Hold your piece and be thot a fool, or open your mouth and remove all doubt

Donny Fingers returned to the White House from his wingnut powwow in Tulsa looking humiliated and whipped: to use his parlance, like a dog. For once, the hysterical liberal hive mind overestimated him, as he did himself. Trump bragged that he would have overflow crowds spilling out of the revival into the streets. When he got there, a handful of stragglers were milling about on the sidewalks in front of a 19,000-seat venue accommodating his total audience of 6,000.

Donald Trump’s thin skin and ill cheer make for a miserable, utterly unenviable way to live. It’s far from crazy to suspect ourselves supporting characters in his indefinite purgatorial journey; we’re here to suffer through that miserable son of a bitch’s life as spectators, too, if we’re so masochistic as to remain engaged.

The Donald is exceptionally prone to extreme narcissistic injuries. His Juneteenth Weekend in Tulsa was one for the record books. His advisors backed off their original plan to hold the rally on Juneteenth proper, celebrating Tulsa Massacre Month just down the street from Greenwood on the exact anniversary of the formal, explicit abolition of chattel slavery throughout the land. This was a humiliation of its own: they meant to own the libs, but instead, as is rarely but sometimes the case in Post-Soviet America, the libs owned THEM!

Then the crowd didn’t show. The Tik-Tok K-Pop Zoomer Crew’s buy-and-hold troll job on the ticketing was apparently superfluous. The campaign had liberally oversold the venue, on the plan to accommodate overflow out front, outside the big tent but still close enough to piss out, not in. They would have been fine with 15,000 no-shows or whatever, since they could have just seated the next 15,000 ticketholders. The problem, of course, that this assumed a large overflow crowd in excess of ticket sales. Instead, everyone got a seat.

Oops.

There are two credible explanations for Trump’s humiliation in Tulsa, and both of them make him look bad. The first is that he has lost political popularity with his base on account of the Rona, the economy, and whatever else intersects with these rather unpleasant national experiences. The second is that he was never in fact popular with his rally audiences as a political leader or elected official. Jacob Bacharach argues that hysterical liberals overestimate Trump’s political appeal to his base and underestimate his appeal as a pure entertainer. He suggests that his rally groupies are “more perspicacious” than the shitlib shriekers for approaching him as a figure of fun, not substance.

The latter explanation, that Trump’s base is heavy on live entertainment viewers enjoying a frivolous spectacle that happens to take place under the auspices of the presidency, tracks with the flop in Tulsa. Plenty of provincial and suburban elites have turned into death-drive assholes about masks. However many of these cases are driving infection rates through the roof for absolutely no redeeming reason, only about 6,000 of them showed for the Juneteenth Weekend festivities. The rally was held on a summer weekend in a regional travel market easily encompassing Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kansas City, Little Rock, and Dallas. These are places full of affluent travelers who think nothing of driving all day or all night each way on a quick trip out of town. The roadtrippers in these places are heavily in favor of Trump. RVers nationwide skew toward Trump. He has rally groupies who enthusiastically travel across the country to see him live, just like Phish.

The limiting factor in Tulsa wasn’t distance. It wasn’t expense; his followers have more money than they let on, because poor cracker cosplay is a great way to own the libs. It wasn’t crowding during a pandemic, either. The same demographic was itching to get back to crowded brick-and-mortar church services for months. It flooded Northern Wisconsin over Memorial Day, and it floods Applebee’s everyday. When they say that they want “America” to “get back to work,” they mean their own employees. They’ll gladly travel off the avails of vulnerable neighbors they’ve moved heaven and earth to banish from the unemployment rolls the moment their old gigs at $2.13 plus tips are listed as job vacancies again.

If they took Trump’s obnoxious rallies seriously, they’d have been there. Six thousand and change of them did, and were.

That’s our measure of how many Americans are genuinely gung ho about their Oaf of Office’s stadium revivals. It’s a weak showing. Of all the events they could, and often do, risk their own health and lives to attend, from Lakewood Church to the Fourth of July at the Sandbar to yelling at Red Robin waitresses and docking their tips, Trump’s rallies come in somewhere around dead last. They’ll risk their own health and lives, their loved ones’, and public health–you know, the rest of us–but not so much for this particular horseshit.

Certainly, not everybody who’s interested in attending a rally turns out. The thing is, attendance is down so hard this time that it would have to be multiplied by a factor of well over a hundred to rival the electorate of Oklahoma alone. This is extremely weak enthusiasm. Shit, Don, what do you suppose you’ll do when they all say goodbye? Maybe there’ll be some free bleacher space in the shed next time Pablo Cruise hits the Expo.

This dude’s an A-List headliner and he couldn’t fill a standard basketball arena. What is this? A home game at the Astrodome? This isn’t the stuff of a serious, powerful political movement. Nobody in his corner has enough dedication to show up, or even interest. Worse, for Trump, the other side has overflowing passion, as shown time and time again in the ongoing protests against police brutality. With the plague on, Trump’s people aren’t wasting any of their nine lives on him. They’re standing him up to go to pool parties at shitty resorts in the Ozarks.

I guess that stings. Thank God I’m too functional to know personally.

A Joe Biden rally would obviously be an even worse flop. It doesn’t matter. They’re keeping him mostly away from the cameras and tinkering with his sleep and drug regimen for his rare appearances. As they say about funny uncles, it’s all relatives. Uncle Joe’s the one who’s been oddly quiet lately. He needs rest. We need him to wield supreme launch authority over the world’s largest nuclear missile fleet and draw a clock.

This is who we’re turning to as our less sclerotic, less derelict, more competent choice to govern our empire: a guy who, on the rare occasions his handlers walk him out, has roughly even odds of being able to complete a sentence. If he were your father or grandfather he’d already be in a home. But all we’re talking about here is the election of our next head of state and government, not your niece’s fear that Gramps will take out a reverse mortgage on his house to pay the advance on his Nigerian inheritance, or pay double the MSRP for a power chair he saw on TV.

All Gropey Joe is doing is being coy about his own immorality and incapacitation. It looks like this may be enough come November, because truly this is an optimistic, forward-looking, vigorous, confident nation.

Ah, Mr. Acevedo, would you fancy some refined white crackers to accompany your beans?

NPR issued a stern “language warning” ahead of its most recent interview with Art Acevedo on All Things Considered, over “an ethnic slur.” I kept thinking he was going to say somebody had called him a beaner or something, but that didn’t make any sense.

The grievously offensive slur came in a short exerpt of Acevedo’s Congressional testimony about systemic police misconduct. “We call them ‘Gypsy cops.'” I could not fucking believe it. I spent fifteen minutes waiting for that segment and listening to it, all ears, and all he said was “Gypsy cops.”

The idiots who run NPR no longer do business in the real world. They can’t even see it from there. The shitcanning of Bob Edwards was an idiot wind. It blows over us to this day, more briskly by the month.

We find ourselves with ro mani problems. We try to fix them with moral window dressing. Gypsy is always a slur, never a descriptor. Language Warnings, tramps, and thieves. we’d hear it from the people of This Town, my God, Halperin; Language Warnings, tramps, and thieves, but every day they buried Tim Russert, we’d sit there in the pews, and fix to lay our money down.

Cher these findings widely; they are signs of our times. It fell on an old wifebeating Chippie to suggest that “Groundhog Day cops” might be a better descriptor, since they kept reappearing: a cheap dodge to a cheap question, but what else can we expect? None of this shit is relevant. It’s an absurd distraction.

It’s NPR.

It’s hard to know where to begin. Oftentimes I sit here, dumbfounded, trying to asbord it all and make faint sense of it. The pettiness, the moralizing, the sycophantic childishness, the sheer unreality: all of it unfolds on an unfathomable plane of thought and existence. Nothing about it intersects with my thinking, observations, or lived experiences. And I went to prep school and college. These are renowned, preeminent reporters. We entrust the news, the first draft of history, to them and their craft.

Maybe Art Acevedo was the Houston Police Chief when one of his riot cops rode his horse over a woman and trampled her, just because she had the uppity nerve to protest the brutality of her city’s police department, and just because he could. Never mind that; Acevedo spoke to Congress, shall we say, inartfully.

What the hell is wrong with them? Are they conniving? Are they just fucking stupid? I had classmates who graduated, apparently in fine academic standing, in a state of stupidity at least as profound as they enjoyed upon their matriculation. I mean, I sat through an admitted students’ roundatble with a girl who used “matrculate” in a manner proving that she believed it to be a synonym for “trickle.” Such are the characters who make the cut. Ponder who doesn’t, and shudder. Then again, I also knew classmates who were deeply amoral, or immoral or, I’m pretty sure, both at the same time.

Who the fuck even told them to warn their audience about a coming ethnic slur and pester the Chief of Police for the City of Houston for using it by way of quoting his own officers’s shorthand for the worst cops in their midst? The schoolmarmish freaks who run that joint always ask for the manager and the owner when they swoop into Fort Wayne or whatever postindusrial junkie dump most recently caught their intenton when their back-of-the-house nerds scanned a map of the Ohio Valley. There’s no way they’re liaising with the village elder of a trailer squat in the backwoods of a palisade peeking discreetly down on the flats of Secaucus for guidance on what to call his clan. Their term for these unwanted visitors would surely be rude; draw up another language warning and get it on air.

The thing about Gypsies is that they’re too busy with the usual Gypsy shit to give a rat’s ass about what a bunch of schoolmarms in Washington have to say about them on Scold Radio. Their interest in the imperial center is pragmatic: manhole covers, the superstitious and their bank accounts, public benefits, getting their fellow Bogles out of the Oregon State Penitentiary and back into the businesses that are worth a damn.

Predictably enough, these are not the sort of things one would worry about as the lavishly salaried host of a radio news show of no particular journalistic standards. So who are they trying to reach? As The Last Psychiatrist liked to say, if you’re watching it, it’s for you. Charles Osgood has yet to see me on the radio, but I’ve got enough trouble without that twee dork.

For better and worse, I’m a college boy. NPR is my cultural residue, an awful and yet irresistable pilgrim journey o fthe mind and the soul. Jesus harrowed hell for three days, which it seems we’re counting at about 25 hours from the Good Friday service to the Easter Vigil; I spend anywhere from two to six hours a day listening to that crap, because, look, I got a rechargeable pocket radio at Target and it’s useful company for laundry or guerrilla blackberry brush clearing or whatever.

Over time, the tics shine through. The cultural compulsions gaze back from the abyss. There is *NO EVIDENCE* that Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself/Seth Rich was killed in anything other than a weird unsolved robbery with no leads in a heavily surveilled and videotaped city/Comet Ping Pong is tied to the weirdly, inexplicably repetitious language in the leaked Clinton e-mails, none of whose context-free words are, say, code for child pornography according to internal FBI manuals.

They’re constantly reporting on their sponsors. Google is a sponsor. Facebook is a sponsor. Amazon is an NPR sponsor. There are hours when they can’t go fifteen minutes without another of these artless disclosures. Yeah, we get it: you’re corrupt. But who the hell is “us?” Just me, I guess, the king of understanding unfortunate things in the news. Wonderful.

KQED radio broadcasts the PBS NewsHour live from Washington at 3:00 pm. BNSF is a sponsor. That’s the amalgamation of, among others, the Burlington Road, the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe, the Great Northern, and the Northern Pacific. and the Frisco. This behemoth is one of Warren Buffett’s Monopoly pieces. He moves properties around on a board in his parlor across town from the Union Pacific dispatch center. Nobody in the news business has a clue that there is one. We presumably prefer trains that don’t rear-end each other at 55 to 79 miles an hour to ones that do, and maybe there’s a skilled trade of people who monitor rail traffic and control signals and switches to help keep that from happening all the time. Maybe one of them is worth more than a bunker full of Tom Brokaw-ass blowhard jagoffs playing Monopoly with 32.500 miles of trust trackage as just one portfolio holding out of hundreds. To assess the relative vocational value of these activitites, it might help to be aware of railroad dispatching as something that a number of people do for a living in Omaha.

Naw, that’s too earnest. Reagan busted PATCO and fired its air traffic controllers en masse because they worked for a living. That was what the working class wanted: the inability to successfully demand better pay and working conditions from a showboating sellout from the Screen Actors Guild. That’s why they voted for Reagan in Chicago and Hibbing and Montesano when they voted for Carter in 1980 and Mondale in 1984.

That’s the kind of shit any of us might be able to make up for a living if we moved to DC. It’s what we call work.

I’m what we call General Stroganoff. Please, to the table. The people may have a little Beef, As A Treat.

Our rulers and courtiers aren’t just broadly ignorant and incurious. They’re ignorant and incurious about their own news and analysis beats. I know exactly why they didn’t see Trump’s election to the presidency coming: they never socialize with non-Brahmins. If they’re adventurous, they branch out to socialize with #NeverTrump Optimate movement conservative dorks in Loudoun County. They spend hours in Panera lobbies in Alpharetta and emerge with no clue that they were surrounded by Trump voters, convinced that the path to a Democratic South runs through a 60% Republican exurban district full of Yankee transplants who are obviously Democrats and mostly Republicans. Conversely, they dredge up the the most crotchety, vile diner geezers to explain why Erie voted for the Donald by way of voting for Hilldawg.

They don’t even look at the fucking county victory maps. These are the Politics Understanders. Forget the crisis of legitimacy for the moment; this is a blatant crisis of confidence. They’re all morons.

Hillary is liberal, they insist. Huh? She’s a spiteful, prudish old scold who’s permapissed at her notoriously horny husband for chasing strange. Her personal morals are pretty fucking asshole-conservative, by that reckoning, at least. Her libertine husband, however, was never measurably any more liberal than her as a working politician. He threw Joycelynn Elders under the bus because Larry Craig and the gang were sore about sex education (as in, hey now, that’s our job!). He triangulated “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, as a notoriously heterosexual married man himself. He grandstanded in front of a military school yard assembly of prison inmates at Stone Mountain, blustering about law and order.

He fucking flew back to Arkansas from the campaign trail to sign a death warrant for the most retarded guy on death row. Does Ricky Ray Rector even register with these asshats? I was nine and a half when Bill had him killed. It shook me to the core. He got exactly the meal plan Randy Newman promised; it was just that he didn’t want to rush dessert.

I keep noticing that some of us live in a world that has consequences. These aren’t just Monopoly pieces being moved around on a board. These are livelihoods. These are qualities of life. This is people’s basic welfare. These are lives. Bill Clinton had a man with the intellectual capacity of a three-year-old killed because his strategists told him it would win him parts of the Upper South and the Midwest. That isn’t liberalism; it’s overpowering illiberalism, because it’s also chilling psychopathy.

If you’re starting from the premise that Slick Wilie was a leading liberal light and berating me for an hour straight about what an ignorant, reckless fool I am for not voting for his hideous, bigoted wife, whom I’m convinced hates me, yo dawg, it ain’t me, chief. If you’re proceeding to lecture me about my duty, to myself and to our country, to vote for the current mush-for-brains dotard, again because he’s the liberal, I will of course be perfectly fucking blunt: Joe Biden is a handsy pervert, an authoritarian bigot, a serial liar, a man who 32 years ago dropped out of a race for the same office he’s currently seeking after he was exposed plagiarizing a British prime minister’s speeches, and by now visibly a drugged-up mush-for-brains dotard. You may want him, but that doesn’t mean I do, asshole. As it is, I’m barely, possibly in his camp, and that’s only because Donald Trump has veered into armed factional sedition and late-stage Qaddafi-Borgia mashup oratory.

Our soi-disant liberal scolds moan that they want more educated, informed voters. They can sack up and come talk to me about what it’s like to actually be one. Alternately, they can shut the fuck up. I rather enjoy the latter option.

These motherfuckers have spent my entire adolescent and adult lifetime rubbing it in our faces that this whole political spectacle is a frivolous game to them. It is, by their own slobbering accounts, a horserace. They’re degenerate enough to play the ponies, for sure. The only reason they were angry at Brett Kavanaugh was that he didn’t clean up the way they preferred, choosing instead to daydrink and snort a big line on his way to his tantrum in front of some of their faves on the Hill. That, and he raped a high-caste white girl, which is the same thing.

Excuse me, but I am not here to take these pearlclutching, sanctimonious nerds seriously. I’ve been homeless. It’s amazing to get into spats online with #Resistance deadenders about our duty to vote for Joe Biden this time and watch them completely fail to register that I’ve been homeless when I explicitly say so. They aren’t even, like, whoa, shit, are you serious? It flies straight over their heads. I had a guy call me disturbed and a bot for pushing back on his horseshit narrative about the public’s scandalously insufficient deference to the Democratic Party’s eminences grises. For real, I’ll be over on alt, using the same writing and argumentation style I use here, minus most of the shitposting, and I’ll have overpaid idiots calling me a disturbed dipshit and a bot.

One of the lessons from these unfortunate interactions is that cryptoclinically disordered ideations are much more prevalent than advertised. We’re talking paranoid, schizoid, post-traumatic. One of Donald Trump’s strokes of genius is his knack for reaching the schizoid and the paranoid on their own channels. He isn’t exactly one of them, but he vibes with that. He channels the denpa, as the Japanese call it. Normie bipartisan ratfuck politicians never allow themselves to go with a flow so subversive.

Trump uses this gift for little but deep evil. Like any other spiritual gift, it is abused with terrible ease, and the Donald is rarely any better than amoral. Our shitlibs and mostly disingenuous #NeverTrump movement conservatives are still idiots to ignore his spiritual attunement to the ideation of so many of our disturbed shut-ins, given how often they vote.

These bipartisan shitbirds are exactly the scum that rises to the top in a society whose talented tenth bully the rest of us into a political economy devoted to pure, distilled amoral rationality and purged of all spirituality. They’re here to impose hard science and drive out all humanities–all humanity, really. They aren’t actually scientific or rational, but they insist they are, and they have the resources to pay intellectual mercenaries to say so 24/7.

As it always bears repeating, they do not live in any part of our real world. They hardly even visit. When they do, they squeamishly moan about how gross it is. Techbros are trying to gentrify the Tenderloin, for some mindbogglingly fucking bizarre reason. It’s probably just because they’re used to getting their way. It’s probably just because they can. If we’re paying attention to the details of life in San Francisco we might flounder for months scrutinizing the thinking of some asshole like Jack Dorsey and contemplating why he’s also the guy who flew to Burma to sit on the floor all day and injure his ass. This isn’t a particularly foolish pursuit, but it is for naught. That motherfucker pulls that shit, all of it, because he can.

They all do. Every time one of these pricks shows up for another round of gentrification, he’s just throwing his weight around, because he feels like it, and because he can. Occam’s Razor always puts a crude cut on that bitch. It goes full SEPTA 61-Ridge Badlands on a motherfucker, not Dennis Geyer knife time.

It’s so easy to overthink these ghouls. Here’s the dumb but powerful thing: Many members of the upper middle class, scions and arrivistes alike, are not members of the cognitive elite, but a great many of the cognitive elite are members of the upper middle class. It’s subtle but important.

This is a skeleton key to how and why Rex Tillerson very perceptively called Donald Trump a fucking moron. Rex is an engineer who spent a career spanning roughly two generations in the oil industry, delegating the vast majority of the operational work as he rose into the executive ranks but still keeping a keen eye on operations and providing extensive guidance to operational chiefs. The Donald inherited the proceeds of an outer-borough slumlord empire from his sleazy father and wormed his way over the bridge into Manhattan, and you can betcha that meant the part below 95th Street. He plastered his name on a series of showboat businesses that he promptly ran into the ground. Then he went on television and played a shitbag simulacrum of Lee Iacocca.

None of this military school bone spur malingerer’s shtick had anything to do with competence. He’s just an actor. As Doug Casey says, acting is like prostitution: an honorable profession, but one that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Casey lures bitcoin dipshits to his bugout spread in Argentina, or maybe it’s his buddy’s spread, to violate Argentinian labor laws by working for free in the vineyard, but he’s right about both professions. Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan are entertainers. A healthy, livable society always has its buskers, its orchestra musicians, its stage actors, its Wesley Willis multimedia visionaries, its muralists, its interior designers, and its whores. This is the good shit.

The problem is that we take the more prominent of these entertainers,, who are not coincidentally often some of the more mediocre, as real-life leaders. This is a key driver of our epistemic closure as a nation. As John Regan, my favorite monarchist blogger, says, societies always end up with a hereditary elite, so they might as well collect and curate one for official adoration. I don’t care for this idea, but I have a hard time refuting it. All I can do is enthuse about Nicola Sturgeon, England’s low-key smallholders and craftsmen, and the National Fruit Collection. No, I’m not talking about Elton John; if you look it up you’ll see.

It’s not like I’m necessarily against getting a piece of Caterbury tail. Regan has openly admired Kim’s more demure nudes: not my idea of taste, but if you look at the other stuff I’ve published here you’ll know that I have no business commenting on taste, which I never promise to have from minute to minute. The hilarious thing is that Regan and Kardashian are colleagues; I recall hearing that she’s in law school, and if anyone has ghostwritten law review articles, it’s Kim. A bitch has to balance her personal branding and her intellectual interests.

We do that out on the streets, too, for our own welfare and survival. The idea that Chuck and Nancy or any of the Trump family, maybe excepting Tiffany, have any capacity or interest to relate to ordinary Americans, let alone to the poor of them, is absurd. They live in a different, unreal, surreal world. The homeless psychotic guy at the Metro 40 bus stop at Inglewood and Century, catty corner from the Yoshinoya and the laundromat, who told me about how he was “pretty much traveling between universes right now,” happily and graciously conceded the validity of my only perceptible universe. Is that A340 actually on final approach to 24L, or is it on short final to a wormhole? We can’t see it, can we? Sure, you just landed on 25L without incident this afternoon, but what’s its turbulence?

I’m absolutely serious that Turbulence Dude was more attuned to the lives of the sane, functional people around him than Fancy Nancy and her crew have been in years, if ever. He probably had other bums telling him that he was batshit fucking nuts, and hey, we aren’t all traveling between the same universes at the same time. There’s all kinds of angles for astral projections, shit, a lot of universes, and maybe you’ll encounter a few more on the 40 by the time you hit Western, or maybe you won’t, yeah, that’s probably it.

Nobody tells Nancy that she’s totally full of shit and totally out of touch. She pays for layers of security and sycophancy to cosset herself against this insolence. That’s why I usually show her no manners whatsoever when I call her Washington office and demand the constituent services we’re all due as Americans. She’d catch worse in the Tenderloin. She is domiciled right about two miles from the SFPD Tenderloin Station, the official Heart of the Shitty. I’ve been looking for her home address, which has to be a matter of public record for her to represent the Twelfth District, but I guess they try to memory-hole that shit even though it’s a constitutional requirement to verify it for public office. It’s not like she stays there on any given night away from Washington, as opposed to any of her other opulent properties; I mean, we all know she lives on Zinfandel Lane; but she governs us, so it’s obviously relevant.

Our politicians are ever less our servants, ever more our masters. Lincoln rode around Washington alone on his horse. He walked across the street, alone if nobody wished to accompany him, to the same church whose perimeter Trump ordered goons from his palace guard to violently clear so he could pose with what he called “a Bible.” Harry and Bess Truman retired to their old unassuing house in the Independence town platt. Fancy Nancy would never settle for a single bungalow when she can own at least three castles for her personal use. The third is her pied-a-terre in Washington; that’s a ridiculous term of art for anywhere she lives or works, but the French, bruh.

We’ve had high elected officials, even presidents, who lived in the real world. The Roosevelts were ungodly rich but still had a keen finger on the ordinary American’s pulse. Trump does, too, after a weird fashion, but mainly by way of setting narrow factions against outgroups they already hate and activating segments of the mentally ill.

It’s a good bet that a sneering, mobbed-up centimillionaire Baltimore mayoral daughter who’s been in Washinton forever and represents the next thing to a rotten borough ain’t it, and in Pelosi’s case it’s the correct bet.

Prior to the techbro invasion, San Francisco was a socioeconomically diverse city where people of ordinary means could afford to live, not on Nob Hill but at least somewhere in the Richmond, the Sunset, the Excelsior, or whatever. Tech purged the city of the middle class: the old-timers cashed out and moved out, and the newcomers and local kids found themselves unable to get by anywhere closer than Hayward or Petaluma.

What this exodus left behind was the usual Tenderloin losers, with their 5-10% turnout or whatever the fuck they achieve at the polls (it’s a free country; take your own guess); thousands of non-Anglophone noncitizens cooped up in SRO’s in Chinatown, counted in the census but not on the voter rolls; and the rich. I’m only half eliding this shit. A whole lot of ordinary working people fled or got run out of town. San Francisco’s black population hasn’t been cratering by coincidence.

Members of my native upper middle class ask me, incredulously, how I can possibly believe that Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton hate the poor. Epistemic closure, like every other vice, causes less chaos and damage for the rich, so that’s nice, but let’s look at her with clear eyes and clear minds. Her net worth is mathematically impossible on a Congressional salary. She’s easily worth an order of magnitude more than a six-sigma miser would be able to amass on a Congressional salary. Yeah yeah, she’s got family money–as I note from time to time, her father was a huge mob crook–but she also owns a constellation of successful investment properties and an ample stock portfolio, blind trust my fat white ass, and Congress is crawling with habitual insider traders. Congresscritters don’t just kind of end up in positions to buy into the Napa Valley landed gentry. That takes some combination of marrying well and juice.

/Annoying little Mexican girl meme/ Why Not Both? How could the modal asshole in that joint not work every available angle? It was, what, six or eight percent of the Senate that got exposed insider-trading on information from the Covid-19 briefing over the winter? Plus they’re all positioned to place their kin and cronies in sinecures and get paid for it. There’s an old Anglo-Saxonism for a five- or six-figure speaking fee for spending half an hour at an all-expenses-paid junket regurgitating gobbledygook: we call that a bribe.

The last bus any of these assholes is riding is the Straight Talk Express. The Democrats among them are permanently furious with Bernie Sanders, a rare colleague who for the most part thinks and speaks like a normal adult of ordinary means. Obfuscation is the coin of their realm, and yet they wonder why some of us distrust them. Yeah, asshole, it doesn’t take a proctological exam to determine that a serial liar and fraud is full of shit.

The reason I don’t trust Fancy Nancy, Hillz, the Big Dog, or any of the rest of their ilk to do a damn thing for the poor is that I have every reason to distrust them. That’s a circular argument for my distrust of the circle jerkers, but I’ve been over the particulars more times than I can count. Homelessness, emotional abuse (in my case, consistently at the hands of overt or tacit socioeconomic superiors), and hard downward mobility have resulted, inter alia, in my acquiring a worldview divergent from that of the Brahmins I left behind up there. Their worldview and interests are not mine.

This is a suprisingly hard teaching for them. As I keep having to ask, who the hell are “we?” It ain’t me, governor.

There was, of course, a mass delusional break among establishment Democratic officials and their voters in 2016. A guy they really disliked caught them off guard and won the presidency. All of a sudden, everything was the Kremlin’s fault. This is an overt delusion of persecution. We often see such ideation in the clinically psychotic.

This is not, however, a case of denpa, but rather a flareup of mass hysteria with an indefinite half-life. This shit is extremely fashionable among the fashionable. It is not a low-class hobby for schizoid shut-ins; it’s much, much worse. Change any of the characters in this play and see how it sounds. “John Cox would have won the California gubernatorial election, but Angela Merkel had German junior intelligence analysts under her direct command catfish as American chat buddies and brainwash entire communities of conservative Chicanos.”

Out on the streets, that’s what we call nuts. We’re walking the 5150 block on that journey. Some of us have reasons for being sick of that shit. For one thing, it isn’t even fun. Most psychotics aren’t just trying to deflect blame for shitting the bed, the way the Democrats have been doing for the past four years. It’s always someone else’s fault. In my case alone, it’s my fault for taking negatively to Hillary, for having positive reactions AT ALL to Donny Fingers, for having an affirmative enthusiasm for Jill Stein. It’s a batshit insane binary: #WithHer or Against Her, and Against Her means with HIM. This is nonsense: one of the reasons I voted for Stein was that Trump put me off, too. I got sick of that fucker by the time I got my ballot.

These dipshits construe the entire 2016 election as a humiliating, scandalous breach of deference. Why America’s yacht dealers and dentists wanted to defer to the pussyhatters in the first place is beyond them, too, because Trump’s Optimate base does not exist to them. This is why I’m one of their scapegoats for not taking their orders in the completion of my legally secret ballot.

Fuck that, of course. What’s crazy is that these delusions of persecution are a high-class phenomenon. This is political astuteness, too Them. That guy from Inglewood needs to catch the bus and run some universe checks on these freaks. Listening to millionaires, some of them bigtime multmillionaires, whine about the breach of their aesthetics and their norms, and now pivot to the frantic assertion that the election of a different rapist and flagrant sex pest is feminism, doesn’t impress me in a good way.

Besides, if the plan is to convince me that Biden or the Clintons or some such trash love the poor like Jesus and Trump hates the poor, it might be a good idea to demonstrate either some personal familiarity with what it’s like to be poor or else some working observations. They never show up with this. It’s hopeless for me to explain how and why I have to observe and understand them more accurately than they have to observe and understand me. It’s the stuff of a basic human education, which they so proudly completed, In School.

Add this to the treasury of things not understood about Christian teaching and practice in this, Our Christian Country. The average Hindu seeker who’s looking in bashfully and wondering what possesses us to lay it all on a single god-guru and the two other gods who are part of him understands Christianity better than our biblethumping leaders ever do, just by not being hardhearted and idiotic.

Ever since Constantine we’ve been discovering anew how pigheaded and disastrous it is to try to mold Christianity into an official imperial religion. Christian discipleship, which, to lightly paraphrase Gandhi, sounds like a marvelous idea, is, leaving aside questions of strict divinity, a lifelong pilgrimage in the path of a humble mystic, healer, and almsgiver who was put to death for defying the Roman imperial authorities and one of their Levantine satrapies. Even if we’re convinced that he’s a god, not the God, or what have we, reading from Eccleasiastes to clap back at a political opponent for holding “a Bible” up as a crude talisman who’s power didn’t even interest him and then proceeding to do nothing for the poor and vulnerable among one’s legislative constituents plainly ain’t it. Remember, “as you do to the least of these, you do to me.” This sure seems like it applies to civil officials who wield great power to provide for the needs of the poor, or to refuse them all aid.

The confusion over this discord between word and deed starts to lift as we consider that American governments are formed mainly from incarnations of the Antichrist. Hypocrisy doesn’t always sound quite right as an explanation; it’s at least a significant component, but we’re talking about people with serious delusional disorders, the loudest of them having to do with Russian spook sabotage and chat bot mind control. They’re evil, but they aren’t JUST evil. There’s a whole lot going on here.

In any event, we do have a leadership class of Structural Antichrist. Casual but sincere students of Christian scripture and tradition know more than well enough what’s wrong with this shit and why it’s a huge fraud. Countless outsiders who have studied Christianity look at what passes for Christianity in the United States and think, correctly, what the fuck.

The synthesis here is gross but compelling. We’re all about epistemic closure, we’re all about in-your-face Christian piety, and so, QED, epistemic closure in the name of Christ Jesus is extremely our shit. Reading some decontextualized bollocks about seasons of life from Ecclesiastes for the sole purpose of one-upping a political opponent for being proudly ignorant of the whole book of books is what we call Christianity, instead of suspecting that the Tenderloin is exactly Jesus’s beat and he wants us to at least try to do something about it.

As I said, Fancy Nancy is in a position to really do something. I show up in the confessional guilty that I was curt with some bums and knew I could spare them a few bucks. Most of us fail here more than we succeed and fall down more readily than we get back up, and it’s a good reason to seek maybe not so much absolution as guidance, but I’d say we could use some fucking help from that bitch on this job. We could certainly do worse than to rebuke her and her kind as rudely as seems useful.

Our rulers need to be dragged, kicking and screaming if they insist on being so graceless, back into the real world, to do the jobs they owe us. All they’ve been doing lately is making messes and contemptuously leaving them for us to clean up. The quality of lawmaking and administration they offer us is abysmal.

This is why we had to have the police brutality protests. Our lawmakers would feel differently about cops kneeling on people’s necks if cops barged into their living rooms and knelt on their necks. These atrocities are always for the little people. The high theory holds that with great power comes great responsibility; the low practice ensures that with great power comes great power. Power asserts itself for its own sake. Our rulers have the same morals and appetites as a cancer.

One difference, of course, is that cancer doesn’t stage a Kente Cloth Kneeling Ceremony for the purpose of exorcising the centuries-old racial sins of a nation founded on chattel slavery. There’s no making this shit up. Nancy got down on her knee, like, a week and a half after reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes. It feels like it could have been months. It should have taken decades, because she should never, ever have been involved in anything of the sort. Still in Kente shawls, Chuck and Nancy glared down at the press pool from behind their masks like two exceedingly hostile and condescending birds of prey. In fairness, though, they look only marginally less contemptuous from the dais when they’re unmasked and not dressed like Kwanzaa show-and-tell fools.

It’s all inconceivably absurd. They have a job to do, and that ain’t it. Even by P. J. O’Rourke’s reckoning, their branch of the government is money, not television. Nothing about kneeling on the floor for over eight minutes in a doofus waka waka hey hey vestment is a reasonable or bona fide way to respond to a police misconduct scandal in which a cop knelt on a man’s neck until he was dead. We’ve living in the twilight zone of elected assholes who will always resent us, their constituents, for demanding their representation. God help us if we deserve the grandparenting of Chuck and Nancy.

The Kente Cloth Kneeling Ceremony is an exceptionally flagrant example of our epistemic closure. In a single outrageously self-absorbed stunt the Congressional Democratic leadership provocatively recapitulated the murder of George Floyd in a gesture that was at the same time bathetically meaningless, elevated vacuous style over crucial substance, dicked around in ethnic garb like a Nigerian federal cabinet with Swiss bank accounts full of embezzled oil royalties and bribes, clumsily tried to stand back up, preened about their racial magnanimity at a time when blue-on-black killings had their nation at the flashpoint, and declined all around to do their fucking jobs. They’re shitheads, but they aren’t JUST shitheads. They expected this provocation to bear political benefits. They of course arrogantly assumed that the serfs they didn’t want reacting peevishly to their contempt would miss the show, or at least would hold their peace (fuck off lol), but they were pandering to a core constituency every bit as performatively vapid as themselves. Nancy know her neighbors. No, not the ones hard up in the Tenderloin, a mere two miles down the hill, but the ones who matter, the ones like herself. Duh.

This horseshit is never about Africa. An interest in West Africa might inspire astute observations of the culture that Congress shares with its counterparts in Nigeria, specifically, their common love of being huge crooks who live to take bribes. Instead, the usual suspects, Inner Party and Outer Party alike, are again walking around with their thumbs up their asses, proud that they are at last getting justice for Kunta Kinte. It’s an odd way to react to protests over a guy from Houston getting murdered by a cop in Minneapolis. That sounds pretty American and not very Ghanaian. It doesn’t seem like a national evil we can purge by holding a seance with Kwame Nkrumah.

Then again, Africa has had blameshifting no-account incompetents in high elected office, too, and Jerry Rawlings is white. Kente Cloth didn’t have anything to do with OJ, either, until the Dream Team decided it did and got Lance Ito to compliment them on their ties. Still, I’m down here, thinking that if I traded places with Fancy Nancy I’d be working on telling the police what to do, such as immediately arresting their colleagues upon establishing probable cause for murder if they want federal appropriations to continue, and not making a huge ass of myself by doing Motherland cosplay on the boob tube.

This cosplay was much more crudely and divisively racialized than anything about the Black Lives Matter movement. The point of BLM is to demand that the police stop murdering black people. The police have been murdering African-Americans ever since there have been Africans in the Americas. They aren’t reachable like black street gangs or lone hotheads, either. They go around murdering people at will.

Sometimes those people are white. The “All Lives Matter” countermovement doesn’t actually give a shit about life. Provocateurs like Matt Walsh pop up out of the woodwork to scold BLM protesters for not demanding justice for Daniel Shaver or whoever, reasonable points that might be well taken if they’d had anything to say about these cases in the years prior to the murder of George Floyd. The emblematic All Lives Matter demonstration was the attempted point-blank bow-and-arrow attack in Salt Lake City. Protesters nearby agreed with him sufficiently to bumrush him and stop him from fully acting on his violent disdain for life.

The “Black Lives Matter” framing is divisive, but only incidentally so. Exceedingly few people who are horrified by Floyd George’s murder would say that Daniel Shaver had it coming as a honky or that Brailsford is a good cop. There is no natural antagonism between those who want justice for Floyd and those who want justice for Shaver. Any distrust can be assuaged.

BLM is not a movement of racists who want Whitey to be murdered by cops. It’s an interracial movement of people demanding an end to police brutality. Its emphasis is on black lives, as opposed to all lives, because African-Americans bear the brunt of police violence. Cops preferentially harass, menace, assault, and murder black people. Where black targets are scarce, however, or for that matter whenver a non-black person pisses them off, they’ll gladly take it out on Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics, American Indians, or whoever else is in the vicinity, especially if they’re poor.

This is a profession whose members have been given carte blanche authority to batter, strangle, rape, and murder people under color of law and force of arms. Support for these thugs and their enablers correlates with affluence and wealth: the moneyed know that the police, the managers of Outside, are their de facto mercenaries; the poor know that cops are as shitty and abusive as they feel like being. The downwardly mobile feel the injustice acutely as a looming threat to their own welfare and survival.

We can guess, with perfect ease and accuracy, which side Fancy Nancy takes in this war. That’s right: not ours. She hates poor people and demands servants; cops are overpaid servants who hate the poor.

By NPR’s reckoning all of this has to do with Gypsies. “Gypsy cops” is a slur on the Romani, not on lemon dance thugs. The United States has very little communal tension between Gypsies and the rest of us, so NPR is there to inadvertently foment it through its sheer woke ineptitude. But Chief, why do your officers them “Gypsy cops?” Jesus tapdancing Christ, you fucking nerd, why the hell do you think? How much of an asskissing dork do you have to be to ask that in the first place?

Mary Louise Kelly is here to distract Art Acevedo from police reform. I need to take up drinking again.

Eatin’ good in the neighborhood

We’ve got mail:

Good afternoon tenants,

Lately we have noticed that people have been leaving food items by the dumpster, and now starting on top of the mail box. We ask that you please stop doing that, as this is adding to the current issues we are having with the homeless coming into the property. For those that may not be aware, we have had recent break-ins into cars as well as items going missing from the property.

I understand you may be doing this to help the ones in need during these difficult times, however if you would like to donate food, clothing items, etc., please take it to the local food bank/charities.

Thank you for your understanding.

I can’t object. I really can’t. To any of it: the letter, the food by the dumpster. The onsite manager who e-mailed us this letter is wonderful. She’s in a bad spot, we’re in a bad spot as her tenants, the neighborhood homeless are in a terrible spot, and one of our city councilors used to go around stealing gear from encampments on vigilante missions back when he was a cop. He bragged about it at a social services working group meeting. He was a Santa Rosa Police Department liaison. Multiple committee members filed official complaints under their own names. Nothing happened.

It doesn’t take much attention to look at the city council during meetings and guess that Ernesto Olivares is the cop. His strain of bumbaiting bourgeois supremacy runs deep around here. He’s far from the worst cop around here, by the way. The SRPD’s rank and file supposedly can’t stand the Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputies. The assistant district attorneys are so insane that judges tell them to shut up right now in camera.

Last fall we had the shit show on the Joe Rodota Trail. A veterinarian’s wife told me that the trail was an absolute clusterfuck, totally out of control. /Borat Voice/ My part-time wife told me that it was a self-governing community, with zoning expertly triaged by need and social function. California has Pervert’s Flat in rural Antioch for the Megan’s Law cases; Santa Rosa has the hills above Bennett Valley.

The vet and his wife weren’t the most obnoxious Americans I met in New Zealand. The expat Americans working in the service sector were great. I didn’t encounter any American shitheads in Australia. I don’t remember encountering Americans at all. The security guy at the Hobart Airport, an absolute sweetheart who hugged my mom after she told him that he and his colleagues were nicer than their American counterparts, assumed we were flying home to Adelaide. When my mom described where she and my dad live in the Adirondacks, his eyes lit up. “Noooice!”

Depending. I’m glad my mom came down with the Dread Ailment or whatever she caught in New Zealand, not back home in the States. Yes, that one. She suspects she had it months before the Wuhan lockdown, let alone the Kiwi lockdown. There’s a mayor in New Jersey who thinks he caught it around the same time, although around town, not around Grammers. There were no horseshit marketeering or HR signs on the hospital campuses in Invercargill and Queenstown. My mom received excellent care at Southland and at Lakes District. Both hospitals were modest but reassuring inside. The outdoor energy at Southland was exactly what I needed. My mom loved watching the Air New Zealand A320s take off while she sat in the day room on the ward at Lakes. She likes busy Maori liveries much more than I do.

The veterinarian fumed to us about the wretchedness of Invercargill. I liked the town all right when my dad and I got there. I’m absolutely serious that Southland Hospital was my favorite part. There’s no point to traveling so far afield and not getting a passing idea of what the hell is actually up in the host communities. I guess I’m in the travelers’ minority on that one fml, but shit, doc, Fat Cracka’s got room for another mince pie, in the suitcase if need be.

The vet told us he was the highest rated in the county. I looked him up a few months later, and I think I identified him, although I’m not pawsitive. Good Lord there’s something wrong with me. We met him and his wife at dinner. The guy who’d built the house back in the Gilded Age got into Parliament, got into debt, and fatally shot himself in his office in Wellington. One of our servers that night chuckled when I told him that I’d had classmates fly over to study a broad–as /Borat Voice/ my part-time wife says, “They’re fine from the neck down”–and return stateside complaining about not being able to afford heat for their flats; students are always having trouble getting by, he said. In retrospect, I think I heard the heat quota story from a tradcon chick who’d studied in Dublin. Most of the complaints I heard about foreign bathrooms started, verbatim, “One time when I was in England, and I had to take a shit….”

I would rather have heard these stories from the chick who went to Dublin, but this is not a world that caters to our preferences. We aren’t all veterinarians.

A full week in Queenstown more than convinced me that New Zealand has a tourism problem. I guess it doesn’t so much this year lol, but strange times live through us as much as we live through them. I do, however, think I paid enough attention on our way through drive-through country and on my solo excursions into the working parts of Adelaide and Christchurch to accurately assess some of the shit that any country harboring it tries to sweep behind the curtains, and the impressive thing is that none of it looked really bad. The equivalents in the US are terrible. If I get back to Australia–not ruling it in, but not ruling it out–I’m planning to visit Macquarie Fields. I looked at some satellite and street view images of it, and I couldn’t believe that that, of all neighborhoods, was rumored to be one of the roughest parts of Sydney. It’s like going to 20th and Clement and being told, authoritatively, this is the worst corner in San Francisco.

I saw a handful of homeless in Sydney and I think Adelaide. On equivalent transects of Los Angeles or Sacramento I’d have seen dozens, probably hundreds. I haven’t done a deep or broad survey of Australian housing, but from what I’ve read and seen I get the feeling that there is nothing along the lines of Skid Row or the Tenderloin or Near North Sacramento in the whole country. The only city where I’d expect it is Darwin, and I’ve heard about extreme squalor and poverty in the deep outback, overwhelmingly in Aboriginal communities, but we’ve got the Rez, the Ozarks, the deep Appalachians, the Black Belt. Joe Schillaci will see you on the scene of that 31 in the Pork-n-Beans.

This really is a shithole country. What other conclusion is hanging around for us? What are we supposed to make of Australia’s most dire social problems being concentrated in a territory whose population rivals those of Buffalo and Reno? Australia’s superannuation scheme is a racket, but Statewide Super had free wi-fi in Glenelg when I went out on the tram. I recall getting straight on, with no commercial, and there was definitely no e-mail tracking like the DFW does for passengers who are already paying facility fees through their airfare.

Little things like that, one after another, array themselves to paint a damning picture. We have 24/7 staffing at more of our rural gas stations, but they have a working medical system. These probably aren’t mutually exclusive, this probably isn’t a case of one or the other, no mix-and-match, but we shouldn’t have to deliberate and weigh the tradeoffs. We should be able to come right out and choose.

Guess we chose wrong. Fuck.

Back home we have so, so many places where we get assaulted by the squalor and the dysfunction every time we step outside. We can’t keep it out of the fanciest recreation districts in our cities. The passenger rail terminals in Los Angeles and Chicago officially close down for a few hours overnight, for no credible reason but to ward off the homeless. Rent-a-cops make the rounds at LA Union Station every night to do the bums’ rush. As of a year or two ago the Portland Greyhound terminal had regular DAYTIME closure hours. A quick look outside shows why: skid row. It spreads: Pioneer Square; Pershing Square; Venice and Santa Monica; just about everywhere else in the Los Angeles Basin; all through and around the Gaslamp Quarter and the Convention Center; all over San Francisco; long stretches of El Camino; Midtown Sacramento and downtown Reno; across otherwise well-maintained parts of downtown Seattle like so much maritime moss, a dude lying face-down in the grass on a freeway embankment in his underwear on a near-freezing winter morning, 911 refusing to dispatch an ambulance because the caller reports that he’s breathing.

How many billions of dollars do we have to spend on cops and spooks and naval combat vessels that dent and fighter jets that dissolve in the rain and serial deathtraps like the Osprey whose crews take flight only because they’d be court-martialed otherwise, before we get our shit together on services that we actually need to survive as a society? We’re operating at a level on Maslow’s hierarchy below normal, healthy function and way below prosperity. What does it take to walk out onto the streets from the highrise hotels in the San Francisco Financial District or downtown LA or San Diego, or out of the investment banking towers of Lower Manhattan into the visibly disintegrating subways, and come away unshaken in the assumption that the governments responsible lavish too little on private redevelopment hustlers and too much on social services and public works? What the hell are we using? Grey Goose? Freebase? Xanax? Build-your-own?

The moneyed sorts who do business and leisure in our fancy neighborhoods are short on empaths and long on psychopaths–they are not, regardless of their protestations, liberal–but it’s incomprehensible how they don’t walk through the local hood and straight away see serious problems demanding serious solutions. Most of them aren’t even cutting off the nose to spite the face. They’re in our dynamic, forward-thinking cities with two thirds of the GDP precisely because they want to make bank and live well or cash in what some of what they’ve already amassed to live well. These are, after all, people who have done more than their share of international travel.

It’s bizarre that they don’t expect the same public goods and services that Europeans, Japanese, urban Chinese, and so forth take for granted and demand when not granted: water fountains; well-maintained public restrooms that encourage users to clean up after themselves and have janitors on call in case they don’t; not having to dodge films of piss and piles of shit on the sidewalk left by the desperate, the mentally ill, and the homeless; not having street people lying around semiresponsive and stewing in two weeks’ worth of bodily filth because they have nowhere decent to go; the ability to walk into an intact, fully functioning rapid transit station and promptly board a tolerably clean train that works. It’s bizarre, for that matter, that the horseshit security theater of the TSA and its contractors hasn’t come under sustained and withering attack from travelers who have cleared security at domestic airport terminals in Australia and not gotten into crashes on Qantas. Airport stories out of Mexico include employee cadences of “Please/ do not/ take off/ your shoes.”

Nothing here fucking works. What’s crazy is that things don’t work in cities teeming with affluent professionals whose business takes them to places like Frankfurt, London, and Hong Kong. These same cities teem with foreigners from every corner of the world, many of them from highly developed and well-run cities abroad. It’s surreal to imagine what it must be like to relocate from inner-city Sydney or Adelaide, for example, as an occasional to regular train rider, and to arrive in Manhattan, the nerve center of the international financial system, the biggest and proudest city in the global imperial center, on a filthy, ramshackle train serving a subway station with water pouring in through a gash in the wall.

Let’s assume, again, that the Millennial Business Success Spawn are looking to get rich, the tourists to luxuriate, and the conventioneers to get rich or learn things or hang out. They’re all looking, now or later or both, for a good quality of life. Reconcile this with decades of intensifying threats to the personal safety and welfare of the general public, threats now aggressively spreading into neighborhoods frequented or inhabited by the rich and the powerful. The “revitalization” campaigns proceed apace, in Hudson Yards, Pilsen, the SoMa, the outskirts of the USC campus, and so forth, but everything around them is falling apart.

Deluxe condominiums are sold and occupied in a downtown tower that is somehow, despite one of the most process-oriented city governments on earth and a host state historically home to some of the world’s leading engineering brain trusts, listing from its foundation on up with the floors very noticeably off-level. A new bridge span, a seven- or ten-minute drive away in light traffic, is built with overseas steel that the highway department is concerned has not passed inspection. These edifices are located in a world-renowned earthquake zone.

A few hours away by plane, the mayor for some damn reason, probably soft ethnic cleansing, or maybe just cruelty, arbitrarily closed dozens of neighborhood schools in ways that forced minors to cross through rival gang territory twice a day. In city after city, millions of dollars gush into the guard labor apparatus, billions in the national aggregate, to issue citations and effect bench warrant arrests over shit like $2.75 fare jumps. The NYPD excels at this. It has the same jurisdiction as the elected governments that tried to give Jeff Bezos hundreds of millions of dollars in a single consolidated package to build a megaoffice that would turn the already snarled streets fubar, until their constituents made it clear that the incumbents pushing that crap would have to find new jobs, or hobbies, if they succeeded.

They always could have talked to Matt Lauer.

The retention of violently juiced-up cops who ride around poor minority neighborhoods jumping out of vans and throwing groups of peaceable teenagers up against the nearest wall makes some sense, although not much, in the context of Greek Life business elites who abuse cocaine. It’s fairly common for the same aspiring masters of the universe never to have lived in the real world of laundromats, slumlords, crosstown bus lines through the ghetto, and sometimes even DIY grocery shopping and home laundry. From where you’re sitting right now, there’s sure to be an above above the above.

There’s no reason that sheltered rich assholes with reactionary views they usually keep to themselves or their close friends for business reasons–that’s actually asking quite a bit, as leaks from many of our elite circles regularly show–take the cops for their loyal buddies or mercenaries. American cops get away with shit that neighborhood crew bosses would bring to an immediate stop in the Crips, the Bloods, or the Latin prison gangs, but it’s been said before: lighter shade of blue, no cross, no shield. Norm Stamper, I think it was, divided American police misconduct into three main spheres: corruption, brutality, and incompetence. They’re all wicked valid, Mak; that’s why your awe stayeff sayagent. Between the NOPD’s who dat throw your ass on the floor in a jumble for dissing the jambalaya private details, the Dirty Thirty, the jumpout squads, the Ramparts snort-n-sell ring, Homan Square, the other Mark with the glove on the Westside and without it on 77th Street, Ferguson, the DEA’s cash grab crews, HSI’s inconsistent policies on sex with suspected trafficking victims, Daniel Holtzclaw’s personal off-duty policies, and the widespread anabolic steroid use on police forces across the country, nobody should trust the police a second longer than the nearest cops appear to be holding it together in a non-criminal capacity.

This list is not exhaustive. I omitted other cops.

It’s usually feasible for a portion of a society to live off the avails of its neighbors’ labor. We’re much closer to a scenario in which everybody’s trying to rob, extort, blackmail, bribe, or defraud everybody else for a living. Hilariously, this is why Olivia Jade Gianulli’s parents had to pay Rick Singer to bribe USC. Their daughter, already a socioeconomically successful and connected celebrity, was really looking forward to, like, partying and going to games. Kid: the only reason they’ll try to bar the door against you is because you’re the other OJ. This is the College of Montepuliafito, girl. Chill.

If we look at the top, hardly a soul is doing a thing that’s worthwhile, and few are doing anything interesting. Jeff Bezos is a monster who smiles while his warehouse grunts soil their adult diapers and pee in bottles next to parades of customer packages. Elon Musk is an acutely coked-up megalomaniac who bribed and bullied his way into positions as a named founder and flips his shit at anybody who expresses or shows expertise exceeding his own in any field, notably including the British expatriate caver he called a pedophile for warning that his submarine wouldn’t work to rescue that group of boys and their chaperones from a Thai cave that he knew better than anybody else. The fuck are the Kardashians doing? Dad was a lawyer, at least. Another connection to the Original Juice: how bow dah. Bruce Jenner? Excuse me, Caitlyn? I mean, Brutlin? There are some extremely weird and unhealthy family dynamics in that whole deal.

I often ponder what it means that the Amish are cutting hay, Japanese smallholders with quarter-acre plots in the path of the second runway at Narita are growing rice by hand when they aren’t going at the riot police with pitchforks, Chinese researchers are doing advanced biotherapeutics research (and, uh, chuman work with that Yankee creep), the Germans and the Swiss are still machining ultraprecision gears and measuring devices and shit, and a whole lot of us are over here crashing international financial markets, swindling the poor and the middling out of their houses, and lounging around with our thumbs up our asses while we venerate that troupe of attention-whoring freaks. Or Musk or Bezos or any of our other famous crooks, blowhards, and frauds. We hear, from people claiming great political authority, that Nancy Pelosi is an indispensable member of the center-left. Gavin Newsom is marginal and modestly effectual among elected Democrats for coordinating one of the best responses to the Dread Ailment in the country, while Fancy Nancy is a champion advocate for preemptively capitulating to Mitch McConnell and standing in front of a chest full of $10/lb. artisanal gelati while her Michael Jackson-looking face dribbles off in real time.

That’s cool. It’s great to see that actions inform reputations and that we’re living abundantly in the observable, real world of real lives and real happenings. I meant to mention: I’ve been in bed with multiple Borgia mistresses on the Neapolitan waterfront all night and also colocating to an onsen full of blissfully half-awake capybaras and baboons on the slopes of Mount Fuji, because these are also true things that happened.

The psychosis in this country is unbelievably prolific and pervasive. It’s almost impossible to find anyone in a position of power or wealth who isn’t afflicted. Tom Steyer appears to be one, but his presidential campaign flopped and he threw in the towel after South Carolina. The heir apparent to Her mantle–this is already going just great–is a manifestly brain-damaged bully and phony who was forced out of the running in 1988 for plagiarizing his speeches and who habitually lies about his legislative record, his class background, the extent of his personal wealth, what he earned as a young lawyer in Wilmington, and his scholarship status and class standing in law school. The new rape accusation, because we just knew this guy would be a pervert we’ve covered extensively for putting his hands and nose all over everything that moves, has the ‘liberal” chattering classes in the throes of a normal one. Katha Pollitt would vote for Joe Biden even if he boiled and ate babies. Whoa, bitch: sit the fuck down and take your lorazepam. This is not good, to be saying that just because the incumbent is a loudmouth and a shitposter.

Yes, many less prominent, socially engaged, and influential people have psychotic parasocial relationships with Donald Trump. So what? They may have dysfunctional parasocial relationships over the computer with catfish drones working for the Kremlin in satellite cube farms. So what? We are not a society that visits its shut-ins. Do we sound Amish?

The hope for a better tomorrow rests, amazingly, with the Trump campaign. This is an extremely relative statement. It took rampant corruption and sclerosis to get him into office and more yet to populate his cabinet and staff with its trail mix of relatives, cronies, family retainers, movement conservative creeps, hardline nativist nuts, and evangelical end times Looney Toons. It’s some ridiculously dysfunctional shit, and the more competent it is, the scarier. But the Donald understands communication, not just on a social level but on something like a spiritual, mystical level. Most of it is bullshit, but Biden is an incorrigible bullshitter, too, and he has no spiritual range or depth.

Trump’s campaign has a positive, affirmative vision. For the most part it’s a terrible one, and that old-time Republican nihilism is always boiling just below the surface, but he offers reasons to vote FOR him. Biden and his team are flailing about grasping for reasons to vote AGAINST Trump. If they had so much as a platform they believed in themselves they wouldn’t have the likes of former Nation writers striking child sacrifice and cannibalism as disqualifying factors for the presidency. A normal, well-adjusted voter hearing that the ghost of Jeffrey Dahmer is a respectable Democratic candidate for the presidency, and in fact a crucial one should Joe Biden kick the bucket between now and November, would vote Republican. Nah, lady; Jeff, he ain’t it. Goes for the other pervert with the island and all the rich friends, too.

Take it from a man who prays: thinking informs argumentation, but argumentation absolutely informs thinking. This goes even for prayers as simple as the liturgical Catholic grace (or, as Protestants call it, Oh, it’s over?). I could bog down in a daybreak lay missive about the power of the Rosary, or other spiritual shit that will Men’s Warehouse guarantee to bog me down because that’s exactly what it always does (sample search terms: “intercessor”; “St. Richard Russell”), but [indefinite blank period of the mind, on the night shift (on the night shift)] as one of our best confessors and preachers told us, “Neurons that fire together wire together.” That’s clumsy and off-point for where I’m trying to take this bitch, too reductive and corporeal, somehow, but he’s right. Having a full-blown public mental breakdown over a public official being hella rude (which, as the records of every predecessor through Reagan show, is what drives this nonsense) and reacting by blurting out that cooking and cannibalizing babies would be an improvement over a guy who now draws a federal salary to be a drama queen leads to a greater freakout, which leads to more invitations to insurgent partisan rape, to a more intense freakout, and frankly we’re deep into the realm of the mad by the time we raise the specter of boiling babies.

Let’s pause to reflect on the matter of a well-known, well-established, basically well-respected author going on the record to declare that Donald Trump is worse than a hypothetical baby cannibal. I mentioned Dahmer because Pollitt invited us into his wheelhouse for a voyage none of us wanted but all of us must make. Nah, go back to Dubai Porta Potty or the Levine shit if it’s less disturbing; I don’t mind. I’m done repeating it for a sentence or two, but that statement is not hyperbole. Go to the far side of hyperbole and it’s still beyond the horizon. That’s an utterance that is inevitably, prima facie an effect and a cause of major mental illness. Most people would think about crossing the street if they heard a passerby speaking like that. It’s more troubling as a cause because it aggravates the most destructive ideation and, worse for bystanders, proliferates it into the community. It’s ill-advised to read lines of that nature as an actor with on-demand psychiatric support. This is definitively not the ideation or the language of a person we want interacting with others below the scope of practice of a psych tech at the moment.

Are we still concerned that Grandma thinks Trump is personally looking out for her, like Jesus but also Caesar, and enjoys messaging with her special Russian computer friends? This wack-ass talk is on course to make the Democrats shit the bed with the devout, even with a loud cradle Catholic of some credible pro-life sentiment and background at the head of the ticket. They’re already compromised on matters of religious belief and practice just by virtue (sic) of holding it in such obvious contempt. Their opponent, meanwhile, has made common cause with religious busybodies and has his own inchoate but irrepressible spirtual inclinations. Howdy Modi! I love the Hindu! Can you believe how many gods you could find in the virus? Panpsychism. Phenomenal. You love to see it.

A guy like Trump doesn’t have to seem coherent or even in his right mind to seem human and reachable. He could have a new astral projection every minute with a 50% false positive rate and still be more spiritually grounded than Joe Biden or most of the rest of the Democratic A List. Voters notice. It doesn’t have to be conscious to have a powerful effect. The electorate is maybe 1% Data, 19% Spock, and 80% Captain Kirk. I pulled the numbers out of my ass, but not entirely. I don’t think you want to know about my sleep schedule in this, our time of plague. Heh heh heh heh, I said “ass, but.” Huh huh.

Then again, Biden is leading Trump in the swing state polls, Trump is wearing out his welcome with the flimflamming over the Ailment, and lead poisoning is not confined to the hard right. Biden does convey a probably bogus but oddly cloying emotionality, when he’s lucid enough for emotions at all.

That’s a pile of verbiage about a pile of horseshit that serves greatly to distract American voters from things that actually matter, like homelessness. Again, we are not having a sane one. That’s a national scandal and tragedy that every president starting with Reagan has addressed by sucking his own cock. Reagan released the inpatient insane from the state hospitals without community support as governor, then trashed the economy for working people as president. The Bushes didn’t do much about homelessness, except to tangentially aggravate it in the same fashion as Reagan. Clinton was on the scene for a Twilight Zone incident in which a homeless person froze to death in a bus shelter across the street from the HUD headquarters, emblematic precisely because it was the same shit the federal government and most subsidiary governments had been doing for the homeless for over a decade by that point. Obama contributed generously to homelessness by mouthing insincere platitudes in the face of a foreclosure crisis he strategically allowed.

Biden might be better than Trump on homelessness. He might be worse. He’ll probably just be different. We absolutely have not had a president show meaningful moral or practical leadership on aything pertaining to homelessness since Jimmy Carter. Joe Plagiarism doesn’t look like the guy to break this streak, but nobody cares, or at least not much of anybody who votes.

It’s like it’s a fucking ballgame. The Yankees always play dirty, but we love our Nationals. It’s no coincidence that a guy who reasons like this tried to get me down to Camden Yards for a bachelor party in the midst of the Hot Summer of Freddy Gray and later, upon Trump’s victory, told me, almost despondent, “I guess there are a lot more uneducated people in this country than I realized.”

Trump is the fault of Raiders Nation, in that case. Cool. Are you fucking ready for some. Don’t go looking for money to get people off the trailer park frontage roads along the Nimitz; it’s all gone into the Coliseum.

We unhoused some folks.

Even if we assume that the Bay Area is now governed for worse-than-useless solipsistic narcissists who refer to their own low-key homeless neighbors as “my Uber,” it’s bizarre that they don’t see something really, badly wrong with the scene along the Nimitz or El Camino or all over San Francisco, in a way that a more robust social welfare apparatus is the only thing that can help. What are we trying to replicate here? Sao Paolo? Lagos? Bombay? Possibilities are flicking straight through my mind: probably not Addis Ababa, maybe Manila or Nairobi, definitely not Kigali or Buenos Aires or Santiago, no public escalators so it can’t be Cali or Medellin or wherever they did that. We’re on a chute straight into the midrange Third World, just maybe with worse medical care.

I mailed a donation to Loaves and Fishes about sixteen hours before I opened the e-mail I reproduced at the top, the one about the homeless and what we may and may not do for them. I’m not about to risk trouble, for me or for anyone else, by putting leftovers out by a dumpster in the courtyard of my apartment building. I should do something along those lines, a calling I doubt I’ll answer, but if I do I’ll take it out into the neighborhood a bit.

It doesn’t matter, though; not the charity, but the location. In a narrow sense it may, but word is already out on the streets that my building is a place to look for food. The reputation will attract who it will attract, in ways entirely beyond my influence. I was informed about this situation after the fact. There’s a guy I take for homeless who sits in one of the entry hallways listening to music, and who I think stays with one of the tenants on some basis, but he’s always seemed harmless. I have no idea whether he’s been burgling cars, but mine is probably too messy to attract many people, so I’m not worried. Someone did once get in and throw papers everywhere, but I found nothing important missing. I have it parked in my assigned spot under the carport with the windows partway down, the doors unlocked, and the battery dead oops lol, but the chip keys are getting worn again because either Jones West or the plant fucked something up, so, hey.

That’s no battle I’m about to fight. I live in a pretty nice tenement in a nice neighborhood. The neighbors run the gamut from squirrelly but harmless to wonderful. We have three unguarded, ungated entryways to the building, all from a public street. The neighborhood has mixed zoning. The building next door is fully gated and locked. A couple of weeks ago a cop asked me how to get in there to deal with a noise complaint over a late-night pool party. I told him I thought he’d have to wait for a tenant to let him in. Cool cop, cool neighbors; no idea about the pool until I heard the splashing. Even then I initially thought it was coming from a TV in my building.

The building next door is a gentry fortress. Ours is not. We aren’t hiding out behind the palace walls, quaking in our boots about our safety and (extremely nerds voice) Our Purchases. We aren’t Brazil. The pool building isn’t either, really, but it’s headed there, with the rest of us in tow.

We have homeless in the neighborhood. Most of them are over towards the Safeway, but they’re around. There are board and care homes in the neighborhoods, some with furlough programs. There’s a row of redwood trees fifty or a hundred yards away, across a parking lot, with tarps and cardboard and a sofa and stuff in the underbrush. I saw a guy shitting on one of the redwoods on Memorial Day last year, with a cop making a glacially slow six-point U-turn fifteen feet away across a chain link fence.

It’s bigger than me. Then I hear about assholes like Musk and Gates and especially Bezos, and I remember who needs to foot the bill for this shit: them. It would work true wonders to expropriate Bezos, tax him at 99%, flood his facilities with labor inspectors, and overall grind him back down into the uppermost reaches of the vaguely human upper class. How the hell is a billion dollars not enough? He has $150b or some shit. He’s supposedly on course to become the first trillionaire. Mocha Haole is being celebrated as our first prospective billionaire president emeritus. Harry and Bess Truman moved back into their bungalow or whatever the hell in Independence with the Secret Service in the yard. Carter put his peanut farm into a blind trust. Why aren’t we making Barry pass us more o da kine, yeah? What is wrong with us?

This isn’t a village with a cartwright, a potter, a stingy barber surgeon, a ruined prince, and a hundred mentally retarded field hands. Bezos amounts to a rogue knight who socializes with the town gossip, orders his neighbors to work in his shop for free and sleep in an outdoor pigsty, lounges around in a hammock telling them what to do for him, and gets up with a cat-o-nine-tails in hand and wails when they refuse to approach the whipping post at his command and instead walk off the property. On his own, he’s laughably impotent.

Musk is even worse. an even more useless prick who’s also the town drunk.

Rich assholes like these love talking about the state of nature, the lion and the gazelle both getting up each morning (there aren’t clocks on the savannah, dumbass), and dog-eat-dog, sink-or-swim fights to the death through pure merit. In an actual state of nature, as opposed to their skillful arbitrage of postmodern complexity and plenty, they would likely be assassinated by junta. This is the subject of significant anthropological and zoological study. There are limits to the arrogance primitive societies will tolerate. They can be suprisingly low, enforced with surprising vigor and dispatch.

Of course they can end up with incest and pedophilia and domestic battery, and until around 1700 in Europe and today in parts of Africa, routine cannibalism, but then again, beef: it’s not what’s for Donner. Jeff might have a cookbook to lend.

Before I got distracted a few thousand words ago, I meant to say a bit about a jarringly absurd biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt from 1877 or thereabouts. Some forgettable fuckhead, a total idiot and sycophant, got wound up about the Commodore’s contributions to society, including the steam engine, the railroad, the telegraph, and civilization itself. He invented civilization, just as the Italians had to invent the Fiat 500 in order to have sex and, one imagines, Italians. India has freaks from the engineering faculties (where else?) who dismiss Robert Oppenheimer as a dullard before the Mahabharata, a chronicle not only of nuclear warfare but also of two dozen different models of aircraft. You know, that kind of thing. We can perhaps see Mr. Explodeypants from that vantage point. That suckup Victorian asshole, by contrast, assured his readers that the Commodore was personally responsible for technologies first developed in Georgian to proto-Indo-European times.

It rather evokes Elon Musk braying about how he’s going to show that pedo the business by replicating Alvin from scratch and piloting it into a cave he’d known about for a week. Atrios has that grandiose cokehead pegged: If Elon says something questionable and people are talking it up, replace “Elon Musk” with “my uncle Larry.” “My uncle Larry says that limey cunt in Thailand is a boy-diddling pervert. Uncle Larry’s sending a custom submarine into the cave to rescue those kids, once he’s out of the bathroom and on his way back from Minneapolis.”

Come on. He just wanted us to know he wasn’t a fag. Jealous of a nasty, naughty boy? Goodness, no, just heterosexually outraged. Still, if it sounds crazy coming from a weird as hell rancher, it shouldn’t sound any better coming from a cokehead who looks like he just cleared immigration at Roswell.

Raise the marginal rates.

 

Conversations with Tara Reade’s managers

Luke O’Neil had a brief item in his most recent Welcome to Hellworld free subscriber e-mail about one of the old country’s posh and her reaction to these maidless times:

The other day I saw a British lady post that her kids don’t flush their turds and she has to do it now that the maid can’t come over and it was supposed to garner sympathy of some kind I think.

England, where I assume this lady lives, although I may be wrong, is governed again by people who have never done their own laundry or grocery shopping. This is apparently not the case in Ulster and definitively not the case in Scotland, where ye cannae get Sturgeon to suffer such a cunt, and I leave it to others to examine the Welsh, but this style of posh idiocy waxes and wanes in Westminster over the decades. Thatcher greased the skids for its reintroduction into mainstream British political life at the dusk of the trente glorieuses, which were not so glorious in parts of the North, in significant part due to Maggie herself.

Blithering public school twerps like BoJo have always been more popular in the Home Counties than in the North, let alone the fringe Celtogaelic holdings, and I again leave it to the peanut gallery to make sense of Wales. The North-South divide in England is stark. The heavy industry has always skewed north; the white-collar strivers cluster around London and the Greater Southeast, i.e., roughly the Home Counties. The dumbest cheerio bullshit seems to come out of the South, especially the provincial-suburban interface and the secondary cities. The South throws more block party picnics to celebrate coronations than the North. White Van Man, if I recall correctly, is a south-skewing suburban phenomenon.

There’s obscene, absurd wealth all over Great Britain (although not so much Northern Ireland, from what I can tell), but some parts are peopled by a public that doesn’t mind telling the toffs to bugger off if they won’t show some consideration. BoJo, like Trump, tacks populist, so he’s an exception from the stuff ye back into ye britches ye dense twat rule. He listens, the working class figures, and he tries. He’s an idiot, of course, about all sorts of things. It shows up in his government’s ridiculous public health directives pursuant to the Dread Ailment. It showed up in his whistling that rude sentimental ditty about the gook broad in the Shwedagon Pagoda, right beside an ashen-faced career diplomat who begged him to be silent.

Good stuff.

Regardless of their local estate ties, the British upper class aspires to a posh Home Counties accent and a bearing suitable to the smart parts of London. Hence our bitch above, the one too prissy to toilet-train her own children. Heavens, the governess is not here to clean up after Alastair; what ever shall we do! Hey, ya miserable cunt, heya’s an idear: flush the bloody doo and be done with it. When I find the shitter in the Sebastopol Safeway backed up with a stranger’s floaters, I track down the store manager; I grab the plunger, unblock the fucking drain, flush a couple of times, reload the bowl, and flush again. Yes, it’s gross, but grow up. But here we are, faced with the great scandal of this crisis of public health: that it renders absent and unavailable the servants required to flush downstairs that which the half-feral children of the country’s aristocrats and future prime ministers produced upstairs.

Good stuff.

*****

America has always harbored versions of these useless crybaby wastrels. We got our first infusion straight from the most enclosed parts of England, or in some cases via the West Indies. They proliferated in earnest throughout the Gilded Age, then got the message from Roosevelt and his constituents to tone it the fuck down right now or be lynched. These elites have resented the restraint forced upon them, not only for the nation’s survival but for their own, ever since. Much of the evil and dysfunction we see today is their handiwork. They and their upper-middle-class subalterns, not the disaffected working classes, drove the Reagan-Thatcher revolution. Lasch was right that the elites were in revolt; what he got wrong was the thrust of their partisan affiliations, although he was partially vindicated by the late nineties, shortly after his death, by the consolidation of the affluent cosmopolitan vote under New Labour and Clintonworld.

Lasch focused on the American upper middle class, in particular those he took to be cosmopolitan bohemians. David Brooks eventually followed in his footsteps with his weakly entertaining “BoBo,” or “Bourgeois Bohemian” framing of a striver subculture that by the time of his writing already reviled the old Bohemian loaf ethic, would come to revile it ever more intensely from then until now, and did everything in its power to purge its children of any interest in taking the time to explore and observe the world, let alone enjoy it. After all, you gotta keep up the hustle to tap dat sweet intern ass and achieve the Second Mountin’. Much of our national literature, all too predictably for a society whose discretionary income lives with the Baby Boom, is recursive prose retellings of the midlife crisis archetype. But I really shouldn’t have picked on the nonfictional offerings before remembering that I’ve read Franzen. (“Ugh. He’s the person everybody wishes had died instead of David Foster Wallace.”)

The gist here is that the salaryman can have a little mistress, as a treat. Lounging around buck naked in hot tubs was never the worst thing the Boomers did. They had to dry off and get dressed to go do M&A work, and that isn’t really what happened, either; rock-ribbed Republican scumbags hustled in on the yuppie jobs as much as anybody, and plenty of bohemians, of various strengths of attachment to the work ethic and the job market, got ruined.

The thing about America’s Gatsby-adjacent wastrels is that they’ve always known they’re unusual. The only part of the country where a mainstream gentry culture really took hold was the Planter South. In the Northeast, the upcountry South, and across to the West Coast, the rich knew they were different in ways working to their disadvantage. There was too much self-consciously abstemious Puritanism in circulation for them to fully lose sight of it, even at the height of the Gilded Age. Elite Northerners were also likelier to live in large cities, not on plantations or in industrial company towns, exposing them to ordinary citizens who did not directly report to them or their deputies. What could a WASP do about Boss Tweed? Bitch about micks?

As I said, the obliviousness and in-your-face arrogance waxes and wanes. It took the Depression, which started years after the Army Air Corps bombed striking miners in Colorado and decades after the mass deployment of Pinkerton strikebreakers, to bring the elites partially to heel: that is, to get them to make do for a spell with what they’d already strongarmed out of the productive members of society and stop flaunting their prosperity in the rough parts of town, formerly limited to neighborhoods like the Bowery but now encompassing the entire country. This came as a shock to the summering classes and those perceiving themselves within reach of their wealth, It pissed off industrialists and small businessmen alike. It provoked shrill whining about Bolshevism. It didn’t matter to them that FDR was no Lenin or Stalin, but an American Bismarck.

The Great Depression bore many lessons. We have since forgotten many of them, as witnessed by our still struggling to emerge from our Second Great Depression. Forget the horseshit they tell you on TV; I’ve got enough numbers on my side, including official ones, to make the case. Among the lessons forgotten: the poor we will always have with us; they are our fellow citizens; their grievances are valid; if they are ignored or told to hold their peace, the shit may well hit the fan.

*****

Tara Reade was late on rent. One has to shudder at the thought of what this nation would do without the free press to watch over its welfare and safeguard it against the chance that moneys owed by a struggling woman bouncing around the residential gray market in Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, and incidentally accusing the presumptive Democratic nominee for the presidency of forcible rape, not being in hand on the first of the month, right on time. How would we, as Californians, now I used to sleep at rest areas several times a week, but how would we, as Californians, enforce our birthright to temper our real estate equity with rent payments?

These were the goods that Politico and the NewsHour had on Tara Reade. They had a story about some aliases, possibly shady but also possibly indispensable to get a fresh start after evictions and negative landlord references, and they had a claim that she inepty handled consituent mail, and they had a story about how she enthused about working for Joe Biden, contradicted by roughly contemporaneous testimony from other landlords that she had told them about sexual assault at Biden’s hands, and there is of course the divorce affidavit in which her ex-husband swore that she had privately accused Biden of sexual assault, but mainly they had a handful of bad references from her former landlords. She was a deadbeat. She missed rent. She contested extrajudicial eviction efforts.

The other claims they had were from former colleagues, most of them now career staffers on Capitol Hill or otherwise professionally and very gainfully employed. She loved the job. She loved Joe. She mishandled the mail.

The personal is the political, as these assholes all show. They resent and hate Tara Reade for standing up to, rather than by, their man Joe Plagiarism. They’ll have us know that they succeeded in their careers where she failed. They’ll have us know, tacitly but resoundingly, that they make rent. Does Lisa DesJardins sound like she’s domiciled down the row from Mark Judge in that UPS Store?

The Democrats have cast their lot with the professional-managerial class. They’re the part of the cosmpolitan, the jetsetting, the professionally successful, or at least the professionally aspirational. This constituency, they assume, is one of lovely, unobjectionable, universally beloved role models, disliked only by fuming Republican bigots. They get steamed up like a tower of shumai baskets whenever they discover anew that this is in fact a widely reviled constituency, one hated no more by permanent Republicans than by Democratic voters who can’t stand the GOP.

Their attitude towards disaffected downwardly mobile scions of educated Democratic families is one of horror and outrage at the apostasy. We have the temerity to leave the reservation. This is why they dig Pete Buttigieg. The Booty Judge is a hopeful, positive, optimistic kid who recognizes the good things his parents’ generation has given him and is grateful for them. He gives thanks. He doesn’t pout about how it isn’t enough. He gets career-track jobs. A lot of us are over here whining about our bad lot, falling in with a blustery shanty Jewish Brooklyn socialist agitator who bummed around Vermont straight through his late twenties and thirties and didn’t get a real job until he was elected Mayor of Burlington. Don’t we see what they’ve done for us? They’ve given us every advantage in life! They’ve given us everything!

Everything, that is, and oddly, except jobs. That’s the thing about well-to-do Republican parents. They take their driveling idiot spawn and place them directly in positions at the family company. They directly hire their families’ sex pests, degenerate gamblers, druggies, hopeless spendthrifts, thugs, losers who can’t do a thing for themselves but get toileted and dressed, and then only when they’re vaguely sober, and other undesirables. Does Eric Trump look like he’s ever had to interview for a job?

The thing about rich losers like the Trump kids, Jared, the fucked-up dude Giuliani sired, and so forth is that their sinecures are not exclusive to the children of celebrities or the very rich. This isn’t something that starts at the Bush Tier. I used to drink with a guy in Manayunk who was grossing $110k a year for an executive job, or “job,” at the family tool company. This guy sustained $3k in dental trauma when he got trashed and tripped on the R6 tracks (but he emerged weeks later with nice new front teeth!). He wandered around the yuppie bro/sis crash pad where his crew lived, barely ambulatory and nonverbal. He dropped absurd amounts in tips, like $40 or $100 or something a night, for bartenders he was trying to pick up. He played six online poker screens at a time and lost up to $7k in a week: several times his gross salary, down the fucking shitter for nothing. His father, also a raging drunk, filled whole refrigerator compartments at their shore house with metastable piles of Yuengling bottles. He had, I don’t really fucking know, five or six cases of glass beer bottles shoved into a half-assed honeycomb stack in the bottom half of a full-sized fridge with two or three shelves removed, right above a bare concrete floor. This wasn’t beer that he was keeping indefinitely in the garage after a big run to the package store; it was the short-term stash he was KEEPING COLD.

This joint was never a meritocracy. There were better people than either of those two to run a manufactrer and its sales and distribution arms for six-figure salaries. There are plenty of quick studies who know manufacturing inside and out and do not have compulsions making it impossible to make ends meet on $110k when they’re living without dependents in a midmarket shared rental house. My point isn’t that I need somebody to give me a job already, although I would not object from the outset, but that we need to recognize how this fucking place is actually run. Showing up to this race with “skills” rather than a direct job placement is a fool’s errand. Peter the Booty Judge is well into the top decile of scummy PMC bullshit artists. The average faculty brat has nothing on that oily shyster.

That dude who was making $110k at the family business was about my age. I met him by the age of 25.

Affluent normie Democrats put their children at a significant disadvantage by refusing to recognize the prevalence and efficacy of this style of flagrant favoritism in hiring. It’s sleazy, and it’s bad for society, but with these stipulations, the question is what we’re going to do about it. Do we set up LLC’s to ape them? Do we push through tax policies to disadvantage and deter that kind of shit? Do we arm both sides of the conflict and do a little of each? If we figure that blood is a bit thicker than water, can’t we conclude that it’s probably harder to get fired by a parent or another close relative than by some career politician or nonprofit executive who is not kin?

This is the same shit Democratic officials do before Republicans: fold like cheap beachware. They play to win, but we can’t; it would be unbecoming. They give their loser children jobs, but that would be unbecoming. Oh no, Speaker Pelosi is becoming; she’s just a savvy investor.

How DARE you not vote for these dedicated public servants just because you think they want to kill you. You only think they’re psychopaths because you’re a paranoiac who reads too much samizdat.

*****

The official bill of particulars against Tara Reade has three main components:

–First, that she crashed off the career track and into a spotty, chaotic job history;

–Second, that she crashed out of the prime rental market and into subprime markets, including marginal work-trade and informal rooming arrangements of variable legal enforceability, putting herself in a position to be criticized by former landlords; and,

–Third, that she broke rank with an officially favored presidential candidate in the thick of the coronation process, committing apostasy against him and his party.

Nobody fucking cares that she lied or if she lied. If she were hounding George Nori on the Wildcard Line with stories about how Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama ran train on her in a flying saucer while Rob Ford and the aliens watched, they wouldn’t give a shit. Best I can tell, Coast to Coast is a community that respects a trope-honoring whopper well told, although that might be taken as too political, and low-class campfire stories are a great way to discomfit and annoy PMC liberals.

More relevantly, they would not object to a scurrilous rape smear on Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. They constantly lie and bullshit and tell delusional stories about both men themselves.

They’re angry specifically that Reade came at their king, and they’re really angry with her for coming at him with an accusation that rings true. The guy LOOKS and ACTS like a rapist. Have they watched any of the footage of him rubbing and fondling and nosing people in full public view? This is not fucking normal behavior. He yells at people in public, invades their personal space, and utters fighting words. Bernie gets endless flak for pointing his index finger and raising his voice at other presidential candidates from his own podium on the debate stage.

Biden is a rude, vulgar man with poor impulse control. This has long been the case. It predates his mental decline. The Democrats’ furious complaints about Trump feature his rudeness, vulgarity, diminished mental state, and poor impulse control. They insist that they can beat the Oaf of Office with a version of his worst vices reworked as an endlessly longwinded car dealer turned city councilor who talks over colleagues and constituents with stream-of-consciousness rambling about process. They insist that they can beat a publicly accused rapist who bragged about crude foreplay with starlets on a hot mic, with a publicly accused rapist who habitually caresses colleagues and total strangers and sniffs their hair.

They think they can beat the guy who installed Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh with the guy who installed Clarence Thomas. Biden less infamously but even more hilariously spent so much time gushing about Samuel Alito’s fine character that the nominee himself could barely get a word in edgewise to make his own case for confirmation.

This is a fucking clown show. Their idea of electability is an abrasive asshole who apes Trump as a boor and a pervert, but as a self-aggrandizing Model UN gasbag, not as a fun standup comic, roast artist, and god-tier shitposter. Again, this is because the Democrats are a party of, by, and for joyless nerds. Their Dudley Do Right Robert’s Rules of Order act predictably falls flat and puts ordinary Americans off, and they just as predictably whine about how unimaginable and unfair this is. Well, shit, maybe try something else that people who get out into the real world think might work.

*****

Democratic strategists are eager to win the youth vote. We’re defining youth broadly here, up to at least 35, probably 40 or 45, maybe even 50. They often say that demography is destiny. They look at demographic trends in Texas, for example, which show a swelling electorate of young Latinos in urban areas and reliably Democratic border counties, and forecast an imminent breach of the Solid South. Like cold fusion and perpetual motion, it’s always just a few years farther off than forecast, a horizon that stays tantalizingly close and yet so unreachably distant. The wonks are sandbagged by their own habit, all the more unfortunate for self-professed data nerds, of making extrapolations measurable in the decades from bulk aggregate data that are credibly valid for the current electoral cycle in the US House.

Let’s be honest here: I know more about this shit than they do. Losers like Nate Silver sat in TV studios all night in 2016, more stunned and dumbfounded by the half hour, mumbling about how, uh, huh, duhhh, huh, huh, how did Trump win, nobody saw this coming. Who the fuck is “nobody?” You and your equally idiotic associates who never speak to anybody between Leesburg and Midtown Sacramento didn’t see it coming, but I fucking did. These shitwits preen about (extremely nerds voice) My Data, but they don’t konw what to do with it. They’re clueless. Scanning the Great Lakes, I immediately saw thousands of county-level wildcards throwing every state in the watershed except New York and Illinois into clear contention. (St. Lawrence, pray for us, that we might have geographical discernment with respect to Vermont.) It was possible to eke out a victory with none of the Great Lakes swing states, but that meant sweeping the Southern swing states of Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina, holding Nevada and Colorado, and probably winning some combination of Iowa, Arizona, and Missouri, I was convinced that these were far from the only credible swing states: I was fully prepared for any combination of Colorado, New Jersey, California, and Oregon to break for Trump, and possibly Washington State.

They’re here to do it again, this time with a widely hated reactionary mush-for-brains gasbag sex pest instead of a widely hated reactionary harridan scorned.

Trump is obviously crooked as all hell. Billary had but one Lincoln Bedroom to let. This fucker rents out his own overpriced branded hotel rooms and golf carts at his lame, overrated resorts to the Secret Service and suitors looking to do business with his administration when he has Camp David at his disposal on next to no notice. The accounts of Mike Pompeo debasing his already dorky tryhard ass with Traficant-tier demands for butler work on the federal dime are gross; Jim at least dressed well, gave some good-ass speeches from beneath that rich layer of layers of hair, and leveled with us about how we all want wider bottoms.

So why do they keep running these reviled crooks against a reviled crook? They’re either hopelessly arrogant or looking to lose and blame their social inferiors for not voting blue no matter who. Last time it was the commodities insider trader and Whitewater racketeer with the private e-mail account full of official correspondence of thoroughly questionable morals. This time it’s the Senior Senator from the State of Freddie Mac-Visa, long known to be a grabby piece of shit, lately accused on the record of forcible rape, brains dribbling out of his ears while he barks at factory workers like Grampa Bregoli to meet him outside. I voted for Bernie Sanders, a guy who was ready to go the distance and win that thing; don’t fucking blame me for barring this stinking dog pie from the White House.

Crunching the numbers on the matchup of old voters versus young, white versus brown versus black, college- versus high school-educated, and so on and so forth until the returns pour in doesn’t explain what the hell Biden is supposed to do to assuage younger voters that he’s turned the page on the bankruptcy “reform” bill that he shepherded into law, making their student debt nondischargeable. Gee, you’d think maybe he’s not the guy to rock the youth vote when he did that. It isn’t some ancient shit from back when James Blunt was in a club with you, singing here we go again, like the brouhaha over school bussing. That bill was enacted in 2005. That’s roughly half the duration of a full term in the United States Senate before he was sworn in as Vice President.

The same assholes who command us to forget about Biden’s starring role in the Clarence Thomas fiasco, when he was middle-aged, and his starring role in the bankruptcy ratfuck, when he was getting into old age and on the cusp of the vice presidency, constantly bitch about low-information voters. Cut a punk some slack. What the hell is it about familiarity with these episodes that is low-information? They’re just fucking making shit up as they go. Low-information means ignoring or forgetting the most famous, or infamous, highlights of Biden’s career, such as the bankruptcy bill, the Thomas/Hill clusterfuck, the cultural appropriation of the Honorable Neil Kinnock, and the touchy-feely shit. Fuck outta here for insinuating that I’m ignorant.

*****

This is the point where the Democratic Party has to choose a horse and ride. They’re indulging in their quadrennial snit that they built a house divided against itself and it’s now threatening to collapse. There are consequences to fielding a senile, disinibited, vicious gerontocrat who consigned damn near an entire generation to debt servitude so extreme that they’re afraid to start families.

And for what? Our degrees are more worthless than ever on the job market. More and more of them are in bullshit fields for drooling retards, like marketing and communications. I’m not speaking for myself here, but for my age cohort. I have a degree in the liberals arts which, as a standalone intellectual background, is worthwhile, and I have, thank God and my parents, never taken on student debt. My degree, too, however, is worth jack fucking shit on the job market, based on everything I’ve been able to discern. The job market has been strategically trashed, and I’ve seen things that I will never unsee precisely for remaining enrolled in a fancy undergraduate college whose prevailing culture I was pretty sure, and correctly so, was toxic.

Besides, that is not the point of the liberal arts, and anyone who isn’t lying or uneducated knows it. Dickinson College couldn’t even give me a liberal humane education without exposing me to entire communities of vicious, antisocial armchair thugs, bullies who had no business interacting with their peers without direct chaperone supervision. They goddamn well knew they were admitting trash on a pay-for-play basis. That school is the academic equivalent of the backwards counties in Alabama whose tax base is dump fees assessed on New York City garbage barges.

The entire premise is thoroughly fraudulent and inconsistent (something we see so abundantly and wretchedly with the Democratic Party that I can’t be bothered to scrutinize Trump too closely on the same points): oh, we’re giving you a liberal arts education, and we’re also teaching you critical thinking and writing skills (lolwut), and we’re also teaching you the soft skills that will give you the confidence to find your way in the job market and the world, but oh, no, we don’t just set you up with jobs or anything like that. What we have are career fairs (the ones Rutgers hosts are on a fucking train line) and virtual career portals (What, Monster? Craigslist?) and networking events and etiquette luncheons (Ah, like the shit my mom threatened to enroll me in for socialites’ wayward children at Neiman Marcus, back when I was, like, seven).

There’s nothing where they actually deliver the goods, like Harold Washington or some shit. That’s on the individual alumnus. They will, however, gladly blackmail disaffected students with bad references on their permanent records should they drop out and tar alumni who didn’t have their shit entirely together for bullshit distribution requirements in late adolescence with poor GPA’s.

It’s the same shit bad landlords pull. Our institutions conspire to materially disparage the noncompliant as a means of retaliation and to threaten the currently compliant with material disparagement should they slip. Universities do this with no distinction between gross anatomy in medical school and 100-level undergraduate survey courses in world religions. Landlords do this with no distinction between late rent and whole-ass Steve Bannon hydrochloric acid in the bathtub.

This is a thoroughly, deeply immoral regime. It is blatantly prone to corruption. I don’t know quantitatively how much financial bribery, sexual quid pro quo, blackmail, and similar perversion there is in these businesses, but I do know that this sort of corruption is much more pervasive than is publicly discussed. There’s no way around it. The embarrassing seediness of Rick Singer’s discount window admissions scam offers an idea of what parents will do, and pay, just to get their kids in the door.

I ended up accidentally turning to Tom fucking Wolfe for the warranty details years after I graduated, when I read Hoyt Thorpe’s dimwitted absorption of the medieval warrior/priest/slave caste system and his construal that he absolutely would have been a Roger Young-grade hero back in the War, as opposed to a sporadically violent drunkard too pampered to ever consider ROTC and a trip or two to the desert. The liberal arts, Wolfe helpfully taught, are studies for those who are liberated from slavery, via a selective form of liberalism. Good to know, cracka. Fucking proto-alt-right gonzo novelist writing about two or three characters who are not morally repulsive and hanging out at UVA house parties in a cream zoot suit had the decency to lay it out straight, probably because his publisher collected only one fee at the point of service.

Truly this is a world in which even the men can be harlot womens.

Joe Biden clearly has the worst possible motives for pushing college education. He’s manifestly using it as a conduit for the enrichment of his banking cronies, and that is not a thing people do without taking a cut in one fashion or another. He’s exactly the kind of morally and intellectually vacuous weathervane who will push bachelor’s-level STEM vo-tech one year and old-timey Great Books humanities the next, depending entirely on the prevailing marketing. He’s exactly the slimy con artist who will conflate the liberal arts and vocational training, for utterly fraudulent reasons, until it’s impossible to disentangle the two.

At some point we have to take this shit back to the drawing board. What in all hell is wrong with a co-op arrangement? What in the everloving fuck is wrong with admitting applicants to specific departments or courses in bachelor’s programs, with transfer approval available for those who aren’t jagoffs? What’s the problem with part-time enrollment?

If we’re going for the Bright College Days of Wine and Roses Mr. Chips socialization bollocks as our reason for charging all-inclusive per diem term fees working out to some shit like $280, can we at least have the decency to shoot for a Grove City-style reckon you’ll be marryin’ one a these here broads deal? They at least admit that they’re crass like that. Whatever the equivalent of the MRS degree is in the men’s division, they’re offering it. There are worse things than turning thirty with an amicable divorce and an excuse to visit Fort Wayne sometime. I’ve written in the past about my Charlie Robertson-adjacent excuse for a dating life, back when we were merely freshmen but the Brooklyn Jew from Cleveland Heights was somewhere around forty. I nearly wrote that as Charlie Rose fml: not worse, just different.

Do, however, watch out if you go to Boston, lest you be forced to get Charlie off. #CHAHLEE!

*****

Joe Biden has a knack for positioning himself squarely at the intersection of some of the worst trends in postmodern American life: metastatic incarceration, institutional financial corruption, crooked shenanigans involving inscrutable foreign businesses and his own unemployable crackhead son, student debt, rigged Democratic presidential primaries, undisclosed personal assets and conflicts of interest, gerontocracy, sexual dissolution under color of authority, tenant-shaming, generalized poor-shaming, electoral brinksmanship. This is a bad dude. It’s bizarre to argue that the incumbent a man of this atrocious character is challenging is the sine qua non international standard for mental and moral dissolution in public office. Like, get real, you’re all caping for a man who leaves a LOT more room above him than below.

I consider it a personal affront and offense to be told to vote for this thug. That PBS/Politico hatchet job on Tara Reade alone burned me by smearing her for having shitty job and rental histories and not handling incidents of workplace mistreatment perfectly. The personal is the political, and I take these political outbursts personally. They found people working in a city and a business with some of the most manifestly bad mental health I’ve ever witnessed to smear a former colleague as a maladjusted fuckup. They found former landlords to publicly accuse her of being a liar and a deadbeat.

As one shitposter beautifully put it, “‘She was rude to Californians.’ First of all, good.” Reade is a Californian herself, but most of us get the point: she rented on the gray market from exactly the types who cash out and flood Oregon, Idaho, Austin, and Middle Tennessee with their disruptive home equity, distorting the housing markets wherever they swarm. We’re way past the point of having to tell her haters, look, if you have a problem with her for being your socioeconomic inferior, that’s on you, not her. What percentage of Americans could possibly stand the combination of procedural bullshit and social toxicity that prevails in Washington? Even the ones already there hardly can. It’s all mentally ill alcoholics who do business in the pews at Tim Russert’s funeral mass, and to be clear, what we mean by business is standing up for the welfare of people who rent out spare rooms in exchange for chores on their horse properties in Atascadero.

Everything about Joe Biden disgusts me. He encapsulates every major aspect of what’s diseased about American politics. He’s a grandiose, arrogant prick who brags with no self-awareness about being humble. He’s a rich man who feigns modest means. He’s a dissembler who pretends to be a plain speaker and a crook who catfishes as a plain dealer. He’s a known groper and very likely rapist who brags about his concern for women’s welfare and safety. He’s a bizarrely, disgracefully prejudiced man with more than his share of outright racial bigotry who brags about how he served under a black man, the latter being the half-white son of a Kenyan father he never knew and both of them having presided over the wholesale incarceration, immiseration, and bodily poisoning of black neighborhoods. He’s an advocate for the disinfecting power of sunshine who keeps records likely illuminating his history of sexual depravity under seal. He’s a loudmouthed meritocrat who got his unemployable son a lavishly compensated corporate board position for which he was blatantly unqualified and almost certainly incompetent. He’s a foreign policy scold who screwed around, via the same crooked, coked-up son, in the same restive part of the world where he insists that his opponent has no right to pursue his own objectives as the sitting president. He’s an exceptionally senile septuagenarian who is being promoted as the indispensable alternative to an age peer who can talk circles around him, an elder so far gone that any private citizen in his state would have relatives clamoring to have him placed under guardianship or conservatorship in a home, who we’re told to flee to for judicious command of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.

Every one of these moral failures is fundamentally disqualifying. He’s a liar, a phony, a fraud, a cheat, and a thug. It’s wryly desultory that he got run out of the 1988 primary on a rail for plagiarism, of all sins. The same party that told him to fall on his sword for jacking Neil Kinnock’s speechwriter’s shit now insists that he is compos mentis when he can’t consistently string a coherent sentence together, can’t control his temper in the face of scrupulously civil questions from the public, went incommunicado for weeks to recuperate from a debate, and couldn’t enunciate “legislature” in a prerecorded video address cobbled together from dozens of cuts.

The nominally left-wing major party ratfucked its most viable candidate, not coincidentally one of its leftmost, and then paid off the remaining centrist challengers to drop out, all to abruptly clear the field for this predatory, hopelessly brain-damaged son of a bitch. They’re already orchestrating the apparatus to blame ordinary voters with weak and weakening Democratic affiliation for Biden’s upcoming loss, along with voters who will eagerly support downballot Democratic candidates who do not stand for Biden’s evil. The Democratic Party, as an institution, is little more than a cult dedicated to the abuse of people it mistakes for its members. It’s whole shtick is, “I beat you less than your husband, sweetheart,” punctuated with explosive outrage every time a voter insists that her husband doesn’t beat her at all.

The husband in this case is, for better and mostly worse, Donald Trump. It’s not his fault that he’s more gracious to many of the Democrats’ target voters than the Democrats are themselves. It’s not his fault that an opposition party heavy on Watergate babies has entirely forgotten Muhammad Ali’s line about the Viet Cong. Paraphrase it thus: no thicc moist boi ever called me a loser. Multiply it by twenty or a hundred million or whatever. Bone spurs! Many such cases!

A wide swath of the upper middle class–roughly the Brahmins, under Mencius Moldbug’s caste framework–are codependent with the Democratic Party. They refuse to consider or examine its proliferating depravity, unmovably convinced that it is the last defense against an evil madman. They refuse to look at its collaboration with the same madman on matters including mass surveillance and omnibus budgets that lavish largesse on the most wastefully reactionary projects Trump and his aides hold dear.

The conspiratorial thinking is spreading, not just through Hillbot deadenders and other crypto-Republican trash, but through genuinely center-left voters who cannot be convinced to soberly examine their party. They dismiss Tara Reade as a lunatic and a fabricator. They point to the floorplan of the Senate hallways and well as proof that Tara Reade could not have been assaulted in public view. They dismiss outrage over his aggressive bad touch as overreaction, newly insisting that his unwanted shoulder-rubbing and hairsniffing and other habitual acts of extremely forward physical contact are within prevailing social norms and would not get a private citizen battered on sight.

Biden’s promiscuous physicality is grossly, flagrantly aberrant. There are avoidant and repressed people who get weird around physical touch that is socially appropriate. I’ve had a number of interactions in which I tensed up while other people were touching me in basically appropriate and reasonable ways that I found deeply moving and welcome but had no courage at all to express, even physically. The point still stands that these most of these interactions were not weird. I’ve had at least one with a homeless guy who was totally harmless but off-the-wall psychotic, but that obviously falls into an entirely different category because he was insane. Joe Biden is demented but sane. He’s familiar with social and moral norms governing physical touch. He’s a scumbag, not an idiot.

Ashton Carter did not want Joe Biden all but making love to his wife during that press conference. Joe knew it. He cut it out and stepped away when Carter turned from the podium and looked at him. Here was a quiet, conscientious career public servant of exceptionally low bluster and bullshit for the Beltway speaking at a press conference, and the fucking Vice President was off to the side, distracting him by rubbing up on /Borat Voice/ my neighbor’s wife.

Joe was fully aware of two circumstances: first, that he was a top-level Secret Service protectee, and second, that Ash was not the kind of man who would step up and full Jonathan Josey flat floorplank him in front of the television press pool. The Secret Service is enough to deter most men from avenging their wives. The 77th Street Division night watch might be, but your mileage may vary.

This fuckhead gets away with it because he’s under the 24/7 eagle-eyed watch of the one federal law enforcement agency that everybody knows will rumble, tumble, and bodily take a bullet at the drop of a hat. It’s absolutely preposterous to argue that this is not a bubble of extreme privilege. It’s hiding in plain sight, or else just behind the scenes with its own direct lines of sight, every minute of the day.

It doesn’t matter that battery is illegal. Nightclubs and bars do not overflow with horny-for-rules dorks. They’re full of possessive, animalistic, drama-fueled drunks and cokeheads. The cult nerds who cover the White House live in a bizarre parallel universe. It isn’t just that they don’t get out of the imperial center and into, say, Winchester; they don’t even get out into, or really even around, the District’s seedier nightlife. If they do, they’re absurdly oblivious. Roosh and Roissy/Heartiste channel raw, ugly animal energy straight out of the DMV. It’s some real Jekyll-and-Hyde Amendment–feel free to strike from the record to taste, if you have any–some real Jekyll-and-Hyde shit.

The abundant evidence that Washington swarms with sex pests who rapidly cycle from angel to ape and back works wonders to corroborate Tara Reade’s testimony. It paints the cultural context of Biden’s career. He’s spent almost his entire adult life in an incestuous professional community peopled by characters including Brett Michael Kavanaugh, Dick Pic Tony, J. Denny Dundiddly, and Gateside Downlow. What leavening, these ones.

Washington’s horny-for-rules nerds HATE the unabashed naturals in their midst. Their resentment and embarrassment and humiliation are primal. Even Anthony Weiner was too real for them. His whole deal was, Jesus Christ I’m a freak, okay, I’ll keep it in my slacks and off the screen, oops, Jesus fucking Christ I did it again. It was like Martin Luther’s old gig as a monastic confessional pest, but in semipublic and full public, and about flashing his junk. It might fly in parts of Europe, or at least be something that the locals would approach therapeutically, but we’re way too prudish and salacious a country for any of that. Then we have less surreal swamp critters, guys like Slick Willie, who barely stayed on the good side of the more liberal and less repressed parts of the horny-for-rules squad by tempering his horn for that sweet poon-flavored tang with longwinded wonk-ass horseshit. They still cherished Josiah Bartlet as their boring alternate-timeline president, Nothing But Respect, but they found him tolerable.

Donald Trump they find utterly intolerable. Washington teams with powerful men who grab women (or men!) by the privates, but goodness, one does not speak of these embarrassments. Trump accidentally got Billy Bush to apologize for being a horndog who enjoyed locker room talk, but he never so humiliated himself. Guys like the Donald and the Big Dog stoically stand their ground. It’s easy to see how Clinton unnerved, say, Larry Craig.

None of the scolds will admit that they’re so much as human. That’s why they get so upset with Trump for being hot-tempered, impulsive, and openly shameless and are so much cooler with Jared Kushner for looking like he just cleared immigration at Roswell. Bill Clinton pretended to give a shit, and he enjoyed the act with an exuberance that endeared him to people possessed of unabashed human feeling. Donald Trump infuriates and horrifies them because he entirely does not care. He does business proudly beyond the pale of their prissy respectability politics.

They admire Biden for squirming around in the uncomfortable middle, between ape and angel, and having teams of retainers frantically clean up after him as he shits the floor. This is the Washington Way. It’s deeply scandalous to be a messy, unabashed slut like the Washingtonienne, walking around the Hill with a reporter in tow on a return visit for her book tour, pointing and snickering at the idle staffers who used to work with her, calling them, on the record, losers who don’t even have workloads and just hang around gossiping and gawking at the disgraced lol, like, I got some dick and hoes mad. Meanwhile Mr. McFeely is up there humiliating himself with mealymouthed quasicounterfactual nonsense about how if he believed he’d done what she said he’d done he wouldn’t vote for himself. At last, a vote of no confidence from the government of the Independent Republic of Himself. Gee, gramps, maybe that’s the cue to bow out.

Do these wretches have a humiliation fetish? Dick Pic Tony knows he suffers from something along those lines, always putting it out there, knowing that women will take one look and say ew. He sounds like a guy who couldn’t get it up for his wife because she wanted some. A psychosexually disordered  political party can always use some psychosexual analysis (ooh, I just said “anal!”). There we fucking have it.

*****

Affiliation with either of the major parties in the United States is a path to madness. Both of them are deeply, violently diseased. The main difference is that the GOP is a death cult of, by, and for psychopaths who play to win, while the Democratic Party is a dysfunctional cult of perennial losers organized roughly along the lines of Aum Shinrikyo by junta.

The Democratic Nomenklatura live large on the avails of every illegitimate revenue stream they can commandeer. From their perch on high they enforce Stockholm Syndrome on the ambivalent portions of their bougie base and just outright bribe the crass, ruthless portions with liberal cuts of the loot. These two portions overlap in complicated, bizarre ways, but they’re together or apart, they’re key to the whole operation.

Think of these two strata, the Nomenklatura and the lesser but still successful PMC front-row kids, as Orwell’s Inner Party and Outer Party. To properly understand the towering shit-lubricated Napoelon that is the Democratic Party, however, we must integrate its broad underclass. These are the strata that are barked at about how they’re Democrats, too, even though they get next to nothing good from the Party and huge amounts of material and psychic mistreatment. The Inner and Outer Parties share the sniveling, impossible ideal of consolidating the educated and the affluent into a permanent electoral juggernaut. The math will never support this nonsense. Somebody needs to stay behind and run the joint: keep the lights on, serve and bus the tables, clean up, make sure there’s food, and so forth. That is, we still need losers to feed, house, clothe, and obsequiously serve the winners. The winners have extensive, elaborate wants, so the servant class must proliferate to meet its demands.

This goal of building a permanent Democratic majority by poaching Republican voters from fucked-up exurban SuperZIPs–CB East, Loudoun and Prince William, the Research Triangle, the soul-deadening expanses of Greater Dennydundiddlyland, the Paneras of Alpharetta–is embarrassingly infeasible. It’s also embarrassingly unwoke, this audacity of the caucasity, to exclude America’s people of color. They’re losers for not staying in school, but we can’t say that, and besides, it’s easier for the Party to harvest Mexicans by the precinct in El Centro than it is for the Mexicans to harvest the lettuce. If you have a problem with my phrasing, be advised that I have done commercial farm work and you have yet to shut the fuck up. I am qualified to discuss relations with (extremely growers voice) Our Wetbacks.

Imperial County and the Rio Grande Valley are easy pickings for the Democratic Party because the GOP is still fielding a provocative Yanqui bigot. Joe Biden’s Latino outreach is said to be shambolic, but the Democrats would have to make a dedicated effort to plunge below 55% of the vote in the colonia counties or the barrios, from their current 60-95% range. Whether they admire these voters or look down on them (it’s totally the latter), they’ve got them in the bag.

Working-class Mexican/Chicano neighborhoods have some of the highest fertility rates and numbers of youth per capita. This excites the Democratic Nomenklatura for two overlapping reasons, both quite crass. First, it’s a way to have a poor minority client pool outbreed the middle-class Mormons, evangelicals, TradCaths, and other problematic (read: noncompliant) whites. They already do the gardening and the nannying, so it’s only unfair that they raise a voter crop for the Party to harvest, too. Second, success stories of the first birthright generation staying in school, studying hard (unlike disobedient PMC brats from old white families and, let’s face it since the Dems won’t, plenty of Chicanos), and growing up to do something upwardly mobile and professional for a living, as opposed to cutting lettuce in Cesar Chavez-standard English. We can’t have them learning the high-caste language if we don’t segregate them from the underclass at the first opportunity. Good God.

We’ve now done some light dabbling in Millennial Success Stories pursuant to the American Dream. That’s one of the things we don’t mention about the immigrant scab labor model: the whole point of it is to keep acculturated, socially engaged Americans from crying foul on bad job sites and alerting the press or the authorities. Putting the campesinos’ kids on the escalator to success is a way to pretend that we’re just warming the cold in the melting pot for centuries on end and in no way exploiting the vulnerable. It’s a dig at native-stock slackers who, correctly, take the academic and professional rat race for a shakedown and a scam, an artificial operant conditioning apparatus designed to proletarianize all who march into its maw, not a necessary component of a productive society. The celebration of immigrant honor students dovetails beautifully with Amy Chua’s Think Like A Chink, Bank Like A Chink self-help series. Mama Tiger is a robber baron AND a moral busybody, you see. Having read the language above, you’ll surely be forgiven for assuming that I pimp out young women under my academic authority to a leering, foultempered Irish pervert with a cocaine problem and a federal judgeship.

Do we seriously imagine that Chuck and Nancy care one whit about the children of immigrant domestics and strawberry pickers? About the maids and pickers themselves? Of course they don’t. They use these people as cudgels with which to threaten and abuse the native stock. They gush about these ingredients in the national salad bowl with the same energy Muammar Qaddafi used when he threatened to flood a freshly agitated European Union with negroes. It’s the same energy Hillary used to threaten us all with Donald Trump. The whole gang is now threatening us with Trump. Go ahead; tolerate this madman.

Come to think of it, I may take them up on the offer. If nothing else, he upsets shitheads in “public service” whom I despise more and more by the week. Many of my age peers would never go so far, and they have good reasons, but if the Democrats are going to run on the basis that they’re standing up to the worst man ever to hold the presidency, they might want to convince voters they’ve alienated that he is, in fact, the worst man ever to have held the presidency since Barack Obama.

Oh. Huh. How bow dah. Rehabilitating W, too. We tolerated some folks. We still tolerate some folks.

The other key downmarket Democratic constituency, the one they revile the most for its apostasy and threats of apostasy, but whose electoral loyalty they still demand, is the downwardly mobile. Speaking just for myself, if we’re choosing between a rich scumbag who disses Nancy Pelosi and a rich scumbag who praises her, I’m going for the guy who aggravates her and her dumbass epic clapback fans. Yes, there are other factors; I’m aware of them, as I’ve enumerated at such length above and will continue enumerating for God only knows how long below. It’s not like they’re trying to contrast Trump with anyone decent or normal. Anthony Fauci is probably the closest, but he’s at least nominally apolitical.

They’ve run the litany. Oh, for Chrisssake, Trump is ABSOLUTELY worse than Klobuchar, Buttigieg, Harris, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, Cuomo. Oh? Are you sure about that? Are you sure WE’RE sure about that? I exclude Warren from this list of dishonor without hesitation, but many do not.

In their estimation, Trump is the only crooked, coarse thug of questionable mentation in the running for anything. He’s the only con artist. He’s the only bad person. Everyone opposite him is not him and is by definition better than him.

I seem to have a much more positive, or perhaps less negative, opinion of Trump than most of my age peers. I don’t mind it. I’d be happy enough to vote for Elizabeth Warren just to be done with him for a while, and especially with the twerps and lunatics and grifters he collects along the way. She’s normal and responsible enough for me to move past the Cherokee fib. What I cannot move past is the atrocious character of so much of the field, including the new heir apparent. A few were great (Bernie, Marianne), a few were good (Yang, Steyer, Warren, Castro), a few were mediocre (Booker, Beto), and an unforgettable medley of them were atrocious. It’s impossible for me not to wonder what the hell is wrong with the party and its core base that it coughs up these collections of slimy goody-two-shoes sellouts, dungeon mistresses, meanspirited sexual deviants, hall monitors, RA’s, all-around crooks, out-of-touch toffs, and mush-for-brains scolds.

I don’t see how anyone who isn’t nuts can look at them, look at me, and conclude that I’m with them. Questions about this line of reasoning cascade into mind. What the fuck have they done for me? At least Liz tore Bloomers a new one the week after she ratfucked Bernie. The rest of the late-cycle mainstage centrists? Jack shit. What have they done for my peers? No, let’s flip it: what have they done TO me and my peers? That’s easy: they’ve violently shit our bed. The bar they’ve set is low enough for Trump to clear on a regular basis, even when he’s broadcasting to his Highlanders on Radio Mille Collines.

For months, probably years (why even track time?), the #Resistance zealots were fuming about Trump being a rapist. Predictably as the moonrise, they got most bent out of shape over his pussy comment, which was a stretch to construe as a declaration of serial sexual assault, a stretch to construe as a true story about anything at all, and at the very worst a private comment about something he said he’d done. This is a man who used to walk into locker rooms while sweet sixteens were getting dressed for his beauty pageants. This is a man who bragged on the radio about how he had the hots for his own daughter, who is now in working in his administration and said to be blackmailing him for leverage. The endless carrying-on about the pee tape, the holy grail of Russian kompromat, distracted from the fully established fact that he is already the subject of American kompromat over his public declarations of incestuous lust.

E. Jean Carroll’s accusation of forcible rape feels oddly desultory. In any normal political context it would be a bombshell. The problem is that she’s too calm and focused about the incident. She isn’t flipping her shit about how Trump bragged that he clumsily gropes starlets’ vulvas.

We’ve gone into the funhouse for real now that Biden is officially an accused rapist. Rape is okay now. He did nothing of the sort. I’d let him rape me. Tara Reade is a scurrilous loser.

This is all psychotic. In the midst of this I’m hearing conspiracy theories about Biden being smeared with deepfakes to make him look senile. It could explain some of the dirt the Republicans release, but it can’t explain the lezheshuhshuh video’s ongoing publication on the Biden campaign’s official Twitter account. The flood of simultaneous, contradictory excuses and justifications and rule changes is exactly the fascist argumentation that Trump and his team are so widely accused of deploying. A bunch of 2020 primary candidates and their campaigns did NOT pull this shit: the Yang Gang, the Orb Gang, Booker, Warren, Castro, Steyer, the Bernard Brotherhood. I can’t even recall Klobuchar or Buttigieg running the fog machine like that. Harris came close, and of course the K-Hive is out of its fucking mind.

The pussy hats are the equivalent of walking around the city hall grounds with a magenta dildo in hand and a placard saying that Roseanne Barr told me she’d twist my nuts. That’s too generous, on second thot: Trump said nothing in that comment about who he grabbed, just groupies who kinda liked it because he was rich. I somehow forgot until just now that Ivana Trump, his first wife, accused him of spousal rape in an affidavit during their divorce proceedings. This is why we’re upset that he made locker room talk with Billy Bush. He bragged about goosing groupies with the sticky finger to a guy who sounds like a wall-mounted talking blueberry bush for sale on late-night TV.

This shit is too wacky for Milton Street. He’d change the subject to how he got arrested at the 7-Eleven in Moorestown.

*****

The falsely accused elder statesman of utmost chastity whose aggressive sexual ministrations would be an honor and a privilege to receive is now, we are instructed, to be rewarded with the presidency. The very framing highlights the difference between Biden’s stage-managed gaslighting and Trump’s stream-of-consciousness ADHD bullshit artistry. If they’re both gaslighting us, which one is worse? Biden can’t remember what he said one sentence ago, but his handlers and fans follow the script. Trump doesn’t care what he said last paragraph–is this even a style of speech that can be broken into paragraphs?–and his fans don’t, either, but he’s the one who can draw a clock.

I keep saying: he’s the more lucid one and the more entertaining one. Romance us on our way to the electric chair, Mr. Thurmond! Okay, that’s an old Democrat they had to wheel around in an adult diaper that he could no longer change for himself at a time when he had no idea where or who he was. That’s what it takes to be a Senator. There might be exhumable bits available to replace Joey Lobotomy when the time comes.

We’re told that Biden was not on the list of the worst Capitol Hill sex pests. Great. That’s like those inflight magazine ads for double eagle steakhouses, but for guys who will push you up against the wall and shove a hand up your skirt. I knew Jack Kennedy, and Senator, you’re one hell of a Jack Kennedy.

This is what passes for tangential exculpatory evidence. A legislature with no more than 535 voting members has dozens of these members specifically blacklisted by staffers as known sexual predators. Don’t worry: Joe Biden wasn’t one of them; he just worked with them. This is the institution Tara Reade defamed as a toxic workplace. These are the halls where she could not have been assaulted in public view by a powerful man whose colleagues routinely sexually harass subordinate women and even colleagues in front of others.

These stories demand answers. American high society loves hazing, but what is the point? Spell out exactly what we get and exactly when we get it for putting up with that shit.

Of course they won’t answer. We’re the impertinent ones for questioning them. They’re all working through the process at the dick sucking factory, and we’re getting in the way by demanding that they represent us as our elected officials. It’s the same thing with college: there aren’t any warranties, just cherrypicked anecdotes and falsified statistics about thriving alumni. A bright-eyed young woman might go far on the Hill, or she might crash and burn, and if she burns out or drops out or gets kicked out, those she leaves behind will smear her as a loser and a hater and a liar.

This whole society is a blackmail shakedown. Some creep is always waiting in the wings with disparaging information. She was incompetent. She was lazy. She missed rent. She talked back to landlords. She got evicted. She got fired. Claims of this nature raise questions. For example, so fucking what? Reade fell somewhere below maybe the 75th percentile of residents on the Central Coast for cash and credit on hand when rent came due.

This is scandalous in workplaces and social circles drawn overwhelmingly from the top decile, such as Capitol Hill. Washington is a big clique of rich kids who are furious with the poor kid for calling foul on their sacred blackmail and gatekeeping operation. These are amoral schemers who know how to work the system to their advantage. They look down on those who can’t and resent those who refuse. They believe, wholeheartedly, that citizens should have demerits hanging over their heads: bad grades, bad test scores, negative performance reviews, bad credit scores, bad employer references, eviction records, criminal records. These demerits are fit for subjects, not for monarchs or lords or privy councilors.

They hate Tara for flipping the script back on them and their king. She weakened the leverage that dutiful scumbags who stayed on the career track have on perverts like Joe Biden. She exposed the whole outfit as a hall of degenerates. She exposed everybody who’s passionately invested in the sacred Beltway norms of discretion and dues-paying as self-interested moral degenerates. These weren’t even things that hadn’t previously been disclosed, other than the details of her rape accusation, but they hate her nonetheless for calling attention to the notoriously scandalous community standards of a promising but ruinous career track she couldn’t endure in an institution many Americans despise.

They hate and resent and fear those they can’t blackmail or silence, and who denounce them for ruling through blackmail and admonitions to silence. They hate a turncoat. Theirs is not a place to break the omerta.

That’s precisely the PMC’s objection to Tara Reade, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and a resounding majority of the eligible electorate. They talk back. They cry foul. They blow the whistle. They’re dissidents.

They’re rude to Californians. Boy howdy do I know some spots in the neighborhood where I can do that.

Yeah, da Red Lawbsta! Da one off Ass NL!

Back in the old neighborhood, where all shall in due course of time be eatin’ good, there was a shouting match turned fistfight over slow service and a refund demand at the Red Lobster in York. One of my best friends lives in York, but not exactly, and in the course of my semiannual to quarterly visits I often stop by the Panera just up East Market–Downeast Mackit–from the Red Lobster, both of which are also in York, but not exactly.

This may sound pedantic or nitpicky, but it is entirely germane. “York” is an exceptionally sloppy synecdoche. York City is a tightly ringfenced inner city, with tiny pockets of affluence (deep downtown; the last few blocks of East Market before the Interstate 83 bypass and the Springettsbury Township line), but otherwise a racially diversified but powerfully class-stratified ghetto/barrio/all-purpose slumscape with terrible housing stock  and one of the perennially lowest-testing public school districts in the Pennsylvania we never should even have tried to find. Commonwealth or our own personal wealth, standardized test scores say jack fucking shit about what the students taking them are actually learning, but they’re a serviceable proxy for test prep resources, which are again the most retarded thing ever–you really might as well grab a hot dog at the Special Olympics concessions or Bear River Pump-n-Play–but are the kind of US News & World Report-ass horseshit that the normies believe, and the normies vote.

The credible external proxies of student performance in York City are predictably horrible for a district that doesn’t even cheat its way into excellence under the Atlanta Standard. An east-west transect on Market and Philadelphia or north-south transect on George yields a few reasonably prosperous blocks and dozens of blocks that scream food desert and lead poisoning.

In shorthand, it’s a sacrifice zone. The semispeakable stipulation of the fixation on test scores in a ringfenced district like the YCSD is that staying in school will help graduates move up and out. I don’t plan to check whether the Red Lobster offers its employees free Rabbit Transit passes or expects them to have diplomas if they’re of age. The only reason I ever looked up the location of the “York” Red Lobster (moron this shortly) was for excellence in shitposting. I must have seen it dozens of times, but I never took note. #NoRegrets.

It’s absolutely mad to cling to the debased Clintonian version of the GI Bill education ethic in a purposely hollowed-out postindustrial shithole surrounding a Gentry Village amusement park downtown four decades after the big late-postwar push to bust the unions and a quarter century into the NAFTA era. We used eminent domain to clear the last of the Mohicans out of one of the inner-city slums for an urban renewal minor league ballpark across a set of disused railroad tracks from the Greyhound depot, and the Doghouse is diagonally across downtown from the transit center, but at least we’ve got an economy again.

Yeah, sure. Hate to break it to yous, but the suburban kids who grew up without the nutritional deficiencies and chronic domestic chaos and lead poisoning have a leg up on the neighborhood homies for the server jobs on near North George. Is that a problem? Nonrhetorical question; answers optional. Remember, Fat Cracka is allergic to tests. (Mostly.) It’s the same deal as Inner Harbor, only more so: the most diligent westside normies can get jobs serving crab meals to racist assholes from Bel Air, so Baltimore must be doing all right. Freddy Gray, please report to a White People Courtesy Telephone.

If we try to collate a granular, accurate survey of who exactly is involved in the restaurant business as lenders, beneficial owners, managers, and line employees, plus who’s theoretically involved but oddly unemployed with no real prospect of getting hired, we start to see an image very different from the official story we hear on WGAL. /Sturdily local on-air voice/ Reporting from York, same putz my ex-wife always said I was, I’m Ed Whinestock. Back to you, Kim.

That’s a Township grad right there. Kim, that is; I know enough about Ed already.  I have it on solid authority that Jack Hubley is a class act but Kim Lemon is a sneering piece of shit. Pennsylvania has, as a thick moist New Yorker might say, many such townships, but Manheim Township is generally reputed to be one of Lancaster County’s better public school districts. Again, this is meaningless, and if you can’t afford K-12 tuition you need to immediately check with Rod Dreher for Benedict Option homeschooling curricula; just because Rod’s a bit of a poseur about his own shtick doesn’t mean you have to be one, too. Since we’re off and on the subject, I should probably mention that I’ve helped out with plaguetime homeschooling activities on visits to /Borat Voice/ my part-time wife, allowing me to say from personal experience that even if the curriculum is retarded, there’s no need to involve a teacher who may also be.

Kim, tho. I was enrolled at schools within forty miles of Harrisburg from fourth grade through fancy boy college. Ever since my parents and I left Palo Alto in 1992, and no, not the dump up by Pottsville, I’ve had an ear to the ground, sometimes consistently, sometimes intermittently, with locals ranging from piss-poor ghettoside juvenile delinquents with homemade Mercedes hood ornament necklaces to rednecks who knew to look for turkey under white oaks to farmers and factory workers to restaurateurs to doctors and nurses to C-List and A-List regional industrialists. It didn’t particularly surprise me to learn that Kim Lemon is a bitch, or that Jack Hubley is a mensch, although when I heard the latter it was the first time I’d thought of him in years and it took me a second to place him. Lemon is somebody I don’t usually feel compelled to contemplate. At least Weinstock is fun, a fellow we can all laugh at for never laughing at or with a thing. Lemon is roughly as self-serious, but even when she puts on a sunny, lighthearted act, she doesn’t quite have what it takes.

There seems to be some, shall we say, sociology explaining why Kim Lemon hasn’t left town. Local distances in the area between the Blue Ridge, the Delaware, and the Mason-Dixon Line have become deceptively short for me since I’ve moved back west, so I looked up directions from Manheim Township High School to the WGAL studio, and if we cut the crap about Blue Detours, Red Detours, and other, more colorless detours, she works seven miles from her high school alma mater. So if it isn’t just a set of one-off interpersonal reactions that has the same person who loved chatting with Saturday Morning Critter Friend convinced that Kim’s trash, and I doubt it is, she’s alienated plenty of her neighbors. Lancaster has a metropolitan population of over a hundred thousand and a densely populated quasirural agricultural hinterland with hundreds of thousands more, but Kim Lemon is one of its most prominent public citizens. She’s been on air on WGAL forever. It should be a liability for her to be known around town as an incorrigible fucking bitch.

It should have been a liability for Diddlin’ Dennis to’ve done what J. Denny Dundiddly done. It took a while for the old boy’s wrestling days to catch up with him and pin him down for a spell in Minnesota, in a home full of companions on the prairie. On the plus side, at least they’re men, same thing Larry Craig might want to point out about David Karsnia. It’s called a MEN’S ROOM. Kim Lemon, by contrast, is apparently just a huge asshole, and America has basically no idea of how to police verbal antisocial aggression if it isn’t Clarence Thomas smutty. Plus she’s on the tube. The average on-air television and radio personality is manifestly batshit insane, and not all Wesley Willis-like Jim Sim told me to stop yelling again, either. They don’t allow themselves that much insight into their own condition. The prevalence of visible, audible, severe substance abuse, personality, and mood disorders among broadcast hosts and reporters is stratospheric. The business mostly just accepts their maladjustment and bad behavior. There’s a mythology around the old-school newspapermen (and women!), that they were all abrasive, moody drunks; the current crop of sellouts at Sinclair, who have the same personal problems but suck all ass at their jobs, inevitably seize on the old guard’s mythology and steal their repute for themselves.

There’s a broader point that I was starting to make about small towns and the reputational risks of being antisocial within them, as their community members. These risks are pretty negligible. The privileges that attached to Harvey Weinstein easily attached to Dennis Hastert. No homo, he was just the wrestling coach. He just took an interest in the development of boys who took an interest in grabass rolling around on the floor with other boys. Good God, at least Gateside Downlow is some kind of rancher. Like, Coach is having his usual straight one, but look, I’m not gay, but Coach is always trying to get it from me for free, like he doesn’t have $20. Adolescent and, God help us, children’s athletic programs are replete with perverts who use them as grooming grounds, as Lawrence of the Labia showed through his career of all-ages medical interest in young women, a constituency also cherished by one Brett Michael Kavanaugh.

Kim doesn’t even have to specifically intimidate or mutually blackmail anyone in Lancaster County to keep getting her way. She’s set. But what’s the point to staying in school, then? Why study so hard and chase grades? Is it to grow up to be like her, with money and fame but no class?

Duh. Of course it is! This is the point of school rankings and district rankings and “good neighborhoods” with “good schools” and the SAT and the ACT and all the new state- and federally-mandated standardized assessments of proficiency in the core curriculum and whatever the fuck else we’re calling education. The normies can’t imagine another way to claim a survivable place in the pecking order. It’s certainly also a convenient way for suburbanites to blame the local poor, rundown urban core for its socioeconomic problems. We’re ranking every school district in the state in a way that will inevitably leave one of them at the hard bottom, probably one that’s poorly funded and has a hollowed-out tax base, but gosh, they must just not study hard enough or know how to teach. We put everybody in the schools and most of the workforce under an additional cognitive load for trying to comply with the dead weight of the assessments, but we scheme to have better guidance counselors at our own kids’ schools and less lead in the water.

Maybe our national cognitive load can help explain why so many voters and officials drive through sacrifice zones like York City and conclude that the point of failure was the schools.

York City is ringfenced even harder than I realized until I looked closely at a map of the city limits for this poast. I’d mistakenly assumed that the fancy swath of the south side from Reservoir Park to the Country Club was within the city limits. It is not. The hospital campus is mostly but not entirely within the city limits.

So of course the Red Lobster isn’t actually in York. It’s in Springettsbury Township. Yes, I’m fully aware that York is a county, too. It doesn’t matter. As I wrote near the start, “York” is a terrible synecdoche. It’s almost inevitably misleading. So much of the urban squalor, poverty, and dysfunction have been redlined in, and so much of the prosperity and stability redlined out, that the city-township distinctions are crucial. The York Fair isn’t even in York, and it’s right across Carlisle Avenue from a really shitty part of town that is. The municipal redlining is extreme. The shape of York City is gerrymandered in ways that have no real relationship to the lay of the land or the extent of the cityscape. Nobody in Springettsbury was ever about to let the city annex Memory Lane; plenty for it to chew on on its side of 83.

Yes, “York” does have a Memory Lane. This might explain some things. Do you remember those days hangin’ out in our engineer boots at the Panera, Sarah? We couldn’t wait for graduation day, whoa-oh-oh/ we took the car and went to Endless Shrimp. Red Lobster is just east of Memory Lane. This has to be an exceptionally bad Hemingway novel. Look, we’ve got values out here. Mostly property values. We aren’t letting the city get ahold of that joint for its tax base.

This is something the driveling press corps idiots who enthuse about “Panera Democrats” will never tell you, so I will: When we hear about yokels in Erie or Youngstown or Cincinnati or Pittsburgh them some Trump and some Applebee’s, the reporters don’t know that what they really mean are residents of white flight suburbs unheard of three or four counties away. They dredge up miserable geezers from diner booths in Erie City to piss and moan about the Mexicans and whatever, omitting that Erie County, not just the city, voted for Hillary Clinton.

That’s most of who needs to eat at Red Lobster right now: low-key affluent suburbanites. The famous schlocky chain restaurants aren’t all that cheap. I had a plate of Boston Garden takeout once, and it was terrible. Olive Garden looks shitty, so I have no intention of making that pilgrimage. I’m not sure that I haven’t even been to Red Lobster, but I can’t recall going to one, and that shit is definitively not on the agenda. Even Panera, which is fast-casual and openly tip-optional–many of its stores didn’t have tip jars at all until a few years ago–is pretty expensive. The path to a Democratic House majority doesn’t run through the Panera lobbies of the country’s swing-seat suburbs, but the path to the $4.99 full-sandwich steak and white cheddar meal deal does. My bad: it absolutely does not, because I just made that up. They’re never giving that shit away so cheap lol fml.

If we expand York to include its tax base, there’s no way Red Lobster is the best restaurant in York. It’s subjective, but it’s not that subjective. I’ve eaten at restaurants in the area that have to be better. There’s no need to do an in-depth survey of the Darden properties to know that a lot of these chains suck. I eat at Applebee’s from time to time: all right, but definitely overpriced. Any chain airing nationally syndicated ads that show breadsticks or battered shrimp cascading out of one basket into another is not the best in class for what it serves. When you’re here, you’re family, and what we do with family is tell them to meet us in the walk-in freezer for a talking-to and a little something-something if they’ve filled out nicely. Huh. Do the Italians do that, or is it just the Scots? Perhaps I’m mistaken and Red Lobster is not in fact based in Maine.

There’s a lot of idiotic, culturally dysfunctional liberal guilt around pointing out that flyover country has its abusive elites even if it doesn’t have Chez Panisse. The entire dynamic is much too consider, but the great normcore chain sitdown restaurants aren’t workingmen’s pubs just because they’re less expensive than Ruth’s Chris, and they aren’t necessarily any good just because they’re more expensive than a decent Greek diner run by passably normal people. It’s possible for a restaurant to be pricey AND shitty. There are millionaires who eat at fucking Boston Market. I’m absolutely serious. I personally know at least two.

Lambert Strether commented that the York (“York”) Red Lobster incident showed that the customers at the schlocky theme chains visit not to eat, but to be served. It’s heartbreaking if you think about it too deeply. Is this what we’re doing in lieu of therapy? Is this what we’re doing IN ADDITION TO therapy? It’s pretty accurate to say that Trump’s base is provincial exurbanites who are self-actualized by yelling at waitresses in chain restaurants and docking their tips. I wish that were a gross simplification. Dad’s out running the family dealership, mom’s out getting Jeanine Pirro trashed at Applebee’s and screaming at the waitress that she’s a stupid tramp: ain’t that America.

The grotesque media models guiding and explaining these wretches have been on the scene for decades. Rush Limbaugh never seems to find his anger assuaged. Fox News is larded with angry drunkards and pill-poppers. Enough is never enough. They are never materially satisfied, and they are never socially satisfied. The positional authority that they so abusively wield over others as customers or bosses never makes them whole. They are, however, angrier than usual to be denied their birthright to verbally abuse waitstaff for $2.13 an hour, tips optional. This is why we must reopen “the economy.”

It’s hard to see what can be done for them. What can be done to them is to raise their marginal rates to level the field so that the poor aren’t forced to degrade themselves for abusive managers and abusive customers at restaurants that might well make this country better–perhaps even great again–by ceasing to operate. Red Lobster is not an essential sector of the economy. It won’t kill the miserable assholes who start shit at crappy chain restaurants because the service is too slow to go be miserable at home with some lobster from Giant. Or maybe it will, although they’ll probably just Boomerpost their way to sleep about it on Facebook. Some of them are pretty far gone psychically. We can’t just sit around waiting for the day to come when God will dry every eye. That won’t fix them on a timescale that spares their waitresses their corrosive abuse.

The dim sum place by the freeway is open for takeout again. Maybe I’ll walk over and get some hom su gok.

Atticus Pitch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The math is yours if you want it.

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


Atticus Pitch

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

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

Duh. Money.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ow, Tate, my balls.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summering with Nancy in the Heart of the Shitty

We are not, as a polity, going to have a coherent one this summer. It ain’t on the agenda, fam. Our once-in-a-century plague, all too likely a preview of more frequent coming attractions, will not take the summer off here any more than it has taken the permanent Philadelphia summer of Southeast Asia off in Singapore. The sun comes out. The barbecues and beer coolers follow. The sap rises. Melanomagenic public nudity beckons. School’s out.

Is any of this a thing that can be cancelled?

Or, government depending, school’s back in session. The only student I know of who applied himself for summer school was a kid back east who told his teachers that he would be damned if he was gonna land on the crew at his father’s paving company again. Kid had to work to maintain his grades. Universal homeschooling has not gone too swimmingly this spring, and congregate schooling in July and August will be controversial, to say the least. The months of May and June are straight down the shitter in an ordinary school year anyhow. The old sap is up too high to focus. Of course a vigorous young thing can get worn out pulling titty at four in the morning in Ferndale any time of the year, but shit, Bessy, who am I kidding? I’m entirely too agrarian-minded for this country.

We’ve lost instructional hours, they say. We’ve lost learning. The bottomless spring break (giggity?) will disrupt the instructional flow for our hardworking young people, in contrast to the annual summer break, which never does that. What percentage of Americans have any idea of how we ended up with a summer break from schooling? 8% of students? Two fifths of teachers? Supposedly less than one percent of Americans live on working agricultural or pastoral properties. I think I’ve heard figures of two million in total.

It’s wryly entertaining that these earnest doofuses construe instruction as the purpose of the American K-12 schooling apparatus in the first place. What planet do they inhabit? At least the commute to ours gives them scientifically relevant experience in space travel. Gotta take what we can in this business.

It seems the modal American is thoroughly ignorant of the contours of the postmodern superstructure holding our country together in a state of haphazard civilization, let alone of how this superstructure interlocks with the past, or as some of the sober among us think of it, real life. Food comes from Whole Foods. It contains the whole store of the foods, right? Sure. There’s no point to explaining these things willy-nilly; we choose our battles to fight. To the fish, before its conversion into sticks, what is “wet?” Wha, whaddaya mean, what’s “wet?” Ah, you aren’t from around here, either! The music immersion program in these parts is phenomenal, Mr. Ross. Say, why don’t you play some? Goodness, it’s the summer. What else would we do? Toil on farms all day, like a bunch of wetbacks?

Wha, whaddaya mean, “wetback?” They’re all dying in the desert. That’s how badly they desire to come here, as aliens.

Brenda Jorett herself posted photos of her own decadent ass lying in the Jersey sand when she wasn’t scolding the kids these days for having no work ethic. We’re all just working for the weekend, cranking it out for the opportunity to lay out. Why, yes, I did personally know some wretchedly self-satisfied jagoffs back east. You may have read about them.

Much of this is arrant bullshit. It’s beside the point. This is the culture we inherit and now steward. As the dumbest, most brainwashed motherfuckers on the face of the earth like to say, it is what it is. It’s our programming. The point is a more intelligently and reputably stoical one: we’re in no position to expeditiously roll back several generations’ worth of hardening cultural idiocy that’s been woven straight into the drapes of the dysfunctional funhouse in which we live out our very weird communal hangups over sex and work (separately or in tandem) just because we’re getting our sick on.

Well over a tenth of the US population lives in California, and most of that lives on the maritime side of the crest. With spring mostly behind us, the only thing we can do now is to pray for a wet summer that is not on deck. We’ll be lucky if we get some good and heavy coastal fog. We’ll be lucky if the June Gloom has any soporific effect at all this year. The cabin fever is only getting worse. The beaches down south were a mob scene over the weekend. Contrary to popular belief out of state, it usually cools down and clouds up noticeably along the Pacific seaboard going into summer, and the summer fog is in no way exclusively a San Francisco thing, but the forecast so far looks good, and that means it looks nothing but bad.

Nob Hill Dreamboat is uneasy, and he has every reason to be. He’s in charge of a hive with no queen bee. Getaway traffic surges unstoppably out of the metropoles when the sun comes out. The only things the authorities can do, realistically, are to close parking lots and deploy spotty park patrols. Spring erupts and a hundred thousand motorists all descend on the same hot spots with adequate parking for a quarter of them. This is what happens with or without a pandemic, and as they say in the dumber parts of Pennsylvania, this year we’re going with.

Look at it this way: Gavin Newsom is the governor of California, not of Instagram. The problem isn’t comfortably or safely housing 8,000 or 16,000 residents per square mile in a city, as the horny-for-sprawl urbanist squad is now concern-trolling in the name of public health, not just in the name of Joel Kotkin’s grandmother who always hated Brooklyn. That’s bollocks, and Kotkin is, as always on urban density, full of shit. Another outer-borough Jew with a chip on his shoulder needs to work out his insipid personal problems: who cares?

The actual problem with California’s urban planning is a thornier one, because it’s cultural in nature, not infrastructural. Eight million private cars are garaged in the same metroplex on direct lines inland from the same stretch of beach running from Pacific Palisades to Santa Monica, and it’s a pain in the ass to drive to Point Mugu. No, that does not mean that Point Mugu will have parking. Are you out of your mind?

Not everybody makes a break for the coast all at once; it just feels like they do, because it takes nothing but a sunny day to send the traffic spiraling out of all control. There’s any number of things that people could do on their days off that don’t involve all going to the same overcrowded patch of sand, but the crowd surges at play are inevitably irrational. Some vapid fuckhead logs onto Instagram to post dogshit-retarded influencer pictures from some place she first heard about last week, and the next week it’s so popular nobody goes there anymore. Plus people who work or do marketing for a living don’t have the gumption to research every getaway spot that might possibly be within a safe round-trip driving distance and also worth visiting. Inclement weather or remoteness could make a place unsafe (Salton Sea much?), which would tend to make it not worthwhile, and there’s some empty-ass wild shit not very far from city hall in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

It’s the same spat the Malthusians always have with the anticolonialists they always accuse of being pie-in-the-sky morons, who always accuse them of being eugenicist bigots. What, exactly, do we mean by enough space? Potter Stewart himself would never have the clarity of sight to know it. It looks a lot more spacious if there are free seats on the Expo Line than it does if there isn’t free pavement on the 10. We have, in all but the most extreme times, such as this spring, the civil liberty to go to the beach. Does that mean that we have the birthright to drive there right this minute and find parking?

Of course it does. We’re Californians! Gavin said it himself: California is all about living in a dream house in the hills. He’s pretty astute as politicians go, but that’s every bit as ridiculous, irrational, and provably false as insisting that everybody in LA has a car. This shit is so pervasive that we don’t even have to make it up. I had to look up census data and transit ridership statistics to learn that any of this is happy horseshit. Am I supposed to take the rest of the state for such losers?

The urgency of the present is going to last all summer. It’s gonna look great. Take your ass down to Men’s Warehouse and get fitted. Millennia of weather and a century of proliferating automobility are crashing into what is so far a brief season of compromised public health. There’s no way Memorial Day this year doesn’t make things snap. Memorial Day is one of the smattering of extant quasiracinated American holidays marking the seasons. It’s the one that inaugurates hot summer. My God, Caray, you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day for a health scare and a ballgame.

This thing is operating on a timeline that the wisdom of the crowd finds alien and intolerable. All is not well on the homefront. Families are at the breaking point, which is exactly what every sober observer of Alaska expects all winter. (Nah, all year.) We’ve got millions of people who literally, direly need some time outside. The public health orders are exacerbating every local inequity and disparity in access to open spaces, parks, pedestrian-safe streets, and other places to not just sit around inside all day like prisoners.

This is a good example of how they’ll shit the bed by reopening the schools before Labor Day. Zoom conferences, online curriculum portals, and other horseshit forms of distance “learning” have exhausted the patience of the parents trying to coordinate their new unsupported mandates and the “students” who in a great many cases frankly wouldn’t be learning jack shit worth knowing in the best of times. I learned how to read in school. Does anyone glancing at this blog possibly fucking think I learned how to write there?

Like any other metastable social stress, there’s no identifying the point or time of failure in advance. Things hold, and then suddenly they snap. The reason to expect governments to face a crisis of legitimacy by Memorial Day this year is just that the statistics of our national holiday culture are decidedly not on the other side of that bet. Regional American governments are unwilling to hold the line for the duration of the popularly observed spring. California is a different beast from Georgia, Florida, or the line between them: it’ll be a cold day in hell when we elect a pulsating sleazeball like Brian Kemp or a hapless, ideologically addled dipshit like Ron DeSantis. We do, however, absolutely have roughly our fair national share of loudmouthed death-drive zealots who love shitheads of their caliber for being shitheads. John Cox got over forty percent of the vote against Gavin Newsom in the last general election, and some of the stuff he was pushing was crazy.

The plane of cleavage that busts this whole thing open may not end up being exclusively political in nature, but I fully expect politics to play a prominent, ugly role. It’s a Democrat virus. Hydroxychloroquine is the Republican drug. John Cox loves cars and the car lovers who drive them, so Gavin Newsom is a limousine liberal who hates cars and farmers and everything else that keeps America great. It’s pretty inaccurate, but we curate our own truths. This is America. Leaving enough surface water in the rivers to forestall saltwater intrusion all the way back to Stockton and Clarksburg and the ruination of every riparian, estuarine, and near-estuarine marine ecosystem from San Ysidro to Smith River is a liberal plot against growth.

Yes, this stuff is insane. Yes, people believe it. Remember, the notionally left wing of our political class consumes Harry Potter and Josiah Bartlet wholly in earnest. It’s #content, bitch. The political spectrum in the nation maintaining the global Allied nuclear umbrella spans a riotous diversity of ideology from nerds who believe in castles full of wizards and elves to the guy who looked at the sun with unprotected eyes because he’d been told it would be covered and now wants to develop orthoscopic ultraviolet irradiation of the blood stream as an antiviral treatment.

It’s shockingly politicized. Why would any of it not be? We believe in science and rationality; that’s why we strive for a crypto-English aristocratic utopia based on a series of trashy fantasy novels featuring a species of elf serving as domestics for dilettantes who fly around at will on broom adventures, and it’s also why our ideal government is a version of Bill Clinton who has no personality and never fucks. We believe in the economy and the prosperity springing up from it, and we believe in Jesus Christ; that’s why we insist that there’s nothing potentially troublesome about spewing waste products of proven toxicity into the atmosphere with total abandon, and it’s why we believe in cheating the workers we hire, stopping the courts from judicially legislating bans on the use of lethal injection chemicals that will torture the condemned to death from within, putting tenants out on the streets on three-day unlawful detainer actions, barring church groups from hosting free meals for the poor in city parks, and denying school lunches to chronically malnourished children on account of two-bit billing disputes with their deadbeat parents.

The conservative thing to do is to dump trash into the commons, and high Christian praxis is to torture a convict to death in the state’s name, not to be executed like a loser. Duh. The liberal enlightenment is about–what else?–wizard lords, elf servants, and triangulating realpolitik reactionaries who won’t even permit themselves a half-consummated affair with a plump Jewess.

This is why Gavin Newsom is headlong on his way into a genuinely inevitable political crisis. It doesn’t pay to be the grown-up in that room. We’re jumping off from a baseline political discourse that’s stone fucking nuts: sworn liberals who carry on like timid little authoritarians constantly on the verge of shitting their pants and scold everyone over sex, most drugs, posting cringe, sleeping in, junk food, and pretty much anything else that might be fun, squared off against sworn conservatives forever up in arms about liberals taking away their liberties. You read that right, because it’s all wrong. Let not your heart be troubled, though; a public health crisis with no clear end in sight will be just the thing to inject sobriety into our debates and bleach into our veins.

This much truly is not his fault. Nob Hill Dreamboat is doing a damn good job given the alternatives (Cuomo? Dear God), and he’s up against some nasty obstacles in the way of his effort to maintain the semblance of the State of California in this space. There’s no better example of how the Democrats will be sure to tear defeat from the jaws of victory and screw the pooch raw than Nancy Pelosi. Newsom is more helpless than ever to scare some goddamn sense into that bitch, and she absolutely could not care less about what he’s trying with such great effort to do for their neighbors. He’s preppy as fuck, but he’s serious and on point in crises. Then Fancy Nancy shows up and reminds everybody that the two of them share a city and a political party. It’s absolutely vile that a man of such impressively resolute character is forced to navigate the same political waters as that malignant grand narcissist. We’re facing a global public health crisis, and that fucking cunt is up there foodie-vlogging in her mansion with a pastel sweater tied around her shoulders, showing off her freezer drawer full of high-end ice cream.

It is supremely arrogant to expect ordinary Americans not to be incandescent with rage before that spectacle. THEY are calling US deplorable? Come again? We have to wonder when they’ll get the message, or if they even care. They basically don’t.

Cool. That was easy.

They had Trump dead to rights for stirring up deadly communal tensions, all-around crookedness, and apparent gross mental unfitness for office (which he did and said practically nothing to dispel until after his acquittal), so they mounted a Q Anon string flow chart-ass prosecution over incomprehensibly complicated breaches of lawful foreign policy, violations which looked quite defensible on their strict policy merits, all the while insisting that there was nothing at all unseemly about Joe Biden’s crackhead failson holding a flagrant sinecure at a major oil company in one of the two countries where they claimed to have incontrovertible proof that Trump’s activities were illegal. They have the nerve to brag about Biden’s low net worth, crudely attempting to distract the public from his decades of extreme malevolence and public corruption and also from the suspiciously high net worth of so many of his colleagues whose main disclosed source of support was a flat Congressional salary.

It doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. The Blue No Matter Who crew bray about how Trump is so openly reactionary in so many ways, so he cannot possibly outflank a single Democrat on the left. This is pathetic. What the fuck is so outlandish about the possibility that there are two virulently reactionary parties, not just one? What’s so outlandish about the Donald tacking to the opposition’s left 5% or 10% of the time? The same scolds are constantly in a state of high dudgeon that the president is so erratic. #TeshTips, asshole: that means there’s no predicting the guy. He’s facially obsessed with owning the libs, and he starts shit with other Republicans just for kicks, too. He was on the hard left flank of the Republican primary field in 2016 on, at the very least, the permanent imperial war state and labor and industrial policy.

This isn’t to say that he will push left; it’s to say that he may, because he at times already has. Meanwhile we’re told to take Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden seriously when they assert themselves as the saviors to deliver the nation from this reactionary authoritarian madman. How dare we disbelieve them!

Shush, hun. Ask a rude question, get a rude answer, and maybe think about inspiring more positivity in the body politic by showing some fucking manners next time. Some of us actually read about voting records. Some of us pay attention to our officials’ coarse social cues and take them seriously for their policy ramifications.

As with politics, so with wealth: just because Donald Trump is a rich vulgarian doesn’t mean that his opponents aren’t as bad or worse. It’s that renowned liberal rationality again. How could Ben Shapiro not market himself as one of America’s keenest political minds? It’s never prudent for only one party to show up to a battle convinced that it is the only rational and sober one present. That’s how we swooped into Afghanistan and got our asses whipped by Toyota cavalry squads with firepower no heavier than our own gifted surface-to-air missiles, from back when the same militias were smacking the poopoo out of the Red Army, with our help. (Why not?) It doesn’t matter that the Republicans are insane. That never stopped the Taliban when they were forbidding women to leave the house with more than their eyes showing and stoning citizens to death for adultery. The gross truth of it is that the Republicans know their enemy in this fight and they fight to win, and the Democrats don’t. Blackhawk Down may take some light rocket science, but this story doesn’t.

There they go again, wearing their beanbag slippers to an East End pipe fight with James Mack. Gee, why does Mack the Pipe keep braining us all the way to Newport? How? Ow! This is so unfair.

This is the minefield Nob Hill Dreamboat must navigate. He has his wits about him, and he’s wise enough make common cause with the death drive wackjobs across the aisle, but once again, that in no way means that he doesn’t share a caucus with partisans every bit as evil and deranged. As I keep saying, Kamala Harris is the Uncanny Valley Girl of present-day Deukmejian-Wilson reaction. She’s our junior Senator. Saying that Harris and Newsom are Democrats is like saying that Rob Ford and Mark Saunders are both from Toronto. It’s fascinating, but they aren’t both falling-down drunk somnambulant crackheads. Yeah, yeah, I know, the Mayor is dead. Long live the Mayor, etc.

The popular grievances coming to a statehouse near you this summer (or spring!) may veer into the petulant, the overwrought, or the flagrantly bogus. It doesn’t matter. What always matters about these dustups is that people believe in their causes and show up itching for a fight. They don’t pull their crew cabs over on the way down from the fancy-pants foothills and ask themselves, huh, we gross $225k and live in a mansion in Granite Bay with a powerboat in the garage, does this make sense, huh. Of course not. Do any of them look like they do? The point is that they’ve got the damn fire in the belly and know what limbic strings to pull. Nancy’s mansions are fancies. They’re plural. She wants nothing more than to take away our freedoms. Gavin is a Democrat.

It’s irrational, but the mistake the usual shitlib suspects keep making is to assume that the loudmouths at these protests care about rationality or fair play or any of that liberal shit and can be shamed into having some. The lie the same illiberal liberals tell is that they care about the plights of ordinary constituents. This is bollocks. Nancy cares about her ice cream collection. You do gotta hand it to her, if you’ve got a spare carton.

Voters notice. There’s no way around this. Gavin Newsom is as capable as any politician of confronting the crazies and holding the line on public health, but he won’t be able to control the firestorm on the hard fringes if the yahoos get up a full head of steam about how Nancy Pelosi isn’t denying herself the creature comforts due to a woman of her stature, is denying her constituents the right to go to the beach, and is the same nanny state liberal swamp creature as Newsom.

If the most extreme five percent on the hard right get riled up about this stuff it’ll be a huge mess. Different strains of woowoo about the virus being a hoax have already been in circulation on Fox News and the low-class samizdat channels on YouTube and Facebook.  For the more downmarket of these audiences, credence before this crackpot nonsense tracks uncannily with poor clinical treatment, bad bedside manner, abusive and fraudulent billing practices, and poor outcomes in allopathic medical care. Add Rush Limbaugh’s florid, ill-tempered conspiracy theories about environmentalism being nothing but a pretext to strip hardworking Americans of their hard-won possessions and we’ll be having us a grand old partisan time. Dumping sewage into the fishing hole and wondering why it smells or not doing that are just some of the Opposing Viewpoints (TM) that leaven our discourse. What the hell do you mean, it smells? Are you a liberal?

Some of this noise is the seething of angry people who operate in bad faith or the outbursts of the chronically paranoid. Demagogues and grifters are always on duty to activate the angry and the paranoid. It’s one way to look at Trump, but scapegoating him for decades of ugly American politics, or really centuries, is disgracefully reductive and pat. None of this started with him, and frankly in many ways he has toned the ugliness down from prior presidential administrations.

Since his candidacy center-left lcircles have been overrun with hysterical assertions that Trump is the worst, most narcissistic, most dangerous, most evil, coarsest, most sadistic, most out-of-control, most demented, most malicious, most all-around atrocious president in the history of the United States. Few ask, compared to whom? The historical memory to make these extreme claims can’t date back past about 2004, which was roughly when the most acute and dynamic threats to civil liberties and the rule of law under the Bush Administration, Cheney Regency, or what have we finally started to attenuate as the memory of 9/11 at last dulled enough for Americans to think clearly. It takes evidence to demonstrate that the Trump Administration is significantly worse than that, in any specific or broad way, and nobody who carries on about it offers evidence.

By contrast, it’s almost hilariously easy to find #Resistance histrionics who suggest that Trump is the ONLY bad president ever. By their reckoning we have never before been governed by a sadist, a crook, a scoundrel, a narcissist, a liar, a bully, or a manipulator. Instead we were led by men who were, like, a little bit problematic or imperfect or eccentric or whatever. This is full-blown delusional. These wackjobs are aware of past presidents and the rough contours of their administrations. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind shit starts only when the Donald lurches into view. At that point, everything before 2016 vanishes into thin air: Flint, the foreclosure crisis, Abu Ghraib, whatever the hell really happened on September, the Lincoln Bedroom, Ricky Ray Rector, Iran-Contra, Watergate and the Evenings with Dick Tapes, Japanese internment, slavery.

These things flash straight out of their minds because an oaf is mouthing off at the national dinner party. Trump’s deeds and worst words are of secondary consideration; the triggers is that he yells, rambles, and talks trash. It’s reasonable not to want this horseshit in a president or his White House. It’s even more reasonable not to want the misdeeds enumerated in the preceding paragraph as functions of government.

Many of the histrionics have a big problem with his trashing other prominent politicians: Jeb, Joe, Hillary, Chuck-n-Nancy. Point of order, if I may: what in the hell is wrong with that? They’re all scoundrels, too. Besides, Lee Atwater was never as much fun. Our dude has done a lot of bad things, but one of these was not the invention or reification of racism in politics. Good God, y’all. It’s fucking nuts; might as well stick your schlong in the almond butter jar and go at it.

This bitchfest started in earnest when Trump squared off against the woman who is very arguably the most reviled machine operator in American politics today, a woman whose husband happens to be a rather corrupt and sleazy president emeritus himself. She shows up fresh off an internecine ratfucking, and we’re worried about the ethics and decorum of her opponent? Cool. That’s definitely lucid thought and not at all the psychological projection of an elaborate cult apparatus. It couldn’t possibly be that the Russia horseshit is a projectile outburst or a red herring having to do with our own three-letter agencies and their shady relationships to Clintonworld. Everybody’s panties are in a twist that he doesn’t trust G-men and spooks. You fucken for real, dawg? This dude is somehow a Mancurian Candidate for a latter-day Tsar who shows little but disinterest in him, but the Bushes are not suspect for their custom of holding hands with Saudi princes and kings? Bitch please.

There’s every reason to be distrustful of these scathing denunciations, even paranoid. It’s farfetched to fly to the other extreme and insist that, Nothing But Respect, My President is looking out for the little guy, when he can hardly be counted on to look out for, or at, the same thing for two straight minutes. He does, on the other hand, show that exuberant, irrepressible interest. Hillary? Nancy? GTFO. Neither has an empathetic bone in her body, although Hillz did–does?–from time to time have a bone that feels your pain in hers.

Returning to our springtime airing of grievances, the little guy in this scenario is whoever says he’s the little guy. Is he a dentist? A yacht dealer? It doesn’t matter. It matters that the yahoos show up and fuck shit up, or at least act like they might. Since the prevailing community standard is already to relate to our politicians in bizarre parasocial ways, let’s give some thot to who these characters are as parasocial friends. On the one hand, we’ve got the Chappaqua bitch–it took me a few seconds to place why Chappaquiddick seemed not quite right–with her hundred million-dollar family fortune, her hale philandering husband turned scarecrow, their worse-than-useless faildaughter, and their foundations and initiatives and shit; and on her team we also have the sneering Baltimore mayor’s daughter with the wine estate on Zinfandel Lane, the pied-a-terre at the top of Divisadero, and, but of course, the ice cream. On the other hand, we have the guy with the name-branded archipelago of usually faiiling privately-held businesses, the gilded penthouses, the golf courses, and the sporadic but boisterous interest in factories and mines and the hardhats who run them.

Some will object that Trump is just a better actor. It’s a fascinating critique. Does that sound like a liability in politics?

Now review which of these phonies is on which side of the partisan divide between the austere Puritanism of science and the Cavalier exuberance of opening back up for business. Gee, it’s Donny Fingers for the latter, and the rich girls for the former. We’ve been cooped up, or so we say. Can we have a little day out on the town, as a treat, or can we have a little lecture about social distancing, as a treat? Is it a trick? Look at Nancy. Just look at her. Would you take “candy” from a stranger who approached you like that? Those are Melissa Ann Shepard barista hours she’s living.

It’s exactly what rubs people the wrong way about Al Gore’s climate activism, but for having the government’s blessing just to go outside. Again, what matters here is the perception, not the facts. The amount of showing off that affluent liberals (sic) have been doing about their “quarantine” and “lockdown” routines can’t be doing anything but convincing conservatives (pretty sic themselves) that it’s all a big liberal hoax, just like the carbon thing. #NeverForget: It was a quaranpreening episode that inspired Fancy Nancy to beclown herself with the gelati showing in the first place. It’s plain as day who she has in mind as her audience for that shtick: her fellow virtue-signaling cosmopolitan jagoffs. There’s no better platform for that performance than one’s pied-a-terre in the City. This is, for a party striving to be relevant to a diverse coalition of Americans, the chef’s kiss of messaging.

No, my point isn’t that I care if she lives in Napa. All I’ll say about this for now is that when Milton Street lived in New Jersey, or didn’t, he didn’t care himself, and he was fun about it.

Some have more places to lay down their heads than others. To judge from Fancy Nancy, many homes make for hardened hearts. I personally know people who are hella rich and not the least bit like that–hysterical liberals who watch The West Wing for therapy, sure, but good people–but damned if that miserable hag doesn’t give them all a bad name by confirming the worst prejudices of the rest of us.

She has a base for her stunts: the talented tenth, the aspirational 14%, something in that ballpark. That’s the problem, though. Ordinary Americans despise them with just as much white hot rage. The Democrats can’t even keep the affluent and educated at large on their side because they keep preaching killjoy sermons from their palaces. The stench of the hypocrisy is overwhelming: we luxuriate at home, but you go to your shift at Whole Foods, because you didn’t earn what we did; Uber Eats and Grubhub and Instacart for me, but no Applebee’s for thee.

Many affluent reactionaries are parasites themselves. So what? Their ideology and rhetorical framing are too muscular for them to roll over for coddled, sneering Bay Area pissants. That’s the thing about politics: there’s no monopoly on bad faith. It’s a free market and a free-for-all, not an exclusive franchising opportunity.

Nob Hill Dreamboat’s latest public health order, for the targeted closure of the beaches in Orange County, looks petty and reckless as boss moves go, and yet somehow even that seems refreshingly aboveboard compared to the party standard. Of course, derelict local officials could explain more than a bit of it. What are we going to hear next? Posh cunts in Aliso Viejo refusing to vaccinate their children? In any event, this is not a needle a dipshit can thread. We’re talking about locals whose fathas fawt the Second Wooled Waw, and now we’re telling them that it’s no weekend for a Shaw trip? Eyy, that won’t do, Billy!

Drop the accent and see how it plays in RSM. It might not go over so great. At least Gavin carries himself like a big boy. He doesn’t show up on Instagram looking like, oh, shit, we’re late getting Granny her Xanny. The thing about some of these other coastal elites is that there’s so much ocean for them to enjoy and yet so much of them safely on land, failing to enjoy it. As Guy Hagi says, see you out in the Pacific!

Goodness, that was not an aloha thing to say about a national matron just because she wants us obsequiously serving her for a pittance or, better, dead. We really shouldn’t indulge our minds with such juicy disturbances, yeah? To be fair, Hawaii has a ridiculously passive-aggressive name for its local travelers’ aid outfit, the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, whose latest deal is to ship your haole ass back to the mainland on the company dime if you show up without the money for a fortnight of lodging or the inclination to stay put in that which you’ve booked.

I hate to say it, but it makes more sense than some of the federalism we’ve got in the other 49.

Ah well, I reckon we have a fun summer coming. To paraphrase Louis Uccelini, you may not be ready to shred that shit, but that shit is always ready to shred you. It also applies to Yaakov Smirnoff and politics. The upshot of these nearly six thousand words, then, is that we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when it’s time to head to the beach, baby, beach, baby, there on the sand, from July to the end of September, when, God willing, the rains will at last return.

Avuncular aspirations

Hysterical aesthetes who conceive of themselves as my manager get frantic, scandalized, and otherwise bent out of shape when I tell them that I will not be voting for Joe Biden. God, does that mean that I want Trump to win? Until recently I would have said yes; now that his kin and cronies are using armed federal agents to steal medical supplies from hospitals, I’ll say no.

It’s not that I consider this a germane point, mind you: there are more than two political parties, as I know as an ongoing consequence of voting for some of them, and Trump or no Trump, Biden is a piece of shit. I don’t feel a preference for either of those asshats at the moment. Either one will be a disaster, Congress as currently assembled looks unlikely to rein either of them in, there’s awfully little daylight between them anyway, and I no longer see a downside at all to voting third-party. Since I no longer prefer Trump to Biden or this cycle’s lucid but still execrable spring offerings, there’s no upside to punishing them by voting for the Donald. We’re past the lesser of two evils with that matchup, best I can reckon, and no amount of sound and fury from Pelosiland will change that, because it’s irrelevant, distracting nonsense. Your boy needs facts.

We’re also past the point at which Gropey Joe pisses me off anywhere near as much as his handlers. As I’ve stressed time and time again, that guy is manifestly fucking out to lunch. Astoundingly, he’s now even worse. You or I wouldn’t just be advocating to institutionalize him at this point if he were a loved one; we’d be itching for a fistfight with anyone objecting to his immediate placement in a closely monitored environment with round-the-clock care or to barring him from ever entering into another contract for the rest of his life. He’s a terminally senile man whose mail we would intercept. Snicker to taste, if you can muster some, about his gullibility before the Nigerian princes in his family; that man has no idea whatsoever how to file his tax returns or pay his bills. He’d put the mortgage bill in the trash can or the wood stove, just to cut down on the clutter. He can’t speak normally for ten seconds. He can’t even look the least bit normally at a nearby focal point, such as a television camera. P. J. O’Rourke’s other coequal branches are Money and Bullshit, so by golly we’re off to a great start.

We’re giving this dude the launch codes? Not with my vote we fucking are not. It doesn’t take a boarded neurologist to tell that he’s lost every one of his marbles and ain’t getting them back. I thought Trump was senile until his post-acquittal victory presser about the bullshit of dirty, dirty cops, and I can imagine that the weight lifting from his shoulders gave him a cognitive rebound that hasn’t yet ended. I increasingly take Trump for a better actor than most politicians, certainly including Biden, and it’s well within his capacity to gaslight his audience, although with his attention span it could just as easily be stream-of-consciousness bullshitting. 12-dimensional chess? Gimme a break, Stossel. Lyle and Erik aren’t wasting their stamps mailing moves to that fool.

The august opposition is now responding to an incumbent who doesn’t look as befuddled as he once did by running a severely brain-damaged septuagenarian who is visibly unable to manage his own activities of daily living. If he can dress himself I’m General Stroganoff, and yes, I’ve got beef. Son of a bitch cannot function without a nurse, and the things he can accomplish with one-on-one assistance are hardly worth trying.

If he wins there is no possible damned way that his duties will not be delegated in their absolute entirety to aides. (His doodies, too, in observance of Strom Thurmond Permanent Diaper Days lol.) We might as well have Edith Wilson prop up her stroked-out husband next to her on the stage like a scarecrow and call him Mr. President.

Who, then, are they proposing in the way of aides? Why, Larry Summers. Gag me Ghomeshi. I rarely say this, but for once I’d prefer to get Charlie off. #CHAHLEE! Of all the luminaries they could have floated, they found a shock doctrine thug who’s also an obnoxious blowhard about how women can’t do math.

These fuckheads keep insisting that there are reasons to vote for Joe Biden, nothing but reasons. Cool. What in the hell are they? He was an incorrigible reactionary, but that’s gone with the wind in the new presidential dispensation, the one incapacitating him from pulling up his own pants.

How do they even get him out of bed without a hospital lift team? No doubt about it, they’re mainlining him speedballs just to keep him awake, and it isn’t working. This shit is worse than my late grandmother’s verbal and spatial function when she was snowed all day on lorazepam. They can’t dose him on straight Addy because he’d veer into foulmouthed tirades and lunge and punch at anything within reach, including bystanders, so they’re modulating the uppers with some heavy-duty sleepytime goodness, but not so much that he’s fully asleep. He’s keeping Ambien hours. If they weren’t dragging him out and telling him where to stand in front of the camera and where to look, like that’s worth a damn, he’d probably be drawing water into a stopped basin to brush his teeth, laying down on the floor, and going to the ER if anyone happened to be within range to hear the water running and discover him passed out in his soaked pajamas.

The courts? Are you shitting me? He’s the guy who pushed Anita Hill out of the way for being a scurrilous slut to get Clarence Thomas onto the Supreme Court. How do we forget these things? Any amateur courtwatcher or general-interest Beltway wonk knows about that. Or maybe not. It’s fucking surreal. Hell, Merrick Garland isn’t what the doofuses who save a physical seat for him advertise, but we can’t expect Joe to even try to nominate judges who don’t piss off the base straighaway. On the 10% chance that he still knows what a federal judge is, we can’t expect him to nominate any who are worth Pot-o-Shit Friend’s housewarminng gift. Who will his aides pick for him, in that case? They’re all shitheads, too, so it doesn’t matter.

Do I wax cynical? Do I don the foil hat? Look, I wouldn’t be saying this if they were giving me reasons to think that he or the party were offering anything worth having. His handlers are treacheous shysters and he’s permanently out to lunch. They’ve got a thicket of prejudices to break through to reach me now, and it’s their own damn fault.

The court appointment problem goes much deeper and broader than Joe Biden, no matter how little he helps to rectify it. The deal with the Thomas nomination was that the Republican caucus and the talking points cronies at its affiliated policy shops were hella sore that Robert Bork had had to make a case for his confirmation instead of just reading some retarded platitudes off a stack of loose sheets. This was unseemly because it breached ancient and sacred norms, by which they meant that they really wanted that shitty reactionary scold on the high court. They wanted him seated straightaway to throw red meat into the veal pen for the godbotherer base and write mercenary opinions for their sponsors. The Congressional oversight mandated in the US Constitution was a bridge too far. They borked him! He was qualified!

So? How shortstaffed do we seem to be for lawyers? A law degree and a bar admission aren’t even constitutional qualifications for the Supreme Court. Any one of millions of intelligent, thoughtful, conscientious Americans could have appeared before the Judiciary Committee as the nominee and refrained from insisting that the Senate had a solemn duty to grant the Court carte blanche authority to eviscerate civil liberties and the commonweal just because the guy wandering the White House in a befuddled daze soiling his adult diaper had delegated judicial nominations to a committee of pushy ideological wackjobs.

Bork was the historical context. The Democrats listened to some of the worst, most mala fide right-wing ideologues pout like a bunch of whiny bitches about how they hadn’t been given their way by the coequal branch of government constitutionally responsible for approving or rejecting the guy they’d just tried to shove down its throat, and instead of using their backbone to stand up and tell the Republicans to get fucked again if they tried it again, lol jk what backbone, of course they fucking caved. What else would they do? The President can have a little confirmation, As A Treat.

That was it. They didn’t want HW and his attack dogs, scumbags like Lee Atwater, on their asses for applying the same standard to Thomas as they so recently had to Bork. Plus it dovetailed nicely with Joe Biden’s provable reactionary tendencies. Win win!

Ideology had been Bork’s undoing. There were no allegations impeaching his personal character as a private citizen, but he was an extremist kook hellbent on forcing his deranged personal sentiments on his nation. Thomas was pretty extreme, too, but his Achilles Heel lived in his pants. The standard for confirmation went from don’t be Business Plot John Calvin to gee she must be accusing the poor guy of being a sex pest because she’s a crazy lying slut.

At no point in the prevailing confirmation process was it asked whether the White House shortlist included prospects who did not walk around the office talking to discomfited subordinates about Long Dong Silver on company time. That story alone was blatant grounds to return the distinguished gentleman to sender. Like, here’s the breaks, Pops: this guy you sent us is a highstrung grandstanding kook who won’t keep it in his pants. Try again; he ain’t it, chief.

The Senate had the constitutional prerogative to do this as many times as it took to yield a nominee for the lifetime judicial appointment under consideration who wasn’t horseshit. You wanna fill it, Herbie? Okay, tough guy, send us someone, anyone, who doesn’t directly insult our ethical discernment. It’s a basic assertion of advice and consent: our advice is that this bastard fucking sucks, and we do not fucking consent. Next!

Never mind; that takes normal adult assertiveness. The Hill had been, from time to time, a bad place to swing by and piss on a member’s leg with a cheery comment about how the reservoirs were down and so I reckon we could use some rain. This was the threshold for minimally acceptable behavior that the Congress had set as recently as 1986, by shitcanning Bork’s application. When push comes to shove, the standard is, listen, boss, we don’t like him and we aren’t gonna take him. It’s the same standard as Reagan and Bush had used for their nominations, just in reverse: me likey, me sendy.

What? They no likey? There just might be a solution rattling around somewhere in here, like not repeatedly sending nominees up to the Hill when they’re dogshit. It’s an elementary proposition: consent can be granted, or consent can be denied. Boy Lordy are there some emeritus ranking members of the Judiciary Committee who could use a lesson like that. The point is, this ain’t a no-backs deal. The nomination is a yes-or-no question; because it is a yes-or-no question, the body answering it is allowed to say no. Good God y’all, even Ricky Ray Rector recognized the right to say no to dessert now in the joyful hope of dessert later.

None of this crap is how adults should do business with one another. It’s basically toddlers throwing tantrums over the most obnoxious, devious shit until their parents relent. In this case the parents relented without delay because they’d fielded a tantrum a couple of years before. At some point it’s time to Just Say No, Nancy. Which Nancy? There’s no need to go to Panera for a You Pick Two, cracka. Heh. Two cracka.

It’s so pathetically fucking basic. If a bunch of pushy shitheads keep asking the same obnoxious question, they need to be given the same firm answer denying them their unacceptable requests until they get the hint and cut that shit out. It took Slick Willie one iteration per request to get the message because he was a little weenie; see Guinier, Lani. The Republicans stood their ground and got their way, again, because the Democrats were trembling little weenies.

A self-respecting Congress would have put its foot down and told the president coughing up these shit-tier nominees that repeatedly asking the same question would repeatedly yield the same answer. That shit you pulled didn’t fly last time, and it doesn’t fly this time. It’s still a hard no, boss. Who wears his beanbag slippers to the hardball court? (Duh: a Democrat.) The result is that extremist freaks, busybodies, crooks, and fellow-traveling trash who have no business being in public office keep pushing the envelope with outrageous demands, like, you need to confirm this fine gentleman because me and my buddies will get upset if you don’t. A proper adult would ask, who the fuck is that? Some asshole doesn’t like being told now? That’s groovy, fuckwad, because I didn’t like being asked. Go ahead and prepare me my place in hell, bitch.

Some demands are so outrageous that the answer should never change. We don’t just shovel Pop Tarts into a trough to get our kids to shut up about how they’re hungry again. Or maybe we do. I am not my brother’s keeper at the Chinese buffet in Gallup; I would never have heard of it but for the misfortune of having been its customer. You live; you learn; you let it go to waist and wait for the Beetus Bird to bite. But at some point one just has to stop rolling over like a whipped little bitch every time some shitbird throws a fit.

We all have our little asks. Hey, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll lash this all-steel carving fork to your forearm with this roll of copper wire and stick the tines into that electrical outlet. Uh, excuse me, you will not. Are you out of your mind? Did Dr. Mengele send you? That, my good binch, is off the agenda.

That’s the Republican MO: demand outrageously evil concessions, then squeal like a herd of stuck pigs at the sound of every objection. Whadday mean, we’re killing people? We’re just keeping the government from interfering in other people’s healthcare by giving them healthcare as well. We’re just saving taxpayers who won’t notice the difference on their refunds from having to fork over an extra fractional-fractional cent per dollar so their neighbors eat for free instead of getting a job and still going hungry.

Just hurl a volley of chillingly heinous demands at the wall and see what sticks. With the Democrats in opposition, that’ll be most of them.

They wonder why we’re so cynical about politics. They wonder why we don’t trust and admire Nancy Pelosi as a liberal progressive leader of great moral character. It couldn’t possibly be that they’re all rich insider traders who have exempted themselves from ordinary life and seceded from it.

It will be swell to field the next round of seething broadsides about how I and the rest of the left are privileged for even thinking about not voting for Biden. We’ll be lectured to recognize and agree that the perfect, a compos mentis candidate of credibly good motives and free of accusations of sexual aggression, is the enemy of the good, a permanently and severely demented retired rapist with an exceptionally lengthy and recent history of groping women in full public view. It fucking rocks that the only reason Joe has retired from the game is his comprehensive failure of neuromotor function.

Yes, certainly, it is our duty to vote for this sack of seeping brain mush in a suit who in no way evokes the late-stage Soviet Politburo’s succession of a disheveled cripple, a guy who kicked the bucket in a matter of weeks, and a mute. For fuck’s sake these duds made the guy with the port wine stain sprawling across his bald spot look like a spring chicken.

Like hell is it privileged not to vote for a piece of shit who’s decomposing in real time. Are they kidding me? It isn’t even a privilege not to vote in general. The main reason I vote is that I’m residually middle-class. The poor don’t vote. The statistics prove it. The sociological anecdotes about why, however, are the humiliating part. Hint: if you’re scolding them about it, they don’t like you.

Only a moron would fail to recognize any of this. Only a moron would go into politics.

Airhead conditioning

Scott Simon aired a lengthy Steve Hartman-ass story not long ago about a twee, smug attorney lady who’s sewing masks and getting peers to sew masks. They put a fucking muzak track on as the background. This volunteer homework crew had completed, I believe it was, either 25,000 or 40,000 masks out of a goal of a million. That’s a piss-poor reason to be so loud and self-satisfied, to my way of doing math. I wouldn’t go on the radio and brag about that. Then again, I’m just the audience, not the story.

Do you still wonder how so many affluent American adults have come to cherish the Harry Potter series as nonfiction? NPR aired this happy horseshit as a heartwarming personal-interest story about ordinary Americans rising to the occasion. I can’t shake the feeling that Tocqueville put a curse upon us all by describing us. A sane society noticing that the high Tocquevillean ideal of community voluntarism had degenerated into the official excuse for a catastrophic failure of national industrial policy in the thick of a hundred-year public health emergency would immediately reclassify Tocqueville as John the Baptist to Faulkner’s Jesus.

Happy Easter, bitch. I had a good Friday. Did you? It’s centering to contemplate that we, as Catholics at least, are observing Good Friday as an extended, indefinite liturgical season this year, but it would be encouraging if there were any discernible prospect of national resurrection from whatever we wish to call this grotesque thing we’ve become. Like, we misplaced the industrial capacity to ramp up production of basic all-purpose protective face masks, and in fact we misplaced large parts of our industrial capacity in the infamous Chinese plague city no one in this country had heard of at Christmas, but instead of worrying about that, as mere citizens, warm your hearts with Saturday Morning Arts and Crafts Hour.

The complexity of N-95 masks is a secondary problem. They’re surprisingly simple in their design, and the straps and hooks tend to be flimsy. Besides, bandanas are closer to the protective effects of proper masks than they are to wearing nothing. The blindingly bright red flag is that we’re being told to take in sewing on a volunteer basis to compensate for the failure of theoretically masterful multinational manufacturing companies, including 3M, to adequately supply our hospitals with masks that are de rigueur on any responsibly overseen construction site. It’s like saying that the Quartermaster Corps is all out on R&R until no telling when–gettin’ real used to that beach life on Oahu, might even run into ScoMo–point being, we have to get grandma back into the kitchen and maybe even activate the Sister Wife Reserves. Any attentive person hearing this would think, good God, I thought that’s why those asshole hired cooks.

Normally I don’t much care if somebody’s taking in sewing. This situation is different. Sewing medical equipment at home without pay is a punk move. It’s scab labor, too, although nobody involved understands or cares, to judge from the aw-shucks sunnyside “inspirational” stories that always spring up as word gets out about these efforts, like so many mushrooms on a fresh horse pie. This dysfunctional free homework model comes into operation precisely because 3M is too cheap and venal to pay trained employees to manufacture masks on the industrial scale needed for a large industrialized society. That is, popular self-reliance and pluck among America’s amateur seamstresses frees 3M from the need to exercise the corporate self-reliance and pluck required to operate a proper factory. This Tocquevillean bitch work frees Our Job Creators from the need to create jobs, and in particular to humor uppity employees’ demands for decadent privileges such as pay sufficient to raise a family and a safe workplace.

NPR ran the story, so it’s no surprise that it served to make comfortably furloughed PMC desk jockeys feel helpful when in fact they’re do-gooder idiots. Manufacturing companies have production, warehousing, shipping, and sales departments for reasons, if you can fucking imagine it. Hospitals can’t afford to coordinate supply lines with tens of thousands of random dipshits who read on Facebook that it’s time to make masks and whose skill and quality control are utterly unvetted. As I said, it’s damning that it came to this in the first place. Floor staff want nothing to do with this ramshackle amateur horseshit. If it’s getting promoted under hospital auspices, that’s the administrators’ fault. Marketing ‘professionals” would rather talk about their employers’ branding than go to nursing school or head downstairs and wash the linens. In a number of hospitals the brand has included punishing floor staff for wearing masks. Oops; moron this as we proceed.

NPR pretends to cater to people who seek to understand the world. The last few words inevitably forced their way into my entire mind in Marco Werman’s voice. In practice, NPR is for overpaid Dunning-Kruger asshats who know jack shit about how the world works and therefore presume themselves exactly the geniuses who should run it. Smugly going on the record on a nationally syndicated program to brag about having filled less than 5% of one’s own production goal and either refusing to mention or (likelier) being unaware of the supply chain collapse making one’s amateur scab homework useful in the first place is a good example.

And, because why the fuck not, that bitch preened about her organization and herself like she was telling a story on the Moth Radio Hour. They’ve got these shows on NPR: Moth, Selected Shorts, Planet Money, How I Built This, The Ted Radio Hour, Freakonomics Radio. What’s unbelievable about them, leaving aside the navelgazing Brahmin existential abyss of the arts and culture offerings (bacteria, too, can be cultured) and the dead-eyed, dead-souled, Eichmannic rationality of the core curriculum in economics, is that every one of them dredges up pathetic social climbers who speak in the same fucking voice.

Many of them sound pharmaceutically sedated. It’s even worse than the Mary Mayhew Voice: she’s a scummy whip-wielding schoolmarm, but there’s a working soul rattling around back there. The energy on these shows is that of the belated, quietly frantic remoistening of New England’s upper crust, but it isn’t exactly a regional thing, either: Guy Raz and Stephanie Lazarus are both Jews from Los Angeles. Assimilate the Jews into the Wasp Nest, or assimilate the goys into the Tribe: take your pick, because there’s no redeeming any of them when it happens under the auspices of 21st-Century National Public Radio. Those assholes could drive out to Ronkonkoma and ruin the integration of the Jews and the Italians. They’ve already got David Brancaccio on air, so they’re off to an indecent start.

When Lena Dunham taking the Hampton Jitney out to the shore house to spend the weekend learning the words and the moves to the Fuck You Song is a psychological and existential improvement, we’ve got what they call issues. Entertain your concerns about the Brahmin funemployed all you like; just save a thot or two to ponder the possibility that all is not well with those they left behind, in the workforce (sic). An all too reasonable shorthand for their careers is that they dare not look too closely at what the hell they’re doing with their lives, because if they did they’d realize they’re in a cult. The few open fuckups I knew in prep school and college were WAY better adjusted than the hordes of neurotic social climbers who did the work and maintained the GPA but never looked like they were doing anything more than going through the motions and always appeared to be on the verge of a catastrophic, incapacitating emotional breakdown that they were barely holding at bay. They were much better adjusted than the rich dullards, some of the latter also being low-key sociopathic, who looked more or less emotionally capable of holding down a job but less or less intellectually capable. If I get daydrunk and fall asleep listening to LCD Soundsystem on repeat, and I should do that more often, I’m operating above the community baseline, not below.

I guess there are people with jobs who listen to NPR, too, like, people who do something describable for a living that others would generally agree isn’t a grift or a con. Chris Arnade says long-haul truckers all have opinions on NPR hosts, but trucking is just something for Kai Ryssdal to tacitly suggest bothering your underemployed brats for not taking up when capital is playing chicken with the driver pool again, not something to seriously pursue. This goes to show that everything isn’t always getting worse: Brancaccio once crowed, in the most revoltingly passive-aggressive voice, about how Amazon was hiring for the holidays. What’s wrong with working at a fulfillment center? Uh, everything? It ain’t your fulfillment they’re after, kid, and as Drew Carrey says, that’s why they call it a job, but everything about that job and that company is atrocious. It might take Ikea to design a concentration camp, but it would take Amazon managers to run it.

Things about NPR that don’t make sense as news are better appreciated as quack-quality family therapy with Dr. Karadzic. It’s therapy, so that means you pay for it, although Amazon pays for it, too. Love sponsors! David Brancaccio doing product-placement seasonal recruiting for a company that keeps ambulances on call outside its warehouses isn’t about recruiting temp workers so much as it is about shoring up Amazon’s customer base (we hear it’s the place to work!) and shoring up NPR’s base of pay pigs (you’re the neurotic losers who are still listening to us denigrate your children with your pledge money). Most of these neurotics and creeps don’t actually want their overeducated adult children taking one of those hellworld jobs, getting radicalized on the spot, and reporting back at Christmas dinner that the Brands are Not Good.

There’s a lot of sociology and group psychology going on here. It’s easy to discover some of the many Millennial Success Normies who are really weird around the failspawn, for those of us who didn’t get the memo from Mr. Ziglar about seeing him at the top. The normcore faith in the Economic Recovery from the Great Recession (*Thickest Possible Stage Voice* You want a recession? What rhymes with “recession?”) doesn’t work if the normies stop having jobs. That sweet gaslight, it don’t work on the down-and-out. It’s harder to get people who DON’T HAVE JOBS to believe in the “jobless recovery.” As Rob Ford himself lacked the chutzpah to assert, it was a SOBER evening of whiskey on the rock.

Five million Americans and then some dropped straight off the national payroll in a single calendar year in the heat of a residential foreclosure crisis, and two years later everything was back to normal. For a nation with so much unemployment we’re really fucking squeamish talking about it, just off-the-charts delusional. We had that problem in the First Great Depression, too, although it took more sophistry to deny because the government and the press got caught short by the crash and were forced to report the statistics they had, not the statistics they desired. The deranged psychosocial interplay between the unemployed and the employed is about what should be expected in a society run as a cult by functionally do-nothing elites who believe that work is for Mexicans. It speaks volumes that we still have the nerve to ask one another, and tolerate being asked, what we do for a living. There are appropriate responses to this intrusive question, including “Excuse me?” and “Less than the Mexicans, I guess.” We don’t dare go there because we’re a disgraceful lot of pearclutching chickens, especially for the citizens of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Years ago a well-meaning but abrasive old college buddy who was working as a junior staffer on Capitol Hill who had asked me what I was doing for a living blurted out, “I wish I was unemployed.” Of course he fucking didn’t. What he meant was that he wished he had more time off work. It sounded like maybe he wanted a different job, too. This guy’s shitty job was suddenly my problem because he’d nosed in and made my employment status his problem.

More recently I’ve had people tell me that I wasn’t homeless. What they meant was that I was able to travel, wasn’t destitute, was able to clothe, bathe, and feed myself, wasn’t presenting with acute major mental illness, and wasn’t living under a tarp stretched over some plywood surrounded by a pile of junk spilling out of my shopping cart. They were too ignorant to know this, and in one case entirely too arrogant to care (I should have asked the manager to eject that bitch from the Starbucks in Elko for harassing me), but none of that actually had a fucking thing to do with being homeless. I did not have a safe, stable place to live. I could always crash with my parents back east, but the warm homeless routinely stay with family or couchsurf. I have to say, too, that I goddamn well did not have the patience to explain that homelessness has to do with the lack or precarity of housing, not with being a filthy incoherent bum. Material constraints, cognitive loads, and the intoxication needed to cope with life on the streets turn some homeless people into filthy incoherent bums, but there are propertied people who live like that, too, just without the threat of strangers walking by and bashing their heads in in the dead of night.

That’s what a lot of street people like about Davis. It’s not a terrible place to have a head.

It’s bizarre, then, to watch America turn into a place where idleness is suddenly the in thing. Obviously our bougies are too self-dealing to seek out the stigma of unemployment, but let’s be real: if you can go home, goof off, and still get paid, do you have a job? We have white-collar workers (sic lol) dipping into savings and taking furloughs, but that mainly means that they were never paid to work. It means that they were paid 100-200% of minimum wage to work and the balance of their packages for being clubbable. We aren’t seeing a surge in staycationing among grocery workers. How the hell do you have savings, Anthony?

Idleness became hip when, and because, it became a socially acceptable cause to humblebrag and cudgel to use against enemies. The current PMC boasting about staying in has the same tone as the longstanding, habitual PMC boasting, still in vogue through the first half of March, about going out and working so hard. There are at least two common denominators at play here, both of them embarrassingly low. First, bragging about being a shut-in is the cool new way to be a supercilious virtue signaler. The professional/managerial class is nothing, if not holier than thou. Second, it’s a superficially refined but fundamentally coarse class signifier for a class that loves it some fucking signifiers.

That’s a charitable gloss. It’s far from charitable by any reasonable standard, given its stipulation that these condescending shitheads are looking down their noses at the roustabout servants who go out to fetch them their groceries and restaurant meals. The shelter-in-place orders have provoked a rash of “tipbaiting” incidents at Instacart, in which customers promise generous tips for the home delivery of grocery orders, then greatly reduce or eliminate the tip upon delivery. There’s a traditional word for this practice: fraud. This fraud is of course greatly aggravated by the circumstances of convincing precarious to downright indigent day laborers to risk their health and their lives venturing repeatedly and for long periods into crowded grocery stores. For that matter, this charitable gloss stipulates that these fuckers are cheap and sleazy enough to do business on the gig platforms in the first place, just so they can live large and keep up with their trendy (read: affluent) peers.

The uncharitable, cynical gloss is that, in addition to being predatory cheapskates exploiting an irregular working underclass they were glad to dispossess from reputable aboveboard employment, the PMC is horny for rules. The evidence is, as Lasch might say, revoltingly strong. Shady gig apps are kosher because the VC scumbags behind them bought off or outmaneuvered and outwitted the regulators, making them de facto legal, and of course the rules don’t apply to traditional and customary practices like hiring Latin American peasants under the table as discount domestics. When it comes to rules that allow them to grandstand about their own adherence, though, or to justify their own salaries as scholars and judges of the law, they’re hornt as fuck.

It’s the crassest, most self-serving attitude, and it’s so goddamn smug. It’s the most retarded hypocrisy. These assholes are on vacation from their lavishly compensated make-work jobs, with a surfeit of free time, or at least semistructured time, and instead of using any of it to do their own fucking grocery shopping, they’re preening about how they aren’t allowed to leave the house. It gets even stupider: being horny for rules doesn’t mean reading the rules, unless doing so seems advantageous. Somebody has to provide these useless eaters with their food, and the shelter-in-place orders contain explicit exemptions for grocery shopping. These are the same exemptions allowing Instacart shoppers to endanger themselves and their families and roommates for a pittance. For the love of God the orders in this country explicitly encourage solo outdoor exercise. We mercifully haven’t gone into the technocratic lockdowns proliferating across Europe or, God forbid, the arbitrary militarized chaos of Turkey and India.

The “lockdown,” which isn’t really one, is proving to be the latest bullshit excuse for some of the worst official and semiofficial misconduct. It’s an excuse for cops to go wilding in parks and on public transit over physical distancing violations. It’s an excuse for pampered assholes on partial or total leave from their cushy jobs to exploit and abuse vulnerable casual laborers. Pay attention to the language. These sleazy gig apps never would have flown so easily if their owners, marketers, and customers had insisted on describing them in generally understood terms commonly used to describe the developing world. We had to go All-American and euphemize that shit to death. We have our neighbors working 70+ hours a week driving their social superiors around in their own depreciating cars for poverty wages so low that their cars are the closest thing they have to a home. We have our neighbors scurrying around fetching groceries for the wealthy on a meager commissioned basis, walking up to the doors of mansions only to be told that their customers decided not to pay them after all.

This is the shit we might expect out of India or Brazil. We’re allowing it right here, right now. It’s the next thing to a caste system. In ways it’s uncannily like the Indian caste regime, a priestly, scholarly overclass lording it over various grades of untouchables.

Our caste system is less intricate, so far. In the nineties it was affluent property owners hiring Latin domestic servants of questionable admissibility and work authorization, but sometimes integrating them into their families. Affairs can do the job; just ask the Schwarzeneggers. There’s no need to be THAT bashful about one’s sister wife, here in Pan-American Fork. In the South, this what can brown do for you arrangement has incrementally replaced the classic tradition of the black domestic.

The developments since the crash of 2008 are the really disturbing ones. I thought the fin-de-siècle illegal immigrant nanny/gardener/lover arrangement was bad, and it was. This is worse. One of the most heinous trends is the ever more systematic exclusion of gig workers from restrooms. Restaurants have been barring delivery workers from using their restrooms when they come to pick up orders, on the spurious basis that they aren’t customers. The Sacramento Airport, very recently renovated and expanded at a cost of $2 billion, stages ride app drivers in an exposed remote lot serviced by portapotties. Two billion bucks and they drop a fucking honey bucket on the tarmac. The prohibitive cost of the terminal loop garages keeps gig drivers away from excellent semipublic restrooms that they would almost certainly be allowed to use without interference. It also adds needless driving.

But as Adam Serwer says, the cruelty is the point. The Dalit servant lady must sit on the floor of the empty Metro car to show deference and submission. Who is she to presume herself their civic equal? That fucking cunt? Devyani Khobragade, to my surprise a Dalit herself, repaid the ritual quite handsomely when she got the chance. She had to show who was boss for once.

That’s the godforsaken thing. We have to show who’s boss. The pecking order does not assert itself. We assert it, distinguishing the peckers from the pecked. We insist we must, although rarely in so many words. It’s the gospel we preach with words only when necessary. In a society only recently and haphazadly exorcised of its chattel slavery demons and structured as a nesting doll of bosses inside bosses inside bosses, it would not do to tell the boss off. Being allowed a decent, civilized place to shit for free would convey all the wrong ideas.

Management never cared for the insubordination of the lower orders that proliferated and flourished throught the Great Compression. It was unseemly. It was scandalous. It forced them to live more modestly and even do some work.

And so management pushed back: stack ranking, mass layoffs drug tests, casualization, social media checks, punitive leave, punctuality, and attendance policies, “open door” policies (talk to your boss one-on-one, not your colleagues or your shop steward), unionbusting, “gigs,” “contractors,” nondisclosure agreements, bans on employees disclosing their salaries to colleagues, ad nauseam.

Amazon’s “fulfillment centers” would be impossible in a warehousing job market worth a damn. Turnover would hit 75% per shift. The bosses would get punched out if they had the nerve to come down to the floor and offer a cookie as the prize for winning Power Hour. Managerial tyrants used to get thrown down mineshafts back in the rough old days, for reasons as rough as they were themselves. The only reason they didn’t force one worker to shit in another’s mouth was because they’d get beaten within an inch of their lives if they tried, if not a foot past.

The organizational model of our whole rotten society is to convince sellouts that they have a shot of working for massa in the big house. This is not an exaggeration. Half-assedly compensated line managers at restaurants are routinely given carte blanche authority to abuse their grunts, and they seize it. Franchisees are given equivalent or greater power over their entire workforces. Again, they seize it.

Then we’ve got the bigger cheeses: in rough terms, the Brahmins. The temptation dangled in their faces is the chance to live in the big house. They are offered rule over the realm.

At the top is a small group of true masters of the universe–Chakrabarti in the old country, or Chakrabortty or some other variant. The British actually granted useful local families the right to use this surname. Members of this overclass aren’t usually given keys to the whole world, but they’re given dominion over enough of it not to mind what they’ve been denied, unless they’re uncontrollably power-mad, and many of them are.

The lion’s share of the day-to-day trouble from the Brahmins, however, comes from the high subalterns of the true overclass. In vernacular terms, these are the assholes you knew in college. Curtis Yarvin’s Brahmins clash with his Optimates over the narcissism of small differences: who had atrocious reasons for voting for Clinton versus who had atrocious reasons for voting for Trump, that kind of shit. As a rule, the Optimates directly own manorial properties allowing them to directly oppress or just fleece the proles: dealerships, fast food franchises, independent job-creating small businesses run by America’s Job Creators, themselves. It sounds like the Godhead because it is meant to sound like the Godhead. The Brahmins assert a different but no less disgusting prerogative: the right to rule by virtue of education. They’re priests, you see, not lords.

It’s a grand bitchfest of the Estates. Mind you, the Optimates own much more in the way of estates than the Brahmins do, who resent them for it. Some dealership dad and his cokehead son are proof that the good educated liberals of this fine country are proof that the latter are of good character. We could be worse! Just look at those assholes!

The superfluous liberal (sic) elites (mostly sic), increasingly hanging on for dear life in overheated housing and education markets, in petrified fear of the bottoms below, hate their nominal class peers on the nominal right for living in more affordable regions and having shitty but lucrative family businesses available for the plausibly earned upkeep of their useless, degenerate spawn. I used to drink with a guy back east who the Insurance Schmuck told me grossed $110k working in the main office of his family’s tool business. He could barely stand up most nights of the week. By the time I got done knowing him he’d been talking about leaving the Manayunk crash pad and moving back in with his parents in the hope of getting a grip on his gambling problem, whcih had him playing six online poker games at once and losing up to $7k in a single week. His mother looked snowed to walking death on Xanax the time I met her, mostly by nodding and watching her gaze off into the undefinable distance. His father was another raging alcoholic.

Another thing that gets the Brahmins so sore over the Optimates is the latter’s insouciant assumption that the justifications for wealth and privilege are wealth and privilege. People who’ve devoted their lives to proving that they deserve what they have because they have academically and professionally earned it don’t take kindly to some openly vulgar prick sauntering in and getting all like, yo, bruh, we own this shit. This is a constant subtext to the Hillary deadenders’ shitfit about the Oaf of Office.

I generalize, and I haven’t given much thot to whether it humiliates the Brahmins more when their intraclass enemies outearn them, are worth more, or work less for more. It probably does; it could be another reason why they insist, against great evidence, that Magaland is uniformly poor and practically illiterate. It must rankle to spend decades pretending not to notice The Brands downsizing, putting one chunk of the workforce out on the curb with last week’s trash and dumping its former workload on the other, casualizing what were presumably proud professionals, and just generally screwing over loyal salarymen by reneging promises made during cult programming, to debase oneself so with a steadfast affectation of superior education and critical thinking, and then to watch an unabashedly might-makes-right scumbag with a family business shamelessly plug his shit-for-brains degenerate kid into a headquarters sinecure whose duties are whatever last night’s bender and today’s aggregate stimulant load permit.

Jacob Bacharach says Democrats throw the make-work bullshit jobs at their cronies because they hate their children. This tracks quite well with the Trump Family Organization–for God’s sake Eric looks like a fucking retard–and well enough with Joe Biden standing by while his crackhead son Beau–uh, Hunter–scored a collateral sinecure with Burisma.

One thing that’s clear about these arrangements is that the Democrats prove themselves much more squeamish before insinuations of corruption. It’s that good old happy horseshit about meritocracy again. We’re all educated here. The kid must have earned it somehow. Stop acting like he’s a crackhead; we all know Putin ate his homework. That’s what Putin does. He’s a homework eater. Ask Hillary.

Trump pisses them off by openly not giving a shit. It’s yet another norm he keeps trashing. There’s no moral center to the norms. They are in fact powerfully amoral. President Trump compelling the Secret Service to book rooms and golf carts at Trump Properties because he has cajoled foreign officials into meeting him there for offiical business is every bit as outrageous to these whiny nerds as press conferences about how General Raisin Cane called him “sir” or stream-of-consciousness rally speeches about how he respects the hard hats and likes tariffs.

Any movement predicated on an elaborate gatekeeping apparatus theoretically responding only to merit and whose participants are horny for rules will take umbrage at crude operators like Donald Trump and Rod Blagojevich. There is no fucking way anybody who admires Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, or either of the Clintons for their probity objects to Rod Blagojevich for being a crook. That’s a copout. They object to him for being a clumsily crass upstart from the wrong side of the tracks. I was going to add Barack Obama to that list, but I realized that he’s smooth enough, unexamined enough, and had enough sporadic, partial policy accomplishments for voters not to notice that he, too, is a bigtime crook.

The Brahmin-Optimate divide maps pretty neatly onto party lines, then, but not entirely. The Rod Now Spared is a proud and avowed Trumpocrat because he and his fellow celebrity yukked it up and flattered each other in openly crass terms for personal advantage. That shit has to make Obama blanch. Both of them say the quiet parts out loud. Trump in particular is so impolitic that the liberals (sic) who reviled him for being a mentally unfit blue blood prep, and rightly feared his administration at the time (many of them, at least) for what it was doing to civil liberties, now welcome him as a prominent member of the Resistance.

One of the quiet parts they do not with to hear pronouced has to do with the servants. One doesn’t mention them. Here again the Optimates and viable wannabes are more forward about the nature of our socioeconomic regime than the Brahmins dare be. It’s the affluent right wing that is out on the statehouse steps, packing heat and swinging Old Glory in nurses’ faces like a maxi pad hanging from a boner, clamoring for their hair salons to reopen. They need a haircut.

One guy got all kinds of flack for saying he missed sit-down drink refills, which I frankly find entirely relatable, We’re living through strange days, and it doesn’t seem too much to hope to again be able to sit down, have some drinks, and chat with other customers and the waitstaff. What gets me is the uproar of a political movement at once welcoming millionaire funeral directors who look like they cut their own hair and fussy rich bitches who just need somebody else to cut theirs right now and are demanding to speak to the economy’s manager. There’s a specific haircut for it, of course.

This is a bullshit grievance, especially coming from the women airing it. They look sociable enough to know hair dressers and probably be friendly with them. If I’m not totally misreading them, this means that they can make a fucking call and get a bitch to come over and cut hair for a bitch. They’re able to navigate the black market under such easy, nearly turnkey conditions; it’s just that they choose not to avail themselves of it (unless they’re just making it all up, which is a possibility) because they insist on the familiarity and convenience of that specific chair in that specific salon.

They aren’t horny for rules. They love the rules coercing their servants to go to work, such as state regulations barring unemployment benefits to employees who refuse to return to work because they feel unsafe, but the aim there is practical: to get a frickin’ haircut. The reason they want their salons officially allowed to reopen is so they don’t get caught patronizing or operating businesses that have been ordered to close, and also because they don’t mind owing the libs. They aren’t framing it all in terms of virtue; it’s all about flair.

This is a pretty rotten bunch, one that loves bossing servants around, no matter how pleasantly or graciously it does so, or imagines it does. There is, however, a crucial thing to say in Karen’s defense. At least these women admit that they avail themselves of their servants. The main thing they’re trying to do with their protests is to schedule shifts without having the government on their asses about public health. Some of the owners are looking to get back to bossing their employees around and would hate to have them all go indepedent, to become yeowomen (or men!), but they construe this as a private matter, something to let live free of employee recourse to labor law or die.

They’re just being pragmatic scumbags, I mean, goodness, small businesswomen. We’re professionals here. No, not that kind of professional. Ew. Besides, it’s not like these businesses have the cash flow* of a whorehouse, so they can semiprivately be open for business, as she said, but publicly closed due to the current indisposition*, as she said. They don’t even have the cash flow of a business providing what I guess we’re calling nonsensual massage. And, yeah, maybe we have some hangups about some dumb shit having to do with who’s recreationally rubbing whom how and why, but normies, yo.

*(/Sagest Dril voice/ but they care not, of the “Gash Flow”)

The Brahmin position, largely but not entirely overlapping with “liberalism,” is that there are no servants. The intellectual dishonesty alone is reason enough to hate the fuckers. Random strangers magically show up in our lives to help us with shopping and driving and stuff. How convenient! All we have to do is call the universe and it sends them. These yuppies never have a mature, intelligent moment of contemplation about why, exactly, the strangers who flit in and then back out of their lives drop by in the first place to ferry them around and bring them shit. Like, ooh, here I am at 79th and Lex, and this cute Dominican girl from Grand Concourse just brought me a big bag of yummy goodness from Whole Foods, so I tipped her a dollar and she smiled at me, like, totally sincere. Groovy! Karma is good! She told me to have a nice day! Beautiful energy!

Why would these soft cunts approach these matters with anything other than a Gwyneth Paltrow grade of thot? And of course there are other, more openly exploitative customers who dispense with all niceties to instead lounge around their co-ops and just demand stuff.

These gigs suck, and yet many of the customers won’t let themselves imagine that they aren’t all right. They look like a great way to earn some money on the side, especially for secure, affluent people who never do anything of the sort in the way of side jobs. Aside from the cardiac tetanus cokeheads who produce ad copy for Fiverr, the gig platforms are usually effusively sunny about the work-life balance that their drivers or shoppers or whatever can achieve by working part-time and keeping the rest of their time for family, church, and so forth. It’s a sleazy class tell, just like the characters in Harry Potter who are able to fly off on whimsical adventures without academic or professional consequences., suggesting that the author may have been living on a friend’s estate, not just claiming public benefits.

These stories are of course fucking baloney. In the places where these platforms are most used the people running them are almost always desperate, exhausted, barely afloat expendables living in their cars or hotbunking in a slumlord walk-up, doing everything they can to push through another day in hell under a standing cognitive load of 30 IQ points. Doctors in New York City find them presenting at the ER with SARS symptoms, then returning to their full-time restaurant kitchen jobs and the two-bedroom apartments that they share with nine roommates.

The customers don’t hear about this because the servants are trained not to mention it. The conditioning can be as implicit or explicit as it takes; the upshot is that the message fucking gets through. These are expensive cities: LA, SF, NYC, Seattle. Honesty costs tips. Take a stab at equality, and the only bitch that gets cut is your own ass, from the platform. Do punks be feeling lucky?

The blurred lines between master and servant have to be strategically crafted. People who do their own grocery shopping know that the people staffing the Pathmark are paid to be there. They assume the same about nail technicians, automotive mechanics (no worse on occupational pollution and the cars don’t talk back so much lol), and masseuses. Even if they habitually mistreat the employees serving them, they almost always fundamentally understand the nature of the relationship. Clients understand that sex workers fuck them for the money.

The gig platforms operate in an uncanny valley. They have 1099 contractors, not employees, which is bullshit but still de jure or de facto the law of the land most places. They’re work, but they aren’t exactly jobs. They don’t have set schedules. They brag, in fact, about the flexibility of their scheduling.

They’re exceptionally pernicious because they deliberately misrepresent themselves. Not consistently meeting the minimum wage in our most expensive cities makes them exploitative deep poverty jobs. They write computer algorithms to fire the help based on customer reviews. It’s like school grades, but for shitty, exhausting jobs. The corporate behemoths behind these platforms have the nerve to brag about the flexibility they offer when the workers presumably interested in the flexibility can barely get by hustling for their fucked-up business models fifty or sixty hours a week. What the hell is the alternative? Huddling under a cardboard box? Getting run out of Penn Station by transit cops on a nightly basis? Not even having a steady place to shit and shower, and at a time when the gyms have been closed as nonessential, at that?

It takes a peabrained hardline libertarian conception of socioeconomic relations to imagine that this regime fosters a great flourishing of free will for workers. The way it actually works, it does absolutely nothing whatsoever of the sort. Ffs a job doesn’t have to have Kunta Kinte in chains to be exploitative, inhumane, and coercive. The only reason this batshit crazy proposal has any traction is that every officially sanctioned economic philosophy in the United States assumes that our sacrosanct market incentives magically fail to include poverty as a motivation. All these fucking nudges, and none of them is the piercing fear and certain knowledge that not working will cause one to freeze and starve to death, although in fairness working might not be enough to prevent that, either. Any reasonable observer reading just about the dire poverty would guess that the country in question was somewhere like the Congo or Aghanistan, but as John McLaughlin said, *WRONG*. The correct answer is: you get food to eat.

This shit is worlds more delusional than pestering the state government to allow professional haircuts again. The #TCOT agitators behind that want the state to stop interfering in the private labor markets at businesses they patronize. They explicitly want the employer-employee relationship to be reprivatized and relieved of public health regulations that they find burdensome (i.e., inconvenient for their hairstyles). The shitlibs and fellow travelers blithely assume that there is no job market, just an amorphous cloud of angels following their own whims to work, or not, but with one or more of these angels always appearing to minister to their needs. It’s Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, but for servants, but we’ve already been over this, we don’t call them that.

This all happens out in the universe, where everything happens for a reason, but labor policy restricting the license for corporate crooks and their scumbag customers to exploit the reserve army of labor at will couldn’t possibly be one of the reasons for things happening. They just, you know, happen, like the weather or something. We want food, and they want work. It is what it is. It is a postscript chapter of Candide, about the best of all possible curiously convenient arrangements to have out-of-work itinerant peasants meekly fetch provisions and carry them to our castle door whenever we ring the bell.

This best of all possible prole summonings would turn into a real buzzkill if word got out that it’s just a big exploitation racket. ‘T would the mood. Taking desperately poor people who have been artificially coerced into taking hellish, terribly compensated jobs obsequiously serving others and systematically miscategorizing them as happy humble folk just following their natural bliss seems like an odd but oddly familiar tune, perhaps a little Song, Song of the South, Millington for Sheriff and I shut my mouth. Mercy, O’Hara, that always comes as a shock, but I wish I were just shitposting. Underworked, overpaid shitheads in the metropoles say the same things about their underpaid, overworked servants that whites in the Old South said about their black neighbors. They were happier as slaves, surely preferred this to Africa, just look at that precious pickaninny smile. It isn’t what we want; it’s what THEY want. Sure, we’ll maim or just about beat to death any of them who object, or at least banish them from the day labor market, but goodness, we never seem complain.

The through lines dive underground, but they do not go away. If nothing else, the Planter South stipulated the existence of slavery as an institution. In New York and Los Angeles and other dynamic, forward-looking cities with two thirds of the GDP today, what caste system? There are no castes. It’s the Devil who denies himself as a being. Then, taking recourse to Harry Potter, which we shouldn’t but we must, we discover wonderous questions from the deepest reaches of the intellect. For example, what if the muggles enjoy serving the wizards? Should we feel bad? Like, okay, servitude or whatever is a thing, innit, but what if they like it like that? Is it still wack?

Christ have mercy, that bitch-ass wizard shit is a roman a clef for the English class system and the American racial caste system. We’re reworking these oppressions and horrors into a batshit fantasy series about flying around under the Gothic spires of a public school on a fucking broom. We have all these dumb af character archetypes who are really nothing more than Prince Charles, Our Cockneys, and, like, dingbat Harriet Tubman. Grown adults admit to reading this shit in earnest, with no shame, no gnawing feeling that there has to be more to books than this. Real life is adult stuff, not fun stuff, but maybe this stuff is close enough.

Bitch it is not. Is it any surprise that this shit overlaps so with our current round of semiofficial bearbaiting? I’m extremely familiar with the United States and reasonably familiar with Russia for a foreigner who visited once and still dabbles in the language. The shit I hear said about our alleged geopolitical relations sounds nothing like either of the two. Rachel Maddow is nothing but a neighborhood happy hour drunk who somehow got a high-profile platform to comment on the “news.”

And is it any surprise that both of these shitty mats of cultural detritus, MSNBC and Harry Potter, intersect in such an impenetrable spaghetti bowl with The West Wing? That’s the #content our presumptuous erstwhile rulers crave: a real-time reimagining of the Clinton Administration under a boring chaste nerd, not a fun horny nerd. They refuse even to romance us on the way to the electric chair, Mr. Thurmond. That retardedly self-important outpouring of prestige television is as useful a vehicle as any for the delusion that Bill Clinton exorcised our nation’s racial demons, when in fact he liberally fed them. Food to eat: that’s liberalism, too, kid, in America.

Say, might be some left over on Ricky Ray’s tray. Bless, o Lord, these thy gifts.

Faulkner wasn’t kidding. The past is not dead, but this gallon jug of Bourbon is. It starts to feel impossible to get anything done through political channels when these navelgazing freaks keep blocking them. What else should I say if factions within the Republican Party now seem more amenable than the Democrats to reality-based living? Bernie Sanders is not realistic, but Josiah Bartlet is? Joe Biden comports himself like he’s always recovering from a trip to the East End of Cincinnati for neurosurgery from James “Mack the Pipe” Mack. I guess that’s what we’re calling compos mentis these days. Up in Over-the-Rhine there’s a $20 blow-and-go to be had if you don’t mind the brick house blowing it, but I’m sure that price, too, is just the price the universe floated to and settled on in its cosmic wisdom and not the highest starting bid our thick sister was willing to offer because she was poor and desperate for cash.

We’ve really gone off the Reality Reservation lately as a polis. Our main political parties, both aggressively aristocratic, are, respectively, a postmodern full-on reactionary death cult, currently demanding an officially sanctioned afternoon out for a long-acting Jim Jones Kool-Aid cocktail, and a modestly less death-cultic but equally postmodern collection of ostensibly “liberal” and “progressive” authoritarian chickenshits trying to swaddle themselves against perceived threats that may or (likelier) may not be present, all from the arrested developmental age of a slow sweet sixteen. This latter “left” party resents the hell out of Bernie because he’s a no-nonsense Jewish grandpa, not some out-of-touch putz showing off his top-of-the-line home refrigerator full of high-end ice cream. The former, paradoxically, includes officials who don’t mind the old socialist because they have weird patches of common ground with him, as well as voters who might defect either way across the divide, passing over the perpetually adolescent crybabies and drama queens none of them can stand.

The partisan standoff over the Dread Ailment is not simply one of science and reason versus superstition and the economy. The average shitlib Democrat believes in science the same way the average right-wing nutjob Republican believes in Christianity. Cue Gandhi musing about Western Civilization as such a fine idea. There are those in the mix who seek out the truth in a spirit of genuine intellectual and moral curiosity, but they murmur into a void awash in the stupidest, crudest, most ulterior screeching. Public health restrictions might seem less onerous if one’s favorite services are allowed to maintain full operations (GrubHub, UberEats, Netflix) than if they are not (hair salons, the dining room at Applebee’s). In this light it’s all a petty cultural dispute having nothing to do with public health.

Paranoia that secular elites are using the crisis as an excuse to crack down on religious gatherings may be warranted. I stress: may. There are Dawkinsbots squirming around in the woodwork with smug glee that Easter services got canceled because they were all bullshit anyway. On the other hand, it sure looks like that dumb fool in Virginia got himself killed by going to church. Personally, I’m pining more and more for Mass and confession, but it still looks like a pretty inopportune time to welcome the parish’s sick elders back into the sancutary, exchange the sign of peace, and all drink from the same cup.

Once again, it’s a cultural weed thicket we’ll exhaust ourselves trying to explore. Like any other crisis, this one is activating the bad actors to exploit it for all it’s worth. We’re extremely lucky in the United States, for the most part, that there has been so little government overreach in the response. We have overwhelmingly been left free to go about our daily lives. NPR segments have been allocated as veal pens for teachers’ pets and busybodies to grandstand as private citizens instead of warping official policy to their whims and using the full coercive power of the state to enforce it.

But this is just for the lucky among us. There are neighborhoods the police chronically terrorize, sometimes even with the complementary assistance of nonsworn street gangs. We have our prisons. We have our SRO’s, our workingman’s flophouses, our encampments, our residential parking strips down by the bay and the tracks on the poor side of town.

It’s plain as day that we are not actually taking this shit seriously. Inept, derelict shitheads like Carolyn Goodman are still being allowed basically full latitude to fuck around and fuck up without state or federal intervention. Nobody ever does a thing for the homeless. It’s taken a public health emergency in which they’re confirmed vectors of communicable diseases that rampantly transmissible among the housed, not just other homeless, to move the above statement from 99% true to 95% or maybe 90%. Any adequately engaged government with jurisdiction over Clark County would have immediately moved in and forced the city and county governments out of the way the day the goddamned social distancing squares were painted on that parking lot with a direct line of sight to and from hundreds of vacant hotel rooms. We, whoever the hell “we” are, are doing little about congregate living disasters in general, ones that should have been made superfluous decades ago. It’s taken weeks to months to start emptying prisons in earnest, and so far the effort has been disastrously hit-and-miss. For the love of God prisons, flophouses, squats, encampments, and other crowded, filthy congregate living arrangements with poor to nonexistent utilities have been known breeding grounds for communicable diseases for centuries.

It is not that we don’t know. It’s that we don’t care.

Then there’s the very suspect official about-face on masks. Nobody I’ve seen in a position of authority has given a credible explanation of what motivated the initial opposition to the widespread public use of masks or the recent and in many places abrupt reversal. That which was forbidden is now mandatory. All that is not mandatory is forbidden. Hospital and supermarket workers were begging for weeks to be allowed to wear masks and told to shut up and go back to work. It would scare patients. It would scare customers. Some defied these orders and were punished. Some were fired.

The original party line was that mass mask use would deprive doctors and nurses of N-95 masks. These are the same masks that DHS and other federal agencies have been seizing on arrival, almost certainly to resell on the black or gray market, along with other medical supplies. They’re scalping masks and ventilators. Charlie Baker had to get Robert Kraft to send the Patriots’ 767 to China to bring a shipment through Anchorange and into Massachusetts unmolested.

This shit rightly pissed ordinary Americans off. It was reckless and outrageous, all of it. Citizens very reasonably protested that officials were trying to get us all killed. After weeks of this furor, the authorities started to come around. Like, shit, that sounds like a good idea; we’d hate to get anyone killed. From that point public health officers moved quickly, to the extent that full mouth and nose coverings are now required to enter enclosed public spaces in much of the country.

If they wanted conspiracy theories about the pandemic, they did exactly the right things to culture them. Keep in mind that the current outbreak surged from a baseline level of public trust corroded by years of escalating celebrity woowoo about vaccines, autism, probiotics, pH balancing agents, and the dangers of allopathic medicine in general, itself facilitated by the blatant, widespread, officially unacknowledged failures of allopathic medicine. The pandemic has accreted to this already voluminous corpus of quackery, conjecture, rumor, and fraud prolifc Facebook conspiracy theories about, among other claims, the government having programmed the virus with a kill switch that it will flip once it’s killed its full quota of constituents. Mainstream Republicans have cast their lot with the Trump Organization’s fixation on hydroxychloroquine and similar compounds as cure-alls, a fixation driven by a barely scrutable combination of insider trading, extrapolation from preliminary clinical research, and Owning the Libs. Trust in mainstream medicine is now more than ever a hallmark of affluent Democratic orthodoxy. It’s a Brahmin Thing. That, and refusing to look at evidence that medical, quasimedical, and pseudomedical authority figures are ulterior, malevolent, or just fuckig inept.

It breaks down once again along lines of class, caste, and subculture. Dr. Oz is a touch on the low-class side for the proudest Brahmins, and Facebook samizdat is absolutely way too far over the line. Bill Gates, though? Dear God is he a creep, but he has his foundation. A reasonable, critical person, even one discerning nuances in his motives, as I do, has to look at the scope of the Foundation’s work and wonder whether maybe the foil hatters aren’t wrong about the guy.

;There are reasons why the streets don’t trust authority figures in these situations. Even if the proles are spelunking rabbit holes that yield no bunny, they’re touching on, if not directly raising, compelling questions about the trustworthiness of the governments that now claim to watch out for them with an eagle eye. Ask yourself: after Tuskegee, Pruitt-Igoe, the mass sterilizations, the eugenics craze that attenuated only slowly after the Gilded Age crashed along with the international economy, Flint, the postwar Nevada bomb tests, and the Anthrax scare of 2001, is there anything farfetched about gain-of-function experiments gone awry at Fort Detrick? The Chinese counterpart, sited impressively close to Wuhan, is also an acceptable answer. Correct? We just do not know.

What we do know is that the authorities aren’t telling us. At least they’re finally telling us to wear masks, although it would be nice if they didn’t encourage us to be showboating assholes about how we’re toiling away at home like so many Keebler Elf wives to manufacture them.

They do nothing but ask for money

For a society so insistent on self-reliance and so hostile towards dependency, America sure fucking does a lot of fundraising. It’s constant. GoFundMe is a national fixture. Think about the name for a second. GoFundMe. It’s the next thing to the Dunkin’ Doorman’s employer, Gobias Industries. Feel free to Gobias some hashbrowns, too. That’s our health insurer of last resort: a major-league skimming operation slicing a thick cut off the top of every poor bastard’s fundraiser for emergency cancer treatment, co-owned by a scumbag who uses his prominent normie liberal podcast to do his own affiliate marketing in the name of “policy,” i.e., by weaseling the nation away from the policy disaster for his bottom line of universal single payer.

We have our own children run lemonade stands. We have them sell Girl Scout cookies, Boy Scout wreathes, Trail’s End popcorn (big yuck from me, fam), donuts: an endless variety of shit that, other than the Lenten Easter cookies (Main Line girls meet Mormon boys), the customers don’t particularly want. It’s supposed to teach the little ones about budgeting and the work ethic and shit. Oh? Net income per hour fluctuating over and under the minimum wage with, who knows, 25-125% overhead, bothering strangers to buy shit, and this is supposed to be a good idea? This isn’t an object lesson in not signing up for Amway?

Cool. Normal, fully functional country. I’m definitely not wasting my time by not attending a series of committee meetings to organize my trips to go canning and see if there aren’t some coins in the fountain at the shopping center.

Tocqueville is teabagging us again. We just have to replicate a dizzying variety of basic services that any proper government would preemptively provide, knowing that it would have hell to pay with its constituents for failing. We have school tax streams AND school bake sales. We send our kids out to sell horseshit knickknacks or pizza or hold car washes to raise money for band trips, and then we pack them off to band practices at five in the morning. What in all hell is wrong with us? Like, maybe the clue about their work ethic and dedication is that they get their asses out of bed in time to muster with their trombones at 0500 and then sit through a full day of academic classes, all so they can pep up the football meatheads and their fans? Guess they won’t learn the value of teamwork and time management just from being in a marching band. Obviously their parents couldn’t just give them a ten spot or a Jackson and leave them to discover how far it goes on iced tea tallboys versus Top Ramen versus Burger King versus bong-ass schwag. Hey kid, take all the bottles you want out of the bin and haul them down to the machine at the Meijer, to stack that cash.

There are, alas, those who lack the time or the energy or the organizational skills to do the good Tocquevillean shit in person, but they’re covered, too. If you can’t personally do the organizational work, just go fly a sign. Why else do we have GoFundMe?

This servile dysfunction come to mind for me often, sometimes without a noticeable prompt, but in this case it’s because KQED is at it again, and it isn’t even fund drive season. At least, I don’t think it is: as they say themselves once or twice an hour, these are uncertain times.

Their current call to action, that action being alms, is a claim that some bullshit charity I’ve never before heard of–that is, not one of the dozens that are immediately recognizable as vague sources of undisclosed amounts of money to fund something or other at NPR or PBS–is offering a $100,000 challenge grant. They’re always thanking the Dorsey Foundation to Jack Reed Hoff, Man or whatever the hell for supporting “member-supported” public media.

This time it’s some new outfit that’s the same as all the others: gifts in, gifts out, grifts on the side. From time to time the names of these dumbass foundations float through my mind like so many turds in the bowl, along with the shitty corporate muzak they play for the commercials, or maybe we’re calling them sponsor appreciation, on the NewsHour, shards of trivia dislodged from the lives of people whose names I know exclusively because they got attached to money that gets sent to PBS. That is literally all I know about them. Jack can’t cook but he remembers Zabiullah Tamana or God fucking knows what the hell any of this shit is supposed to do. It’s actually Jack Kent Cook and Kendeda, I think, because I’ve inevitably cluttered up hard drive space with free-floating bits of this crap, too.

Gloria in excelsis, they’ve got yet another charitable foundation lined up now to dribble out a piss-ass little bit of money to KQED, but only if listeners match it, but only if the foundation doesn’t take its financial inducement back when ritually offered it, as stipulated in its contract with the station, in which case it might not be able to disburse the funds so as to offset its own tax liabilities. It’s like the time the Cafua Family Irrevocable Trust, among other donut outfits, went to Buffalo to get sued by the Benderson Family 1968 Trust. I’ve heard of this because I looked into a Dunkin’ on Western Avenue in Albany that was hiring over the winter. We inevitably have too few lawyers and too many lawyers, at the same time and in the same country. It’s impossible to get a competent capital defender if you aren’t OJ, but you’re in some good-ass luck if you go around beefing with other families’ trusts and trying to tear down the church where everybody’s grandparents got baptized and married because your donut empire absolutely needs another location in Pittsfield, right there and right now.

It isn’t ordinary kids or adults or elders who don’t know the value of a dollar. Some fucked-up outliers show up from time to time, entirely clueless, but the average individual has a more or less rough idea of how much it costs to get, like, a Quarter Pounder meal or an A&F T-shirt. They may not be good with money, but they’re somewhere in the ballpark for amounts of money that they regularly spend. That’s the easy part. Try to explain any of this to Congress. Amtrak wasted $1b out of the $40b that Lockheed-Martin and Fat Leonard’s companies assuredly would have stewarded with utmost prudence and care. We can’t afford food stamps but we can afford to get our asses kicked for setting Iraq on fire.

It’s in exactly this spirit that KQED is prostrating itself before a two-bit charity for a grant that, even if doubled, will pay for the compensation packages of one or two of its reporters, if not less than one. That isn’t a cheap business. It takes money to hire a reporter who isn’t just a talking sack of potatoes in a suit. Scott Schafer has been on the job forever, and he’s pretty good at it. Does he sound like he grosses $50k with no benefits to work at a major radio station in San Francisco? Get outta here. They got him to narrate one of their degraded pitches for listener support to trigger that dumbass challenge grant anyway. They’re either bullshitting or outright lying about the conditions of the grant, but the assholes upstairs don’t care.

Does Scott have more pressing things to do with his time than voice work for a one-off fundraising project that might more or less cover his salary? That’s the wrong question. He’s just the help. We’re failing to ask why the cunts who run NPR would ever care.

KQED airs some dogshit programs from the mother ship and produces some of its own, but in the meantime it does some fine, important, timely work. Its executives and development officials still expect the reporters and hosts who, you know, actually keep the front of the house from going dead silent to help them grovel before an obscure, superfluous family charity for chump change.

They say they’re doing this to meet the spring pledge drive goals in advance. Cool: take your medicine now and get it over with, or wait to take it later, with /crooning Carly Simon voice/ anticipation. By medicine, we mean giving us money, bitch. Duh. Again, this is jack shit for a radio station budget, but did Americans suddenly learn how to do rough mental arithmetic using factors of ten? Of course we fucking didn’t. Wow Much orders Such magnitude. Very confuse. Wow. Is KQED more expensive than a Safeway run? Is a cow pie bigger than the offerings in your cat’s litterbox? Is a 747 bigger than my Focus? Who knows? KQED might cost more than a tank of low-test gas, but if you think about it, or don’t, $100,000 or $200,000 in a 100% liquid discretionary fund available for thicky tricks or Amtrak fare or lunch at Adel’s once the Dread Ailment passes or a Chinese buffet run with a thicky trick (Is that still a good conservative institution, del Mastro? She’s an American, but is she a Conservative?) would be a nice little kitty, as he said. It’d be, like, a lot of money.

Hey, it’s just another institutional cancer, living its cancerous lifestyle, chasing its bliss. Father is grateful for the $10k endowment available for the parish’s K-8 school not in spite of the endowment’s capacity to yield gas money for the school van, but because of it. Dickinson College is insatiable at $500m because its endowment goes on playdates with Swarthmore’s. Harvard? Dear God. Just fucking expropriate it. Just remember: the NewsHour doesn’t air commercials for Consumer Cellular, Raymond James, and BNSF; those are, uh, benefactor appreciations, or messages from our sponsors, or, you know, they don’t exactly offer a name for the things. They demur.

Ye cannae imagine why, love.

If you give a bum a ten spot he might blow it on Olde English. We can’t do that. Spending charitable grants on malt liquor is too sensible.