Another transrachel overproduction of elites

Dolezal is in the doodoo again, this time for welfare fraud. Is this how she’s trying to prove that she’s black?

I looked her up, and sure enough I correctly remembered her new nom de guerre as Nkechi Diallo. Sometimes I wonder whether trivia such as this objectively useless and distracting tidbit will displace useful knowledge about something crucial. I already keep extra hard drive space available by knowing relatively little about movies and sports, except for what I hear from Chicago Senpai and friends on Saturday mornings pursuant to #SPORTS (for which it’s always time), and I have a hella good memory in general, but still I wonder. Is this how Rome fell? Is this how Rome falls?

Today is a gift; that’s why we call it the present. Rachel Dolezal’s initial exposure as a lying white bitch stirred up such a moral panic about bogus black people that assholes online were flaming Wesley Lowery with accusations that he was lying about being black. It’s reasonable to think that he’s racially ambiguous, but he was making a name for himself by doing timely and compellingly important on-the-ground reporting in Ferguson, among other troubled and misgoverned parts of our country. He wasn’t posting photos of fried chicken dinner with the fam online to demonstrate his own blackness, like Shaun King, or, as Firehat called him, noted white boy Shaun King. Everybody in my family back in Kansas ate fried chicken for Sunday dinner, too. Was it because WE were black? I don’t fucking think so. But this is America, and that’s how we think.

I could listen to the Dinner Party Download on my way to go dining for miles and still make Dolezal look white. She’s just an attention whore with a John Boehner tan and a perm. This is probably an episode best left ignored, and so I chronicle it through my most grievous fault, etc. You might as well store up these takes in your cabin, for wintertime heat. On the other hand, our national relationship to race is fucked up in ways that go beyond merely being racist. Racism per se isn’t nearly weird enough. The Morials, a more or less white-passing high yellow family, did business as whites under segregation, then increasingly as blacks under integration. Who dat! I’m not convinced that this is objectively any more reputable than the transrachel bullshit up north. I am entirely convinced that New Orleans is a worse-run city than Spokane. The latter has had its own troubles with public corruption, but Lawdy, Fogerty, down on the fuckin’ bayou, where we was Bonn, ain’t all good what they rollin’ on the Riva.

Asking what the hell gives to allow a bunch of guys from El Cerrito and Phoenix to play Cajun good old boys for fifty years without incident, other than the fucking Heidi Ho lawsuit, is as pertinent as any of this shit. They’re in it for the money, too; it isn’t just the Diallo who didn’t have the adverse reaction with the NYPD.

And since this is a mercenary business, it’s worth asking whether maybe, if we may, blacklisting the likes of Rachel Dolezal for being race frauds doesn’t just encourage more of their bullshit and more imitators who are hungry for the upsides. After all, those who don’t succeed as oppressed white black people can troll for sympathy in the Oppression Olympics as ones who got fired and publicly humiliated for trying to ensure that–the colors are close enough for government benefits–orange is the new black. There’s always wingnut welfare more or less within reach for such cases. Surely it’s good press for one’s GoFundMe.

The crux of this mess is that successfully honky-larping public negritude has the potential to pay better than most trades and professions, and even clumsily doing so and getting into hot water for one’s sheer gall pays better than picking fruit. Hell, I nearly went u-picking Bing cherries today on my day off from commercially picking blueberries, then decided to fuck with it when I discovered that it would be cheaper to buy Rainiers already washed and bagged at Fred Meyer. If Sam Sanders did that, he, too, would become blindingly White, but it’s been a damn minute since I did anything that embarrassing with my plants. I have standards. Maybe not particularly high ones, but good God, y’all. $4.50 a pound to replace a Mexican for an hour.

We’ve got too many fucking people living on their reputations around here. Michael O. Church is spot on about this. Colby Cosh, too. If Gerry Rundel were still plying a trade, he could look at me and say, uh, you’re some douche with a blog, what’re you gonna do, publish a bunch of crappy “songs” about me and call me Midlife Crisis Surf-n-Turf? Duh. What the fuck else would I do? Instead he’s got even worse Mounties calling him a coward, like a fireman who’s afraid of fire. I’m sure that will warm all hearts in the fire services and not at all inspire fond memories of General Sherman heading to the coast to, uh, grill seafood. Don’t forget the Pole!

As much as I enjoy shitposting about Fish Friend, he sounds like a good cop, and because he came away traumatized from personal involvement in a homicide he’s got asshat superiors acting like he’s the missing chickenshit character from Backdraft. The point here is that the reputation management buzzsaw chews up and spits out decent people, too, not just dipshits with perjury convictions and “storytelling” businesses who make it look normal to get trashed and kill motorcyclists with one’s Jeep. One can do that by killing a guy and then going into public health vegetarianism, too. At least Raw Ginger and the Royal Canadian Manslaughter Project are easily racially categorized, every one of them.

So is Rachel Dolezal. She’s white, so, so very White.

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Back to blu, uh, uh, uh

Yeah buddy, I’m on my fucking way. This shit is easier too ex plane hear,,,, On Line, than in meatspace because, for example, if I’m driving from Reno to Eugene or whatever the hell all afternoon and half the night no one demands to know whether I live in Reno. I’d have a straighter answer about where I live if it weren’t so impossible for someone in my circumstances to specifically live somewhere. Sometimes I tell people that I live in Sacramento,  and I does lives there, can I come in, except that I don’t particularly. That’s a simpler position to take, and it’s adequate for the DMV, which refused to take my $181 registration renewal fee on credit today. For people those who don’t need to know but ask regardless, saying that I live in Sacramento opens me up to too many questions about what I do in Sacramento, and as a rule of thumb I damn well do not feel like answering that shit.

Usually I’m able to get the overly inquisitive to take the hint and shut up after I hem and haw with a few sentences that don’t really answer anything or mumble something verging on total gibberish. I’m like Ike, minus the commission (and the salary and the base housing and the Tri Care, baby). There are awfully few people whom it’s worth my while to talk my true story, and I’m not out of line to propose that Americans have a habit of asking too many fucking questions, and consistently the wrong ones.

My circumstances are fairly extreme and unusual, but they are not in fact unique. Close variants of them, especially as they pertain to housing specifically, can account for probably five to ten percent of the US population. That fucking Asian bitch in the Pacific Grove marathon finisher’s T-shirt who told me that I wasn’t homeless when our paths crossed in Elko on our way to the eclipse can take that shit back to the part of California that is about to tumble into the sea, although truly she deserves to live indefinitely in Mountain Home. Even if I’d had the patience to suffer an extended conversation with that fucking cunt-ass health yuppie, I don’t know that I’d have been able to explain to her that homelessness is defined by a lack of stable and suitable housing, and that there are gradations of homelessness, meaning that my being decently dressed and showered when I met her and able to travel in no way negated my homelessness. That’s like handing a bum a Greyhound ticket and saying, look at that, you just stopped being hungry. The worst of this shit does not afflict our common carriers or our highway system. There’s actual competition in transportation, with caveats. Housing is a rent-seeking speculative clusterfuck, a pervasively corrupt business that brings out the worst in the worst people.

Do I feel like explaining any of this to random high school juniors in East Bumfuck, Oregon, just because they’re on a harvest crew with me? Not fucking likely, cracka. Most of them have the good sense and the tact not to push these things, but the few who don’t discourage me from continuing to show up at all, since I’m really not there for the money, either, although no money would mean absolutely no thicc boi honey. God, that sounds like a Cousin Gigolo story, except I have no reason to believe he ever got paid. I’ve actually written very little about most of the busybodies I’ve encountered at the berry farm, since characters like the ADHD spazz kid and the Ditzney Princess are more fun. Even the Ditzney Princess wasn’t one of the busybodies. Ironically, she had maybe the most mature reaction I’ve ever gotten to the Pot-o-Shit Friend story, finding it purely sad, not riotously hilarious as my youth minister friend back east did.

Cousin Gigolo and Pot-o-Shit Friend are threads in (grab at least a five-gallon, for the other end) the tapestry of my life. How would I explain them to prim broad middle-class Evangelicals who refuse to use language as salty as “shit?” Mostly I don’t. Since my work experience is not Cousin Gigolo’s, these stories are not safe for work. Because, let’s be clear about this, I don’t keep going back to this underpaid gig for some unspeakably vapid hipster fuckery or cultural exchange or to do guerrilla ethnography. If I were trying to understand the provincials for some awful reason, I’d make sure that I didn’t constantly have bosses on the periphery. I try not to shit where I eat. I’m not Pot-o-Shit Friend; he’s just this shitty fucking asshole who twinked his way into my life and, can running over, twinked his way back out, his dark legacy indelible on the white plastic of our erstwhile winery equipment. I sure as hell didn’t want that motherfucker around so that I’d have an interesting story to tell; I would more joyfully tell the same story about some other sorry bastard’s family agricultural compound.

If I wanted to tell stories about religiously preoccupied dipshits, I’d deliberately engage with Mormon missionaries. The thing about the cultural exchange and the guerrilla ethnography, though, is that it just falls into my lap. As they say in the Ethiopian diaspora, stuffs happen. That’s more accurate than anything that’s said publicly about immigration, in any event. I’m there to pick fruit. Being all up in the berry bush all summer long is the good shit. Being bothered about the moral necessity to tithe on one’s summer earnings as a minor when the entire family gets free haircuts from their barber friend is not. Horseshit washed-in-the-blood talking points that no one present has thought through are not. I don’t have a prayer of getting through to most of these kids, and I’m not there to do that anyway.

What I’ve overheard of Mother-in-Law’s spirituality is much more thoughtful and interesting, but it isn’t germane. It’s never the people who think in depth about their religious traditions who get pushy or just plain stupid about religion. That’s all too much the case for people who have received authoritarian traditions that they dare not question. If sola fide is the Holy of Holies, that’s a can of worms that I do not feel like opening and I will be of no help. Sola scriptura? Lol. I know, I know, I’ve heard the reheated jokes about how Catholics risk Protestantism by toting a Bible around or reading one, but with some of these people, Fukuyama is a moot point: history has nowhere to end because it hasn’t even started. I’m not about to be the one to try to orient intellectually uncritical teenagers in the cultural and historical context of the religious traditions that they’ve inherited from their parents. That’s a tar baby. The ones who are interested will find their way in due course of time.

Hence my double life. Hell, triple or quadruple. I pass for at least a borderline normie among country-ass Republican godbotherers, and I’m responsible for all of this. Again, I’d rather be known as the originator and curator of the Bad Mountie meme treasury than as the Dubai Porta Potta guy, but these things are not for me to dictate. I’d certainly rather not become known for most of this crap at work, but if it happens, it happens. These are, indeed, a lot of stuffs. Keeping this right here separate from normie ag work is really just about tact, something I have more abundantly than certain colleagues. Yes, the Ditzney Princess was one. I don’t care how pretentious that sounds; it’s true.

This shit keeps going down in a county that also has $20 jailbait gay-for-pay. Over-the-Rhine price points are always a sign of economic health. So is a $.25 daily tip share. Dem shine George coin don’t come free.

All the same, this job has pretty good conditions overall, including effectively perfect workplace safety, and is career-coherent for me. Truth be told, it should be career-coherent for anyone who isn’t going into something like medicine or engineering. No, not the law. God help us, Americans actually think that’s a net benefit to our society, tell Brad to send her up the fucking river they do, Deirdre.

More Americans and fewer Mexicans should be doing farm work in the United States. This much I keep getting right. If more Americans did farm work, we might have a working understanding of what an economy is instead of being batshit insane. I took the train through Salt Lake City last night, and in the course of sightseeing the good shit in core urban Salt Lake and Provo, I lost all confidence in the city Mormons anew. Theoretically, the Mormons should be able to reorient the rest of us towards a gambling-free working nuts-and-bolts economy. The problem is that in practice they’re all over the fucking place. One hour, they’re putting up a decade’s worth of canned goods; the next, they’re running some shit-ass MLM scam out of an office park in Draper, and they’re doing it with a straight face. SEO and the brainwashed dipshits who believe in it are bad enough in the best of circumstances; in parts Napoleonic, the cultural treats include SEO with a servant’s heart.

I have to assume that the Mormons are behind Oil Stop, too; they would be. If that sounds bad, remember that they’re on the record as responsible for Jamberry. I’ve confessed to nothing in these pages as disreputable as that. If you’re secretly sucking cock for a living in American Fork, good for you. I assume that costs more than $20, but mercenary Mormon MILFs are far from the worst thing to come out of the Wasatch Front. We’re talking Stacy’s Mom who knows how to make, like, six different Jell-O salads. Cousin Gigolo has a formal culinary background himself, if I’m not mistaken. None of these honest small businesspeople should be ceding the moral high ground to some fuckheads with an SEO company in an office park that can be seen but not readily accessed from the train.

At least I’m wandering around here with a working concept of what a real job is and what’s bullshit. So are my colleagues. Having an honest, productive job and a crazymaking family religious tradition is better than having an equally bonkers family church and a lead on the shit I saw advertised from the train last night, which made Denver for Millennials look reputable. Let none of us cease to rub yuppies’ faces in it.

Orange you glad you don’t live in the Chinese part of town

Hoo boy. Orange County’s piss-ass homeless shelter nimbyism has reached the judicial override stage, and it is not pretty. A federal judge, David O. Carter, has partially asserted dictatorial emergency powers over the county government and a number of city governments to compel the approval of shelter sites and enjoin the enforcement of vagrancy laws in the interim. This isn’t a case of the judiciary lording it over the legislature and the citizenry for fun; it’s a proportional, and quite patient, assertion of the human rights of a marginalized, impoverished citizen constituency against a powerful, violently hostile constituency that defines itself by property rights as property owners, not by civil rights as citizens. What the judge is telling the local officials and the propertied agitators driving their intransigence is that they have dragged their feet for far too long on the establishment of adequate rehousing facilities for the residents of the homeless encampments that they are so eager to raze and that they have absolutely no latitude to criminalize the existence of their indigent neighbors to protect their own property rights and precious, precious feelings.

There’s a really ugly ethnic angle to this dispute, one that the white liberal consensus in California finds too uncomfortable to name, but as a homeless honky native to Palo Alto and registered to vote in Sacramento County, I’ll be damned if I’ll be guilt-tripped into holding my peace about it. It’s the fucking Chinese. They’ve behaving execrably. A clannish, racialized, affluent, propertied rabble of immigrants and their children are petulantly trying to criminalize the existence of a native lumpenproletariat, most of the latter from families that have been in what is now the United States since time immemorial.

That’s ethnic cleansing if it happens in Yugoslavia, and it’s ethnic cleansing if it happens here. A bunch of haughty rich asshole foreigners moved in en masse from overseas, established a colonial settlement, and are now sore as hell that the inherent vices of their neighborhood include their native-stock birthright citizen neighbors, whom they defame wholesale as filthy criminals who depress their property values. We now have to listen to these thugs and their spawn, whose family money does not generally come from scrupulously licit sources, carry on about how they’re blameless and worthy and it’s only the native proles whose shit stinks.

There is something dysfunctional about any society where a racialized settler population feels able to lash out in this fashion without fear of retaliatory pogroms. Chinese money, again, from a variety of questionable sources, has driven a good deal of the housing bubble that has made it impossible for the native poor to afford housing in Orange County. This isn’t some insurmountable natural law; the crooked upper crust of a systemically corrupt nation in the early stages of industrialization fled overseas with its wealth and parked it in real estate in a handful of markets that it found culturally and legally hospitable, one of these (a relatively modest one, in fact) being Orange County. This is crude ethnic gangsterism, but with more bigotry than the old Irish, Italian, and Jewish mobsters indulged in their more magnanimous years. The proposition that a cohort of rich, grasping Chinamen who hate the everloving shit out of the peasants back home give a hot damn about the high ideals of ethnic and socioeconomic pluralism of their adoptive land is insulting. This is one of the most illiberal, intolerant populations ever to have landed on our shores.

What do I suppose I’d try to do if I were in their shoes? For starters, I’d try not to act like a raging fucking asshole colonial settler-bigot begging for banishment to the Breslau Ghetto as an unassimilable scion of an incorrigible ethnic crime family. I’m not Jewish enough for temple, but I’m Jewish enough to take care not to be a fucking shanda fur die goyim. This bourgeois ethnic cleansing bullshit in Orange County isn’t the first time propertied overseas Chinese have behaved in ways that called to mind the all-time worst of Europe’s Jews and grievously tested the tolerance of the native ethnic majority in their host nations. Everything that I’ve read about the overseas Chinese indicates that California’s 21st-century native stock is reacting to these provocations with a level of goodwill, patience, and magnanimity that the ethnic Thais and Malays have not historically shown their ancestors in Southeast Asia.

We have no special national duty or, God help us, regional moral duty as a liberal sanctuary state, to be the only host population on the face of the earth to act like this shit is fucking Sesame Street. This right here is the episode in which a foreign lynch mob that had no connections to the neighborhood a decade or two ago tries to burn Oscar alive in his trash can to clean up the neighborhood. There’s some nice happy horseshit at the base of the Statue of Liberty about the tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and my great-grandfather embezzled from his employer in the East End of London to buy a cabin across the Atlantic and the direct admission at the Battery that came with it, but tired, huddled, and breathless ain’t who’s jacking up the cost of housing in the OC, cracka.

If we have sacred values to defend, we might want to consider that this overseas gentrification jet set is too fucking illiberal to share these values, which presumably include allowing those already present in the neighborhood as birthright citizens to live peaceably without being ethnically cleansed by Johnny-come-lately interlopers from families that bought their way into the country. They’re the ones who showed up out of the blue and used money to muscle their way into existing communities with no regard for the welfare or even survival of the neighbors they displaced. They’re the ones who expect native-stock children to compete like their lives depend on it for college admissions and jobs, but without the tight ethnic networks to grease the skids before them.

I’m sure some concern-trolls will preen about how I’m trying to launch a reprise of the Chinese Exclusion Act. That isn’t what’s happening here. The dynamics have flipped. The native stock driving Chinese exclusion in the nineteenth century were bigoted as all hell, and the Chinese they were so hellbent on driving out of the land were peasants, piss-poor, marginalized immigrants who would have been grievously oppressed by their social betters back home had they stayed. What we have now is an affluent native stock that bends over backwards to be tolerant towards an even more affluent and networked immigrant community while the latter takes the lead in efforts to commit the wholesale official oppression of the poorest old-stock Americans in their neighborhoods and drive them east of Eden, or at least east of Corona.

The non-indigent old-liners who might otherwise be upset by this foreign aggression against their fellow citizens, to wit, Americans from long-established families whose ancestors did not purchase residency within living memory, prefer to pretend that none of this ethnic unpleasantness is happening. Well, guess what, white girl? It is happening.

Sure, the Chinese have bourgeois white allies in their fight to bar the door against the riffraff, fancy crackers whose class interests overlap with their own and whose other nimby interests include the adamant belief that El Toro is a terrible place for an airport. Still, they’re further emboldened by the residual hopes or assent or God only knows exactly what of downwardly mobile native-stock young people who were raised to believe in and still refuse to disbelieve every bit of American Experience-ass bleeding-heart horseshit about how we worked through all the bad shit, like, fifty years ago and all get along now. This has the potential to cause some hardcore cognitive dissonance as a foreign population, raised in a dramatically different cultural, political, and civic context with nothing but contempt for the welfare of the marginalized poor, buys its way into a civic stake that it aggressively uses to harass its neediest neighbors.

I’m afraid that this situation really is as crude and ugly as I’m chronicling it. Some of the worst colonial aggression on earth today is coming from the Chinese. The birth hotels in the San Gabriel Valley, a fairly seedy area by overseas Chinese standards, cater to families wealthy enough to afford airfare and long-term lodging for their unemployed expectant mothers. The current Chinese diaspora in Vancouver includes absolute Gulf Arab Eurotrash-grade degenerates who drive their sports cars across toll bridges at triple the speed limit on licenses in bad standing. These asshats and their families have dumped so much cash into the local housing market that the cops who pull them over can hardly afford rent on the Lower Mainland.

These shitheads are not typical Chinese. That would be like insisting that the shittiest yuppies in Central Bucks or North Jersey are typical Americans. If a diaspora of that character took over, say, Tijuana and jacked up the cost of housing beyond what any Mexican of normal means could afford, I’d angrily disavow them as their compatriot. I already can’t fucking stand pig-ignorant Tri-State money wops who condescendingly talk about “percent diversity” at their alma maters like their families have always been High Whitey when my own grandparents were denied public accommodations because they were taken for Jews. If such a constituency were overheating housing markets abroad and doing everything in their civic power to demean and expel the natives they’d already dispossessed with their housing bubble, it would be a national scandal. We’ve got a few goldbug-intersectional bourgeois-supremacist Yanqui fuckwads kicking around Latin America in a spirit of superiority, along with a handful of serious high rollers rich enough to buy bugout spreads in New Zealand, but as asshole emigrants go, we’re pikers compared to High Chinky.

The Chinese we do get in our affluent cities are not looking to play by our most scrupulous rules. They wouldn’t have the money to expatriate anywhere decent if that were how they rolled. Scrupulosity is not how fortunes are made in post-Deng Mainland China. Honorebly feel my balzac for more universal insights into great fortunes and forgotten crimes, but je me fouquine souviens this much about the PRC in particular: that its industrialization as a major exporter in the late twentieth century involved levels of corruption well in excess of the norms in Japan and the industrialized West. We, the greatest nation on earth and shit, started reverting towards our own historic Gilded Age crookedness around the time we started our serious trade with China; the prior standards from which we were, by Bork, slouching towards Gomorrah were of a much higher caliber than what China’s industrialists and their apparatchik cronies adopted. Likewise, it’s safe to assume that a great deal of the money overheating housing markets in the old British colonies (crikey, you mates, too), was expatriated prior to or in deliberate circumvention of the Chinese Politburo’s big anti-corruption drives.

No, this doesn’t account for the entire Chinese diaspora. There are decent people trying to honorably find better lives for themselves and their families who have the misfortune to share an ethnic community with a bunch of belligerent loudmouths pushing a moral panic about the dirty gaijin infesting the place they now call home. This is not enviable. Still, there’s a really disturbing appearance that the entire barrel is being spoiled by the bad apples who speak so loudly on the community’s behalf. I just get a really bad feeling about some of the communal dynamics here, that there are decent people whose personal inclinations are towards tolerance but who are more eager to be buddies with the shittiest social climbers from back home than to stand up for the despised vulnerable. Assimilated members of the first birthright generation must be in a particularly unenviable spot, wondering why the fuck mom and dad are such lunatic bigots.

What I really hate is the appearance that some of the most vicious immigrants a nation could ever admit have successfully hacked our code and turned it against us. At the risk of going full Goldwater, we’re tolerating the intolerant, and that’s no virtue. Actually, it’s even worse than that, and seedier. We’re granting some of our richest immigrants bogus victim points based on atrocities that some of our worst native-stock ancestors committed generations ago against peasants whom the current model minority we so zealously defend would enthusiastically treat just as badly back in the old country. More than a few of us are being over-the-top solicitous towards crooks who buy their failspawn driver’s licenses and academic slots beyond their normal meritorious qualification because we think one of our shithead great-great-grandpas once Marky Mark-style beat the shit out of some coolie. Maybe that happened, or maybe it didn’t, but regardless, it’s a part of our national middle-highbrow lore now. This sure looks like white guilt on behalf of a pushy ethnic clan that will never even try to reciprocate this bent-over-backwards graciousness. We can tell what they’re saying about us in English in public, but many of them are bilingual and have use of ethnically segregated private spheres. Mandarin must be a useful language in which to express one’s amazement at the whitefellas for being a bunch of utter goddamned fools.

By the way, there’s a special place in purgatory for our own goody-two-shoes Orientalist Brahmins and their socially climbing hangers-on. These are as American as apple pie and driving all the chinks out of Frisco. I’ve long had this really unsettling feeling that the open fascination of a large swath of the American upper crust with the outward trappings of Asian culture, a fascination dating back in earnest to the days of Crocker and Stanford, did much to drive the Great Value crackers into their infamous fits of violent anti-Asian rage, first against the Chinese in the nineteenth century and then against the Japanese during the Second World War. The appearance that we’ve been using indigent neighborhood laundry operators as political pawns and battering rams in our own insipid domestic class standoffs since at least the conclusion of our Civil War (you know, the one we held to deal with the whole racial thing) must infuriate Asian observers and convince them that we’re all absolutely reprehensible.

If they’re colonizing our neighborhoods in a spirit of contempt for the poor neighbors whose fellow citizens they seek to become and their US-born children already are, it isn’t without provocation. There is a certain gross reciprocity to the whole enterprise. We certainly don’t have much moral authority if our own bourgeoisie celebrate Asian shiznit as a way to passive-aggressively showcase model minority designer immigrants to the recalcitrant poor as reminders that they’re disposable and replaceable.

Free tea and dumplings at the Irvine Metrolink station in observance of the Chinese New Year? Fuck off, yuppie scum. I can make my own goddamn hot and sour soup.

No, I don’t feel good for having written this. I feel gross. But it has to be said. A pushy, clannish immigrant constituency driving the native stock out of the neighborhood it has colonized is no occasion for tolerance. It’s an invasive horde. It should be given no quarter. Like hell I’m here to celebrate their immigrant story when they’re behaving so rottenly and in such bad faith and I, a native Californian, am sleeping in my Focus again. God, it must be really alienating to live in Irvine as an affluent member of the neighborhood ethnic majority.

So, no, I don’t mind gloating over their being a federal judge’s bitch. They brought it upon themselves. Judge Carter gave Orange County’s municipal governments all kinds of time to fix a human rights disaster that they’d caused, and instead of making a bona fide, adult effort to fix it, they caved to pressure from their worst constituents and did jack shit. The last thing I’m willing to excuse is a bunch of calculating foreign-stock shitheads whimpering like Otto Warmbier because they’re subject to the jurisdiction of the federal courts of the country where they chose to immigrate, like they have any cause to be upset. We have a judiciary precisely to restrain such graceless thugs when they take over elected governments and pervert due process to their private ends. That’s privilege. My using language like money chink to smear bad people who probably call me white devil or some shit in private is not.

The only other thing I’ll say about this is that I want the eventual PBS documentary about this spat to prominently feature the same spare, poignant fiddle music that Ken Burns used for the Lewis and Clark story. I reckon those motherfuckers were more racist than I am, and since this shit is already absurd, I demand that it be aesthetically absurd. No, I have one more demand: that the accompaniment be performed by an all-American bum, of whatever race (even a drop of Chinese blood would be epic), who took up the violin at the age of, like, forty, not by some fucking asshole who clawed into the principal’s chair in the high school orchestra in an effort to secure admission to Wellesley. As Wesley Willis, neither of him a reach school, might have said, GO DIPLOMATS BITCH!

Damned if that isn’t the most wholesome character to wander into this story yet. That’s what happens when you’re told that you have to stop yelling like a wild animal in the Genesis on Western. His problem was that he didn’t clean up well enough to yell like a wild animal in the Irvine City Council chambers.

Midnight in the Garden of Food and Devil

Americans are being killed and sickened by contaminated lettuce again. Take a moment to think this over and consider what it means, not only to have this happening anywhere for any reason but to have it happening in what is widely regarded as the wealthiest and certainly the most powerful country on earth. Again, we aren’t hearing about hospitalizations and deaths from fecal coliform bacteria on meat, which has the guts near the good stuff and also a lot of stuff that oughtn’t be eaten but is; this is romaine. Field greens are supposed to be entirely segregated from the nasty.

We should be asking pointed questions about this scandal. For one, who shit on the lettuce? This last contaminated crop, like prior bad batches, was grown domestically, around Yuma. There was no foreign chain of custody for US food safety officials to have any difficulty tracing to the port of entry; this is on us. In another public safety win for the Department of Homeland Security, the shitleaf went through Border Patrol interior checkpoints on its way to market, but those jackbooted thugs are looking for a different leafy green, the maddening reefer, which, come to think of it, is now objectively safer to consume than lettuce. Hell, for that matter, cocaine is probably the most antiseptic substance on the money supply. #TheMoreYouKnow, baby.

Again, someone got shit on the lettuce, and no one in government stopped it at any point until unwitting customers had already started getting dangerously sick. By the time that happened, the potentially contaminated lot under recall advisory was huge. Officials were basically out shrugging and telling the public, eh, don’t eat romaine, then, I guess. It turned out that pretty much the entire romaine crop on the US market at the time had been grown around Yuma and that there weren’t many growers in the business. This was an industrial-scale agricultural concern that had befouled the fresh food supply. If your filthy uncle cooks dinner without washing his hands, your family might get sick. This was one of those deals where Uncle Shit works somewhere upstream in the cutting or boxing of fresh lettuce for the national market, but no one can tell where until there’s an outbreak to trace.

Romaine can be grown in a greenhouse or high tunnel anywhere in the country year round, but for some reason the entire winter crop is grown in one of the driest, most Aral Sea-ass agribusiness shitholes in the land. That reason is Mexicans. We divert their treaty water for our own uses, but then we’re all like, don’t mope around, now, amigo, we’ve got work here. I’m not kidding when I say that the location of these plantations is determined by the wetback supply, not the water supply. Sure, Yuma has deep dirt and a lot of sun, too, but it’s the last goddamn thing upstream of Mexico on a river that Las Vegas, Phoenix, Wickenburg, and Southern California are all jockeying to suck so dry that it never reaches the sea.

This is why we ask why the fuck anyone is growing lettuce there, when it’s a bullshit crop that can be grown on the kitchen windowsill at home if it’s that important. If the Mexicans stopped showing up to cut it, we’d get to hear the latest White Whine from farm country about how food is rotting in the fields again and also we’re being racist, but let’s be real here: there’s nothing racist about granting low-class Mexicans the same license as low-class Americans to go on welfare, and if romaine rots in the field, that means it can’t travel thousands of miles to rot in your fridge. How sad.

The American Gothic waste-not-want-not ethic is a myth. I actually believe in it, but no one in agribusiness or food processing does; everyone in the industry who whines about how the racist government-provoked wetback shortage is causing food to rot in the fields would gladly open a tank valve and pour milk into the river to goose disappointing commodity prices. These are not honorable people, as proven by their custom of importing crews of foreign field hands with no civic stake in the country to spend fifty to sixty hours a week stooped over making the same three or four cuts again and again and again. Gee, could that be why the work is so awful? Could it possibly be that a few thousand people are worked like donkeys in a salt mine for minimum wage to cut a crop that any fool could grow on a shelf in her apartment, without all the stooping?

Before you assume that there’s an applicable minimum wage just because the owners say there’s one, remember that these companies are using international labor arbitrage to hire desperate foreigners with limited English skills, including many who are present in the United States without work authorization. It would take a fucking ethnographic field study to ascertain the actual prevailing wages because the entire business is run by politically manipulative liars. It’s insane to believe a word out of anyone’s mouth from the crew bosses on up, unless it’s about how they knowingly hire illegals, because that’s something they definitely do all the time.

Nor will I bury the hatchet about how offensive, scandalous, and plainly evil it is for planters and their PR flacks to brag about how having destitute fifty-year-old diabetics with 40% of normal hand and wrist function bend down and whack the base of a lettuce stalk with a machete ten thousand times a week is a humanitarian and cultural exchange program. If the Mexicans all decide they wanna go play video games instead, I won’t blame them; that isn’t a life well examined or well spent, but it’ll be good for us, the assholes who expect them to keep showing up and wrecking their bodies cutting our lettuce for a pittance.

And if they keep having fewer and fewer babies to replace the aging farm workforce, again, we deserve it. It’s really interesting how this celebrated Mexican devotion to hard work and family which we celebrate at management’s encouragement is exactly what management wants to keep payroll expenses down. They obviously don’t want childless thicky tricks on birth control, already an East LA thing, to start being a Mexican thing in Mexico, too. It’s none of their damn business, of course, but that never stopped them.

The Chicana lady I have in mind washes her hands because she’s clean and wholesome. I’m not saying we need whores to start cutting our lettuce, but, geez, I’d say we need better handwashing protocols one way or another. Not getting one’s unwashed wiping hand all over the lettuce is kind of like not rawdogging a bunch of different strangers of visibly dubious health and hygiene: it’s basic, commonsense sanitation, but sometimes it’s too much to ask. Hookers are usually really fastidious about condom use, but we’re getting our field greens from crews that include the equivalent of crazy amateur bar skanks, in addition to ones whose instinctive standards of cleanliness are higher than the dangerously excessive demands of their jobs permit them to maintain. This is how we end up with people popping a squat and leaving gifts for their fellow laborers in the vineyard to unexpectedly encounter, or alternately skipping meals until after quitting time to suppress the urge to shit.

No sane and ethical society would tolerate any of this whatsoever. It’s entirely unacceptable and unnecessary. Absolutely nothing about it is inherent to farm work; it’s exclusively the result of hiring a few thousand unenfranchised foreign peasants to spend sixty hours a week doing work that a few hundred thousand or million Americans should be doing for an hour or two a week. The field greens industry invests jack shit in research and development for employee ergonomics for the same reason that it doesn’t provide portapotties within a manageable walk of the field: because it has this disposable foreign peasant workforce at its command.

That’s a workforce that can’t disappear from the United States fast enough. No, I’m not demanding another Operation Wetback. As I said above, video games are a reasonable alternative, at least for those not personally wasting their lives playing them. Besides, importing the Frenchies to do grunt work in New England and Upstate New York was a crackerized clusterfuck in its own right, and not just on account of Paul LePage. The point is that the class clashes between the poor and the higher classes are bad enough when everyone speaks the same language, so anyone trying to dual-track a foreign proletarian vulgate in alongside what everyone with a lick of honesty recognizes as the Lingua Franca has bad motives and is setting the entire society up for trouble. The whole Franco-Anglo thing in Canada seems to have gotten a lot less stupid and vicious as Canada has gotten its shit together and started solving its social problems. This societal advancement is much less forthcoming in Mexico; hence, among other phenomena, Central American refugees who don’t seek resettlement in a country better-governed than their own where they already speak the language, instead risking their lives crossing it to get to a much more alien land where they can more reasonably expect to survive.

Let’s get real: would anyone expect an acculturated, enfranchised, lower-middle-class American workforce operating in a well-regulated industrial regime to have the same difficulty abiding by professional standards of cleanliness? Americans are getting sick and literally dying (*Robert Dziekanski, overhearing the talk of Kwesi Millington’s home and native land* #MeToo, Biggie; you’re literally killing me) because what turn out to be critical food safety protocols are being left to harried foreign peasants working in ragingly lawless environments. These are not environments in which employees feel comfortable taking the time to properly wash their hands. Followup news items on the shitleaf have mentioned that it isn’t a problem anymore because the entire romaine industry has relocated to the Salinas Valley for the summer. Great, the place where they put an unimaginably shoddy-looking portable shitter on a trailer behind a school bus; I can’t imagine what would go wrong with a food safety regime being run in that physical context.

These are not the inscrutable mysteries of the salad field. This shit is Upton Sinclair for vegetarians. It’s the equivalent of a peddler’s cart full of unrefrigerated chicken meat that was dressed with a rusty steak knife. Businesses are allowed to sell this shit, which includes actual shit, because we don’t have laws around here. It’s a miracle that these outbreaks of foodborne illness don’t happen more often.

Please, to the fucking table.

A room in That Place

Bill Cosby is Emmett Till now. His wife says so herself. Being allowed to go home to one’s mansion on house arrest and bond pending sentencing for sexual assault, including sexual assaults committed in the same mansion against an accuser in the criminal trial just concluded, is tantamount to being lynched for whistling at a woman in the general store. #TheMoreYouKnow, etc.

That’s a house full of memories, a house emptier than sometimes, perhaps, but does one simply forget all the pills one passed out, all the ladies of questionable presence of mind one romanced? Surely not. That would be like being blind, cane-dependent, and befuddled at trial and suddenly looking all sighted, animated, and spry on the walk out to the Lincoln for that last springtime drive back to Cheltenham. It’s unimaginable that the famous actor put on, what do we call that, an act. The gentleman was always too classy to cuss, but he knew better than to let that prosecutor accuse him of owning a plane without interrupting him and calling him an asshole. That’s another commonality between Cosby and Till: being allowed to go home on bond pending sentencing as a convicted sex offender with sixty on-the-record accusers after calling the district attorney an asshole in open court. The Cosbys have a perfectly normal sense of justice and the direction of its historical arc. It calls to mind Dr. King’s famous “God damn you, you said I own an airplane” speech, with its famous closing line, “Preacher man don’t own a damn plane!”

The struggle is real.

Bill Cosby will presumably soon have the opportunity to make new memories in a bigger house. It was a beautiful springtime day in the neighborhood the afternoon he was driven home (*wistful Fred Rogers voice* Well, I don’t recall that we ever saw anything that freaky from the trolley), and it should be a beautiful day when he’s driven to Camp Hill for intake and orientation with new neighbors. As the internet helpfully points out, the fellow got into trouble for pudding his pop where it didn’t belong, and so, we suppose, off he goes in a few months to “that place.”

I sometimes wonder about how convicts who don’t get caught until late in life adjust to prison relative to hardened careerists who have been in and out their whole lives, but not in the sense in which Wee Willy was in and out of that where it wasn’t supposed to be. Let your guard down around him and he’ll pound your cake, too, baby girl. There are prisoners who get started on that shit at juvie, and then there are ones like Our Lord Joseph’s Servant Gerald, sexy male code enforcement officer Lynn Rader, Lawrence of the Labia, and J. Denny Dundiddly. Some of these must not expect to end up with their “room” in “that place,” or to have their grown daughter on the record complaining about how pretentious they are not to call it their cell, as Dennis Rader’s did. That fool complained to the police during his interrogation that they had used subterfuge to catch him and that wasn’t fair, in contrast to breaking into people’s houses and torturing them to death. Then again, he seems to have adjusted better than average to incarceration. Jerry Sandusky complained to his lawyers that he’d go batty if he had to keep spending so much time in that little cell. The last two on that list haven’t had anything to say about their reactions to their own federalization, but it was fun to watch the Mandatory Minnesotan roll his wheelchair into that fucking curb.

This is only partly a frivolous intellectual exercise. The only morally compelling purpose of prisons is the segregation of dangerous criminals in a place where they can’t harm the innocent. That place works for this, we might say; if we may be raders of turns of speech, it has rooms, and room. The moment we start trying to use prison to punish criminals per se, we go off the deep end. This impulse turns all too easily into an uncontrollable outburst of the Id. I’ve had my own thoughts about the civic virtue of putting Dennis Rader on a stretcher and sticking him headfirst into the bottom of a fermentation tank for a quicker and more merciful death than he granted his victims, just to be done with him, but I really don’t care for what those mere idle thoughts did to degrade my own humanity. The penal system isn’t just about what’s to be done with a relative handful of degenerates and thugs; it’s also about what we can do not to turn into them ourselves as a society. This latter impulse is why Lynn Majors was given CPR the day he died; his jailers were there to keep him safely away from people he’d be inclined to hurt, not to hurt or kill him. And, yes, he was dead sexy right up to the end; you’d better believe it. The latter impulse is why bailiffs tackled and restrained the angry father who tried to assault Larry Nassar during his sentencing. Once any of this becomes a matter of vengeance, all bets are off, and the whole enterprise can get out of control and ugly in a hurry. This is not a line that’s safe to cross.

In many cases, the justification for incarcerating convicts who don’t pose a detectable ongoing threat is dubious at best, and justice delayed really is justice denied. The Menendez boys were low recidivism risks by the time they were convicted, and the authorities had been pretty diligent throughout the investigation of their parents’ murders. Stephanie Lazarus had practically a zero chance of recidivism by the time she was arrested. Rader was apparently retired to a life of peace by the time he finally walked into the trap he’d helped the police set. Shit, prison guards sometimes say things like, oh, murderers are fine, much easier to deal with than your thieves and con artists. They assume that when Bernie, the one who Madoff with everyone’s money, shows up at the Jewish gentlemen’s kaffeeklatsch, he’s there to play something more than mere chess.

High-profile sexual perverts may or may not still be threats by the time they were caught; Sandusky and Nassar probably were, Cosby most likely less so. The damning thing about their delayed detection and capture, however, is that everyone around them covers for them and dictates what their victims are allowed to say. We’ve already named, and righteously nicknamed, three guys who took advantage of popular school athletic programs that no one in town had the nerve to challenge, one of these also hiding under the auspices of a highly regarded national Olympic program. Lord Pound Cake, like Harvey Weinstein, slithered around under the auspices of screen entertainment juggernauts. These guys spent decades being allowed to do whatever the fuck they wished. The ethical standards of collegiate athletics in the United States were conclusively shown to be useless when Bobby Knight was not barred from the Indiana University campus on pain of arrest for throwing the chair. Millington, do you copy? That same fucker faced no legal consequences for strangling a player, although he was fired.

Jailing any of these notorious hotheads and creeps decades after the fact does nothing to stop them from preying upon the vulnerable during their interminable careers. It’s window-dressing. The obvious solution is to stop allowing famous entertainers, producers, coaches, and the like to indulge in severe behavioral problems and commit crimes of violence and deviance with impunity because they’re entertaining and profitable. It’s painfully obvious, in fact: these shitheads and the ones following in their footsteps need to be stripped of their privilege. If they’d been denied their privilege from the start and held normally accountable for their shitty behavior all along, we’d hardly need jails for them. In a well-governed, healthy society, it would be enough in most of these cases to fire these assholes from positions of authority, give their victims access to the civil courts, and warn those they’d groom to stay away from them because they are, for example, notorious Quaalude baes.

This is nowhere near happening, of course; just this week it emerged that the Redskins trafficked their cheerleading squad into Costa Rica for some passport-free unpaid escorting under duress. Holding these assholes accountable to the law like anyone else is a nice idea, though. Put me in for that, Coach*; I ain’t playin’.

*Ew, Hastert, not you.

Jimmy quit, Jody got married, shoulda known we’d someday get Gross

It could be worse. We could talk about the other Terry and relapse into acute Kathoholicism. We’ve done that before.

Nah, only on NPR could it be worse. So guess what? It’s on fucking NPR. I’m trying to boycott this interview with a navelgazing Limey songstress I could have sworn I’d never heard of in my life, and since I haven’t opened any of the overly copious NPR livestreaming services on my laptop, I’m currently succeeding. *Terminal Robert Dziekanski voice* And I guess you could say I’m “current” ly dying over here.

God, what a shock that always is. If you go to the trouble of listening to that interview or reading the highlights, neither being anything that I’d recommend, you’ll discover that it’s worse than anything I have to say about the RCMP. I.e., mostly about how they killed that one Pole, but there’s no reason it can’t be about how they sexually harass their own. For the same reason, the linked interview is worse than anything NPR will ever have to say about maladjusted Mounties, artistically or otherwise. If we’re going to carry on about dipshits with residual feudal duties to the Queen and chronic sociosexual dysfunction, we ought to carry on about the ones with the clipped cadences and the equally fine-ass two-tone field blues, not some borderline-Eurotrash emo civvy in a poorly fit Marimekko-style top and her excessive discography. We might as well at least find a crew that dresses well for its sexual harassment and its command mismanagement, not the lady who looks like she’s wearing long sleeves to hide the cutting scars on her forearms. Let’s call it “Of Corporals, Cocksuckers, and Cowardice.” Let us all, in one spirit, lift up our voices from the fish pond to the sky and rundel in that jungle.

NPR can’t even put the fun into the dysfunction. It’s not as if they’re spending the hour interviewing someone who’s mature, organized, and focused on the important things. This is someone who released an antinatalist retrospective on the virtues of hormonal birth control, in song. Contraceptive music exists, and it’s every bit as bad as pro-life music. One didn’t want a baby, but then one wanted a baby, and by then it was hard to have a baby. Additionally, Tracey Thorn has records about how much it sucks for a girl to not really be one of the guys even though she’s in their band, to be denied the traditional male license to be a derelict permaflaneur (because this is totally about sex and has never been about class), and to date a romantic derelict with a guitar who turns out to be emotionally hostile or distant or flaky or unstable or some shit. A woman, she tells us, can have a guitar, too.

Don’t look at me all weird for publishing Gerry and the Heartstoppers “tunes.” I’m not involved in any of the above horseshit. True story: I once got halfway involved in a love triangle with a bipolar chick whose main boyfriend, the one she wouldn’t disclose to her parents because they were Catholic and he was a Jewish atheist, met her because he was working on a documentary about Charlie “Murder is the Charge!” Robertson and she was babysitting for the district attorney. That whole thing was a dumpster fire by week four or five. I turned into a horrible emotional mess when it undeniably failed. I didn’t publish a fucking sob song about it and then go on NPR. Neither did I ever, nor do I plan to ever, pollute the Anglophone songbook with emo shit about how the thicc Jewess with the dead sexy Chicagoland accent who probably wanted to fuck me but I couldn’t tell because she turned me off with what seemed to be her idea of foreplay, specifically, pushing all five fingernails against my kneecap, hard, and spreading them out in unison.

This shit doesn’t need to be on NPR. It’s why we have YouTube and blogs. If you’re feeling (Mos)sad about these things, sing a song, and you’ll feel better, and I’ll feel better if you keep it to your damn self. It makes all too much sense that Fleetwood Mac’s “Sara” is a wistful pro-life ballad. Are we all supposed to be sad that what’s-her-name aborted the Henley brat? It was, like, forty years ago, and it wasn’t our fucking kid. Do we really have to keep hearing about that? Some family friends, also Baby Boomers, who were dating back then eventually had a child because they got queasy about the repeated abortions that resulted from their unplanned pregnancies, and now they have grandkids, but again, they didn’t commemorate it in a fucking acoustic storm.

Speaking of desperadoes, etc., it seems that the Henley fellow was inspired to vomit out his own god-awful bit of musical moralizing about the wrongfulness of gossip because he was starting to be accused of being a mob-adjacent Roy Moore-grade Quaalude teenybopper. Or, as Rex Tillerson might say, moron this shortly.

We’d all do better if the entirety of our public discourse about family values or the lack thereof were a Socratic monologue with Ali G.: “Sex: what is it all about? And babies: what is THAT all about? Is it good, or is it wack?” The moment people with opinions on this shit try to express them in cultural media, we end up with mewling assholes getting airtime in Redding to sing about letting all the babies be born. That shit won’t stop abortion. It will, however, degrade music.

None of these fuckheads, on either side of our wedge issues, is making society better through artistic advocacy. It isn’t a Satanic red herring to point out that allowing elevated levels of lead to persist in public drinking water supplies, and not just in Flint, either, has horrible effects on prenatal, neonatal, and childhood health and development. Hardcore pro-lifers put me off with their shrillness and enemy-of-the-good idealistic extremism, but I am not concern-trolling the movement by pointing out that their failure to raise hell over the contamination of water supplies right here in the United States demonstrates their insincerity and incoherence. Lead contamination is causing women to miscarry when they want to carry their babies to term. Ritually yelling at the Congress and the Supreme Court every spring doesn’t do a damned thing to remedy this ongoing disaster. You might as well take the youth ministry group down to the Tidal Basin to contemplate life and death, time and eternity, and the gratuitous sexuality of fruitless flowering ornamental plants under the cherry trees. I might as well go down to the Capitol Mall in Sacramento to contemplate how bitchin’ Senegal date palms are under the Senegal date palms. The rains can bless that, too, right here, right now. Alternately, we can bless the sprinkler system, only to have the state turn parts of it off for months on end to show Californians what a dry lawn looks like. #TheMoreYouKnow.

The Boomers are great for anyone who wants to listen to complaints about how having children is terrible and also not having children is terrible, and the only possible way to resolve this existential crisis is public art therapy. The pro-life vs. pro-choice standoff is not all that much more than two dueling lobbies of bougies with too much time and disposable income on their hands defaming one another for the feels. If they wrote “Anything Helps, God Bless” on their signs instead, they might get a positive return on their investments, but hooray for our signs, amirite. On our leading public radio afternoon arts show, the antinatalist-turned-natalist of these complaints get mixed up with grievances about how, aw oyt, mate, back when I was twenty Oy had some mates who were in me band and they didn’t act like Oy was to’ally one of them because me was a chick, not a bloke. Yeah, not having a perfect clique of friends in one’s teens and twenties is possible only for chicks, not for dudes.

Terry Gross could have asked, so, like, do you have cousins or siblings who have kids, so you could maybe, like, be involved in their lives instead, you know, but that would have been off-topic in a discussion about how the coordination of one’s own family planning, feminism, and possible woke polyamorous lesbianism is le hard and merits the more than occasional song. Plus, it would upset the neoliberal apple cart to question the breaking up and dispersion of what would otherwise be intact extended families. If we discover that this is deleterious for Limey cunts with disposable income, we might discover that it’s really bad for indigent New Orleanians, and if that happened we might start voting for elected officials who scandalize NPR’s sponsors.

There are from time to time artists who can cover these themes appropriately: Croce, Joel, Rodriguez, Winehouse. None of them are this emo Limey cunt who just spent most of an hour on the radio, more like Whinehouse, I have to say. It isn’t due to the Jews; look at the Jews we embargo in this discourse. Sure, half-Jews, mostly, but that never stopped Jeff Bezos from being absoslute piece of shit. If I’m off dicking some hooker who already has kids, at least I’m not singing piss-ass songs about the piddling deficiencies of my family life when I could be devoting my energy to expressing more serious grievances that might be resolvable instead, and neither is the hooker. The only song we need about that is the one about how they tried to make me go to Rahab.

I’m probably pissing into the wind by mouthing off about NPR again when I know where to find wild bay laurel three miles from here, but at least I just missed half of Fresh Air, all of that fucking Boston international relations dorkfest with the Werman twerp, and the first broadcast of Marketplace. I also missed a rare opportunity to meet Donna Apidone, Devin Yamanaka, and Randall White People in person at New Helvetia. Now, how DO I keep misspelling that man’s name? I have no idea what’s happening, Randall; I’m just a fat cracka who spends too much time on the light rail. I could have actually fucking met these fools today; not sure I’d have had to pay for the honor, in which case no way in hell was I meeting any of them. Say what you will about my knowing who they are and how to spell their names; that can’t say anything good about me. Just remember this: what bougies who maybe didn’t have kids when they should have need is friends or therapists; they don’t need platforms or audiences, and you don’t need that set of fucking Cap Radio pint glasses.

What’s going on, Ed, back home in SoCal is better than any of this shit up here. I really have to go, though, both because I’ve had enough internet for the afternoon and because it’s that time of day again when there are updates at least every half hour regarding legal developments involving the President’s outside counsel, the dirty movie lady, and maybe even that prune-ass sticky-fingered roller shithead from the Auburn Police Department. No time for a roast, Joey; this is civics.

13:12 to Tombstone: great Los Angeles detective work with the other Lyle M.

When you’re investigating a homicide–maybe not you specifically, and certainly not me, lol; it ain’t me, Lawd, it ain’t me on the fast track to RHD–but still, when you’re investigating a homicide, you always want to ask the victim’s loved ones about who they think may have had a motive to kill. If the victim’s father then tells you that you ought to look into the victim’s husband’s ex-girlfriend because she’s a crazy jealous stalker, you’ll want to look into the jilted ex, the policewoman scorned, if you will.

Lol jk, of course you wouldn’t do that. Dad’s been watching too much TV. Duh. The Valley home invasion crew must be back on its bullshit again. It’s not like cops ever have temper problems that cause them to snap and kill anyone, and besides, it would be crazy to focus on an LAPD beat cop just because she used to date the victim’s husband and took the breakup so hard that she showed up on the hospital floor where the victim worked as a nurse to yell at her about the man they couldn’t share. It must have been the Latin home invasion squad that bit the victim like a cougar and didn’t take any of the electronics. That’s what home invasion robbers do to victims they’ve never met: leave behind all the cool shit they could stuff in a van to pawn later and have a woman bite the homeowner so hard that she leaves DNA and tooth marks. It must have been the local Latino lowlives, both of them male and otherwise basically interested in breaking in and jacking shit, who had the motive to do that.

Dad’s been watching too much TV.

Everyone who tries to justify bad cops as “just a few bad apples” twists that proverb until it’s totally FUBAR. The original proverb teaches that a few bad apples are all it takes to rot the entire barrel. The point is blunt: don’t put anything rotten in there, because if you do, it will spoil everything else beyond redemption. *Artfully licentious Stephanie Lazarus voice* It’s pronounced “Rutten.” It took the LAPD two decades to reopen the Sherri Rae Rasmussen homicide case after the original lead detective, Lyle Mayer, botched it the first time, and by the time the department got around to it, Lazarus, the one Mayer should have taken seriously as a suspect the first time, was working on the same open-plan floor at Parker Center as the Robbery-Homicide Division, the top-level detective division normally responsible for investigating the city’s most sensitive homicide cases.

Once the LAPD reopened the Rasmussen case, it did a great job, and Stearns and Jaramillo reported for work dressed for success. Mayer, dogshit though he was the first time around, cooperated at trial. The problem was that he fucked the case up so badly in 1986 that by the time the LAPD got around to picking it out from its thousands of other cold cases, the suspect was working on the same fucking floor as RHD, so the task force investigating Lazarus needed to maintain D-Day-level operational secrecy until she’d been placed under arrest. That’s why the investigation was run out of an unmarked conference room in the San Fernando Valley and no part of it was brought back downtown until the morning of the arrest.

Imagine, if you can, the utter clusterfuck that would have been possible if Lazarus had been promoted into RHD herself. She wasn’t some no-name slacker biding time until she could retire. Other than her own homicide background, she was perfectly up to RHD’s standards. When she was arrested, she was one of two detectives on the art theft detail, in ways a more elite and selective detail than RHD, and her senior partner, Don Hrycyk, said she was hands-down the most skilled partner he’d ever had in that assignment. Statistically, Lazarus had a higher chance of making RHD than Art Theft, just like any other LAPD detective, and she probably had a better than departmental average chance of getting into RHD, given that she was assigned to Art Theft because she was good at her job, not because the brass liked to use her detail as a lemon bin for the long-term storage of useless lifers who weren’t blatantly bad enough to fire.

This is one of the craziest things about the Lazarus saga: she was in most regards an exceptionally good cop. It’s wrong to downplay or excuse murder, but by most accounts Lazarus really had her shit together, did her job well, and was reasonably socially popular around Parker Center. God knows there’s worse infesting most US police departments, murderers or not. So, no, I am not here to begrudge a one-time murderer with a functionally zero recidivism risk her career or her pension (more workers should get pensions), and I’m not here to preen about how she finally got what was coming her way. The American penal state is wildly out of control, and Lazarus’s sentence is an element of this metastasis, although a fairly minor one.

I don’t know how to properly balance justice, mercy, and deterrence in this case; I wish I did. The one thing I can say with some confidence is that the Lazarus case is an argument for a statute of limitations in murder cases. If we’re to apply any sense of proportionality or timeliness in a case like this, justice delayed by over two decades is justice denied, and this is true for all involved.

What we’re really facing here is much more than a single murderer who managed not to get caught at the time and go on to have an exceptionally successful career as a police officer. This shit is structural, and it’s ugly. The LAPD’s initial investigation into the Rasmussen case was a total clusterfuck. It isn’t adequate just to dunk on Lyle Mayer. He fucked up something fearsome, but that doesn’t explain what the hell his bosses were doing. Supervisors are supposed to, you know, supervise. It doesn’t have to be TV-ready hard-ass soldier-of-the-law horseshit (remember, the Detective quite dislikes the medium); all that was really needed, and in this case lacking, was someone in Mayer’s chain of command to check in on his work and either make sure that he was doing an adequate job or reassign it to someone else who knew how the fuck to investigate such a case. A chill as fuck lieutenant who never speaks to subordinates in a raised voice or gets on anyone’s ass over stupid shit could have pulled that off quite easily. None of this requires escalating outbursts of “Elliot: my office” caterwauling.

The pooch-screwing in the initial investigation involved a lot more than Mayer’s personal deficiencies. A competent chain of command will notice when an individual detective is having difficulties for whatever reason or just not doing a good job and take action to make sure that someone does the job right. If a competent chain of command had been in place during the original investigation, Mayer could have been the most hapless detective on the force and it wouldn’t have mattered, because someone would have made sure that he wasn’t in a position to personally fuck the file up for the next twenty years.

Maybe the LAPD really just had its thumbs up its ass in the eighties, but let’s temper our charity and try to think straight. All the ugly shit the department was doing in South Central at the same time suggests otherwise, sometimes very much so, and the Rasmussen cold case neatly brackets the exposure of the Rampart Division scandal, which featured a bunch of cops turning into on-the-job drug dealers, gang thugs, and habitual evidence planters and was exposed when one of the officers involved was caught stealing cocaine from an evidence locker.

*Palpitating Rob Ford voice* Well, now, I’ve never been against a free snack myself.

It’s getting to the point that it’s no longer even rare for a cop to be arrested for murder decades after the fact, what with Joseph DeAngelo now being behind bars in, how how dah, a local election year. When Russell Williams killed two women, it was considered a pattern of murder. California police have now arrested two cops within a decade for murder in cold cases, and it’s practically a certainty that these are not the only two cops to have gotten away with murder recently in the United States. I’d say it’s a fucking pattern.

At least two current NYPD officers on long-term administrative assignments are credible suspects in the Long Island Craiglist serial murders. Amateur armchair detectives have researched and identified them because the actual detectives aren’t doing a hell of a lot to solve these cases. God only knows, it may be someone else, and for what it’s worth I’m sitting in a hard wooden chair right now even though every armchair in this Starbucks is free. The Long Island case offers a double layer of protection, assuming that a cop or cops are behind it, thanks to the longstanding Anglo-American police tradition, current in Canada as well, of not investigating the murders of prostitutes. In addition to the NYPD rubber room guys, a violent ex-Suffolk County Police Chief, James Burke, has been suspected in these murders. Burke is the guy who went to federal prison for beating another guy up for stealing his duffel bag full of porn and sex toys. I thought about not looking that up, but I’m glad I did; Joey Buttafuoco isn’t the only fun one around there.

It isn’t crazy to question whether the police are actually looking for murderers among their own. The LAPD waited for a secular drop in violent crime to reopen the Rasmussen case even though Rasmussen’s own parents had identified Stephanie Lazarus as the prime suspect from the start. Joseph DeAngelo was a fucking prune who had spent 27 years working in a warehouse by the time the East Area Rapist, Etc. task force hauled his ass downtown.

They keep saying that collateral DNA from a genealogy website is how they finally found him. The civil rights and civil liberties problems with this strategy are disturbing, but what’s really pertinent in this case is how the fuck a crack task force needed to circle in using evidence from relatives that had not been kept in any chain of custody whatsoever and weren’t able to notice that DeAngelo had been fired by the Auburn Police Department for shoplifting that hammer and dog repellent in Citrus Heights.

This isn’t a case of the Santa Monica Police Department not telling the LAPD that Stephanie Lazarus had reported her gun stolen. That much sounds like pure incompetence and interagency disorganization; the SMPD had no reason to guess that Old Smokey might have been treated to a permanent cool change on the shoreline for evidentiary reasons. The EAR case was one where all agencies involved swore they were doing everything they could to chase down fresh leads and stop siloing information, and meanwhile this creep was sitting right under their fucking noses with local arrest and police disciplinary records, cursing at neighbors, mumbling to himself, cooking his roast.

It’s great to know that the sheriff’s detectives will take the roast out of the oven before they take the cook downtown. It’s really encouraging that they’re more organized than Levi Johnston in grandma and grandpa’s kitchen. Surely this proves that the Sacramento County law enforcement apparatus was there all along to communicate, not to communicate to create.

Oh. That again. What a shock. I’m not gonna lie, I’m no Mountie. But yes, these are all professionals whose motives and abilities and accountability to the public we can trust without reservation. They’re here to serve us, and I can’t imagine that there’s ever been a Twilight Zone episode about that.