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.

Right on target

It’s beautiful. The week I start shopping at Target again, one goes up in flames smack dab in the Homeland, on the southside of Minneapolis, in the ghetto (in the ghetto).

We aren’t waiting to start Hot Summer this year like we did in Ferguson in 2014 and Baltimore in 2016. In those cases there were ambiguities, ones that did not favor the police but offered them weak reasonable doubt. There is absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever to what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd. He murdered an innocent man in cold blood under color of police authority. Floyd’s first cries for help would have been justification for any bystander, police or civilian, to shoot Chauvin in the head at point blank range. Deadly force is legally and morally justifiable to stop a murder in progress. I understand that’s one of the things they teach at academy. Bumrushing Chauvin or forcefully beating him on the head would have been preferable, but only if practical. The other cops watching him calmly choke a man to death by kneeling on his neck apparently approved of his conduct and so would have rushed to his aid, not his victim’s. 

There are few worthier reasons to be judged by twelve than ensuring that such a thug be carried by eight. I feel degraded for writing these things, hardened, but I’m just conforming their own violent language to the heinous circumstances they caused. 

These circumstances arose in an ugly civic context. The Twin Cities were past the threshold to justify violent rebellion by the time Chauvin took the knee. The violent police repression of the protesters who took to the streets afterwards is all the proof we need that Chauvin’s cold-blooded homicidal violence and his squadmates’ calm approval are part of a dire systemic problem. MPD Homicide should have had him in custody within the hour. Detectives never have such compelling probable cause fall into their laps. If his own colleagues refused, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprenehsion should have moved in and apprehended him on suspicion of, don’tcha know, being a criminal. He committed a murder in uniform and broad daylight a ten-minute drive from an FBI field office. 

Nobody from any of these agencies responded to arrest this thug. Other cops are reportedly standing guard in his yard out in the suburbs, where the rest of the department lives, too. This is why Homicide should have hauled his ass in without delay. The US Marshals could end up in a Ruby Ridge-style siege if it tries to serve his arrest warrant now. It’s just a possibility; the feds got the Danziger Bridge Boys to surrender peaceably, through a receiving line, in suits. It’s still dangerous to have armed cops guarding a murderous ex-colleague on 24-hour rotating like they’re in the fucking Secret Service. There are no guarantees that this part of the clusterfuck will end well, either. 

This whole disaster could pull a 180 while I’m writing about it. By the prevailing standards of our times, the mayor and the chief shitcanned Chauvin and his three accomplices at warp speed. The mayor, Jacob Frey, sounds genuinely saddened and outraged in his public comments about the murder, and he’s absolutely right that he or anyone else but a cop would already be in jail for doing that. For some reason, however, he’s stlll giving his press conferences in Coptic. He’s using the same passive voice about things that tragically happened they always use. 

The culture is sick. It’s deeply sick. 

The Third Precinct riots are just medicine. The dose isn’t always on time. Frey is asking for backup from the National Guard, for his seditious cops, instead of backup from MPD Homicide for his constituents. He seems like a geniunely decent and responsible person. Something is badly off about his failure to get any level of law enforcement to have Chauvin under arrest and indictment. There’s a good chance he’s being threatened. 

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the MBCA and the FBI are investigating the Floyd murder. Maybe they aren’t slow-walking the job. I’m not particularly prejudiced against them in these cases.

Press statements of this sort still do not explain why the hell Derek Chauvin is not already in custody. The case against him is overwhelming. One witness attesting to the authenticity of the video in front of a cop is enough to have his ass downtown. Chauvin and his squad effected Floyd’s arrest on probable cause consisting of a complaint from a lone witness that he had committed a forgery for $20 in a convenience store. This was how Chauvin came to murder Floyd.

It is taking every level of law enforcement an astoundingly long time to make an arrest in one of the strongest cases ever to come their way. This is why the Target had to burn. 

The Target in question is an eerie one. It’s located in a strip mall district, in the midst of a variety of fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and the Minneapolis Police Department Third Precinct stationhouse. It’s across the street from the cop shop. The Target is at the far end of a parking lot at the northwest corner of the intersection of 26th, Lake, and Minnehaha; the stationhouse is on the southwest corner. Entirely coincidentally, Target, headquartered in downtown Minneapolis, uses this store to field-test its new security procedures and technologies. 

The Third Precinct building got fucked up pretty badly in the Target Campaign. The police are outraged, in the same way that any ordinary private citizen would be outraged to find a brick through his living room window at the hands of a man whose son he had just murdered in broad daylight. Chill, bruh. Ya, don’tcha know, ya just gatta chill da fuck oat, cool da fuck doane, and stap bustin my balls oover dat. Da mayor, he wants us to make peace and go back to telling Norwegian jokes on da radio wit Garrison, too.  

Be well, citizen. 

That’s the store where HQ figures oat ho to stap–if you wish, out how to stop–criminal failure to scan Good & Gather Andouille four-packs at self-checkout. These are the neighborhood constituents the company uses as test subjects for the optimization of the military intelligence-grade surveillance loss prevention surveillance. Like any other normal department store in any other normal neighborhood, it’s located across the street from a major police patrol base for an extremely troubled department. 

Target sounds like a chain that would call the police on a customer over a $20 bad check, but hey, the Floyd murder was only, like, Chauvin’s twelfth incident of serious official misconduct and third or fourth on-duty homicide or whatever. Beside, the test store is only three miles from the mothership downtown. How could the imperial periphery be so close to the imperial center? 

This is a wholesome chain store for wholesome people. It’s deep suburban Hennepin County normcore. Who could object? That sourpuss Franzen? We aren’t racist, but–okay, ya gatt us, we’re sooper dooper racist. Combine the cruelest, most passive-aggressive Midwestern Nice with extreme white flight paranoia and compulsory corporate cheer and, well, you can see how maybe there was a reason why the officer had his knee on that fella’s neck for nine straight minute. Blue lives matter, too. All lives matter. Black-on-black crime is a real problem, but you wouldn’t know it from the liberal mainstream media. 

It’s all too easy to see how these communities could have orchestrated the Holocaust. Communal relations there are terrible. The suburbs project febrile racial paranoia and grievances onto the city. Michele Bachmann and Keith Ellison represented adjacent Congressional districts. Suburban normcore is heavily mediated by television. Television is run by suburbanites and suffused with their prejudices.

On Post-Soviet Prairie of Home Companion, epistemology closes YOU! 

In the midst of this horror show, I can’t get that embarrassing corporate word salad out of my mind. Good & Gather. That makes negative sense. Nobody comes up with a name like that without being brainwashed unto mental retardation. It feels cringe to write about this, to spearfish the barrel in circumstances as grievous as these, and yet I can’t shake the feeling that there’s an important connection hiding out behind the wholesome facade. We’ll cover up anything with a veneer of cheery, ditzy wholesomeness, here in America. Hennepin County isn’t as divergent from the Black Belt as we’d like to assume. 

These are inchoate thoughts in the aftermath of a police lynching and the riots it provoked. I guess the common thread is the unspoken rule that life is good and we are not to complain. Cynicism and critical thinking are party fouls. Good & Gather? Professional marketers came up with that moronic name, one assumes. Are we really, seriously expected to stipulate that this is an intelligent brand name and that the “professionals” behind it are fit for white-collar employment? Please. And that the corporation distributing its packaged foods is unobjectionably wholesome and All-American when it operates a private surveillance state and field-tests new tools in that state’s arsenal across the street from a police station? 

Thinking does not happen in a vacuum. That name is disembrained, but it didn’t just float into some dipshit’s mind out of nowhere, with no cultural context. There’s a reason; we just have to look. The dumbest motherfuckers on earth all draw their stupidity from one cultural context or another, and usually from one that’s ambient. The ambient culture bathing that branding decision has to be one holding that The Brands Are Good. They provide us with our health plans. 

Or, if we work down on East Lake, they probably don’t, but America is a land of opportunity, but we don’t want the wrong elements moving into our neighborhoods and doing damage to our good schools. The question is always who’s us. Statistically, most of us are not. The conditions the normies would rather not mention are available for those who push the subject; shit in the punchbowl and they’ll rattle off a bunch of brain-dead, prejudicial nonsense that, by the time it’s over, has excluded a majority of Americans from the protections of our governments. They’ll deny and elide the channels of earthly power that they use on a daily basis until there’s no way to restore a semblance of accuracy on any of the subjects they’re discussing without steamrolling them, fact by excruciating fact. I hate having to do this in real life, but I can’t stand to roll over and go along with such weak, misleading argumentation pertaining, say, to the American medical-industrial complex, or the basic moral rectitude of Uber. Like, since you brought it up, we have to look at possible means of coercion other than the government telling us to do something or Thomas Jefferson having us put to the lash. 

For crying out loud it is not too cynical to express reservations about ceding control over one’s health insurance to a police department that tolerated serial killers in its ranks until this week or a chain retailer that markets sausages under off-brand names that are absolute gibberish and also detects its customers’ pregnancies before they do. This company and Walmart sound like exactly the companies to leave as the only browable bookstores in counties of over half a million. There couldn’t be an equity problems with this plan. 

For some reason I didn’t remember the Target teen pregnancy test scandal until just now. It’s probably because it was so close to life and far from death. 

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.

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.

Education special

Back in the late aughts there was a great deal of excited chatter about the MOOC. The massive online open course was basically a 100-level auditorium lecture, but free at the point of service, and on the computer. This fad coincided with the Second Great Depression, a global financial crash, deliberately mislabeled as a recession for propaganda purposes, which had nothing to do with education and everything to do with terrible elite immorality and incompetence. The crash was precipitated by college boys and girls, many of them with degrees in the liberal arts, who were utterly ignorant of the Great Depression. It was proof positive of a collossal international fuckup spanning much of the Global North, and it was strong evidence that education had nothing to do with education, either.

In any event, a bunch of proles looking for the big new thing and the grifters pandering to them salivated at the prospect of a free, zero-barrier college education, spurred by pangs of fear that higher education was becoming completely unaffordable. In truth, it wasn’t college that was unaffordable. What was unaffordable was allowing rich cokeheads off the leash and into positions of financial authority and power. Telling these shysters to drop out of the workforce already and devote themselves full-time to their drugs was too forward–this is America–so they reinvented a mashup of the mail-order audio lecture on the Great Books and the homecoming roundtable.

Detective Munch once took a coffee appreciation course at the Learning Annex; I once listened to George Schultz tell a one-liner joke, as the audience consensus construed it, about how Stanford was practically a subsidiary of corporate high technology. The farthest I ever got with the NYPD was the civil service exam, which was a lot more normal than the officers administering it. Some of us pass the test, for what that’s worth. One of the tests Munch passed had to do with judgment in class enrollment, and our lateral transfer from Balimore had it.

The NYPD doesn’t take lateral transfers, and dear God, Carisi, it doesn’t do 5150’s. If you want to really get your brain into a twist, consider this: Peter Scanavino is from Denver. There’s no need to sit for the exam to know any of this, just the intellectual curiosity of the hardcore barrio-bred cashier at the Steak-n-Shake in Fogelsville who’s jazzed up to talk shop across the counter because “I think they’ve got one in Ohio, too!” They don’t teach this in college. They do teach how to lose all critical thinking ability and then brag to classmates about how one’s alma mater, tried and true and all that other plagiarized pomp and circumstance and shit, taught the critical thinking needed to succeed. It’s fucking baffling. They’re always saying shit like, I didn’t learn how to write until I came to Dickinson. Da fuq? You still can’t.

Some of the more idealistic cynics, like Twitter’s Haircut_Hippie, argue that most people shouldn’t even try. This isn’t a terrible idea. There’s not nearly enough time to read the good writing, so it would be a blessing and a mercy not to weigh it down with piles of shit. It occurs to me, though, that it’s easier to write well about things one finds interesting and germane than it is to respond coherently and artfully to pointless, excruciatingly boring academic prompts. Those of us of a certain class (or theoretically so lol) are expected to jump through these hoops on command under the same defined-period, outrageously expensive institutional auspices where we’re encouraged to cultivate our friends, lovers, spouses, cronies, cult handlers, lives of the mind, purposes in life, and various other good things presumably never again to be so vigorously catalyzed in our lives, but don’t let your GPA drop, kid.

We pay for this? We actually PAY for this? Christ.

As another new decade looms, the Groaning Twenties, we brave the Dread Ailment. Circumstances force us to take our instruction alone and from afar. It’s a beautiful new frontier in learning, a ramshackle, spur-of-the-moment MOOC costing upwards of a hundred dollars a day. The institutions converting so abruptly to this format inevitably include the same ones that don’t advertise their discount fares or offer them without copious paperwork, but which atone by constantly pestering the “members” of their “communities” for tithes and offerings. Ed Burmila is right: the professors are now pretending to instruct, the students are pretending to study, and the schools are not at all pretending to collect tuition.

They don’t news this about, but the big cheeses in Silicon Valley send their children to select, expensive private schools strategically stripped of superfluous advanced gadgets. Technology for thee, but not for me. It’s pretty basic: if you’re slinging crack, you don’t wanna get addicted to crack. I assume they aren’t being told to bushwhack through barely operable computer portals to facilitate their own children’s education, already paid for under contractual terms stipulating in-person professional instruction. /Borat Voice/ My part-time wife is doing exactly this, and guys, this shit is not working. It just isn’t. I believe I could put together a serviceable curriculum in the time she’s spent navigating the portal for her kid’s school and troubleshooting it for other parents. They’re supposed to have fucking staff for this shit. One way or another we’re paying property taxes. Instead they’re dumping batteries of unaided, spottily funded mandates onto individual parents. I completed much of my own schooling before all this gee-whiz Flinstones electronic nonsense, so I know for a fact that there’s no reason they can’t just ship out the books and the assignment packets.

My bad: there’s no operational reason. Profits are being realized. Those realizing them have children enrolled in low-tech Montessori and Waldorf schools tucked away discreetly up the hill from the Bayshore.

Once again I’m all for parents Benedict Optioning their kids out of this pointless mess. They may receive deficient instruction or not learn much from their bespoke homeschooling curricula, but at least they’ll flounder intellectually in ways less aggravating and exhausting for their parents, and as we all know, brick-and-mortar schools are renowned for the spotless absence of academic, social, and behavioral difficulties on the part of their students. The commission here is, we might say, not so great: if you’re down for it, go for it. There’s nothing stopping you if you’ve got the gumption to tell the school board to get fucked. Besides, if you’re reading any of this, I Men’s Warehouse guarantee you that you will not be one of the bad homeschooling parent-instructors.

It seems we’ve got a lot of kids stewing at home this spring and learning jack shit. It’s like school that way, minus the congregate setting. Lose me with the moral panics. Fat Cracka don’t care. My great-aunt, the one who graduated from the eighth grade at the age of 22, received gracious and patient tutoring in astronomy from Staten Island’s premier autodicact, for what John Dennis Diddly that was worth. Some will win, some will lose, some are born to tell the fellow to take the telescope and shove it up his ass. Is astronomy gay? I’m agnostic, but have you tried wrestling? It’s the straightest thing in the Basin if Sunny 107 doesn’t have John Tesh on to talk about traction alopecia from man buns and spin One Direction records.

#IFYL, #TeshTips is a #BigBandStyle disaster, it’s capitalism, and it’s a low-key form of disaster capitalism. Who the fuck would give a shit about that bollocks in a healthy, prosperous, stable society? “Goodness, I only listen for the music.” Music notably excluding Johnny Paycheck, from what I’ve heard. That doofus should be off dropping crank to fuel a ten-piece swing set and dicking MILF groupies, not telling America how to get a job and keep it.

Our Radio Guylander, however, is just an example of the chronic minor inflammation afflicting the body politic. The good shit is landing as we speak. Betsy DeVos is not one to pass up an opportunity to trash stable, functional institutions and their prosperous unionized employees in order to make way for the latest gee-whiz scab racket. The same goofoffs who can’t pay attention to their teachers for two minutes when they’re in the same classroom are totally going to learn and thrive through this new paradigm remote instructional module, because innovation. Her beloved charter schools selectively divert students from their home districts into standalone siloes, the kind of joints where a bumptious thirty-year-old with a TfA stint under her belt and a master’s diploma on the wall is the principal, in the same fashion that the Union Army handed out lieutenants’ commissions to college boys like so many pieces of candy.

Resin up the bow to play the Ken Burns Fiddle Serenade for THAT. Since we’re already shunting kids into dodgy alternative schools, some of them extremely dodgy, and letting their owners operate them as slush funds, why not remove the teachers? Why not set up an understaffed Rube Goldberg portal for office hours and call it instruction? If this were about learning, we’d have public librarians draw up some recommended reading lists and hold down the fort at the desk to counsel those still confused.

But that was never the point. They’re just riding the grift horse again.

The last thing the DeVoses need is more money, so of course this whole thing is a scam designed to enrich them above all else. Hire bargain-basement IT dipshits to run the kludgefest, hire exhausted adjuncts who sleep in their cars to do any teaching (and there doesn’t have to be), set up the chief aides and other cronies with their windfalls, and personally make mad bank. Do welcome the money and the cash. That ass-ugly mansion on the outskirts of Grand Rapids doesn’t pay for itself.

What many liberals get wrong about Betsy DeVos is that she knows nothing about education. The awful truth of it is that she knows a fair bit about education and is passionate about it. Specifically, she’s passionate about all the same dogshit-stupid talking points the most hopeless Republican normies enthusiastically snort straight up their piggy snouts. An apathetic ignoramus would allow institutional inertia to keep the Department of Education going where it’s going, asleep on the bridge of that garbage barge sailing down the Cuyahoga River. DeVos knows what she’s doing. She used to tutor in the public schools in Grand Rapids. Already a billionaire, she took a normally obscure cabinet job at the upper end of the civil service pay scale, a penny-ante gig per se for a woman of her wealth and power. Of course, the salary in these jobs is just a fringe benefit; everybody knows the real money is extrinsic to the earnest Jimmy Stewart on the Hill shit.

The way that woman and her family think society should be run is absolutely fucking insane. DeVos occasionally spirited her most promising tutoring mentees out of the public schools and into the Dutch Reform private system, Ragged Dick-style, but she demanded that they work for it, not just academically, but by cleaning her mansion. Cross-referenced with the bizarre death drive of the hardline Calvinist worldview, it checks out that she’d consider it adequate educational policy to have poor students arbitrarily transferred from the general public school track onto the Christian prep school track just because they happened to have been assigned to her as mentees, and that it’s reasonable to indenture them and their mothers to her as superfluous domestics. It happened, so God knew about it, and God knew about it, so God willed it. The whole thing is a gullible dimwit’s book report on Candide, unfolding in real time with real schoolchildren.

The uncomfortable question that always arises in the aftermath of these gifted student teleportations is what the hell is to be done with or for those Left Behind (TM). We’ve been doing No Child Left Behind (TM) standardized testing for close to two decades now, and the results are still the same: not all children are above average. This produces the scandalous circumstance of certain school districts being ranked at the bottom of the rankings. How could they let that happen? The superintendent knew they were going to be ranked! Shockingly, some teachers in troubled districts help their students cheat on the ranking and proficiency exams: same thing the cool kids do in Corona Del Mar, just for the general and vo-tech tracks, the losers who’ve never heard of “reach” and “safety” schools. Robert Sanchez should reach for the emergency brake right now and stop this train in the interest of passenger and crew safety.

What? Was that a stupid thing to repeat? Compared to what? Dipshits who are stunned that the same districts in an increasingly immobile and sclerotic society keep performing at the bottom on tests that are specifically designed to rank districts? Goodness, how does this do-or-die competition keep producing losers?

In Pennsylvania, a perennial contender for last place is the York City School District. 501st out of 501. They’re all supposed to be above-average. Why isn’t is above-average? I take a quick sober look around town and can say exactly why. They ring-fenced the Great Migration ghettosiders, the Boricuas, and the Great Value Crackers into the municipality with the lead paint instead of the tax bases, where their kids are raised in chaotic homes without enough food. Groovy shit. Somehow this yields lower standardized test scores than Dover and CB East. How bow dah, Bregoli.

I’ve got the answers. This isn’t a great mystery. But how the fuck do I explain it to property-owning normies? They ask questions they don’t want answered, and the questions are retarded, so the answers are also retarded. The proximal fixes are pretty straightforward: beef up funding and instruction for YCSD and eliminate the tests. You know, do shit instead of constantly measuring it and talking about it. Come to understand, somehow, that some teams don’t make it to the Super Bowl.

The distal solutions aren’t so hard, either: make it so it isn’t the end of the world if a kid is a late bloomer, a jagoff, or just real slow. They’ve still got HACC and Millersville, right? Except maybe they’ll take fewer reverse-commute shifts at Panera if the rules of the game are relaxed. Who knows if it’s good, or if it’s wack? We might have to wait another five or ten for an overpriced bougie sammich because the training and management in the back of the house are as appalling as the clip art on the walls in the front. We might have to go home and make our own really shitty French onion soup. When we hear boosters earnestly saying that Inner Harbor and Camden Yards are the economic engines of Baltimore, it starts to seem like there’s no good reason to stay in school, or at least to do anything there but socialize. Either you’re part of the big club and you ain’t in it, or you’re slaving away for a pittance in the clubhouse.

Call me when they’re running a real economy again. They aren’t entirely jackin” it at Inner Harbor, but they’re sure trying. As they say on NPR, Here and Now’s Peter O’Dowd visits three piles of trash in Baltimore. Listen, I’m the last one to shade any of that, but all it amounted to was a skeleton crew at the incinerator, some dump truck drivers, and a neighborhood guy running the compost pile at a community garden in the outer part of the inner city. Otherwise they’re trying to fix the ghetto with some dead-end food service jobs on the deindustrialized waterfront that involve a whole lot of weird racialized socioeconomic shit from Whitey from the County. This is exactly what we get for being a society run by navelgazing idiots who can’t do rough mental arithmetic using factors of ten.

Huh. I thought that was supposed to be on the math test.

Remedying any or all of this might be expensive, as opposed to the DeVoses’ obscene compounds. Many graduates of our most lavishly funded, highly regarded schools truly do not understand that Jeff Bezos is worth a lot more than their dentist. Perhaps you understand now why I declined to call these schools our best. That said, schools are an expedient turnkey way to keep our young people, and our young at heart, from doing whatever else they might be doing.

It turns out that teaching, counseling, coaching, mentoring, socializing, and otherwise occupying a good third of the American population is expensive. If we know anything about the most deranged Dutch Reform shitheads in Southwestern Michigan, it’s that they’re cheap. They aren’t Book Jew cheap, either, like, I went over to the takeout place at Seventy-First and Eighth, but you wouldn’t believe it, they’re charging $7.50 for a half a dozen pot stickers, so I just got the pork chow mein. That shit’s all right, the chow mein and the decisionmaking. The DeVos clan all insist on ruling. Erik Prince just has to be a mercenary meathead who kills disfavored factions of Middle Easterners for their oil and minerals. The DeVos family has to preside over a multilevel marketing empire, collecting the tribute that is their due for being at the top of every upline every time some submissive schmuck from church sells a bottle of stovetop cleaner. Betsy has to make scholarship students clean her fucking house. I want that self-righteous bitch to answer me: what in all hell is wrong with more clutter and grime, or with less house? She’s a megalomaniac, and she’s also a miserable cunt.

These fuckers obviously don’t want to work for a living. They wouldn’t be joining armed raiding parties or running the most notorious MLM racket in the country, and maybe the world, if they did. Do they really think a Chicano kid from the wrong side of the tracks hasn’t heard of the idea of getting a job? And why does the job have to be for her benefactress? This arrangement is feudal. A woman with an estate that would astound most medieval kings has members of a family already overloaded with other duties perform domestic tribute on her mansion, which is one of many her family own in various places. This shit ain’t about self-reliance, which Betsy could model by doing her own damn cleaning, allowing her scholarship beneficiaries to do something actually worthwhile, like just study.

Southwestern Michigan is one of the most mental places in the country. Parts of Grand Rapids proper aren’t too bad, but the region is a clusterfuck. The DeVoses have more living and recreational space than they could possibly use, and meanwhile there are places half an hour away where the government is unable to maintain the roads. The local factory owners discovered early on that the Dutch, and the Dutch alone, were eager to cross picket lines and get to work. They like this: it was easier to have a conference of dour preachers boss them around on capital’s behalf than to dispatch Pinkertons to beat the shit out of Pollacks.

This culture is unrecognizable to the actual Dutch from the original Holland. The Dutch Dutch, historically liberal on the whole, mostly stayed that way, developing an impressive variety of productive indusries run by competent but assertive workers and an off-the-clock culture with a strong respect for individual liberty. The Michigan Dutch mutated into grandstanding managerial-class busybodies whose children play heaven. I’m not making that up. There are families in Ottawa County whose children play heaven.

Thank God my Michigan relatives are in Ann Arbor. Say what you will about the dueling anti-deer cull activist groups or the bougie business enclosure efforts; at least they aren’t a gaggle of the most impossibly preoccupied mummers blustering about a handful of out-of-context biblical passages and reveling in their own utter alienation from the natural world–creation, as some of us sometimes call it. Of course the Southwesterner zealots revile the Southeast’s raucous pagan-Catholic syncretic spirituality, with its sense of the meeting that, whatever the religious authorities say, the high holiday of Halloween is the capstone of the most important season, the Fall. Expose a kid to that and she might learn the wrong things about death, but also about life, and Walt Kowalski, and 28-year-old virgins who hold the hands of old ladies and promise them an eternity, and bequeathing the Gran Torino to the gook because he’s a friend now and God knows who else will take care of that poor Lab, and light? I’ve got a light.

Can’t have the little ones imagining that there’s a ghost inside that pumpkin. It’s of the Devil, just like praying for, or more often to, St. Richard Russell. Chill, bruh, I’m not saying he’s your intercessor. I’m not trying to monopolize Beebo, either, but if I’m bashful about disclosing my private litany of saints to my fellow Catholics when the first thing they say about their grandmothers is that they’re their intercessors, I suppose I’ll keep it close to the vest around hardline Calvinists of the sort who approve of summary bathtub baptisms.

The dude who made me that offer was a cradle Catholic. Go figure. Five Points, man. Talk about a religion for engineers. You know, just a little something to keep in mind in case militant Wahhabism isn’t working out so great. That one lady gave Mr. Explodeypants a Rosary and a Bible at his sentencing, I recall. I just get a not so good feeling about how he’ll use either of them, especially the one with the words. And we know all too well the characters who proselytize in prisons and around the Air Force Academy.

#KeepClimbing

Hey, a foreign US intelligence asset may have good professional reasons for learning how to follow but not waive the rules before he has bad ideological reasons. The DeVoses and associates don’t even learn how to keep buildings from falling down or anything like that by being horny for rules. It’s because taking the neighborhood mindset to engineering school would be too honest and require too much work. The incentives to have tangible skills at all at their station in life are nonexistent. It would just result in some dumb bastard doing the work the servants were hired to do.

Wack-ass Calvinism is in no way fundamental to becoming or being a billionaire. For the DeVoses, however, it coheres all too neatly. It’s some bad, bad shit. I can’t stand Warren Buffett on his own, but if these asshats are the alternative? Roll that beautiful Brokaw footage. The average billionaire is all like, I have the money so fuck you is why you work for me. These ghouls have an elaborate religious theology justifying their privileges as the lords and ladies of their manor empire and the apex predators at Amway. John Calvin had a less scatalogical but more disturbed dispute with the Catholic Church at a time when the latter was extra corrupt, and here we are half a millennium later, watching his adherents justify their own wanton predation and corruption in the name of his austere theology.

In case that isn’t funny enough, they’re doing it all under the ethnic auspices of the same nation that was too liberal for the Mayflower party. Mamma mia it is a blanda mushy pea! African-Americans often rue, and quite reasonably so, that they’re so deracinated from the Motherland, that they hit dead ends every time they try to trace their ancestries. We’ve traced some of our own family trees back into the 17th century, and these seem like good things to be able to learn, so I don’t want to make light of people with a similar interest in their ancestries hitting brick walls at Emancipation. Seeing what certain white people do with their old-country ties to Europe, however, makes the whole endeavor seem absurd. Italian identity is being a territorial paranoiac. Irish identity is being a belligerent territorial drunk. Scotch identity is a marginally more sober highland brawling thang. #PureMichigan Dutch identity is all about using personal religious zealotry as a cudgel to beat public policy until it conforms to the ideological will of one’s congregation.

It’s foolish to expect cultural stasis lasting centuries, but the examples above involve divergences running from the significant to the unrecognizable. It doesn’t help that Americans spend more time listening to crude ethnic marketing kitsch and the grandstading of the most obnoxious local ethnic representatives than they spend socializing with foreigners from the countries of origin in question. Pelosi? Snucchi? La Situazione? Eyyy, Guido, it ain’t a so autentico a meataball, #EY! I’m not just shitposting, though: I’m far from convinced that any of the three know anything materially true and useful about Italy.

God knows they’re solipsistic enough to be Americans.

That cold detachment

Eyyy, Fancy Nancy, she like a de gelati, #EY! And Mamma Mia, it is a slimy Isa Cream!

We can hardly even score a fun Eye Tie for these gigs. We’ve got Schumer, and we’ve got Cuomo–two of them, Christ–and fucka me Chucka, dats all we gots. Lawdy Mista Rosavelta, dissa coulda beaner D’Abilli Joel, but day plane, Frankie, day plane.

Some accuse Bernard of the Brothers of carpetbagging. I figure that move to Vermont was just cultural assortation. It’s never the aggro Money Jews who move north from the city full-time; it’s the principled Book Jews, the ones who are from the Outer Boroughs and aren’t ashamed of it, and by Bob Moses that train was leaving the freshly remodeled Penn Station with or without him.

We might figure there’d be some old-line Genovese or Turiners in North Beach, maybe even some Arab Southerners in the Excelsior or what have we, who could have claimed that wop slot first. We’d figure wrong. A little upwardly mobile Irish something-something happened to Moscone and Milk back at the zenith of the Great Compression, and you can betcher racially ambiguous Wasilla ass we didn’t get one of the good Jews out of that deal, either.

Look, I’m not up on my high horse here grandstanding about how I’m a cracker crossbreed Catholic. That’s for the Baltimore mayor’s daughter to do, As An Italian. So was Gramsci, bitch.

The Pelosi Ice Cream Controversy is petty, but it’s revealing. The Marie Antoinette energy is strong in that one. The whole episode is emblematic of postmodern American politics as celebrity.  These aren’t public servants; they’re celebrity divas. The public service they do perform is incidental to their privilege. They have to perform some local constituent services to hold their seats, because at some point even their cult diehards will start to wonder what the hell they’re doing on Capitol Hill if they don’t, but in the grand scheme we’re all constituents of Congress, and as guardians of the national commonweal most of them, Nancy Pelosi included, are disastrous.

It stands out that these crooks never socialize with anybody who understands how ordinary Americans live or has the courage to tell them. It’s of a piece with the unmooring from reality of our elites across the board. The people behind our television entertainment have little ability to tell the stories of ordinary Americans and practically none to design a sitcom set resembling an average American house or neighborhood. Newspaper reporters and staffers in the seats of our governments come more and more from the upper middle and upper classes. Elected officials at the state level are consistently statistically or functionally multimillionaires; at the federal level they’re either multimillionaires who live and think like centimillionaires or centimillionaires who live and think like billionaires.

Christopher Lasch’s revolt of the elites framework was overwrought in its emphasis on the secular liberalism of the upstart elites rising in the late midcentury; loud religious piety and cultural conservatism have long been more of a middle- to upper-middle-class hobbyhorse than generally framed for normcore consumption, and less of a fundamental value set of the lower classes, although the regional and local nuances are worth keeping in mind. Lasch’s overarching model, however, wasn’t just perceptive. It was prescient. This was especially true of the socioeconomic aspects of his framework, which he sketched out ably, although lightly and as part of a distracting effort to integrate them into a grand model of decadence, alienation from workaday life, and hardening arrogance.

The guy had his odd fixations, but he was a fucking prophet. He still is, really. There is simply no way that a rich, pampered socialite like Nancy Pelosi will allow her descendants to plummet into the mere middle class in her lifetime, unless they seek out a middling station of life and refuse her help. A descent into the lower class is something that would take them a heroic effort. Even if they choose to live frugally and shabbily, their parents and grandparents will be there to bail them out of the legal consequences of any addictions they indulge, or at the very least to blunt the ill effects. They know how to find top-notch criminal defense attorneys and can easily afford legal fees. They’re able and generally willing to bribe police departments and prosecutors’ offices. They keep and curate their blackmail files. Maybe the Chief is a sexual deviant who studied for his psych exams; a fellow couldn’t brame him for that. Maybe the DA is a psychopath who abuses her help. To be clear, this is not the Bill Scott energy, but that is the Kamala Harris energy. Remember, Dick Pic Tony dindu nun wah Denny Dundiddly dun. As far as we know, in any event. No homo, we just like to roll around on the mat and grab our fellows’ asses, but Carolina Jailbait knew his deal when she reached out to him, here, , On Line. They say Diddlin’ Dennis did it to straight dudes, too, though. Put it in, Coach!

This is just a fun scenic detour, a Taconic State Parkway of perversion. Listen, young lady, you shouldn’t let just any old guy run his Taconic peak down your professionally mowed parkway. I don’t figure it was a good idea to publish that, but it was an idea. Most of y’all are still stopping by for Dubai Porta Potty and the Levinian dude looks like a lady of the uncanny valley shit, right? Just thot I’d check. The sex is always more fun than the budgeting, but that’s just for us little people, ain’t it, Leona. Fancy Nancy, that girl can budget. It’s easier with reserves and credit lines. $190k down the drain for poker, or maybe to pay to poke her, or for a gentleman to powder his nose, or for shit even I am of no mind to mention, or, goodness, it must have been for the National Pastime, was no problem for Brett Michael. They’ve got friends. They’ve got associates.

They get their parents or family cronies to set them up with patent sinecures on command. The sky’s the limit on the bullshit make-work. NBC paid Chelsea Clinton a “salary” on the order of half a million dollars to show up at the office if she felt like it and pretend that she was employable. She quit this job to do “charitable” and other foundation “work” and get brownnosed by family scholars on retainer to reassure her that she knows all about executive function and therefore isn’t a useless idiot.

There’s a litany of repulsively sleazy grifts the Trump family organization has run–for a general hint, consider that they’re openly described as a family organization–but reestablishing Florentine Renaissance family patronage in the arts for the degraded purpose of making the family regressions to the mean sound educated is not one of them. Eric Trump’s selling points do not include the transcendence of mental retardation.

A survey of twenty-first century academia and publishing indicates that it’s impossible to make a living as a reputable writer or academic in the humanities, the arts, or the soft sciences, but there are depressingly numerous openings in marketing, including those devoted to burnishing the reputations of politically connected dimwits as intellectual visionaries. Kissing Chelsea’s ass in the name of intellectual vigor is night-and-day worse, intellectually, than anything Steve Bannon has done as a public intellectual adjacent to political power. Bannon is a dissipated alcoholic polymath who took the Third Successive Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Secessions on as his political fighter, then the Oaf of Office, and before long got turfed out, on the path of so many colleagues, for crossing his messy bitch from Queens who lives for drama. Nothing But Respect For A Thick Moist One. These guys are wrecks, but against the odds they’re humble wrecks.

Joe Biden has a different but even worse liability. He has himself a Hunter problem. There’s old Joe, wouldja just look at him, doing the yeoman wonk’s work for his humble Senator’s salary, living in his corrupt yet inexpensive second First State, keeping his net worth down, and well shucks, don’tcha know, his boy got discharged from the service over drugs and picked up a job on the board of a foreign oil company. The whiff wafting off this scene sticks. The Democrats spent four decades cultivating Uncle Joe and his colleagues as serious, upstanding technocrats, and now, as it emerges by the week that their golden boy of the year is not only a handsy hair-sniffer and reactionary extremist but also apparently a rapist and progressively senile, they’re whining at the top of their lungs that it’s unfair. It’s unfair for Trump to get a pass for doing the same shit. It’s unfair for Trump to hypocritically accuse Biden of doing the same sleazy and predatory things he’s done himself.

Beanbag come to mind as a wholesome, fair game. Anybody who’s so much as observed Capitol Hill as a rank amateur should know better than to expect one of the most boisterously outrageous celebrities in the country to go easy on a scandal-plagued opponent who is actively angering a good half or more of his own party’s nominal coalition by being a reactionary ratfucker and is truly losing his damn mind in real time. Trump’s key tactical strength here isn’t that he’s shameless, but that he’s shrewd and astute. The shrill charges of hypocrisy ring hollow. The Trumps and their Business Success Associates relish their own corruption. Burisma? Of course I would have put Junior or my hot daughter or the blond retard on the board; we were just busy with a bunch of other scams. It isn’t the hustle the Donald disrespects; it’s the whiny hypocrisy, the nerve of the sleazeballs opposite him to cry out for the mods to stop him from doing the shit they’re doing, too.

Of course the Democrats aren’t actually interested in playing beanbag for a living. They’re dirty as hell, and they have the nerve to add insult to injury by bitching and moaning about how they keep getting done dirty. We hear endless scolding about how Trump is unqualified for his office. Everyone sniveling about that needs to shut up and read the Constitution. Donald John Trump was a natural-born citizen over the age of 35 at the time of his inauguration. He’s full-stop 100% qualified. What the Democrats actually mean is that they dislike him. They resent him for not paying his dues inside the Beltway. They resent him for not kissing the rings, i.e., for exactly the shit that ordinary voters in the provinces cannot fucking stand and exactly the shit the candidates pandering to them make a show of not doing.

As we’ve reviewed before, too extensively, the Democrats had copious grounds, as they say in Detroit, to impeach the motherfucker, but instead of making a strong case proving that he was heinous, they slow-walked the process, then got horny for rules and droned on about a mishmash of incomprehensible diplomatic points of order having to do with foreign lands where our government was unwisely entangled. James Madison isn’t here to chide them for reverting to a lower old-country parliamentary threshold for shitcanning the bastard, or to have his fellow human beings whipped to death for being too slow picking tobacco. They could have told him, all right, asshole, you’ve been inciting pogroms and sending people into our chambers to shit on us, and you’re leaving town. Go to your branded hotel down the street if you want, but you’re evicted. You’re #fired.

It would have been muscular, mature, and sensible. Of course they fucking didn’t do it.

Unless they change horses midcharge–another thing that might well make too much sense to consider–we’re only in the early stages of watching that hated oaf curbstomp their new mush-for-brains standardbearer. More assuredly than that we’ve got at least another seven months of sputtering grievances about how the Party is being unfairly denied the very things it has done everything in its power not to earn. The assholes can’t help themselves. They just have to shit on core constituencies for being uppity and scream at them, demanding their votes.

Fool I ain’t in dawg. The constant weaponization of privilege wore out its novelty years ago. There’s no shortage of us who are terminally sick of hearing from ungodly rich thieves and parasitic sinecure holders that we have to check our privilege while we live, out of sheer necessity, in some version or other of the real world. Is it possible to live at the top of Divisadero, own a large vineyard on prime Napa Valley bottomland, and not be a shithead?

Democratic Party politics are a scheme for posh miserable cunts to gaslight their socioeconomic inferiors into indulging in psychotic parasocial relationships with treacherous elected officials. That was the point of the ice cream horseshit. Fancy Nancy and Gropey Joe have known each other in real life for decades, and they still carry on a bizarre parasocial relationship over Twitter, pour l’encouragement des autres. They probably have their People do the grunt work (Trump does much of his own poasting), but that’s beside the point. Any reputable politician who saw that kind of belittling Marie Antoinette preening on an official campaign channel would fire the comms staffer who posted it.

The Democratic Party has pushed its way into a state of decadence and hubris so extreme that Bernie Sanders was its only viable candidate for the presidency who lived at all deeply in the real world. Warren came close, depending on what we’re calling close. The clown car hangers-on who managed to live likewise abroad from the Land of Make-Believe were a strange bunch: the steady-as-she-goes normcore Castro, the postmodern economics nerd Yang, the deceptively astute activist moneybags Steyer (who had actually put in serious ground work, in person, in South Carolina, for years), the unabashedly syncretistic spiritual guide Williamson, opening for us all the portal into an astral overworld we dared not imagine. She said it herself: we’re uncomfortable here because we’re not from here. It just goes to show, we never know who will crash in from the New Age book circuit out of the blue and effortlessly explain Washington.

The rest of them are cultists who project their rank cultism onto Bernie and his bros of all sexes. They expect us to relate to them because they keep expensive ice cream in extremely expensive freezers. Bitch who the hell is us? The fuck do these supercilious scumbags have in common with us, and what in God’s name do they have to offer us? Nancy’s record is really bad, and Joe’s is atrocious. Do they seriously think that posting that twee, preening, self-congratulatory shit about one another’s excellent domestic taste makes it a good time to have a neck?

Leaving that aside in the basket (how deplorable!), their domain is what might be called war by other means. What, pray tell, is it good for? Not a hell of a lot, it seems, the way they’re waging it. It is categorically, statistcally false that not voting is a privilege, or that voting third-party is a privilege. Fuck outta here. The median voter hardly ever votes. Maybe 1% of Americans could say who Jill Stein is. Once again, they mean something ridiculously different. They mean that it’s a privilege, but really an offense, not to vote as they dictate. How does that fucking work? It takes some combination of high ascribed class and high attained class to be exposed to their talking points in the first place; the poor figure they’re all bastards anyway, except for Bernie. We like Uncle Bernie. Is it a privilege not to drink Shoko Asahara’s bathwater? He surrounded himself with medical doctors and (why am I not surprised?) chemists and engineers, and he charged by the jar, so I don’t think so.

The freak with the rallies and the shouting fits and the inept spray-on tan and the empire of resort properties and wearable merch branded in his own family name is running the LESS cultlike presidential campaign. The loudmouthed conservative is tacking to the left of the loudmothed liberal, as he’s been doing on the spur of the moment for his entire career as a serious politician. What am I supposed to believe: the pronouncements of professional idiots who keep getting it totally wrong, or my own lying eyes? These are parochial concerns for the Parish of One, perhaps, but the average dipshit knows that the personal is the political. Bougie Democrats and the political types catering to them sure know how to make things that aren’t even about them personal, just as much as they know how to cause gratuitous personal offense to downwardly mobile losers like me. It’s that cult programming again. Scientology doesn’t appreciate it when members break out of the compound, either. Shoko doesn’t want the supplicants demanding better than boiled vegetables. Sarinday, in the park, I think it was the Cough of Oh My, here comes that gassy day feeling again.

You float?

By the way, and I am not imagining this or bluffing, I am on the moderate end of escapees from the Democratic Rez. I’ve been homeless, and I’ve nearly been the victim of domestic violence, but there’s a whole world of hurt out there that I haven’t suffered, and I’m grateful. To wax rhretorical and passive-aggressive, do yinz want me voting against your bullshit politicians, or should I not vote at all? I’m residually clubbable enough, and whatever else, to still believe in electoral politics, in fact, fiercely so. I’m not a Bernie-or-bust diehard, either: I’ve been listening to some of the daily broadcasts of the Gavin Gabbin’, the discourses about old African proverbs relevant to the State, not only of California, and as much as I love to fun the guy, if they swap Nob Hill Dreamboat in for First State Brain Pudding, I’ll be on board. Believe me, I am not siding with Trump because I don’t want to cut the bullshit, but because I do.

This is a specific preference. GTFO with the Blue No Matter Who extortion. Christ alive, can these asshats not recognize a cult tactic when they’re swinging it around like LBJ’s schlong? I suppose [Sean Connery voish] the firscht rule of Shite Club izh shy lensch, but some of these cases may actually be too stupid to see what they’re doing. The real world is not their scene. It may well be easier, for the dissociative, to disscociate from the moral horrors facilitating their own secure, luxurious lives.

It’s striking that so many of the Blue No Matter Who scolds, as well as so many of the upmarket core MAGA crowd, presume it right and just that a bottomless servant class exists to materialize at their command out of the ether to wait on them, then vanish back into thin air upon the completion of their appointed tasks, like so many ghosts. Like hell am I the privileged one in this scenario; I don’t use those platforms. I’ve never signed up. Then there’s the homelessness crisis, which intersects with the gig economy in a pretty big way, and which Bougiekistan refuses to confront. Gavin seems to care, but Nancy? Lol. Kamala? We’ve seen what she does to prisoners, another disproportionately homeless group. Think of it as a rapid rehousing program.

San Franciscans and Californians keep these creeps in power because they terrorize the poor. Even Newsom is too politic to rock the boat enough for them to notice without a compelling cause. This, I fear, is the horror show Democratic strategists are getting at when they insist on reaching out to disaffected suburban Republicans. Kamala Harris is a Deukmejian-Wilson Republican minus the charm, but the property owners around here have gotten all squeamish about out Republicans, so they flee for protection to the closet cases.

It’s even grosser. Deukmejian and Wilson were vicious, but they were grown-ups. They were honest about what they were selling. A lot of it was death and terror, but they weren’t squirrelly. The heavily Democratic extreme right in California today is too disingenuous, for the most part, to admit that it despises the poor, the incarcerated, and the otherwise marginalized. We’re good liberals, you see. That’s why we vote for the great incoherent liberalism of London Breed, the greater incoherence of Fancy Nancy and DiFi, whatever the hell other than criminal aggression explains Ernesto Olivares, and the incomprehensible incoherence of Kamala Harris. The last two are cops, and the former got a uniform for his trouble.

If Democratic electorates are voting for these creeps and sleazeballs, that says something about the Democratic Party and its voters. It fits together too snugly with the decadent, morally insenate antics of YouTubers in Venice Beach and the pathetic dipshit proposal to win back the US House by appealing to Panera Democrats. Straight from the mouth of National Oracle Crystal Harris: fun stuff for me, adult stuff for thee. Sitting around in Panera and posting about masturbatory West Wing fantasies on a laptop? Fun stuff. Grance halls? Union halls? Factory floors? Picket lines? Not fun stuff. Driving for Uber, as opposed to telling others to drive for Uber? Hell no.

Crystal barely knew who Barack Obama was when Hef took her along to chat with Larry King, and she’s one of the better Harrises.

I can’t imagine why they keep getting thumped at the polls. Shucks, they’re all just Mr. Smith going to Washington, to militate for the stupidest, blindest, prissiest, most disingenuous aristocratic wannabes on the planet. Let’s go scare up some amoral social climbers in Alpharetta and Granite Bay and wherever and see if they wouldn’t rather vote for a team of perennial losers instead. Once we’ve done that, let’s go scream bloody murder at college-educated dead-enders with six-figure debt loads and retail jobs about how they’re apostates.

Eyy, signora, maybe there’s a reason why we ain’t a so heppy widda Mista Giuseppe, #EY! My bad: we’re respectable, devout Italian Catholics. Kyrie eleison from the Geary Expressway to Highway 29 all the godforsaken live-long night.

Bruisers for Bernie

Joe Rogan got the whole liberal chattering class’s panties into an impenetrable bunch this week. All he had to do was tentatively declare himself a Bernard Brother. They got upset when Bernie went on Rogan’s show, and they got bent even further out of shape when this appearance netted him an endorsement.

These shitlib wokescolds really do hate winning. Blowing a couple hundred mil of the funds they’ve helped raise on a disastrously out-of-touch campaign that pissed off a small majority of Americans for years is fine, but God forbid you go on a podcast they dislike, have a cordial enough time with its host whom they also dislike, and get him to like you enough to tell his listeners that he’s planning to vote for you. This, son, is beyond the pale.

The problem with Joe Rogan is that he’s problematic. Duh. Wow Much thots Very explain. He’s accused of being a bigot, a kook, and a dimwit, a man with “all the mental alacrity of a turnip.” On the other hand, he regularly hosts guests who disagree with him and who are smarter than him. On what planet does this make him look bad? What are we smoking? I could use a break from the crushing bleakness of reality-based living myself.

We might hope that those running the Democratic Party would recognize the difference between not personally being keen on a guy and having their reputation poisoned by association with him. This is a distracting gloss, of course. They hate Bernie, and they hate Rogan for the same reasons. They don’t give a shit that he’s a bigot; Joe Biden, please report to a white people courtesy telephone. Rather, what bothers them is that these guys are unabashedly broad working-class in their mannerisms, temperaments, and worldviews. It isn’t a bit, like Joe Biden’s aw-shucks Scranton-via-Wilmington shtick. It’s the real deal. Sanders is an old outer borough Jewish socialist muckraker, and Rogan is a proud Irish meathead. Rogan has platformed other leftists, too. He seems intellectually curious, if rougher than his supercilious betters would like and maybe not so big on object permanence. I don’t think I’d care to listen to this dude opine about MMA folding chair beatdowns or some shit for a full episode myself, but I have to wonder what the hell is so awful about his mild-mannered political wildcard chatter in a media landscape featuring the likes of Rush Limbaugh and an emeritus political deanery that has never rejected Henry Kissinger. As public figures go, he seems all right. Hell, he’s not Hillary Clinton.

As far as I can tell, these butthurt nerds didn’t give Joe Rogan any thought or hold opinions about him until he hosted Bernie Sanders on his podcast. Then, all of a sudden and out of nowhere, he was a prime vector of bigotry and illiberalism. There’s nothing particularly novel about this: it’s exactly how their feelings evolved on Russia. Nor have I forgotten the ample license they gave the Donald for decades, expressing no concern about his flagrantly coarsening effects on American culture as a celebrity entertainer, and turning on him only when he humiliated their ice queen by stealing the presidential election the universe owed her for her for paying her dues. I’m not trying to imply that they care about voter suppression in North Carolina or other crooked states; that’s a secondary concern of theirs, at best, to their psychosexual needs.

Again, I don’t listen to Rogan. The only clip I’ve heard of him is the one where he endorsed Bernie Sanders. He seemed quite down-to-earth and agreeable there, so I have trouble imagining that he’s really some kind of uncontrollable maniac or sadistic monster. If somebody goes to the trouble to post something about him convincing me that I’m wrong, that’s cool, but I’m not about to get invested in researching a broadcast personality who neither attracts nor repels me just because the shitlib blob are all sore with him for making common cause with an old-school socialist they all hate. I’m not doing a fucking ethnography about any of this just because hoes mad. The centrist shitheads are speculating and projecting, too, after all. I’m at least trying to live in the real world, without inspiration from such bae leaders as Harry Potter and Josiah Bartlet.

One thing I find telling, though, is the specter of accusations that Rogan traffics superstition, woo-woo, conspiracy theories, and so forth. Who gives a shit? This is just more class warfare, coming as usual from the top down.

Rogan has criticized the #MeToo movement, to their disgust, but it’s worth considering whether he has a point when so many of its champions preferred to focus on Gwyneth Paltrow and ignore Juanita Broaddrick. It’s obvious that Paltrow is a stuck-up bitch who acts like her own shit doesn’t stink and a champion thot whisperer. She is obviously a bad influence on women. The prospect of her, of all people, as an advocate of sexual equity should give us pause. We’ve got a movement that was hogged from the start by insufferable A-List bitches who always act like their own shit doesn’t stink, like, oh my God, why did I have to put out for that hideous Jew. At some point, a point I long ago reached with the Goop cunt and J-Law, it’s time to point out that they were trying to climb that greasy pole and Harvey was the pole. I’m not ashamed to have more sympathy for young men falsely or inaccurately accused of sexual assault by classmates of dubious character or mentation for acts committed under circumstances nobody can reliably reconstruct than for sniveling starlets who constantly whine, perched atop their pies of wealth, that they had to humor a wretched self-loathing Jewish flasher on their way to the top. Jennifer Lawrence damages her case by complaining about horny men looking at her leaked nudes, as if her sex appeal as a clothed actress never contributed to her success. I’m sorry, but I am never going to be that attractive or that successful, and I am already more tangibly productive and useful to society. That bitch can go fuck herself.

We don’t have a duty to believe everything every obviously compromised complainant has to say about her trauma as a sexual assault survivor. We’ve got a whole lot of bad actors on the scene muddying the waters for victims of serious attacks or extortion shakedowns, and on top of that the Brock Turner case spewed a firehose of shit all over our already shambolic discourse about mercy versus justice in the criminal justice system. He’s a monster, but his case immediately turned into a Manichean nightmare when he was sentenced. Plus we’re all-around psychotic about sex in this country. I’ll be damned to assume that Rogan is categorically wrong and some of the most reality-optional centrist remoras in the land are categorically right.

Centrists complaining about Rogan for peddling conspiracy theories call to mind Rob Ford complaining about drunkards smoking crack. I’ve heard enough to last me a lifetime about the Russia/Ukraine horseshit. We’re a sovereign nation of our own, securely protected by thousands of miles of ocean from the parts of Russia that are worth a damn. I swear to God I’m inexpressibly sick of listening to useless fuckheads who have never studied Russia reputably or given it any worthwhile thought insisting that our the outcome of our election was dictated by a bunch of paid trolls spitting Our Hearts Go Out To The Ceausescu Family, Sad Day for Nicolae game at Midwestern computer shut-ins. The shut-ins are our fucking problem, not the Kremlin’s, and unlike most of his competitors, Bernie Sanders is trying to offer them something worth supporting instead of smearing them as a bunch of pigshit ignoramuses.

Here’s something more general about conspiracy theories, and more telling: the recreational ones are the fun ones, and they’re also the ones that our betters try to suppress. The Russian election interference story is fucking insufferable, an unbelievably self-serious pile of horseshit. Coast to Coast AM isn’t like that. Those guys are cool. They aren’t obsessed with Calvinist literalism or stick-in-the-ass rectitude. They enjoy a good campfire story. The story might be bullshit, allegory, hallucination, true memory, or all of the above, but nobody gets upset if parts of these stories turn out to be inaccurate or unprovable. It isn’t a sworn deposition; it’s a 2:00 am wake-and-bake call to the wildcard line about getting buttfucked with medical equipment by Roswell aliens riding the circuit in Fargo.

It’s a swell plan for the Democratic Party’s gatekeepers to throw fits at Joe Rogan and his listeners because they’re incorrigible teachers’ pets constitutionally incapable of understanding sarcasm, hyperbole, metaphor, allegory, mystery, or any other nuance coming from their political and cultural opponents. As always, we should expect nothing less of them. They’re goody-two-shoes boors, and to be blunt, their class is paid to believe in politically correct conspiracy theories, like the Russia bollocks, and not to believe in politically incorrect ones, like Saudi Arabia’s proven involvement in 9/11 or Jeffrey Epstein’s weird-ass presidential blackmail portraiture collection. To be blunter, most of them aren’t even paid well to do this. These are religious tests that apply to minor offices and sinecures paying anywhere from $40k to jack shit, not just to the major league.

This is another example of liberalism in fact being deeply illiberal. “Socially liberal but fiscally conservative” is a reliable weasel tell, but a lot of these assholes aren’t even socially liberal when push comes to shove. They allow their own lives to be dictated by prescribed studies, professional tracks, and associations. They allow peers, elders, and employers to tell them what to believe and what sort of company to keep. They resent those who demand or just end up with more freedom than they themselves dare assert to tell bumptious authority figures to mind their own business. There is nothing liberal at all about college as it is practiced in the United States today. It’s a hazing, extortion, and blackmail scheme. Jump through these hoops or we’ll speak ill of you to employers through your shitty transcript. Give us money or your degree will be worthless. No, not tuition; that’s separate, asshole. You’re just here to prove your mettle as a worker, with the reward to come of–huh, more exhausting drudgery doing nothing for the world, apparently. How bow dah. Suck it up, kid. It’s a meritocracy.

We’d be able to recognize this if we studied the liberal arts, at a library or something, or in our own minds. Joe Rogan would probably be in the top quartile of working critical thinking skills among students I knew in college and alumni I know today. It’s apparently pretty easy to invite him into a productive discussion about what liberty is and is not, instead of having a swarm of defensive shit-for-brains preps fuming about their sunk tuition costs and 529 plans and how dissidents are queering their investments by questioning the whole enterprise.

Think about what Rogan’s haters treasure: you know, shit like Panera Democrats. The road to a Democratic victory runs through this Panera in Alpharetta. Beltway journalists aren’t the only ones to fancy a lifestyle of hanging out in cafes for a living, but what a poverty of taste. Let’s find the place with the shittiest coffee, the most overpriced sandwiches, the worst clip-art for wall décor, and let’s make sure that it’s run by nudge theory marketing assholes and situated in a strip mall in the ass end of the Atlanta Metroplex, some place where the police chief is frantically walking down the highway, begging pedestrians in his white boy Spanish to use the crosswalks half a mile away.

This is our political and cultural aesthetic.

This is who the DLCC dipshits want as their voters: in a word, Republicans. Give it a rest, guys. They aren’t gonna go with you to the prom.

It’s past time for the rest of us to banish these fuckers to the farthest margins of our society.  We already have a Republican Party. We don’t need a second one for disingenuous Democrats. We need a party for Americans who live in the real world, or at least do business there from time to time. Rogan seems to be a regular visitor. There are worse antidotes to our national DeGeneres, E.