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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The permanence of the temporarily embarrassed millionaire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The short, lame arm of the law

Some down-and-out Johnny Come Lately has been sleeping in an unheated car on Joe Dirtbag’s farm, right across the parking lot from the winery building next to the perimeter fence. I personally saw him rummaging around with a flashlight with the windshield fogged up on a night last week when the temperature was down to barely above freezing. I didn’t even try to ask whether he was too cheap to warm the car up or too broke; I’d come to the farm to weed the abandoned vineyard blocks that I’ve been reclaiming, not to make small talk with some random dipshit who had decided to share the land.

I wasn’t worried about this dipshit’s safety that night. That situation was fucked up, but it seemed safe enough. This week, when the lows dropped into the low twenties, a near record for this time of year, I got pretty rattled. That’s definitely cold enough to kill a person. All it takes is one night mistakenly thinking that one is hardy enough to tough it out, and there’s no shortage of hard cases and foolhardy knuckleheads with something to prove about their own toughness living on the fringes in rural Oregon who spend the winter fixing to do exactly that. I’d been out of town for a few days, but I’d looked at the forecast and realized that it was definitely cold enough for winterkill, and Lady Pisspan had already provided the precedent for being found frozen dead in one’s vehicle in the same parking lot.

After a couple hours of prevarication and online research of the local and state social services apparatus, which didn’t provide a clear idea of where to turn for help, I left a voice mail with the county Health and Human Services department describing the situation as I’d been able to piece it together and my fear that someone would end up dying of exposure on that property. My call was returned first thing the next morning. I was told that HHS didn’t have jurisdiction over what I’d described and that if I wanted any further assistance I’d have to contact the police.

I still can’t tell that I’m not missing something about what the county or the state can do about this mess. The police should not be given primary responsibility for social services in nonemergency situations. It isn’t that they’re necessarily unable to deal with social services calls professionally or are inherently dangerous to those they’re sworn to serve; this is an area with some of the best cops on earth, so chances are that we’d draw a good squad, and Mixups in my Mind and Psychotarp being gone from the property means that the chance of a Robert Dziekanski situation is diminished to negligibility, to my great relief. The problem I see is that the emergency services, both police and fire, generally consider nonemergency situations involving individual welfare low priority. I didn’t see anything productive coming from my calling the sheriff’s desk to say that I was out of town but worried about the safety of someone who was probably sleeping in his car on the property because I’d seen him doing so before on a warmer night. It seemed likely that my call would be dismissed as a crank call, and that if deputies did conduct a welfare check they’d rile up the guy in the car without doing anything to improve his housing situation. The situation was obviously bad, but it wasn’t blatantly dire or life-threatening enough to demand an emergency response.

There are jurisdictions in the United States today where the emergency services blow off calls like these. Seattle 911 operators get annoyed by frivolous calls about some guy who’s spending a cold winter morning lying face-down with his head pointing down a hill, his pants around his ankles, and naked of all other clothing but a pair of bright red underwear. The LAPD beat cop I flagged down on the subway over the severely disturbed guy who’d been lunging around our car and yelling at the top of his lungs thought that what I’d alerted him to sounded normal. These are shockingly dire situations that the police may or may not prioritize, depending on how much of that kind of thing they see on their beats on a day-to-day basis. I guess the good thing about most of Oregon is that these are relatively stark deviations from the prevailing community standards. In Seattle and Los Angeles, the authorities can easily enough find the inspiration to redefine “community” as whoever is storming around skid row with a bowie knife and a length of rebar right now.

We used to have mental hospitals for such cases. Today we have transit systems. Perhaps when we reopen the state hospitals we can install hills on the yard, as habitat features. Send a nurse out every fifteen minutes to make sure that no one’s extremities are turning blue; the contrast with the red should be helpful. Every zoo has its keepers.

As rude as that was, I’m crudely groping towards a better world, one that exists more in our most hopeful minds than in our cities. As I said, I’ve been told by a county HHS official that the only way to get help from local government with the clusterfuck at the farm is to call the police. This mess falls through the cracks. No one involved is juvenile, elderly, crazy, retarded, or crippled enough to fall into a protected class that can bring out social services. Being a more or less normal adult who got into an exploitative, shady, or just plain bad situation isn’t enough. The people staying on Joe Dirtbag’s farm can’t be the victims of adult abuse because they’re theoretically able to advocate for themselves. That a number of them have already been bullied into abiding by illegal rental agreements for uninhabitable dwellings doesn’t establish any sort of legal vulnerability because, again, they theoretically can walk away, into God knows what, or stand up to a Master of the House slumlord thug who enjoys trying to bait other men into feuds with one another and with random cops.

The guy I saw sleeping in the car appears to be endangering himself more than anyone else is affirmatively endangering him. Much of what bothers me about this particular arrangement is that it exposes JD and anyone else involved with the farm whom a plaintiff’s attorney might try suing to civil liability in the event of his injury or death. Dude doesn’t happen to be sleeping on some disused, out-of-the-way part of the property, as some other homeless do in parts of the greenbelt that JD owns; I saw him sleeping in the curtilage of an active winery building, next to a heavily used gate to actively tended fields. We’ve got a property manager married to a bachelor’s-level social worker, with a six-figure investment fund dedicated to the operation of the property, and neither of them is doing a fucking thing to adequately rehouse our boy in the car or any of the other down-and-out who have been festering in their Hooverville for years. Why would they, when they can cajole unpaid heavy labor from these losers from time to time instead?

We’re approaching the point at which the only thing I can do is to cut the kumbaya shit and haidt-fuck every recalcitrant party into compliance with the law. The harm and fairness gloss is that Kumbaya, m’Landlord has everyone living in squalor, to the point of endangering the lives of the more vulnerable and reckless among them in the winter. The authority gloss is that, no, you do not have the right to live in or preside over La Colonía de los Cráqueres on a property that I’ve been funding for agricultural use. Any moral sense of purity is heinously assaulted by the mere mention of Pot-o-Shit Friend. Wanna round it out for an even five for five by appealing to my sense of loyalty to Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew? No luck, white boy. Purity and authority were why the Port Coquitlam municipal government ordered Robert Pickton to clean that shit up in his hardcore Monty Robinson for Sheriff days, and authority was one of the reasons that Mountie newjack got the search warrant that exposed a lot more than just illegal firearms on the old pig poo plantation.

Beyond some point, the process-oriented objections to imperfect ways of forcing a derelict to clean his shit up become untenable distractions. At JD’s farm, we’re just about there. I have no good reason to give a shit about some asshat’s high libertarian theory that the government should mind its own business when private citizens are choosing to live in squalor and cold. I’ve got money tied up in that shit, so I’m within my rights to tell a man that he is not allowed to sleep in my driveway all winter. I’m not invested in the farm because I want to help a bunch of losers fall through the cracks and enjoy Simon and Simon cool changes in the yard whenever there’s a hard freeze while antisocial landowners who have been adequately housed their whole lives enjoy their noble savagery from the sidelines. Joe Dirtbag and that fucking radiologist who’s bootlegging his wine into California may find this shit cute. They may enjoy it as latter-day Jacob Riis poverty tourism minus the documentary value. I fucking do not. This horseshit interferes with the operation of the farm and exposes my parents to liability for the endangerment of losers they never meant to have languishing indefinitely in grossly deficient, even dangerous, conditions.

It will inevitably be taken as a provocation if the police are called to the property for any purpose, but I’m very close to the point of absolutely ceasing to give a shit. It isn’t my fault that a bunch of dipshits who either won’t take adequate care of themselves or won’t take adequate care of those living in squalor on their property will get salty if I call a pork rally. The tenants in the Ghost Ship squats in Oakland had cool stories about how they had to live in that ramshackle deathtrap because they were starving artists trying to get by in the city, and now three dozen people are needlessly dead. The authorities might have saved their lives had they raided the building from floor to floor and end to end and fully evacuated it. The fire department had repeatedly flagged it as dangerous.

Sleeping in an unheated car when it’s well below freezing is dangerous, too. I’m not interested in the relativism of how it’s less dangerous than the Grenfell Tower or sleeping in the same car when it’s below zero Fahrenheit, not just Celsius. We’re on course to have someone die from exposure to cold on the farm again. I can’t say for certain that Lady Pisspan was killed by the cold, but I can very reasonably assume that the cold was a factor in her death, since her travel trailer had no apparent source of heat or cooling.

It’s one thing if people insist on spending the winter living and dying on a pile of filth under a lean-to in the greenbelt or a freeway overpass. It’s a tragedy that it happens anywhere and a scandal that it happens in my country, but I’m not Captain Save-a-Bum. I’m not here to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, nor am I here to shake your hand and share the land, which went just great in the Ukraine.

We have our own land tenure problems of a rather different sort in the United States. One of them afflicts Joe Dirtbag’s farm, a significant plot of prime farmland that has gone to ruin and shit because it’s owned by an incorrigible deadbeat. Believe me, this situation is enough to make me wonder whether Robert Mugabe wasn’t so much wrong as overly ambitious. Any effective economic system would reallocate JD’s land to someone else. That’s all there is to it. It is definitively a failure of American capitalism that JD is allowed to abandon large swathes of his land, let crops go to waste by the half ton, run tenant farmers off his property by behaving erratically and harboring wackos, and repeatedly harass the few tenants who remain. It’s almost like allowing a maneating lion the run of the land.

Cecil and Jericho, pray for us.

Yes, we live in the animal kingdom. Hakuna mafuckintata, honky. We’re all slaves to the sinful nature and shit. Fair enough. But we fucking ought to aspire to something more refined and civilized than that, say, by expecting that our business partners not be apes in their dealings with us and then scream bloody murder when we fail to be angels before them in return. #GorillaMindset. If you act like a rutting bull elk in front of me, I’m allowed to call the police, rough men (and women!) ready to do violence in civilization’s name. My own sexual impulses are more civilizational than that, if I do say so myself. I came to Oregon to learn and ply agricultural trades, not to get baited into a goddamn fight club. Put on some antlers, go out into the forest come fall, and lose me with that shit.

Scout’s Honor, by Chesterfield, if Joe Dirtbag were merely a recreational elkfucker I wouldn’t have anything nearly so critical to say about him in these pages. The time one spends fucking God’s other creatures is time one does not spend feeding a feral rat colony while it beshits the floor of one’s winery or personally filling a trash can oneself. Go figure that Pot-o-Shit Friend, the ultimate Darwinian cul-de-sac, had a place in the farm community under the authority of Captain Flimflam and Joe Dirtbag, both of them animalistic bullies. That’s what they got when they finally brought someone meek onboard. Surely nightsoil is a form of earth that one might inherit.

It’s no accident that the English literary treasury that we have inherited as rebellious peri-Commonwealthers is so heavy on aristocratic imperialist authoritarian garbage like Austen, Kipling, Paddington Bear, and Thomas the Tank Engine (what we get for giving clergymen publishing contracts) and so light on wholesome stories about Kentish fruitboys and their townie whores. We pretty much have to go back to the Canterbury Tales to get some, uh, Canterbury tail. Pot-o-Shit Friend likes dudes, but don’t let anyone tell you that he’s part of the National Fruit Collection, or that that little faggot will ever have his own jet airplane. By the way, this is the first paragraph in this screed that isn’t totally fucked up, because it’s basically the least disturbing thing that can possibly be written about English sexuality since the Reformation, nay, the Norman Conquest. This is the crew that gave us Jimmy Savile and the public schools. I want my, I want my, I want my BBC. Say what you will about David Cameron, but the pig wasn’t in a position to mind.

That was an indulgence in false hope, mostly. What we return to when we return to the real world is fractals of imperial aggression and brutality, a society in which only some of us are granted human rights and dignity and the rest of us, if we’re assertive enough to call, have someone from the county telling us that we’ll have to call the police to reclaim ours. I’d like to make it through Ash Wednesday without another farm squatter returning prematurely to dust, and I don’t mind expressing my relief that that bitch Pickton doesn’t get to choose between the eight, noon, and six o’clock services these days. My problem with the clergy is specifically with guys like that Anglican tankie fuckhead with the train stories, not with ones who just smear ashes on my forehead and tell me I’m gonna die. Sexy male nurse Lynn Majors expressed similar sentiments, but that’s why they moved him, in all directions, away from Terre Haute.

Yes, I’m only trying to make sure that we are NOT cullen the herd. I don’t want people dying of exposure on property where I work and am invested. The fucked up thing is that I’m around people who think find this controversial.

Great crimes and great fortunes

There are no good billionaires. Let’s get out heads out of our asses. Living in a ranch house in Omaha does not make Warren Buffett authentic. I’ve been to Omaha three times. Two of these trips were limited to a fresh air break on the depot platform, but I was awake and attentive to the landscape as I rolled through Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska. On the second trip I was able to catch sight of the Nebraska capitol tower, which is not illuminated, on the way through Lincoln. I keep meaning to make a dedicated trip through that part of the country, on both sides of the Missouri, best when the daytime highs are somewhere above twenty degrees. I’m cold-hardy, but I’m also a Californian and not a toolbox. But I do not for one fucking second imagine that that miserly Tom Brokaw-acting cunt gains a shred of virtue or wisdom for living in Omaha. What’s next? Asserting that sexy male nurse Lynn Majors is authentically murderous for being a small-town Hoosier? I was born in a small town, my grandparents lived in that same small town until, you know.

At least I don’t take this shit seriously. At least I know that it’s just Memetime in America. If sexy male code enforcement officer Lynn Rader commits his next mail violation by sending out tendentious stock tips, will that make him the Oracle of Wichita? *Glen Campbell, back on the line* I didn’t say anything so rude about a Kansan, now.

Warren Buffett has basically the same values as any other billionaire, values that are absolute garbage. His public brand drives him to make a show of being a cheap piece of shit, but if he were comfortable being modest or downwardly mobile he’d have done something else with his career. Hell, if he weren’t rapacious he’d cut the stockmongering and retire into something less Rich Uncle Moneybags: RVing, gardening, hunting, poker, high-volume golf, I dunno, but definitely not what he’s made a name for himself doing.

The specific cultural problem extrinsic to Buffett is that every dipshit journalist who hasn’t spent any time in the Midwest figures that instead of traveling there sometime and taking a look around it would make more sense to repeat shopworn talking points from the PR machine of the same bumptious fuckjob who happens to be famous for famously being from Omaha. Like, if we listen to him, we’ll pick up all these great heartland values. Again, how does this not apply to our old boy Dennis Lynn Rader, who also enjoys regular correspondence from the nation’s midsection? What the hell do these motherfuckers represent? If I somehow became buddies with the Omaha country club set to the point of making them schnorrable for meals, I reckon they’d take me out for steak, not to fucking Dairy Queen. There’s no way the Nebraska business elite mumble half-coherent breakfast orders in the McDonald’s drive-through as a high folkway. That just ain’t so, cracka. They may be plainer in their dress and manners than the fanciest New Yorkers, but they cherish primer cuts than that. Besides, in case we’re trying to live in the real world here, most of them don’t actually give off a tell-tale vibe that they aren’t possibly from Alpharetta or Narberth or Torrey Pines.

The categorical error that craven assholes in the mainstream media keep making is their insistence that there are normal billionaires and billionaire wannabes. (Think Trump; surely the hallmark of solvency is the failure to pay FAA registration fees on one’s private jet fleet.) Here we have an overclass that is wealthy and powerful enough to live like gods incarnate, and we’re told that they’re actually like you and me. Yeah, and I’m Kevin Vickers. Go high enough and everyone’s warped. I’m close to a number of financial millionaires and near millionaires. The superrich I read about in the news do not share their values. They do not have a worldview or set of cultural practices in common. Too many merely bourgeois social climbers haphazardly try to ape the mogul overclass, mainly on weekend evenings, but most of them revert on short order to more or less normative bourgeois behaviors. Most of them revert to a decent measure of thrift, industry, sobriety, and modesty, knowing, for one thing, that those who don’t are ruined.

Beyond some murky threshold, well into the tens, if not hundreds, of millions for the obscure and probably in the low tens for the famous, attitudes and behaviors go through a funhouse mirror. Betsy Devos plucked elementary school mentees effectively at random, parachuting them into exclusive private schools. In exchange, she paid their parents and older siblings to clean her mansions. Aside from the perennial question of why our public schools are such intractable dystopias, this raises questions about why the fuck the DeVoses need so much housecleaning. What is wrong with them that they can’t get by with just one mansion in Southwestern Michigan? This is nuts.

Again and again the very wealthy demonstrate that they have too much money to spend well. The lakeside compound that Bill Gates built with his fortune is batshit insane. The Google boys bought a used Qantas 767, on the cheap, actually (the finest styles of ride tend to depreciate, too), and proceeded to bicker about its interior decoration. The scandal here, of course, was that they weren’t doing their aviation on the equivalent of their famous Priuses. This innocently, foolishly, presumes far too much principle on their part. Why would they claw and slash their way to the top just to fly coach? Al Gore has the same problem, but more so, with his infamous Tennessee horse country mansion and its air conditioning bill, not to mention all his profligate international travel for the purpose of admonishing others to travel less profligately. Likewise the rotating cast of entertainment celebrities who have hypocritically made climate change their cause: they have enough money and connections to live like gods, too.

This isn’t the only gross political manifestation of extreme wealth. We’ve got the Koch brothers, a well weird duo, buying pet Congressmen and governors, lately including the sitting Vice President, and the Mercers hiring and then punishing Steve Bannon in the fashion of their wayward house slave. They’re decadent imperial Roman grandees, and he’s their reprobate Greek. All gall is divided however it must be to enable these shits to shove around an accomplished millionaire, of all people. Imagine how they must treat their gardeners and maids. These are people for whom American politics is a fucking board game. It’s for the little people, the rest of us, their host society, to suffer the consequences of their grandiosity and greed. To them, an autodidact with a background in investment banking and high-profile internet news is just another servant, maybe not quite as disposable as a day laborer picked up in the Home Depot parking lot to rake up the leaves but not much more valuable than that.

What the hell are the rest of us supposed to make of a regime in which a handful of scions of unfathomable wealth have, conservatively, a budget of thirty million dollars apiece at a time to lavish on pet political operatives and propagandists? What does this do to the national sense of truth and justice? The Clintons are grotesquely aggrandized in their own right, but what are we to make of a society whose waters Richard Mellon Scaife has enough personal wealth to muddy at will with fever-swamp tales of their immorality?

I sit down and write this stuff on my own. All I need is the time, which I usually have, and the energy, which, uh, well, uh. The point is that I don’t have a fucking staff for this shit. I don’t have a fucking think tank. I’ve got friends, relatives, acquaintances, passersby, and the like who inform my screeds or act as sounding boards, but I’m not in a position to hire, say, Megan McArdle. Not that I would if I could, because yuck. Michael O. Church is right that the socioeconomic elite is in no way an intellectual elite. The fact that McMegan has found people with a think tank budget who didn’t take one look at her and think, damn, this bitch is dumb, is evidence enough.

Then again, living in truth gets in the way of living in wealth. This helps explain why at the top, much as at the hard bottom, everyone acts like a fucking animal. I have no idea whether the story about Donald Trump’s private White House gorilla channel is at all accurate, but it’s a fun story, and ultimately it’s true. It’s definitely true that the shitheads up top get salty when the apes don’t fight enough for their taste. #GorillaMindset

Affluence can alienate people from mainstream society, but there’s a huge difference between being able to afford to eat out somewhere nice and being able to basically force Thomas Sowell and Victor Davis Hanson to have a shovel fight in the yard to determine which one gets the only think tank job. Money is power, but there’s a difference between having enough power to incent a few restaurant employees to make one coffee and dinner once or twice a day and having enough power to deploy a dedicated household staff of professional libelers against one’s enemies. Besides, normal people routinely have to make tradeoffs, going without some nice things in order to afford others. I, for one, eat better by sleeping in my car every two or three nights than I would by getting a room every night, so I don’t fucking care to have some planter-class asshole paying Tyler Cowen to lecture me about how I don’t often enough eat beans out of a tin. Fuck him.

That motherfucker has actually run his mouth about how times are getting tight and we, okay, not him, but the rest of us, will have to economize and make do with beans. At what point does our food insecurity stop deriving from there not being enough to eat in a nation with some of the most productive farms on earth and start deriving from the nation’s wealth being concentrated enough for those who possess it to afford to hire Tyler Cowen? If student debt is forcing graduates to eat Top Ramen, that’s fundamentally a debt peonage problem, not a food security problem. At some point, and we’re far past it, it becomes reasonable to tell the managerial class that we’ll throw them into the ship channel if they move our cheese again. Hell, in a functional, productive society, we’d all cut our own.

I’ve picked several tons of fruit commercially, so don’t look at me. If Travis Kalanick and Jeff Bezos are salty that any of us are privileged or stubborn enough not to be impressed into their servant precariat, that’s their wound to lick. The rest of us might as well stand back and snicker, accusing them of licking themselves. Remember, they exploit their inferiors for the same reason that a dog licks its own balls: because they can.

Like Lynn Majors, sexual harassment can be sexy, and it can happen in nursing. Unlike Lynn Majors, it probably won’t kill you.

If I ever go through with nursing school, or with Canadian residency, it will most likely be, like Elizabeth Wettlaufer, as a Canadian nurse. This is actually a true story. Hoosier source for the dumbass idea that we’re better at medical care down here? Eh? Starting a screed with a sexy male nurse Lynn Majors/Thick Lizzie doubleheader was one of the least disgusting things I could have written about nursing, which is a great line of work to spend listening to sick people cough all shift. A few minutes of that makes me wonder whether I wouldn’t prefer to have agitated patients pelt me with their own shit. Get you a profession that can do you both, such as nursing.

This, friends, is why we take refuge in our memes. Where were you when Jian Ghotmesi, on that September day? I was Online. And I’ll #NeverForget where I was the day they Sad Jordaned Mark Saunders: again, Online. I failed to provoke anyone from the KMTR flame war thread about Donald Trump’s visit to Eugene into calling me a faggot when I chimed in with an endorsement of Kwesi Millington for President (“As they say, he’s electrifying”), probably because everyone assumed I’d made some shit up, so maybe I can convince some hypervigilant authoritarian #TCOT creeps that I consider the Sad Jordaning of the Chief and accusations that his fellow erstwhile Englishman had choked a commissioned air force officer other than their third mate Colonel Underpants seminal moments in my life. Lord have Mersey upon me, but I don’t even mind an occasional Gerry and the Heartstoppers fishing ditty, if I do say so myself. Hand me a government horse and I, too, will be ready to rundel in the jungle.

Any of you still bitching about Nickelback?

Milton Street was a serious politician before he was a possible Philadelphian who didn’t mind being accused of New Jersey residency during his mayoral runs. Home doesn’t have to be where one lays down one’s head, but it might as well. I guess I’d try to be more serious and stay loosely on topic if I didn’t look out on a churning sea of extreme political and cultural dysfunction. It’s negligent but not particularly unreasonable to wonder what in hell is the point of trying to fix this mess. I’d probably like to be more than just a raging freak show as a political observer, but I couldn’t possibly count the number of times I’ve seen some self-serious, moralizing professional who always plays it straight make Milton Street look like the more reputable, sane, and sensible party. That’s pretty much our political class. The Fifth Estate should do an episode about this. It might even be as much fun as the meta-Ghomeshi retrospective.

As an Anglo-American culture, we might determine that sexuality ought to be discussed with some discretion and decorum and proceed to do exactly that, by not constantly talking about sex. We might discuss a lot of things that we don’t instead of those that we do: Benedict Option shit, that kind of thing. In a more refined society, Rod Dreher might not have published an essay devoted to his disappointment at Ariel Castro’s shortcomings as an incarcerated religious contemplative. Or he might have published it away from the auspices and imprimatur of a magazine explicitly devoted to American conservatism. The Cullen Quarterly must not have paid as well.

Then again, are we not an entrepreneurial, materialistic people? The profit motive behind sexually coarse content is obvious, and there’s notoriously a huge amount of utterly mercenary behavior in the entertainment industry. It’s easy to overestimate the degree of coordination and coherence driving our programming and to imagine elite conspiracies that don’t quite exist. Don’t these guys all attend the same synagogues? Yeah, sure, but we oughtn’t write off the chance that their fellow templegoers consider them irredeemable fucking putzes. One’s values do not always sing in perfect harmony with those of everyone else in the parish. There could always be, hell, some blowhard RWNJ general contractor or dentist who aggravates the priests week in and week out but buys regular time to do church business with them by advertising in the bulletin, that kind of thing. Muh temporalities. It’s probably just the affluent congregating with their own kind as it bleeds up into rather extreme forms of wealth and privilege. That is, free association, bitch. The poors would be yuckier, or something.

The point here is that the impossibly contradictory messages may actually be coming from divergent elite factions that clash when they come into direct contact. Reconciling feminist sex positivity with mass fainting episodes over everyone from Brock Turner to Garrison Keillor to Geraldo Rivera is a real headscratcher: are the coeds strong, confident women who can make their own decisions about sexual engagement with men or wilting hothouse flowers, little girls whose hands must forever be held? Does feminism even know what it wants? It’s neater and easier to assume that all this contradictory messaging comes from an incoherent and hypocritical but massive conspiracy by meddlesome elite social engineers than to consider the likelier scenario of a number of influential factions, loosely classified as liberals because we’re led by people with a middle school social studies-level sophistication of political thought, many of which are at significant cross-purposes with one another. If it’s liberal to respect and defend sex workers and also liberal for meddlesome #LeanIn scolds to accuse sex workers of not having an adequate “female perspective,” what is liberalism? What is Aleppo? Who do we have running for the presidency and still not spoiling the election for Hillary? #WithHer? Who “her” this is, bitch?

It isn’t just a huge, amoral, callous, bonechillingly cynical cabal. Wide swathes of our popular culture, news media, and politics are directed in such a fashion, but there isn’t a single cathedral for the rebel forces to storm. There’s no key citadel whose capture will suddenly enable a systemic cultural about-face. The upward mobility of Jews in the entertainment industry from Adam Gellin-ass back-of-the-house songmongering by Irving Berlin for Bing Crosby in the midcentury to the Weinstein brothers at the turn of the Millennium had profound aesthetic effects but embarrassingly weak ethical ones. Basically, the (((invasion))) of the WASP nest resulted in more sex on screen, different sorts of violence, and less Wilsonian highbrow academic racist horseshit, but no general improvement in moral tone. The big studios were releasing garbage then, and they’re releasing garbage now. With some attention and discrimination we can find the occasional pearls in this lagoon of hogshit, but that’s our own independent project to pursue at our own expense.

This is why I have so much sympathy for campaigns like the Benedict Option and the homeschooling movement. Modern society is not on a moral arc towards terminal depravity, and it’s sentimental ahistorical nonsense to say that it is, but it’s hard for an attentive person to miss the recurrent situations in which authority figures provide grossly, wantonly irresponsible advice and cultural models that will inevitably lead the vulnerable into untenable, dangerous, even ruinous traps.

Take songs like “Superman That Ho” and “Blurred Lines.” First off, if a woman asked me to go full Soulja Boy on her, I’d find the idea ridiculous. That it occurred to anyone is a sign of sexual dysfunction; aside from the evasion of consent to degrade and humiliate an unconscious party, the practice isn’t particularly broken as fetishes go, but it’s pretty far out there and not all that self-actualizing. Like, yeah, I could nut in your cunt, or in your ass, or on your tits, or smear it different places around your crotch, or you could suck me off, but, nah, come to think of it, I’ma jack off into a T-shirt and stick it up around your shoulders, in the fashion of a cape. Because it’s so lurid and out there, it’s a great tune for people who don’t actually have sex. It’s classic porn for incels and autists. “Blurred Lines,” by comparison a gentlemanly tune, is an explicit inference of implicit sexual consent. To say the least, it’s ballsy for a man to speak so forwardly to a strange woman who has asserted her own sexual modesty and caution. To say the most, as many have, it’s a wee bit rapey.

This caliber of raunchy entertainment spontaneously emerges out in the streets without any outside prompting, and I leave it to others to clutch their pearls like a covey of maiden aunts at this discovery. Out in the street. Say, have they yet electrified the Avenue? The real question is why the likes of “Blurred Lines,” which might be halfway mentionable in polite company, and “Superman That Ho,” which absolutely is not under any circumstances whatsoever, ever got record contracts. There are gatekeepers in the music business: record companies, DJ’s, promoters, club owners, and so forth. Why do they tolerate this crap? Do none of them notice that the prevailing sexual mores are rather tense and fraught and therefore reconsider this shit on account of the pernicious effects it might have on the socially inept and the impressionable?

Of course not. The thought’s nice, though. If some dude’s hanging out on the corner (cue the fucking CCR, if you must) hollering his word about how sweet and decorous it is to perform upon the nearest passed-out lady a Wet Franken, he’s just some guy on the corner. Nobody sensible expects the street corner symphony or whatever the fuck bullshit Rob Thomas is back up on not to include some blame-fool rude nonsense now and then. Plenty of sensible people would reasonably ask that club owners, entertainment executives, and the like refuse to do business with soi-disant artists who carry on like the trashiest passenger on the 61 Local through Strawberry Mansion. I wouldn’t go out shopping for used cars in Bakersfield using language like that. It’s perfectly consistent with the corporate standards of any imaginable Fortune company not to enter into business deals over songs about rubbing one’s ejaculate on a passed-out woman for shits and giggles. Hell, it’s consistent with the prevailing community standards of most everyone else on the bus. No bitch has the consent to cut me.

This is just another catastrophic failure of leadership over the past few decades, and frankly not an awfully impressive one as the dereliction of our elites goes. American broadcasters are forbidden to broadcast verbatim the pay-for-play comments of Rod Blagojevich, who is actually in fucking Littleton, because that’s somehow indecent in a way that ads for casinos, bogus prescription drugs, and for-profit career colleges are not. There’s hardly a thing that can’t lawfully be advertised to the public under the regulatory auspices of the FCC. There’s effectively no duty not to defraud, let alone not to mislead. To judge from advertising conventions, gambling at second-tier Indian casinos, erectile dysfunction, and opiate-induced constipation are all activities of sexual potency and allure.

Buyer beware is always sage advice, but it doesn’t mean that the federal government has a duty to allow every two-bit con man in the country to air fraudulent advertisements under government-issued and regulated licenses. Or, I have to assume, to allow shitheads to run ads with explicit references to bowel problems at mealtime. There’s no public interest in hearing about how some guy who supposedly can’t shit because he’s such a junkie talked to his doctor about this miracle cure, and so should you, though funny thing, he’s a Mike Rowe-looking hunk who’s gotta be taking TWO mistresses out cruising on PCH in his midlife crisis car after work tonight. Just because Pot-o-Shit Friend would enjoy the programming doesn’t mean that the rest of us care for it. That fucker was a newsworthy threat to public health and safety; I took too much dope to shit is not.

The idea that anyone in a position of power under this regime would choose not to give social proof to sexually gross content on account of the arbitrary, ever-shifting, and weirdly touchy community standards on sexual displays is fucking quaint. Noblesse oblige must have run off to the same places where I keep fruitlessly looking for the labor theory of value; I suppose I’ll let you all know where that is once I figure out where it is myself. That shit is gone, baby, gone.

And yet we’re expected to believe the elites when they insist that they’re looking out for us in the matter of sexual harassment. The first clue here (ooh, are you getting one, too?) is that the only form of harassment that’s ever discussed in the mainstream media is sexual harassment. There are countless other ways to commit harassment, some of them harrowing to the victims, but the one that keeps getting the attention involves sex, and we all know that sex is fun.

This is why so many of these situations just don’t look distressing. It’s no wonder that “hostile work environment” has become a popular euphemism for greatly wished-for situations involving the boss lady showing up with a sexy teacher act and maybe a ruler. The actors in sexual harassment training materials are suspiciously good looking: good teeth, good posture, well dressed, well groomed, freshly showered, handsome, adequately fed but not overfed (I do hella farm work and hiking but I’d be too thicc), overtly mentally healthy. White, too, as a rule.

This shit isn’t training materials or investigative reporting; it’s soap opera escapism. For crying out loud, look at how many fuckable men have been coughed up as abusers. Sure, Weinstein is a fugly, and Keillor looks like a bulldog whose vet botched the last Botox treatment, but Matt Lauer pushing the button to lock his office door at the Rock is an R-rated remake of Fifty Shades. It’s all really suspicious when the same society that’s all upset about these scandals recently threw a gigantic shitfit about Brock Turner but hasn’t heard of Daniel Holtzclaw. If we were looking to understand deeply bad acts and prevent their recurrence, we wouldn’t be worried about that one time back during James Blunt’s club days when Bette Midler got poppered and groped by Geraldo Rivera, that sexy Judeo-Latin beast.

Ariel Castro was Latino, too, but he was just some weirdo who drove for the RTA. We like our abusers affluent to wealthy, handsome, well-groomed, preferably on the swim team, and definitely not driving a damn bus. We can’t let these harassment and rape scenarios get, like, physically uncomfortable or low class. Every woman who got groped or propositioned by one of these entertainment industry sleazeballs and ended up in the news was trying to hack it as a big star, the usual Rachel the waitress shit, for the same reasons that everyone who had a past life was a princess or a queen. Meanwhile I’m over here like, uh, I think I was flailing rice on Borneo or some shit, but I’m not sure. (The she-tweaker who bent my ear in Seattle the other day swore she was a new soul, but I don’t know what all wasn’t getting through in the speedy delivery.) We don’t care to hear about the grievances of peasants.

Okay, the NYT did have that piece on the black female auto workers in Chicago, so there’s that, but we’re still waiting on their wedding announcements.

Crystal Harris really is a sign of our times. We really do enjoy fun stuff and not enjoy not fun stuff. Truly the young lady bears witness to our spirit and proclaims what is in our hearts. Dealing with an actual culture of actual harassment would require maturity. We have such a culture in a bad way, but even thinking about it would require maturity. Civic and social responsibility is too much adulting. Thinking about how damsels in distress were made to feel slightly uncomfortable in air-conditioned office buildings, but in an unspeakably sexy way, often by unspeakably sexy bosses, is fun stuff. That’s more fun than thinking about what I do for, oh, why don’t we call it a living. Help a cracker out with the framing. I quite enjoy working with fruit, which doesn’t spend all night coughing its lungs up in our nursing homes, but it’s some kind of recurrent set of religious vows for laymen, emphasis not on lay, if you know what I mean. Giggity, or not. If you’ve been paying attention, you can see by now why I consider Cousin Gigolo a fucking visionary.

Quite a bit of the sexual harassment carrying-on works out to complaints about a roaring drunk Dagmar Midcap violently pinching my nipples, an unfortunate scenario that is somehow richer and fuller than one in which my nipples go unmolested. I could retell the Lieutenant Tittytorque story, but that was just fucking pathetic, and about as heterosexual as Larry Craig. Supposedly there are embarrassing videos of me online that were taken without my knowledge. I am not going to help anyone find that shit, but I’m also not going to have a Jennifer Lawrence-style high horsemanship session about how offensive and unconscionable it is that anyone would dare look at those pictures. I don’t want to be another one acting like my own shit smells dainty and everyone else’s stinks, even if I can’t come anywhere near the Riveran gold standard of you bet I thought I looked damn good for a seventy-year-old.

And, just like last time, I still haven’t gotten paid for any of this shit. I guess that’s what happens to those who try to do civics from time to time.

 

They should have fired Keillor for his saw about the above-average children instead

My parents waited until they were in their mid-thirties and established in power careers to try to start a family, and after they finally had me, the witching hour drawing uncomfortably near, they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to forcibly enrich me into hereditary meritocratic success. Dickinson College alone (where, as it happens, I am not the only 2006 graduate who has since ended up homeless) can account for that. There was also the usual tutoring (fairly light in my case), music lessons, college guidance/test prep bullshit (basically, go somewhere where the alumni are insufferable fucking assholes who talk about networking all the time but never simply hook anyone up with a damn job), questionable overseas travel, ad maximam nauseam, but, yes, more maxima for others. That I remember my Latin, or think I do, isn’t because I was an overachiever; that was a genteel but shabby sideshow for less winning wieners at the Day School. I learned to write mostly in spite of the pressure to succeed, not thanks to it; a great deal of the stuff I was instructed to read in school was absolute shit, and so as a matter of course I declined to read it and found something better to read instead. More than a few of the writing assignments were object lessons in defense of plagiarism and term paper ghostwriting, at least on the assumption that someone got paid (maybe ever better than that whipped little bitch Gellin) to churn the garbage out for a living.

If Bristol Palin’s children turn out better adjusted and more socioeconomically successful than me, it will be because she’s a decent mother and waiting another couple decades to try to tiger-mom a Keillorian designer baby into forced thriving doesn’t work all that well and shouldn’t work when it does. Do I give a shit that she doesn’t have a husband to go with her children? No I fucking do not. The Johnston boy, none too bright a fellow, looked more trouble present than absent. If Baby Daddy II was bright enough to follow instructions to put a premarinated roast into the oven, good for him, mother, and child. Then again, Johnston utterly confounded Larry King with his practice of “sheep huntin’,” so he’s good for something. #NeverForget. The salient points are that the Mary figure in this downmarket retelling of the Holy Family story (the proles always have known how to fuck, you know) seems capable and engaged enough, and regression to the mean works upwards, towards accomplishment, for the average children of the below-average as effectively as it does downwards, towards not getting into the entire Ivy League on the first try, for the average children of the above-average. I know people who have turned out great even though their fathers were absent, and sometimes unidentified, throughout their childhoods, and I’ve seen no signs that Bristol Palin is on course to raise a brood of hopeless drooling retards, or for that matter tree-shitting Laguna Niguel savages. That’s associated with parental affluence; go figure. Whaddaya mean, we RAISED our precious little monster to be an autist?

There’s obviously a high baseline of chaos in the Palin family (to wit, today’s gunslinging bullshit between Track and the ‘rents, which caused my mom to raise the family as a subject). This is the kind of family whose teenage daughter believably enough would find herself unexpectedly with child on account of her dalliance with a boyfriend too dimwitted and ignorant to do basic menstrual math and bereft of the executive function to stock up on extra condoms when he goes to Walmart. This chaos per se isn’t something that ought to be encouraged as a positive good. “I’m having a kid because my boyfriend is an idiot and we have no impulse control” isn’t an ideal way to bring new life into this world. On the other hand, it takes a certain very real illiberalism and poverty of imagination to assume that Bristol Palin, an older child of parents who started raising their own large family in their early twenties, had no positive reasons to carry either of her healthy pregnancies to term and raise the children she had conceived. Her parents and her younger siblings must have given her an idea of what childrearing takes, not to mention other families with young children she knew from the community. The possibility that she, of all people, turned sixteen well prepared and supported to start a family of her own isn’t farfetched at all.

Sarah and Todd Palin became grandparents at an age when my parents were raising their only toddler, and three full decades on I have absolutely no prospects for children of my own. My immediate family frankly is not the normal, healthy, well-adjusted one in this regard. The Palins are maintaining natural generational cycles. My maternal grandfather was born in fucking 1900. At what point does this stop making sense even if everyone in the family goes to medical school?

I’m not sure how different my mom’s bitching about Bristol Palin’s marital status is from her retarded great-aunt’s complaint to her boss that he dare not be such a Jew bastard and talk like that to a woman who got married in a church with a veil on. Family gossip holds that she and her bridegroom never consummated their marriage. I didn’t need to hear about that, but that didn’t stop the storytelling. I did enjoy the Cousin Gigolo story, and not just as rude gossip; although I’ve never had the heart to say so to my parents, I immediately thought Cousin Gigolo was a fucking visionary. To recap for those arriving late from Dubai Porta Potty, Cousin Gigolo isn’t exactly a cousin, but he is exactly a gigolo. He supposedly screwed his landlady on the regular in lieu of rent. His landlady is as old as my dad, to the day, so this seemed especially wise after he left at least one younger woman with child and the sheriff’s deputies to track him down to my grandmother’s place with summonses and thumbtacks to request that he offer support. He was, as they say at the Community meetings in Sacramento, a nigga who doesn’t have anything to DO with his kids. My guess is that he’d take that more as a racial insult than a sociological one, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever met the guy.

Let’s review the convenient ways to scandalize gossipy bougies with one’s sex life:

–Have two more than amply spaced children out of wedlock and raise them well, presumably with significant support from one’s reasonably affluent parents;

–Shoot a child into one’s hot young thing and then disappear two or three circles deeper into the Nickelback musical of one’s life, with the sheriff’s department in lukewarm pursuit;

–Get free rent for fucking a woman who’d need an Osteentatious Bible miracle to conceive at her age, leaving the deputies free to chase down other deadbeat dads and/or Dunkin’ Donuts specials.

Option 1, the Palin program, is natural and basically healthy. Option 3, Cousin Gigolo’s professional life, is responsible and, most likely, increasingly enjoyable and gratifying as one develops more of a rapport with one’s landlady. (Ben Franklin said it dirtier.) Option 2 is an explicit cut from the “No Fixed Address” album, since the Pork Board won’t have one for you if you don’t have one for yourself. There is no ethical or functional commonality between these practices, other than, per the family retards with their chests full of hope, not getting married in a church with a veil on, you dirty Jew bastard. That’s the same lady who told Staten Island’s premier autodidact, who had come by to tutor her in astronomy, that as far as she was concerned he could take that telescope and shove it up his ass.

Love too graduate from the eighth grade at the age of 22. That’s what a society gets for forcing a woman who felt so bad that Roy Rogers had died in the war and was sure that the army had sent her boyfriend to Hawaii to can pineapples to stay in school: a one-woman York City School District. No joke: she showed my grandfather the postcard, with a picture of a pineapple field on the front and the number of his cannon company on the back.

A frank retard, this woman graduated (sic) into the midcentury and a decently stable life with her husband or whatever the hell sort of sad-ass nutless eunuch my grandmother presumed him. I graduated into, well, not exactly that. All the fucking cultural enrichment and Baby Einstein shit and youth soccer in the whole wide world won’t make up for an adult society in which there are no longer any ground rules to safeguard the welfare of the vulnerable. A few years ago the Palo Alto Daily News, I think it was, ran a multi-issue flame war between a dipshit teenager who wrote a letter to the editor about how Palo Alto didn’t do enough to nurture and enrich its youth and some older, most likely property-owning asshole who bitched about how the kids these days aren’t thankful enough for all their damn AYSO.

I’ve never forgotten what AYSO provided me: the guidance of a coach who looked like Charles Cullen and went on to murder his wife for cuckolding him. I’m lucky Kenneth Fitzhugh didn’t poison the orange slices. If he had, he would have been featured in Palo Alto true-crime potboiler Toxicology Will Tell, the prequel to Palo Alto true-crime potboiler Blood Will Tell. True story. My youth soccer coach legit murdered his wife. It happened later, just as Richard Levine later became Rachel Levine, but not before performing a physical exam on me. Sometimes these things don’t exactly come as surprises. #TCOT might want to check before sending its letters into the editor about how coddled the kids these days are that the kids in question weren’t involved with either of these gentlemen, sic or not. It might also want to consider whether the Palo Alto kiddos aren’t under extra pressure because they’re surrounded by older adults whose identikit Prop 13 ranchers are worth eleventy million dollars for some goddamn reason.

This wasn’t supposed to be about the dude who never quite looked like a dude and still doesn’t quite look like a lady, but God help us, now it is. Don’t let me TELL you about my trauma; tell yourself about the trauma I just caused you. That fucking schlimazel. A J. Denny Dundiddly physical wouldn’t have been so gross.

No, I did not consider wrestling particularly heterosexual even before I learned about Coach’s scheduled sleepaway in Minnesota, but I’m sure it was all straight as an arrow back when the ancient Greeks came up with it. No way was that ever gayer than Larry Craig.

I’d like to thank you all for–coming out today and reading through this crap. I hardly know how some of it spilled out everywhere here myself. Ooh, I sound like I may be getting a clue, too! It’s a miracle that our schools haven’t produced more timid losers with all the assertiveness of Pot-o-Shit Friend. The Millennials have to be the least rebellious rising generation since at least World War II. We’re mostly trying to get along, desperately so, with older generations including all the surviving assholes who threw gratuitous fuck-you-pops shit fits at Woodstock and Altamont. We aren’t doing this for frivolous lifestyle reasons; we’re doing it as a basic survival strategy. Meanwhile, our birth cohorts have more reasons to be up in arms than any others within living memory. We’re the ones whose job opportunities have been replaced with student debt. Thanks, Uncle Joe! We’re the most college-educated generation in history, and hence one of the more permanently institutionalized generations, not quite in the sense of a prison or a mental hospital but not in an all too different sense, either.

There’s endless, generally Boomer-derived, griping about how much shit we get handed just for existing, but what I notice older, more powerful people mostly not doing for us is intervening to put a stop to Lord of the Flies situations. This isn’t just about protecting one’s young from harm, but also about striking the fear of God into predators who will inevitably prey upon someone else if they aren’t intimidated, and into those who are derelict enough to enable them. College, which costs not just a lot of money but buy your kid a house money, is expected to be as comprehensively effective a socialization program as it is a money sink, precisely because it costs so fucking much and requires so much effort just to get admitted. Such an expensive institution wouldn’t negligently house one’s child with someone threatening or dangerous, the sort of person one would otherwise only bunk with in the military or in jail; the dysfunction must be the result of one’s child’s own poor socialization, and not the result of landlord dereliction that won’t stop until someone credibly threatens to sue Res Life. What life skills, exactly, are young people being taught when they’re taught to roll over every time their landlord does something shitty and derelict for four years in a row? Under what other circumstances can a landlord arbitrarily assign incompatible people to share a room without accountability for the adverse consequences that result, not even to the extent of being forced to allow the aggrieved party to move out?

Then there are great Boomer cultural treasures like Joe Dirtbag. My parents are keeping me afloat financially in large part to avoid having to confront him for being a derelict slumlord and deadbeat. I’m the one who called code enforcement after learning about Pot-o-Shit Friend. Nobody can bring the moral authority down on him and the Family Shrew to get them to fucking pay those who directly work for them or maintain their rental units in minimally inhabitable condition.

If Boomer parents want their Millennial children to prosper, they ought to recognize and admit that landowning rentier predators get squarely in the way of the prosperity of everyone living or working under their authority. The Family Shrew and especially Joe Dirtbag are direct, affirmative obstacles to the prosperity of others. The electrician who was living in their garden shed, Captain Flimflam, Lady Pisspan, and Pot-o-Shit Friend are overpowering evidence. So is the manner in which the Ragin’ Canajun cleaned out Pot-o-Shit Friend’s shit shack and disposed of his housewarming gift unpaid and on his own, with what personal protective equipment he could purchase and fit at his own expense. It’s painfully obvious that those living on JD and FS’s property are more likely to prosper if people like my parents and me confront them and make them fucking squirm every time they’re caught exploiting pushovers or the vulnerable, not by my mom or my parents’ friends acting like my homelessness as a Millennial is mainly an impediment to vicarious Boomer self-actualization.

The ones with the money here are substantially failing at a version of George Orwell’s saw about rough men ready to do violence to protect civilization. In this case, it’s not particularly rough men and women ready to speak bluntly to men who actually are rough, and gratuitously so, and call the police the moment they threaten anyone. Assertiveness before these predatory shitheads might make things better for quite a few people; that’s why I called code.

My dad, however, seems to think it’ll be more expensive but easier to just buy me a house. I don’t like the civic and social implications of paying tens of thousands of additional dollars to extract me from a mess that might be permanently solved for all victims by those with the money standing up to the manipulators, but at the same time I’m not one to beg another person not to buy me a house, no strings attached. That, I assume, would be a far below-average process yielding me an above-average outcome, a Kato Kaelin arrangement minus the Juice problem. Back when I was JD and FS’s Kato, and JD offered to will me their house (not sure I should have declined, although there were some significant inherent vices), I fucking worked for them, and there’s little enough labor theory of value in their world that, McGrilled Chicken Sandwich Deal or no McGrilled Chicken Sandwich Deal, I ain’t got no alibi for them now.

Kasich, you uppity bitch

Pittsburgh has a fancy-ass airport express bus, the 28X, to get the fancy highlanders downtown and back in a hurry. The 28X sticks to the busway and the freeway and the mall perimeter and shit (okay, a bit of West Carson, too), in the interest of expediting the good bougie voters with their jobs and all between the islands of good stuff at an adequate altitude above the hardcore flyover country.

Muh fuckin Port Authority 24 Local, tho. What can I say? It came first this afternoon. Hey, that could be a working sociosexual allegory about the riders, too. The poors are certainly said to be less sexually dysfunctional. Giggity. But no kidding, Rogers, there’s some gritty, gritty shit awt there past Mawnt Warshington and the Inclines, dawn in the old mill tawns, and it seems our Buckeye boy Johnny K. didn’t stick arawnd to fix any of it.

When I got into teh dawntawn myself, I double-checked with Google-Fu, and sure enough, that fucker is from McKees Rocks. It’s inconceivable. I’ve seen much, much worse American neighborhoods; McKees Rocks looks poor and seedy but pretty socially functional, maybe even more than average. The bizarre part is that its most famous native son (I have no fucking idea who, if anyone, it’s contributed to our varieties of sportsball) is the Republican presidential candidate who carried Manhattan and only Manhattan. That’s like Sargent Shriver and William F. Buckley running for the presidency and winning only the bad parts of Cincinnati, pretty much just Scott Parlier, Mack the Pipe, and the $20 carside blow-and-go crowd.

I know, I know, that silver-spoon second-generation developer oaf from Queens with the flagship properties in Midtown Manhattan who won all the backwards constituencies in the general election because that crazy bitch smeared the lot of them as comprehensively immoral and implied that they’re all hot-bunking in the same basket.

John Boehner was brought up in even poorer circumstances in an equivalent inner suburb of Cincinnati. The GOP has a real thing about elevating guys who grew up closer to the railroad tracks than they’d have liked and now deplore and look down on their own hometowns. They must bring some bogus air of authenticity to the party’s ongoing campaign to loot the commonweal until it’s flat out of lootables. I’m all too familiar with the self-loathing Staten Islander thing, and I’ve now met that alumni council dipshit with the Hickenlooper-on-steroids Main Liner act and the chip on his shoulder for being from hick-ass Missouri (I’ll shit bricks if it turns out that he’s from Columbia or fucking St. Charles). I’ve basically learned how to deal with the occasional feeling of embarrassment before the normies on account of an early childhood in Palo Alto, and my very aggravating collegiate background has exposed me to plenty of insufferable assholes who use their own proud privilege to shit on anyone and everyone who doesn’t comply with their gross efforts at social control, so I don’t know what the fuck degree of extra latitude I’m expected to accord some toolbox who’s been salty for a decade or five about the petty slights that came from earning consistent six-figure incomes for years on end after an upbringing in a solidly middle-class part of New York City or Joplin, or alternately as Mr. McFeely’s son.

To my knowledge I’m the only party to this bullshit who regularly sleeps in his car. Then again, Palo Alto has to be a much better and likelier place to feel like shit for sleeping in a car as a fully employed and taxpaying member of society than Donner Pass is for doing so as a once again unemployed guy who’s planning to go for a hike after Weekend Edition Saturday. There’s a real failure of perspective here, and it starts to look willful. These shady mofos love them some class restratification and bigotry, with the proviso, of course, that only a bleeding-heart tax-and-spend commie leftist would ever wage class warfare. They don’t want to be on the hook for government services for the losers they or their recent ancestors left behind back home, losers who aren’t necessarily so utterly impoverished or unskilled or dysfunctional and who would tend to converge back on broad middle-class norms with assistance more modest than what the wealthy exurbs routinely demand of their public officials.

An upper middle class and national elite dominated by fifth-generation lawyers who are much because they are Dutch would expose the economic hard right wing to some glaring credibility problems. The hard right will look bad and lose a critical mass of voters if there were obviously no social mobility, and a generationally entrenched, ethnically denominated upper crust would drive home the obvious. (Don’t tell anyone that our current Second Great Depression is making the same point even more grotesquely and horrifically.)

That’s why the GOP enjoys regularly pipelining fresh ethnic talent up from the ranks of Expanding Whitey. What, do you still think we’re all swooping in here from the WASP nest? Why, here’s a wetback’s kid who worked at the family taco stand into his twenties, and here are some other NPR-ready members of Pueblo’s Hispanic Latino community who don’t look too closely at how they closed the mill down and also the bus system is fucking useless, and here’s a shanty kraut with a baker’s dozen of brothers and sisters, and from another few hundred miles up the river, czech it out, here’s a guy who climbed his way out of Hunky Hollow, the point being that every one of these enterprising ethnics believes in our private-sector job creators, and there’s no way that any of them enjoyed a stable home and neighborhood life growing up because dad was a union postal worker.

The great uncrackable nut in this bowl, of course, is America’s established local color, the ones insufficiently blessed by the rains back home. Or, as the drill instructors ask of the new arrivals at the Atlanta Police Academy, do they listen in the Motherland? The Republican Party keeps thinking up and then abandoning schemes to win over African-Americans, but with rare exceptions, the Community doesn’t bite. That’s what happens when partisan hacks use patently insincere and cheap talking points about self-reliance on the one constituency that has most reliably gotten a rough ride in their rodeo; it’s also the last constituency to turn down stable public-sector union jobs, because it knows from painful experience that the alternatives are straight out of hell.

All God’s other colorful people, not to mention everyone who automatically gets the Whitey Sign these days, are useful fodder the GOP’s classic #TCOT argument by anecdote. This includes African immigrants, who presumably become African-Americans while our ethnic rhetoric definitely slouches toward gibberish. No, I don’t mind accusations that I’m more bork than bite. Congress has never refused me the opportunity to rule. Ooh, we’d better airlift the judge to Lehigh Valley, because he just got BURNED.

I can’t blame John Kasich for wanting to move somewhere more prosperous than McKees Rocks or get away from neighbors who live vicariously through the Steelers instead of trying to actualize their own lives. It’s easy to see how an environment like that could get depressing, stifling, and limiting. This is a free country. There’s nothing inherently objectionable about moving somewhere else domestically, or expatriating, for those who feel driven to leave it because they love it. (Muh HRSDC shiznit, eh. *Headdesk* *St. Jean de Brebeuf voice* Oh, you think YOUR eyes hurt after reading all that? Ha!) The dispiriting fourth-turning truth of the matter is that the broad prosperity of postwar Pittsburgh, won at such cost by the unions, was what allowed so many people in the postwar generations to move out into the suburbs and turn into reactionary starve-the-beast nutjobs.

But what’s the problem with reminding Kasich of his own roots? He’d certainly remind me that I was a bougie Palo Alto boy if he caught me saying nice things about socialism and shit. Free market extremism wasn’t what gave Pittsburgh a middle class. Anyone who acts like that was the case is either a lying sack of shit or flaming nuts. Andrew Carnegie was a hideous thug who belatedly made concessions to the employees he deliberately kept in poverty only after they took on his subaltern Frick and their Pinkerton goon squads. A dear friend from Allison Park gave me a blunt assessment of Carnegie’s charitable motivations: late in his life he realized that he was going to hell and wanted to belatedly atone for his depredations in an effort to secure his own salvation. Getting his name plastered on a whole bunch of shit probably didn’t hurt; there are apparently those who get their jollies from such enterprises–say, the current Oaf of Office.

A sensible person has to wonder about someone who was raised on the Allegheny County waterfront in a household headed by a mailman and came away thinking that government and labor unions were the problem. Kasich’s complaints aren’t, like, geez, the city never filled the potholes on our street and that son of a bitch Hoffa was such a racketeering disgrace to the rank and file that I hope they buried him somewhere deep and far away. Having been raised in the stable prosperity nurtured under robust government and high union membership, he’s here to burn some shit down. It’s almost less disturbing if he’s just a garden-variety crook; imagine how sad it would be for a man raised in such an environment to actually believe that smallminded, ungrateful nonsense in the depths of his heart.

True story: I’ve seen Randian RWNJ Republicans brag about their “Pittsburgh Values.” This raises questions, including where in all hell they came up with such an idea. Pittsburgh and quite a few of the nearby older towns are solidly Democratic, anywhere from about 60-75%. There’s an outback of hardcore Republican strongholds surrounding the urban riverfront core and the other Democratic-leaning suburbs (including Castle Shannon, I recall); this outback extends hundreds of miles into the wooded void, practically to the edge of the Main Line and the outskirts of Scranton. But none of this exurban and rural swath is fucking Pittsburgh. “Hey, I’m in Chicago. Okay, I’m actually in Gary. But didn’t that sound nice?”

This is where we get into the realm of Republicans flat-out making shit up. John Boehner is proof of the great opportunity that is America. Look at him, raised by humble kraut barkeepers in a beyond-full house, and he made Speaker. That proves that anyone, with enough hard work and determination, can become the Speaker of the House.

Uh, no it fucking doesn’t. How many speakers does the House have at a time? Hint: the office is called “The Speaker of the House.” (I know, the whole lot of them can’t be induced to stop speaking.) What the hell does Boehner’s success mean even for his own siblings? That’s one position at the top of a national legislative body of only 435, plus some hanger-on delegates from the colonial territories. Not a whole lot of room for contenders there, Brando. Every individual Congressman represents a district of something like 680,000 (look it up for your fucking selves if the precision is that important to you; that’s why we have the internet until next Thursday). That still isn’t awfully many slots for America’s enterprising.

Pathetically, the same people who act like Boehner is a success story for having been so successful in politics, and Kasich too, I guess, if he’s extreme enough for their taste, also get up on their high horses about how the only appropriate venue for job creation is the private sector. They fucking venerate the “job creators” in so many words. What I have to wonder is, if the private sector is so majestic, why don’t they go look for some damn work in it? None of these assholes waxing obnoxious about job creator bullshit in Congress has worked exclusively in the private sector. I have, though. Their fellow travelers in the Randian think tanks and on the opinion pages aren’t a hell of a lot more free-marketed. What in the bloody hell would Megan McArdle have to offer in a competitive free market? Wingnut welfare has many such cases. What self-respecting person who has ever held down a proper summer job would take these useless, bumptious assholes seriously?

If these toolboxes think government is so awful, why do they keep competing for additional terms of paid government employment every two to six years? I’m not over here demanding the abolition of the private sector, and frankly neither is anyone else who isn’t absolutely ridiculous. The fucking Norks barely managed to destroy private enterprise for a few decades, and once the disappearance of their Soviet subsidies along with the dissolution of the USSR blew the shit into their fan, they mostly stopped trying. That’s what the world’s most belligerent and deranged extant totalitarian regime has achieved against the private sector. The infamous Slow Ghomeshi on the American private sector is fictional. To the very small extent that it exists in some greatly attenuated form, much of it is actually the doing of landlord rent extraction. What we hear about, though, is the chronic saltiness of pissant entrepreneurs who think they shouldn’t have to do basic bookkeeping and compliance work instead of getting however shady they damn well fancy come payday and tax time.

Could government be less burdensome and more helpful to small businesses and sole propietorships? Sure. The flip side is that assholes like Joe Dirtbag could start paying their damn sales taxes and stop making up crappy post hoc stories about why they didn’t pay up and shouldn’t have to do their part because reasons. That creep alone blew a good chunk of my goodwill towards the noisy beleaguered entrepreneur with his series of little tax-dodging stunts. I don’t try to buy shit off the books to dodge sales tax, so I don’t appreciate a deadbeat who also doesn’t pay me or anyone else who helps him run the farm cheating the city because reasons.

Let’s not stay so parochial, though. Here’s the Galaxy Brain take: robust government services like the Port Authority and a paid professional fire department can facilitate more private enterprise, not less, by maintaining a functional, reliable public infrastructure that anyone can use without a second thought. That seems to work for the Pittsburgh urban core. The Pittsburgh firefighters’ pension may still be underfunded, but at least the PFD doesn’t have its head up its ass about bringing new hires on board to cut back on the overtime, unlike, say, BART. Then again, BART vs. the Port Authority may well be a case of getting back what we pay in, for what it’s worth. Trolley time isn’t quite make-believe around here, but it’s pretty fucking unintuitive, and its delivery none too speedy.

I’m sure I could find plenty of #TCOT dipshits out in the North Hills and Butler County and shit who assume that the City of Pittsburgh has a private sector every bit as vigorous as Moscow had in the forties, but that’s because our national politics are insane. Our recent habits of stratification and sorting don’t fucking help. Hell, just look at our known Yinzer boy John moving up to Columbus and digging in. He’s got a case of the accent, but it’s too bad he doesn’t have a case of something other than the projectile ignorance of his own hometown’s history to go with it.

At least he won New York, New York. Not Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx, and God no, not Staten Island, but our boy from McKees Rocks cracked the cultural barrier of Radio Deluxe Country. That earnest socially climbing dork couldn’t even get a plurality in Allegheny County, and now that I’ve taken the bus through his old neighborhood with a dozen or so neighbors (Hello!), I can’t begin to convey what a glorious thing it is that he carried Manhattan and choked everywhere else. John Kasich is special just the way he is, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful fucking day.