy or DiFi, and yet somehow also better, and in the next frame he looks like he’s on furlough from the ICU. It’s impossible to tell if he’s 35, 75, or both at once. Here, in a single majestic man, we see synthesized and incarnate the inaugural speech of William Henry Harrison, the paranoia of Richard Nixon, the disoriented pallor of Rob Ford at his most alcoholic, the temper of Andrew Jackson, the compulsive handshaking of Scott Morisson, and the bluster through ill health of JFK.

Jair Bolsonaro is a synecdoche for a nation. That nation is the United States of America.

Jim Sim on your ass, or not

That’s the thing about the Wesleyan Tradition. It inspires humility. It inspires introspection. It inspires a number of edifying realizations: that there are consequences for behaviors; that yelling like a wild animal is a behavior that might bring consequences; that the Genesis on Western, an art store, not a zoo, might be a bad place to go screaming; that there is, in fact, an outside place, one of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth and, as needed, animal noises, where one may be exiled for not using one’s indoor voice.

Gee. Nobody told Kavanaugh. How bow dah. It’s always some paranoid schizophrenic or shamelessly insolent juvenile delinquent who gets this shit. Brett Michael’s kin and cronies bought him his record. We’re the ones debased enough to call it clean, but they bought it in his youth, and in his maturity (sic) they are now selling it. Do these characters sound crass enough to rely on Reputation Builder? A website? Prole please. The basketball thing, with girls? The legal mentorship, again with girls? As Potter Stewart said, I can’t define barely legal, but I know it when I see it. Justice Kavanaugh certainly knows tit when he sees tit, and Tiger Mom refers young ladies who will ensure that he sees.

We’re operating on some curious premises here. A publicly accused serial sex pest coaching girls’ basketball is innocent behavior. $190,000 in personal debts suddenly and mysteriously repaid were incurred for the love of the National Pastime. An activity Pete Rose might enjoy? Don’t be so cynical; you just hate conservatives. Mark Judge is just a crank with literary pretensions who happens to publish a medley of sex pest appreciation, Houellebecquian dry drunk confessionals about his glory days in high school, and tradcon horseshit about ballroom dancing, and also to have been Brett Kavanaugh’s high school bff turned prospective libel defendant. Catholicism means knowing the names of some parochial girls’ schools nobody beyond MontCo has ever given a shit about and screaming that Protestant girls are treyf. Come out, Virginia, don’t make me wait; you Catholic girls are much too chaste, I might have to rape a prot broad–I mean, Christ, Amy, do I look to your blackout drunk ass like I’d stick it in that frigid WASP, and it’s BEER, you scurrilous piece of shit, and I’ve always enjoyed it legally and responsibly.

As I point out, if anything not often enough, any semiferal high school clique with a star alumnus on the rise and a closet full of skeletons would take one glance at the Mark Judge situation and think, shit, this guy domiciling himself at a UPS Store means we done goofed. Say, Thicke, what rhymes with “Bart, have you goofed yet?” Even after Kavanaugh was rising through the Special Counsel’s Office and the federal bench, neither he nor any of his old boys from Prep took the Mark Judge situation seriously enough to make sure that he they weren’t continuing to give him reasons to out Kavanaugh as a house party rapist with a severe drinking problem. Given that this dude’s high school buddies were so seedy, that he kept the same kind of shit up through college, that he scandalized Ken fucking Starr with the smutty questions he was itching to ask Monica Lewinsky, that he had unsatisfactorily explained debts that vanished all of a sudden, and that as a married man (with a hot wife, jussane) well into middle age he had an infamous Yale law professor pimping her coeds out to him as eye candy–this was Nadia giving Burgess an emergency on-the-job lesson in resting bitch face in the gangland whorehouse-level degraded, and again, the orchestrator was the most controversial law prof in the land after Dersh and maybe John Yoo–given this mesmerizing and yet probably not exhaustive bill of particulars, every one of them as easily exposed as a dong in a dorm room, it seems imprudent not to have set aside in trust, say, a gentleman’s baseball money to move Mark Judge’s downwardly mobile ass into a condo in Harrisburg or something.

I guess I notice this reckless, obnoxiously insouciant arrogance because I’m the Judge analog for a couple of midlevel PMC shitheads now terminally sore that I’m a class traitor, so hurt that I had the nerve to call them out for wanton abuse and ridicule them for being bumptious yuppies. I’m no great fan of Mark Judge (Ballroom dancing? Do you have to fucking WRITE about it?), but Kavanaugh did more than his share to make him relevant. This dude was floundering on the Washington think tank F List, publishing a mishmash of goody-two-shoes Book of Virtues bollocks for homeschooling parents in Loudoun County, rape fantasies, and roman-a-clef teen drinking memoirs, and his most prominent high school classmate threatened to sue him for libel.

We can tell that Kavanaugh, the lawyer of the two, wasn’t thinking straight. Like, okay, Sniffly, the punk maybe made you look kind of bad, but nobody gives a shit about him. Do you really want to draw attention to that loser? And whose ass is gonna catch the worse Irish tan from the sunshine: his, or yours? The other possibility was that Brett Michael was bluffing: sleazy but ethical (applications are down: interested in law school?), but also potentially high-risk: this dude writes for a living, rather like I fill out shit-for-brains fifteen-cent Amtrak Guest Rewards surveys for a living, and he might be interested in writing about how his best friend in high school is now a thin-skinned, litigious legal bigshot who used to join him for gang rapes.

We might expect him, as a lawyer, to heed Ken White’s advice and shut the fuck up. Or we might expect him, as the Honorable Brett Michael Kavanaugh, never to do a thing of the sort. This stupid son of a bitch thought it made sense to threaten to sue an indigent personal enemy of above-average writing skills for publishing harsh but truthful semifictional stories about him that nobody had the interest to read.

To their credit, none of my own Kavanaugh wannabes have threatened to sue me. They probably realize that I’d tell them to get fucked for trying, tell their shithead realtor fathers to go fuck themselves for bankrolling the effort, and sure as hell tell their lawyers to go fuck themselves for taking bogus action or daring to address me as anything but “sir” or “mister.” “Boss” and “dawg” don’t cut it here, cracka. I get wound up sometimes, but when push comes to shove I’m pretty good at flushing the chickens back into the bushes, where they belong.

Yeah, I’m talking about shysters who hold plurality voting shares in Altoona. I don’t feel like recapitulating my beef with these shitty cunts, but I will say that their recalcitrantly vile antics have done much to turn me against provincial elites. If they’re so bigoted against the vulnerable and the subjugated, there’s no damn reason why the rest of us shouldn’t be prejudiced against them.

*****

This, archetypally, is Joe Biden. He’s a provincial elite. He’s a car dealer’s son who got hired by the banks to represent their rotten borough, the same one that celebrates Separation Day (dat one-party consent, tho), and additionally used this elected office to orchestrate militarized segregationist campaigns of repression against vulnerable black constituents. This, of course, is why Obama elevated him to the vice presidency. That man, as the Clintons call him, moved from Hawaii to Chicago to shimmy up the greasy pole, and he was only able to dream of his father. Does he sound like the kind of fool who doesn’t get what makes a honky-ass racist tick? Mocha Haole had his pick of enthusiastic running mates who didn’t mouth off about the “articulate” and have histories of staunch stands against school busing. Joe’s who he chose.

Close variants of Joe Biden’s brand of faux-folksy bullshit are a dime a dozen among America’s mayors, county commissioners, state assemblymen, congressmen, and governors. Their bogosity doesn’t get them ostracized at the Country Club. If it has an effect at all, it’s positive. We flounder under the misconception, strategically orchestrated by right-wing extremists in the rich conservative intellectual tradition of Making Shit Up, that our elites are all egghead blowhards with academic or journalistic sinecures. Why the hell would some contemptuous, unemployable simpleton with impossible forehead architecture concede that the humanities faculty at Oberlin is a veal pen for dissidents? These are shameless liars with a slow seventh-grader’s grasp of political thot. They can’t even tell when their own lying fades into bullshit artistry into delusion. They believe, and some of them truly believe, that the median housing stock in the United States has always been of excellent quality and that the Soviet economy was along the lines of Beria personally horsewhipping factory workers into gulag trains for being too slow riveting Il-62’s together with hand-me-down meat tenderizers.

Biden has always been a vicious scumbag and a grabass, but until a few years ago he had the wits to temper his nastiness with deceptively evil policy acumen. Now that he’s dementing in full public view, he’s reverting to the same old bag of worn-out tricks as any other elite mediocrity from the provinces: grossly disingenuous schmoozing, passive-aggressive sheepdogging, hail-fellow-well-met threats whose veils thin under pressure and then shred, folksy nonsequiturs that could be anything from criminal threats to utter gibberish. This is an exhausting list, but it is not exhaustive. Funny Uncle Joe has the additional grace of being under eighty and already visibly stumbling into Strom Thurmond permanent diaper days, paradoxically exacerbated by his still being ambulatory enough to leave the stove on and walk out into traffic.

They don’t normally try to crown such a shambolic nominee. Or maybe they didn’t. We’re exploring some very weird territory this year. The kingmakers (by some reckonings, Obama himself) wrangled a collection of adequately lucid candidates to drop out all at once and endorse that lead-poisoned jumble of brain worms. Joe wasn’t the only bogusly folksy piece of shit on the stage; he was just the only bogusly folksy piece of shit with aggressive all-day dementia, runaway disinhibition, and failing eyelid function. He’s the gerontocratic equivalent of Brezhnev, or a version of Brezhnev that never shut his damn mouth. Between Trump’s grandiosity, Biden’s extreme decline, and the Booty Judge’s unctuous appeals to what the Baby Boomers at their worst wish their disappointing spawn would be, we’re living in times of extreme gerontocracy. It’s a whole-ass mood.

These are disgusting, repulsive characters. Just because I find Trump the most tolerable of them (usually excluding Warren, just to be clear) is no reason to expect others to feel likewise. On the other hand, the way MSNBC and the rest of the grand hysterics giving the Democratic Party its Slow Ghomeshi categorize our politicians is batshit insane. They analyze our politics with all the nuance of Rob Ford discussing the Jamaicans when he’s out for jerk chicken past his bedtime.

One subtle but, I’m convinced, crucial nuance they’re nowhere near getting is the relative psychosocial overlap of Trump, Kavanaugh, and Biden. They’re all sex pests, but that’s the easy part. So is Bill Clinton. And sure, they all make Rod Blagojevich look like Frank Serpico. They’re bad men. What I can’t stand about the shitlib reaction to our recent political circumstances is the constant, top-of-the-lungs shrieking about how singularly evil the orange man is and, since these nightmares can always get worse, Joe Biden is our indispensable salvation. Who the fuck are we calling “us?” It ain’t me, pal. I get incandescently fucking sick of listening to hysterical rich wackos clearly safe from the ill material effects of the evil policies any of these scumbags has enacted throwing fits about how I owe society and myself a vote for some absolute shithead to defeat a guy they find too embarrassing to take to a dinner party, just because I’m intelligent and I went to college. So did our presidents. Two of the most recent three hold MBA’s. The third is (what else?) a lawyer.

So much of this petulant, petty whining is about pointless distractions like Trump not bowing his head for grace at the Al Smith Dinner. I’ve got a scandalously elegant solution: cancel the fucking dinner. If it’s good enough for public masses this spring, it’s good enough for that bullshit any year.

This is what sets these losers off, not the actual policies in question, as we can tell because they were satisfied with Obama and are now rehabilitating Strategery. Adam Crapser might beg to differ, from Korea, but he’s a low-class criminal undesirable from Tacoma, not an American.

The liberal hive mind is rightly appalled about Kavanaugh, but it’s appalled from a position of disabling illogic. One of the few things even more disgraceful than shitting on the office floor during an interview and angrily demanding a job is being the boss who rewards that performance with a job offer. He’s totally a sex pest; the Deborah Ramirez allegations are especially credible. But she’s from the wrong side of the tracks in Connecticut, so of course they got Christine Blasey-Ford alone onto the Hill, the better to celebrate her “indelible in the hippocampus” distraction. It’s a fitting addition to the RBG home bookshelf, yes? Good God, y’all. I’ve never seriously thought she wasn’t honest, but that was like if I said, “Yeah, Lieutenant Tittytorque grabbed, squeezed, and twisted. You know it was a dry job, though, right? The boy cow doesn’t produce milk. I mean, not from there. I watched a kid milk a she-goat at the Sonoma County Fair once. Mercy did that girl gush.” Why the fuck was she testifying as an expert witness to corroborate her own testimony? Who greenlit that?

It’s amazing she isn’t another lawyer, like Inweaved in the Extensive, the one whose “parents own a goddamn steel mill.”

If we’re desperately peddling Joe Biden as the last line of defense against projectile reactionary scum like Brett Kavanaugh, we might want to check first to see that he doesn’t speak and comport himself in an eerily similar manner, have highly overlapping ideology, or be notorious for shepherding another emotionally volatile sex pest onto the Supreme Court. Huh. Some men are bound as brother soldiers, or cowboys, or monks; other men are bound by their shared love of smacking the poo-poo out of Corn Pop with a length of chain and stealing his girl.

Anita Hill is an eminently forgettable accuser when these are the stakes. I mean, not for me, but I wasn’t asked. Joe Biden and Clarence Thomas are both funny uncles you don’t want over at Christmas but you tolerate because you don’t want your grandmother to threaten you with the wrath of God; it’s just that the one used his committee position in the Senate to get the other a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Thomas is kind of a shithead (his jurisprudence isn’t as bad as advertised), and he was a pathetic high horseman to narcissistically inflame racial tensions at his confirmation hearings by arguing that he was being lynched, but at least he isn’t the same spoiling pile of slop as every other gladhanding reactionary creep in Washington. He’s a rare bird, a guy who could just as easily be appointed high school principal, charter a storefront church Friday afternoon and have two hundred congregants in the pews for his sermon Sunday morning, or walk into the woods and talk to bears.

This is in no way the case with Gropey Joe and Justice Blow. They’re the same utterly derivative catfishing elite son of a bitch. They have the same faux-humble entitlement and arrogance. They’re both scions of the same lace curtain Irish drunkard stock. Brett Michael, as we witnessed, is a whole lot more than a scion. They both grandstand about their own self-righteous Catholicism. Some of my Greater Bowie Marylanders from the Newman Club mount the high horse from time to time and get a bit wound up or abrasive in the saddle, but they aren’t assholes about it. (In Post-Soviet Pimlico, of course, saddle abrade YOU!) It’s a sign, and not a good one at all, that I cringe with embarrassment for some of the most zealous, politically activated, and LOUD pro-life friends I’ve ever had that a raging shithead like Kavanaugh has hitched his own wagon to the same horse. Since we’re waxing tendentious about horses and their riders again (and not even Mounties!), I might as well award a dishonorable mention to the 727 I watched back in September, and started to chronicle before executive function and focus got the best of me by going AWOL, land through a weakly sultry reverse-ops Indian Summer haze at BWI, inbound from Lexington with a full load of racehorses.

You’ll be shocked to guess who never did a thing so ridiculous with a horse, and with the Crown paying him to do it, no less.

Brett Michael, tho. Justice Blow and Gropey Joe fucking TALK alike. They were raised a couple of hours apart, roughly on the same Pennsy trunk line, but it’s more than that. My Anne Arundel-class pro-lifers (grab a pole and drop the A, eh; heehee!) have similar accents, but they don’t use theirs as a platform for avuncular sleaze. It’s because they’re good people, not incorrigible asshats. They aren’t used car salesmen turned A-List national political figures. (Yes, SCOTUS is a political institution. As I said, I’ve seen the RBG sections at fancy Bay Area bookstores, and just about barfed.) These friends of mine don’t even strive for political hair. Brett Michael’s hairline is solid, and the Junior Joseph Rubbinatte Bottom’s plugs are hair game that I, as a follicularly challenged American and sporadic Rogaine user, can’t help but respect, especially after a glance at the First State Solar-Powered Sex Machine. (I’ve also looked at I’m Not A Witch, and for more than a New York Minute, so we know that horny voting is not necessarily the path to the top).

The point is, Biden and Kavanaugh are both garbage. GTFO if you think I don’t notice. They’re the same fucking thing. They don’t even have an accent available as far afield as Perth Amboy, Purcellvile, or State College. We do not need these shysters. Say what you will about the Donald, and I’ve said a lot myself: at least his outer-borough diaspora Thirty Rock drama queen shtick is refreshing. Have you looked at the Senate lately? They’re fucking replicants.

Maybe that’s what the blob hates about Bernie. They hate a bunch of other things about him, too, but that fits the bill closely enough.

What the lanyard nerds and the self-serious ghouls doing business in the pews at Tim Russert’s funeral and every other piece of affiliated striver trash orbiting the Hill don’t get is that their darlings aren’t even FUN. If you’re gonna starve us to death, could you at least entertain us along the way? Shit, it isn’t even necessarily that fatalistic. Trump’s inability to last a week without reverting into a messy bitch from Queens who lives for drama gets the civility scolds, staffer nerds, hysterical affluent liberals, and Dudley Do Right conservative throwbacks into enough of a lather to actually push back from time to time. We saw for years how they reacted to the same policy pushes from smoothies like the Big Dog, Poppy and Sonny, and Mocha Haole: jack fucking shit.

It’s horrifying that they can’t be bothered to care about evil. At least they care about aesthetics.

*****

The other weird virtue Trump somehow possesses is a recognition that it’s dishonorable to step into the ring and then whine about getting bruised. He has an odd way of showing it, incorrigible whiner and drama queen that he is. What does stand out about him, in this vein, is that he doesn’t constantly provoke enemies and then go whining to the mods about how they hurt him and violated the rules. He hits straight back. He does his own rough work.

He’s a rich, pampered piece of shit, but he’s an unusually honorable and self-reliant rich piece of shit. We’re so propagandized to assume that it’s normal and acceptable for our betters to play dirty, then turn right around and try to get their opponents into trouble for playing dirty, that we’ve lost the vocabulary to describe their treacherous sleaze.

He’s rich. If he isn’t, he plays it convincingly to string along the Business Success Guy bridge loans. If this means turning to Eurotrash banks or Russian oligarchs or American oligarchs (known domestically as NBC) because reputable US banks got terminally sick of his bullshit, he’ll gladly do that. So would every other rich prick who pissed off the banks at home and could line up backup financing.

But that’s just the Donald. Being rich, the Oaf of Office surrounds himself with–what else?–other rich people. He’s eclectic enough to accrete more idiosyncratic types as well: pushy ethnonationalists (Miller, Sessions), troubled autodidacts (Bannon), well-compensated professionals who can’t fucking stand him because they’re competent (Tillerson; moron this from time to time); but he’s rich. Those of us who pay attention know exactly who swarms the rich: peers, sycophants, and servants. This explains Spicer (pure sycophant) and Scaramucci (intersectional peer-sycophant).

It’s no coincidence that the Clintons have come to be orbited by a force field of the same three taxonomical wonders. James Carville, the Ragin’ Cajun, is a hardnosed throwback to the K/T Boundary, back when Mammalia evolved from him and Billary accepted that they had to fight to win. We see, all too much, who they keep around now. More and more it’s hubristic scum like Neera Tanden and hopeless fools like Adam “How Could Bernie Would Have Won” Parkhomenko, who somehow lives deeply enough in the real world to be a reserve police officer. Truly the Chief works in mysterious ways.

We know wifey loves her some servants: she says so herself in her memoirs, cooing about the inmate servants assigned to the Arkansas governor’s mansion as a charming regional curiosity, not Jim Crow indentured slavery.

Those who reach the Clintons’ station in life in these decadent postmodern days strut into the funhouse. Chelsea, having been born into it, is in weird, horrifying ways even worse than her parents. The three of them are an ouroboros of grotesquery, the first-generation new money parents defending their perch with frantic, hateful hostility, the second-generation wealth native daughter scandalized and befuddled that her inferiors would ever imagine her to be anything but an executive function and early childhood education genius. Think Megan McArdle, Meghan McCain (McMeghan, not McMegan), ad the eldest three Trump kids. Or, if you wish to remain continent of stomach, don’t. It’s your reading day; I’m just trying to spoil it, with facts.

No less beautifully are we graced with the leadership of plausible eunuch, cuckold, gentleman-fancier, and/or husband Jared Kushner, a young man who now has the Thicc Moist President’s ear about pharmacological research he’s been hearing about from his buddies in Silicon Valley. Absolutely nothing about this situation is possible without ostentatious privilege. The head of government and state listening to this reckless happy horseshit got the fawning coverage that he used to maintain and build the A-List celebrity launch pad for his presidential run because he lives in extreme privilege. The fey twerp whispering this horseshit into his ear behind closed doors became his son-in-law because he’s privileged. The coked-up Dunning-Kruger retards telling Kushner about this combination of corporate patent-squatting, affiliate-marketer grifting, and game-of-telephone horseshit about the new miracle drugs which happen to have side effects including premature death, oops lol, are buddies with him because they’re privileged and he’s privileged. The same Sand Hill Road shitheads come to believe in this horseshit in the first place because they’re privileged.

There are reasons why, like, 5% of medical doctors and nurses, less than 1% of pharmacological researchers, and 90% of public techbros fall for this lifethreatening woo. Our elites go to school to rise ABOVE education. They enroll to transcend the mind. Nobody who actually practices medicine in this country is a member of the elite above the county level. We compensate our physicians, surgeons, and psychiatrists rather lavishly, especially the more useless ones, and we have at least our fair share of medically degreed idiots, but let’s be clear. Tom Price stopped practicing medicine to go flying. Bill Frist examined Terry Schiavo same as I examined Dagmar Midcap’s tits on the eleven o’clock news. If Dr. Frist’s beloved medicine is so fulfilling, why doesn’t he just practice it? There are medical doctors who practice medicine instead of bragging about their periodic overseas mission trips as members of Congress who own gargantuan, incorrigibly predatory vulture capital hospital chains.

But why merely make good money doing more or less good work when you can sell the hell out for a windfall or five and not exactly have to work for it? Work ain’t how you strike it big, kid. Elon Musk doesn’t work; he posts. The SEC never told him to shut up for quietly discharging his fiduciary duties as a corporate officer. It’s no coincidence that he’s landed mining gentry. Even when these upper-crust shitheads work instead of tweaking out all the live-long day and starting flame wars on main, they revert to thuggery and live off the avails of the labor of tens of thousands. Bill Gates had his lawyer father menace his competitors with unethical letters threatening vexatious legal action. When Jeff Bezos assembled Amazon’s early executive and technical teams, he demanded their SAT scores.

These guys can’t even be nerds without throwing their weight around. A grown-ass college graduate asking about SAT scores? Fuck off you miserable cunt. Warren Buffett is a literary giant compared to his class peers, but he doesn’t do anything legitimately along the lines of work to support himself. Plenty of unemployed shut-ins and cafe wastrels over the years have written engaging correspondence. We don’t, as a society, give them a break by stipulating that this correspondence is a form of employment.

The reason we deem Warren Buffett employed is that he plays Monopoly with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. Realize that back in the Gilded Age, at the height of the Grange agitation on the prairie, at maximum-volume William Jennings Bryan Cross of Gold voice, before the old preacher man stalked off to Tennessee to yell at hillbillies about monkeys and God, the Midwestern public and for that matter a great portion of the American citizenry at large were up in arms against no fewer than three oligopolistic predecessor railroads, all of them now formally commemorated by name in the amalgamation: the Burlington, the Great Northern, and the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe. Warren Buffett now owns all of these networks, and I couldn’t say offhand how many others, as a single consolidated holding. This Tom Brokaw-ass son of a bitch turns on a computer and trades Boardwalk for the Reading Railroad like he and the boys are playing a round of Bullshit around a campfire at Philmont.

All a billionaire has to do to win the most gushing praise for his intelligence and warmth is not carry on in public like a missing Kardashian. Shit, Musk doesn’t even try, and he still has a chorus of fanboys caterwauling about how he’s an absolute genius. This is a guy who got so salty at an expert cave explorer for saying that his armchair admiral’s rescue submarine proposal wouldn’t work that he called the spelunker a pedophile.

Let’s fucking level here: nobody who shows up with a modicum of technical expertise in the matter at hand lashes out like that. Of course the guy with the Popular Mechanics-ass proposal to send a prototype submarine into a cave that ended up drowning a crack Thai Navy diver is the same asshole who smoked a blunt on air during a videotaped radio interview about his visionary publicly traded companies, tried to float an IPO at $420 for the lulz, and bragged about fixing traffic from Marina del Rey to the Grapevine to Sand Hill by tunneling what amounts to a high-speed electrified replication of the US 6 expressway on Cape Cod.

*****

This is what happens when we let people secede from the world and simultaneously consolidate their power over it. Christopher Lasch himself wouldn’t be able to imagine how revolting they have become. Alas, Wesley Willis was primarily an autobiographer, a man parochially chronicling only his own accountability, not the accountability of the masters we share.

Be the Jim Sim you wish to see in their lives.

They’re throwing Adirondack chairs. Millington, do you copy?

If you’re looking for a reason to hate the damn Yankees–the other, Southerner kind of Northerner–have at it. Longstanding civic and social ties to California have accustomed me to all but the most outrageous expressions of bourgeois belligerence in defense of neighborhood values (mainly financial) and character (not much) on the West Coast. Connecticut is apparently just a different but equally repulsive song from the same rotten hymnal. Away at the moment from the “concerned” “neighbors” who keep shitting bricks over the tent city on the Joe Rodota Trail (Hello, Neighbor), my instinct is to find the Connecticut version, as described in the Pro Publica report above even more execrable than the bitchfest back west. That, in one of the small mercies we cherish, is a straightforward grievance about (extremely nerds voice) My Purchases. It’s inexcusably heinous, on course to get people killed last I checked in on it, but as these horror shows go, it’s a rather economical, workmanlike campaign of ongoing enclosure.

I mention this because the Connecticut version is a turducken of everything I hate about the posh Northeast except the blatant cokeheads. Scout’s Honor I’d rather dial up a Kavanaugh crying fit than read about the insufferably passive-aggressive and twee Adirondack chair horseshit that passes for town civics in fancy-pants Connecticut. I told you there’d be furniture! I didn’t tell you there’d be local control. We strive to federalize these official functions, even royally so, to prevent–nah, never mind; the state governments in these parts are administered to encourage residents and visitors to go fishing, even with a pole, for a smaller fee than their lawyers will charge to sue the CBC.

I was on the Registry, Rundel: the Marine Registry. This plot twist must come as a shock. Remember, if the story doesn’t currently (lol) feature a net, check to see if it features a harpoon, because it does, et de celui-ci, Je Me Souviens; but remember foremost that this is again an all too fleeting distraction from the unspeakably disgusting shit that I stopped by to discuss.

Maybe the Canadians are just as bad, depending on who we’re calling Canadian. Jian Ghomeshi was born in England, but so were Mark Saunders and Russell Williams. We’ve got an England in America, same as we’ve got a Mexico; problem is they’re too new, certainly our idea of highbrow limey cunts at least. When the old English get cornered in the midst of their class warfare, they turn into right freaks. I was going to say straight freaks, but straight doesn’t explain why we screw pig carcasses, and I’ve heard of Savile and Eton, chap. Say, pork: are we Eton that this evening? It’s the other white meat! *Withering Nigel St. Nigel Stateside Holiday Voice* No. I can still see the marks where the jockey strapped it.

The American Wasp Nest is a different scene. When they actually use their manners instead of preening about them they’re all right. Under this stipulation, they sound like a refreshing change of pace from whatever heinous ethnic aggression Boston’s fighting Irish are planning, the violently disingenuous fake graciousness of the Deep South gentry, the sheer insanity of Texans, or whatever we figure explains Philadelphia.

Unfortunately, it’s too much to ask. It isn’t the fault of the Micks for breaking the thatch ceiling, either. They’re White by now, too. And we’ve got lace curtain Irish, so how could we not have lace curtain Italians? Have you seen some of the items the Irish serve as food?

EY! It is a despisey meataball! If we’re gonna snark about shitty islanders and their shitty cuisines, we ought to grab an airsickness bag and spare a moment to contemplate Little Chef. Wheecha izza da blanda mushipee, #EY! That sounds like a quaint piedmont New English village with a quaint three hundred citizens per selectman and a quaint Ashley Kavanaugh on the public payroll for some reason. Out here in the streets we call that corruption. In there they call it, goodness, anything else, Parker; one hates to hear such unpleasantness mentioned in polite conversation, because one should aspire to be polite company.

Fix me another Old Fashioned, Thomas; I again find myself of a mind to get classily trashed. It’s astonishing to keep seeing the fussiest, most priggish pearlclutching assholes crawling out of the mud around there. Where is there even the room for all these smarmy motherfuckers? They must banish their visibly low-functioning failspawn to Nevada, or to the guest cottage, as they do with the wastrels from time to time on SVU. I’d be a whore-ass man if that ever happened to me, of course. On the other hand, a good upstanding Midwestern family might have a semi-finished barn where a kid could hang out in the aftermath if it went down, straight to the mat, in Yorkville.

Eh, not so straight. We wrestle to learn how to become men.

The affluent, cosmopolitan parts of the Northeast Corridor are petri dishes for the worst, most stupefying, most insufferably supercilious highbrow preening. They’re all so fucking tasteful and cultured. They’re so preciously superior. For a proudly cosmopolitan set spending so much time bragging about how much they learn on their overseas vacations, they’re weirdly parochial and provincial. This is what makes them so proud of “their” vacation lakes and shore points and cabins and shit, and so contemptuous of the places where other, usually less well-to-do, people vacation. It very much explains our Connecticunts most jealously cherishing their absurdly local governments, governments local enough to make blatant end runs around state and federal antidiscrimination laws in the name of zoning. They do not care for the “character” of their black compatriots, you see–I mean, the character of their neighborhoods after the previously regional color becomes local–I mean, goodness, the racial bigots in New England are all shanty Irish in Southie and that kind of thing, not the respectable citizens of respectable towns in respectable parts of Connecticut.

The localism only goes deeper and dumber from there. These assholes namedrop their fucking bougie grocery stores at town meetings, as stakeholders that will be threatened by the socioeconomic diversification of their communities. All they’ll be able to afford is a quick bite at Dunkin’ Donuts; they won’t shop at King’s. Point of clarification, white girl: Who in the goddamn everloving fuck gives a shit? They’ll drop in for a slice at the hole-in-the-wall pizzeria you haven’t yet managed to gentrify beyond the city limits? Shut the fuck up.

These are their grievances. Of all the downmarket businesses operating in this country, they bitch about the limited disposable income of the Fairfield County poor going to Arcadia Pizza and Dunkin’. One ought to be solvent enough to patronize our finer community establishments, such as King’s, one would hope. Gee, perhaps one would enjoy a Sicilian Cool Change in the Sound. EY! In a nation with so many repulsively seedy chain stores–not so much Walmart, which has moved midmarket, as Ross, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar–these assholes are sniveling about two of the few fast food restaurants where the poor might be able to scrape together enough spare cash to afford a wholesome, palatable meal. They’re whining about Dunkin’. Have they seen the absolute shit that some of its competitors serve?

It just goes to show how cosseted assholes who have never had to do without the perfect do not understand, even in the easiest, most obvious examples, that the perfect is the enemy of the good. The point isn’t that there are better bagels and hash browns, or that it’s a shame to see the shiksas behind the counter are serving blueberry bagels and other dreck that never came within thirty miles or fifty years of an old-school Jewish baker’s hands on the Lower East Side. This is egregiously snooty. There’s a greasy spoon pizzeria and some outlets of a coffeehouse bakery chain that serves a variety of reliably tasty and wholesome fare at reasonably affordable prices, and they’re bitching about it.

We can see why this crowd is a bunch of slimy shits about college. How else would they all act? I can guarantee that they don’t go to school for the humanities. All I need as proof is that comment about who can and cannot afford to do business where. Bitch mouthed off about that at a town meeting, and she apparently did so without social consequences. In many communities everybody of more or less adult age knows that such thoughts are beyond the pale for public expression. There are always snobs and plain assholes who feel such disdain for their inferiors in their hearts, and some of them express these feelings in private with whatever caution they find necessary to protect their reputations, but it’s a wholly different matter to go on the public record expressly to register one’s distaste at sharing a country and God forbid even a community with poor losers who eat out somewhere decent but affordable.

My point about expressing such opinions cautiously has to do with basic manners. Who the hell wants to hear about that shit? This is a public comment period for agenda items, yo; nobody wants to hear a bunch of navelgazing and whining and condescension about your favorite grocery store and how the settlement of a poorer population than what Westport currently harbors would not produce a direct financial benefit to that precious fucking market. That doesn’t add anything to the discourse that’s worth considering, you insufferable shitty boor.

It would be great to find a single marginal shred of highbrow Northeastern culture that isn’t absolute ass. Maybe you’re thinking, well, at least there’s stuff on PBS that’s extant and worth a damn. Yeah, about that: not much. I watch that shit. It’s the most sloppily, flailingly incoherent mess, and that’s assuming partial, haphazard goodwill. We’ve discussed the disgraceful airing of royalist and aristocratic agitprop before, steaming garbage like Downton Abbey and Victoria. The NewsHour now airs ads for deluxe Proud Mary-ass tours of the Mississippi Delta, including plantation tours. I hate to break it to you how they managed to afford their gentility, cracker. Consider that we, as a sovereign nation, put a cold stop to the public celebration of Nazism in Postwar Germany, a discipline that endures to this day in all four sectors of city and country, now unified. Neonazi thugs go out with Confederate Battle Flags as proxy standards (gee, where did they ever learn to do that?), and across the Axis Japanese PM’s dick around at Yasukuni for the cameras now and then, in spite of the Allied nuclear umbrella (or, per Thomas Pynchon, maybe because of it), but they goddamn well don’t threaten to go back to war if they don’t get their way over the objections of the liberals. The piss-ass Quisling shit that Northerners who should know better do to accommodate the worst provocateurs of the South is unbelievable. Replace “plantation” with concentration camp and see how your romantic bougie tour sounds now. Leave it to Ami, of course, to take selfies at Auschwitz.

It’s almost as if nobody actually gives a shit. They’ve got programming for Book Jews in the primetime lineup about Thoreau, Brown, Brown’s Body, Walden Pond, Katahdin, the Penobscot, Thoreau having bad things to say about the Penobscot, and so forth, but who the hell watches these do-gooder reruns? They sure as hell aren’t aimed at anyone with the moral courage to take on, say, the State of Louisiana for continuing to operate Angola, a working prison plantation on the site of, gee, don’tcha know, an earlier working prison plantation.

Likely as not it’s just inertia that keeps the old bleeding-heart liberal shows on the air. If they had to start with a blank slate and line up a schedule, that is not what they’d choose. We can know this because it is not the quality of the new programming that they pay for  and air. Instead they sanitize posh British life and commission Henry Louis Gates, our old boy Skip, to reassure other celebrities that their ancestors were the good free soil honkies. More than a few of them weren’t, but hey, no need to get bent out of shape about dorky shit like the documented truth that some bumptious Hollywood asshole’s family owned hereditary chattel slaves.

If that renowned Brahmin noblesse oblige had any currency this shit would not be on the air, full stop. Like, listen up, chap, as for me and my house, we will not give your station one more red cent until you stop airing apologia for the worst rich people in the Anglo-American world. Of course this doesn’t happen. The Brands Are Good, and PBS is one of the Good Brands. #BeMore. Besides, highbrow Yankees have a good century and a half of more or less uninterrupted experience making disingenuous collabo accommodations to their class peers in the South. Do they sound like they’d stand up to some unemployable asshole with a policy shop sinecure for writing weaselly dreck about how most of the country’s WWII officers were Southerners, and the South is therefore good for America? Yes, it’s a sector with a storied military ethic, an ethic most useful to the Union at those times when its armed forces are not waging some combination of guerrilla insurrection and frontline sedition against the Union in defense of their sectoral right to torture other people to death for not picking enough cotton, you treasonous cunt.

One would hate to offend the Southern gentlemen in one’s fraternity, Parker, would one not? Some of the correspondence I’ve seen quoted between Dickinson College alumni on their way to their enemy armies is the precise equivalent of Dennis Rader sending Kenneth Landwehr a letter wishing him luck and prosperity and success in all things but investigating Sedgwick County’s serial murders. It’s revoltingly twee and amoral, and it’s unbelievably psychotic. We might as well warn the entire nation to stop yelling like a pack of wild animals before it gets kicked out of the Genesis on Western. Don’t let Mr. Sims get on your ass for that, now, or Mr. Sherman.

Accuse me of being overly class-reductionist if you like. Fat Cracka don’t mind. Every fucking thing our bougie pricks do is an advertisement to jack up the marginal tax rates. This is especially, although far from exclusively, true east of the Mississippi, excluding trash fires like upper-crust Texas. We can start at King’s and move into deeper circles of hell from there. At least King’s sells groceries and shit. It makes a po’ cracka wonder why Connecticut couldn’t be on Burnin’ Billy’s way to Georgia, but it’s the least appalling thing these assholes dig. Adirondack chairs? Raise the marginal rates. College? Raise the marginal rates. College campuses littered with Adirondack chairs? Gag me, Ghomeshi, and raise the marginal rates. Dickinson invited a WASP dipshit from LL Bean to campus to talk about how he’d had a vision of a backpack (White People) and now we were all getting backpacks (mostly white but racially mixed and integrated White People). This was one of our BETTER commencement speeches.

They expect us all to PAY for that shit. Excuse me? The bottom-line cost of full fare works out to something ridiculous like $280 per calendar day for every week that classes are in session, that sonorous but brain-dead horseshit is the Great Commission sending another round of new graduates into the world, to Engage, and you cunts still need money? PBS has several minutes straight of ads for cell phone plans, investment firms, and railroad stock at the start of the NewsHour, and it still needs money? They can’t even think up something halfway worthy, like Oscar the Grouch being flat broke and needing a five spot to get a can of Olde English and a bag of chips. They’re platforming hideous sleazeballs and ghouls, they’re paying honoraria to the most unimaginably mushheaded idiots to go up on stage and ramble at will about a grab bag of navelgazing autobiographical anecdotes and corporate mission statement bollocks, and there’s still some fucking capital or operating deficit, relative to whatever target number some shithead pulled from a hat while lusting after Swarthmore’s financials, that we, the audience, are called to plug.

Nobody with any goddamned common sense or self-respect would fall for this crap. Smithie. Damn, son. You went up there and talked to us for twenty minutes about a fucking backpack. Why the fuck do you think we all want another backpack? If that horseshit comes anywhere close to the prevailing quality of academic instruction we fucked up by not sending the kids to HACC.

Mind you, a lot of the donations to fund this brain-deadening pap are bribes. Rick Singer is in hot water for offering parents and their brats a streamlined, optimally efficient, guaranteed way to ensure that their bribes worked. They have to go to federal prison because they weren’t invited to the discount window. At the prices these fuckheads pay it had better be an investment. Liberal arts life of the mind my ass; you could always go to the fucking library. Then again, as the Insurance Schmuck told me, “I never thought of the library in terms of books.” Dickinson was one of the earliest coed institutions, so go hard and give it some thot: if somebody who said things like that, or socialized unabashedly with classmates who said things like that, told you that their bachelor’s studies were what taught them world-class writing and critical thinking skills, would you fucking believe it, or would you use your own critical thinking skills to induce a little bit of vomiting into your mouth? I never thought of the ocean in terms of water. I never thot of Carley Gomez in terms of weather reports or intersectional nerd/cheerleader/rower sex appeal. I never thought of blogs in terms of some random underemployed college boy’s opinions.

If these moronic assholes insist on asserting that they know how to spend their money better than the government does, they ought to demonstrate some bare-ass modicum of stewardship. They won’t. They’re too coddled, catered-to, and solipsistic to care. They’re atrocious stewards of their personal finances. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t donate to any of this embarrassing shit. It’s different from problem gambling, but no better. In ways it’s even worse: casino aesthetics aren’t usually so obnoxious. Look at how they spend their money. Just look at it. Does it say anything to argue against straight taking their shit and diverting it to the commonweal? What government does with these funds is mostly superfluous; its very possession of this slush pool keeps some of the most insufferable, illiberal pricks on earth from abusing it in ways that make life more expensive, cumbersome, and precarious for an entire nation of over three hundred million.

Saying that there’s anything liberal about how these timid little shitbirds act is like saying that I have to go now because Nicole Papamichael is waiting for me to come rawdog her in an unmarked NYPD shaggin’ wagon in a pullout on the Taconic State Parkway. Heh. “Pullout.” Cousin Gigolo should have tried that with more of his premenopausal girlfriends lol. At least the brat he was deadbeating from my grandmother’s condominium won’t need a fucking 529 account. They’re hopeless to raise children who are naturally, calmly secure and confident in the world. They and their snowflakes are nothing but desperate tryhards by now.

They’re bullying their professors for better grades because the whole enterprise of college is a blackmail protection racket. Nice GPA you’ve got here, Sloane; shame if something happened to it. Undergraduate grades have to be 75% meaningless, 90% at Harvard. This ain’t a check ride on the old Daylight Division to make sure we aren’t gonna Robert Sanchez this shit the moment they let us roll solo in the head end. The stakes here are totally artificial, and the proctors despise all productive sectors of the economy adhering to actual meritocratic standards, such as being qualified and safe to drive a passenger train. We’ve previously explored the prevalence of sexual quid pro quo in two-bit recreational diversions like repertory theater. Don’t believe for a second that it isn’t prevalent in American universities as well.

I know what you’re thinking: Goodness, we must not be admitting our best and brightest to medical school after all! Yup. Academic and intellectual merit were totally how we were selecting our incoming medical school classes and I’m Jonas Salk.

We’ve got a whole lot of Americans who desperately need and richly deserve to be buffaloed en masse until the market value of their degrees is as worthless as the actual value. Come to think of it, flooding their neighborhoods with public housing expressly to tank their property values is just about as ethically solid a motivation as the positive public good of placing the poor in adequate, affordable housing. These people don’t conceive of themselves as citizens; they insist to be treated as lords. They constantly demand that governments intervene to provide them with deluxe cryptoprivate goods and protect their investments, at whatever outrageous public cost might be necessary.

Their idea of politics is local enough to make Tip O’Neill lose his lunch. We took a look at the Westport town meeting bitchfest above. Why did we even ditch the Crown? Britain’s posh assholes are vile, but they’re aren’t all so self-serious. Some of them have redeeming entertainment value. BoJo is awful, but he’s fun. They aren’t all hurr durr me poor village grocer. The UK apparently does a relatively good job of keeping its rotten boroughs in check, evening out some of the funding disparities we see in the US and again abating complaints of hurr durr me village grocer.

It’s disastrous to allow neighborhoods like Westport and Bellefontaine Neighbors to incorporate as sovereign municipalities. St. Louis County’s governments are hella racist and classist, so Westport’s motives check out. This is America. We get to ringfence whatever the hell we fancy. Nobody outside Indiana has heard of UniGov. Connecticut’s wealthy municipalities won’t even follow their own state’s statutes and case law on housing.

Why is Westport? This is a serious question. Why do they allow that bullshit to exist as its own municipality? It’s on the big side for the Kavanaughs, but I’m getting some serious Chevy Chase Village Section Five vibes. This is a community that needs to be read an ultimatum: either govern yourselves in accordance with state and federal law or be so governed from without. It worked on the South, until the Union lost heart and it didn’t. It still works on the South when we try.

Tocqueville was much too earnest and credulous about American voluntarism and civic vigor. He took this regime for the Jeffersonian ideal as put to paint by Rockwell, the American norm. In reality, it was crawling with busybodies and cops even in his time, as he noted in his own published writings. In our time we’ve offered the rest of the world the HOA. Like it local, bitch? Yes you do, you filthy little pig.

Think about the humiliating debasement it takes to conform to THAT. To any of it, really: to the notion that an undergraduate college already charging seven years’ gross median household income payable on net is owed “charitable” contributions; that people should be judged witheringly by where they summer, not if (everyone summers!); that the fancy-pants town grocery needs customers to speak up on its behalf at public meetings against the intrusion of a minority population too poor to regularly shop there; that it isn’t all a flaming embarrassment.

At what point does the State of Connecticut start revoking municipal charters in response to these antics? There’s no need to directly or explicitly punish them for having shitheads as citizens; these same municipalities are in chronic, willful, material violation of state and federal law. Like, dude, you don’t get to lock kidnapped women in your basement just because you declared yourself the Independent Republic of Ariel Castro.

Yuck. I hate to smear a bus driver by comparing him to any of these. On the other hand, I don’t mind comparing them to a low-class Latin pervert. In this case Fat Cracka is much obliged.

Megxit

It’s rich, we might say, that the Royal Household and whatever the fuck else they call it is clutching its pearls over the failure of Harry and Meghan to pursue a sufficiently process-oriented separation from the family. If there’s one country that comes to mind for competently and cordially executing separation processes strictly according to protocol, it’s Great Britain and I’m Clement Atlee.

What a bunch of wankers. They’re all bloody miserable cunts, aside from the ones who are straight white trash. On the surface, disengaging from this wretched family looks more inspiring than engaging with it in the first place. Royal watchers are ruing that Prince Harry appeared bored with his duties. He sat through them, they said, but made no effort to hide his contempt for the proceedings. At last we have a member of the family somehow threading the needle between the festering vapidity of most of his relatives and the royal bumptiousness of Charles III. (Is he not on his way? I’m only semifacetious here.) He was born into this dogshit-stupid pageantry but has the good sense to recognize it for the absolute bollocks it is. Does His future Majesty very much enjoy the tikka masala? Well, does the chap look like he gives a shit? No? Good for him.

There are occasional monarchists who have thoughtful reasons for their philosophy. The problem is this: for every John Regan arguing, say, that we seem to end up with hereditary rule no matter how we get there and the British have some practice and wisdom in getting to a better version of it de jure, there have to be hundreds of drooling fuckwits gasping and cooing about how majestic it all is. Bugger me all the way to Balmoral you dense bitch, that’s no way to run a country. Some asshole from the BBC’s royal desk was on Here and Now today enthusing about how it’s a national department of having fun. Nice fun we’re having here, Harry; shame if you tried not to have it. Crystal Harris was, against the odds, right: we all just like to do fun stuff.

Some amateur beancounter inevitably shows up to these debates about republicanism versus royalism with stories about how much tourist traffic that horseshit brings to the UK. If true, it says nothing good about the tourists in question that they would be hopeless to think of anything else worth doing in England, Scotland, Wales, or Ulster if that wretched clan of inbred krauts weren’t there for them, and it’s a well-established matter of postmodern British political and economic history that a succession of recent governments have decided to make the City (read: fraud) the keystone of the national economy, so there’s no moral ground to defend here. What the economic development concern trolls are trying to maintain comes from an even uglier position. They insist that it is right and just that the House of Windsor serve as the displays in a human zoo.

Harry and Meghan are of sound mind and great wisdom to remove themselves from this horseshit. The Windsor grapevine kept reporting that the family was abusing Meg, cutting her off from loved ones outside their direct control like any other good cult. It takes all the maturity of an observant teenager to recognize that the fairytale lifestyle for which the British royal family is so fulsomely celebrated is stultifying and meaningless as all hell. Have I ever mentioned that Harry Potter is a popular adult fiction series among the American upper middle class? This seems germane. Between the wizard crap, The West Wing, and all the pseudohighbrow royalist/aristocratic propaganda on PBS, we can start to see things that are frightfully wrong with this country. Ali G, the same gentleman who asked if there will ever be a female prime minister, provided a useful litmus test for this kind of shit: is it good, or is it wack? For H&M, the former turned out to be the latter.

Fuck off about how they’re committing dereliction of duty and scheming to capitalize on their titles. Nobody fucking respects Andrew and Fergie. Those two are both royal bigshots, or he is and she was, but everybody knows they’re fucking useless and expects absolutely nothing of either of them. The Canadian kids sure seem an improvement over the Lolita Express shitbird and his messy lush of an ex-wife. The claims that they’re fleeing the Household to put a stop to interference in extended family visitations with their young child are evidence enough of their relatively good character and judgment, and as they say about sex in Vermont, and at Windsor Castle, it’s all relatives.

Hey, the kid may be a Nazi cosplayer, but at least he married out. We’ve got portraits of the shit the old school unclefucked into existence, and it ain’t good. The Hapsburgs were a bunch of drooling retards–or, as we call them stateside, PBS Sustainers. There’s a huge amount of cooing shit on PBS’s evening lineups, on Sundays especially (maybe something to do with who doesn’t have to go to work tomorrow/watches that shit in the first place), about how Victoria restored flagging British reverence towards the monarchy. This is interesting–by which I mainly mean dreadfully uninteresting–in the historical context of her own son and successor, a lecherous ditz. Edward–Bertie, as they called him–Eddie could never afford to live that kind of life. That’s why he was a public charge like the rest of them.

That’s the thing about the monarchy, though: the duties of these offices are whatever the hell the wankers holding them are able and willing to discharge, and in a number of cases the answer has been John Dennis Diddly. Say, that sounds like a public school pastime. Coach, do put me in there! Eddie, in this case not of Brender, was a great disappointment to his father and mother, but nobody looked any finer than that vapid bastard, whether or not he’d been banging that Irish floozy of a camp follower or however many dozens of other tramps. It’s been written that Long Islanders piss off Manhattan’s elites because they’re close enough to the seedy shit that goes down on Oyster Bay to know that we’re all just a little bit Buttafuoco. According to folklore, Newsday has unpublished photographs confirming our sinful nature: SATIN LIVES.

The British royal family ends up in a fourth-turning cycle or some shit in which, rather like Russia’s periodic teetotaler tsars/premiers/presidents, a fastidiously chaste goody-two-shoes pays people to preen about her bottomless virtue and glamor for the duration of her reign, punctuating a succession of utterly useless and blatantly disreputable wastrels. The Millennial monarchs-in-waiting are maintaining a three-generation streak of not being boorish and stupid within their direct lineage, if we leave aside Philip, an ever more senile oaf, and Elizabeth, who’s perhaps not too bright. Meanwhile the family’s got allowance claimants wandering around with the intelligence of Eric Trump and the sobriety of Amy Winehouse. To go parochial and translate that for the streets, that entire family proves that there’s no shame in my game. What, are they the only ones who are allowed to be indolent? Look, whatever the stuff in these pages is, I write it. (Does it look like it has editors?) I’ll be Lord Byron if one in twenty of that useless lot is able to independently pen anything worth reading.

If the British government and public wish to continue subsidizing these fuckheads, it’s their business. If these jagoffs themselves insist on breeding, it’s a dysgenic nightmare but not anybody else’s business, although the size and continuation of the public allowances encouraging this animalistic proliferation are a matter of genuine public concern. Luther Burbank does not have descendants, but they all do.

Sharing this culture with the United States, however, is specifically and directly our business. We fought a war of independence to be done with this shit, and now we celebrate it multiple times a week on our federal public television service. We don’t need this garbage. There are other things little girls can aspire to be when they grow up besides princesses. Why have a society of princesses, professional athletes, ballerinas, astronauts, and marine biologists when we can instead aspire to a society of working smallholders, union railroaders, craftspeople, prostitutes, the chronically unemployed, and definitely some hot CBSA agents and Mounties? (Field uniform, please; the dress uniform is too ridiculous for comment.) Unfortunately, I know exactly why: it’s the same reason we read fucking Harry Potter. My list was fucked up, but it was half useful and half sexy, I thought for a moment that I’d erred for including the unemployed, that that was hella wack, but then I remembered why we find the royals and aristos so captivating. It ain’t because they work.

Who’s “us”? It’s whoever presumes to speak for us on deep state radio and television. I’ll be interested to see what the Scots offer for licensing under devolution. It could be shite, but the limeys are already burying us in it, so it could hardly be worse. Maybe they’ll come up with something better than the current Wheel of Fortune-ass storytime about the mulatto chick with the kraut husband and the abusive in-laws.

Corey Pein describes this as a mob family. The pervert uncle of the lady who got whacked in the staged car crash in the French tunnel along with the shady Arab fellow and so upset Elton John that he sang about it for clout and profit is now in trouble for being on the recently whacked American sex island pervert who died by his own hand in the jail where the surveillance cameras don’t work. Mob sounds about right. Financial and operational independence sounds wise.

And for God’s sake Harry and Meghan won’t be the only ones profiting from the British Royal Family in a seedy fashion. There are honest modes of living in England, but we never hear a word about them. As far as I can tell, I’m the only American who knows that the National Fruit Collection is not where they store Elton John. On the Canadian side, there are honest modes of living, too, but Kevin Vickers has gone from dairyland to Depot to Parliament Hill to Ireland, and Jian Ghomeshi is still in Toronto. Meanwhile we, too, still have public radio and television broadcasters, and Kwesi Millington hasn’t been gracious enough to sue either of them.

A zealous love of honest work and plain dealing is not the reason we’ve heard of any of these people. We should think that there are better reasons to be scandalized than the possibility that Harry and Meghan will be living off the avails of the House of Windsor illegitimately, as opposed to the old legitimate fashion of getting an allowance and an archipelago of palaces for making stupid small talk with other dipshits and sitting around like a fucking dunce. We should hope, for that matter, that the prince is the worst Harry. Instead we have novels about Eton and Oxbridge, but with elves and wizards and shit, and reruns of a dumbass nerd show about a wicked boring version of the Clinton White House.

Ordering a society around the pathetic escapist fantasies of a pampered but panicked overclass is going just swell. At least Harry and Meghan are trying to escape into something more like reality, not less. I guess that’s why the teachers’ pets resent them.

The reason for the goddamned season

A geezer in mom jeans, a North Face knockoff vest, and a stovepipe hat is giving free Victorian carriage rides around the historic depot downtown. He’s got a fucking horse in blinders with a shit sack behind its ass pulling the Wells Fargo local on a one-block circuit all afternoon. When the Amish do that kind of thing, it’s transportation. I lack the processing power to come up with a name for what that sentimental Christmas cheer nerd and his passengers are undertaking. They brought out the nice wagon for this exercise.

At least the parking is free. I don’t think they’re enforcing the three-hour limit today, either. Enjoy downtown, bitch.

The insane, and I mean 100% traveling-between-universes-right-now psychotic, thing about this journey of reminiscence back to the Gay Nineties is that it’s available for the asking maybe a ten-minute bus ride from the new tent slum on the Joe Rodota Trail. It’s a not too brisk five-minute walk from underpasses lushly colonized by Sonoma County’s other, less tent-blessed bums. I don’t mean to knock them; I’ve been frantically close to their circumstances myself and give great thanks that I no longer am. The city, the county, and the entire community are failing them grievously beyond words. It’s damning of us all that neighborhoods whose residents have questionably serviceable cars for shelter are well-off and fortunate compared to neighborhoods whose residents have a few dozen or a few hundred dollars’ worth of camping equipment from Walmart, and that the latter are well-off and fortunate compared to other neighborhoods down the road where the median net worth is some pocket change, a few smokes, and a castoff shopping cart full of a bewildering pile of rags and papers and stuff.

We’re rebuilding the mansions off Fountaingrove, though. #SonomaStrong, baby girl.

It becomes hard to believe that there’s any point to trying to remediate this horror show. Why spend the night desperately throwing beached starfish back into the ocean when I could drive up to the pass on Calistoga Road and bless up in the moonlight? It makes sense theoretically to try, but in practice it comes to look hopeless. I could run myself flat broke trying to help the destitute and not see a drop in the bottom of the bucket at the end of it.

It’s a lot easier to just full Doctorow walk away from the bougie shits and their high Dickensian Christmas cheer. Even something as prosaic as sales tax becomes questionable as a civic duty as evidence passes into view that the receipts are being stewarded to fund gentry horseshit rather than basic lifesaving government relief. Oregon doesn’t levy state sales tax, leaving it to county and city governments as a little-exercised local option, and it seems perhaps marginally less third-world than California, certainly not much worse. What’s the damn point? What is it good for? Any peace incoming around here? *Most Gethsemane night watch voice* Good God, y’all.

The territorial dispute that’s been flaring up this fall around the Joe Rodota Trail and the underpasses is going to get people killed. I’ve got a very bad gut feeling about it. Do I have a snowball’s prayer in Honolulu to be able to mediate this standoff? I don’t think so. I am not enjoying a thrill about prophesying a Dateline special, Keith Morrison strolling past a Snoopy statue under the palms, ominously intoning that Mr. Schultz? well, Mr. Schultz himself never published a strip so dark. I wish I could prophesy Lord Lloydminster finally taking a square meal.

But what the hell can I do? The West End is boiling straight to the flashpoint. Adopt-a-highway volunteer scolds are fuming about junk dumped by the bums on trails around Bennett Valley. The city and the county are solvent and creditworthy enough to fund regular trail cleanups, but I guess we’re leaving it to self-congratulatory Nextdoor posters to brag about their Tocquevillean voluntarism and bathe in their growing clout while they agitate for ad hoc class genocide in public language fit for Radio Mille Collines. The vigilante class warfare has already gone live in the San Fernando Valley. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of households have home equity at stake around the encampments in Santa Rosa. A friend who’s in the loop in regional social services tells me that the squatters maintained good housekeeping on the Rodota Trail until a jail work release crew was deployed to seize and dispose of their gear in an official sweep. After the sweep they resettled with new gear and trashed the trail.

Maybe the local property owners can blame them. I sure can’t. We’d be hearing about the murders by now if the county or the neighborhood homeless had done anything of the sort to private houses. We’ve already got housed residents homicidally angry about trash on their sidewalks. I don’t envy them or their teenaged children for facing that, but they’re all bent out of shape about messes that a streets crew could easily and lawfully sweep up–junk not identifiably in the curtilage of a cart, that kind of thing–and they’re demonizing people who have no other options for living out of carts under the only partial, inadequate shelter they can find for themselves.

It starts to feel insoluble. There are places where I could do some pruning or clear some brush. Peut-être il faut cultiver notre jardin.

*****

The headspace needed to carefreely enjoy a Victorian Christmas in the midst of this privation and squalor is delusionally blind. When I say psychotic, I mean it. Wesley Willis mostly knew he was missing what he needed not to get kicked out of the Genesis on Western. My psychotic buddies up north, Mixups in my Mind and Psychotarp, have some sense of their behavioral problems, or at least Mixups does; by some accounts these matters are not justiciable under Title 24 US Code. That’s still a 50% quasilucidity rate. One out of two ain’t two out of three, Mr. Loaf, but all the same, it could be worse. Do I want to tramp into the oak scrub for two hours to scavenge scrap metal off Psychotarp’s new favorite pile? Of course I don’t. But he means well. When he isn’t getting weird and hostile with the Ragin’ Canajun, he’s halfway to a reasonable person of goodwill.

The property owners who have been showing up to public meetings in California to air their grievances about the homeless are wanton failures on both counts. They are unreasonable people of ill will. An equity stake worth hundreds of thousands can have a morally deranging effect on the mind. Jenny Luke has seen people get murdered over crack rock promised but not delivered in Over-the-Rhine. “It’s a classic.” That’s a $20 blow-n-go neighborhood, if the provider isn’t too bashful to set a floor on her price; do the math.

It’s acutely palpable, and more so at this time of year than perhaps any other, and in California more than many states, that the entire country is a constellation of lavish feasts surrounded by scrums of hungry beggars barely able to snag a morsel here and there from their lords’ tables to satisfy their gnawing hunger. The rather American-sounding term of art “hangry” has currency in large parts of the Anglophone world, particularly online: a new word, an ancient evil. We produce stupefying surpluses of foodstuffs. Even #NoPlant19 seems not to have turned the United States into a net importer. It should be impossible to be hangry on these shores.

New horizons come into view in a nation of slavers and Calvinists. Read it and repent.

Somehow it is possible, in fact commonplace, even prosaic, for the affluent to sentimentally enjoy holiday season after holiday season in a spirit of serene, practically smug tweeness while their neighbors starve at their doorsteps and freeze to death covered in their own filth. Ours is not fundamentally or intractably a poor country. There are, if anything, surprisingly few such countries on earth. What we have instead is an increasingly draconian caste system ruled by elites and their near subalterns who come to feel unspeakably cornered and so now must bare their fangs. This explains the high-frequency outrages against charity: school lunch trays dumpted into the trash before poor students because their parents have incurred petty debts to the cafeteria; sheriff’s deputies seizing plates of food from park soup kitchens and dumping them into the trash before homeless people who were about to eat them in deep gratitude for their blessing; health department thugs ordering caterers to pour bleach into perfectly safe batches of leftover barbecue after street festivals, again to deprive and ward off the poor. We treat our human neighbors worse than stray dogs.

What earthly or cosmic point is there in trying to piss into this wind in the hope of making a difference? I’m not asking this rhetorically. In this case I don’t feel cynical so much as badly discouraged. The cultural milieu allowing any of this to happen is shockingly grotesque. Who, exactly, has the courage to ride this tiger? Who has the energy to spit into the lake and see if it makes a difference?

What somehow stands out to me more than the imperative to charity in the face of these atrocities is the imperative to denounce those strategically offering and denying charity at their own whims to chase clout and enthrone themselves above a groveling client pool. A society as dysfunctional as ours has to bathe in an ambient miasma of hypocrisy, cruelty, and manipulation to tolerate an organization as self-important, self-serving, and devious as the Salvation Army. Here we have a prominent, almost universally celebrated “charity” whose shelter managers systematically eject those they claim to serve for the purpose of stealing their property and selling it in their branded thrift stores, but this violent racket isn’t enough. These cunts have to add absurdity to immorality by dressing up in ridiculous toy soldier uniforms and calling themselves Major, like they’re plotting a coup against Muammar Qaddafi at Comic-Con. They aren’t children or adolescents, either. These are grown-ass adults carrying on in this fashion on live television twenty, thirty, even fifty years past the age of majority, and doing so at a time in their lives when they have not been declared incompetent in a court of law or committed to a group home.

As outlandish and skincrawlingly disgusting as the Salvation Army is to those of us who have studied it, it’s really just an extreme manifestation of the mainstream American model of strategic, arbitrary, selectively charitable charity. Many charitable organizations do this. They’re the ones we see on TV. It’s all grifting, cloutchasing, tax-sheltering, reputation management, and client-farming, a cesspool of some of the worst people ever to prowl God’s green earth. We’re making a difference by pushing a quarter into the St. Jude Children’s Hospital charity cardboard stand and I’m Charlie Beck. What would actually make a difference would be to hand two bits to a gutter drunk; that might add up to another tall boy of Olde English by the time the night’s through.

Mind you, we’re all too lost in the Bernays sauce to consider that any charity with a Madison Avenue-grade advertising budget is not spending that outbound revenue stream on its core operations, or that the lavishness of its self-promotion would be consistent with lavish executive and administrative salaries, but in a way the deeper, grosser point is that our renowned Tocquevillean voluntarism is an unmitigated national curse. As a yuppie Boomer up off Riebli and Mark West Springs told me, about the homelessness problem in Sonoma County, “A lot of people are working on it.” Oh yeah? What in the everloving fuck are they accomplishing? This was before the Rodota Trail flared up into the new Hooverville and got the propertied classes on the West End all riled up. I wonder if he’s still impressed with the effort. Yeah, great hustle getting demolished by Notre Dame again, team, hit the showers, boys.

Dude was in the Peace Corps, by the way, so he knows a thing or two about organizations that are definitely doing somewhat more than jack fucking shit to improve poor parts of the world while in no way being overseas back channels for the CIA. It’s anecdotal, but it tracks with the shitlib blob in the deep imperial center who blame all American wrongs on Russia, not the gross dereliction and unaccountability of their own class and the elected officials representing it. Stop by Zinfandel Lane sometime to see if any of the local moral leadership of the Catholic laity have thoughts on this worth sharing.

What I still don’t understand operationally, let alone morally, is the frame of mind making it possible for those even dimly aware of the local history to prance around a Potemkin Village Victorian Christmas wonderland in New York or Chicago or London *ROCK OVER WHEATIES BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS*, bescarved with a cup of mulled cider or whatever the fuck in hand, and not be haunted by the ghosts of neighbors who froze and starved to death a stone’s throw away. A quick look around the same cities today reveals a Riisian horror show. How the fuck is it possible to swaddle up in Burberry and stroll the Magnificent Mile without bodily choking on the shame and scandal of carrying on like this in a city where transit cops kick bums off the El out into neighborhoods where they’ll be hours away from death by exposure under whatever meager rags they’ve arrayed against the cold? How is it possible to be aware, even in broad terms, of Englewood and not experience an autoghomeshi of guilt crossing the threshold into a Whole Foods in Streeterville?

As I mentioned above, a useful skeleton key is the premise that we’re actually an Indian-style caste society feebly protesting that we’re a free, open, dynamic, prosperous society. We protest way too much, and unfortunately not in the French tradition in which Macron does something dirty and Paris shuts down the next day. It’s surreal to see such an overclass acting out so arrogantly in a society ostensibly acculturated in Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Charles Dickens, and John Steinbeck in the original English. It’s surreal to see Elon Musk not get banished from polite society as its most notorious pariah, no matter how recklessly juvenile his behavior or advanced his age. Are we living vicariously through THAT? Is this possibly for real? How the hell is it the case that a supermajority isn’t telling him to use one of his three passports to fuck off to Reno, not to run the Gigafactory into the ground but to hang out with the trust fund castoff who rides the circuit around the Truckee Meadows doing greasy hair swooshes in Starbucks lobbies?

Citizen Kane is a feel-good movie, to us. Sister Carrie is a heartwarming tale of artistic pluck. Quit your food service gig and send me picture postcards, you conniving whore.

Again, what on earth do we do about this? I’m asking seriously. Fight? Flee? Mail a ten spot to the food pantry? We’re doing something wrong when we haven’t taxed and/or sued Elon to the point that he can’t afford to live in a code-compliant house anywhere BUT Reno. Hawthorne would work, too, as long as the other residents are given the option to buy a walkup one-way bus fare out of town for the price of an RTC day pass straight out of the farebox, in the event that they tire of him. There’s a trailer park on the outskirts of Goldfield where I’d be happy to have him, with or without utilities. What I mean, obviously, is to have him move there without me.

Some of these people would live in fucking bear caves in a decent society. They’re our leading citizens. God help us. This is a theodicial disaster.

As Scott Simon pointed out in his morning homily the other day, this is a holiday season whose high point is the celebration of a family that had to bed down in a stable while Mom went into labor because there was no room at the inn, so maybe we should act like it. Nah, never mind. That would get in the way of our cloyingly crass profaning of all things sacred. We’re simply having a wonderful Christmastime, except for those of us who are simply having a terrible one. Let’s do a half-assed toy drive for some of their kids and keep pretending that the ostensibly Dutch fatso with the sleigh isn’t a creation of Madison Avenue instead of telling our children that, yes, Virginia, there is a population of desperately poor Americans who have difficulty doing fastidious housekeeping around their shanties and carts.

Say, honey, it might be a good idea to come out before it’s too late. If we’re going to put aside childish things, for that matter, I have to ask whether that fucking free carriage ride counts. The only secular bells we need this season are Amy Winehouse’s, from “Rehab.” I maintain that they’re the only ones ever to prevent wintertime suicides and treat seasonal affective disorders. That Jimmy Stewart-ass angel horseshit we all watch this time of year has nothing on our good Londoner for actually cheering a loser up. Homegirl manages to be peppy, honest, AND modest. Hey, I like drugs. Yeah, I could go to confession, but I’m Jewish, innit.

Against the odds, we’re ending on a positive no, no, note.

Hundred million people do the rush hour day, just to keep the drivetime funded

We make assumptions at NPR. We stipulate, for example, that our listener base is drawn from mentally aware and coherent citizens, not abject virtue-signaling hypocrites.

Perhaps you ask: Who’s “us”? Sir Robert Peel posited that the police is the public and the public is the police. By police, I mean cops. You know, snitches, narcs, tattletales, collabo, Quislings, feds, whatever. NPR is federally funded and crawling with CIA and CI-Adjacent (Kelemen lol); the glove fits, and I does not acquits.

Don’t tell me that was an aesthetic or cultural affront on par with the programming. One of last night’s special touches–and mind you, this one popped up on a wholly different and theoretically more prosaic plane from this week’s dramatic British election and the neverending torrent of Bircher horseshit and Clinton impeachment denialism gushing down Capitol Hill–concerned our failed good intentions–“ours”–to do our daily part to mitigate climate change and save the earth and all that cool shit.

“We” are all sure “trying” here. As Kwesi Millington said, if wishes were Tasers my horse would be dead. He probably didn’t say that, but it meets the factchecking standards for broadcast on NPR. Heh. I kept writing that as “meats.” #MeatlessMuscle, buddy. Think about it, though. We’re an affluent overclass, marginally subaltern to the big league elites, and not all of us of a station as modest as that–remember, I just happen to listen to this shit; it’s some kind of residual yuppie thing–so of course we are definitely living modestly and honestly, not in any way taking advantage of our cash and credit to pursue profligate, lavish, environmentally troublesome lifestyles.

The specific daily discipline under consideration was refraining from the solo automobile commute. As it happens, we seldom do that. Something sounds, shall we say, Off about our revealed preferences when projected against our stated preferences. Radio that makes you choke so hard that Big Ears Teddy scampers all the way to Halifax, not even stopping for a plate of poutine!

Fuck out my brains, Juicy Lucy, what was the point of that? Canada is sometimes an improvement. On the other hand, there’s one Kevin Vickers, four on our favorite squad out west, hopefully a few more Mounties in Interior BC with a side hustle retailing freebase to the home bake trailer park boys, and countless groveling strivers trying to climb to the top of that greasy pole on the Toronto arts and letters scene. I said Toronto, not Vancouver. If you’ve been around here too much, you know why. Otherwise, it might come as a shock.

Alas, these diversions can only delay, not deny, our return to the broadcast pride of th’ American side. Canadians can be socially climbing hypocrites, too, and they’re usually a bit more fun about it than we are. They’ve got a heavier per capita carbon footprint than we do, for one thing. I know, I know, it gets cold up there, eh, a tit bit nipply, partner.

The foregoing may be the fruit of a two-minute attention span, but consider the 100% chance that my aesthetics are better than NPR’s. To wit:

So we worked with employees at a large airport – nearly 80,000 employees. We ran these experiments in this organization because employees told us they wanted to take transit. They wanted to carpool with their colleagues.

We tried every trick in our tool kit as behavioral scientists. We told employees that lots of other people were commuting in these actives in sustainable ways. We made carpooling really easy by matching people with other employees who lived really close to them. We even offered free transit passes. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Pete Buttigieg. My bad; this is the social policy/behavioral sciences beat, not the political beat, and nobody’s hanging around that joint as a reward for integrative critical thinking or object permanence. It’s odd how the rogue’s gallery of shady American leaders is still around whenever I return from another impromptu jaunt up to the Great White North, but these professional radio assholes are only sporadically aware of the most controversial stances of their favorite presidential candidates and at a total loss to integrate them into the analysis of anything not explicitly and exclusively focused on politics. Is it because they’re paid?

Take note: our bitch, who started her comment with “so” because of course she fucking did, omitted the name of her 80,000-employee airport. Is this what we’re doing in sociology these days? Protecting our sources in Philadelphia’s Fifth Street Neighborhood and/or Terminal A West? I don’t feel like doing a drive-by on Duckduckgo for what airports have how many employees right now; I’m a nerd, but I’m first and foremost a shitposter. That said, we’re talking about a pretty big airport. I dunno, Memphis, LAX, DFW. JFK and O’Hare are big enough, but they’ve got transit connections into town, Long Island has all-night service after a fashion all the way out to Montauk, and traffic is awful in Queens.

In case we’re looking at the stewardesses (or the stewards!) and getting a clue, too, “parking was free.” Haidt-fuck me, Ghomeshi, maybe Sky Harbor, then? Our good bitch from the social sciences declines to say. In any event, the possibilities I just spitballed because, oh, I’ve actually read shit about airports and mentally integrated it, are facilities with starkly different mass transit connections, surrounded by starkly different urban fabrics. I could take the time and effort to cross-reference half a dozen different airports right now and never finish this post, or I could expect NPR, which pays staffers to do that sort of thing, to do it. #TeshTips: That ain’t happening.

Ooh, I know. It’s Atlanta. We never flew Delta when I was a kid. We do, however, have family in Alpharetta, including a retired Delta pilot, and MARTA was strategically kept out of certain sectors of the metroplex, although I can’t white say why.

Or it might be somewhere else. I wouldn’t be speculating if anyone involved in that segment had fucking said.

WHILLIANS: We’re trying a lot of different incentives now. And financial incentives seem to help push people in favor of taking these more alternative forms of commuting. And taking parking away, although obviously, that would cause some pushback from employees, does seem to be effective. When people have no other option, they’re open to alternatives and can enjoy them.

God, that sure sounds like a postmodern knowledge economy Georgia thing to say. Sail away, sail away, we will cross the mighty ocean into Enjoyable Alternatives Bay.

Ailsa Chang:

Are you saying that the stick works a lot better than the carrot often?

Song, Song of the South, Millington for Sheriff and I shut my mouth. Adieu day claya, O’Haya, such a managerial philosophy could never have been possible or popular between, say, approximately Monocacy and Vicksburg.

Additional grate thots from our hostess:

Well, are there other tactics that come to mind if you want to–

Might be a good idea to stop right there, chief. Or not:

get people to stop driving alone in their cars?

It could have been worse. Historically, it was. We might hope that Ms. Chang at some point studied history. What we do know, by her own autobiographical description, is that she studied and then, Katie door the bar, practiced law.

Do these freaks have no idea why ordinary people have mixed feelings about lawyers? Probably.

WHILLANS: Yeah. We’re also trying to move away from this social focus of carpooling. Most carpooling apps in organizations are like, hey, carpooling is a way to get to know your fellow colleagues. And really – actually what we’re finding is the last thing you want to do at 7:45 in the morning on your way to work is have a colleague talk to you…

Gee, is it?

Counsel is on the record as being amused:

CHANG: (Laughter).

WHILLANS: …Before you have to go and talk…

CHANG: That’s so true.

WHILLANS: …To colleagues all day. So we think that there’s been a bit of an issue with marketing.

CHANG: This is all so interesting. It makes me feel like maybe behavioral science is still vastly underused when it comes to tackling something like climate change. I mean, what do you think?

Behavioral science: that definitely doesn’t sound, from historical readings or the context of this discussion, like anything that was ever used to facilitate the Holocaust.

WHILLANS: I think that behavioral science principles, you can start to see them slowly emerging in this conversation around climate change and sustainability. If you get an energy bill, maybe your energy use is being compared to your neighbors. And that’s a direct result of behavioral science research.

No Eichmann/Mengele vibes here.

But I think the gains have been fairly small, even in my own experiment. Behavioral science didn’t work because the organization offered free parking. So I think scientists like me are going to need to work together with organizations and with transportation specialists to design cities and structures with behavioral science in mind.

Is it possible to build out transit systems without throwing these bumptious, stupid losers a hunk of the grift from every project? And does the organization employing this “scientist” offer free parking, or doesn’t it? *Big Texan Rex Tillerson Voice* Moron this shortly.

WHILLANS: I think in the context of commuting, which is a habitual, everyday behavior–

Ah, like picking cotton. Hand me a sack and I’ll have a bale in by sundown.

where driving alone is kind of more comfortable and a little bit nicer, that sticks seem to work better than carrots.

Like being a free smallholder who doesn’t get whipped for falling short of his quota until there’s room in his wounds for the brine, which is kind of more comfortable and a little bit nicer than having that happen and General Sherman was entirely out of line to imagine that any of that fine low country had to be put to the flame.

Understood.

This stuff is fucking creepy. Who, exactly, was behind it?

CHANG: Ashley Whillans is an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.

Thomas Jefferson, justifying himself not just to posterity but to his contemporaries: Good God, y’all, I’m just a business administrator!

Huh. I don’t suppose the Harvard Business School has faculty parking.

All the terminal degrees in the world will never clue this stable of freakish idiot-nerds into the manifest truth that their Cass Sunstein-ass nudge theory operant conditioning schemes rub the peasantry the wrong goddamn way. That’s why we see so much passive resistance, or maybe passive-aggressive resistance. By the way, passive resistance was a top tactic in the Antebellum South, too. The through lines disappear, but they never actually go away.

There are many aberrations of American life, too many to enumerate in a sitting, but one of them is the suffusion of this style of compulsory and quasi-compulsory conditioning: pep rallies (the tacitly prosperous Darwinian champions demanding the reverence of their eugenic and social inferiors), Covey training trust falls, Walmart morning cheer time, Amazon Fulfillment Power Hour and the cookie waiting as the reward for the one who runs the race to win it, Delaney’s sign spinners, Uber’s algorithms, the High Hopes Dance, whatever the hell Bloomberg is doing in his effort to ape the Booty Judge with his own official dance routine. Dead seriously, who the hell would put up with any of this shit in a free and prosperous society? It’s all somewhere in the transitional zone between Aum Shinrikyo, the Hitler Youth, and Monticello when old Tommy has just gotten himself into another big old pile of debt. There’s a reason why German retail employees ran into the bathroom when Walmart flew its pep squads across the Atlantic to acculturate them into the All-American call and response. Some say he died by his own hand in a Berlin bunker; others say he spirited himself into South America for a discreet Germanic retirement of loyal service to the US-allied governments of the region.

Of course ordinary people hate this shit. There’s a reason why unions tell management to get fucked when they start running these games. There’s a reason why it’s so common in non-union shops. When it gets injected into one of the few extant spheres of autonomy available to the rank and file, such as their cars, of course it fucking pisses them off. Of course they refuse to comply. The nudge masters aren’t taking the county bus to work. Who do they think they’re kidding?

Ailsa Chang, I assume. This is a village where everybody makes a living by taking in her neighbor’s laundry. That’s why the rest of us are taxed to pay for some of it and berated for tithes and offerings to fund the balance.

I forgot the commercials. This is listener-supported, public, commercial-free radio with commercials. We are celibately banging hookers. Rob Ford is in no way drunk enough to try crack. The Mayor is inclusively decrescendoing for the evening in a progressively less intelligible and coherent commentary about the Jamaicans.

They want our money, of course. Why not? Aum Shinrikyo recruited medical doctors, too. If the IRS taxed the core donor pool at a rate sufficient to fully fund NPR and PBS, along with the rest of the federal government, without Congressmen droning on about fiscal discipline and balanced budgets and other Harry Potter-grade fictions, Tote Bag Nation would have less disposable income to waste on such national embarrassments. Making the public pay according to its financial capacity into the central treasury and disbursing responsibly from the treasury to fund the commonweal is 1) fit for its own chapter in the Book of Revelation the way the United States is run and 2) exactly what every society should do to provide for itself and abate its troublesome elites by depriving them of the nutrient media they need to proliferate all over absolutely everything and cover it in their slime.

This sounds like a Lovecraftian horror because it is one. NPR is in fact literally parasitic. It’s the hookworm feeding reassuring chemicals into the digestive vascular mesh and simultaneously sucking every bit of life force it can consume straight out of the gut. It is Melissa Ann Shepard patting her new boyfriend on the shoulder with one hand to let him know that her paramount concern is his wholeness as a widower while clutching a thermos of coffee in the other.

Does this sound farfetched? Gee, in that case, how the fuck do you suppose propaganda works? By being honest, not fraudulent? NPR is a news outlet all right. William Randolph Hearst owned one himself. One doesn’t suppose he was trying to raise the cash for, say, a castle.

This [is] American life: fraud, coercion, and barely a damn thing else. Joel Osteen, Servant of the Triune God, exhorts His people to prime the prosperity pump with tithes; verily Lakewood Church has an accounts receivable department. Your alma mater, tried and true or just true to its fundraising goals, also has an accounts receivable department. Do you want it to end up like Mills or Antioch, and come to reflect badly on you as its diplomate? Nice degree you got there, college boy; shame it ain’t worth nothin’ no more.

Everything in this country has been thrust into the same earthly hell. Medical care? Holy shit. Student debt? That’s getting into the range of comprehensive military budgets. Uber? Amazon? The customer is always right, and remember: the slaveholder has historically been the customer. College textbooks have been perverted into little better than copyright squats. Administrators and publishers are standing by to receive their tribute.

Some categories of groceries are modestly cheaper. Whoopa de fuckin’ doo. The prices for the big-ticket items have shot through the roof for no reason, other than the enclosure of the commons. These aren’t free markets. If Safeway refused to refund a five-dollar basket of blueberries that had been packed with nothing but rotten mush on the bottom it would immediately lose customers. Charge a quarter million for four years of compulsorily residential mush splatter clumsily mixed with some instruction and you’ll be able to claim the right to beg for alms from your customers for the rest of their lives. Enough of them will pay up and few enough will rise up to stop this shady racket in its tracks.

Commercial drivetime radio–meaning avowedly commercial drivetime radio, because we have to spell this shit out–steers clear of calls for its own alms. Sometimes it begs for alms on behalf of more or less fraudulent charities, organizations with enough fat to burn on dedicated advertising budgets. Otherwise, it’s ostensibly free at the point of use and upstanding enough not to air White Whines about the parlous state of its budget.

Listen to it, though. It’s dreadfully bleak, a shambolic mishmash of clown-ass morning assembly pep rally horseshit, overwrought and yet weirdly sanitized gossip and innuendo, commercials fresh out of hell, and other total garbage, all of it power-drilled into listeners’ skulls with overwhelming cacophonous force. The afternoon lineup may be better, or it may not.

The hellish awfulness of this body of work is only partly a function of its target audience and its time of day. There’s something passive-aggressively abusive about it. It feels strategically manipulative, often in ways that are hard to pin down. Even the volume per se isn’t what makes it so atrocious. KOMO blasts louder than that all day and all night, with traffic on the eights or some shit briefly interrupting the full-force firehose of trucker-tweaked reporters yelling about what they claim is the news. KOMO is radio of, by, and for the intersectional meth/base/crack/PCP community. And yet it feels ever so much less slippery and devious than other, sunnier parts of the commercial dial, or much of the shit NPR pulls, for that matter.

We’re too fucking earnest and gullible in this country. If a radio station announces that it’s the valley’s listen-at-work station, or the basin’s or the coast’s or wherever we’re so proudly living, it’s a signal to change stations right now. They aren’t your friend; they’re your boss’s friend. Mark my words. It’s the same disarming scumbag sleight-of-hand that shit-ass tribute rackets like LuLaRoe and Jamberry use on their saleswomen. The lines about Christian womanhood, motherhood, femininity, girly stuff, and all the other twee, sentimental, cloyingly wholesome virtues, these unobjectionable forcefields of goodness, are horseshit, and exceptionally toxic horseshit at that. It’s the same bag of tricks at Amway, albeit for gender-neutral Christian home supply entrepreneurship.

Why do they want you listening at work? Isn’t work bad enough as it is, without them? The way their DJ’s talk, it sure sounds close to unbearable. “Thank goodness it’s Friday.” Uh, okay, but why did that dipshit barista at the Sebastopol Safeway who’d never laid eyes on me in her life ask me, “Did you have to work today?” What the fuck did she think she could infer about my employment status or work schedule from a thirty-second glance? Do I have to dress up like fucking Tom Wolfe to ward off this meddlesome small talk from perfect strangers?

We’re really fixated on what day of the week it is, on the radio. It evokes the reminders one gets from the aides in a home: we put a bib on you so you don’t drool on your shirt; no, it’s Saturday; Jim’s blind and he can’t see. The ambient chatter about work, though–and again, I’m talking about Americans sunnily or just nosily interrogating people they’ve never before met–resembles nothing so much as prisoners streaming out onto the yard to spend recreation talking to colleagues from other blocks about their work assignments.

The perverse thing, if I’m not mistaken, is that more Americans have been out of work than incarcerated. It’s a sore subject for some of us, asshole. Besides, as we’ve been discussing again, huge amounts of the work that is available is designed to be painful, even unbearable. It’s hardly even about payroll anymore; we’re all contractors with side hustles. “We” again.

There’s an unsettling edginess to this questioning, an air of reflexively sizing up casual acquaintances and strangers for key measures of their socioeconomic status. Oftentimes it feels faintly unsafe; I’ve spent time in neighborhoods where talking about personal details pertinent to one’s finances can get a punk mugged. Aside from that extreme, this spot-checking of employment status is almost always ripe for florid inferences. It’s one of the easiest things for the prejudiced to take out of context and wildly misconstrue, and there’s a stupefying body of prejudice among Americans about all things socioeconomic. It’s all prejudicial idiots extrapolating to the ends of the earth based on tiny, unrepresentative data sets. There are damn good reasons why I do not graciously entertain discussions about these matters on other people’s terms unless I decidedly trust them.

We must, of course, in spite of the obvious derangement pervading postmodern American society, keep up the pretense that we all work for a living. I get to hear this from marginally employable propagandists in media and education (sic) who have never done farm work, either the commercial kind or the WWOOF-ass unpaid to quasicompensated kind. I don’t see them out in the blueberry patch graciously accepting Dem Shine George Coin as the day’s tipshare, then spending the rest of the day wondering what the hell just went down. I feed them more than they feed us. That ain’t the Word of God; word on the street is that you gotta look down to see whence they came to us.

It should be possible to devise a version of St. Michael’s Prayer that pleads merely to banish these cases from the academy and the press onto ample public assistance. I’m not saying it’s advisable, just possible. This still leaves us with the serving in heaven problem, which might not be a problem for you or me but would distinctly be a problem for them. Workplace incentives as studied by behavioral science: one perhaps fucking loves it, but buddy that ain’t a servant’s heart.

Yeah, sure, today is my Saturday, just like it is for Madoff, Pollard, and the rest of the Jewish Gentleman’s Kaffeeklatsch Squad their Sunday. What I mean is that they don’t restrict themselves to the BOP’s limited weekend schedule for coffee hour. There’s usually coffee, and it sounds like it goes on for a lot longer than an hour. I’m doing better than them, and I give thanks. Ailsa Chang and Ashley Whillians, the Eichmann girls, are doing much better for their work, and it is one. Some things I rue.

Cunt indunker

It’s expensive to keep a harem in San Diego. Who knew? Clarification: it’s expensive for White People to keep a harem of fellow White People. I do not wax fictional when I relate what my abrasive ginger drinking buddy told us on a visit back to the Philadelphia drunkards’ circuit during his study a broad or two time around La Jolla and Kearny Mesa, that everybody there had blonde hair and blue eyes.

Yeah, who’s “us,” buddy? Not the Mexicans. Duh. We won’t even grant Mexico Guantanamo-style port and safe passage rights to a harbor concession in Imperial Beach. It is because we’re racist pissants. That’s what governs us, in any event. This isn’t about geography. Real prominent geographic feature right there, the Gadsden Line, uh huh. Say, I wonder if we borrowed California’s name from a neighboring state. Nah. Who’d do that? Why would a country located next to Mexico ever need its own Mexico? Look, there are the neighbors a country ratfucks as the treaty party controlling the upstream portion of the Tijuana River, and there are the neighbors a country, by generously hosing itself, ratfucks as the upstream treaty party to the Colorado. Wet? What’s “wet”? Not you bitches, lol.

We’re definitely doing right by Mexico. Bolivia has a goddamn navy.

SANDAG is worth the horseshit culture of its local constituencies. Mostly. A big arc of them elected and reelected Duncan Hunter to Congress. Are we to believe that they are shocked to discover that the gentleman does not share their values? If our position is that Mexico would do worse governing this territory, we need evidence that Mexico would do worse, and Duncan, he ain’t it. He’s a piece of what self-government got us, and he was a lifer in Congress, so “us” is all of us. He’s my fellow American and Californian, too. I’ve never cared for the guy, but he is.

Let’s say it again: culture has consequences. There are cultural reasons why a big chunk of East County and North County kept voting for a guy who was hopelessly mired in debt and overdraft fees on a Congressional salary plus side income, partly because he was six-timing his wife with yuppie-chasing bimbos.

This isn’t to say that San Diego County is the sweet home of the great American extramarital affair, or a cesspool of sexual dissolution in general. I have had two different women in Santa Rosa independently tell me that local repertory theater directors demand sexual favors in exchange for parts. One of them told me explicitly that she was directly propositioned “for a blowjob or something;” the other spoke more generally but implied that she’d been asked, too. I’ve known women who are hysterical dipshits, but these two aren’t. Believe me, I believe them.

This shit, I assume, is everywhere. I just fucking love the idea of having to suck some shithead’s cock to get a role singing “Cooking With Gas” at the Arkley. First prize: one week in Eureka; second prize: two weeks. I used to live there. It isn’t exactly Pitcairn Island, but it isn’t exactly not. Say what you will about Toledo, but realize that it has mainline passenger rail service on tracks rated for the full 79 just beyond the outskirts of town and that it’s, like, an hour or an hour and half by car from Ann Arbor. *Dr. Nassar, uncalled for, on call* Ah, how is she? I’ve always wondered about her.

You don’t have to be Mormon to have two families on the Upper East Side. You do have to be Mormon to have two families in American Fork, because your other wife just came over, unchaperoned, with a full dish of pineapple Jell-O salad and “sat” with me for an hour.

Perhaps these are tacitly chronicles of celibacy, just as Soulja Boy’s “Crank That” is very much what one says about sexual activity as a recent and frequent participant. But at least epidemic anorexia isn’t a Napoleonic thing. Nobody’s like, ugh, too thicc for Utah. Everybody in San Diego has a meltdown about being too fat for the beach. Bitch what the fuck? You’re going there to get mostly naked and give yourself skin cancer, and you’re upset that your BMI is 8-10 points below mine? Fuckin’ chill, dawg.

By “everybody,” I’m referring again to the White Community. But of course. It is by no means San Diego’s only Community, but it’s the big one. It’s mostly racially exclusive, but not entirely. Verily, even dolezally, one can be nonwhite and White. One can even dance and stay uptight, as Van Morrison might know if he or his associates spent more time with the flyover freaks who grace our purity balls. *Most Sentimental Garrison Keillor Voice* Norwegian Balls That Are Pure, Mostly.

Balls, that is, that are too fatty for what we’re not erasing from San Diego. Sex is only a partial explanation. Tijuana’s main red light district is on the north side, so close to the United States of America and so far from God. Our boy Duncan lives in Alpine. It isn’t far. It doesn’t matter. He still had to chase amateur tail in San Diego and–think for a minute what a fool it would take–on Capitol Hill. This is like living in the Outer Sunset and flying to Zurich for dim sum.

There is perhaps a bit of vanity at play in these relationships. There was recently a “scandal” about Border Patrol recruits going whoring in TJ on graduation weekend. Instead of patronizing Mexican women who are just trying to do business–an awful way to put out, I mean, to put it–and catering to the worst fantasies of bored housewives in Point Loma, it might be more helpful to question the wisdom of young men pursuing sexual self-actualization by crowdsourcing their sexuality from their colleagues on one of the worst-disciplined police forces in a country of over three hundred million, when they could take the opportunity presented by any coincidence of discretionary cash flow and thirst to go solo to Zona Norte. But we are not nearly so wise as a society. For one thing, internal command over the Border Patrol is vested in the see-nothing say-nothing brick house that is Helga Carla Provost. She’s a lifer, you know, and it has always been an excellently run agency.

Women can be Eddie Johnson, too. God bless America.

The civilians, in any sense of the term, aren’t doing any better. San Diego is, as I briefly implied, swarming with dipshits who insist on the existence of rampant human trafficking, by which they mean sex trafficking. Let’s face it: nobody cares about fucking farm or construction workers. Everything about the thinking here is insane. It’s a powerfully toxic confluence of narcissism, jealousy, mateguarding, Darwinian kneecapping, scorned revenge, and all-around drama, with policy implications poisoning the whole nest and threatening to seep into a separate sovereign nation whose citizenry and government want approximately jack fucking shit to do with any of it. Why is my husband screwing the nanny? You hired her, genius. Okay, she was kidnapped and raped, then. No, she probably has a sex drive of her own, and she paid coyotes to sneak her over the border because you’ll never vote for NAFTA Schengen.

Affluenza isn’t just about pleading spoiled to a DUI charge or climbing the nearest stout live oak to take a shit straight onto the trail. It’s all of that, and more. It’s too crazy for Wesley Willis the way it’s lived in *NORTHWEST AIRLINES* San Diego. Why not have a second-generation House lifer maintain Brett Kavanaugh-grade personal finances while sermonizing about fiscal discipline for a living?

There is always an economy, no matter how ridiculously we call it that, undergirding these arrangements. In San Diego, it isn’t particularly one. To be frank, it’s mostly transfer payments. The Navy is the main show in town on the waterfront, the premeh contendah, and it’s mostly bullshit, progressing from maybe 50% in-house to 80% bullshit in the outside contractors. Remember, it’s Fat Leonard’s preferred branch. YMMV, but as a rule it’s a great place to show up, pass probation, and then skim. We’re cruising for years, Pablo.

In fairness, of course, the other services are swarming with crooks of their own, and the Navy is mostly free of the Marine Corps’ house style of hair-trigger bruiser and the Air Force’s in-your-face religious zealots. All the same, the reason San Diego is bigger than San Luis Obispo is that the whole town’s on the government tit. This is statistically the case. The counterfactuals don’t yield a metropolitan population in the range of two million without also having me wrap this essay up right now because Dagmar Midcap just called me for some afternoon delight. We haven’t even touched the water supply, which is a series of ambitious, heavily subsidized public works.

Duncan Hunter’s scene is a grab bag of ex-military pensioners, military-adjacent grifters, collateral beneficiaries, RattLife trash, offroad flatbillers, and other quasiemployable walkaways from the beloved free market. He’s surely got some guild racketeers in the mix, too, dentists and cardiologists and orthopods and whatnot, but it’s mostly either layabouts or rise-and-grind hustlers who aren’t actually producing, or in some cases really doing, anything. RattLife’s work is, as they say, a work. Realize that everybody in the fucking county who’s up to anything seedy or shady is close enough to have an influence on Duncan’s district. These shysters all more or less run with each other. That peppy fashy chick from CB East I used to know who’s living and theoretically working in, like, PB or some shit is a Republican. Hitler loved dogs, too. For all I know she may have voted for Kamala Harris. There are indeed many such cases, and somebody’s gotta keep the Reagan/Deukmejian/Wilson strain of Republican politics alive, with or without the charm, so there we fucking go.

It’s insufferable to listen to these assholes whine about fiscal discipline. Hell, buddy, if you’re so into it, why don’t you fucking have some? These cunts always bitch that the government is taking their money and beggaring them, that they’d be able to make ends meet if their tax burden weren’t so onerous. The Hunters are a useful object lesson to the contrary, a high-income “conservative” couple so spendthrift that no libertarian tax regime would be enough to get them out of hock or keep them there. Their bank statements resembled those of a single mother working as a supermarket cashier, not what a constituent would reasonably expect of a sitting second-generation Congressman and his wife.

They obviously figured, if you can’t make it, fake it. Activate the poor man’s credit line on the debit card. Embezzle that which is within reach for the taking. God wouldn’t have left it there if he didn’t want you getting into it. We have preachers on the television proclaiming worse than this. Can I get an amen, Pastor Joel? Amen! It’s 3:20 somewhere. Probably in Adelaide. The time zones there are all fucked up.

The small business community, so consistently such rock-ribbed Republicans, doesn’t mind. We really need to read less of what entrepreneurs have to say about themselves and more of what their employees have to say about them, off the clock and out of their earshot. Small business is lawless throughout the country, but suburban San Diego is a rather immoral part of it with an exceptionally pervasive background noise of congratulatory sycophancy targeting the likes of our “job creators.” There are other places where the ownership class at least has to pretend to be humble and accountable. Hunterville is a postmodern military dependency full of right-wing nutjobs in a border zone on the moneyed side of one of the strongest osmotic migration gradients on earth.

It’s no wonder that one of the local Congressmen, also the son of a Congressman of the same name, decided that he deserved to live like a prince, and that if he could not afford to do so in a statutorily lawful manner, he would do so as a statutory criminal. I say statutory because Congress, much like San Diego’s portside bandits, is chock full of looters who do everything in their power to rob the commonweal without technically breaking the law, and much to break the law in ways that they expect not to get them caught. He was surrounded by grasping, immodest people. He didn’t have to go native; he already was.

And now we’ve decided–“we”–that he needs to do a five-year bid in the federal system. Excuse me? What the hell is this going to accomplish? We keep feeding political crooks into the buzzsaw, and nothing changes, except the federal prison population, which has risen dramatically since 1980. How the fuck do we figure that Rahm is better than Rod? Rostenkowski and Traficant, Laski and Cianci, Ryan and Blagojevich, Stewart and Huffman: every one of these two-bit scammers had to go into the joint for some reason. No, Martha, it is not a good thing. Ruh-roh! Allen Stanford and Bernie Madoff are serving sentences with nonparole periods of well over a full century. These guys were scumbags, but did they magically turn into Michael Rudkin between conviction and sentencing, or are we up on our high horse again?

Notice that we do nothing to prevent such scum from running their rackets and frauds in the first place. The FDIC’s mandate and jurisdiction are awfully narrow for a society known to be harboring these characters. Abject employee extortion rackets including Amway, Jamberry, and LuLaRoe are perfectly legal under federal law, and apparently under the laws of all or most states. You can make professional subordinates sign a contract to pay YOU for their work in this country. We really are Soviet Russia, just with somewhat less in the way of public services. Not less in the way of gulags, though; on that much we’re champs. Meanwhile a multilevel marketing heiress is the Secretary of Education. Truly this is the American Way of Celebrated Living.

That was awful, but come at me about it after you’ve listened to Andrew Lelling. Listen to any of the Nancy Grace wine moms and other insane freaks we retain as our prosecutors. Anne Marie Schubert and Scott Jones hauled that geezer ex-cop downtown from Citrus Heights, from home, hearth, and roast, on serial murder and rape charges just in time for their uncomfortably close reelection bids. They’d looked at every cop in the metro area and beyond, and somehow they’d missed Officer DeAngelo’s dismissal from the Auburn PD for shoplifting dog spray and a hammer right in Citrus Heights. Some of us call it the East Area.

Yup, that’s totally what happened. We can trust these folks.

From time to time the courts process a defendant who is a serious threat to society and truly needs to go away for a while. This was the case for our old boy JJ, which must have been why they gave him a four-decade head start to work on his warehousing career and roasting skills. A number of women have disappeared or been found dead on Long Island in recent years, in manners pointing to a military or paramilitary background on the part of whoever killed them, and outside observers have noted a couple of NYPD rubber room cases who sound like they fit the bill. What, then, are the inside observers doing? Who the fuck knows. Not observing too closely is a good guess, since sending another round of sworn city boys upstate might be awkward, especially for something like that. At least they managed to thread the needle for Lazarus in the sweet spot between shitcanning her before her pension could vest and getting her onto RHD in time to investigate herself. The only thing we can be sure stopped that was the Ocean’s 187 detail she snagged on the same floor.

Great work, Meyer. Say, speaking of Lyle, who’s also got some spare time, it’s past time to get Steph down to Donovan to teach the whole yard something in the way of hobbies besides goddamn chess. It’s always inmates or retirees or unemployed youth who are dicking around with that shit, and it’s no wonder: it must help to be powerfully fucking bored.

Against the odds, there’s a point to this, too. Americans have no bloody idea of how long five or ten or twenty or a hundred fifty years is when it comes to prison sentences, let alone how much longer it comes to feel in a prison, let alone how much longer yet any of this time feels the way we run our prisons. We’ve got all these self-righteous sadists who act like they personally harrowed hell after an evening in La Guardia or the Port Authority, then hear about some poor patsy getting sent up to Fishkill for two years and insist it’s no biggie, like the guy got off light or something. It says bad things about this country that it’s possible to get an entire political movement or two to cater to one’s worst impulses on these matters by yelling about them instead of being encouraged to return to the Port Authority and discuss them out front, where the prevailing community standards should be more consistent with the public airing of these grievances.

These are things to keep in mind when we hear about Duncan Hunter getting a five-year sentence for a plea deal to dramatically reduced charges. We’re so inured to the sheer enormity of the time we steal from our prisoners that it’s all meaningless. Five years is long enough for a prisoner to have leave a newborn on the way in and come home to a kindergartener on the way out. What the hell do we think this is? A leisurely afternoon playing golf?

Scapegoating Duncan Hunter does nothing about his constituents or his constituency. We only pretend that the entire sin is saddled upon him and expiated through his “serving” us in the federal prison system–which, by the way, is not a nice place to be confined, no matter how resentfully we describe it as Club Fed or some shit. Removing him from San Diego County leaves behind the rest of San Diego County. It’s a very shitty form of earthly rapture, and an expensive one.

Hunter’s constituents elected him. He would never have gone to Congress without them. His sleazy behavior was downstream of their sleazy values. They’re the ones who rewarded him for his seedy hypocrisy. They could have elected someone else in his place. They chose him. They approved of his shambolic, bogus “conservatism”: his adulterous pro-life family values, his imperial militaristic idea of small government and fiscal discipline, his grandstanding about a tough border and immigration regime that they all tacitly mean to keep arbitrary and selectively porous. His horseshit was politically viable because it was their horseshit, too.

We can start to appreciate how these psychotic politics ever stood a chance by looking at the local sociology and demographics, specifically who is and is not enfranchised around San Diego. To put just a slightly blunted point on it, the electorate is not the residents running the joint. This is a region that assigns every bit of blue-collar and service labor it can to the Mexican peasantry.

This society isn’t just a local problem; it’s a national problem. We’re paying for much of this shit by not taxing it into abatement. At the very least, we’re selling ourselves short by not loudly denouncing the citizens of Duncan Hunter’s district for trafficking horseshit and grifting for a living while in provable fact living off the avails of exploited foreigners’ labor and federally subsidized water infrastructure. Their case for deserving lower marginal tax rates is weak; we all know, if we’re familiar with them, that they’ll spend the savings on under-the-table cash payments to their household servants, tacky mansions, tacky luxury travel, test prep, de facto bribery, and other unjustifiable labor arbitrage freeloading, corruption, and pure waste.

We’ve seen this fucking movie before. We’ve been watching it since Reagan was wandering the Oval Office soiling his sweatpants.

These are the conservative values whose protection demanded the banishment by bullying of Katie Hill from Capitol Hill, as George Papadopoulos will agree. This is prudence. This is rectitude. This is Christianity. Dagmar Midcap is my wife. America, a-yagshemazh.

Infelicities of the admissions and orientation process

Ruh roh! Felicity’s going federal, and she’s going for a full fortnight!

It’s the dumbest shit ever. Two weeks in federal prison, and they’ve got to give her the full initiation: the strip search, the medical and psychological intake screening, the threat assessments, the A&O book, supposedly the single roll of toilet paper to last her through her stay.

Does any of this horseshit sound serious or sensible? Of course not. She’s a grasping social climber, a crook, and maybe an asshole, but none of this serves any believable public interest, let alone a public safety interest. There are women who need to go into the big house NOW: crazy bitches wiretapped in flagrante delicto trying to arrange hits on their estranged husbands, to take a glaring example. Felicity Huffman is obviously just a scapegoat. This isn’t a serious process; it’s a self-serious process. Why else would Andrew Lelling be a party to it? Huffman didn’t do it the right way, by paying for a new campus building in her name and happening to have her brats admitted to study (sic) within the hallowed precincts of that fine institution. Bitch tried to use the discount window.

Ruh roh!

The story above about the single roll of toilet paper as part of the intake dop kit is a window into the philosophical abyss of what we like to call criminal justice. I haven’t confirmed that the BOP ever does this, but neither, I suspect, did the authors of the wire report where I read it. One of their other comments was that Huffman would be “stripped searched.” The wire services are fucking content farms now. Our Hearts Go Out To The Muffman Family, Sad Day For Filliam H. This shit might as well be written by a surplus Indian sperg, in between rounds of despair over the time-delayed ramifications of sex-selective abortion and infanticide, articles about how if you don’t know what “on fleek” means that may mean that you have never had a girlfriend, and gang rapes on the Delhi bus system.

Reporting and editing standards have gone to hell, not at all in the dipshit nostalgic sense that the whole darn world has gone to heck, but in the sense that it was a lot harder to get away with that sloppy shit through the broad middle of the twentieth century, whether because an editor would have caught and corrected the sloppy copy or a newsroom boss would have shitcanned the motherfucker who wrote it for being a derelict son of a bitch. More specifically, though, journalistic standards in the United States for reporting on prisons have never been any good in my lifetime.

Nobody who opines loosely on prisons in the guise of reporting in this country has a rudimentary layman’s interest in or grasp of penology. If they did, we wouldn’t keep hearing shit about how federal prisons are posh or cushy. Of course they aren’t; they’re fucking prisons. Where the hell do we think we are? Norway? Ain’t no cracker bunking with Breivik in any of these joints. There’s a tennis court? Correction: there WAS a tennis court, back before the tabloid-grade business press stirred up a moral panic about coddling white-collar inmates? That’s real nice. Andrew Chan had tennis court privileges at Kerobokan. As you may recall, he was passed away in the middle of the night, tied to a cross with a chest full of lead. Or, if you write about prisons professionally as a journalist in this country, you may assume I made this story up. How fucking idiotic are these journalists to think that prison athletic facilities are a bad idea? The regulars at the Butner Jewish Gentlemen’s Kaffeeklatsch get by peaceably enough in their idleness, but they sound bored out of their minds, and Madoff gets annoyed with the rest of them for spending so much time gossipping about who’s queer.

Sure, some prisons are better than others, and the lower-security federal facilities are apparently better than most state and county facilities. We might think of FCI Dublin as Felicity Huffman’s reach prison. Perhaps Alderson can be her safety. It’s a good thing. So, in fact much more so, is the alternate timeline in which Robert Sanchez decides to reach for the emergency brake in the interest of passenger and crew safety.

I insist on using words, or as a single mother friend would call them, my words, appropriately. Sometimes.

God protect us from the yuppie sunk cost FOMO assholes if we insist on assessing Huffman and her fellow discount window shoppers as products of a disordered culture. That would surely ruffle the wrong feathers and break the wrong rice bowls. The entire culture of the elite college application process is astoundingly fucked up. Parents routinely try to haze their children into academic programs that exist to further haze them, and they pay top dollar for this. Most of the children involved are unemancipated minors without the resources to safely flee, so this process as it has come to be practiced is, every bit as much as incest or domestic battery, child abuse. One difference is that if a stepfather is charging around the trailer in a wifebeater with a razor strap in hand, the authorities and informal community leaders may take allegations against him seriously.

The mental health effects of this dogshit-stupid rat race are measurably terrible. A youth minister friend asked something like one or two dozen teenagers for suggestions about what they perceived as the threats to their peers’ welfare and safety that they felt needed to be addressed. Every last one of them brought up mental health. The community where he works is not, by any indication I’ve heard, in the top tier of tiger mom hazing SuperZIPs. It’s bad, but it is not the worst. My childhood hometown of Palo Alto has had rashes of adolescent suicides by Caltrain, often by high school students on their way to school in the morning. That said, if kids there are being pimped out to any of their local Brett Kavanaugh coach figures, I haven’t heard of it.

I have, of course, heard of Blood Will Tell, the true story of Kenneth Fitzhugh, the Charles Cullen-looking lowkey creep who coached my youth soccer team and later highkey murdered his wife for love AND money. Love too encourage youth sport’s,,

The Operation Varsity Blues prosecutions are an official terror campaign against the upper strata of the petite bourgeoisie, along with whatever haut bourgeois or truly rich are socially needy enough to ape them in their desperation to get their precious brats into good schools. Filliam H. Muffman fell for the siren song of this vicarious academic achievement, even though it’s hard to imagine how their daughters, no matter how lazy or hapless or dull, would fall from their station into destitution if they applied the least prudence to their financial affairs. If Macy no longer thinks he married right, he’ll never tell Terry Gross. Lmao, I recall he got henpecked as Sgt. Mooney, too. Cherzhez la fucking femme.

The target demographic for this terror campaign is narrow, perhaps surprisingly narrow. It sounds broader than it is because it’s the native class of most major-league working journalists today and the target of most coverage in general. It’s had many names: the Talented Tenth, the Outer Party, the Nomenklatura, the Downton Abbey audience. The very top fractions mostly transcend this particular crassness; as USA Lelling helpfully pointed out, they can afford to sponsor named university buildings. Some endow entire graduate or professional schools in their own names. The Bezoses and the Gateses need not stoop so low. The Greater Kardashians, too, may rise above this fray, although certainly not for taste. They seem to be perversely inoculated against academic social climbing because their personal brands are so vapid and tacky. The most famous Armenians, they are also the least Armenian Armenians. Good luck finding a tile dealer in Fresno who’s proud to raise a navelgazing dipshit of a daughter who marries a black guy with overt psychological, personality, and behavioral disorders.

This is why I trust the Kardashians. They are ethnically unifying, not clannish and divisive. Yeah, yeah, they’re a garbage family. I’ll say it again: the Armenians, not Warren Zevon, are the Jews of Fresno. This is why I trust [all genuflect] Joey Buttafuoco. The guy could sire the next Billy Joel with that act. Far be it from me to trust Brender and Eddie and their idea of spanakopita, and ideally a guido isn’t such a thug when he steps out on his old lady, but I’ve seen some of the horror shows that pass for wholesome ethnic identity politics in this arrogant shithole of a country, and my good honky, the tawdry ones are never the worst.

Think about it: it’s earnestness that got Rick Singer, Felicity Huffman, and the rest of his clients into their big jam. They were deeply cynical and conniving about their ability to game the process, and they were shamelessly corrupt, but they fundamentally believed in the capacity of the process to serve them and their college-age children, if only they played it like the cheap fiddle that so many parents in their circumstances hope it to be.

None of these parents or their facilitators wanted a thing to do with boycotting, bypassing, objecting to, or in any other way standing up to the college admissions process. They very much wanted to make it work. They were fundamentally conservative, not revolutionary. They were there to quietly pay off the gatekeepers, not to rock the boat. The furious moral panic over their corruption of the process wells up in parents and students who are resentful that their sunk costs, financial and personal, have been neutralized by plain crooks who did exactly what they would have done themselves had they had the audacity or the ability. This is an extremely reactionary conservative way of thinking. Do not listen to what they say about their cultural or political affiliations; they are NOT liberal. This is a deeply illiberal way to live, and certainly to make one’s children live. It makes perfect sense that so many of them voted for the easily scandalized tryhard schoolmarm in 2016 and vociferously against the class clown. This was widely reported as a liberal movement against conservatism because political labels in the United States today are whatever the hell some lunatic or grifter or plain scumbag with a stake in the matter declares they are.

Brett Kavanaugh is conservative. Hillary Clinton is liberal. Carley Gomez can’t keep her hands off me. These, my fellow Americans, are our truths.

We’re officially scandalized at the possibility that Olivia Jade Giannulli, a young woman publicly aspiring to become the Platonic ideal of the thot, was not academically fit for undergraduate admission to the University of Southern California. This is what we are as a nation. The usual bougie suspects are speaking for and over the rest of us again, on our behalf. Groovy shit. This gushing, driveling Instagram idiot learned of her parents’ indictment and USC’s mounting concerns about her application file while she was partying on a billionaire’s yacht in the Bahamas. Mr. Caruso, bae as fuck for his bitchin’ boat, caused additional awkwardness on Montepuliafito given the ever more embarrassing circumstances, as he was the chairman of the board of trustees.

The Juice, the Original OJ, didn’t go to USC for the academics, either. Score one for Joel Kotkin’s lament that African-Americans just can’t hold the line in the Bayview. Chuck Quackenbush moved to Florida to enforce the law; the Juice, to flee it. Contra the Latter-Day OJ’s assumption that enrollment facilitated game attendance, If I Did It is the only motherfucker to be told he’s not welcome at games, and even in his case I’m not sure they promised to have him arrested if he darkened the stadium door. Knowing him, it’d just be another cop squad to have over to his pool. Mofo went home to Brentwood estranged from all his old friendly neighbors, kept company poolside by an entourage of his recent jailers from Men’s Central.

Then he went to Las Vegas, and for a spell further north than that. Go Pack!

Your jailhouse dop kit, that is. It’s time to go coach some damn softball, buddy.

We’re all worried about the academic sanctity of the university that admitted both of these fucking dipshits. Its medical school is a riot, too. Chelsea Clinton graduated from Stanford. That woman is so stupid in public that she should be embarrassed to have been admitted to a four-year program. That fucking falsetto bass blood bitch Elizabeth Holmes donned the Cardinal, too. Remember, however, that not all Supreme Court justices have a Stanford pedigree; saucy boi Brett Michael’s is from Yale.

How is it possible to be aware of these asshats and their scholastic pedigrees, even dimly or in general, and believe that undergraduate and graduate admissions in the United States are governed strictly by merit? This shit is too crazy for the night shift at Market East. Clearly the universities are selecting for some extremely stupid and bumptious students. JFK, serviceably intelligent and quite insightful as the president, was admitted to Harvard on the basis of an application essay that was fucking retarded. What is a Harvard Man? Why, he is the epitome of the Harvard Man, which a Harvard man aspires to be, involving some culturally appropriated WASP honor and stuff. Broad-Bangin’ Jack was never at the bottom of that slippery slope. What he had the family ghostwriters craft was an improvement over what Megan McArdle, a Penn and Chicago alumna, publishes under her own name.

These characters are collegiate because they are smart, and they are smart because they are collegiate. Would real smarts include arguments beyond crude tautologies? Worry not your uppity little head about such things.

This isn’t just something I’ve studied. I’ve personally known many such cases. Dickinson taught them the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills they needed to succeed in the world, skills that they in absolutely no way demonstrate in the course of normal conversation, the way I’d expect of an educated person. It’s Dunning-Kruger for braggarts. Knowing many genuinely educated and intelligent people since childhood and then interacting with these fucking assholes is surreal. It’s an out-of-this-world contrast.

There’s also, of course, the cult angle. Man is born free, and yet everywhere thirsts for Shoko Asahara’s bathwater. By “everwhere,” I especially mean fancy schools in the Northeast, although I hear it was once quite a popular drink in parts of Japan as well. *Most five minutes to midnight house of detention voice* Teacher, do you float? We often review just how insufferable this shit is, this cowards’ Scientology. The Church of Scientology has goon squads, and the FLDS outfits in deep Utah have pet cops and members on the force. Dickinson College has sniveling putzes and cowards, Kavanaugh replicants minus whatever difference in cocaine titration stands between them and a gig coaching girls’ basketball in More Than Friendship Heights.

It says something bad that the constant appeals for charitable (sic) contributions coming from and on behalf of this execrable college administration and others like it seem for the most part to work. It’s that cult programming again, plus the vig that we pay to the local mobsters who stand between us and an accredited education. (Who the hell is us?) Mafiosi are nothing if not organization men. American higher education is the extortion of the Sopranos with the aesthetics of the Osteens. There are exceptions, but it takes some searching to find them. The bagmen at the rest are basically Rahm Emanuel telling us to go fuck ourselves for not giving him a love offering as a sign of respect for those public school teachers whom we admire.

Schools that don’t feel like spending the whole store on general-purpose yuppie prestige often lavish it on sports rather than, you know, the school parts of school, the parts failing to capture Olivia Jade’s interest as a Trojan matriculant. Here we can hazard an answer to Jeffrey Epstein’s question as academic benefactor about what does that got to do with pussy. Organized athletics are ordered to determining which warrior gets to take which fair princess into his bed. Schools try to operate academic programs in the midst of these lechers, not surprisingly tending to include in their orbit the likes of Our Lord Joseph’s Servant Gerald, Lawrence of the Labia, and J. Denny Dundiddly, because wrestling is as heterosexual as One Direction. On the teams themselves, we occasionally discover young men of character such as Daniel Holtzclaw, who, tiring of ritualized violence against other gentlemen as a show for the ladies, moved on to direct, unambiguous sexual violence against women he fancied.

We’d be better off with an academic model more like a monastery next to a whorehouse. Yes, Dreher, this is a Benedict Option. Mind you, I’ve got nothing against women’s athletics or academics, and since I’m not running Georgetown Prep I’ve got nothing against Catholic education. What we’ve so often got now instead under the auspices of academia is the sexually deranged remaining chronically horny in the worst ways for the worst vices. This explains both of our cases of OJ. He’s in it for the pussy; she’s in it for guys who are in it for the pussy and other girls who are in it for guys who are in it, in a cultural recursion skipping straight into Gomorrah.

There are paths out of the ape pit. There are also, crucially, gatekeepers lurking around these paths, doing everything they can to lure us all back into the pit. Under these circumstances Olivia Jade is something like a honeypot. There aren’t good reasons to select this dimwitted teenybopper for admission to a selective (uh?) undergraduate program revolving around a meathead sport played so wantonly under academic auspices in this country that Stanford is renowned for fielding the only Division I football team in the land whose players don’t speak like communications majors. I’m not saying this is true; I’m saying people believe it.

Seriously, everybody we’ve heard about at USC should have enrolled at Pasadena City College instead, as Hugo Schwyzer’s gofers and understudies. It’s possible to run more or less the same shitshow for less or much less the budget. Of course they’d complain bitterly about how they aren’t getting any marginal utility in their fight to the death with other social climbers by enrolling in some discount no-cut community college program when they could be maintaining their conceit that they’re at USC for the education.

If we’re going to have a bunch of no-account wankers in this society, and our revealed preferences say that we are, we ought to stash them at the indefinite junior college level instead of putting admissions office shitbirds at fancy schools in positions to be bribed and probably blackmailed. This shit is a small example of what we get for being a developed nation, by the way: half the social and human development outcomes of the early Schengen countries for easily double the cost. Europeans don’t so much get launched into positions of authority, prestige, and above-market pay for pretending not to be like this. (The Brits, obstinately not parties to Schengen, slouch in our cultural direction.) Our huge categorical error is to assume that we, as Americans, don’t have lazy bastards, or that if we do they’re all poor welfare queens, not middle-class salarymen (and women!).

What we’re doing here is developing. We’re moving from degrading, low-value folkways, like getting paid to pick fruit, to self-actualizing, high-value forms of cultural refinement, like paying to be a bitterly thirsty incel at Warped Tour. The closest Gwyneth Paltrow gets to taking up a craft is hawking exfoliating stone dildos. Absolute dipshits like Markian show up on the stage, barking for their own carnivals, and there is not immediately an overwhelming consensus across all spheres of cultural influence that these are examples of how some people unfortunately lead pitiful lives, and there’s no need for others to live likewise just because there are bad role models in this world.

Fat Cracka’s got a question from the cheap seats: If taking freelance photographs of fancy restaurant meals for a living is valid, why isn’t unemployment valid? I feel decadent for getting a ten-buck bowl of hot and sour soup, like, once a week and not letting it go cold just so I can filter it on the goddamned Gram. Given what monetary, industrial, and labor policy have been in this country for the past few decades, we’re going to continue to have the unemployed among us, and I get that there will never be a Final Solution for showboating dipshits who beclown themselves on YouTube. What I don’t get is why we celebrate every parasitic circus freak who barges into our field of vision as a reputable, productive member of society and simultaneously blame campesino lettuce pickers for being poor.

We’re told that we need to stay in school to rise above this sort of backwardness and poverty. And then what? Get jobs in communications? Vlog about what it’s like to wear makeup or date a Latina? Many Latinos speak English; believe it or not, they include Antonio Villaraigosa. I thought I’d mention this since 1) Nob Hill Dreamboat needn’t be the only Golden State Greasy a cracker funs from time to time and 2) “influencers” rarely seem able to name a recent governor or big-city mayor of anything.

Mechanical problems that kept me out of North Carolina this week got me onto a flight from Philadelphia to Albany near a guy who was on his way back to his optional no-show job in Cuomo communications from a solid week of getting tore up with bachelor party buddies around Seattle. He kept telling his seatmate, who himself was preparing to finally quit his nursing and clinical education jobs to focus full-time on his hipster T-shirt startup, that he had decided not to go into work after we landed. I didn’t figure the guy did anything useful. Color me shocked that the State of New York pays him to do PR and/or to fuck off to Wizardland at will like a Harry Potter extra.

Then again, dude sounded way more tired of drinking than the target market is for gambling, the new cherished growth industry in Upstate New York. It’s just beautiful. They used to figure that the way to be economically productive in the Mohawk Valley was to produce or ship something. These days, any scam that allows some loser to be paid minimum wage to mop up alcoholic tourists’ vomit is economic development and job creation.

Meanwhile, out west, the most reliable way to get trained for a fire crew is to be a felon, just not the kind of scary felon who seriously needs to be in prison, but rather a tractable one who got press-ganged into the system for something bogus and then offered work-release. The Norks do this to, like, two dozen Japanese abductees and it’s a major international scandal; Kamala Harris does it to her own constituents by the thousands, and her fellow Democrats can’t imagine that she’s an extra-creepy version of Melissa Ann Shepard who’s too haughty to make a buddy some coffee.

And yes, Felicity is a federal case now. She’s in line for a register number and a personal copy of 73 pages of A&O boilerplate, along with all the other good-ass hazing rituals that make life so rich at Dublin, all for a two-week bid.

This is supposed to send a message. This is what the creeps behind draconian object lessons always say. The message it sends to roughly the bottom two thirds of Americans is that they’d get less time for corrupting the college admissions process than it would take them to bail out on a shoplifting charge. Ordinary Americans who get booked into jail during benders or mental health crises on disorderly conduct charges because it’s that or an inpatient psych bed, and there isn’t one, can go months without their cases being heard, inside the whole time, just because the system is too derelict to grant them the speedy trial that is their constitutional right.

A healthy polis would orient Felicity Huffman’s sentence in an accurate penal context. What, us healthy? Aw, no. It’s all about the humiliating narcissistic injury to Filliam H. Muffman. It’s all about high school gossip reworked into a grand Orwellian telescreen morality play, entirely for our cheap thrill and not at all for our actual moral or civic formation. God forbid the news business to focus on real news and risk giving us the humane education that we so miserably fail to get in college. Huffman and her fellow charged are failures of humane education; they wouldn’t be going to such lengths to get their brats into fancy schools if they weren’t. But must those running the news business be such intellectual failures, too?

They’re surplus elites with fancy college pedigrees, too. You tell me.

Take comfort! Take courage! In an age when so many things regress, some twinks advance!

Look at this photograph. Just fuckin’ look at it, Kroeger. Look at them, the whole lot.

Call it Granola Shitgun. Johnny Sanphillippo is way too Zen for my chronically hyperstimulated psyche, and this shit ain’t urbanism.

It is, tacitly, suburbanism, although all involved but me insist that it’s country living. This is a commuter spread, not a homestead, exurban excess in the outer wildland-urban interface, maintained (lol sic) by residents who do their business in town, and sometimes in the pictured bucket.

These photographs are an extremely limited graphic depiction of some of the most modest examples of disprepair and squalor that Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew tolerate on their properties. In addition to the ad hoc junk collections, unnecessary trip hazards, and generally shabby additions, this turnkey guest cottage includes an en-suite privy, assembled from a toilet seat tacked onto the walls of a small raised garden bed and a removable used plastic bucket, with the options to sit side-saddle or swing open the cheap Japanese privacy screen.

This is some real South Park-level shit. Only for Pot-o-Shit Friend would it spark joy, and that’s assuming that that little faggot, who, as we know, had his own Brute trash can, would find the bucket adequate. It’s a pastiche of some of the shabbiest possible Japanese, Desert Southwest, and Maritime Pacitic Northwest design concepts.

Island Boy paid rent for this mess. The bespoke chamber pot setup and the screens were his ideas. Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew tolerated these “improvements.” This guest cottage, all 8’x16′ or whatever of it, is something like 50 feet up a path and around a corner from a working flush toilet. My first assumption was that Island Boy used to bathe in the blue party tub under the veranda, but there’s a collection of random cleaning liquid containers and shit in it, so I guess maybe not, emphasis on guess. I’ll be damned if I know why the larger black tub, which could be either a big-ass party cooler or a cheap stock watering trough, is on its side out there. It’s probably just the tip of the junkberg from the Mad Electrician’s old spread up the hill, but this is nothing but speculation.

There’s always something worse with these people. I thought there were a few small pebbles in the guest cottage bed last night; come morning, when I looked at them, I discovered they were either rat or mouse droppings. They were dessicated enough that I didn’t mind, and otherwise the bed is quite nice, but decide as you will after hearing my reporting. Joe Dirtbag’s comments on the late Mad Electrician’s renovated spread, lately resettled by the actual electrician they had living in a garden shed in the front yard in exchange for uninsured and unpermitted work trade on the wiring in their house, included, “There’s no bathroom, but that’s okay.”

That warren, however the hell it’s maintained from year to year, is sited immediately above a creek, so I’d say maybe not so fucking much, but what do I know? I’m just a minor investor in the family business. I was told, I think by Island Boy, that the Mad Electrician’s idea of a septic tank was a series of disused barrels, oil barrels or the like from what I could tell, set up in a stepdown array with some pipes for overflow. Again, this is next to the creek, the same creek that runs by JD and FS’s house and guest cottage. The Mad Electrician’s old shack warren is across a driveway from the spring where the creek rises.

This shit, and doggy I do mean shit, is going down at the headwaters. There are higher and more impressive creeks in the watershed, but this one they’ve made special. They’re reverse-tapping the source. They don’t mean to do that, but what the fuck do these jokers know about wastewater plumbing, and what in all hell do they care? A clusterfuck like this has no need to be malicious to be damaging; flippant carelessness in the name of libertarian property rights is enough.

And think of it: if I’m right about the chronology, Island Boy was living in the same room as that half-assedly screened-in bucket shitter setup when he got stoned to hell and berated me about how I was turning into a huge fuckup and would come to regret my life. If he didn’t already have that bullshit in his room, he was soon to set it up. I recall his telling me at or around that time that he’d gotten a chamber pot so that he wouldn’t have to bother JD and FS if he needed to relieve himself at night.

Think of the compartmentalization, obliviousness, and sheer idiocy needed to scold somebody else while living in these circumstances. “You’re fucking your life up, kid. You’re gonna wake up one day when you’re old and wonder what the fuck you did with your life. I’m retired and living in this rented room where I shit in a bucket.”

Who’s the fuckup here, again? I knew I didn’t have my shit together without that asshole berating me about it. I also was not paying rent for a detached one-room cottage where I was shitting in a goddamn bucket. *Rob Ford evening voice* You’ve got a substance abuse problem, partner. Da fuggen Jamaicans wid da jerk chiggin, mon, smokin’ da fu’n ganja, mon.

The Pot-o-Shit Friend parallel is impressive. That bucket is the same model that we use for barrel and press transfers at the winery. Pot-o-Shit Friend befouled one of our smaller fermenters. I’m not saying that these are sacred vessels of the craft heartlessly desacralized for the collection of bodily filth. This is, however, a terrible practice deriving from and perpetuating a forcefield of terrible energy that can do only bad things to the operations of a winery.

Or a restaurant, as JD and FS ran for so long. It was definitely lawful-evil hardasses from the health department jamming them up for no reason, and totally not any derelict practice creeping into their restaurant operations from their home and farm lives, where they did nothing to stop or prevent literally shitty squalor on their properties, that got them into trouble for running an unsanitary food service operation.

The Family Shrew in particular believes in energies. How hard is it to imagine that some of theirs are perhaps bad? How hard is it to imagine that squalid, derelict practices in two physical and operational spheres of their lives corrupted a third?

What makes this clusterfuck so much worse, of course, is that they insist on retaining all privileges and powers of the station they have so jealously claimed as property owners. Thank God they’ve simmered down from this shit over the past few months or couple of years and aren’t up on their high horses about their good repute as community and business leaders. Seriously, I give thanks for these small mercies more than I ever convey. All the same, this entire experience, going back by now through most of my adult life, has just about obliterated what reverence I had for sacrosanct private property rights beyond a domicile, a home garden, and their curtilage, and given me reservations about property rights even within these narrow limitations.

Like, no, fuckhead, you are not allowed to float an overflow fraction of fecal coliform bacteria into the creek. Your squatter is low-key schizoid and dabbles in home improvement projects when he isn’t distracted to narcosis on YouTube? What the hell has that got to do with water quality? No, you are not allowed to abandon firetrap structures on your property to rats. No, you are not allowed to charge rent on that shack, regardless of whether or why that autistic twink consents to move in and pay rent. No, you are not allowed to store twenty gallons of raw human waste in a trash can, full to the very brim, and leave it for some other unlucky son of a bitch to discover and confront.

This style of hippie entitlement quietly dovetails with and reinforces the redneck good old boy entitltment of the Bundy clan. Instead of buying property to graze and water their cattle, they decided to lease huge swathes of public land from the federal government, decline to pay the lease royalties that they owed, and mount an armed insurrection when federal agents attempted to seize their cattle as collateral for nonpayment. It’s worth pointing out that the average resident of the Mountain West does not own enough cattle to justify a lease agreement for public rangelands, and furthermore does not have the financial resources or the prospect of attaining resources sufficient to buy such a herd or enter into a lease agreement with the BLM. Mind you, the wholesale erasure of the landless is nothing new in the Mountain West. Lil Nas X is closer than John Wayne to the typical frontier cowboy. A Texas construction contractor dumped surplus shingles that it had been storing in violation of environmental regulations on a colonia in New Mexico for use in a community road paving project; it was discovered, as motorists kept getting flat tires on the freshly paved road, that the shingles had been sent to New Mexico studded with nails. Nobody had checked the batch. But why would they, for wetbacks and other Great Value beaners?

This is the scum that runs the Mountain West in the name of the public at large. This is the horseshit that passes for “populism” in their book. Many of them are quite gracious in their private lives, but their civic and business lives are heinous, and it’s in their civic and business lives that they turn American life into such a horror show. LaVoy Finicum was a good family man. Problem was, he and his crew overran a wildlife refuge in the course of their armed insurrection, and, among other misdeeds, dug up a patch of desert for a fucking pit latrine.

The chaos always looms. The wolf is forever at the door. If it were a real wolf, it would be more fastidious and considerate about where it shits.

Speaking of shit where it shouldn’t be, I’m four days away from making two flights back to back over, or very nearly over, Pot-o-Shit Friend’s new digs in North Carolina. SFO-RDU-CLT-ALB, an itinerary that cannot be bought, only redeemed. It’s some groovy shit, in a nation whose regional business leaders seize control of public lands to fill a big groove with their shit. Our boy is down there, underneath the hazy skies and the carefully sanitized aircraft full of sanitized passengers and crew pursuing sanitized lives. For as little as $5.60 and 12,500 miles, you, too, can transcend that filthy son of a bitch and perhaps transect his property.

He throws pots these days. He doesn’t say if he shits in them, smears shit on them, does neither, or does both. Any of these things are possible. This is America. His trades are not among those we value enough to compensate. They spent a cool two billion, I think it was, on the new terminal in Sacramento, and they stage Lyft and Uber drivers in a remote parking lot halfway to I-5, with a portapotty or two for their use.

Christ are we fucking backwards. Lord have Mersey upon that fairy. Lord have Mersey upon us all.

A funny thing happened on the way to Science Friday

Sometimes the shit NPR broadcasts is just dumbfounding. Some would say that “sometimes” is too generous, but I find the quality amazingly variable, although mostly in predictable ways. Normally I’d expect to wait until late Saturday morning for NPR to fill my soul with deep existential dread. This week, it only took until 10:30 am on Friday.

The classic Millennial assertion of being literally unable to even is inarticulate, and the official consensus is that kids these days talk like that because they’re inarticulate. Maybe, however, they’re dumbfounded by a baffling, hostile society in which they’re afraid to speak their minds and might not know what to say if they weren’t.

10:30 was when the morning Forum broadcast on KQED suddenly went to hell. The first hour was devoted to the Ghost Ship fire verdicts. The first half of the second hour featured a live interview with the author of a book about street kids. The second half of the second hour, the fourth quarter, lurched gracelessly into a chat with a San Fran fashion fruit and a posh limey cunt about why Bay Area fashion is so casual.

It was completely unbelievable. It was surreal. Sometimes our thoughts transcend words; mine fell so terribly short. There was something impossibly wrong with an outwardly lucid adult hosting a radio call-in show being able to jump on schedule from a heartbreakingly serious talk about homeless teens and a killing spree that one crew of adolescent vagabonds had committed to a soulcrushingly frivolous round of gossip about what we’re all wearing. The street kids segment had explicitly covered some of the ways in which street kids are grievously neglected or abused by official institutions and adult authority figures. Mina Kim is one of the adults running this joint. What on earth, or more to the point under the earth, is a powerless young person to think of her or anyone else in league with her for being able and willing to flip her empathy on and off in accordance with the day’s broadcasting schedule? That’s some real Jekyll and Hyde shit.

Who are the grownups here? Where are they? Do they even exist? The segue was worthy of Jeffrey Epstein. Social justice? What does that got to do with pussy? Sister Christian, oh, it’s time for so much more than that. And the guys who show up at the opera and symphony galas are totally in it for the pussy. A few of them are in it for the cock or the other kind of ass, but do any of these fuckers, really, look or sound like they’re not pursuing the coarsest sorts of sexual and socioeconomic conquests? It’s true of the broads, too. The normal distributions may skew towards provider-chasing for the ladies and tail-chasing for the gents, but it’s all hideous across the board. It’s a fucking ape pit.

They carry on like this in venues I could walk to from the deep Tenderloin in five or ten minutes as long as long as I stepped in the shit and kept going. They know, at least in rough terms, how harsh life is for the little people just down the street. Most of them don’t give a damn, or, if the squalor and despair do register, consider it the proper order of things. Nob Hill Dreamboat cares, at least when he isn’t chasing his friends’ wives. Maybe, by God’s grace, he’s growing up. We’ve certainly had much worse governors. But these toffs insist on being buddies with Kamala Harris. They say nothing to rebuke her for her chilling sociopathy.

One has to wonder about the welfare of any emotionally and socially aware children they raise. Charity for one’s indigent neighbors sleeping rough in the midst of impulsive and predatory characters in the Haight? What does that got to do with pussy? For those of us who seek a higher justice or mercy, it’s a theodicial nightmare. It’s not even as understandable as the social horrors of India, where Narendra Modi has sold out as the chief guard to the Brahmins with his blustering promises to crack Dalit and Muslim skulls as necessary. The United States is an avowedly Christian nation. It’s hard to find a secular politician who doesn’t cater to Christian impulses, or at least to Christian cultural touchstones.

It sounds great, until we take a fucking look around. When the night becomes dark and we are forced to range through it, confused and frightened and alone, your love, oh Lord, is a fire. Oops. The alone part. That doesn’t fit. Or does it? Lama sabachthani, you impotent old fool?

The insincerity and hostility of the people running this country could be cut with a knife. A person would have to be narcotized not to notice. Foreign visitors are stunned when they come here. Americans are stunned when they come home. Our cities have turned into miasmas of filth, dysfunction, disrepair, paranoia, and belligerence.

While I was listening to the Forum broadcast this morning, I was also reading through an article about a tear gas canister factory in Homer City, PA, whose conditions wouldn’t have sounded the least bit out of place in Dhaka or Kinshasa. It’s a high-volume exporter to the usual strongman suspects and their guard labor, and its staff are manually mixing hazardous chemicals and pouring them into canisters one by one in a collection of shipping containers because one of the original factory buildings burned down in an industrial fire and the owners won’t rebuild. One of the owners, the third generation in a paternal lineage of weapons chemists, had an accident in the shop and ran outside with his hands on fire.

They’d hold electronica concerts in that dump if it were in Oakland. This is the filthy, flaming mess that CBP and the Border Patrol are hypervigilantly defending against Mexican day laborers and Palestinian undergraduates.

We might hope that San Francisco’s elites would show some humility and gratitude for the privilege of living off the avails of other people’s labor in a society that is so ramshackle so close to their party venues and their homes. Instead they show a nearly complete lack of moral and functional orientation in their host society. When they do give back, they do so showily, in a spirit of haughty, flippant bullshit.

The rung below them, the Donati Circle rather than the Donors’ Circle, is out of its mind in a different, more frantic way. The Bay Area housing market was vaguely sane until the early 1990’s. Then a bunch of coked-up flimflammers and mountebanks attached themselves to the tech industry. The petty booj around here are a pack of cornered wild animals now, and the housing politics are absolutely batshit insane. Too many desperate property owners have been given too much to lose.

So, yeah, let’s go on the radio and talk about how we totally own prestressed jeans. Omg. I guess this is why one of our RCIA instructors told us that “oh my God” can indeed be a prayer. It’s just that some of this shit is so bizarre and unhinged that I don’t have it in me to be that articulate. B-List public radio hosts are live on the air in a state of utter moral disorientation. It’s like when Jim Bernard and Dagmar Midcap had their live episodes of blooming gibberish on the evening news, except that there’s no neurological or psychological explanation. It isn’t grief, it isn’t old age, and it isn’t the weather.

It’s National Fuck The Public Radio. NPR used to be a platform to discuss serious matters seriously, or to chill out to some bitchin’ Beethoven. Look at it now. We have only a half hour to discuss teen homelessness because we’ve blocked off the last half hour to chitchat with a couple of useless cunts about retarded aesthetic beefs. Does one still wear gloves to Union Square, or is one Mark Zuckerberg? Shit, I’d rather bathe in the understated tradwife MILF energy of a cute, modestly beshawled choir leader than have some ditz show up at Mass in leggings, but I’m not mouthing off about it on the motherfucking talk radio.

Say, what does an urchin sleeping in her own filth on the sidewalk around a rogues’ gallery of thugs and vigilantes got to do with a middle-class church lady who ain’t showing her pussy? You can’t fund American science with a syntax so rich, but it seems worth asking. The answer is that the stewardship of this hellhole of a nation requires more presence of mind than jumping from cycles of violence among the cold homeless in the first half of the hour to some shithead whining about strangers showing up at Union Square in a shabby state of dress in the second. We don’t hear Sister Helen Prejean jumping from life, death, and theodicy to previously scheduled bitchfests about how some irreverent dipshit dared cross the threshold of I. Magnin dressed like a ragamuffin.

Forum has producers and bookers working behind the scenes to make it all come magically together, and they scheduled THAT.

This is not a leadership class that an attentive, reasonable person takes seriously. The largest NPR affiliate by audience can’t keep its flagship call-in show from turning into a gaslight adventure, or won’t. Whichever it is, all involved in that effort are a fucking joke. I’d be embarrassed to have a thing to do with that. I’m embarrassed that some of my amateur writing isn’t as tight and purposeful as it might be.

Ordinary people notice that they’re being lorded over by a bunch of phonies. Why in all hell wouldn’t the children of such an elite rebel? These aren’t just the universal human constants of adolescent development. We’re talking about a gravely sick cohort of incumbent adult leaders. There’s a huge amount of pressure that can only appropriately be called child abuse, veering into extremes that apparently were not at all prevalent in the mid twentieth century. It’s no wonder that there’s so much clinical anxiety and depression. Young people who forty or fifty years ago would have left the house at the first opportunity to get away from their abusive parents and promptly gotten living-wage jobs now face a tenuous parking spot down by the slough in rural Novato, if they’re lucky.

The aesthetics of this corruption of the national spirit, which seem at first glance too frivolous to contemplate, are actually a useful window into the horror show, as long as they’re approached with too much presence of mind for NPR. We heard about torn jeans this morning. I feel awful if I accidentally tear a barely nice pair of pants in the course of normal outdoor wear, and here we’ve got a herd of dipshits who pay top dollar for jeans that were deliberately ripped in the factory, as if they were dragged through the wrong machine. The impulse, however, makes a certain unfortunate sense. It’s a chase for authenticity in an overwhelmingly inauthentic society. That much has jack shit to do with the Bay Area. It’s a national marketing fad, an Astroturf youth fashion phenomenon that has been marketed to death for the past twenty years.

Bad actors take advantage of the inauthenticity of our elites. Some of them are themselves elites. Dave Ramsey dresses for shit to make himself look like a workaday salesman, not a transnational-level lord and master who could easily afford to lounge around all day in a hot tub full of olive oil. It’s a huge scam tell, but it works. And we’ve already looked at the fashion lines.

The blind, white-hot hatred that the homeless have been provoking is worth a deeper look. One of the premises of the street kids segment was that the 2015 murders by the vagabond spree killers in San Francisco and Marin was a turning point for hostility towards the homeless. What doesn’t check out about this is that the NIMBY hordes in the  Bay Area are unrelentingly hostile towards the peaceable homeless, too. We saw the same hysteria around the Steinle killing, which was obviously a freak accident involving an impulsive sad sack who was in no way representative of other illegal immigrants. The problem is that a cohort of the petite bourgeoisie has gotten a taste of power and is now clinging to it for dear life.

Murderers come from all walks of life. Richard Matt was employed; that’s why he had a boss to murder. David Sweat had a package of adult wipes. That’s how–just you try to stop me if you’ve heard this before–that’s how David Sweat was able to wipe the David sweat off David Sweat.

David or Goliath, we should all have facilities on demand to attend to our own inevitable sweat. Try building them for the poor in San Francisco these days, though. The dominant political faction there has become too arrogant to show any embarrassment about complaining that there are smelly bums on the loose in the Haight-Ashbury. Goodness, it boggles the mind, to have vagabonds of diminished cleanliness hanging around in that part of town.

The property owners are going to scapegoat whoever they were already dehumanizing to explain exactly the murders that would be full-hour Dateline features if they were committed by realtors. The obvious outgroup in the Bay Area is the homeless. The carrying-on about Kate Steinle as a martyr is more for the American interior. Out here on the Left Coast, we respect our Latins too much as loyal servants to call them illegals or wetbacks. Okay, to call them that in public. This is why Antonio Villaraigosa speaks Spanish, less jealously cherishing as his first language, if you can believe it, English.

Dora will be much obliged to teach your children how to speak to the gardener and the nanny. If Tony speaks English, it’s a mystery how; if they speak English, it’s a closely guarded secret.

Hoo boy, having a noble language and a separate peasant language seems not so wise. There’s a similar thing going on with English and Tagalog in the Philippines. That can’t help with the human development standards, either. For that matter, it’s eerie how uncomfortable the elites in this country are to have a native proletariat and lumpenproletariat fluent enough in English to talk back.

It’s frightening to put this puzzle together. The pieces fit too snugly.

There’s something else that’s eerie about this gushing celebration of California Casual. It’s taken me a good chunk of the afternoon to put a finger on it, but I think I’m at least close. California has turned into a grotesque, unrecognizable rat race in my lifetime. There’s still a great deal of aesthetic continuity, but many of the observable behaviors are unrecognizable. I mean shit like property-owning cops pulling fire alarms to disrupt homelessness working groups, homeowners totally flipping their shit over shelter proposals that have been through nitpicking planning processes, the obsessive badgering of children to beat their peers in school, that kind of thing.

We used to actually be mellow; now we’re just putting on a show. From the outside, the tech industry easily appears to be run with half the competence and twice the show business that prevailed in Silicon Valley in 1985. Shithead braggarts like Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, and Travis Kalanick would have been utterly alien on the Peninsula in the eighties. So would fart-sniffing stuffed shirts like Reid Hoffman. Elon, lol, that’s just about a homophone with alien, lmao, and the guy fucking looks like one. Zuckerberg is another bumptious piece of shit, but he’s matured impressively from his early professional years. It’s a sad thing to have to point out, but it’s true. When that fool first showed up in the Valley he was exactly the style of wound-up, aggro bullshitter who would have failed out of the interview process at the legacy tech companies because he never took his fucking chill pills.

I swear, I don’t remember anybody who carried on like these fuckheads running around in public in the Bay Area before about 1995. They were not a cultural force. I remember some fucked-up adults on the Peninsula from my childhood, but I remember none who were fucked up like that. What we’ve got now are a bunch of incorrigible nerds insisting sucking up to their fellow dipshits on Sand Hill Road to get paid to work (“work”) as the pledgemasters of their high-end frat houses. This has to explain why the sexism and ageism have gone off the chart. A healthy industry would have sent Peter Shih off into the wilderness to get his head out of his ass the week he showed up in town.

Yeah, yeah, I’m not even 40, and here I am waxing all Remembrance of Things Past. But it’s germane. KQED has somehow held the line against these flimflammers. Mostly: it produces and airs “Masters of Scale,” Reid Hoffman’s truly execrable fart-sniffing exercise, and it speaks volumes about the audience that there is one at all for the LinkedIn dork to mutually brownnose other teachers’ pets. The rest of the front of the house, though, is culturally recognizable from San Francisco and the Peninsula thirty years ago. Michael Krasny, Michelle Henagan, Beth Huizenga (aka Beth Holland) (we really need better ethnic slurs for the Dutch), Mina Kim when she isn’t doing Jekyll-and-Hyde shit: these basically present as normal anchors from any time in the late twentieth century, not the advance-party flying saucer of the weekday afternoon shift on Capital Public Radio. We had neighbors and friends in the Bay Area who were more or less like them.

It’s refreshing and grounding in a region that is otherwise flooded with Twilight Zone monsters and freaks. I’ve never gone back to a working girl who was as screwy as Elizabeth Holmes. George Schultz gave her money and then chewed out his own grandson for trying to warn him.

These assholes just about make me miss Kenneth Fitzhugh. Blood will not tell as much as that frizzy-haired falsetto-bass bottle blonde with the Stephanie Lazarus eyes would have us believe, but it will tell us until we’ve had our fill. It will tell us, for example, that the Bay Area is heavy on extremely sick rich girls and wannabes going steady and light on honest professional women luring their men away from the charity ball circuit.