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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Gerald Ford at Heaven’s Gate

One of the most haunting Inside Baseball stories to emerge from modern American political life is the story of Gerald Ford telling his golfing buddies that he was sure he would go to hell for pardoning Richard Nixon. This story was publicized by Hunter S. Thompson, a man who famously found his own measure of peace towards the end after a career of fastidiously measured commentary, so we can make of it what we will, but the possibility that it wasn’t 100% bildungsroman fiction or otherwise total bullshit gives me pause.

The implications are eerie. Most glaringly, Ford had resigned himself to his own looming damnation because he had a conscience. Without one, he would not, as they say, have given a damn. Whatever he was feeling, whatever combination of regret, haunting, fatally poor judgment in a time of crisis, or tragic political destiny, these were the thoughts of a man capable of moral thought and willing to engage in it despite the fear and the pain.

Or, as his incidental biographer would say, the loathing. By the way, did you know that the hippie Boomer swarm now has earnest hagiographies of Thompson on film? You probably didn’t want to know that, but you do now. #TheMoreYouKnow, assholes. Incorrigibly parasitic and belligerently entitled Boomer shitheads living vicariously through the storied moral clarity of their tortured mad-genius auteur senpai is always a scene of beauty. Truly this is a tapestry that ought to be chucked into the fucking wood stove once we’re done burning the all the combustible death-trap fixtures on the commune, since it really isn’t and never has been one. Not that it would necessarily be a bad idea to burn it all down at once, or that I have any idea what 1946 birth cohort ever gave an uppity youngster like me the concept of arson as praxis.

Sure, Thompson could be legit wack, and he was temperamentally one to comingle fact and opinion, but the essay of his that I linked ran in the Atlantic, which employs professional fact-checkers, so that probably isn’t just a cock-and-bull story that the old boy made up for the moral force or the lulz. And as I said, it’s haunting. In the archival imagery, Ford consistently looks more at peace than many of his predecessors, especially Nixon and LBJ, and at least two of his successors, Bush II and Trump. He pulled some dipshits moves when he was in Congress, but in no way did that make him special, and it’s painful to imagine a man who completed his presidency with such public grace and decency quietly bearing such a burden in his old age.

The possibility that he was damned by his own conscience is even scarier. Does this mean that psychopaths, who are so numerous in politics, outmaneuver the judgment seat precisely because they are so soullessly evil? Do these ghouls actually corrupt the source code so utterly that they, of all people, can evade judgment? Given how demonically they carry on here on earth, it’s worth pondering, but not enjoyably so. If life is in fact the one-night stand that forever is not, think about what this may mean, and be thankful that I’m not meming Bryan Adams for thoughts on heaven. *Glen Campbell, back on the line, as he is from time to time* Well, I can’t say that dying didn’t at least spare me some of this ridiculous horseshit, but God help y’all if that fucker ever leaves the airport when he flies through Houston and is allowed near a computer after that. *I’m afraid this sidebar’s over.* Seriously, does Dick Cheney ever give these things a moment’s thought? W? Henry Kissinger?

All three are still among us. Kissinger looks like hell, whence so many think he came, and has for years, and yet he’s still hobnobbing with leaders who would be too embarrassed to associate with him in public if they didn’t hold the rest of us in dripping contempt. Ford wasn’t some It’s a Wonderful Life-ass nightgown cunt of a heavenly do-gooder, but the grotesque swathes of what came before and after him in high office make him look positively good, and we’ll never be able to grope our way to decent leadership again if we don’t keep the memories of what we’ve done halfway right in the past. I’m not trying to bitch and whine about the Donald as some special apocalyptic aberration, either; Jimmy Carter is the only successor to Ford in the presidency to date who had the decency not to flagrantly degrade their office for scandalously crude and selfish reasons. If Ford thought he was going to hell for what he did in office and no other modern president felt likewise after examining his own conscience, that speaks eloquently well of Ford and terribly of the others.

What makes this story really perverse is that Ford was sure that he would be damned because he had shown mercy. This may have something to say about the nature of mercy and its flaws, but what it really speaks to is the sheer dysfunction and perversion of American politics. The crux of Ford’s guilt for pardoning Nixon was that he had established moral hazard. This would be a much more compelling argument if Tricky Dick hadn’t just been driven from office by a Congress outraged enough to impeach him. Congress hadn’t even had to follow through with a trial and removal from office; the threat to do so had been adequate. Nixon had already faced a significant measure of justice and accountability; resignation in lieu of trial has always been an option for officials facing impeachment, because impeachment is expressly a mechanism to compel sitting executive officials to prove their fitness for office when a quorum of legislators question it.

The crooks and thugs who eventually followed the Nixon Administration included some real choice pieces of shit, but Ford had no way to predict any of that. There was no way to predict Oliver North by extrapolating from Chuck Colson. There was no way to extrapolate Reagan as president from anyone who preceded him in that office, and it would have been extremely difficult to predict his policies as president from those he pursued as the governor of California. The only arc that anyone could have followed without functionally supernatural powers of observation and prediction was that Sunset in America would continue to be a vapid dogwhistling bullshitter. Not a decade after Ford’s retirement, the Republican Party started going in a direction that had nothing to do with him or those around him. Ford was never the one collecting the country’s worst religious busybody wackos, starve-the-beast supply-side asshats, and latter-day robber baron scumbags.

The fundamental mistakes in Nixon’s aftermath weren’t even his to make. Ford had retired after an exceedingly long career in public office, and sensibly and decently so. No one anywhere else on the political spectrum had the power or the political skill to stop the unsavories from commandeering the GOP and redirecting it to their ill ends. By the time Congress started seriously demolishing its credibility as stewards of the powers of impeachment and removal, Ford was quite elderly and a critical mass of his nominal fellow-travelers in the GOP had no interest in what he thought of their mummery and grandstanding. The Clinton impeachment, followed as it was by the Bush, Obama, and Trump nonimpechments, did a great deal of damage to the credibility of national political norms, but that wasn’t on Gerry Ford. The sexually repressed wacko hardliners in the GOP brought articles of impeachment over a blowjob, and since none of Slick Willie’s successors have been impeached for extreme civil liberties and due process violations or verbal outbursts of gross public immorality, a norm has been established that impeachment is an impotent mechanism (giggity) for loudmouths with skeletons in their own closets to use when they’re butthurt that the president is getting too much action from his plump Jewess.

*Larry Craig, taking the typical wide stance* I wasn’t jealous of HIM, you naughty little twerp! When our leadership class has recently included such gems as Gateside Downlow, J. Denny Dundiddly, and the Third Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Secessions, we’d be jerks to try to lower the boom on Gerald Ford, or to agree with him for being so painfully hard on himself and so despairing of his own fitness for godly mercy.

Honestly, Ford should have gone to mass. He should have gone to Rosary gatherings. There wasn’t any need for him to convert, but that was a man whose inherited Protestant faith failed to provide him the guidance he needed through an especially difficult moral quandary that would have tried any president. Carter has never noticeably been failed by his Baptist faith, nor was Nixon by his Quakerism, but Ford would have been well advised to go to mass and the Rosary, find an out-of-the-way seat, and listen and be still. He needed that. He was a prominent object lesson on why we pray for our dead.

To be sure, he would have made a great first Catholic ex-president. That would have been badass as fuck. By Zapruder we haven’t had one yet, no matter how fervent we may insist that we would cherish him above Ruby. Tricky Dick would have made himself a respectable credit to the faith, too; peace at the center isn’t exactly Catholic, but it’s close enough. (Mainly it’s too Anglo-Saxon in its phrasing.) No, I’m not trying to be cute or start a flame war or anything. The old crook knew that he was troubled. He was humble enough to recognize that he had gotten grandiose. Besides, much of the reason why he looks so bad is that his contemporaries in Congress were assertive enough to hold him to account. They didn’t just talk about booting his ass out of the White House, as they feebly and ridiculously do these days when Trump mouths off with his latest heinous outburst.

If you want a scandalously bad RCIA hotshot candidate, try Mocha Haole in all his chameleonic smugness. Try the Big Dog or LBJ, both of them incorrigibly slippery Dixie sleazeballs. Go figure that it wasn’t a man of chastity or decorum who showed up in Washington with those initials. As he supposedly said, banging his fist on the table, I’ve had more damn women by accident than the Kennedys have had on purpose! Whether he said that or not, that’s truer than Gerald Ford’s irreversible and eternal damnation, and if we’ve five minutes to put Signora up against the wall in this, our time, rightly divided, we oughtn’t spend it praying for any of those three because they perhaps came to some grief in an indulgence of horn.

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.

Every day is a day of giving for the Dunkin’ Doorman

FGloria in fucking excelsis, Dickinson College will be having some student phone banker cold-call me on Tuesday for its fourth annual “Day of Giving.” Or, in my case, eleventh or so annual year of not giving. I should get a response script ready, something along the lines of fuck you and fuck all y’all for harassing me over the damn phone. Think of it as a life lesson for the young’uns about how scummy jobs SHOULD be unpleasant. These kiddos are obviously involved in some shitty grunt work, and I feel some faint empathy for them as low critters on that gross totem pole, but cold-calling strangers to pester them for donations to a pushy, already overfunded school full of yuppie shitheads should be unpleasant. It’s not like they’re working in an honest field like food service or retail. That’s where it’s wrong for the customer to shit on the grunts if they’re doing a half-decent job. I’m no longer a fucking customer, and cold-calling random people who may or may not have the money or the interest to harden up the Big Dick is never a decent job. #TeshTips: I ain’t got neither no more, cracka.

Fundraising wasn’t always so fucking crass and gross. I’m old enough to remember a time when it was tolerably tactful and considerate. It didn’t always have the feel of a squad of goombahs beating everyone over the head with a shovel.

To this day I’ve never gotten that sense from the fundraising efforts of *MY OTHER OLD SCHOOL*, Lancaster Country Day. The worst thing I can recall to that effect was a rather crass open letter from Mike Mersky enthusing about the great largesse released into our fine institution by the recent death of a major benefactress. This letter was a bit gross, but Country Day got its four and a half mil or whatever, and Mersky mercifully shut his damn mouth.

In the time that I’ve been involved with Dickinson, its fundraising stance has basically been the eternal recitation of that fucking letter, ne’er the foul flame to dim. Even so, the school has ventured into forms of individual and crowd manipulation that are novel even by the worst excesses of the Durden years. The dedicated days of giving, by whatever name some asshole decides to give them, are more numerous and aggressive than they were. The upcoming Day of Giving includes, according to an e-mail I was sent, two separate two-hour challenges to unlock matching gifts and three other day-long challenges to unlock additional matching gifts. Keep in mind that the Dickinson College endowment was worth over $400m last I checked when I tell you that the grand total in matching gifts that we will be able to unlock if we win all these ridiculous races is $80,000. That’s it. $80k. If you’ve got an airsickness bag within reach, consider that the total pot waiting at the end of the rainbow if we band together to win the “Rush Hour Challenge” between 0700 and 0900 EDT, and the “Power Lunch Challenge” between 1200 and 1400, is $20k. $10k a pop if we all keep our eyes on these beautiful prizes, baby.

That’s the kind of money you’d get for burning down your fucking trailer. I mean the entire amount. The average self-respecting Adirondack Po’ Whitey isn’t about to light that match for a mere twenty grand. We’re talking about North English and Canuck losers who never leave town and let their dogs fuck in the front yard by the state highway all day long and still know how to collect more from a strategically insured trailer fire than Baltimore’s leading commercial real estate brokers are willing to front in challenge grants for their prestigious undergraduate alma mater. Cousin Gigolo’s mother, the same hard old bull dyke who called my mother with a sob story about how she’d just moved to Fort Myers to shack up with a lady she’d met online and had but $5.90 in her bank account, never took her own father to the bank for less than ten grand a trip. That was the story, at least: she’d tell him that she was taking him to Florida, he’d defiantly sit down on the lawn in front of his house, she’d berate him until he finally got up and let her drive them to Glens Falls National for a counter withdrawal on their way south, and she’d compromise on the Florida part of the trip by driving him right back home.

We’re talking about a lady whose known prostitute of a son is too bashful to demand a ten spot as his stud fee, I mean, shit, she’s letting me stay in this crappy apartment just for banging her. Nah, for all I know Cousin Gigolo sob-talks walking-around money out of his landlady in a less direct fashion; whatever works, etc. Regardless, his mother, whose cash on hand has been below six dollars as an adult, got as much per bank errand out of her father, a notorious government cheese claimant, as the total at stake in each of four of the five matching-gift challenges that Dickinson is dangling in front of us to motivate us to generosity.

You know what? Fuck that to hell. Get out of my fucking face with that horseshit. I’m not dancing for nickels like one of Cher’s Gypsies for any of these shitheads. I write this having just been out on Foresthill Road scavenging deposit bottles again. The point is that that’s a cash stream that I get to keep. That’s for my own damn self. I’m not getting guilted into “unlocking” a pissant little pot of matching funds equivalent to about two months of Margee Ensign’s salary. Hound someone else for that shit. Either Jennifer Ward Reynolds gives Dickinson the money or she doesn’t. My diploma does me jack shit on a good day, so why the fuck is that my concern?

Geez, even if I were getting something back professionally and socioeconomically from that deal I don’t think I’d care to be bothered with stories about how we need only ten more pledges from all of you to unlock this ten thousand-dollar matching gift. I’ve never given NPR the last thin dime I schnorred off George Benson, and I still turn the fucking radio off when those assholes are hawking their pint glasses with the portraits of Devin Yamanaka and Randol White People.

Well, now, how DOES that line keep showing up here? These development office asshats just have to act like Jack Bauer has only until the bottom of the hour to find the terrorist bagman, including commercial breaks, and something bad will happen if he doesn’t. Yeah, in this case “bad” means that some rich bitch doesn’t give our dear fucking alma mater another lump-sum gift of ten grand right here, right now. Besides, how many of these influence peddlers actually get all like, fuck you, gimme back my fucking stuff, OJ in Las Vegas en route to Winnemucca style, when they can quietly sign over that same kitty to Noble Dickinsonia regardless of the outcome for the same “charitable” deduction on their income taxes, the same recognition, and the same in-kind consideration when they need their skids greased?

I could do without these clown-ass fuckjobs blowing sunshine up my ass, and everyone else’s, about what the pot they’re dangling in front of our faces will be worth to its intended recipients and the actual conditions of its donation. They’re deliberately running a cheap scam on everyone who’s too lazy or gullible to do the arithmetic by throwing numbers at us without context and assuming that we’ll be amazed. I’m not the fucking retard who doesn’t divide by 2,500 and 365 to get an idea of what shit’s actually worth. The entire amount Dickinson raised with this same one-day stunt last year worked out to about a dollar per enrolled student per calendar day for the calendar year. Bump it up quick and dirty to two bucks a day per day for the academic year and, don’tcha fucking know, it’s still jack shit. I’ve studied the humanities deeply enough not to need any more math than that. That’s the kind of money that is regarded as scandalous deep poverty in parts of the world with dramatically lower costs of living than the United States.

The psychology behind this scam is something that should embarrass every college graduate. We’re expected to have a rush of feeling thinking about what we’d do with that pot of money if we had it to ourselves. That’s interesting, since the amounts that we’re “unlocking” are to be divided in some fashion among a student body of over two thousand. We might as well wonder why New York City has a larger municipal budget than Crete, Nebraska, where the California Zephyr rolls by the Dairy Queen at 60 miles an hour at two in the morning. One would hope that a bunch of brain geniuses like us would recognize that Dickinson College has a larger operating budget than the median household and that maybe the eighty grand in matching gifts that we’re being berated to trigger by doing a song and dance on command is the per-capita equivalent of what I gross in half an hour by picking up Modelo tall boy empties off the roadside.

No shit I’d be grateful if someone gave me $10k in a lump sum out of the blue and would be able to do something worthwhile with it. When my parents gave me $15k and Progressive gave me $3,600 to replace my totaled Civic, I got a new car and earned $35 in interest over the next year, and that was without constant extreme frugality. But I’m not a fucking liberal arts college.

Like hell am I about to perform like a fucking circus animal over several trifling amounts of money for a school that doesn’t need any of it. I’d steward any amount up to and beyond the $80k in matching gifts that are supposedly at stake next week better than Dickinson will, and I’d be more grateful for it. An institution with several hundred million in the bank is trying to get its entire donor pool to perform on command for an additional million or less, the crucial portion of that being only $80k. It’s rather like Jeff Bezos rewarding employees who live in tents and unheated trailers with cookies for winning “Power Hour.” Saturday night Rick Astley power hour was all right, but it’s a bright red flag when that sort of language creeps into fundraising or business, especially coming from bigtime organizations. Anyone deploying cheap psych-motivational tricks in that fashion has all the combined good repute of Graham Spanier and Radovan Karadzic. WE ARE!

Uh, genocide, and I’ve never heard of shampoo?

This is why I should be flying a sign at the rest area right now. I reckon I’ve already done more this week to abate invasive weeds and pick up trash off the roadside than Bill Durden has done all year, and I’m not all up in anyone’s face at Dickinson demanding money. I pick pennies up off the sidewalk because they’re worth something, so, yeah, I’d say I know the value of $80,000. So do our North Country firebug friends from above. I wouldn’t put it past all of them to take out six-figure property insurance policies on trailers that any of you would agree ought to be burned to the ground. As they always said in Soviet Russia, insurance fraud is the crime that pays for YOU!

Then again, Dickinson College runs frauds that don’t require it to pay a single month’s premium. So did Melissa Ann Shepard. So, I suppose, does Sweet Melissa of the Maritimes to this day. She isn’t the only one to know that the internet abides and facilitates all possible vices in our wondrous time. Call the Halifax Police into the library if you don’t like that. Dickinson, remember, still has me on its fucking e-mail list. That’s the only reason I was provoked to barf out any of this shit in the first place.

GO DIPLOMATS!

This ain’t debate club

Let’s talk about NPR again, why don’t we. Why not is because it’s fucking hideous, but I still feel this painful calling to chronicle the horror show as I unfortunately witness it. Tonight’s misfortune was on my way to a 5:00 pm mass. Get me to the church on time next time, Bowie. Missing half of a much better than average homily was bad enough (I’m Catholic, so it’s hit and miss; some would say mostly miss), but there was no call for the penance into which I blundered for having fucked up a day’s worth of planning and scrambled to do emergency laundry at four o’clock: to wit, Michel Martin playing devil’s advocate with a talking head from the Kaiser Family Foundation about how maybe it’s morally formative to force Medicaid recipients to work, since a work requirement would, I believe it was, “bring the program into line with private-sector health insurance, in which you lose your insurance if you lose your job.”

Where do they fucking find these ghoulish counterpoints? Who in the hell, and I do mean hell, are they turning to for political thought? Is this really what they consider balance? NPR forced me to side with some random policy shop nobody who holds a sinecure to talk the story of the great effectiveness of our new Rube Goldberg health insurance exchanges. That’s how grotesquely vile their counterpoint for the sake of argument was. Kaiser is bullshit, but bullshit is better than eternal slavedriving.

How do these stupid motherfuckers not notice that we have a serious national problem, dating back to barely after the first Anglo settlement of the American colonies, with forcing people to work? There are certainly those who would racially inflame this discussion by pointing out that Michel Martin is black, and even so I don’t think it’s wrongheaded or off-base to wonder how she, of all people, as an African-American who doesn’t seem like a total ignoramus about American history, managed to miss the glaring slavery background inherent in her question, but really, this is something that every fucking one of us should immediately recognize as an American and absolutely refuse to dignify. No one who was raised as an American, US citizen or not, should grant that line of argument the least bit of moral or intellectual legitimacy. We’ve spent our entire national history screwing that dog raw. Regimes in other countries have gone beyond the moral pale in their own efforts to make compulsory the dignity of work (Arbeit macht frei much?), but our national history is, shall we say, especially special, and the recentness of it all particularly unpleasant.

It doesn’t even take a very deep reading of the history to recognize that it’s peculiar to our white-black relations only when African-Americans are the only poor available for immediate exploitation; the master class will enthusiastically force atrocious, even dangerous, even deadly, working conditions on white indentured servants, white sharecroppers, Chinese coolies, braceros, unaffiliated Mexican peasant immigrants, or Somali refugees the moment any of these become available.

This should be basic shit. If our schools and mainstream media were any good, it would be. The principle needed here isn’t very complicated: DO NOT FORCE OTHERS TO WORK. Some creepy shithead fondling a little whip in his pocket will show up with a story about how there’s work to be done and there are still lazy or greedy people loafing about without the enthusiasm to do it on capital and management’s conditions. What can we say in reply? DO NOT FORCE OTHERS TO WORK. This has to be nonnegotiable. We’re perennially damned as a nation because it is not.

As a sidebar, but not much of one, this same evil slavedriving impulse is totally why capital and management are so taken with immigrant workers and so hostile towards old-stock African-Americans. It’s accurate enough to say that none of them give a shit about the welfare of any of the poor, let alone their dignity; the exceptions are pathetically weak and contingent upon mealymouthed provisos about how these great bleeding-heart conservatives respect immigrants because they’re so hardworking, i.e., not a bunch of lazy white trash and niggers. The Community, or at least a large part of it, knows its own history and understands in its soul and its bones exactly how and why it’s evil in the American context to force another person to work, and more than a few members of Po’ Whitey get it, too. I’ll be damned, then, if I’ll go along with the solemn pieties about immigrant virtue mouthed by landowning shitheads who are predictably gushing about “our wetbacks” the moment they think the mike has gone cold. To hell with them.

Yes, that includes Jeff Flake. Pleasant conversational skills aren’t enough to make up for the permanent gentry campaign to import desperate scab labor without oversight, without regulation, and without consequence.

When intersectional bourgeois-aristocratic mouthpieces like Michel Martin talk about bringing other people’s circumstances “in line with” one another, they always mean to degrade the less unfortunate ones to the level of the most unfortunate. Funny thing, they never try to do this with their own circumstances. Gee, I wonder fucking why. It couldn’t be that behind all their principled talk about efficiency and competition they’re always looking out for number one. Nah. Reading recklessly devious talking points on air in the form of quasi-rhetorical devil’s advocate questions in a sanitized Brahmin New English accent, give or take some half-assed ethnic or regional residue, can’t be a rare skill. Don’t tell me that if that bullshit were opened up to a competitive international market of workmanlike English speakers with adequate enunciation there’d be fewer applicants per opening at five dollars an hour than their are to do what I do for a living (sic, but much healthier) over the summer for three dollars an hour or so, four and change in a really solid hour. With 75 or 80% of those dipshits, if they went no-call-no-show and had to be replaced on an hour’s notice, it would be just about impossible to tell. If these shysters actually believed in meritocracy, they’d open Tom Friedman’s job up to competitive bids from all Anglophone writers capable of penning fourth-rate stories about the inane comments of some cabbie or airplane seatmate they supposedly chatted up the other day.

The precarity and pain are for other, lesser people, people like you and me. We go to the City Part of Town; they go to Michele Kelemen’s beloved tri-city area of Wa-Shing-Ton. By the way, that bitch is totally a spy. Themselves they level up; us they level down, and hard.

This is why the qualifications for Medicaid, a social insurance program established for the needy by political leaders who had no use for neoliberal nudge theory horseshit or any other psychopathic Rube Goldberg scams to allow the talented tenth to interfere with medical care for the most vulnerable, have to be “brought into line with” the most horrific operant conditioning campaigns used against a beleaguered, anxious, distressed middle class, in this case the worst aspects of employer-based health insurance. The assumption is that the middle class will resent, despise, and chomp at the bit to destroy the lower class for benefiting from a possibly superior insurance program, rather than demand that it be allowed to opt into the same government program or that the program be extended to everyone. This is not a problem that Medicare has: it covers all elderly Americans, regardless of income, and it is immensely popular. For the same reason, Medicare for All is a very popular proposal. More on this shortly, but not from NP Fucking R.

Only a stupid, vicious asshole who hasn’t studied jack shit about modern American healthcare history insists that employer-based health insurance is the gold standard and a time-honored, sacrosanct civic tradition. The entire fucking model, of course, was started by industrialists to outmaneuver wartime wage controls and attract workers in a tight labor market. If the United States had gone into the Second World War with universal government-provided health insurance, the fringe benefit might have been a free bowling alley or amusement park or whorehouse or gourmet cafeteria instead. As bad as it is losing the income and structure and purpose of a regular job, or the income of a terrible regular job, it’s worse to lose the fringe benefits and have to scramble to replace them at a higher cost on the open market. The Affordable Care Act, in many respects a shitty, useless, overhyped bill, pretty much fixed the access problem for insurance applicants who, prior to its enactment, had routinely been denied coverage on any available pretext by the insurance industry suits and their pet doctors. This much Obamacare has gotten right: no more rescission, and no more cherrypicking the risk pool at will. It’s actually an insurance system now, not a pure racket.

Lucky us, though, NPR is great for stupid, vicious assholes. That’s why I had to side with an omg wow muh marketplace industry talking head and against a nationally broadcast journalist interviewing her. Kaiser is pretty horseshit, as I can attest as its policyholder, and I normally have no patience for any of the loudmouthed useless eaters who stroke off to the thought of siloing their fellow citizens into barely navigable and comprehensible “markets,” but in this case she was right: the ACA allows people who have been laid off or fired from benefited jobs to replace their lost coverage much more easily than they previously could have done.

This was, as insurance companies and their policy shops go, honest. What it doesn’t do is explain why in all hell anyone at NPR thought it was appropriate to ask whether Medicaid eligibility should be leveled down to the precarity and hoop-jumping of employer-based health insurance. It doesn’t explain why NPR is that devious and evil. This is NPR’s idea of bipartisan balance and objectivity: a debate between neoliberal market fetishists and latter-day slavers. That’s what forcing other people to work is. It’s slavery. It has never been anything else in the American cultural context. Medicaid used to be about, you know, making sure that the poor could afford fucking medical care. Now, we’re told, it has to be a mechanism of operant conditioning to force the poor, commonly including the sick, to work. It’s an incentive now.

Tell me why we don’t “nudge” some moralizing useless eaters into the deep end of the Potomac as an “incentive” not to speak down to us in this fashion. Dear God. These creeps who carry on about the dignity of work don’t believe a damn bit of it. If they did, they’d be doing honest work and not jealously guarding whatever Capitol Hill or K Street tit they’ve spent their careers sucking for all it will yield. I have never had a job that required so little skill or tangible productivity, and I’ve never had a job that paid so well. This hot take is closer to news than Michele Martin’s interview with the Kaiser Family Foundation lady. No, I don’t care to look up her name, but that doesn’t make me less of a reporter than Martin is for devoting an entire segment to a zero-standards conversation with some random talking head. I don’t post chats with vulgar bigots who know nothing about the political and labor history of their own country on YouTube.

Note that the Opposing Viewpoint (TM) so crucially needed to balance whatever conservatism, liberalism, or raging reaction NPR is giving some guest a platform to air is never socialism. Maybe not never-never, but it’s pretty bloody close for a country whose most popular politician is a self-declared socialist who nearly won the Democratic Party presidential nomination and would have won the general election had  he done so. Bernie Sanders isn’t a reasonable counterpoint to a lukewarm, vaguely true story about how the Obamacare exchanges work great, but the talking points of slavedriving Republican creeps lurking in the shadows are.

The dirty little wide-open secret here is that the news media will never, ever be objective. The only people who take that shit seriously are journalists and publishers who don’t want the peasants catching on to their trade secrets. Spoiler: we’ve caught on. We know that drill. It isn’t some deep, shocking insight among workaday Americans that the media have biases and are partial to one side or another. Of course, holier-than-thou newsies get wicked salty at the gnawing realization that the little people think they aren’t on their side. In NPR’s current parlance, this means that we don’t stand with the facts.

Oh? Gee, the “dignity of work” as interpreted by career Beltway desk jockeys who consistently don’t seek honest, tangibly productive jobs isn’t a fucking fact. Republican talking points about making public assistance beneficiaries feel the same pain as harried salarymen who are too craven and chickenshit to demand their own no-questions-asked access to socialist benefits aren’t facts. Values and principles are not facts. Where the fuck did these idiots go to school? Nah, don’t try to answer that; it’ll be hella depressing.

And what are the values that these shysters do have? The worst ones possible, of course. These are the values holding that the liberty of Fremontian smallholders on the frontier has to be “brought into line with” the bondage of recalcitrant slaves having their backs extrajudicially lashed and brined by the overseer under the direct orders and supervision of Robert E. Lee. Somebody is being shown mercy and charity, and that has to be stopped. We can’t give anyone the idea that the government has a legitimate role providing for the needs of its constituents. They’d grow insolent. They’d grow civic.

No, this does not mean that no one works. Let’s get our heads out of our asses. The only people who believe shit like that are slavers. For God’s sake we could get another ten or twenty percent of our population back into the actual workforce, in the sense of actually working, by decommissioning our bloated, grotesque managerial apparatus, much of which can be traced directly back to the social control demands of antebellum chattel slavery. Everything about this is disingenuous and duplicitous. Everyone who scurries around sucking the cocks of “job creators” wants the “job creators” to be given carte blanche to hire the most desperate peasants on earth as scabs. The loudest proponents of the “dignity of work” all want work to be a space of belligerent indignity, starting with their endless list of reasons to deny applicants the opportunity to work. If it has dignity for a sober Mexican, it has dignity for an American junkie, too. Oh, don’t tell me: I’m proceeding from the assumption that this is all about getting done what one can get done when one isn’t jonesing for the goddamn dope right this minute, not about finding reasons to punish and degrade the vulnerable.

There is a LOT of S&M shit in these corners. I don’t have much hard evidence, but I know it when I see it, and ew, I’m getting a raging clue! These ghouls have dominatrices for the same reason that Dennis Rader had a selfie collection. Never has there been a thing sexier than a male code enforcement officer named Lynn, other than, you fucking guessed it, a sexy male nurse named Lynn. That’s majorsly fucked up, but it has John Dennis Diddly on Washington. Excuse me, I said put me in, Coach, not put me in Coach. The bondage script-flipping that these ghouls need isn’t one that they can purchase by the hour. What they need is to travel back to Kansas in 1890, walk into a grange hall, open their mouths, and have William Jennings Bryan literally beat the shit out of them with a riding crop.

Or we could be led by healthy, decent people, but that’s asking an awful lot.

You can be fired for getting diarrhea

Bear with me. This thing is about to go from gross to frighteningly pertinent.

It’s Good Friday night, and having broken the Lenten fast due to associations with the secular, my most grievous fault, etc., I’ve been on the shitter every quarter to half hour with a painful case of diarrhea. Did I ask anyone for urgent bowel movements that feel like anal rape from within? No. Do I accept this affliction as a form of communion with Christ’s passion and a forcible penance? Sure. It’s not like this wouldn’t be happening if I’d rather it didn’t. Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, lama sabachtha–na, that’s getting shrill.

No, this is not a Knausgaard story. That motherfucker didn’t have a point beyond gah I just took a big shit and gah I’m too neurotic and dysfunctional to call the front desk for a plumber. My point is that I was incapacitated, indisposed, as they used to periodically say about the ladies. It was painful and disruptive. Depending on the tense I should actually use, it is literally a pain in the ass. I’ve been dealing with this sickness whose origin and treatment I can’t discern, and it’s serious enough that it would interfere with any work I might be trying to do. It started an hour or two before I started writing this, and it seems to be abating already, but if I had to go to work or do anything else important tomorrow morning, the disruption this episode of diarrhea caused my sleep schedule might well make it impossible for me to function adequately or even safely. Trust me, it’s fucking painful.

That’s the crux of it, though, isn’t it? Countless bosses would not trust an employee who called in sick or late with this story, no matter its utter truth and sincerity. Oh, you’ve spent the last three days in the hospital being treated for a gunshot wound? Well, that’s three no-call-no-shows in a row. You should have called in sick. Three strikes and you’re out. No, I did not just make that up. I read about it, and I believe it. Or if you do call in sick because you’re actually sick you get fired for absenteeism. That happens, too. The stories are endless and utterly inexcusable. I’m surprised that there aren’t more accounts of women being fired for pregnancy, labor and neonatal absences, and minor menstrual problems. American bosses are vicious and lawless enough to do any and all of that, and they’re stupid enough. The good apples don’t purify the barrel; the bad ones poison it. A few years ago the HR asshats at Jim Beam, I believe it was, demanded that female production floor employees notify them when they were menstruating so that the company could monitor and deter abuses of employee bathroom breaks. The employees, very reasonably, raised a fuss. Giving paranoid, abusive shitheads in management that sort of personal information for their data-based enforcement efforts is like giving a chimpanzee a graphing calculator: any math that results will be gibberish, and you’re gonna get beamed with a fucking calculator. It’s the classic TMI-TI-TBI progression.

There’s no personal information or unpreventable bad circumstance that bad employers won’t use against their employees. It could be political leanings, social media activity that some nosy, easily scandalized piece of shit finds offensive, childcare or eldercare obligations, health problems. Anything. Two simple explanations for why management thinks it can act this way are that the unions are busted and gone and bad bosses don’t get sued often enough. Only with a set of fucking horse blinders does the United States even fleetingly look overly litigious. Sure, bogus cases can be found clogging up the courts, but what’s more revealing are the meritorious cases that are not pursued. Wrecking another person’s employment or housing situation from a position of power and wealth and then defaming that person when asked about what happened bloody well should result in a lawsuit. Any dumbass can tell that there will be significant financial and emotional consequences for the employee or tenant. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to recognize that the way to minimize the bad experiences for the aggrieved subordinate party and to simultaneously minimize one’s exposure to liability for mistreatment is not to be that predatory piece of shit in the first place. It’s a sign of the fatal meekness of the American citizenry that the slumlords and bad bosses who pull this shit aren’t constantly choking on pro se actions brought by those they’ve wronged. That’s what should happen to those who harass people under their authority and then blackmail them with dossiers containing disparaging information that is almost certainly misleading and rarely serves any purpose but libel.

The constant recurrence of situations like these is how we can tell that the grotesque national scandal falsely advertising itself as “conservatism” in the United States today is bursting at its every orifice and area of anatomical weakness with its own shit. If the deranged reactionary ghouls infesting our major parties, especially the GOP, believed in the necessity of work, they’d publicly and wholeheartedly rebuke every employer that puts up bogus neoliberal obstacles to jobseekers finding, landing, and holding jobs. They’d declare every stunt of the sort an inexcusable attack on the readiness and fitness of the workforce and the economic security of the nation. If they believed in or cherished the dignity of work, they’d be unmistakably livid with every managerial- and capital-class shithead who purposely degrades work conditions for underlings. They’d call it a moral outrage, and their outrage would be credible. They wouldn’t side with petty tyrants whose main skills, or only skills, are in mistreating those beneath them and fabricating personnel documents to justify their own predatory behavior.

Paul Ryan, who does not work at Burger King, expects fry cooks to be gushingly grateful for the job-creating benevolence bestowed upon them by wage-thieving franchisees and shift managers who have neither the urbane, diffident civility of Eichmann around the office nor the residual humanitarian impulses of Quisling before the Armenians and who also think it makes sense to treat serious oil burns with mayonnaise instead of keeping a first aid kit on hand and calling 911. I used to work in fast food. The job is at once low-skilled and demanding. Any ablebodied person of basically sound judgment and normal morals can do it adequately after a partial shift of on-the-job training, but it’s generally underpaid, consistently tiring, and impossible for anyone who isn’t engaged, attentive, awake, and alert. On top of all of this, there are no standards for managers and owners at any level.

What made that crappy job tolerable enough at Hersheypark was that management acted relieved to have us show up for our shifts and complete them without incident and no one with any floor responsibility acted like what we were doing was a fucking career with great advancement potential. Management wasn’t grandiose enough to act like there were qualifications for our line of work other than showing up about on time, following instructions halfway decently, and having basic manners. That was over a decade ago. I’m mostly flying blind about what it’s like in the same burger shacks today.

Take a look at who shows up to berate the help, active and would-be, for being deficient and ungrateful for shitty minimum-wage jobs. It isn’t bottom-rung floor employees, and it isn’t even very much low-level managers. It’s franchisees, who delegate most of the dirty work, but mainly it’s useless eaters in the corporate head offices, Congress, and the think tanks. What do any of these storytelling asswipes know about competently doing anything productive for a living? If ever they did something of the sort, they’ve oddly left it behind for “work” that pays better and demands less. Yeah, totally, let’s listen in awestruck reverence to Habsburg fuckup Megan McArdle’s thoughts on what it takes to find and hold a job in our changing economy. There’s no way she’d be unable to support herself by her own talents in a meritocratic free market or get stupid enough on the fry line to fall into a fucking oil vat.

No shit there’s work to be done. No shit society stops working when no one does the work. Funny thing, though, McMegan doesn’t construe this work to include making sure that the cladding on residential highrises for the poor doesn’t catch fire and kill ninety or a hundred residents overnight. We’ve got an entire political movement, and let’s not kid ourselves, a rather bipartisan one, devoted to this sort of depraved thinking, to dignity and safety for me but not for thee. These are the great minds of high meritocratic theory. Yeah, well here’s some fucking meritocracy: there’s day-old egg foo young in a dumpster under the Major Deegan, and it’s time for Asymmetric Info to deservingly sup on it.

Bon appetit, bitch. Chow thee down.

A wasted life, and similar stories

The permanent squatter who lived on Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew’s property recently died. He spent his last few months increasingly debilitated by an aggressive terminal cancer, and I don’t wish that on anyone. The shit he pulled prior to that, though, was epic. I’d forgotten that he wasn’t actually raised in the area; he was born and raised all the way through high school in the Bay Area and moved with his parents to Oregon as an adult. The warren of shacks where he lived from the age of about thirty until his death, in his mid-sixties, wasn’t across the driveway from his childhood home; it was across the driveway from his extended late adolescence home. He moved north along with his parents, briefly got kicked out by his mother after his father died, moved back in with her when she relented after a few months, and moved across the driveway and into the shacks after she died and JD and FS sold the house to a husband and wife who worked more than six months apiece in their lives. Most of his work history, as I understand it, was at the job he got in a newspaper print shop after his mother kicked him out; that lasted something like three months. He later worked for a couple of weeks washing dishes for JD and FS at their restaurant, before retiring to nurse the aches and pains and fatigue of middle age and his food service career. He may have gone back to this job on occasion, but I don’t recall specifically that he did.

Dude was lazy, but that didn’t do much to explain his mode of living. He was low-key schizoid and astoundingly disorganized. JD would cut and stack free firewood for him to take at his convenience, and it would take him days to haul his ass 150 yards down the hill with a wheelbarrow to pick it up, even when winter was setting in and the low temperatures were dropping below freezing. He’d leave tools strewn on the ground around cars he was “fixing,” sometimes for years. He died with only a wood stove and an oscillating space heater for heat because he’d taken his residential propane heater apart and not put it back together. Years ago, when his electricity was cut off, what with his not being the sort to prioritize the bill, JD found him charging a bank of car batteries with a gasoline generator.

The Mad Electrician was an early colonist On Line, , where one loves too learn about the occult history of electricity, he’ll yeah and, thank’s,,,, Mind you, Dril had jack shit on him. This was a mentally ill man educated over the internet by his fellow mentally ill. The Mad Electrician told us at a dinner party, “If you put four hundred thousand volts of electricity into water, it’ll explode.” And where would you, or I, get the 400 kV? That was when he wandered off to some other nonsense, too disoriented to really be evasive. He was quite taken with stories about “them,” commonly stories about how “they” silenced Nikola Tesla, were conspiring to forcibly urbanize the last of the rural smallholders and assorted independent hangers-on (possible translation: someone got fed up with him and told him to move into town, or stopped being buddy-buddy and gave him that vibe), and had criminalized perpetual motion machines by enacting the Second Law of Thermodynamics. YouTube had lessons about these conspiracies. Fire up the generator, bank some juice in the battery of batteries, modulate the output voltage for any of the half-dozen or more possibly working computers you have lying around in your shack, and you, too, can learn about these things.

Somehow this lunatic actually built things that people bought and got commission work as a freelance professional photographer: not bad for an incarnation of Towelie who was too fucking disorganized to segregate deposit bottles from his piles of trash and take them into town to redeem them. The Family Shrew complained to me that the Mad Electrician promised that he’d get his place clean and keep it clean but never lived up to his end of this bargain. About this much she’s basically right. He never paid rent, he scared away those who moved in with him and paid rent on their behalf, and he let his shack warren and an ample curtilage around it get impassibly cluttered with the most unwieldy piles of weeds, trash, and scattered valuables.

Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew did a lot for the Mad Electrician over the years. At the end, JD checked in on him several times a day and served as his volunteer home health aide. I don’t want to minimize what they did for him. What bothers the hell out of me, though, is that they seem to regard their generosity and leniency towards him as an excuse for every bad thing they’ve done to anyone else working for them, giving them the money and in-kind gifts they need to get by, or living on their property. They allowed this paranoid schizophrenic to squat on their property unmolested for decades on end, of the barest use to them even as a backyard medical pot grower (he grew a few good crops, then started reliably fucking up), chronically derelict on rent, so frighteningly hostile towards roommates who did pay rent that they fled, and living in a shambling eyesore that he barely tried to maintain. Their supposed upset over my behavior as an ex-housemate had nothing whatsofuckingever to do with uniform behavioral standards that they expected those living on their property to maintain. I’m not that fucked up. That’s all there is to it. They barred the door against my return to their guest cottage and left me to fend for myself because they wanted to be petty with me after JD had run me out of his house in much the same way that the Mad Electrician had run his roommates out of his squat. If any of this were about how they expected to be treated on their own property, they wouldn’t have put up with the Mad Electrician’s neverending bullshit.

They seem to think that their patience with this dipshit who never left home justifies their maintaining maybe a third or a quarter of the inhabited dwellings and tents sites on their property in an inhabitable or even semiinhabitable condition. Get into some beef with them, or with the Mad Electrician, and suddenly you’re living on Tobacco Road. Come in without the connections to get a slot in one of the units that’s halfway up to code and you’ll go straight to the shantytown. Hence the actual electrician with the out-of-state license who moved into the garden shed in their front yard after the Mad Electrician got paranoid and hostile with him. Hence Lady Pisspan, Captain Flimflam and his minor stepdaughter or whatever she was, the portapotties that CF was too busy dicking around with bluegrass garage band gigs to get replaced before they overflowed, and Pot-o-Shit Friend. That little faggot had his own Brute trash can, that little faggot, he went poo in a bin, and that little faggot paid rent on that shack. Lord have Mersey upon that fairy; Lord have Mersey upon us all. I’ve only occasionally done what I’ve known urgently needed to be done about this clusterfuck, and much of what I have done has been driven by my subjective feeling of the exhaustion of my own patience, not by my relatively objective assessments of what was happening from day to day and week to week.

No one who’s involved with that farm, myself included, reliably sacks up and imposes any fucking standards. Caring for a worse-than-useless neighborhood derelict on his deathbed for the last several weeks of his life may be a mitigating factor, but it in no way means that there was no cause to call the authorities over the state of the farm under Captain Flimflam or after Pot-o-Shit Friend. The threats to public health that Joe Dirtbag allowed to fester were so extreme that I would have been justified to call 911. These weren’t normal emergencies, but they weren’t exactly nonemergencies. The filth and disrepair of Pot-o-Shit Friend’s shack were so extreme that if I’d pushed the matter publicly or with the authorities I could have gotten someone at some level of government to condemn the building and send in a hazmat team. It was unconscionable that a tenant took over the lease on that shack and cleaned it up personally at his own expense.

JD and FS like to guilt us, usually tacitly, with stories of how aw-shucks broke they are because they just weren’t able to hack it as entrepreneurs. This is really fucking unscrupulous, even if they believe their own bullshit. Everything about Pot-o-Shit Friend’s tenancy and its aftermath was inherently inexcusable. You could be the second coming of St. Francis of Assisi and it would still be past time for the county to seize your property if you’re running it like that. The idea of extracting rent from that weenie-ass little twink while he pinches twenty gallons of loaf into that fucking rubbish bin, plus whatever volume was lost to settling, decomposition, and evaporation, is beyond the goddamned pale. Even worse, as far as I know JD was never exposed to any financial liability whatsoever for that shit shack, and I know for a fact, because the Ragin’ Canajun told he himself, that JD secured greatly increased rent shortly after Pot-o-Shit Friend vacated the shack because RC took it over to clean it up and keep the local squatters from getting killed.

It’s stupefying that a landowner could weasel out of all financial responsibility for cleaning up the life-threatening shitty mess left behind by a tenant he’d been illegally charging rent. The sorry fucking truth of it, though, is that he gets away with this shit because the rest of us don’t sue him and don’t call the police. He still has people he’s harmed and badly distressed tying themselves into knots trying to safeguard his feelings and his reputation. Why should anyone be allowed to live such a raging clusterfuck down without admitting any sort of deficiency? We’re worried about his precious reputation as a beloved local small business owner and civic maven, and he’s the guy whose tenant beshat a twenty-gallon trash can to its meniscus in a shack plastered with rat shit. Hand to hand, I watched the rent get paid. I know, the toxicity is in the dose, but cocaine isn’t the worst thing in circulation on our money supply. He counted out the money for maximum contact exposure (#TeshTips: IIRC it was paid in tens and twenties), stuffed it in his pocket, and went back to a winery production run with his bare hands.

What’s actually going on to leave this filthy bastard with the whip hand, I’m afraid, is that the rest of us who don’t care for this horseshit are afraid that he’ll embarrass or humiliate or upset us for standing up to him. My parents tell me things like, well, we can’t tell other people how to run their businesses. Uh, yes we can. Because we’re funding that shit is why. And if we’re aware of a credible threat to public safety or health on anyone’s property we’re completely within our rights to alert the authorities, regardless of our relationship or lack thereof to the landowner. Entirely aside from what will or won’t or can or cannot be done to punish a slumlord for running a racket and profiting from rural squalor, these situations involve ongoing bad acts, some of them quite extreme, causing articulable harm to identifiable victims, in addition to their powerful degrading effect on the surrounding society due to their continuing unabated existence.

TL;DR: The county fire department should have burned that fucking shack to the ground in a tower of smoke visible across the entire valley. Call it Poo-Lit Rock. There’s only one Poo-Poo Point around Issaquah; in parts of Oregon, they’re multiple, even beyond number. Presumably God can count them. They won’t tell you this in the Good Friday readings about Gethsemane, but godly omniscience includes the intimate knowledge of an autistic twink in Coke bottle glasses squatting over a plastic trash can, squeezing the last discrete dribbles and drops onto the nigh-overflowing amorphous mass of ass and finally deciding to call it a tenancy. Or something pretty close to that. Can you not watch one hour with me? *Jason Lee voice, transcendent but not triumphant* That much for the Kingdom? Absolutely not. We had our hard times, but I never meant for it to turn out like that. It ain’t me, Lord. Shit ain’t me.

Again, this isn’t just a story that’ll make you barf; it’s a story that I’m continuing to fund in the amount of $15,000 while my parents prepare to cosign on my next apartment and the man who directly precipitated my homelessness apparently continues to evade all financial responsibility for the cleanup costs. I’ve been ashamed to be homeless, unemployed, and financially dependent on my parents, so one would think that that motherfucker would be ashamed to be the one profiting from that disaster zone and still needing handouts from moneyed pushovers to stay barely afloat.

I have tentative but increasingly detailed plans to buy that entire fucking farm, and specifically to buy it while Joe Dirtbag is still alive. I’m not sure that I have awfully much business trying to run it, but I know what I don’t know, and I know that JD has absolutely no business calling the shots.