Will I see you tonight?

Some thug spent most of ten minutes trying to beef with me on the light rail last night on the way into–this is a real station; look it up–Watt-Manlove. I deliberately tuned out most of his screed, on the theory that depriving him of an audience would deprive him of the fun he was hoping to have and that deescalation would be safer than waiting for the police to respond. It was when he blocked two different doors on his way off the train, opening the second one from outside to berate and glare at me after blocking the first one on his way off the train, that I confirmed for sure that he was a thug, not just a loudmouthed punk. He was within seconds of the operator getting on the PA system to order passengers away from the doors by the time he finally walked away, to menace God knows whom else on the streets. That takes a stouter set of stones than it takes to nurse the remnants of a split of champagne on the trolley while freestyling about how the guy across the aisle is a “fat cracka” in a society unfortunately beset by a proliferation of “bitch-ass niggas.”

There are those who would insist that this was a racial problem, but really it was a crime problem. There’s hardly a person in Sacramento whose admiration I cherish less. I don’t give a shit about this jailbird’s thoughts on what a fat white bitch-ass nigger I am. I do mind that he tried to put me in fear for my safety. It takes more than some fool mumbling racial slurs on the trolley to get my guard up: say, repeatedly raising one’s voice and making erratic movements from immediately across the aisle while I ignore the performance as studiously as I can. This dude reflected on nobody but himself and a few dozen or hundred other of Sacramento’s worst parolees and ex-cons, and that’s irrespective of race. I’m not the fool who’s cool with a white guy behaving like that right in front of me in close quarters. That shit is not okay on anyone’s part.

#TeshTips: Some riders have the social proof to licentiously use America’s most reviled racial slurs on common carriers. They’re usually from Rancho Cordova. You and I aren’t. Let us give thanks. Or, as that cashier at the Safeway on Alhambra told the other customer, “He lives by the light rail station in Rancho.” I didn’t need to be reminded, but I guess the other guy did, and I’d volunteered the information myself. Also, I was the one who had made the decision to *STAY, NOT LIVE* out by Sunrise, immediately next door to the guy who called me “sir,” “dog,” “boss,” and “man” right after he got done trying to whup another dude’s ass on the platform for having sold meth to his kid sister.

I have no fucking idea how Lester Holt is from Rancho. #TheMoreYouKnow, the more you realize that not everything in this world makes any goddamned sense. I guess there’s some kind of middle-class community in the neighborhood that’s off the train by seven every night and also isn’t in the news for murdering anyone on Routier Road. The latter, thank God, is who rides the bus in Land Park and Pocket. It would be nice if any of those lines ran on weekends, or, depending on the clientele extended service would encourage, not nice.

The deeper problem here, of course, is that Sacramento can’t figure how what the hell to do with its intersectional criminal, behavioral health, and substance abuse communities. Turning Rancho Corvoda into the banlieue works great for anyone who isn’t also priced out to fucking Rancho. Somehow last night was the night that RT didn’t have any security officers on the train to simmer my boy the fuck down. This didn’t stop the Rancho Cordova police from parking two cruisers on the platform at Power Inn that afternoon while their sworn drivers did some unexplained shit on the trains. Love too have a police force that is allowed to park on the sidewalk in nonemergency situations but not expected to deter street crime on the transit system that it patrols.

I’m still convinced that there are awfully few people who belong in jail, but my swing shift trolley buddy isn’t necessarily one of them. If the Menendez brothers were on the trolley, they’d probably try to teach me chess. Ione isn’t that far away. Stephanie Lazarus, whose doppelganger I saw in a floral print house dress on the Gold Line a few years ago, is all right. Hey, Wettlaufer, you ought to try getting a date with the Ruetten fellow; I hear he’s quite handsome and charming. That was unfair; other than serial murderers, most murderers are pretty reformable. Plenty of others are discharged from prison without hardcore criminal proclivities or behavioral problems. The trouble is with the ones who aren’t, such as the one I got to ride with yesterday evening. I don’t know for a fact that he was in the system, but I can’t see how he wasn’t. CDCR does sweet fuck-all to rehabilitate its problem inmates. If they’re too much trouble to put on a work crew, they’re stashed on some hell yard until they reach their release date and converted into some hapless local government’s problem. That’s why we’ve got this thug on the loose who, let’s face it, is on the fast track back to jail if he keeps getting up in other riders’ faces on the light rail. In the meantime, innocents are in unnecessary danger because no level or agency of government in California is able and willing to control him. Is it any wonder, though, that the judicial apparatus that insists on keeping the Menendez boys in hoosegow for life as heinous dangers to society doesn’t know its ass from a hole in the ground when it’s time to release someone with manifest behavioral problems?

This is the sort of thing that makes me miss Philadelphia, a city of broad shoulders and vigorous natural law whose drivers and private citizens police bad characters on the bus so effectively that the formal police hardly ever have to be called. That is reserved for the aftermath of the knifepoint groping attacks and hammer murders that are traditional on the subway system.

Gotta love any jurisdiction where the security apparatus is overbearing and yet ineffectual. In this context, it’s hard to resist the appeal of foothill towns that basically exclude the rough street element. It’s bad praxis and ethics, but for those lucky enough to be able to get up the hill, it works. Whose place is it to tell anyone else who’s competent enough to get out of Dodge to wait an unforeseeable number of additional years or decades for the dysfunctional valley towns and the even worse state criminal justice system to finally do something about the inadequately supervised assholes who fuck up the light rail system ten hours a day and all day on weekends? Victor Davis Hanson is right: woke and idealistic though one may be, the ground is just more defensible up there.

Good luck getting any transit-oriented development into actual transit-oriented use in a city with a teeming, entrenched transit-oriented unemployable underclass. Sacramento Regional Transit isn’t a public transportation agency; it’s an outpatient psychiatric and social services pavilion. It’s one thing to convince people that trolleys are fly as shit as an ideal; it’s quite another to convince them that it’s worth their time and patience to put up with an expensive system whose ridership is otherwise the hardest cases off every skid row and Section Eight complex in the service area. It takes a big-ass lot of normies to push a system back over the tipping point that turned it into a fleet of hell of wheels loser cruisers.

I’m not complaining that poor people ride RT; that’s the case with every local transit agency everywhere. I’m saying that it has a number of lines, including its entire light rail system, whose riders are routinely drawn exclusively from the most shambolic, disreputable, menacing, hardened, criminally inclined, and flamingly mentally ill people in the entire fucking county. I’m saying that it is not uncommon to step aboard and see no one else in the entire vehicle who is capable of behaving normally and appropriately in a mainstream professional setting for five minutes. Exhorting people who can afford alternate means of transportation to take RT means badgering them to allow extra travel time in order to be the only normal, functional people on a likelier than not dirty vehicle otherwise full of horrific cases that they’d otherwise see only in extreme institutional settings. I’m rarely the least bit afraid for my safety on public transit, but I’ve often come away from trips on RT wondering what in all hell I was doing wasting half an hour in the midst of such incorrigible, unreachable losers. San Diego MTS is another good agency for such experiences, especially during off-peak runs through downtown, not a particular surprise for a city that has been hosing its streets down with bleach in an effort to stop a shitborne Hepatitis A outbreak.

SEPTA is nothing like this. Like the city it serves, it has some serious failures of cleanliness, but I don’t recall ever being on a SEPTA bus or trolley where most of the other passengers didn’t look normal. The old 100 high-speed line, running between shitty termini in Norristown and Upper Darby on a diagonal through a very pleasant and fancy swath of the Main Line, notwithstanding the locals along the way, experiences socioeconomic and racial pole reversals in its ridership between rush hour, which adheres religiously to bankers’ hours, and off-peak, but the off-peak crowd is mostly normal, functional, upstanding people commuting to work or going to medical appointments or the like. This has been the case on every trip I can recall taking anywhere on the SEPTA system. It’s pretty much people who look like they have or indisputably have a sensible reason for traveling across town on the bus, and the one guy who’s occasionally blurting out that he used to have family on Torresdale Avenue (“Dayyum! Shee-yut!”) is sitting somewhere conveniently out of everyone else’s way, peaceably and still.

A bourgeois supremacist might object to contamination by the poors on SEPTA. A person who’s perfectly at ease around the poor in general might become completely fed up with RT’s off-peak services because of the ubiquity of people who are unable and often enough unwilling to function halfway normally in society. It’s a shitshow: some guy opening the slit window above his seat to throw an orange peel out of a moving train, a homeless guy with anger management problems yelling at the fare inspector and anyone else within earshot while lunging around in the stairwell, assholes blocking the doors while the operator barks at them over the PA system to get out of the way so the train can depart, some sauntering yardboy with a jumpy look in his eyes whose pants would be around his ankles if he didn’t have them cinched up with a length of burlap rope for a belt, the front half of the lead car taken up by roller gimps doing electric bumper cars in the aisle every time they board and alight, but not all of them too disabled to get up out of their scooters with a healthy-looking gait and range of motion, like, cool, I’ma stand all the way up like a more or less able-bodied adult and then sit down on this-here seat, so as my rig can have its own parking space right behind the only wheelchair-accessible door on the whole dang train.

#TIMMEH is canon, guys. This is what they call * CLEAN * SAFE * CONVENIENT *. It’s always great and not at all Communist Chinese to reify a public transit system worth riding by putting a ridiculous slogan on the side of the trolley. I guess the budget line item for that happy horseshit is less than the combined line items for actually making the system good enough to attract riders who look like they have somewhere to be at a specific time sometime in the rest of their lives. There might just be a ten or twenty percent chance that a given RT run on one of the bad lines will be colonized against normies, but every other form of transportation in the region, including walking and bicycling in neighborhoods that aren’t overwhelmed by the hopelessly down and out, consistently wards off the third-party dipshits.

On the positive side, a single-ride light rail ticket used to be valid for two hours of this shit, but now it’s valid only for an hour and a half. First prize: one week in Toledo; second prize: two weeks. This is an excellent model for passengers who were hoping to run errands or some shit without fishing out another $2.75 for a return ticket. It’s a disgrace that this city and its transit system are so fucked up, but the $19.50 that I’ve contributed towards the clusterfuck this week is less taxing than my efforts to chronicle the mess. Fat Cracka out.

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Adventures in bourgeois feminism

How do I put this delicately? You guys are gonna get Donald Trump reelected. Excuse me, you girls and/or gals and/or strong independent women and/or buddies and friends. I guess those last two are inclusive, but mainly of Canadians, not that I can ever resolve to avoid the near occasions of canucksploitation when Sweet Melissa of the Maritimes herself got a government grant to go on a speaking tour about how to be a battered wife, since the husband she’d run over with her car had a prior scheduling conflict. I’m not here to say that he definitely didn’t rape her, but she definitely did poison that other husband’s coffee on their honeymoon in Newfoundland, and I’m not the only one you’ll find Online.

If I weren’t recapitulating the usual story about how the Lady is my Shepard, I’d be going straight into repulsive commentary that one can’t avoid by refraining from dating online or joining the Halifax Police Service, specifically, NPR. From one perspective, I should have left the radio off when I turned it off on account of the hourly news segment about whiners who got butthurt over #GrammysSoMale. From another perspective, I would have missed a worthwhile roundtable of Ira Flato, Zeynep Tufekci, and some techie Mick Gavin something-or-other about proliferating surveillance technologies. I’d have equally missed it had I merely expected Ira Flato to neurotically chap my ass like usual, so there’s that, too. Look it up for yourselves if it sounds that interesting; I don’t mind readers thinking that I’m not a feminist, but I do mind y’all expecting me to be your ever-loyal link bitch.

Other perspectives include bright-and-early plural ones, with Lionel Osborne. Everybody’s welcome and his son is dead. That’s certainly better than the “female perspective” that a feminist friend insisted would make me feel less kindly about prostitution. This woman isn’t a dummy at all, but that comment was part of a massive, catastrophic failure of American thought. This failure affects a hell of a lot more than just high feminism. This is a society whose mainstream earnestly reads Tom Friedman without asking whether that fool is on speed, or on coke. There’s something pretty wrong when random women who wouldn’t personally feel comfortable engaging in sex work do feel comfortable unilaterally erasing the individual decisions of other women with, you know, other individual perspectives. The blatantly crazy thing to anyone who looks at this mess holistically is that prostitution is the most overwhelmingly female line of work this side of surrogate pregnancy and wet nursing. I’ve never gone around claiming that Cousin Gigolo is statistically representative of the business; I assume there are more women than men turning tricks with their landlords (and ladies!) for a rent discount or waiver, and that most of them aren’t exactly my cousins, either. It’s like Kato Kaelin but with sexual privileges, and also usually with lady parts instead of gentleman parts.

By the way, what’s really wrong with these arrangements is the slumlording, but we don’t do class consciousness around here. That’s how #GrammysSoMale even became, as they say, a thing. We’re all socialized to identify with the most unattainable heights of success and get sore because what theoretically stopped us from becoming movie stars is Harvey Weinstein, not the statistical fact that most SAG members don’t get enough work or earn enough royalties from prior work to make rent. There are, what, five billion people of working age on earth and a few thousand bigshot slots in entertainment, plus a few tens of thousands of less prominent but still comfortable positions? Do the math. #STEM: Making good minds GREAT!

We’re all temporarily embarrassed millionaires. We all just wanna be big rock stars. Thanks for erasing my recurring aspiration to get legal status to pick fruit in BC, eh. It wasn’t enough to leave me to my own devices to run into walls on the HRSDC website. Seriously, I’ve felt about harvest job listings in Abbotsford the way some Mexicans feel about jobs cutting lettuce in El Centro, except that, but for the grace of God and whatever other luck went into it, I’m not desperate enough to climb sacred perimeter fences. But there’s a broader point here. It’s nigh impossible to find Americans, or at least mainstream bourgeois Americans, who admit to aspiring to do an honorable job well and earn honest wages for honest labor. Everyone insists on being excellent, which in practice means going into management and degrading subordinates for profit. It’s easier to make a living under this model by unsheathing the long knives than by developing and applying productive skills. Betsy DeVos swears that she’s all about hard work, but if you’ll excuse my indulgence in radical labor theory, collecting commissions on one’s downline is not work.

Complaining that too few women were honored in the one of the most prestigious music awards shows on earth and that anyone who feels that the honorees were chosen for merit is a raging misogynist is batshit insane. The syntax of that sentence wasn’t much more lucid, but whatever; I’ve shaken off worse than complaints about that, including relationships with leading citizens of Wyomissing. For the vast majority of Americans, including ones from affluent families who are arrogant enough to presume themselves fully exempt from economic downturns, identifying with Taylor Swift is nuts. Using gender non-parity in an awards show to infer a misogynistic conspiracy to marginalize female vocal artists is flamingly fucking nuts. Like, do you cunts EVER listen to the radio? Don’t stop, ’till there’s nothing but the, but the, nah, that was kind of gross. The Krush: 92.5: Still not the Central Coast’s favorite listen-in-prison station. Or maybe, for all I know, it is. I do know that that bullshit station has never hooked my white ass up with a job in the wine industry that it so ostentatiously celebrates.

Our catastrophic failure of thought includes, not surprisingly, a catastrophic failure of empathy. In plain terms, why the fuck would I give a shit about gender parity in the Grammys when I’m regularly sleeping in my car? Normal people with normal concerns quite frankly do not give a shit, and anyone secure and privileged enough to spare the concern for successful female entertainers who got snubbed in an awards show should realize that this is a hobbyhorse with which people of more modest means and more pressing concerns will have limited patience.

Then again, it’s stunning how sheltered some people have been raised to be. They wallow indefinitely in their comfortable ignorance because no one around them has the nerve to tell them that they’re fucking idiots. If anyone stopped by to tell them off for erasing their social inferiors, they’d just angrily erase the bearer of rude news. On Facebook, this can be done in a single majestic click.

Some of them are barely more like Taylor Swift than some waitress; they’re just secure enough. The Insurance Schmuck’s ex-fiancée is one. Like Taylor Swift, she selectively uses feminism to assert herself as a strong independent woman, but she also has an uncanny ability to find affluent boyfriends, and she all but openly cares more about the welfare of dogs than the welfare of the poor. I was warned in the past not to share this story, but fuck off if it chaps your ass, because a few years ago this chick managed to get her father to drive drunk in the middle of the night from Erie to Rochester while the Rochester Police were doing a lengthy welfare check on her and the Insurance Schmuck at her mother’s request because she hadn’t responded to the most recent text messages that her mother had sent in the aftermath of a domestic dispute that these two fine young lovers had had in their hotel room. She was in her twenties by the time this shitshow went down. If I recall correctly, she had already graduated from college.

Here’s what bothers me about this. I’ve had my parents stage similar interventions later in my life, if nothing quite that ridiculous, but I’ve always recognized that these interventions indicated some inability on my part to function independently. This chick is duplicitous enough to want to have it both ways, and from what I can tell everyone around her has spent her entire life tacitly encouraging her to do exactly that. These dipshits think her shtick is cute. In reality, it is objectively antisocial and dyscivic. Scaled up, it destroys societies.

This woman never struck me as particularly talented. In a healthy society, that would be fine because she’d still be able to make a decent living doing something requiring mediocre talent. Unfortunately, she lives in a particularly licentious corner of an extremely unhealthy society. This is why I’m convinced that she specifically is a fount of fascism, under one partisan label or another. And I’m picking on her because she’s frighteningly representative of the failspawn of our generation, in particular the downwardly mobile young women. We have a huge number of children of affluence who are inevitably reverting to the mean in a period of extreme socioeconomic dysfunction and cutthroat immorality. They’ve been indoctrinated since early childhood with a toxic combination of self-esteem drivel, devious horseshit about their own meritocratic worth, and exhortations to greatness.

Do tell that this may not end well when it coincides with a Fourth-Turning secular collapse of the international economy. I’ve been in the schools. I’ve seen it. I’ve met the results of this campaign. Some of them have turned out better than could reasonably be expected of them. Others are fucking nightmarish.

This mishmash of braindead talking points is most effective on the least talented. These are the ones who need to get in on whatever identity politics scam they can to get ahead since whatever talents they do have will leave them in poverty under our current socioeconomic dispensation. Bourgeois feminism works for up to half of them, give or take. Mostly take, because lower-class women know damn well that this song and dance isn’t being performed for them. All this Lean In shit is part of the grand Dunning-Kruger operation to convince children of privilege that they’re as special as their own upbringings and to shield them from the disheartening evidence that their own desultory skills would wash them down into the beleaguered underclass without outside intervention.

Sheryl Sandberg is shrewd enough to tell that there’s a market for this garbage. Oprah is definitely more functional and thoughtful than the women she targets; Sandberg probably is. I mentioned Zeynep Tufekci above, and I don’t recall hearing her bitch about ridiculous petty grievances of the sisterhood. Nor do I often hear women who are competent and accomplished at much of anything, from running a farm to practicing nursing or medicine to just being really fucking well-read and well-spoken, gripe promiscuously about shit like how hurtful it is that so few women were honored at the Grammys and some male chauvinist pig had the balls to justify it on the basis that most of the worthy honorees the committee found were men. I do sometimes hear them complain about the sort of women who do complain about this shit, if you can stand the meta world discord (don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn you about that sort of thing), and I do know that if I saw prominent, privileged men carrying on like on a regular basis and getting platformed by major news organizations I’d be furious.

This still doesn’t answer why I keep listening to NPR. I can’t account for myself, except to say that it’s pretty impossible to catch any of the good stuff without at least risking exposure to something absolutely fucking retarded and disgraceful. #SPORTS are mixed up with shameful talking points about Russian meddling that Scott Simon has been instructed to disseminate, but I end up sleeping straight through #SPORTS, half-waking for five seconds of commentary about the President’s foul mouth, and remembering nothing at all after I’ve finally awoken for good for the afternoon but Chicago Senpai saying “shithole” on air. I’m actually doing all right today, since I caught most of a mostly good episode of Science Friday, which I always expect to suck ass. I don’t suppose I have a good voice for radio, but with talent like that, and the Radio Lab and TED Radio Hour assholes, I can’t say that I’m uncompetitive. As they say about sex in Maine, it’s all relative.

My problem is that I keep listening to a network that revolves around people who at least pretend to be doing something with their college degrees. Before I came in to write this I was scavenging deposit bottles from parking lots in Reno. Grievances about butthurt divas getting other women butthurt because they think they’ll be Taylor Swift someday if only men stopped being so mean obviously resonate with me. I’m in a nice part of Reno, as Reno goes; I’m not a fucking mascochist, now; but I’m not out here pretending that a fancy college education in the liberal arts and also some sciences enable me to function in American office cultures that are Dilbert hell minefields, is why I recognize which cans the State of *OPSEC* Whore Gone will pay me to turn in when I’m next in *THIS PLACE DOESN’T EXIST, EITHER* Slammeth Balls, or produced the literary skill to traffic “lyrics” of “Benny and the Jolts” and “Gerry and the Hearstoppers” “tunes.” Did I mention that modern American society devalues the shit out of independent and informal education, along with independent thought? I don’t expect all of my own material to be original when I’m shitposting about Mounties again, nor do I expect payment for recycling my shiznit. What, me Durden?

As Lenin said, the intellectuals are not society’s brains, but its shit. He wasn’t entirely wrong, and Soviet state radio wasn’t entirely worse than NPR. I’m just some asshole with a blog. They’re just some assholes with a federally funded, Congressionally chartered national radio network. Mark my words: any fund drive that I undertake won’t be THAT bad.

A standing offer to Dickinson College: cash me ousside, how bow dah

Bhad Bhabie is inevitably a civic improvement over *MY OLD SCHOOL.* How could she not be? The young lady cherishes her freedom. She knows that Dr. Phil and his audience are officious authoritarian creeps who resent her for her refusal to submit to their authority, and she knows that, unlike, say, juvenile probation and the police, their authority ends cold at the studio door, the Threshold of Ousside. Beyond that point, out in the streets, they’re just creeps chasing a vicarious thrill by pestering a minor they’ve never met. What are they gonna do? Street-fight her and risk criminal charges? She’s the juvenile, after all.

Yes, she’s a Florida Woman. What the fuck else would Bhad Bhabie be? Compared to anybody reputable she’s a disgrace. But we aren’t talking about the reputable here. We’re talking about Dickinson Fucking College, and Dr. Phil, which is only marginally worse. Her deal is to challenge repressed wine moms to meet her out front and put their money where their loud mouths are if they’re so upset about her not particularly impressive juvenile delinquency. Sure, you’re amped up to talk shit about me in here, but any of you cunts wanna go out and rumble with my jailbait ass in front of the Hollywood Division? Ousside Melrose, and Olympic Division can get in on the action, too. How bow dah. I didn’t know that myself until just now, when I actually did the requisite Google-fu, because there’s something wrong with me that isn’t wrong with the Bregoli girl. She gets the gist of it, though. She can tell that witch hunt fantasy land is an indoor space, and that if any of them follow her outside they’ll be on much less favorable turf, where even a reviled juvenile delinquent has rights.

*Anthony Rollins rolling through the yard, in a Different Sunburned Country* Stop talking about “Outside,” you condescending asshole. Don’t know the reason, he stays there all seasons. Actually, I do: serial rape. The Bulger fellow retired to Tucson, too. I wouldn’t want to bunk with him, but like Muhammad Ali and the VC, no skull-cracking Boston shanty mick with rat statuary in his apartment ever tried to brainwash me with yuppie talking points about the incalculable value of a fancy college education and then badgered me for money. Forcible Northern Exposure never did a thing like that to me, either.

By now, something’s gotta go wrong with this story, ’cause I’m feeling just too damn good about how little #CanadianContent there is in this All-American clusterfuck, but one does not rundel in every jungle. Surely that came as quite a shock. What else will I fish out by the time we’re done here? Honestly, it’s harder to write these things without Fish Friend and the Fibbing Foursome memes. That requires editing and shit.

It’s 3:00 am, I must be living in an unfathomable underworld of the mind, but look, if the sergeant on public information duty at your local detachment has a side gig selling freebase to the interior BC home bake crowd, that’s because there’s a market for that shit that goes far beyond Rob Ford and isn’t all like, okay, buddy, I only did that because I was blind drunk. One of the nice things about drug dealers is that they go hustle someone else once they realize that they’re dealing with someone who isn’t looking for any damn drugs. This is absolutely not the case for cult bagmen whose targets are not interested in giving tithes and offerings to a fucking cult. There’s no sense that, you know, this guy thinks were a bunch of assholes for bothering him, so maybe we should stop calling after the third or fourth time he tells one of our phone bank cold callers to stuff it and hangs up. There’s no discernment that it might be a good idea to stop sending junk mail to someone who hasn’t given a dime in over a decade and has nothing but hatefully bad things to say about the development office.

These are nice ideas, but we’re dealing with a cult. These people do not give a goddamn. Any alum who has a problem with them is the unreasonable one. If their incessant whines for alms offend anyone, it isn’t on them. It’s obviously the audience’s fault for being bitter and, say, warm homeless. Hey there. This is another thing that’s worth an explicit recapitulation: the Distinctively Dickinson Education or whatever the hell the marketeers are calling it these days is inherently so goddamned enriching and enlightening and edifying that no one receiving it can possibly fail to graduate with a skill set enabling the singlehanded conquest of the whole wide world, but if, say, no fewer than two 2006 graduates have ended up homeless in the subsequent decade, and I’m apparently the more fortunate of us, or if we have some kind of problem finding work, that’s because we, as individual graduates, have been doing it all wrong. No way did a school that chronically and obnoxiously oversells itself for fundraising purposes do anything not fully deserving of our annual first fruits. No one in charge of that joint thinks, gee, if we promised them the world and they’ve degenerated into hobos with sporadic employment prospects, maybe we failed them.

This isn’t just a judgment-free zone (TM); it’s an accountability-free zone. Dickinson operates in the fashion of Tammany Hall, usually implicitly, although sometimes implicitly, as in the case of a young lady nicknamed Emily Bailout, whose parents were said by senior student government officials (sorry for not providing a barf warning; okay, not sorry at all) to have purchased her an entry-level administrative sinecure for an even fifty grand. Imagine how admirable these sleazy crooks would make Whitey Bulger look if he’d just bribed his way through life instead of doing business by having everyone whacked. The thing about traditional mob and machine politics is that the organizations rewarded their supporters by directly delivering the fucking goods. They knew that no one with the patience to put up with their corruption had the time to wait for some bullshit neoliberal self-actualization scheme that they were peddling to bear fruit in their lives. They needed the damn street repaved, and, plus or minus some delays to accommodate ethnically or clan-tinged factional juju, they dispatched a crew to repave the damn street.

Imagine Old Man Daley condescendingly charging three or four years’ median household income for some seminars on how to shovel hot patch into a pothole and then blaming the deplorable fuck-ups who took the classes for not adequately applying themselves. That’s the first time the thought ever crossed your mind because that never fucking happened. Sure, Boss Tweed’s got a suitcase full of cash here and a suitcase there, the Who-Dat Jefferson fellow keeps his in the freezer so he won’t forget where it is, and the Daley boy does his old man proud by secretly having his dozer goons wreck Meigs Field at a quarter to daybreak, but at least when they’re going into their secret places to collect their graft and/or have a mad about the city council not taking theoretical waterfront aviation terrorism seriously enough, they lose the bootstrap horseshit.

Fuck, I just started remembering the rough contours of Wee Dicky D’s neoliberal redevelopment scamming, so it wasn’t all broad shoulders and plain dealers when the constituents came knocking. Still, old-school ward bosses don’t have that college boy attitude problem. They get that the regular folk won’t want a thing to do with them if they’re always looking down their noses at them with a haughty sneer. More than a few of them, I imagine, take pride in delivering the goods for constituents who would otherwise be languishing, and feel vicariously happy for those they’ve helped. They have enough respect for their constituents not to openly make fun of them, at least, and certainly to refrain from blaming them for being dissatisfied with city services that they keep failing to provide. Some of the time, anyway, they recognize that they have a duty to their constituents to actually get shit done. Maybe I’m romanticizing a bunch of unwashed thugs, but it sure seems that they don’t go around blaming their less successful constituents for being unemployable in one breath and haranguing them for joyful love offerings in the next.

As we’ve discussed before, the Dunkin’ Doorman doesn’t care about my feelings for him as long as I give him some coffee money. He’ll probably spend the money on coffee, or maybe on hashbrowns or donuts: to wit, Friends of Coffee. Dickinson has millions of dollars’ worth of annual administrative salaries and frivolous fringe expenses to fund before it gets around to forthrightly feeding anyone, and keep in mind that it hoses its parents for a dedicated stream of food service gibs to cover its regular cafeteria expenses. For stewardship, there’s no contest: it’s the Dunkin’ Doorman all the way. The nice thing about Atlantic City, but not Carlisle, is that once I get sick of giving his whiny ass money or, to be more accurate, listening to him whine at me for not giving him money, NJ Transit offers an excellent style of ride straight back to Philadelphia for, like, eight or ten bucks, although not as fine a style of ride as Amtrak does by converting the same cars into California Clippers. These outfits provide me with passenger rail service in exchange for my fare money, and they don’t bitch at me about how I haven’t been spending enough time on the train.

There’s a reason why I gratuitously admire refurbished commuter rail rolling stock in these pages. If I didn’t, I’d have to focus unwaveringly on unspeakably disgusting subjects, like American higher education. If we’re talking about how much money Dickinson needs per enrolled student in order to facilitate whatever the fuck it’s supposedly doing on the student body’s behalf, it has something like $164,000 per capita currently available JUST IN ENDOWMENT PRINCIPAL. I doubt the Dunkin’ Doorman has a $164,000 interest-bearing savings account that needs to be supplemented with petty cash requests all morning to fund his cuppa. Go figure that he has the much less offensive attitude. I still do quite fine without him, but as robber barons and moral busybodies go, he’s a petty robber baron. He isn’t the one sending me mail every month or two on the assumption that I admire his fine fundraising institution and that there’s something wrong with me if I don’t. He isn’t the one trying to run a decades-long brainwashing operation on me.

Neither is College of the Redwoods. CR isn’t run by grandiosities who assume that the education their school provides is fucking magical and that anyone who disagrees is scandalously uncouth. No one who isn’t self-marginalizing gets upset if an alumnus complains that CR turned out to be worth jack shit. On top of that, CR seeks its funding from the State of California, which hasn’t been scavenging deposit bottles for pocket change and something to do, and not from me, its alumnus, who has. That’s an institutional affiliation that I’m proud to have. It doesn’t provoke me to repeatedly assert that I never wanted a thing to do with pushy yuppie cult shitheads and their nonexistent boundaries and can only revile the institution that has formed them into such noxious trash because they donate to fundraising drives more readily that way.

It doesn’t inspire half-serious thoughts of reaching back out to that socially climbing fuckjob from the alumni council to tell him that it took me all of ten seconds’ research to discover that he graduated from Parkway South High School. Nobody at College of the Redwoods ever catfished me as some kind of J. D. Vance of Outer Branson and then turned out to be from St. Louis. This fucker’s attitude wouldn’t bother me if it made him stick out like a sore thumb in a community that was otherwise grounded and reputable. Instead, it’s just a particularly galling and provably misleading version of the same goddamn song and dance everyone who shows up for alumni events keeps performing. These people can’t or won’t stop lying, dissembling, and saying unscrupulous things that the faintest, most optional relationship to the observable truth, all in service to a pat, ragingly bogus narrative of excellence and prestige. Just realizing that it takes extra mental energy to process and discard their torrent of happy horseshit is an exhausting mindfuck. Not wanting to slide into a state that even feels like psychosis, I insist on keeping myself oriented in the real world whenever they construct for themselves a more self-aggrandizing parallel alternate reality and try to force me to inhabit it with them. They can go to hell if they think this makes ME the abnormal one.

Besides, it’s rare that any of these in-your-face assholes could provide for themselves or anyone else in the real world. I’m the one who’s taken up agricultural trades while a bunch of mostly useless eaters who studied borderline liberal arts quasihumanities like international relations and economics (without learning anything about the actual economy, inevitably) badger me for not being more enthusiastic about our alma mater and all the excellence it shits out upon the near and far corners of the earth, when they aren’t making fun of me for being a marginally employable fuckup.

This is why, like Bhad Bhabie, I relish the thought of luring these little snots out for a reeducation with people who don’t give a shit about their precious degrees and expect them to demonstrate that they’re worth having around based on some kind of actual merit: productive skills, sound judgment, intellectual capacity that doesn’t reflexively refer back to their pedigrees for an instant assertion of superiority, not being preppy assholes who must have stood Chappaquiddick Cool Change up on a seaside date. The mash, that’s pat of the sea, too, you bastid.

These pricks could use a trip beyond, far beyond, the limestone walls, to engage a world that is definitively not theirs. Ousside, bish. Cash midriff?

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That looks pretty Outside to me, AM I RIGHT, ROLLINS? The owner of this humble abode has been exposed to a lot more than just the Anchorage Police Department. So, to a lesser extent, have I. This is how Megan McArdle would be living in a genuine neoliberal meritocracy, although a University of Chicago umbrella would work, too. At long last we have someone who recognizes what college is worth. GO DIPLOMATS!

The steam grate, though, that’s socialism. As they say up north, but not all that far up north, look at this photograph. Every time I do, I realize that Amtrak is one of our better shelter providers, and that Dickinson College never gave me any damn reward points.

 

Of Spartans and Trojans

My cousin’s husband is a Michigan State alumnus, and even though he admires some players that my cousin openly ridicules, including one who I recall being famous for swinging his junk around, I can’t envy him these days for his affiliation with the school that’s best known for employing Pedo Doc. That’s a hell of an institutional reputation to live down. I know quite a few people who are affiliated with Penn State, and the Jerry Sandusky scandal had an ugly effect of splitting them between those who were honest enough to admit that the whole thing was deeply shameful and a seething horde of deranged amoral apologists. WE ARE!

And don’tcha fucking know, Michigan State turns out to have a cover-up to go with its sex abuse scandal, just like the Shittany Lyins. It’s majestic. The school spent the length of the scandal implying that, oh, gee, we had no idea about the creep, we must have been running our HR department out of Oopsilanti. In the midst of Larry Nassar’s state sentencing hearing, though, it emerged that sixteen-year-old girls had complained internally about Nassar abusing them to a woman named Kathie Klages, the director of a youth gymnastics program and future MSU women’s gymnastics coach, and Klages “cautioned them from reporting.” This Spanieresque profile in cowardice appears to have done jack shit about Doc Diddles for the rest of her career, which she finally weaseled away from in a disgraceful abrupt retirement the day after she was suspended for offending her athletes by covering for Nassar after he was finally exposed in 2016. This can be inferred not only from Nassar’s continued employment in general but his return to work after a third sexual assault complaint, filed by a recent graduate and investigated by the university under Title IX and by the local police as a criminal matter, in 2014. The Title IX investigation determined that the young woman “did not understand the nuanced difference between sexual assault and an osteopathic medical procedure” to treat her hip and back pain.

For some time I wondered why none of Nassar’s victims were alarmed enough by his sexually invasive “examinations” at the time to immediately complain, but it turns out that at least three of them did complain. It’s an unfortunately low percentage of his victims, who one would hope would have recognized with full clarity that exams for most non-OB/GYN complaints should have little to nothing to do with their genitals, but it still proves that the school was aware that patients believed he had sexually assaulted them and retained him on its medical staff anyway. The rationale for keeping him on staff after he was investigated by the police and barely not prosecuted was that the offensive exam had only felt like a sexual assault to the patient. The administration didn’t even make him do the dance of the lemons. It let him stay on through at least three patient complaints of sexual assault, two by minors, and continue treating adolescent girls and young women under the auspices of a competitive athletic program.

Kathie Klages is a fucking monster, much worse than Mike McQueary. McQueary is a partially sympathetic character, a guy who found himself in an awful situation and became paralyzed: not admirable, to be sure, but also not execrable. His witnessing Jerry Sandusky raping a child put him in a terrible spot vis-à-vis the Penn State football juggernaut, and most of us really have no idea of what we’d do if we found ourselves in such a nightmare at work. What Klages did was to affirmatively interfere with two minor sexual assault victims reporting a predatory physician to police and university administrators.

This is why we can’t trust authority figures unless they give us unambiguous reasons to trust them. These seedy institutional cover-ups are legion. Kathie Klages didn’t want the girls under her authority rocking the boat. This was in consideration of her own interests, not theirs. Reporting a sexual assault to the police is no walk in the park, and there are agencies that deliberately mishandle sexual assault complaints by siding with suspects or retaliating against complainants (a huge, basically ubiquitous problem for sex workers, who are one of the most exceptionally vulnerable populations to sexual assault), but it is not a fucking coach’s place to determine whether a victim cries out or holds her peace.

Given the evidence of institutional negligence and accessory to sexual assault, the earlier victims should have sued the bloody shit out of Nassar, Klages, and Michigan State. It’s just more evidence of our national deference to institutions, including atrocious ones, that they did not. This is a blatantly corrupt organization that allowed all these patients to be molested by a team physician. It’s exactly the sort of institution that should immediately be cornered by anyone it has exposed to a staff predator.

For one thing, cult shitheads might be less obnoxiously enthusiastic about a school that is a defendant of record in civil suits over sex crimes committed under its auspices. That kind of thing tends to tarnish the good old athletic glory. It might inspire a measure of contemplative silence in pieces of shit like Joel Ferguson, the Michigan State trustee who wants to keep the school’s embattled president in office because, hey, MSU is about a lot more than just the team doc diddling gymnasts. “I mean, when you go to the basketball game, you walk into the new Breslin [Center], and the person who hustled and got all those major donors to give money was Lou Anna Simon.” Also, “This is not Penn State. They were dealing with their football program.”

Gee, that’s fascinating. I understand that Yorkville High was dealing with its wrestling program. I mean, when you go to a wrestling match and walk into Hastert Hall. The Penn State Board of Trustees also included a faction that felt duty-bound to represent alumni, students, and fans in general (do think about the etymology, specifically, “fanatic”) who considered it appropriate to be complicit in child rape because, come on, the Sandusky stuff was a distraction from the glory of #FOOTBALL. Are you ready for some, bitch? It’s a religion for these assholes, in the worst possible way.

Speaking of Oopsilanti, Dr. Nassar surely rues the fact that he didn’t have the opportunity to “examine” the Arbor girl. Oh dear, I have family in Ann Arbor. That was terrible.  So is this Eastern Michigan football standout:

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Oh, what a beautiful morning! Oh, what a beautiful day! Say, that isn’t a good feeling at all, you fucking creep. Sometimes, it has every bit as much to do with good-faith policing as it does with good-faith osteopathic medicine, which is about as much as wrestling has to do with heterosexuality. Not that J. Denny Dundiddly necessarily minded an opportunity to suck white dick. OJ is a gentleman of restraint and good manners compared to any of these, and Carmen Puliafito, wrapped or not, doesn’t have a damned thing on any of them.

Love too manfully instill Virtue in the Nation’s Youth through Sport.

Deplorable Third World shithole discourse

It’s curious that what really set off the mainstream news media about Donald Trump, what caused them to grow a backbone, stand the hell up, and utter the unutterable on air, was a contemptuous, modestly foulmouthed tirade about a number of dysfunctional foreign countries and the denigration of their citizens by association with them. I don’t know what all to read into this fight. It’s certainly being fought by people who are neither principled nor thoughtful, on both sides (many sides!), but it’s in the nature of chronic exposure to offensive, oppressive, or just unpleasant behavior that the last straw isn’t necessarily the most egregious incident in the pattern. This thing is a standoff, and standoffs do not unfold rationally or predictably. They’re dynamic. They hit unexpected flashpoints out of the blue.

Did the outraged journalists who are so upset by Trump’s crude language about foreigners get into their particular extreme outrage over his rude comments about foreigners and their home countries because they value foreign countries and the interests of their citizens above the United States and the interests of Americans? That’s probably part of it on some vague level, but they’ve also gotten worked into a special lather about Donald Trump’s nativist sentiments specifically. They were much more circumspect when Barack Obama mercilessly deported millions of illegal aliens and aerially immolated foreigners and Americans alike in gross military violations of other nations’ sovereignty, on the basis that the targets of these assassinations were outlaws. Explicit nativism has been coded as downmarket for decades, long before Trump became its poster boy, and now that he’s in high office, over the strenuous sworn wishes of a bipartisan incumbent political establishment, he makes an excellent scapegoat for anyone who wants to smear all nativism, nationalism, and parochial concern for the welfare of America or Americans as the most unspeakable vulgarity.

Trump’s shithole comments, although not really egregious by his own prevailing standards, were gross and vapid, evidence of a very real meanness of spirit and crudity of mind. The loudest parties calling him out for speaking so crudely have awfully little moral credibility themselves, but as I’ve discussed before, he ultimately serves at the pleasure of Congress, because Congress ultimately determines what is and is not impeachable. They may be shitty assholes in their own right, but if the sense of their meeting is that he is terminally out of line to speak in that fashion in his official capacity, they can put his impertinent ass out on the curb with last week’s trash. The Constitution does not dictate that the President has the inalienable right to offend and alarm members of Congress with absolute impunity by indulging in gratuitously vicious insults at will in a manner that calls into question his moral and mental fitness for office. The 25th Amendment is ultimately a redundancy. A critical mass of the legislature can decide that even if the president isn’t blatantly senile, his language sounds close enough to senile disinhibition and is enough of a national embarrassment and obstruction to good governance to justify his removal from office.

For similar reasons Congress has the prerogative to remove Trump from office for being a Nazi sympathizer. There is ample, although mostly circumstantial, evidence that he sides with Nazis and fellow-traveling white supremacist thugs when they engage in violent domestic insurrections resulting in injury and death. Congress does not have a duty to tolerate a president who sympathizes with perpetrators of organized communal violence. This is an example of the political and civic dysfunction that has enabled Donald Trump and his allies in their worst behavior and allowed them, surreally, to claim the moral high ground. There’s no credible principle under which it’s completely beyond the pale to denigrate other countries and encourage restrictions on the immigration of their citizens to the United States but basically acceptable, if one can withstand a weekend tongue-lashing, to use the bully pulpit to cover for violent domestic insurrectionists who are trying to start a race war. This kind of shit is hits the international wire services as a pretty big scandal when it happens in India because it is, in fact, a big deal. Our legislators have no duty to allow colleagues or executives whose removal they are constitutionally allowed to seek to flippantly court similar bloodshed in the United States. They don’t need to tolerate Klan revanchism.

They do tolerate it because they secretly, or not so secretly, sympathize with it. There are a whole lot of neo-eugenicist Randian creeps slithering around in Congress and our statehouses, mainly in the GOP, who support violent white supremacy and the top-down class warfare that traditionally goes with it. They dare not say so because it would be scandalous and they’d soon lose their offices one way or another, but implicit support for heinous, bigoted policies rarely costs them anything. On the bright side, it did help Gadsden Lovin’ barely lose his bid for the US Senate, but that was at a time when he’d just been exposed as a mall-cruising sex pest.

We could do to be hesitant in our campaigns to fix other countries when our own is such a fucking disaster. The rot goes much deeper and wider than projectile sexual repression, even if we have a special national tradition of sexual hypocrisy corrupting the law. It’s popular on the woke left to complain that the term “Third World” has a seedy history as a construct of the intelligence services and is an insult to beleaguered poor countries in the Global South. It’s certainly used as a slur in some quarters, but so are many other terms, many of them much nastier. “Third World” and “First World” are odd artifacts of the Cold War, especially in the absence of “Second World” from the popular lexicon. That was the classification of Commieworld: Red China, Red Russia, superficially red Poland, etc., but nobody today seems to have a clue what it means or that it even exists. In popular usage, First and Third World have been adopted as shorthand terms for socioeconomic and human development levels at the extremes.

This is awfully Wow Very Explain, but it’s pertinent. The idea is that we, the First World, have our shit together and they, the Third World, are the shitholes. It’s a crude classification that paints over a lot of nuances, but unlike so many political terms, the meanings are universally understood. These terms are not at all like “conservative” or “liberal,” whose meanings have been bastardized to impenetrable hell. Everyone knows what they mean.

The moral posturing over this shit is as inevitable as it is insufferable, but it’s worth climbing above the fray and thinking about what it takes for a society to move from the Third World into the First or, tragically, from the First into the Third. It’s perfectly manageable to recognize that Nigeria is a third-world country with serious enduring problems of governance and human development while also recognizing that it’s been the scene of chronic colonial pillaging followed by decades of post-colonial official corruption at the hands of its native elites. This is a shitty situation for any country to face and a tall order for civil society organizations and political newcomers to reform, and Nigerian reformers complain bitterly about it.

It’s sensible, then, to cut a society some extra slack on moral judgment if its recent history revolves around some combination of civil war, foreign military invasion, coups d’état, colonial expropriation, genocide, pervasive official corruption, and collapse of national sovereignty into a failed state. These are terrible conditions, and the responsible parties absolutely should be held to account for them, but they’re mostly beyond the capacity of private citizens to prevent, and the recovery afterwards can be slow and difficult. Ordinary Somali fishermen weren’t pleased with their government for deteriorating to the point that it stopped deploying a coast guard. They weren’t thinking, oh, cool, this means that we can go launch high-risk pirate raids on Western ships whose crews will try either to kill us or have us extradited for trial in countries we’ve never visited instead of fishing for a living. Sure, Somalia has become prime territory for gang thugs and religiously preoccupied tyrants, some real bad dudes, but it’s funny that the piracy got going in earnest after the government collapsed, sovereignty over Somalia fractured into an incoherent mess of warring military commands, and Western trawlers strip-mined the entire offshore water column in the midst of the chaos on shore.

It says something else entirely when a prosperous, well-governed beacon of the First World descends into gathering third-world squalor and misgovernment because its politics have fallen into the vise grip of decadent narcissists. That’s what we have in the United States. We haven’t failed to climb out of national poverty and dysfunction; we’ve deliberately squandered an inherited regime of exceptional prosperity, good government, and equity in pursuit of the most vicious, destructive forms of unfair personal and factional advantage over others. This is one of the most damning things any society has ever done to itself.

For two generations or so, we achieved a series of belated, incremental reforms: Social Security, Medicare, the Depression-era employment programs, Eisenhower’s genuinely conservative stewardship of what his predecessors had won at such great effort and under such harrowing circumstances, the Civil Rights Act, the Great Society, the Church Commission. Then, after the well-meaning ineptitude of the Carter Administration, greatly exaggerated by a shrill opposition, we elected a reactionary TV blowhard to spend eight years throwing it all into the dumpster while we pretended that he wasn’t sundowning on live TV. But Goodnight Simi Valley was just one of the more prominent public faces of the problem. Reaganism enjoyed significant popular support from what was increasingly turning into a nation of sellouts. Not seeing any threats from this irresponsibility on the horizon, we spent most of the subsequent three decades, up to the present day, slouching into a progressive dereliction of responsibility. At one point, Social Security was saved by Monica Lewinsky, the Forrest Gump of starfucking sluts. The angel with the blue dress, blue dress on did not, unfortunately, save Glass-Steagall, and we still haven’t entirely recovered from the delayed-action destruction that her boy Slick Willie’s deal with the banks caused not just the national but the international economy starting in 2007-08.

We now have, not for the first time, a comprehensively corrupt national leadership. Bernie Sanders, one of the few more or less clean politicians to run for the presidency, got ratfucked in his own party primary at the direction of the Clinton machine, which was as insatiable as ever at the prospect of foreign bribes to its “charitable” foundations. The Trump organization strives for even less plausible deniability about why federal agencies and various parties with business before the federal government pay so much rent to its chain of very expensive hotels, resorts, and apartment towers. Bizarrely, from some angles Trump seems to anger the incumbent government grafter set precisely because he is NOT as corruptible as themselves, i.e., by possibly following through on the blustery campaign promises he made to dispossessed blue-collar constituencies.

We got here because our national character went to hell. That much was our doing. We put crooks into Congress and the White House for decades. A critical mass of the public, including more than its share of reliable voters, sold out to be yuppies, social consequences be damned. Christopher Lasch sounded a bit shrill and catastrophic at the time, but he was right about the elites going into a state of revolt against their host society. It is absolutely true that they, as a group, moved to rob and dispossess everyone more vulnerable than themselves, and to justify these depredations.

One of the scary things I’ve noticed is that the upper middle class and above have been able to so shelter themselves that they are able to secede from the national reality that the rest of their society is forced to live on a daily basis. All they have to do is listen to mainstream, politically correct sources that happen to be crooked and full of shit and shut out any dissenting voices that show up in their social media feeds. This helps explain a number of people who have defriended me on Facebook. There are certain cases in which I know full well that I got shut out for being an ass for no good reason, but in a number of others it’s uncanny that I got blocked by people whose precious personal brands of earnest striving and self-censorship were inherently incompatible with my insistence on not polishing turds for free on a platform that is mine and mine alone to control.

The implications of this ability to selectively silence dissenting voices on a platform that is expressly designed to maintain indiscriminately broad social ties are fucking scary. I try not to dwell on this situation, but it’s potentially dire. It’s already drawing people with some of the highest formal educational attainment in the country into a state of mind that is functionally psychotic. I’m not kidding or being figurative. Hanging out at a bus stop in Inglewood all afternoon and speculating that the planes overhead may be headed for a different universe than LAX is much, much more deranged and dangerous than erroneously believing that one’s country does not have problems with unemployment or poverty. Nobody gets hurt when another A340 plunges into the wormhole of some al fresco nutjob’s febrile mind; that joystick-controlled Eurotrash ship still lands, and homeboy goes down separately, without it. If drug addiction is assumed to be the only reason why anyone in the United States has trouble finding housing or work, that’s a serious fucking failure of engagement with reality that will almost certainly have degrading social effects. When that sort of scurrilous horseshit is believed by voters who can’t imagine that anyone at their investment bank has a problem with alcohol or cocaine, the very worldview that drives these winners is a dangerous full frontal attack on equity and the rule of law.

The problem isn’t that we have crazy people on the loose; it’s that we’re governed by people who are batshit insane and protected by overpowering social conventions under the auspices of powerful siloing technology from all criticism. The Insurance Schmuck’s ex-fiancée, for example, has clearly gone off the deep end in bougie crazytown since she moved to San Diego. I wasn’t nearly so naïve to fly out there in a madcap effort to join the police force. It’s inconceivable that this chick has any fucking idea how socioeconomically mainstream people five miles away from her neighborhood live, let alone the teeming horde of godforsaken homeless downtown. She’s too busy posting Instagram photos of her waterfront yoga routines in Pacific Beach (shit, Brando, you’re losing the girth war) and New Year’s Eve poolside with her current boyfriend in Cabo.

I’m braced for this chick to go full fash. That she hasn’t overtly done so is probably a function of cues she’s picked up that MAGA agitation is downscale. She obviously assumes that she’s safe from whatever horrors the bad parts of our government are scheming to inflict on their constituents because she’s a cute, peppy blonde from a nice family in CB East and Kwesi Millington for Sheriff. Put Robinson in a shabbier red top and a Jeep, and see if he survives a watch on beach patrol. Seriously, this chick is headed for overt hardcore reaction with a side of Paltrowan gobbledygook, but hey, Hitler, her fellow dog fancier, was into the health foods, too. #MeatlessMuscle.

Homeskillet could have been formed into a political worldview magnanimous enough not to make me wonder who will be up to launch the foreign military invasion once we go into irreversible authoritarian overdrive, but the Insurance Schmuck’s politics were only marginally less dangerous than her own, and even though he liked to be a domineering alpha asshole in his relationships, especially back then, this forcefulness rarely extended to checking a peppy rich girl’s privilege. He thought that kind of thing was cute and arousing. As I said, these people are goddamn dangerous.

Actually, on second thought, she probably didn’t vote for Trump because she has a Facebook cover photo of that fucking little girl statue in front of the Wall Street bull. She’s into feminist fascism, you see. I’m sure she could lead me into an unfathomable world of hypocritical incoherence, a new frontier of Lean In girl power, fainting submission to the nearest preppy hunk with enough cash or credit to wine and dine m’lady in proper Baja style, and structural Betty Shelby.

This chick’s worldview somehow bothers me more than Melissa Ann Shepard. Now that’s some toxic femininity. But Sweet Melissa of the Maritimes never killed a man without courting him first. All a fellow has to do to survive her is to dump out the fucking coffee and/or flag down a Halifax policewoman because she’s back on her internet bullshit again. Yeah, there’s the serial fraud thing, but there are insurance policies against some QEII-looking creepy bitch draining one’s bank account dry. Not the only thing she drained dry, AM I RIGHT, GENTLEMEN. There aren’t insurance policies against the engagement of Fifty Shades-vulnerable dipshit daddy’s girls showing up to vote their fellow citizens into abject penury or indulge in paranoid delusions about the local color on Nextdoor. That much takes a degree of civic vigilance whose energy requirements far exceed anything I’ve expended on canucksploitative shitposting. God help us, but Monty the Mountie’s Motorcar is the least of our worries. Saucin’ in Tsawwassen was never why I ended up sleeping in my car on a regular basis. I can’t say that about some of the people I knew in school.

Joe Biden stealing your wife, stealing your valor, stealing every cent you have deposited in the financial system, stealing your crab

If the Democratic Party actually runs that crooked, gaslighting, falsely modest son of a bitch in 2020, either it’s screwed or we, its constituents, are screwed. Donald Trump’s popularity has retreated into a small hard core of the belligerently authoritarian affluent plus some truly pathetic disturbed cult followers, so a Biden candidacy wouldn’t necessarily be an immediate losing proposition. The general electorate might pine for the hallucinated prosperity and good manners of the Obama years. Trump’s swing voters might well figure, look, asshole, we gave you your chance and you fucking blew it by throwing tantrums every day. One figure I’ve seen for the size of the hardline white nationalist right in the United States is 22 million, a fringe that’s rather large for comfort but nowhere near large enough to dictate the 2016 outcome. Plenty of others, including former Obama/Biden voters, were hoping against hope that Trump might actually govern on their behalf. I barely didn’t vote for Trump, so I was one of these. It’s perfectly conceivable that a disgusted electorate might basically decide every four years that it’s punishment day.

What Biden will reliably do if he wins the Democratic nomination is infuriate the party’s base and provoke an internecine war against the kingmakers. It may end up looking like Chicago 1968, which yielded an electoral defeat for the Democrats, and it may even destroy the party entirely. It’s something of a disanalogy to call student debt the Vietnam War of the Millennials and the post-postmodern generation on its heels, whatever the fuck we’re being told to call it, but there’s some aptness to the comparison. Our current foreign wars affect fewer Americans because they’re being fought by a relatively small, all-volunteer force drawn largely from marginalized poor parts of the country, the classic model being frontline personnel from the hinterlands and the rear echelons from the ghettos and barrios. It’s immoral to ignore the sacrifices being demanded of these service members and their families, especially when the sacrifices are of life, limb, or mind, but as a practical matter, they come from constituencies that are used to being disenfranchised. What Joe Biden’s bankruptcy “reform” has done to dispossess the educated former middle class during the student debt bubble has come as more of a shock to its victims. This is a constituency that has been instilled its whole life with affirmations of its worth as electors and its rights to demand constituent services from its governments. This is exactly the aggrieved constituency that starts and leads revolutions: not the New New Deal/Eisenhower Republican reform agenda that Bernie Sanders figuratively calls revolution, but legit head-in-the-basket, tea-in-the-harbor, Lenin-on-the-eastbound-train revolution.

The Democratic Party elite won’t give a damn if they destroy their own organization by elevating Biden. They never do. He’s one of their loyalists, and they’re all about punishing everyone they perceive as disloyal, i.e., Bernie, who would have won, and the historic base whose turnout would have won Hillary Clinton the presidency in 2016 had they not belligerently alienated it.

Biden’s comments about Millennials being whiners showed just how far that fucker has his head up his own ass. He’s got his fine plugs plugged even deeper into the hole than I assumed, and it’s been a long time since I figured he’d pulled out for air. Again, this asswipe is a prime vector of student debt peonage, and Millennials are the largest pool of victims of the student debt scam, so he’s either too arrogant a fool to recognize that he’s the problem or a stone-cold manipulator. Maybe he’s a dose of both. His shtick about how you need to stand up and advocate for yourselves follows a classic but little rebuked neoliberal intellectual tic: victimizing the subordinate and vulnerable, then smarmily encouraging them to advocate for themselves, offering them “advocates,” or even offering to personally act as their advocates. For a crew that includes so many lawyers, they’re awfully retarded about the existence of conflicts of interest. Like, dipshit, you can’t represent Wells Fargo at the same time that you’re representing disgruntled customers who are suing Wells Fargo; if you’re the assistant office manager for an unscrupulous landlord, you fucking cannot adequately or sincerely represent the interests of a former tenant who is considering taking adverse action against your employer. The pervasiveness of this brain-dead thought process in American business and politics should give us an idea of how the incumbent organizations we have today elevate the stupidest, most disingenuous, most immoral, most amoral people to positions of power and drive out anyone who showed up with any capacity for logic or moral thought, and therefore the burning need to either purge or replace these institutions.

Here’s an idea: You want us to advocate for ourselves? Okay. I’m advocating for you to step into this Eastern Shore shithouse, painted on all sides with larger-than-life portraits of William Donald Schaefer, take your superglued seat, and enjoy your cool change as the weighted bottom sinks your fine vessel inexorably into the mighty Chesapeake. Delaware is close enough, yes? Said you like the way, said you like the way, said you like the way, I sail your ship now. Why, yes, I WILL weigh you down!

In Soviet Mid-Atlantic, Christopher Cross YOU!

That’s the thing. Joe Biden and people like him will never admit that they’re the fucking problem and just stop beggaring their constituents for a spell. They won’t, and maybe can’t, imagine that they could do more good by just being still and retiring from public life to allow decent successors to implement reforms that will, among other benefits, greatly reduce their own exposure as hated racketeers to vigilante or mob violence. They have to be the solution, too. More pertinently, they have to remain in a position to cash in when it comes time to make a show of fixing things.

Goofy old Uncle Joe complaining that the young’uns don’t have the fight in them is awfully rich. The civil rights that Americans today need to reclaim include the civil rights to be free of crushing, often unrepayable, debt, and the infringements of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that result from such debt. Why should we forget that this asshole was and remains a huge part of the problem? And why should anyone not be angry with him for appearing to regard the whole thing as some kind of game? He’s up there acting like a washed-up old NFL bruiser bitching about how the young guys in the game today are a bunch of crybabies and pussies. It’s bad enough when resentful shitheads try to drag athletes wiser and more prudent than themselves down with that line of horseshit. Joe Biden is carrying on in this petulant, self-centered fashion about a political and socioeconomic disaster that he did much to precipitate, by way of trying to goad innocent people who were never part of the problem into cleaning up his mess because they’ll be proud of themselves if they do.

It gets even more ridiculous than this. Biden bragged about how “we” did the heroic work of the civil rights and women’s rights movements. Really? Who the hell are “we?” I believe it was Mencius Moldbug (I know, kind of a paranoid kook) who described this expansive third-person plural as a “nostrism,” or a version of it. It had something to do with Bertrand Russell, like that Russell conflated his own politics with all of Great Britain’s, but no, I am not in the mood to look it up. This cat is a regular Brian Williams, retrospectively showing up where he wasn’t. Biden is (who’da fuckin thunk it?) a Baby Boomer. MLK was not a high school senior when he delivered “I Have a Dream.” If Rosa Parks had been a Boomer, she would have been all of nine or ten years old at the start of the Montgomery bus boycott. LBJ, a man whose feelings on race took some time to evolve towards magnanimity, wasn’t born in fucking 1946. These were some of the most instrumental civic and political leaders in the civil rights movement. I’m not mentioning this because it’s a novel insight; it reads like an ad in American Way for the best plastic surgeons and steakhouses in America; but because these three, and they weren’t the only ones, were a hell of a lot older and more seasoned than Joe Biden circa 1960.

“We” did the civil rights thing in the same way that “we” killed Jimmy Hoffa. Independent activist organizations brought pressure to bear on both major parties to implement civil rights safeguards, and in the end the Democratic Party had a larger role in the legal reforms, allowing the GOP to get overrun by erstwhile Dixiecrats over the next couple of decades. Song, Song of the South, Millington for Sheriff and I shut my mouth. Etc. This does not mean that Third Way, triangulating centrist shitheads from the DNC and the DLCC, the Clintons, Biden, or anyone else in that swamp had a fucking thing to do with the marches across Alabama, the voter drives, the Civil Rights Act, or any of the rest of it. We need to rectify some damn names and be clear about who exactly did what.

Besides, Joe Biden is one of the nastiest catfish in the whole cesspool. That fucker is constantly presented as, God help us, a regular Joe, who, like, takes Amtrak (yeah, the most expensive line in the entire network) and doesn’t have as much money as one would expect of a proper legislative mercenary. Come on, this guy whored himself out to the banks and we’re expected to think that he isn’t part of the national overclass because he has cultivated a slightly downmarket accent and shabby mannerisms? Bullshit. It takes a limited imagination to assume that his personal holdings are the full extent of his compensation. There’s no reason he can’t be the Kato Kaelin of the Delaware trusts. Why wouldn’t they let him chill out at the beach house, on the yacht, on the Gulfstream, tool around in the white Bronco, whatever, as long as he keeps giving them alibis? That crook isn’t exactly doing badly just because he stays in the guesthouse.

The crab theft accusation came from Tumblr, where a woman accused Joe Biden of having stolen crab meat off her plate when she was a little girl and they were in line at a picnic. I believe it because I have an easier time imagining someone witnessing that and accurately describing it than totally making it up. Joe Biden is the kind of guy who’d steal crab off a little girl’s plate, but that’s still an awfully surreal concept to think up independently as libel or satire. I don’t believe all accusers, but I believe some. After all, he did this to the Defense Secretary’s wife:

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This clown only pretends to be less of a dipshit than Gary Johnson.

Shithole. Shithole. Shithole. *PISSHOLE* coming out of Donald Trump’s *ASSHOLE*

The only reason I’d be embarrassed by that title under my nation’s present political circumstances would be if I’d reverted completely to verbal reflex and blamed Tom Perez for the Levitical emissions in question, but I was careful enough not to do that. I’m aware that I’ve wagged the rude finger at Bill Durden for quoting himself, but when I licentiously paraphrase myself, at least it’s fun.

So, we might concede, are our national politics, in a grand decline of Rome sort of way. Is this, at last, the final fall, or is there a trapdoor lurking beneath the shithole of our national discourse, ready to plunge us without notice into an even deeper and dirtier shithole? I’m happy to learn that Mr. Trump’s comments were translated into Croatian as “vukojebina,” retranslated into English as “place where wolves like to fuck.” “Wolffuckery” has a certain crisp Anglo-Saxon ring to it, if I doo say so myself, but keep in mind that this is fuckery in the fashion of a nursery, a place, not in that of nursing, the profession of Charles Cullen, Elizabeth Wettlaufer, and sexy male nurse Lynn Majors. Since we’re off the subject, I might as well mention how much fun it is to learn of the death of convicted murderer Edgar Ray Killen. That’s living poetry unto Joey Buttafuoco.

I hardly know where I’m going with this shit (into the hole?), but neither do Congress or our fourth estate. Ooh, please let’s have an episode of the Fifth Estate aboot this incident; I can’t wait to hear the Canucks self-seriously recrapitulate it in their crisp highbrow accents. But I’m just a shitposter with a free WordPress blog. A bunch of professionals who draw solid six-figure salaries either to run or to report on the federal government have been thrown into a foaming crisis over the president basically saying, dude, Nigeria isn’t a place where anyone wants to live.

Context matters, of course, and Trump’s context was ugly, as well as idiotic: that foreigners should be denied the opportunity to immigrate to the United States precisely because they’re trying to flee their impoverished, dysfunctional homelands in search of something better. To the extent that humanitarian concern is a value in our immigration policy, this is ass backwards. The whole give me your tired thing can be overblown and used disingenuously by capitalist overclass shitheads to justify the importation of scab labor, but even so, it has admirably and very reasonably been a point of pride for many Americans that our nation has welcomed so many foreigners from so many troubled countries, often with great success for the immigrants and their native neighbors alike. This is one of the things that foreigners most admire about the United States; hearing good things about America from relatives who immigrated here does a lot more for our international reputation than bombing the shit out of our recalcitrant imperial holdings in the greater Middle East because we’re governed by people who can’t resist an opportunity to rape a hornets’ nest.

The stray thoughts that I have about this shit over the course of five or ten minutes contain more nuance and detail than everything I heard about this dumbass scandal on NPR today. Governmental dysfunction and corruption in the Third World drives much of the immigration that has Trump’s tighty whiteys in a bunch, but instead of hearing about how we’re getting the brain drain and humanitarian flight from these countries, we heard about how African leaders are offended. Just because that’s true doesn’t mean that it’s germane. There was a great deal of hot kabuki outrage on behalf of our hard-working immigrants, too, which inevitably missed the bum fight that the overclass has orchestrated between immigrants and the native stock. In spite of, or rather because of, everything NPR tendentiously tells us about our government, it very rarely tells us how we are actually governed, i.e., by master psychopaths. Thanks to this furor over the president’s recurrently salty mouth, we got to hear about how Paul Ryan respects the shit out of African immigrants in Janesville and will never forget that he’s the descendant of shanty micks. Excuse me, but that motherfucker does not care about the poor of any national origin. He’s a scion of local wealth and power who catfishes as a scrappy bootstrapper in an effort to rob his entire nation of constituents blind on behalf of the serious money that sponsors him.

Here’s another fun item that slipped into the ATC broadcast in between longwinded discussions of the president’s scandalous mouth: an objectivity-boner interview with the bumptious governor of Utah about how a Medicaid work requirement is imperative because Utahans believe in work. That’s nice, but Mormon Madoff affinity scams for latter-day suckers and multilevel marketing rackets aren’t work. I might put partial stock in this happy horseshit if I didn’t know that the FBI’s second largest white collar crime squad is based in Salt Lake City. NPR guests are basically allowed to make up whatever the hell they want. Gary Herbert, our gubernatorial Utard, had a great deal to say about the states as the laboratories of democracy, which anyone attentive and honest would have cut short by reminding him that Medicaid is a fucking federal program. Does this gasbag think he should be allowed to make Amtrak switch to a three-foot gauge at the state line to comply with his construal of Utah’s idiosyncratic railroading culture, too? Notwithstanding the operational and political problems with devolving the administration of Medicaid to the states and their moralizing governments, the feds have no duty to allow the states to torpedo federally mandated and funded social services programs out of devotion to the spurious cultural origin myths of their grandstanding elected officials.

Serious question: does this kind of shit happen in Canada? Feel free to chime in in the comments if you know anything about this. I haven’t researched it in any depth, but what I have read suggests that the provincial options exercised over Medicare administration mostly have to do with things like which specific cutting-edge cancer treatments each province authorizes on its formularies, not whether Albertan values demand the impressment of the poor into workhouses, in contrast to BC values of lounging around on a nude beach all the live-long day and Saskatchewan values under which it’s your own fault if you missed free afternoon chow at the social services center because you were otherwise occupied getting piss-ass drunk in a sod ditch. It appears to be regarded pretty much across the country as an assault on the national social contract to use cool stories about provincial culture as an excuse to deliberately weaken social services. At the very least, the provinces are not given the local option to make up their own human rights and criminal due process standards, as our states are licentiously granted on a fairly routine basis.

Torpedoing Medicaid to spite the workshy poor doesn’t get NPR up in arms, but calling Nigeria a shithole does. They won’t lower the boom on behalf of truth and decency toward the native poor, but for the wounded pride of aspiring foreigners they enthusiastically will. Reading “shithole” above the fold on the New York Times homepage was a salacious joy. If It Fits, I Shits; Hit “Print!” NPR sanctimoniously let us behind the scenes to learn about the process by which it determined that there was a public interest in broadcasting Dick Durbin’s uncut hearsay about Donald Trump’s unutterable comment. Other than having to do its own independent reporting to corroborate the story, it amounted to because reasons. The Cubs will win the World Series before NPR explains why the same standard of newsworthiness and candor did not apply to Rod Blagojevich’s “fucking golden,” which strongly implied his attempt to sell Barack Obama’s former seat in the US Senate and got the Mayor sent off to fucking Littleton, which they aren’t gonna let him leave for fucking nothing. Fly the Fucking W, bitch. It’s also good salacious fun that NPR’s admitted standard for the utterance of “shithole” amounts to only once an hour and only from Durbin’s lips, not their own. Love too use a sitting United States Senator as a shabbos goy for the purpose of repeating the heinous comments of the sitting President.

Damn the FCC; full steam abreast! Ew, that again. It’s true, though. NPR isn’t ready to die on this hill of broadcast indecency in service to the unvarnished truth; it is ready to kill on this hill and fully hold its ground. In a way, it’s like Halloween in Southeastern Michigan for egging the neighbors’ houses, or the strike of midnight in the New Year in Manhattan for flashing one’s tits in front of Nicole Papamichael, or Mardi Gras for flashing the Who Dat on the Horse Squad in exchange for a strand of plastic beads and God willing they won’t pump your torso full of duckshot on the Danziger Bridge. It’s a special time when one is allowed to say “shithole” on CNN, have Dick Durbin say “shithole” on NPR, and/or print “shithole” in the Grey Lady. We can put the eggs back in the fridge on All Souls Day and reclothe our knockers come Lent. Or something like that. *Gary Johnson, tongue all over the place again* What is “Lent?” An extraordinary feast day has been decreed; gaudeamus igitur, bitches.

But to think that this is what it took to convince the chickenshit mainstream media to pull out all the stops and let the word, singular but repeated, fall out. No official policy is heinous enough, but the president mouthing off about how a number of countries that are notoriously abandoned by their most successful citizens, by way of trying to taint the brain drainers by association, did the trick. That was what it took to make the bigshots stop cowering before the FCC: hearsay about the POTUS blurting out one of the Heavy Seven at a meeting with legislators who have pretensions of acting as checks and balances on him. No bullshit, Bareilles, that’s what got them to stop cowering in their hole and be brave for once.

This is an example of the elite pushback that I expected against Trump more than against a second President Clinton. To that extent, at least, I’m still relieved that he was elected and not, so to speak, #Her. But this shows how frighteningly superficial these avowed watchdogs are. A loudly anti-immigration president got into hot water for some uncouth comments about his racially inflammatory reasons for wanting to restrict immigration and the bigoted mechanism that he wished to impose in furtherance of this restriction. Meanwhile he’s the one grandee who seemingly can’t be fired for sexual assault, not to mention for abetting police brutality.

This is a political problem, but Trump is a symptom more than the disease. When push comes to shove, impeachable offenses are whatever Congress construes them to include. In the 1990’s, this was an adulterous office affair. Today? Who the fuck knows. Congress could stand up and say, listen, asshat, there are standards of presidential decorum that we are going to enforce, and going on social media to accuse the leader of a hostile nuclear superpower of having a small penis is a violation of these standards. Congress can make it clear to Trump that the acceptable scope of his duties does not include impulsively mouthing off at foreign leaders in fits of grandiosity and disparaging entire nations in order to dogwhistle to white supremacist lunatics about how he’d rather have more immigration from Norway. Congress is not a body that has the moral credibility to stand up to the Donald for being viciously childish and give him one last chance to act like a fucking adult, but it has the constitutional authority to do so.

We may not be a decadent people, but we’re certainly governed by a decadent leadership. God help us, because we may be on the verge of having a crew of national embarrassments including Chuck and Nancy finally hold Donald Trump accountable for, of all things, insulting black and brown people by rudely denigrating the homelands that so many of them are so eager to flee, not because this is an appropriate process, but because it’s the only politically viable process under our current atrocious leadership.

As they say, Secretary of State Rebukes President; Moron This Later.