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. 

You ain’t black

The days last for months. It took something like 24 or 36 hours for Joe Biden to follow up Katha Pollitt’s boiled baby outburst with his own, in which he accused a black radio host to his face of being Rachel Dolezal. The conditional clauses don’t matter: “you ain’t black” is one of the most arrogant and inflammatory things a white person can say to a black person. The conditional clause in this case was a spicy purse hot sauce meataball, a testy proclamation that negritude is conditional on a vote for Joe Biden. Vote for me, Rachel, you phony bitch.

I’ve edited for clarity.

Biden and his campaign are preternaturally good at wresting defeat from the jaws of victory. They’re fucking idiot-savants. They’re challenging an incumbent who is wearing out his welcome with the American public by bullshitting us all about a global pandemic, so they mouth off about how it’s okay if their guy is a rapist or a baby eater and about how they decide who is and is not black on the criterion of submission to their political patronage. The Democratic Plantation memes rattling around in the Republican arsenal are all too apt.

Biden made sure to roll around in the bed he’d freshly shit by calling into a Black Chambers of Commerce conference to say that he did not take African-Americans’ votes for granted and had been misunderstood. He’d been understood perfectly. He had made himself perfectly clear. He expected every black voter to turn out for him in lockstep. He would not stoop so low as to defend or explain his own record or answer questions about it or listen to criticism, all of this during a campaign interview he had agreed to do.

His grievance was simple: an uppity black guy had disrespected him to his face.

He would not take it, after all he had done for Them. It was the same mix of useless paternalism, belittling, hostility, and menacing we’ve had since Jamestown and in earnest since Bacon’s Rebellion. The early planter class was terrible to white indentured servants, too, but it strategically hardened the racial lines to deter future Bacons and their foot soldiers from being uppity. It doesn’t take an intimate familiarity with the particulars to know that what Joe did was outrageous, and Joe knew it.

When Trump goes honey badger at press conferences or on Twitter, he has the maturity to stand his ground honorably. He does not grovel with insultingly fake apologies to those he has just gotten done deliberately attacking. The last thing Biden needs right now is a bad rap for being a sore loser, but that’s exactly what he is. He’s rude and callous like Trump, but in much less entertaining and more arrogant ways, and he has the dishonor to get up in other people’s faces with fighting words and then, the moment the heat hits him, scurry for cover behind the sacrosanct Beltway norm of the “apology” for “misunderstandings,” which ordinary Americans living in normal parts of the country despise. He plays dirty and then waxes eloquent about his respect for the rules.

Biden is an idiot, a thug, and a scoundrel. The only halfway credible argument in circulation for him is that he’s an Upper South ex-segregationist with a hearty dose of residual prejudices whose idea of a gentleman is Strom Thurmond, not Adolf Hitler. Strom was, of course, the John the Baptist to Joseph’s Jesus, making straight the path out to lunch. Joe is shockingly meanspirited and treacherous. He’s always been prone to uncouth, uncalled-for racial comments that an official of any class holding his offices would have the decorum not to utter in public. He was one of the most crooked members of Congress and one of the most reactionary members of his Democratic delegations. He oozes used car dealer energy.

This is not the guy to beat the Republican folk devil. His capacity to erode his own polling leads into lags is bottomless. He’s a shameless serial liar propped up by a flimsy latticework of bogus mythology: the ordinary guy who spent, like, four hours a day on the train, and not as a conductor; the workaday, down-to-earth fellow from the neighborhood; the public-spirited policy wonk; the consummate gentleman of intelligence and class, here to do battle with that fucking moron. None of this shit is true. To the extent he’s a wonk, it’s in service of the worst goals. He’s been great at throwing people into dungeons and slave labor camps for nonviolent drug offenses and trapping people in debt peonage. This is what he does for his constituents. Charlemagne tha God challenged him on these points and gave him the opportunity to defend himself, so he spat racist fighting words. People who’ve watched the entire interview say he was pulling that shit the whole time, although not as dramatically as he did at the end.

What a coda. He’s Anthony Weiner, but for personal outbursts, not dick pics.

Many observers, including some very astute ones, think he can recover from this crash and safeguard his nomination. My assumption when I went to bed with the news of it was that Biden was toast. Calling a popular syndicated black radio host a fake black had to be the only nail his coffin needed. The Democratic kingmakers had to take this as a breach of their firewall from within and a comment too egregious to let his campaign stand. I got to sleep a bit after nine in the morning, and I was wired and almost delirious by the time I learned of the scandal. I wasn’t thinking straight. The Democratic Party isn’t run by strategists; it’s run by out-of-touch idiots who take themselves for master strategists and tacticians because they surround themselves with courtiers who don’t talk back and are also out of touch. Of course they still think Biden is unbeatably strong. At least they’re still unified enough to keep up the appearance.

I was wired enough from this horseshit that I looked up the nigger wop incident. That’s the one where renowned Italian-American Andrew Cuomo told a radio interviewer that “they” “called us nigger wops.” Grease weasel that he is, he added a longwinded caveat that he was just quoting the New York Times.

When I heard about that particular spicy meataball at the time, I was confused as to who was calling whom a nigger wop. It sounded awfully ugly and archaic for the upbringing of young Christopher and Andrew. This was a second-generation New York State governor speaking, a guy born in 1957,  at the very peak of the Baby Boom. The Italians were already turning white. Were neighborhood bullies really walking around saying shit like that to a political bigshot’s kids in 1970?

They were not. The bedtime reading I did on the incident indicated that the language Cuomo had quoted on the air was nothing that he’d heard. It was more like what they called Sacco and Vanzetti.

He made the comment on an interview for Columbus Day, the day when we all agonize over the Solomonic choice between honoring wops and dishonoring redskins or honoring redskins and dishonoring wops. What the fuck else am I supposed to say about that? We reserve a high civic holiday in the mid-fall for an annual national bum fight between the Italians and the Indians.

The transfixingly hilarious thing about the interview, though, is that it was with Alan Chartock. Chartock emanates the most powerful high stoic New York Book Jew energy. I hear him on WAMC from time to time when I’m back east. He’s the mensch of a Jewish grandfather who will put the whole family to sleep just about as fast as the agriculture committee of the New Zealand Parliament. The greasy Italian sitting Governor of the State of New York went on his radio show and said “nigger wops.” It might as well have been a Terry Gross interview with Beavis and Butthead.

Where the hell do they find these putzes? This is a man whose father was one of the staunchest and most principled death penalty abolitionists of his time as governor, and there he is, following in dad’s footsteps by going into a public radio studio and stepping on his own dick. It was all to explain what it is to be Italian, eyyy, like, ya godda learn to cooka da mannicot and da spicy raviol and simma low widda glassa De Wine, Murray, and next thing you know, badabing, you’s bangin’ da wop broad and off da gefiltefish.

Fuck, never mind that. The Jewish side of that family is Chuck Schumer.

Idpol is trash. We’re cursed. It should come as no surprise that jobs chattering about ethnic identities and their meanings are attractive nuisances for the unemployable. Maybe we can get Joe Plagiarism and Brett Michael on the line to discuss what it means to be Irish. It would be fascinating to hear their comments about the names “they” “called us.”

Meanwhile I know how to do my own laundry and cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping and ride transit buses. I get the feeling, though, that the presidential politics in this country are not meant to speak to or serve losers like me. Fat Cracka ain’t black, neither. The Isaac Chotiner of the Top Forty Talk format, however, appears to be.

Conversations with Tara Reade’s managers

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

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

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

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

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

Good stuff.

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

Good stuff.

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Atticus Pitch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The math is yours if you want it.

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


Atticus Pitch

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

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

Duh. Money.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ow, Tate, my balls.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prevailing community standards

There’s a conspiracy theory holding that Al Franken got done dirty over trumped-up sex pest charges for ulterior political reasons, i.e., that he was driven out for being a sincere leftist, not a groper. Mojrim pushed this theory as an aside in a comment here some time ago, and it caught my attention, but other things caught more of my attention, so I filed it away in the back for later.

Well, whaddaya fuggin know, Feldman, it now is later. I triaged it at the time as not my rabbit hole, not my hunt. As the sexual misconduct of Joe Biden becomes more and more inescapable, Kirsten Gillibrand’s sincerity as an activist against sexual harassment and assault comes into question as never before. She’s on the spot, and she’s handling it badly. They’ve got Uncle Joe dead to rights. Tara Reade is credible. Multiple witnesses remember her confiding in them that Joe Biden had sexually assaulted her. Her own mother called Larry King under veil of anonymity to accuse a “prominent US Senator” of preying on her. Plus there’s the copious footage of Joe’s nose and hands all over women and girls of all ages.

So what the fuck was the deal with Franken? It sounded like he was a bit rude and off-color, but the only photographic evidence against him showed him miming a titty feel on an entertainment colleague who was sound asleep on a flight back from a USO tour. This guy is unacceptable, but Joe’s all right? Get outta here. That’s absurd.

Second Mountin’ and Mark Jowls were on the NewsHour to review the claims against Biden this week. D-Bro made some sonorously milquetoast comments about how, well, maybe it’s serious, but we don’t know, and problematic or not, that’s what I like about him. Shields, who usually offers some reasonable thoughts from behind that fine set of flaps, got stupid. “Washington is a small town.” We know who the leering weirdos are, the handsy bastards. “Word would have gotten around.”

Cracka be trippin’, yo. Did this guy get his brain wiped after the Denny Dundiddly deal? Yorkville is smaller than the District of Columbia. Surely its good citizens would never fail to circulate gossip that the prominent high school wrestling coach was fucking his underage athletes. And again, Joey Hands. That shit wasn’t rumor or conjecture. It’s on video. There are memes about it. How many parish priests, scoutmasters, coaches, team doctors, and whoever else in positions of authority over minors have to be exposed as sex pests, rapists, or outright practicing pedophiles before these nerds admit that Joe Biden, who is amply on tape rubbing and sniffing them whom he didn’t bring to the dance, may have uglier skeletons in his closet than the ones he proudly displays in the living room?

The same thing goes for the pudding our boy has for brains. He goes incommunicado for days at a time, even weeks, over one of these periods releasing only a heavily edited video address strongly indicating that he couldn’t read a script for five seconds. He couldn’t even pronounce “legislature” with consonants other than a starting L and a string of zhshshch. This would be fine if he were retired. The only reason we’re hearing about it, inevitably, is that he’s running for the fucking presidency of the United States of America.

He’s apparently broken lucid over the past few days, but as his true believers keep pointing out about Trump, that isn’t a job fit for a brain-scrambled oaf and his streams of gibberish. Is it suddenly okay to take a week or two off without notice to play club-to-head golf? Is that presidential?

Bernie Sanders has none of these liabilities. He’s consistently lucid, spry, physically normal around others, and not accused of sexual assault. We’re supposed to believe that he isn’t electable or fit for office, but Lord Hair Plugs of the Loose Hands is?

Do we wonder why people don’t trust politicians or the press?

Gee whiz, could the absence of gossip and whistleblowing about Biden have anything to do with his colleagues saying nothing bad about his groping and hairsniffing and smearing anyone who breaches their wall of silence? “Oh, it was a different time. He’s from Delaware.” Bullshit. Did Delaware have slimy car salesman-ass grope artists in 1970? Of course it did. So did every other state, and the other 49 aren’t mailbox rental storefronts with 2,500 boxes for 125,000 customers. Midcentury Wilmington isn’t why he’s a sex pest; it’s because he’s a predator. The times weren’t different; he is. “Ah, but nobody said anything.” Yeah, and nobody said anything public about Hastert until the FBI showed up over the suspicious bank withdrawals, in this century and millennium, not the last. It wasn’t tolerable, just tolerated. Must we explain the difference?

This assumes that Shields isn’t just straight-up lying. He’s either an idiot or a liar. Look, I listen to those clowns for entertainment. I even watch them when I’m hanging out with my parents and their TV. Last time I was back east Ion played the Manor Hall episode, about the whore-ass man a fellow could become by staying in school. It’s fiction, but it’s honest fiction. Flip both parts 180 to understand Politics Friday; flip 360 for the Polish translation.

It’s beautiful how this shit is just a different culture from a different time, back when you could harmlessly pat a broad on the rear end but for some reason if you did that on the Rome Metro the lady of your interest would curse you out at the top of her lungs and every other woman in the car would smack you with her purse until you fled like a pants-shitting coward at the next stop. Not appearing in public is a campaign strategy now, not a sign of a hopelessly weak campaign or a compromised candidate. Joe Biden is a liberal.

No shit, Smalley, this regime really is special and, goshdarnit, lovable just the way it is.

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.

Do they have any idea of what groceries cost?

Fancy Nancy’s Ice Cream Open House reiterated, in vivid color, just how sneeringly out-of-touch she is with the vast majority of Californians and Americans. Ordinary people IN HER OWN DISTRICT do not live like that. Her domestic luxury may overlap with that of a fifth of a quarter of her constituents, depending on just how forward-looking and dynamic they are as a community, but has she ever taken a look around Chinatown or the Tenderloin? Cybil never lived that well out in the Avenues, and that was back when a basic bitch could afford a damn apartment.

We have a dear family friend who recently moved from Potrero Hill to Lower Pacific Heights. We’ve been in both of her apartments. Neither of them ever looked the least bit like Nancy Pelosi’s kitchen. Her old apartment was barely that big. She has to be one of the ten most educated and eloquent people I’ve ever known. She happens to be deeply grateful to Pelosi for providing crucial constituent services in the knick of time to keep developers from demolishing her art studio out in the Bayview, but for the love of God fuck off with the idea that Fancy Nancy is a case of the cream rising to the top. I’ma up and barf if I hear any more of that.

Come to think of it, it’s questionable how many voters from out of town–shit, how many San Franciscans, for that matter–have any idea of what exactly Nancy Pelosi actualy represents, in sociological or socioeconomic terms. It’s gotten scarce to find deals where a free-spirit loser can crash with some dirtbags in the Haight or chill with Anna Madrigal for a decade or two while she gets her shit together. Absent rent control these arrangements would be nonexistent. The techbros, absentee investors, and fellow-traveling shysters have distorted San Fracisco into an alien cityscape where it costs a grand a month to hotbunk in a sober living flophouse in the Castro and a freshly burned-out identikit stucco box in Glen Park can be listed for a million and a half.

If you thought Brender and Eddie could never go back THERE again, you should take a look around here. There was a tower full of condos sold for prices well into the upper six figures, at the lower bound, that was engineered in such a ramshackle fashion that the builders couldn’t even level the fucking floors. The old-school broad middle class who made San Francisco livable after the war are clinging for dear life to studio apartments and two-bedroom rowhouses out deep in the neighborhoods. There are mythical plans to make the city affordable again, but to be real, they don’t exist.

The point of living there today is to be waited on by servants. Destitute people bike in or take Muni from local accommodations that amount to dormitories, or drive in from God knows where, often some shithole with on-street parking along the train tracks or the waterfront, to fulfill jitney cab and home delivery orders on demand, as dictated by their portable telephones. They have on their persons at all times advanced computerized, radio-enabled pocket telephones with high-definition screens, devices that would have astonished anybody in 1980. Meanwhile they can’t afford a decent room the size of a jail cell or a pod in a Japanese cubicle hotel. The working stiffs on payroll who staff the proliferation of coffeeshops, fast-casual joints, midrange tourist trap restaurants, department stores, nail salons, and other service jobs in this lopsided service-heavy economy do better as a rule, but by reasonable stadards few of them do well.

This regime enables the well-to-do to lead lives of exceptional convenience, ease, and luxury, and it allows them to do so on the cheap. Without it they’d be forced to degrade themselves by taking Muni, calling (and paying for!) cabs, or doing some of their own laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking. Alternately, they’d have to pay something on the order of fair-market value for their servants. This regime is inevitably justified, at whatever volume necessary, same as the aristocrats’ enclosure of Britain, plantation slavery, Jim Crow, and the Indian caste system. Who could object to something so convenient? Save money! Live better!

Christ, Walmart? Ew, we aren’t cheap and sleazy like THAT.

Many of Fancy Nancy’s constituents, then, don’t care if she has a clue what a pound of red potatoes costs or a half gallon of half and half costs at Safeway. Fat Cracka’s Preferred All-American Bitch Thickener happens to cost $4.99 in the big daddy Luzerne carton, and I’m pretty sure they don’t mark it up in the extant quasinormal parts of San Francisco just to be passive-aggressive about commercial rents. Here’s the cool part: Nancy Pelosi cannot conceive of $4.99. A five spot is as utterly inconceivable to her as a hundred million is to normal Americans who do the rush-hour day. I Men’s Warehouse guarantee it, she has no earthly idea of what an amount that small means to 99.9% of Americans, or what it’s worth. She could be whole-ass Captain Phillips abducted onto the Cruise Ship and still draw a blank upon her ransoming.

The leaders of any real political party would notice that it’s an electoral liability to keep an official of her poor character and piss-poor judgment as its most prominent legislative figurehead and caucus whip. Her interminable tenure starts to make sense only in light of the joke that the Democratic Party has made of itself. Would a party delegating its policymaking and communications to rich kids from fancy colleges who have never in their lives wanted for a thing and desperately catering to the overschooled and the overpaid retain a haughty bitch with at least two Bay Area mansions as one of its two most prominent and powerful elected officials? Sure, why the hell not? Would it bristle and seethe at the sight of this woman’s political opponents rudely disrespecting her and questioning her character? /Extremely McCormick and Schmick’s Tableside Voice/ But of course.

Would such a party wonder how on earth there are implacably reactionary Panera customers, or how they could ever keep voting for Republicans? Duh. The fuck else has that swarm of losers ever done?

One look at James Carvile and it’s clear he does gangland hits for the New Orleans mob; that right there is a guy who paves the bayou floor with Associates, and not the kind they hire at Walmart. But that’s why Billary hired him in the first place. They wanted a fighter, and they chose one. He’s a repulsive scumbag who looks like a snake, but he’s weirdly charming: “I’m not gonna name any names, but one of them has the initials Brett Kavanaugh.” The old boy laughs at his own jokes. With material of that caliber, who wouldn’t?

That’s who the Clintons took on and kept around when they were mere yuppies on the make. They’re centimillionaires now, he’s an emeritus with nothing better to do than go on CNN, and in his stead they’ve got a constellation of absolute dipshits in their orbit: Mook, Psaki, Abedin, Nuland, various community trust failchildren (Chelsea? For real?), Parkhomenko. How could Bernie would have competed with any of that? It’s like Michael Jackson hiring Conrad Murray, Cardiologist, as his home drug aide. Back home in Gary he would have gone to some free clinic, for a life expectancy measurable in years, not hours. Anybody that rich is a lodestone for idiotic kissup grifters. More than a few at that level become so insulated, so alienated from the normal experiences of normal people, that they take disastrous sycophants, confidence artists, and charlatans for useful aides, sharp minds who will take them places under their astute guidance. She’s a neurotic, unstable mediocrity, and her husband is Anthony Weiner? Absolutely! Let’s do this!

These grasping shitbirds have inevitably poisoned nerddom for the rest of us. In a normal society, an electoral wonk would be a person with a keen, granular understanding of local political sentiment down to the county level, or at least the multicounty regional level. Instead we get hopelessly befuddled twits like Nate Silver, useless dorks possessed of no idea whatsoever of what’s happening culturally on the ground anywhere between, like, Naperville and Troutdale.

These idiots and their easily hurt colleagues moan that they’re misunderstood, unappreciated, hated, that losers who don’t know a thing have it out for them because they, themselves, are the most knowledgeable people in their fields on the face of the earth. This is self-congratulatory nonsense. For the most part, they’re hated for being loudmouthed know-it-alls who in point of fact know jack shit. Out here in the streets, we hate and resent them because they’re bumptious, arrogant, functionally unemployable, pearl-clutching scolds drawing lavish salaries for lecturing us, payable in Dunning Krugerrands.

Gee, champ, how the fuck do you think that plays in Peoria? Look, I get why the merely schooled and affluent from SuperZIP America didn’t see Trump coming; they weren’t around his base, or at least its out members, and they weren’t around his last-in, first-out swing voters in the Rust Belt. A lot of people on the other side of that gulf can’t see across it the other way, either. What I can’t stand are smug pricks who analyze politics for a living getting caught swimming naked when the tide goes out and then whining about it. Sack up, punk. Intermittent ties to troubled, semi-deindustrialized parts of Oregon and Pennsylvania with right-of-center local politics were enough for me to see Trump coming. I have staunchly pro-life friends, not all of whom voted for Trump, and some of whom can’t stand him, but I didn’t see them breaking for Clinton, and most of them did not. I know people who’ve worked in factories or come from blue-collar industrial families, or both. I was transfixed by parts of the alt-right for years, and I still keep tabs on a few of the less obnoxious alt-right and adjacent platforms, mostly Delicious Tacos and Akinokure. That was an obvious electoral wildcard in 2016. Anybody who was aware of it should have taken it seriously as a political force.

How do I put this indelicately? Yinz pissed a whole lotta folks off; the question wasn’t whether they hated you and your people and everything you assholes stand for, but how many of them exist, and how reliably they vote.

The war of the sexes simmering just under the surface and sputtering over the top every few hours did not provide a good feeling about where the United States was headed, least of all in its politics. Trump masterfully played into it with implicit stands for the dignity of wives and their husbands, mothers and their children, and freedom from that hag who acts just like your shitty boss. Meanwhile Hilldawg kept grandstanding about the glass ceiling. For fuck’s sake, who the hell wanted to listen to another screed about how a chronic adulterer’s wife who’d kept him around to ride his coattails from the White House into the US Senate was “our” #LeanIn #GirlBoss badass, and we were therefore #WithHer? Does it sound like I consider women unfit for the presidency? Fool I voted for Jill Stein. Nobody smeared her for being a women; the lib hive was too busy smearing her as an apostate from their sacred creed.

Holy Moses on a brontosaurus, the hell did that freaky yuppie bitch with the horndog husband have to do with women’s rights? If women are so hated, if there’s such chauvinism or misogyny or whatever we’re calling it about how there’s no place for them in high elected office, what explains the mostly positive public or neutral public feelings about Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Kay Ivey, Debbie Stabenow, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kate Brown, and Susana Martinez? Did You Betcha lose the vice presidency because she was a dingbat and a callow MILF, or did she go back to Alaska and on to cable television because her running mate, the principal on their ticket, was old, kind of disinhibited, and running against a vigorous, nimble-tongued young guy who didn’t express his military and foreign policy goals to the tune of shitty Beach Boys tracks? Did she lose because of what she was (a tax-and-spend moderate who allied with the Democratic caucus to soak the oil companies), or because of what she pretended to be (a fucking wackjob)?

The vain careerist horseshit that liberal (sic) feminists are always banging on about has reasons for appealing to posh broads. It turned out that Trump was much more popular in the provincial suburbs and exurbs than in the hollowed-out urban cores, which Clinton handily won in droves. Voters in the latter don’t much trust the Republican Party, and there’s a good chance they took him for a slippery shyster. These cities have growing Latino populations, heavy on working-class immigrants, constituencies Trump was never likely to do anything but horrify and drive into the opposition’s arms. Conversely, the car dealers and franchisees out in the the charter townships took a liking to the Donald BECAUSE he was their spirit animal in “business.”

But that just explains the party bases, the core constituencies that got them within reach of victory. 2016 was won on the margins in swing states with deindustrialized sacrifice zones. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa were up for grabs. There’s a strong argument that she could have flipped enough of these states to win had she not run such terrible ground campaigns, but candidates with winning personalities and winning platforms need less ground campaigning to win, and that was not what she had in these states.

What she did have was a huge, seething opposition of voters who hated her with an insatiable passion, aggravated by her inability to look the least bit comfortable around people of normal means and her series of insufferably snide comments about conservatives and working stiffs in flyover country. She was going to put the coal miners out of work and back into the basket of deplorables, where they belonged. She and her staff were arrogant enough to think that, already exceptionally hated, she would win over women by being one.

Instead she impressed provincial women that she was a crazy bitch who hated her husband and also hated THEIR husbands. Opps. That might be a widdle fucky-wucky, but nah, let’s scream at Stein voters.

It figures. Those who insist that the blame for losses falls on stupid uppity voters and not on compromised candidates running weak campaigns shouldn’t be expected to field anything less than preening, sneering, out-of-touch centimillionaires who show off their top-of-the-line home freezers full of $12-a-pint ice cream. What else would they do? Give a damn about student debt? And why not be a coddled old harridan who doesn’t know how to turn on the stove or navigate the neighborhood Safeway but has extensive comments about strong women?

Some of these characters are such dipshits that they sincerely wonder why women out in the provinces dislike them. Uh, maybe because some of them are truckers or steelworkers or farmers? I dunno. That was just an idea, based on personal experiences, observations, and testimony arising away from the top of Divisadero; carry on, ladies.

Christian womanhood, motherhood, pro-life agitation, domesticity, and so forth are only partial explanations for why city slicker girlboss horseshit falls flat out in the sticks. It really isn’t that hard to watch or listen to somebody like Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi and think, good grief, there’s an asshole. It isn’t that everyone in the countryside is gung ho about Phillys Schlafly’s hobbyhorses. That’s just an element, and for that matter one that was probably strengthened by the condescending rich girl outbursts from the feminist movement. If we compared the average Eagle Forum member to her granddaughters, we’d probably see a dramatic shift away from sexual chauvinism.

But again, as Jeffrey Epstein said, wood does dat godda do wid dat bitch being a cunt? Not a whole lot, of course. The first lady and the Balitmore mayor’s daughter latched onto the Strong Woman Movement for, eh, maybe as compensation for their own obvious male power hookups. It’s perfectly easy to imagine both of them being insufferable under the auspices of a different, sexually neutral political movement. It’s also exceptionally memorable that Hillz in particular has bitched about feminist shit since at least her husband’s first term in the presidency, and Rush Limbaugh has been  giving himself heart attacks about feminazis for just as long. Fancy Nancy, by contrast, seems mostly to have gone along with the happy horseshit as it congealed into a bigtime Bay Area phenomenon.

I still don’t grok why it’s such a big deal around here: Title IX Sports, the RBG/HRC shelves in our bookstores, all that bollocks. It’s hard to find open misandrists without going hunting in overpriced shitholes, and even there what’s available is mostly just rich bitches. It’s some retarded shit. So are The West Wing and Harry Potter. Take it to the concession hall at the Special Olympics and buy a hot dog to eat with it. There’s nothing wrong with a lunchtime read.

Correction: There’s everything wrong with it and we must subjugate these freaks immediately with 90% marginal rates.

Projecting Hillary Clinton’s bad reputation onto all men for hating all women is like voting against Lynn Swann on account of sexy male nurse Lynn Majors or sexy male code enforcement officer Lynn Rader. I voted against him because all he talked about was Pittsburgh values. I’m pretty sure I voted for Ken Krawchuk that time lol. The thing is, normal people don’t just know serial murderers. It’s not women we hate; it’s Hillary Clinton. It’s not women we hate; it’s Nancy Pelosi.

Yes, Virginia, women can be assholes, too. Say, why you so frigid? Are you a Protestant?

Enough from Brett Kavanaugh. A huge and growing reason why ordinary people revile rich politicians like Clinton and Pelosi is that they’re abnormally rich, don’t know that they are, and can’t be bothered to care. Trump is as popular as he is because he does know. His whole shtick for decades has been look at me, I’m rich. That makes him the closest thing going these days to TR, FDR, and, God help us, Nelson Rockefeller.

The socioeconomic structures of postmodern America encourage this insularity of the rich. Few of them interact much with union members. Bill and Hilary had inmate domestics in Arkansas. It doesn’t help that the country has been bifurcated so between finacialized coasts and a deindustrialized interior. In the midcentury the executives in charge everything from Penn Central to Boeing to US Steel to local independent meatpacking plants had to liaise with the unions who kept their businesses running. What we have for an economy these days is racketeers in the interior hiring wets to get killed dressing hog carcasses for eight bucks an hour while the serious economic activity, as we’re deranged enough to call it, is financial chicanery in the big cities. Gone are the days when Secaucus was the pig town by the big town.

Ordinary Americans know what they’ve lost. They still remember. Even shitty rural elites miss it. It’s just that our national politics are so constrained and distorted that Donald Trump seems the least inchoate way to protest the gutting of American industry and honest labor, the Hail Mary pass that might–just might–fix this shit.

They go for the guy who knows that he doesn’t know what the hell it costs to get a bag of groceries. Or, as the Democrats would have it, they hate women. We just hate strong women. It’s just feminism, Michael. How much could it cost? The economy?

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.