Oops, I guess I’m a conspiracy theorist now

As the old proverbs and shit hold, don’t ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer. Today’s question, from my dad, was why on earth Barack Obama allowed Congress to strip the DEA of the authority to seize suspect opioid shipments from pharmaceutical companies. My answer, to his chagrin and scandalization, was that Obama had probably been paid off, just as he’d certainly been paid off to lobby for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I guess I was supposed to have a different answer, maybe one preserving Mocha Haole’s air of high principle under a veil of inscrutability. Instead I called him a crook at a time when all the social cues are to call him a man of impeccable principle and manners, no matter how corrupt and useless his legacy, in a grand effort to highlight the coarseness and crookedness of his successor.

Well fuck me. Donald Trump being a crook does not preclude Barack Obama being a crook. *Sticking our Tricky Dick into the thick of it* Christ, don’t look at ME! This is exactly how the Deep State, and the larger, more diffuse Blob slimily adhering to it, have been trying to rehabilitate George W. Bush as our dear leader. *Briefly recovering from a fatal Kim Jong-Illness* Who called for me? If they’re using the same language as the North Korean regime (specifically, great leader, but far be it from me to resist the opportunity to poke fun at Rocket Man’s dad for his Il health), they’re using the language of the North Korean regime. Full stop. They don’t get to subvert democratic norms by trying to dictate fealty to shitty rulers through their crude social controls and then turn around and call dissidents antidemocratic. That’s bullshit.

A key difference between North Korea and the United States is that we, unlike them, have a large class of yeomen, proles, and lumpenproles who rudely maintain our right to speak freely of officials who displease us. This liberty causes our social superiors in and orbiting various cryptoroyal courts to be butthurt longtime. They have to bite their lips for any hope of favor from the sovereigns they flatter, so what gives us the right to be so licentious as to freely speak ill of our superiors? Our dissent gets between their noses and our rulers’ assholes; how rude of us.

Of course, it isn’t really license; there are generally consequences to such candor, including unspoken but unmistakable limits on the advancement of dissidents in politicized workplaces. The problem for the rulers and their brownnosers is that many of us are already effectively paying these consequences for the most overdetermined reasons due to the regulatory capture and secular collapse of the international economy. It isn’t just some tyrannical authoritarian shithead inside the Beltway who won’t give us a job because we won’t get with the program. The economy still sucks nine years after the financial collapse, although we aren’t supposed to talk about that. Questioning the official numbers is conspiracy theorizing, too. On the other hand, some of us follow the Colby Cosh Rule and do things with our hands for a living (sic?). What are they gonna do, sing a crappy comedy-folk song about us? This pisses the courtiers off, too.

A whole lot of floridly crazy shit has been said about Barry O, unfortunately for those of us, some of us his former voters, who have bad things to say about him that aren’t insane. I don’t believe that Obama has ever taken delivery of a suitcase full of cash or made clumsy incriminating phone calls about things fucking golden. That’s why he gets to cavort with Richard Branson on yachts while the Rod Unspared gets the opportunity to join the Rocky Mountain Club for his efforts to sell Barry’s old seat in the United States Senate. Mocha Haole doesn’t do his banking with his home freezer like that dumbass Jefferson down in Louisiana. He’s too smooth for any of that. And as I like to point out around here, that makes him dangerous. In the hands of a discreet sleazeball like Obama, courtly norms of decorum and shit are numbing paralytic agents injected by the parasite into its host. Basically, we can’t criticize a guy as long as he’s nice to his fellow crooks. May I remind you, Mr. Goldman, that O. J. Simpson was a model prisoner, and even, like Dennis Hastert, a coach.

Obama’s actual legacy sucks ass. Thank Chuck and Nancy it isn’t his alone, but he showed shit for leadership and screwed millions of Americans over. If he’d had some real principle, we wouldn’t have the kludgy, Byzantine mess of Obamacare. Sure, it’s a lot better than nothing, and the Republicans are vile to try to destroy it out of spite with no replacement, but it still sucks. It’s still a scandal and a disgrace. If the Democrats had had any fucking principle or accountability over the past, hell, thirty or forty years, they’d have broken the insurance industry’s legs by the turn of the millennium, with the option to either act in their policyholders’ interests forevermore or be dissolved and have their business handed to government plans. Instead, the Dems agreed to be bought off by the insurance industry. They had no electoral mandate to do anything of the sort, but they’d been captured, and they’re nice captives. They’re good boys and girls, because they know that good boys and girls get more candy.

Public service my fat white ass. They don’t give a shit about us. There was never a popular mandate for the bullshit “marketplace” incrementalism and income-based siloing that they passed instead of straightforward universal coverage. If they’d felt answerable to us, we wouldn’t have heard about the “marketplace” because they would have been too ashamed to utter the word.

How the hell is it inconceivable that the guy who signed this expensive, burdensome, punitive, Kafkaesque patchwork nightmare into law, conveniently providing private insurance companies with a market coerced into buying coverage with threats of fines, got paid off in some fashion by major corporate interests? How is it inconceivable that he got some sort of quid pro quo for all the sweet-talking and arm-twisting he did, although ultimately to no avail, on behalf of TPP? Cyrus Vance was bought off for ten grand in indirect payment to his campaign fund. That was enough to get him to conclude that Harvey Weinstein had a legitimate business reason to grope a model’s breasts without prior warning or permission. The campaign contribution may not have been the entirety of the bribe, so maybe Cyrus isn’t quite that cheap a date, but it’s misguided to think that elected officials need to be set up like kings directly and straight away to consider selling their souls.

For that matter, it’s awfully harsh to construe a rental agreement as a sale.

We’re at least 55 years behind Canada in the implementation of single-payer medical insurance because our elected officials keep pretending that it’s unpopular and doesn’t work. Our last president bragged about assassinating dissidents on other nations’ sovereign territory and tried his best to sell our own national sovereignty to a cartel of secret corporate tribunals. Our current president blusters to no end about all the enemies he wants to blacklist or get blacklisted for crossing him and the worst of his voters. Congress is full of fucking ghouls who listen to their constituents only after having the Capitol Police bodily drag protesters out of their offices. How the hell is it problematic to assume that Barack Obama is a crook? I’m not even trying to argue that the Donald isn’t one himself. I’d certainly like to think that Bernie Sanders is an exception, but seeing how he got ratfucked out of the Democratic nomination by a political machine and crime family, I guess he’s the exception that proves the rule.

If the GOP self-destroys in an orgy of mutual recrimination between the biblethumpers, the objectivists, and whatever the incomprehensible fuck Trump and his crew are, we’ll be one for two. We’ll still have the Democratic Party to destroy until, if we can imagine the possibility, it ceases trying to destroy us. Saying that the Democratic Party is automatically better than the Republicans (especially Trump, who’s all over the damn place) is like saying that sexy male nurse Lynn Majors is better than Elizabeth Wettlaufer.

That was still less disgusting than Congress. They’re all just Cullen the herd, but I’m obviously the crazy one for assuming that they don’t have our best interests at heart and joining the part of the herd that keeps braying back, Neigh! Neigh!


More like the Hiscox Endowment

The Dickinson (giggity) College Endowment (giggity giggity!) publishes annual reports on its assets* and performance**. The 2016 report discloses total assets of $412.6m, including “non-pooled assets” of $74.7m. Non-pooled assets, according to the footnotes, include, inter alia, “deferred gifts” and “pledges receivable.”

Oh. I guess that means that when I apply for a loan I’m allowed to declare to the loan officer a net worth that I have calculated on the basis of what I expect to earn in my next pay period or two, the value of the deposit bottles that are probably in the neighborhood trash cans, and whatever I figure my parents will be transferring me in the next few months or whatever. Cool. If some guy from the corner swears to you that he’s gonna pay you for the crack rock, go ahead and add it to your net worth. It’s your bling, dawg; flash it.

Do we still wonder why the accounting industry has acquired a reputation for being shady? An undisclosed percentage of just over eighteen percent of the endowment is neither in hand nor in trust, and its eventual delivery is entirely contingent upon the honor and solvency of the “donors” who have pledged it. That’s like if I told the Dunkin’ Doorman to shut up about how I’m a cheap bastard because I told him that I’d buy him a coffee at some point but right now I’ma buy myself a damn coffee instead, the better to enjoy life while I’m here to enjoy it.

It’s doubtful that *MY OLD SCHOOL* has any realistic recourse to compel the payment of pledged donations from parties that, for whatever reason, refuse to follow through with them as promised. Depending on the circumstances there may be a binding contract that the bagmen can sue to enforce, but that would involve nicely dressed lawyers, and cracka that ain’t cheap.

Can I go to Bank of America with a story about how, okay, so this one guy says he’s gonna give me some money, and then this other guy promised me some other money, and my man D-Money promised me some money, Smoothie, ya feel me? Of course not. That wouldn’t do me jack shit. I’d still be on the hook for whatever I’d charged. That’s why I take my ass down to the nearest ATM when I’m within range and feed it some Jacksons. I don’t get a fucking eighteen percent discount on my statement balance because my old boys promised me some shit. God.

How can we take these jokers seriously when they conflate the receivable with the received? They’re marketing their institution based on an undisclosed percentage of their capital, possibly verging on a fifth, not actually being available for their use and not having a set, enforceable date of availability. That’s a level of trust that no normal private citizen is accorded by the financial industry.

And what the fuck are they gonna do if some flake or sleaze or secretly bankrupt-ass loser reneges on an endowment pledge? A small pledge wouldn’t be worth the costs of a small claim. Let’s say that I pledge the endowment twenty bucks and then decide not to pay up–or, in awah feyah city, Vishnu Payup. What’s the filing fee, bitch?

Hey, that model sounds scalable.

These fuckers are using money that they discreetly admit not having to goose their endowment bottom line in order to goose their US News & World Report ranking and suck in more application fees and tuition. How much of it don’t they have? Take a guess, lol. It’s rather like Donald Trump: the fat bastard may not exactly be rich, but he looks rich. No, it’s more like Joel Osteen: tithe to him in anticipation of future earnings to curry the favor of the money gods; bathe in the balm of his face and be blessed.

Out here in the streets, we call that fraud.

** ********* (!)




Hostage’s bargain

Donald Trump’s fuck-up of hurricane relief in Puerto Rico is the first episode of his presidency to make me wish that Hillary Clinton had been elected instead. No president should be so callous towards a US possession and the citizens living in it, and trash-talking the mayor of San Juan on Twitter while she was out in chest-deep water personally helping with relief efforts was especially inexcusable. Hillary would have done nothing of the sort, and for political reasons I’m not even convinced that she would have gone ahead full-throttle with the shock doctrine land grabs that Trump’s cronies are apparently scheming to pull off. That might have been the one instance in which she’d actually feel some human sympathy for her constituents to complement her usual self-interest in using the minority ingredients in the national salad bowl as her client bases.

Dan Savage has been–shit, I’m actually going to say this–savaged on the dirtbag left for proposing that Puerto Ricans move to swing states to punish the Republicans for leaving them to the elements, but even if he’s crude or tasteless or heartless, as a practical matter he’s right. If Trump’s attacks on Puerto Rico have a political effect on him, the effect will be negative. Diaspora Puerto Ricans and those close to them may well turn out to be enough to swing Florida and Pennsylvania decisively to the Democrats, especially if the diaspora swells on account of incompetent relief and reconstruction efforts.

The optics of talking shit about US citizens in the aftermath of a major natural disaster are not going to work in Trump’s favor; too many Americans, including ones who voted for him or support significant parts of his agenda, are fed up with his vicious petty antics in times of crisis. There’s no way this shit isn’t deeply offending Mennonite voters, who are concentrated in northern swing states. If he keeps it up and lets it eclipse his big island/really big ocean comments (which are his muddleheaded way of describing the ferocity of Hurricane Maria), he may precipitate a crackup of the Republican Party by driving its genuine religious conservative values voters away from the herrenvolk authoritarians, aristocratic revanchists, and Social Darwinists. The more he delegates to Brock Long, the better for him and the Republicans politically.

Yes, I really think this is worse than Trump’s international failson reenactment of Khrushchev and Kennedy opposite Kim Jong-Un. Piggy Gangnam Style is provocative and intractably menacing. No one in Puerto Rico has done a thing to provoke Trump that would provoke a normal person. He’s probably got Mnuchin and all the other Wall Street shitbirds whispering in his ear about Puerto Rico’s sacred debt obligations to mainland banks, and he’s impressionable enough from minute to minute that these ministrations might put him on the war path against his own citizens in those minutes when less arrogant heads (say, Brock Long) aren’t reminding him about the big damage in the middle of the big ocean. (Sad!) I haven’t heard anything specific about anyone reminding Trump that the banks are still really fucking loathed on the ground in all fifty-plus states and territories, i.e., that harping on PR’s debt obligations won’t play so great in Peoria. Reminding mainland Americans that Puerto Ricans are US citizens too is enough to get all but a vicious fifth or less to say, oh my God, yes, let’s get them the aid they need straightaway.

On the other hand, Trump’s crudity may end up being the only thing to make a critical mass of reporters, voters, and Congressmen call foul on the shock doctrine rollout. The guy is too impulsive and unwashed to be a high-functioning psychopath. He doesn’t clean up as well as Marco Rubio or Hillary Clinton. We’ve still got an oaf of office who can’t help but say what he means, even when he tries to dogwhistle. The big unanswerable question I have is whether Abuela would actually have meant better than Many Sides does in his most imperialist moments.

Jill Stein wasn’t a viable choice or a perfect one, but at least she wasn’t a shitty choice, and my vote for her would still be infuriating the Hillbot Army even if they were still accusing Trump of doing unconscionable things that I considered either neutral or positive. Fuck yeah we got her over five percent in Humboldt County. Suck on it.

I guess I can suck on the knowledge that Your Fleek Abuela was the one who crushed in Humboldt. Spoiler my ass, then. I’ve got old schoolmates relitigating Stein v. Clinton on Facebook right now, and inevitably it’s #WithHer that’s salty about her not having been with her. It kills me. So, softly, does his song.

It is our lot to have the wrong women going to the White House and to federal prison. Yes, I went there. (Ed.: Not bodily. Wow Such coherent Much midnight Many express.) If Danbury is good enough for Lauryn Hill and Piper Kerman, orange is good enough to be the new Chappaqua white bitch. Quite a convenient location, too, yes? *Martha Stewart voice over the mighty Appalachians* It’s a good thing. Alderson, oh Alderson, I am so attached to meming. *Glen Campbell, back on the line* What the hell is wrong with that son of a bitch?

Not as much as with our political process. I’d rather be associated with antivax healing crystals freaks in Corona Del Mar (who I’d guess voted for What Is Aleppo anyway) than with the offerings I was told to choose from in our shitty first-past-the-post system. We, the people, are supposedly the ones directing this whole thing, not some bumptious asshole who keeps threatening to throw us into the Gowanus Canal, which she conflates with her opponent, if we decline to vote for her.

I can’t justify it, but I’m weirdly optimistic. There aren’t a hell of a lot of places to go from five percent but up.

Lives of quiet desperation and shit

This story is going to be way too emo, even for my worst tastes, but my dad and I barely avoided an outright argument over my plan to go out to Stewart’s and get some half on Saturday night instead of having him pick it up when he went to get (what else?) the damn Times on Sunday morning. I somehow managed not to escalate things, and he relented after a few rounds of this shit over the course of half an hour. My parents finally have a third car available for my express use, after some really nasty family fights months ago about whether or not I was stranded at their place or had reason to feel that way, but in spite of my having a car of my own here I still get into these bizarre, unhealthy situations where I feel unabled to get the fuck out of the house for an hour or two without a well thought out excuse, and hence trapped.

My parents would swear that I’m exaggerating everything again if I argued that their house can feel like a prison, but the obvious definition of a prison is a place that one is not allowed to leave without permission, and they’re often almost uncomfortable with my wanting to leave their house just to get the hell out for a bit. I’d really rather not spell out that this is a major purpose of my wanting to make extra trips to Stewart’s. Stewart’s is the closest thing to a corner store around here, so if I have nothing else in particular to do but can’t just swing over there because I feel like it, yes, Virginia, that is a fucking problem. There’s something very, very wrong with my even faintly sensing that I have to justify that to my parents. I shouldn’t need a damn pass to leave the family compound and go to the neighborhood convenience store. Getting out of the fucking house and having normal face-to-face social interactions with people other than my parents when I’m staying up here does much to keep me sane. On what planet is this a problem? It should go completely without saying. If my dad’s notion that I’m Temple Grandin and shit were serious and not just a catastrophization that Joe Dirtbag occasionally provokes in him by gaslighting us, he’d be relieved that I’m getting out and transitively socializing myself.

This is another situation in which I get myself into trouble by giving a shit. I start to feel guilty for being frivolous and wasteful for driving eight or twelve miles in a region with absolutely no public transit on trips that I know full well do more to improve my mental health than I’d ever expect of psychotherapy. I feel pangs of guilt that I’m wasting my parents’ money, even when I’m filling the car up and buying whatever three or five dollars’ worth of stuff I splurge on at Stewart’s out of pocket. I don’t ask them for extra money to cover this shit.

Not that it would have a measurable effect on their finances, of course. I have to explicitly remind myself that they are in no position to chide me or worry about me for spending literally a few bucks here and there on fast food and shit when they’re servicing debt from the $420,000 that they spent building their dumbass retirement house. That’s where the savings are, not in my refraining from stress-eating mediocre Buffalo chicken pizza in a gas station under an almost hauntingly beautiful February sunset while I beat myself up for not having gotten out of bed until noon. I have a duty to responsibly steward the money my parents give me, but going out to Stewart’s is not bad bad stewardship. (Of course I didn’t write that down correctly on the first try.) Neither does that duty of stewardship extend to living needlessly in painful austerity and isolation for no other reason than assenting to their rather socially unhealthy retirement lifestyle. That’s bullshit.

Even so, I probably feel guiltier about getting a bagel on top of a double order of hashbrowns at Dunkin’ Donuts than ISBF does about the $14k that she dropped on that wristwatch. Two guesses as to which one of us is the cradle Catholic and which one is the RCIA alumnus whose militantly atheist mother has pressured him to go to mass at the nearest parish.

It can be a real clusterfuck. These are White Whines, but we oughtn’t dismiss the possibility that the poor are socialized in ways that limit this smothering horseshit. It’s obviously better to go into any given situation with money than without, but I’ve been around a dismaying number of affluent people who manage to neutralize some very significant advantages of affluence by being foolishly neurotic, meddlesome, chaotic, or otherwise troubled, and by further refusing to admit that a blessed thing is wrong with them. The Insurance Schmuck and ISB are wicked fucked up, the latter also being an awfully credible cokehead. (ISBF, also a cokehead, would be broke to the verge of survival sex work without a rich boyfriend.) The educationally and professionally fraught neuroses of the Insurance Schmuck’s entire immediate family, save Failson Brother, are over the fucking top. Go figure that the one family member with the Kid Rock taste in drugs and the worst behavioral problems is the sanest and most coherent about this shit. I could find any number of much poorer people who are obviously better adjusted than any of us mentioned here so far.

Shit, I’m making a moral equivalency between myself for having a light case of bipolar disorder and ISB and ISBF for getting wound up and launched to high hell on freebase. I don’t know for a legally admissible fact that they’re cokeheads, but they’re cokeheads. I need to make a note to explicitly say so to the Insurance Schmuck by way of poking holes in his vodka-soaked sober living Story Whore nonsense. It’s time he dropped the just world sanctimony and admitted that I have a better sense than he does about his old boy being hopped up on the damn coke. The guy who’s hosting him in Phoenix this week is either chronically hypomanic or on scheduled stimulants himself. I might as well have Rob Ford slur at me that I’m a dissipated fat sloppy drunk.

My dad mentioned to a family friend of his on the phone that I’d rather my parents move back to California than stay in New York. It ain’t exactly so: I’d rather they hadn’t moved up here from Pennsylvania in the first place, and I’d almost rather that they move back to Pennsylvania. I still haven’t entirely gotten used to the logistics that they’ve sprung on me, and I certainly haven’t gotten used to the unhealthy reclusiveness and meddlesomeness that they’ve increasingly fallen into since moving up here. If they’d been interested in taking my wishes into account, they never would have built this bullshit and settled permanently in it, but this was always about my mom pursuing her fucked up psychodrama with her late mother on their vacation lake, not about living sensibly in the present. I’d be less uncomfortable with my parents moving up her had they actually moved so that my mom could take jobs in underserved communities, but her going back to work part-time was an afterthought, so I’m not allowing either of them to dry-lab this shit and blow smoke in my face about their process.

I’d feel ambivalently about their moving permanently to California at this point, but I wouldn’t expect them to show a lick of sense if they did that, either. The suitably classy areas are too expensive, and the less expensive areas have too much summer heat, year-round Mexicans, poories in general, etc. ad nauseam. They don’t want to give up the absurd rent stream that they derive from my childhood house in Palo Alto, nor can I blame them, but I don’t feel like listening to financial millionaire property owners bitch about how expensive it would be to move back to the most surreally expensive part of the nation while my mom sneers at more modest neighborhoods inland where I’d be thrilled to live. We’ve been over that crap before, and I’m happier leaving the hatchet buried. I don’t need to hear projectile neurosis about how some perfectly decent neighborhood not in a nice part of the Bay Area reminds her of her modest but perfectly decent childhood neighborhood on Staten Island. I get it: she has a chip on her shoulder about how she grew up poor in the whitey slums, the child of college-educated, professional homeowners. That doesn’t mean that I’m not mainly looking for places where I feel safe from the local criminal element, including landlords and the police.

Firehat is off-base: we can’t tax the Boomers for our upkeep if we’ve euthanized them. Speaking of off-base: David Russell Williams (Col., RCAF, Ret.), said to be in Port-Cartier, which is about as close to my parents’ current place as the latter is to where we lived in Pennsylvania. #TheMoreYouKnow, losers.

When the yuppie project plays brinksmanship on its host society

Think in terms of parasitism, not hospitality.

One of the (admittedly legion) unconscionable things about the Hillary 2016 run and its enduring aftermath has been the air of brinksmanship, coercion, and we-told-you-so Chicken Little catastrophizing surrounding the whole sordid thing. Since so many voters–quite a few of them, come November, disgusted nonvoters–couldn’t think of a positive reason to vote for Hillary Clinton, generally because they couldn’t fucking stand the bitch, the increasingly desperate Hillbot army deployed a ceaseless barrage of shrill, inconsistently credible threats about the alternative, our current Oaf of Office. To this day the barrage continues, rarely any gentler than it was during the campaign.

The gist is that King Bigly is literally the worst, most dangerous president ever. It’s a dubious, historically challenged proposition shot through with crude presumptions about Great Men (and Women!) directing History. Next thing you know, Sir Winston Churchill Himself (?) (it feels irreverent and profane, but it also feels accurate) will show up, cigar in mouth, blathering sonorously about the glory and honor and duty of war, or perhaps about the glory and honor and duty of his current thoughts on milk price supports. These screechers can’t imagine that, say, Andrew Jackson was enabled in the pursuit of Indian ethnic cleansing and genocide by prevailing public sentiment and the priorities of contemporary government and civil institutions, or that he, too, was one crude, crude bastard and also a president.

Speaking of genocidal maniacs who didn’t much care for the Indians: Winston Churchill. Different tribes, different technologies and scales, same little embarrassing problem. Oops we did it again. Crackers gonna crack. The whip, specifically. The assumption that Trump will get away with all the same atrocities that we don’t discuss in our discussions of Churchill, that he’ll be no less destructive as a tactless shit-stirring political novice who can’t help himself when there’s an opportunity to alienate a key ally than Churchill was as an urbane déclassé aristocrat who shrewdly curried favor with all the no-homo public school hazing buggers at Whitehall, doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense. And yeah, we’ve totally never before had anyone of excessive ambition and terrible moral character in the White House, and no one to points leftward ever said the same things about Ronald Reagan (who, although Trump’s fellow celebrity, honored citizen, and public sundowner, actually knew how to negotiate instead of just putting his name on a crappy ghostwritten book about negotiation). No history of constitutional crises over the rights of our military’s prisoners of war or the president whacking US citizens by remote-controlled missile in my lifetime, either. Glad that didn’t happen.

The alarm about Donald Trump’s blind ambition, narcissism, and rage inevitably gets mixed up with outrage over his blurting out goofy shit and dissing people who could do to be dissed. Between him and the den of barely veiled psychopaths in the Congressional Republican Caucus, there are some serious shortcomings in the US government’s official response to the severe hurricane damage in Puerto Rico, but Brock Long seems to have his head on straight, so the president thinking that the Caribbean Sea is yuge is not one of them. Donald Trump getting the idea in his head that Puerto Rico is St. Helena won’t divert any aid to St. Helena. His calling Hillary Clinton a crook and Rosie O’Donnell a fat pig aren’t attacks on our sacred but vulnerable institutions of self-government and civil society, and if they’re misogynistic, they’re only incidentally so. Even the rash verbal escalation that he has reciprocated with Kim Jong-Un highlights just how badly on edge everyone is about Rocket Man: if Piggy Gangnam Style can actually be provoked to first-strike nuclear war by another fat, loudmouthed sonofabitch talking smack about his fat, goofily coiffed ass, the international community has a dire, insoluble problem on its hands that presumably becomes soluble only upon the confirmed disincarnation of Piggy Gangnam Style.

Come to think of it, the Nork Dork shares an unsettling kinship of the palace with Hillz and her Hillbots. Bernie Sanders was the one who said point-blank during the debates that Kim’s regime is “very weird.” Trump is regularly out on Twitter bragging about how he’s gonna whip that insolent little rocket boy’s punk ass. The establishment consensus in Washington, by stark contrast, is that we must all watch our every word about that third-generation belligerent maniac lest he take offense and decide to annihilate several million innocent people in a fit of pique. Anwar al-Awlaki didn’t have shit on that thug. That’s why “we” whacked him, just as “we” “tortured some folks.” Here we have this spoiled rotten piece of boarding school shit who murders his blood relatives on a whim and has taxed even the Chinese politburo’s patience with his antics, so since “we” are already in the business of assassinating various enemies, this hereditary menace should be at the top of the list and remain there until he’s been permanently delisted from humanity’s earthly rolls.

Bill Clinton and a number of exceptionally good diplomats in his administration have managed to get several foreign prisoner hostages freed from this out-of-control dictatorship over the years, but only at a great effort and by practically debasing themselves before this family of violent, extortionate, insolent dickheads. I get that diplomacy requires more tact than I choose to show around here as a private citizen and that it’s especially tricky to get anything out of that lineage of crazy-like-a-fox autocrats. But that’s the thing: I’m a private citizen. I use these pages to meme Canada’s national embarrassments and still end up being known on the internet mainly for that phoned-in hot take on Gulf Arab sheikhs who shit on Western rent girls. I’m not paid to be all serious and solemn and discreet and act like I don’t totally support anyone who can smear a fatal nerve agent in Kim Jong-Un’s face in any convenient airport lobby.

Like hell am I paid to be all solemn and dutiful and magnanimous in my response to Hillary Clinton. That bitch can choke on it. I’m her two-time prospective constituent. She was answerable to me, and my answer to her when she asked of me, on three ballots in two election seasons, was absolutely fucking not. We have processes and institutions in the United States to prevent the Kims. The Hillbots frankly did everything they could to shame, threaten, and even disenfranchise tens of millions of us for daring to use these processes and institutions against Your Fleek Abuela. They were furious when many of us perceived exactly the same raging will to power in Hillary Clinton that they insisted consumed Donald Trump and made him unfit for the presidency. They remain furious at anyone who got in Hillary’s way, and they use language no more respectful than the Donald’s to lash out at us and at the candidates we supported. Bernie stumped for Hillary and encouraged his primary voters to vote for her in the general election; her camp repaid his work on their behalf with ad hominem smears about his disloyalty and divisiveness, and with ad hominem smears of his voters as died-in-the-wool bigots. That includes me, cracka.

Letting a viciously ambitious crime family back into the White House and hoping that the other branches of government will check them after their reelection seems much less prudent than barring the door to them from the start and forcing them, now as a humiliated faction of the opposition, to wander fruitlessly about outside, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and where they so perfectly belong. They’ve fressed at the trough enough already. The feminist bitch with the vise grip on her husband’s coattails had already carpetbagged into one of New York State’s seats in the US Senate, like a seedy Bobby Kennedy, and then been taken on as the Secretary of State by a guy she’d spent the previous year attacking with ugly racial invective (as well as bog-standard faux-populist demagoguery) so that she’d be inside the tent pissing out, and her immediate family had already spent decades cashing in on Bill’s presidency and the wifely offices succeeding in amounts of many millions of dollars per year. They had their fortune and their celebrity power; they didn’t need another term of elected political power to further entrench themselves on top of that.

In the midst of Hillz’s coattail career in high federal office, Bill’s presidential legacy became more and more destructive and scandalous. As I’ve said before, I don’t give a shit that he stuck a cigar up his mistress’s cunt; that isn’t what I’d do with a mistress, but that woman, Miss Lewinsky, was not my mistress, and consequently I did not have sexual relations with her. Giggity. What does bother me is the narrowly averted catastrophe of Bill and that hypocritical slimeball Newt Gingrich conspiring to privatize Social Security until an unheard-of buxom Jewess showed up out of nowhere with a little white stain on her blue dress and got Gateside Downlow, Diddlin’ Dennis, and the whole gang into a royal snit about sexual morality. That is not how government is supposed to work. That is not how any one of those crooks is supposed to represent us. There’s something badly amiss when social welfare programs are saved by a bunch of adulterers, an airport closet case, and Coach getting into a lather over the President slipping a Cuban up his starfucking intern’s snatch.

In spite of this Khrushchev-and-Kennedy moment by way of the Hardly Boys, Bill Clinton managed to unleash a delayed-detonation Tsar Bomba on our national economy, and on a good chunk of the international economy, by repealing Glass-Steagall. There’s every reason to believe that he signed the repeal in exchange for bribes to him, his relatives, and the family businesses from FIRE sector criminals after his retirement from the presidency. That may well have been the single most destructive act of official corruption in my country in my lifetime, and it brought the economy down when I was in my mid-twenties, barely out of college. Countless millions of other graduates, generally in the classes behind mine, got it even worse than I did. 2006 turned out to be a much worse year to graduate from college than it looked at the time, but there were unfortunates who graduated in 2009.

The Big Dog marked his territory on us. We were his territory, and we remain his hideously shrewish wife’s territory. No thanks, assholes. You blew it the first time around, at our expense, and walked away rich and connected beyond our most feverish dreams. You don’t get a do-over, pal. Sometimes I’m offended that the Clintons disobeyed their cue to retire from public life in 2000, but when I think about Glass-Steagall, the clusterfuck unleashed after Billary had scurried mostly off the scene, and the Byzantine horseshit of Dodd-Frank, I’m convinced that the Clintons had a calling to refrain entirely from public life starting in Arkansas a decade before I was born. They have been an affliction upon the rest of us. We managed to haphazardly check-kite our way through the dot-com and parallel FIRE sector bubbles in the late nineties, following the repeal of NAFTA and in the midst of all the cruel disruption that it caused to honest labor, and over the next eight years the whole edifice weakened and then catastrophically imploded.

This is the family that is so obviously more fit for office than Donald Trump. This is the family whose duty to reelect to the presidency was ours, including those of us who could explain exactly how the legacy of the first Clinton presidency had done us extreme personal harm. We had this guy who was mostly kind of a motormouth dickhead, who was saying inconsistent but coherent things indicating that he understood our plight and intended to address our grievances, and we were being ordered by people who obviously looked down on us to vote for a feminazi whose sleazy husband had recklessly caused our socioeconomic ruination. We were berated with assertions that Donald Trump was uniquely coarse and vicious, assertions that were made by and on behalf of a woman who laughed about Muammar Qaddafi’s gruesome death and whose husband had flown back to Arkansas to sign the death warrant for a guy too retarded to understand that he wouldn’t be able to have dessert after his execution. One of the most calamitous power couples of our time was insulting our intelligence and our worthiness as voters for daring to consider the possibility that her opponent, an exceptionally disorganized man with little political capital in Washington headlining a party that he had apparently divided against itself, might usher in lesser calamities upon his election.

As I’ve said before, these threats that the Clinton machine made about Trump were, and still are, on par with Muammar Qaddafi’s threat to unleash a flood of refugees from Subsaharan Africa into Europe to punish its governments for disrespecting him. We were repeatedly told that if we didn’t vote for Clinton, we would inevitably unleash unfathomable chaos and crisis upon ourselves. We were threatened with the endangerment of our liberty and our lives at a maniac’s hands in the event that we dared to withhold our votes from a known crook who had interfered in her own party’s primary process to sink a much stronger, less divisive, and less compromised candidate, one voters actually admired in large numbers.

I’m far from the only person who has taken offense over the past couple of years at Clintonworld’s Talented Tenth Avenue Freakout. It’s a bad look. Anyone whose reaction to a political opponent is so excruciatingly limbic has to perceive an existential material threat. That kind of reaction isn’t about values; it’s about interests and only interests. In Trump’s case, it’s a swarm of yuppies shitting bricks with fear that they’ll lose their elite status and be reduced to roughly the level of the modest workaday people they’ve spent the last quarter century or more smugly dispossessing. Do recall that I commonly sleep in my car as I reiterate that I have no reason to feel great sympathy for their salty, salty waterworks. This is a class that cannot bear the thought of relinquishing the whip hand. These are meritocrats who must, at all costs, remain on top.

Bizarrely, even as they fume that Trump duped a bunch of uneducated ignoramuses in flyover country with his bogus populism, they grossly overestimate his interest in reform because they’re on edge waiting for the day when he’ll do something adverse to them, like stop handing out government contracts to bomb the Middle East into ever earlier parts of the Stone Age. They have revealed that they would rather side with the most reprehensible chickenhawk war criminals than with laid-off mill hands who don’t want their children being shipped off to the desert to be turned into hamburger meat with Swiss cheese for brains. With all the cruel reversals of fortune that they’ve used their power to impose on their vulnerable countrymen, they fully deserve some modest reversals of fortune themselves, like having to work for a living or claim public assistance. Trump’s working-class voters tended to vote for him as a Hail Mary pass, figuring that he might do something for them; it’s affluent liberals who swear to God (weak oaths, etc.) that he’s going to destroy everything he touches.

Incidentally, but relevantly, the affluent have been using the same brinksmanship tactics to bully the reluctant young into college, or even graduate and professional schools. Stay in school or else. Submit to this arbitrary regime with no particular relationship to the real world and succeed in it or you will forever live in poverty and vulnerability. It’s an extortion racket. When moral panics about adolescent behavior this side of Brock Turner rear up, it’s also a blackmail racket.

It’s very simple: free citizens do not tolerate such treatment and are not treated in this fashion. Period. Great Books for Men, the intersectionally autistic/psychotic mainstay who used to hang out in Chateau Heartiste’s comment threads, made a comment about not being able to get a job as a Starbucks barista because his GPA was too low. It was presumably fiction, and most of it was barely intelligible gobbledygook, but it was true. That is exactly what has been happening to countless millions of people in the corporatized neoliberal West. Starbucks is a relatively minor offender, but the point stands.

This is not a reputable or moral regime. The people who have been running it are neurotic cutthroat bullshitters pretending to be high technocrats. There was a very real rationality, wisdom, and even prudence last year in voting for the unabashedly shambling novice who kept promising to shake shit up and give normal people a fair shake for once. There were no guarantees of reform, but large parts of Trump’s platform actually made sense, and I absolutely would not have been embarrassed if I had voted for him. I still would rather have voted for him than for Clinton, and the rage that Jill Stein has attracted as an alleged spoiler (LOL) confirms that I made a good choice in helping her clear five percent of the vote in Humboldt County.

Threats of doom aren’t so credible when they come from officials who have already doomed millions of decent people to penury just to grease their own baksheesh scams. Thundering about racism isn’t so compelling when it comes from a woman who doesn’t seem to feel uncomfortable about having accepted the services of frank house slaves on loan to her and her husband from the Arkansas Department of Corrections. That was just some kind of misunderstood regional cultural quirk, which being a union coal miner is not.

It’s still refreshing to have a president who shows the same degree of respect for the institutions he has been elected to lead that these institutions have been showing his constituents for decades. Josiah Bartlett was never my president; the Lincoln Bedroom pay-to-stay sleazeball was. Fuck decorum. If we’re going to have some again, it’s time we had some damn civic morals to go with it. We deserve honesty from our leaders, and Donald Trump is too impulsive not to show us some. It was our right to vote for that yutz every bit as much as it was our right to vote for the shrew who did the nae-nae on Ellen and was prevented by the combined psychological warfare of Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders, their dumbass voters, and the Kremlin from stumping in Wisconsin.

How gracious of the lady to publicly withhold her absolution of America’s noncompliant women for failing to vote for her. I can’t imagine how she failed to transcend all misogyny.

Much Coherent. Wow.

Bumper sticker crops even more obnoxious than the one chronicled in this classic Success is Overrated shortread are too common in hip parts of Oregon to be worth mentioning, but today I saw one in Salem hat blew the prevailing liberal layer of smug the fuck out with a countervailing smugfront from the sniveling hard right, including:

–Scott Walker for Governor (Oregon tags, so yeah, some real authentic Wisconsin values right there);


–“I have noticed that everyone who is against abortion has been born.” Ronald Reagan;

–Restore the Constitution, a Hillsdale College project;

–Some shit from Reagan about liberty being forever only a generation from disappearing because we stop defending it and stuff (written next to a portrait of Chief Sundown, in any event, but too trite to be worth confirming attribution):

–I Support Our President/God Bless the USA.

I didn’t take an exhaustive inventory, but that was the gist: two governors whose actual political records are at nearly total cross-purposes, one of them having since erased her own record to go on wingnut welfare; a campaign to defend the US Constitution by aggressively subverting it on behalf of religion by means of positive law; a cowardly, servile profession of structural Lewinsky towards a head (heh) of state and government whose very title was meant by those originally conferring it to humble its holder, literally the presiding executive, with a reminder of his office’s tenuousness; some happy horseshit about liberty from a bullshitter who would legislate it away for nothing more than a few dozen electoral votes captured from Mr. Peanut; and, from the same shamblingly ill-concealed Alzheimer’s case whose production of war movies had convinced him that he’d actually gone to war, a dimwitted gradeschooler’s moral logic about abortion.

Faux-conservative, i.e. lying reactionary, elements have had most of a lifetime to erase Reagan’s record as Governor of California, which included not only taking the guns away from the colored folk and incidentally removing a number of them beyond the pale but also signing the most liberal laws on divorce (hence the future White House astrologer, Air Force One dispatcher, and drug scold) and abortion, which Reagan supported even though he’d never been one. The reactionaries have had a bit less than my total time of political awareness to date to fabricate their old boy’s presidency so that it now excludes some of the most active and gracious diplomacy in US history and also Ollie North’s little Hispanopersian thang, to which Visions of a Sunset pleaded psychotic instead of guilty or justified. His heart told him that he dindu nuffin vis-a-vis the assault rifles and the beards and the hostages and the death squads, but the facts told him otherwise. #TheMoreYouKnow. Sarah Palin needed only a few months to convince the same constituency that she had not possibly governed Alaska from the left with the lockstep support of the entire Democratic Caucus and over the fuming objections of most of her fellow Republicans. Mama Grizzly didn’t take shit from the oil companies, unless by “shit” we mean billions of dollars of extra royalties. In the Simpsonian parlance, she made them give the state its fucking stuff.

Rolling #TCOT doesn’t admire these two for having done anything halfway sensible or productive or competent or accommodating of bickering factions. It admires them for talking all bogus on the boob tube and throwing red meat into their lion pit. That’s how Reagan and Palin end up on the same Jeep panel (nicer and newer Jeep than it looked, I suspect) alongside Scott Walker, who is an absolute, unrelenting antisocial piece of shit. Battle Bob, pray for us. You or I can give countless hours of reflection to the moral and practical nuances of abortion, only to see it undone in the public discourse by some opportunistic shitbird from the movies splashing into the fray with scripted comments that are borderline retarded for an adult. I’ve given more thought to abortion just by stumbling across some Chesterton one-liners on Facebook than Twilight in America betrayed during his presidency, to judge from his loyal survivors.

That motherfucker didn’t give the appearance of giving a shit. Instead, like the Big Dog a few years later, but more subtly and behind the scenes, he put a wet finger to the wind (*Big Lewinsky Voice* Hey baby, need to wet it again?) and sussed out a triangulation strategy that allowed him to peel a few states’ worth of authoritarian godbotherers away from Jimmy Carter (whose appeal to a very broad swath of evangelical Christians, especially in the South, has been smeared out of the popular histories) and then successfully double down four years later by not fucking up in the face of a generally improved national economy and an increasingly hapless Democratic Party. Pretty effective for a guy who visibly sundowned during a televised debate in 1984, I have to say. Some liberal media not to point that out, too, but look at how little they’ve actually pointed out about the Donald, including the possibility that he has a negative net worth and the verified truths that he is not a successful businessman and that his book about his dealmaking prowess is vanity press bullshit that he paid a not particularly self-respecting publishing industry mercenary to ghostwrite.

In what otherworldly dimension is this collection of lying, amoral, inflammatory shysters respectable? What the hell of anything that they do is worth supporting? Donald Trump won’t even stick to his guns when a solid majority of his constituents agree with his avowed gut feeling that it’s past time to leave Afghanistan to its own devices. Then there’s his increasingly shrill and provocative commentary on Confederate apologist imagery and those who publicly cherish it. He’s pandering to the neosecesh and fellow-traveling violent trash because they’re his target market for MAGA merch. This fuckhead is willing to literally provoke the start of a civil war because that helps him sell his line of ball caps. The Russia stuff is the liberal Benghazi, but his catering to his own personal brand in the face of imminent threats to public safety and order is an obvious impeachable offense, a turducken of public corruption, dereliction of duty, and deliberate endangerment of the public for profit. Meanwhile he’s bleeding the Secret Service dry and running its agents into the ground even harder than usual by making them fly all over hell with him and his horrific coterie of spouse and spawn, every one of them working some sleazy profit angle at great public expense.

Trump has a history of vicious public bigotry dating back decades, or at least a public appearance of bigotry (the hang-the-bastards invective he published about the Central Park rape suspects was reprehensible), but he probably believes the Night They Drove Old Dixie Down horseshit as wholeheartedly as Reagan believed whatever crap the Moral Majority wanted to hear from him. Maybe these guys believe their own bullshit; maybe these are method acting performances gone totally out of control. This is more likely with Many Sides, who lacks the breadth of experience and training in professional acting that Goodnight Simi Valley enjoyed and used to such political benefit. There is a suite of self-disciplines that Reagan cultivated as a screen actor and Trump, who simply played himself, did not. Reagan discharged the public speaking responsibilities of their office using his long-honed craft; Trump simply discharges all over the place.

So what does that bling-flashing Queens bullshit artist actually think about Marse Bob and Stonewall and that whole gang? Probably not a hell of a lot, in any sense. Jefferson Davis was savaged by his own Confederate planter contemporaries as an intractably disagreeable piece of shit, but that’s the last thing a blowhard like Donald Trump knows about the Recent Unpleasantness. He latched onto the Lost Cause nonsense almost out of nowhere over the summer, probably because Chad Wealthingrape and the boys down at UVA were giving him shout-outs (shouts-out?) and buying his hats. His declaration of common cause with the postindustrial underemployed, by contrast, feels ancient. (Gin and Tacos has a strong counterpoint, very much worth reading, here.)

Many would argue that the difference between Trump and Reagan is that Reagan had principles to forsake, but they’re both so deep in the bullshit that I don’t feel like trying to conclude anything about this. The idea that Reagan had a Road to Damascus experience coinciding conveniently with his campaign for national office during a time of increasing establishmentarian revanchism isn’t awfully plausible, but he was far too skilled and confident a communicator to get tripped up by his being a divorcé remarried to a doofus whose fascination with dime-store occult nonsense was too trippy for the New Age Democrats, not just too heretical for the positive-law godbotherers taking over the Republican Party. Similarly, or maybe more so, the idea of Trump suddenly developing a personal interest in the mail-order statues on the South’s town squares in his seventies right as a bunch of aspiring Klansmen were ramping up their rally schedule doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense.

The real question may be just how much of the American public actually believes any of this garbage, and how reliably this portion votes. The crazy reliably jacks up turnout, so there’s definitely some amplification. The Republican primary electorate is neither representative of nor very much of the electorate at large, but just look at the floaters it churned up last year who barely lost to Trump. And I’m not trying to imply that I’ve stopped considering the Democratic Party a smoldering trash barge in its own right, or Hillary Clinton its terminally grandiose captain.

Either way, to quote Richard Nixon, perhaps verbatim: Christ, Bob, we’re fucked.

Total eclipse of the head

Working over the summer in an area that will be under totality and keeping an ear on the radio, with and (preferentially) without Annnnnngellllllla Kelllllnnnnerrrrrr, has given me as much advance notice as anyone on the mess that’s expected to descend on Oregon this weekend for the eclipse. It sounded like a huge clusterfuck was on the way north, so I got out of Dodge on Thursday and started south. As I left the area, there had already been a couple of horrible rural traffic jams around Prineville, but every time I’ve checked Google Maps traffic since, the area looks pretty clear, so maybe the hippie importation into the Ochoco National Forest is mostly complete. KLCC had some ranch owner and real estate magnate on to brag about how his redneck values of self-reliance and grit forced him to do business with hippies in order to make ends meet in tight times, hence his inviting the organizers of upcountry Burning Man onto his property, which is miles from the nearest street address. Dude probably ain’t as strapped for cash as he makes himself out to be, but as Greg Gianforte would say, bullshitting city slickers about such things is the Montana Way.

On my way south, I stopped in Bend, a badly underrated city, as it fell under the pall of smoke from a huge wildfire west of Sisters. I had a panoramic view of the smoke coming across on Highway 20 and then got to savor the flavor for 150 miles. Hours after I left Bend, this jumped a containment line and prompted the closure of Highway 242, the windy mountain cutoff between Sisters and McKenzie Bridge. This is frankly a minor example of the shit I’ve been fearing. An active fire season is always possible in Oregon, and we’ve been having one this year. The more I think about it, the more relieved I am that 242 got closed days before the eclipse: a mass evacuation of flatlanders from the path of an oncoming fire in such rugged terrain along such a windy road would very likely have gotten people killed, quite possibly by the hundreds. Dozens of mostly local residents were killed earlier this year in Portugal when a forest fire that they were trying to flee burned over the road that they were trying to use as an evacuation road and trapped them in their cars, and that was in much more prosaic, normal circumstances that Oregon is expecting for the eclipse.

One of the reasons why I left was that I was worried about a mass-casualty fire scene even worse than that. I’m still a bit worried, but less so, since the traffic jams aren’t as bad as I was expecting. The northbound traffic I saw on my way south was heavy but orderly and not jammed up, and the timing of the eclipse, on the Monday morning of what many tourists will be able to make into a three-day weekend, should limit the rush the day and night before. The Monday afternoon exodus is still expected to be a zoo, though, and I’m glad to avoid that. I’d only get in the damn way. Nor did I relish the idea of sticking around an area where the last two rooms I could find, at a property that I often book for sixty or seventy dollars a night, were going for $1,399, plus generous taxes and fees.

I’m still trying to plan a trip to see the eclipse, but wicked inland, probably in Idaho. Napoleon Dynamite Country shouldn’t attract as many freaks and idiots as the Left Coast. Maybe I’m naive, but no matter how embarrassingly crunchy Western Montana is, it doesn’t have the sheer population to disgorge into Rexburg and Idaho Falls that California has available for John Day. Sensible Mormons seem like a good idea in times like these, and the Wasatch Front has many such cases. Better to have them colonize the eclipse path than the hippie swarm. They tend to bathe.

It isn’t just a matter of avoiding potentially contagious Anglo-Saxonisms such as the itch, the twitch, the mange, and the grunge. The dirty motherfuckers who choose to harbor such wonders (and the traveling ones are moneyed enough that it indeed is a fucking choice) are, as they say in activist communities, intersectional with the carriers of woo-woo. From what I’m hearing, a total eclipse is really worth watching, but I’d rather watch it with Mormon breeders who stockpile canned goods in a bunker than with healing crystals assholes. All the New Age bullshit is about to flood interior Oregon from Ashland and Nevada City and Santa Cruz, in an almost biblical sense, and I’ve had enough of that crap already. If you haven’t been exposed to it, you probably have no idea how fucking obnoxious it all is. The ideas that these losers have about the eclipse have to be UFC heavyweight wrestler fucking dropkicked that dumb bitch I did insane. I get the gist of it and can tell at a glance that it’s all retarded, so I really don’t need the details.

I don’t need another helping of the wholegrain vegan pancakes, either. Mixing whole wheat flour, olive oil, baking soda, oatmeal, and water into a batter (sic, and adequately sickening) might seem like a great idea to someone who also believes in “neurolinguistic programming” (Major Bones: “You realize, all that means is learning how to talk! Oh my God!”) and scatters affirmations that “EVERY DAY, IN EVERY WAY, I AM GETTING RICHER” around the house while snacking on rotten lettuce all afternoon. The Family Shrew earned her epithet in part by being a pushy bitch about how such a lifestyle would be edifying for me, too, and really for everyone. I have never figured out whether the nasty salad mix snacks (without dressing, because that woman knows how to wander out of her fucking mind) were entirely a health cult discipline or had something to do with her and Joe Dirtbag not being able to afford groceries at times when my dad had been giving them tens of thousands of dollars.

So, no, I do not want to go watch some special lunar shit with this crowd. It sounds miserable. It’s bad enough that I can’t reschedule it for a year not featuring a secular high in socioeconomic inequality in the OECD and an allegedly liberal Neo-Victorian IFL Science bourgeoisie that wants to tell the poor how to live and is successfully turning Donald Trump into the Millennium’s William Jennings Bryan as well as its FDR. There was a big-ass eclipse in 1888, too, during the Gilded Age. Back then all the fashionable moral people were open eugenicists who expected their breakfast cereals to double as laxatives and triple as masturbation suppressors. That’s where science got J. H. Kellogg. One fucking loves it. Everyone who wanted a cut of his money for research had to pretend that he wasn’t batshit insane for going to the zoo to watch chimpanzees shit and taking notes. #GorillaMindset. Grant writers today have to pretend that Uber isn’t a mashup of COINTELPRO, Dr. Mengele from the psychology department, and 38 Special Vinny from the taxicab racket, that there isn’t anything wrong with Elon Musk for wanting to colonize Mars and run a maglev pneumatic tube from New York to Washington at a time when no level of government in the United States has the wherewithal to fund a third heavy rail bore under the Hudson into Penn Station, and that Ashton Kutcher and Nicholas Jesus D. Kristof are international authorities on forced brothel labor, coextensive and coterminous with all sex work because they say so.

Shit, white boy. I haven’t even gotten to all the flak that the poor take for being fat. The eclipse is sure to be another excuse for people who expose entire communities to measles because Jenny McCarthy says vaccines are giving their brats autism to accuse churchgoing Christians of superstition. Okay, some cool shit is happening with the sun and the moon, but it doesn’t give some asshole who dicks around on the NASA website grounds to make fun of snake-handling holy rollers for being ignorant and backwards (they know a thing or two about animals, after all), and it doesn’t give some other asshole the dispensation to swirl a fucking amethyst crystal in front of my third eye. I say this as someone who took the plunge and went through with RCIA in order to avoid taking the literal plunge into the bathtub of a wacko cradle Catholic turned hardline Missouri Synod Lutheran/straight-up John Knox Presby hellfire preacher who wanted to summarily baptize me at a soiree that he was hosting.

I’m wary of zealots because I’ve gotten mixed up with a few. There are only two words that I need repeat about my institutional experience with Dickinson College: GO DIPLOMATS! Seriously, I’ve considered actually donating to Gettysburg and F&M just to spite the development office shitheads and the cult horde that they indoctrinate. It’d probably be a five spot, but I’d make damn sure that it’s enough to get my name on a published donor list. The eclipse already has the IFL Science community preening about its own superiority to uneducated religious ignoramuses who don’t fucking love science, so, yes, I’d rather go to Idaho Falls and see if any of the LDS MILF’s made some extra Jello salad. Remember: more sister wives means more recipes.

It also occurs to me that maybe Mormon eclipse-watchers in flyover country are Safety Bear enough not to start wildfires by driving on the grass. John Waters is full of shit about America being able to take in more people because there’s so much space, but there is something to be said for getting into a relatively unpopulated part of the country on a weekend when the populated part where I’ve been working is going to have a wildebeest stampede of flatlanders into climatic and vegetation regimes that they dangerously fail to understand.

There’s definitely something to be said for being rational about this stuff, to doing some real planning and trying to steer clear of those who don’t. The Boy Scouts taught me about more than just Chesterfield. Much of what we did there was retarded, but not all of it was. The BSA isn’t exactly an organization of heteronormative neurotypicality, so Our Lord Joseph’s Servant Gerald applying the DENNIS Method to one’s Heartland under its auspices shouldn’t come as a total surprise, but it did teach us some extremely useful things about gun and knife safety and wilderness survival when it wasn’t handing out merit badges like candy to anyone who spent a week at camp weaving dumbass kit baskets. In retrospect, I side with the kid who got frustrated and threw his basket into the campfire. Those who aren’t into arson can learn much from the BSA about how not to accidentally start fires. It isn’t a good place to send Jim DiMaggio or Sexy Male Code Enforcement Officer Lynn Rader for training (God, not another DENNIS Method), but the worst boys I encountered through it were average bullies or whiny little twerps, not psychopaths.

It’s true that none of my recurring memes are bad by BSA standards. It’s true that what’s most grievously missing from its camps are the camp whores. That sounds like an American Pie sequel, but prostitution would actually cut down on the juvenile bullshit, and it’s a lot more realistic than amateur hour with Mrs. Robinson. These boys aren’t about to get it on with Stacy’s Mom; I was one of them, and I know that we did not got it going on.

It’s a weird damn organization, Rex Tillerson being one of the exceptions that proves the rule, but as I said, it managed to teach some of us some good shit, and the people I’m trying to avoid in Oregon this weekend include ones who never got the personal hygiene merit badge. That’s the one you get by coming out of the bath not smelling like shit. Left-liberals can have a moral sense of purity, too, bitch. People who smell bad after they bathe offend mine, and they overlap significantly with idiots who start fires by driving on dry grass, smoke being another source of offensive impurity, but you know what they say: haters gonna haidt.