The short, lame arm of the law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cecil and Jericho, pray for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

Any of you still bitching about Nickelback?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Down on the Motherfucking Farm

Strangers often assume that I went to Stanford when they see my ballcap. It’s a fair point, but the cap was a gift. All I feel like saying about the details is that I have some family connections to their old school, not mine, and if these details seem so compelling, you’re free to figure them out for your own damn self. Legacy admission? It ain’t me, lawd, and sweet Jesus it ain’t me with that dang drawl of an acksayant after a chahldhood in El Cerrito and shit.

The colors happen to closely align with those of, you guessed it, *MY OLD SCHOOL*, whose swag I in fact would be ashamed to wear, because *GO DIPLOMATS!* For real, I’m routinely on the verge of buying F&M gear out of pocket just to hurt feelings. As they say on the SEPTA 61 bus, I ain’t gonna do any damage, but I’m gonna cut that bitch. I guess I’ve got an awfully fancy education for someone who’s voluntarily stepped onto the 61, but remember, education isn’t the same thing as intelligence, because it’s only with luck and usually some countermeasures that the two overlap.

The Stanford cap, then, doesn’t embarrass me precisely because I didn’t go there. It seems to be my one good cap these days, the only one that I haven’t stained and halfway worn out with excessive farm work and hiking, and it roughly matches my red sweater, which seems to be my only current sweater, period. Heh. Period. Red. Huh huh. Bunghole de Cornholio. Etc.

The Big Dick again Goes Hard. The manager of a diner outside Pittsburgh just asked me whether that was a Stanford hat. I wasn’t expecting anyone there to have a clue (ooh, did you just get one in the last paragraph? I did, too!). I didn’t catch all of what she told me after I confirmed her guess, but I’m thinking she was probably familiar with Stanford on account of the athletics. This is the school that admitted Chelsea Clinton but actually tries to fill its teams with reasonably literate, cultured, well-mannered youth, so that isn’t the worst reason to come across one’s interest. I don’t like to be the pretentious, arrogant asshole who goes around pronouncing others my intellectual inferiors; let’s just say that it doesn’t sidwell with me; but that smug, dimwitted, Arendt-abusing horse’s ass is my fucking intellectual inferior. Oh, yes, I’m sure she was admitted to her fine alma mater on sole and exclusive account of her academic and personal merit, and that I’m St. Thomas Aquinas.

There’s presumably a socioeconomic level above my parents’ at which legacy admissions start to leaven the matriculant pool, even at the Junior University. Far be it from me to disbelieve in the Steyer Shortcut, the Gates Go-Around (to go around the usual gates!), or the Clinton Cutoff. Hillary’s impertinent comment about how her buddy-old pal Mike Bloomberg is a real billionaire was actually obnoxiously pertinent to her gross worldview and to the no less gross corruption that it infused into her 2016 campaign. That’s a bad sign right there: looking back wistfully on 2008 as a time of Clintonian modesty. Most professional observers seem to think that the Clintons are worth mid to high eight figures, but they obviously punch well above their weight, due to the whole Clintonworld government-access thing (public service my fat white ass), so I consider it reasonable to assume low nine figures as a ballpark. I don’t know what the fuck the Trumps are worth, maybe more, maybe less, but they’ve got the presidency now, so regardless of how deep that clown crew is into debt, it’s golden for generations now, and for roughly the same reasons that the Clintons are.

The rich aren’t different from you and me and the Sanderses just because they have more money. That sounds nice, but it just isn’t so. Bernie and Jane have basically the same middle-class values as any number of doctors, nurses, cops, electricians, railroad engineers, and engineer engineers. A combination of thrift, decent luck in the housing market, and high earnings boosts plenty of people into a net worth in the low millions by retirement age. It’s harder for most people today than it was in the midcentury (thanks, guys!), but it still isn’t out of the question for young people who have high earnings and low debt, especially low student debt. (Of course, the relative percentages can still get bad enough to fuck a society up, and we’re already there.)

The Clintons were on track to top out as fairly run-of-the-mill yuppie shitheads, probably in the low millions, until that irresistibly charming little mischiefmaker with the infamously wandering schlong wormed his way into the presidency against an opposition divided between Giant Sucking Sound and Message I Care. That was when Billary was able to diversify from mercenary law, commodities speculation, and two-bit Arkie real estate cons into the good stuff. Wee Billy got the two of them into some legal debt towards the end of the administration by upsetting Gateside Downlow, J. Denny Dundiddly, Friar Dorkemada, and the whole crew with that little something-something with the plump Jewess, but that was perfectly easy and quick to overcome. They were the fucking Clintons. Retired from the White House, they were also freed from the meddlesome, sexually preoccupied oversight of their enemies in Congress, who incidentally cast aspersions on them for their seedier stunts, like their Lincoln Bedroom payola guesthouse deal.

The Clintons have successfully slashed and burned their way into a rarefied stratum in which the prevailing values get really warped and grotesque. Theirs have always been shit, even for the least reputable and most amoral swath of yuppies, but since their time in the White House, or at the latest a few months after their departure, they’ve been wealthy enough to amass riches halfway commensurate with their own avarice. Okay, half is probably a huge exaggeration, but I don’t feel like showing up out of nowhere with a word like “hundredthway.”

This is not a normal environment. The ambient levels of irresponsibility and unaccountability are stunning. Most financial millionaires have regular contact on a more or less equal basis with normal people from a fairly wide swath of the socioeconomic spectrum. They have no real choice in the matter, even it they’d like one: if they tried to buy their way out of this exposure to reality, they’d quickly go broke and ruin themselves. By somewhere around the Clintons’ level, the wealthy are able to permanently surround themselves with servants and sycophants, to bully or directly buy their way out of legal trouble, and generally secede from real life. Most financial millionaires would be aghast if they peeked inside.

A normal, healthy, sensible, well-balanced person would realize by somewhere in the mid-seven figures of net worth that that’s enough money to live securely and well, that more money might be helpful but that the existing foundation is rock solid and it’s worth giving some thanks. Billionaires, at least public ones, never seem content to enjoy their fucking money. They keep butting into our business. The DeVoses have their charter school hobbyhorse, while the Gateses lit a fire under everyone’s ass about Common Core. Hizzoner Michael Bloomberg couldn’t help himself when the poories upset him by drinking too much soda. Sheldon Adelson strives to be God. Tom Steyer has a compulsion to somehow unseat Donald Trump. Various obscenely rich shitheads like to get up on their high horses about bogus schemes like the flat tax.

What’s striking about Donald Trump in this context is his modesty. He didn’t claim a right to rule the rest of us on account of his wealth or credentials. He laid out a platform, incoherent and contradictory though it was, and encouraged Americans to give him a shot. When he did refer to his own wealth, it was often to admit that he knew the whole game was rigged because he’d worked it and watched it from the inside. If any rich jerk showed up on the political scene without an air of entitlement, it was Trump. This was refreshing.

Hillary Clinton sure as hell didn’t do that. Her entire campaign was premised on the assumption that everyone had a solemn duty to vote for her because she was the most qualified person in the race, how can you possibly not see that, and also a woman, you misogynistic prick. Between these pretensions and the Bernie ratfuck, she forfeited every possible residual bit of goodwill on the part of a huge-ass swath of the voters she needed to win the general election.

The class angle only made her look worse. She screwed over an opponent who was a normal guy with ambitions as normal as any presidential candidate’s and then made that crass comment about how her buddy Bloomberg was a real billionaire, in contrast to the poseur Trump. Okay, but what the fuck is that supposed to mean? I didn’t figure that Trump was a real billionaire myself, or that he necessarily had a positive net worth, but he looked less arrogant and more public-spirited than Hillary, who came with plenty of disreputable family baggage of her own. The possibility that a famous blowhard was bullshitting us about his wealth wasn’t going to cost him my vote under circumstances that included the grotesque corruption, rapacity, and spite of his main opponent.

The ruling class had obviously decided that Trump was a usurper; the bias was unmistakable. Watching him be accused of being worth less than he claimed, i.e., not totally loaded, just super loaded, didn’t help the bipartisan establishment’s case. For the same reasons, it was totally whatthefuckular to watch these stuck-up pieces of shit throw under the bus a normal guy with a normal wife who got along great with normal people and really appeared to feel a genuine respect for them, and then publicly suck up to this droning billionaire nutrition busybody whose shtick is basically to accuse poor people of being slovenly, ill-disciplined, and fat.

The kicker here, of course, was that Trump, uniquely among billionaires of whatever actual net worth, seemed to relish mixing it up with the little people and to maybe be sincere about having their best interests at heart. It’s hard not to wonder what the hell the Democrats thought they’d accomplish with this line of attack. “Oh, that rich piece of shit you deplorables are supporting from your basket? Yeah, well, he isn’t actually a stuck-up, out-of-touch rich guy; he just plays one on TV! Suckers!” That quite nicely complemented the Democratic stance that maybe he doesn’t hate the shit out of you and want you to all die, but we sure do.

This is the same crowd that acts like Americans still admire Warren Buffett and love him long-time for being a famous billionaire. What the fuck, y’all. Socialism is becoming more popular because the economy has been ruined by and at the direction of the very wealthy and an increasing number of us would rather leave less of the total wealth in the clammy hands of some miserly old cunt who takes his grandchildren out to Dairy Queen and acts like he doesn’t know the McDonald’s menu when NPR is along for the ride even though he claims to get his morning Egg McMuffin there every day. Yes, we and/or the government would spend Warren Buffett’s money better.

These rimjobbers are all like, oh, but he still lives in an old house in Omaha. Uh, yeah, BFD, homeys. Bully to that Congressman’s son for buying railroads and shit. Anybody working in the Union Pacific dispatch center is more admirable and useful than that, and Nebraska is also home to the Drought Monitor crew and Irakli Loladze. Who’s next up as an exemplar of heartland values? Sexy male code enforcement officer Lynn Rader? Our old boy Bill Thomas did all right for a fellow who never really left Wichita.

This is the kind of shit we get under leadership that can’t imagine anyone whose interests aren’t dominated by the doings of overhyped rich blowhards and the faint possibility of someday personally becoming filthy rich. Okay, let’s check in from New York on the part of the country where they still have morals and stuff and see what’s doing. Oh, cool, here’s some sermonizing geezer who owns BNSF and doesn’t treat his own children to lunch at Denny’s because he’d be expected to tip.

Stanford pulled the same shit with my Chinese-made hat. A guy passing me on a trail in Nevada City (yup, Wow Much Travels) called out, “Go Tree!” He assumed, reasonably enough, that it was my school as well as his. Yeah, well, Tree ain’t got the roots to support no American textile jobs. From my perspective, a cap is a cap as long as it doesn’t rep Dickinson (I am NOT doing free advertising for those shitheels), but that’s a funny situation for marketing swag for a school whose endowment is well into the tens of billions of dollars.

Will anyone at Stanford stand up to this and ask the development and licensing people, for the sake of decency and community, to have their marketing shiznit made in the USA? Not bloody likely. As Tom Friedman has told them at such tendentious anecdotal length, globalization is good for everyone who deserves good things and also inevitable and shit. It’s why olive farmers in the West Bank all own Lexuses. Every harvest is a December to Remember. Surely the cabbies who always have such interesting, and I do mean uninteresting, things to say to him wouldn’t tell Ami little fibs.

True MAGA, then, isn’t in buying some F&M swag off the shelf, but in hand-stitching and embroidering that shiznit all bespoke-like. Don’t count on my ever doing that, since I don’t have the best follow-through, but don’t count me entirely out, either. Firehat cross-stitched a Fuck Yo Titties doily, so there’s a precedent. Mine, I guess, is Fuck Yo College. I can’t afford to move back to Palo Alto on my own steam after what Stanford has done to the Mid-Peninsula, nay, the entire Bay Area, but I can afford some damn needles and thread, and God knows I’ve usually got the time.

What is sexual harassment?

To be blunt, here we go again. Not to worry, it’ll get worse before it gets better. Hey, baby, are you Sigmund Freud? Because I wouldn’t mind having you pull down my pants, lay me down on a couch, and “analyze” me, if you know what I mean. What, you call that “prostate stimulation,” and it’s sixty extra? Yeah, okay. Whatever.

I’ve actually found people asserting in all seriousness that one dare not refer to the rash of belated accusations against sexually aggressive men in high places as a witch hunt because witches were women unfairly targeted by a vicious patriarchy. Love too find a constituency that literally cannot and will not understand relevant figures of speech. That’s like saying that I can’t incorporate Elizabeth Wettlaufer into my sexy male nurse Lynn Majors memes because she’s a Canuck broad. Just because something is uncalled for doesn’t mean that it hasn’t already been done.

I understand that it’s impolitic to call a woman a broad these days, but I don’t see what’s so sensitive about being a serial murderer, either. We are, but of course, just cullen the herd. Midler’s story of her evening on the riverafront was different than I’d gathered from the original headlines, in that it’s both worse (being shoved into a bathroom and having poppers shoved into her nose) and buried deeper in the sands of time, as a 1991 accusation to the Superior Court of Baba Wawa about some shit from the seventies. Midler found this incident disturbing enough that she called it “unseemly” and accused Rivera of assaulting her because he was a grand narcissist and she hadn’t been sufficiently overawed by his sheer presence.

This isn’t a particularly compelling accusation. It isn’t totally incredible in the strict sense of the term, but good luck getting an impartial jury to take it all serious-like. We have a complainant who did not cry out at the time, said nothing publicly about the incident until, a generation later, a celebrity television journalist directly asked her to confirm or refute her alleged assailant’s book of sexual boasts, and now, another generation-plus later, the video of this accusation has “resurfaced.” The poor thing must have needed to come up for some air.

For an industry that is so consumed by salacious celebrity gossip, it’s bizarre that this story hasn’t been honored with permanent place of observance in the annals of high-profile perv. The very premise of it is irresistibly fucking hilarious: Bette Midler complaining to Barbara Walters about Geraldo Rivera. This is how you do celebrity gossip. It’s the goddamn Platonic Ideal.

You, child, will never have a thing to do with any of these overpaid kvetchers. I sometimes wonder if my more worry-prone bougies aren’t right that I’m wasting my talents, but then I look at the mainstream media self-seriously acting like this shit is relevant to the lives of normal people. It’s shameful to present this story as news. It’s a high Fitzgeraldian tale of socialites behaving badly, and anyone reputable openly looks down on it as exactly that. The diva bitched to the reporter lady with the New English speech impediment about the lace-curtain Spanish blowhard who even the diva admitted was kind of hot back then, as if that was somehow relevant to her claim that he had not seduced but sexually assaulted her. What is this? A game of “Holtzclaw: Hapa or Hot?” Like hell I’m gonna take these craven whiners seriously.

We’re expected to take the most craven whiners imaginable seriously every time one of them shows up with a decades-old sob story about an brief unpleasant encounter with a peer and agree that this horseshit is newsworthy. When SEPTA gets tripped up by its problem with knifepoint subway groping, it’s a brief item in the national headlines. That’s not only the same system but the same two-and-a-half line subway network (muh fuckin Ridge Avenue Spur) that had a fatal midafternoon hammer attack. It ain’t good to allow the town thugs and crazies to hit the rails for one-man Peter Gabriel and Jim Croce musicals, but the victims of these attacks are poors, like, shanty Irish chicks from the Northeast and shit, so who cares? Jim Bageant was only partly right: hologram don’t serve no discount white meat, either.

When I was little, I had a couple of vague intuitions that I’d been an Indonesian peasant or something in a previous life, and that it hadn’t gone too well and I must have been pretty lucky to have landed in Palo Alto this time. *Outgoing Andrew Chan voice* No argument there, mate. Everyone else with one of these experiences was supposedly a fucking princess, so I don’t know what gives. We often seem to be living the curse of the temporarily embarrassed millionaire, since it’s hard to see how else the lived experiences of Bette Midler, who’s more privileged than all but five or ten thousand Americans, are more relevant to normal people than those of women who ride the El. Heehee, I initially wrote that as “all butt.” True story.

The thing is, though, we aren’t the ones producing this bullshit coverage. That’s done by a rather sheltered crew of media professionals, increasingly drawn from the upper-middle and upper classes through pay-to-play scams like unpaid internships. They plainly don’t know how the rest of us live. I’m a downwardly mobile guy from Palo Alto who went to a Main Line-ass four-year college, and I think they’re seriously fucking out of touch. I can only extrapolate what a perceptive high-school dropout from Fremont or Stockton thinks of these over-the-top white girl grievance spectacles.

#TeshTips: while John over there pops some more Adderall and strikes up the Big Band, #BigBandStyle, maybe you should make sure that your victims aren’t in the top millipercentile of international privilege before adding their stories to the collected passions of the saints. Are we really to think that Bette Midler has had a hard-knocks life? *Serene St. Jean de Breboeuf Voice* Why, I can’t very well see how that would be the case, and I doubt I’ll long have the heart to examine it. Doctor, if you please, my eyes.

Misappropriating a Protofrancocanuck missionary to prophetically quote Jackson Browne during his torture and execution is more truthful and accurate than the nonsense we’ve been hearing about this sexual assault epidemic, which somehow seems to affect a whole lot of women who are trying to claw their way into show business and hardly any who have settled for normal jobs under the Colby Cosh Standard, like baristas and housekeepers and shit. Harvey Weinstein is obviously a predatory creep, and Matt Lauer sounds pretty bad on account of that remote-control button to lock his office door, if nothing else, but the gatekeepers publishing these stories refuse to discriminate between accusations of serious criminal conspiracies to facilitate serial sexual assault and Garrison Keillor momentarily being a hapless  dork.

That isn’t the only credibility problem that the #MeToo movement has. An old friend of mine who’s been active in feminist sexual assault callouts once told me that I’d feel more negatively about prostitution if I had “a female perspective.” Prostitution is just about the most overwhelmingly female line of work this side of surrogate pregnancy and wet nursing, so that’s fucking nonsense. I might as well tell a woman who enjoys watching UFC brawls that she’d feel differently if she were a man and that the bruisers she’s watching aren’t in touch with their own masculinity. It isn’t my place to tell another man that, man to man, his prizefighting offends me and he should therefore cut it out. And that’s something that, like football, can really, seriously fuck a person’s brain up, let me TELL you about their trauma. I’m not seeing a bunch of hookers retiring with CTE and pulling a Hernandez at his age, which is also Amy Winehouse’s. #TheMoreYouKnow #Rehab.

I just threw out a used pantyliner that some ditz had left on top of the toilet paper holder. At least she’d wrapped and taped it up, but what does she think I am, a colleague of Nurse Lynn’s? How dirty does she think I’ll get for a ten-cent bottle deposit? As they say in the nursing homes when they don’t have enough staff on duty for patient head calls, it depends. This just happened in a hella nice part of Chicago, up on fancypants Diversey. Come to think of it, there was that Starbucks shooting a few stores away last time I was in town, for what it’s worth. Just because I’m not in the ghetto (in the ghetto) doesn’t mean that the ghetto isn’t in me.

Out west, I’ve been there when they’ve pissed and shit on the floors, so I guess I’m doing all right.

Where the hell am I trying to go with this? That was a dramatically less disgusting expression of feminine power and energy and whatever the fuck than bourgeois sex scolding, for one thing. Lazy motherfuckers are never the real problem. Hell, the SEPTA downtown rail divisions are never that clean. Will I see YOU tonight? Another true story: I still have to make arrangements to get my white ass over to Pittsburgh this week, and I’ll be seeing firsthand whether the real trolleys or the imaginary ones are better. Hello, Neighbor. Beautiful fucking day.

Prostitution not being feminine because some scolds think it’s gross is great politics for the Land of Make-Believe. What’s next? Getting up and throwing out my used rag is gross, so I’ma leave it right here for someone else to toss? This is the borderline Gold Coast Northside, so yeah, probably. But that isn’t the politicization of menstruation any more than the SEPTA subway tracks are the politicization of trash noncollection. As I keep saying, all we have to do about the lazy is sometimes clean up after their bum asses. And I can’t stop thinking about how I came across the bloody rag while I was writing this screed. It’s fucking providence. Take it the last mile over to motherfucking Lake Shore and we’ll REALLY be talking.

Don’t mind me; the only time I’m on the Lake Shore is if it’s Limited. As they say, I’m really going off the rails now. Brandon Bostian be with you if you even think about adding “literally” to that. The fifteen hours of sleep I got last night must not have been enough to get me rested up. I really can’t see the Midler-intersectional spending Saturday night in coach on a redeye out of Las Vegas. I got a full bank of three seats over the wing to myself while a squad of Cornell he-athletes were shoehorned six abreast into the ass end of the ship, but still. Hey, I just said “breast.” Also, “ass.”

Maybe we can ask some of Chicago’s cold homeless about their thoughts on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” being problematic, as opposed to the not so predictable nights when it actually is cold outside and with luck you’ll make it to daybreak. Elvis, for all else that was wrong with him, seemed to recognize that Chicago really does get cold and that the cold wasn’t so damn charming in the Robert Taylor Homes.

There’s no end to the First World Problems, even in cities with large sections straight out of the Third World. I could always write a Tumblr post about how “Put a Ring on It” and “Baby I’m Worth It” are extortionate misandrist agitprop, but I try to have some fucking standards, believe it or not. Today’s bathroom isn’t anywhere near the worst I’ve seen this weekend. (*Most Dowager Duchess Voice* Yes, it is Monday, but what is a “week-end?”) That was the men’s room at the Millennium Park Metra/South Shore Line station. I’d always assumed that the Metra Electric District was pretty classy since they’d gone to the trouble of electrifying it, but I guess not so much. But sure, let’s get rich and complain about how some twee bit of holiday shit on the PA system in a chain of nice coffeehouses is triggering while we again ignore our national tradition of allowing people to shiver to death on our city streets. For the record, I’m the one who’s advocating for well-maintained public housing on demand, in part to help people get away from abusive cohabitants, and I support timely plowing, too, all the cool aldermanic shit, but I’m having trouble seeing how hey, how about you chill here and maybe we do the nasty in front of the fireplace like Nelson Rockefeller instead of walking home through a damn snowbank is super offensive. It’s the kind of Tin Pan Alley crap that they’re liable to play on Radio Deluxe, I get that, but it just looks like an awfully high horse that some of these folks are riding.

No, I don’t suppose all of that was worth as many hundreds of words as I just wasted on it, but this is the internet, and the actually pertinent stuff that I could have written about Nelson Rockefeller, race, and class is all kinds of bleak. IIRC, that motherfucker actually died while boning his mistress on a shag rug in front of the hearth. #Goals.

The panic over sexually aggressive men preying on vulnerable women might be reputable if it came from a position of decorum and quiet moral rectitude, but it comes from nothing of the sort. We’ve got a bunch of useless eaters who revel in the salacious expressing their shock and outrage that some other useless eaters turn out to have behaved salaciously. What, exactly, did we expect of Hollywood? This shit isn’t novel. Geraldo, who previously groveled about how sorry he was to have posted that topless selfie because he thought he looked damn good for an old guy not wearing any clothes, is now groveling about how sorry he is that he published a memoir about all the hot tail he’d pulled. Who the hell do we think he is? Walter Cronkite? The guy never made a point of being a stuffy prude. As Marc Randazza said, Mike Wallace never opened a broadcast with, “Tonight, on 60 Minutes, we watch Ethel Merman fuck.”

There has been wholesome, edifying material available all along as a refuge from the coarse shit polluting the mainstream, but now that there’s a moral panic afoot about handsy guys in high places, a bunch of people who have spent the last ten, twenty, or forty years watching, listening to, and reading a whole lot of garbage are popping out of the woodwork to express their shock and outrage about how the news and entertainment businesses aren’t as scrupulously clean as they’d hoped. We have to hear this high dudgeon from people who moved heaven and earth to hire on at NBC when there were openings at The American Conservative. 

At some point, it’s reasonable to tell them to get the fuck out of here. This shit is of a piece with the handwringy comment that the Insurance Schmuck made to me about how I shouldn’t make comments to women about charging by the hour, and meanwhile he and his girlfriend had invited me over to their hotel room specifically to watch “90-Day Fiancee” and had spent much of the weekend gossiping floridly about how the woman to whom I’d made the offensive comment was about to get blindsided by a train wreck of a first date with our mutual friend, the one who’d penned the ridiculous “Class Note” about Bill Durden and Charles Nisbet.

I’m not sure if there was a straightforward, coherent way to lay out the context, but I don’t doubt that I missed it. Here’s the point: DO NOT criticize my manners or morals if you’ve just gotten me to come over and watch painfully trashy television about Cylvia and the Abyssinian Gentleman minus the common sense. Left to my own devices, there’s no fucking way I’d watch a shitty, bogus documentary about a fat bitch with BPD from Florida (of course) who used Myspace Angles to lure a Moroccan hunk into a long-distance romance followed by another one about a highstrung beta dork from Downstate Illinois or some shit who offended his Filipina girlfriend by balking at the roast whole hog on a spit that her parents had supposedly brought and prepared in his honor at their expense. Don’t act like the crucial act of moral courage in our society is to take some damn Imodium and partake of the hog if you’re a sellout with terrible taste in television and a muddled sense of the line between fiction and journalism. Getting upset because some dipshit with obvious emotional problems on a bottomfeeding television series full of dipshits with obvious emotional problems couldn’t suck it up, save face, and have some diarrhea by just eating a plate of the feast pork is deeply pathetic.

It is not unreasonable of me to hope that someone who has asked me over to watch such garbage-ass fucking gutter television will wait a few hours, and preferably a few days, before casting aspersions on my maturity or tact. This is basic shit, like not receiving the Eucharist right after eating six thousand calories at a Chinese buffet and spending the balance of the afternoon having an orgy with mistresses. Yes, I am better able to integrate multiple conflicting cultures than some of my friends and acquaintances are able to function in a single dysfunctional culture that they never question. Our high-end colleges only pretend to teach the liberal arts. Engage The World my fat white ass.

It’s painful to be modest in our hellscape of a society. What I mean by modesty here is, if you’ll pardon the recursion, pretty modest, like admitting that I don’t have all the fucking answers to absolutely everything right now, so I’m trying to discern the details and the implications of a bunch of heavy shit and bear witness to them as I can, but in the meantime, one moral line that I can draw is against televised bum fights involving people with serious psychological, social, and behavioral problems impulsively jumping into the most inadvisable marriages for no other reason than to comply with some regulations on spousal visas. E.g., if you really wanna watch that shit, maybe refrain from criticizing a borderline off-color comment that I made to a Canuck chick the previous night, a night when I also mentioned to her that I’d researched the Canadian immigration process for purposes of possibly expatriating. It’s ungoddamnbelievable: I look through the fucking official immigration websites of a country neighboring mine where I already speak the dominant language (sorey, mes mecs), and then I get flak for my bad manners from a guy who admitted, unbidden, to having hazed me for five years and whose interest in immigration focuses on a shitty docudrama about monolingual assholes who try to get their lovers to move thousands of miles across an ocean for a life of domestic verbal abuse and acrimony.

Geraldo, who was a real mensch the time he had dinner with my parents, has never gotten me into a pain-in-the-ass situation like that. Nor have I ever had something that cool happen to me at O’Hare, although the Manchu Wok, I believe it is, has some bitchin’ combo plates waiting for those who have the scheduling flexibility and the favorable fares not to have to land at a quarter past five in the morning. The fellow’s been on television for decades, and he’s never chapped my ass with bad content the way the Insurance Schmuck and his latest girlfriend did. Do I sound like I consider it a mitigating factor that that’s one of the programs they watch on their date night? That shit is “Jackass,” but from several circles deeper in hell. No one involved has the basic decency to personally do the stupid, self-destructive shit and leave others out of it.

Criticizing another person’s tact while watching that trash is like Pot-o-Shit Friend walking onto a med-surg unit and lecturing the nurses about how they shouldn’t talk about patient’s bowel movements so much. Nursing will still be super gross (medical nursing, at least), but there’s no need to bring in critics who have the least possible moral credibility.

It’s questionable enough that people who do not strive to shelter themselves from a mainstream culture awash in sexual crudity, and who even revel in it, are now all worked up that some guys in high places were sexually crude. How could we expect Matt Lauer to be upstanding? He worked for goddamn NBC. He was gross in private around a network that airs Chicago PD, SVU, and The Apprentice in public. Let’s be honest: if he was afoul of the prevailing community standards of his workplace, he wasn’t by much. There comes a point at which the only responsible thing to do is to demand some moral coherence, to assert that the neverending broadcast of trash is evidence of trash in the soul. I don’t feel clean for having watched so much NBC, so why should anyone working the bigtime at the Rock feel clean for having produced it, and for that matter, having thought it up in the first place? None of us has any obligation to offer endless moral impunity to people who grew and stayed wealthy and powerful by airing grotesquely bathetic crap that’s half about Burgess (drop the last two letters for a really fun time) screwing the guy who first played the unwittingly incestuous brother on SVU and half about Voight nearly gouging some guy’s eye out with a Bowie knife and then somehow having the time to go down to Millennium Park and stare at the lake again.

This is why I was so encouraged to see a morbidly obese guy waddle off a real fire truck in real Chicago last year and put meat into meatspace. It’s why I’m always encouraged to see friendly, middle-aged townie cops whose careers aren’t going anywhere walk around O’Hare doing absolutely nothing and allowing the homeless to sleep in front of baggage claim, at least for another half hour or so. They’re too normal and decent for television.

We can tell that we’re dealing with a moral panic about sexual harassment because we hear nonsense about our duty to believe victims. Oh? Am I to believe Psychotarp when he blames arson on antisemitism? Am I to believe that there was even a fire? In any other circumstances, one would reasonably expect the standard of credence to be credibility. E.g., a woman passed out in the bushes with her underwear pulled down while a couple of Swedes have Brock Turner under citizen’s arrest are more credible than some story about how the aliens totally downloaded a copy of my soul through my ass. Not that there aren’t plenty of, dare we say, shades of gray.

More Turner diaries? You fuckin’ betcha. We’re supposedly suffering from a rape epidemic wherever white bougie chicks go, but we’re also gushing without embarrassment about a lurid, cheaply written series of novels about a Criminal Minds-grade sadist serially humiliating his dipshit lover. Everyone got all worked up about Turner, even though he served a custodial sentence for a one-off crime of opportunity and now has to register as a sex offender, and even though the community where he committed his crime is exceptionally safe and orderly. It sure seems that we, as a society, are deliberately failing to reasonably assess threats. We’ve got desk-duty NYPD or someone serially murdering escorts on Long Island and dumping their remains on the beach, and that’s left to Newsday to cover while an opportunist from the swim team gets wall-to-wall coverage for a single rape that came nowhere near homicide.

The mob is baying for carceral overkill. Third-party observers got their jollies by raking Brock Turner’s dad over the coals for some tone-deaf remarks about how his boy couldn’t enjoy a nice steak on account of the rape charges. Well, for God’s sake, this was a distraught father whose son had just gotten into very serious legal trouble in an arbitrarily high-profile case. That isn’t evidence of rape culture, and it’s got no business influencing a verdict or a sentence. The deterrent effect of incarcerating rape convicts was served in the Turner case, and the judge got hounded out of office for his trouble, even though he sounded like a decent, modest man who wanted to do his job as fairly as he possibly could and was eager to hear constructive criticism about how he could do it better. He wasn’t in it to let Blondie off the hook; he just fell into the media/vigilante buzzsaw in a case that he was randomly assigned for giving a lenient sentence to a first-time defendant who was affluent enough to afford adequate legal counsel.

We’re obviously going at sentencing disparities from the wrong angle. We’re getting it ass-backwards. Turner’s sentence is closer to a reasonable sentence for a first-time, opportunistic rapist than any statutory maximum. The United States has way the hell too many people in prison for no good reason, mainly because some loudmouths won’t shut up about their raging bloodlust. There’s a relative handful of hardened, dangerous criminals who need to be in prison for a long time, maybe until they’re brought out in pine boxes: Chapo, Silverstein, Shoes Go Boom, Mr. Explodeypants. These four already have their permanent home on the range, conveniently down the tier from Professor Kaczynski in case they’re interested in a Ted Talk. Realistically, it’s the Ted Talk that’s interested in them, but they’re around for it regardless. That said, we can account for these thugs and hundreds of others who are less prominent but equally dangerous and still have well over 99% of our total prison population giving us absolutely nothing by virtue of their incarceration. All we get by throwing the book at the rest is the ruination of men we refuse to rehabilitate.

Yes, this includes forcible rapists, and it damn well includes opportunists who once took advantage of drunks, who occupy a crazier, more dangerous quantum than Anthony Weiner will ever explore. A just society with the rule of law would not throw reformed or even reformable sexual assailants to the wolves just because some busybodies who don’t have anything better to get upset about are preoccupied with the sexual degradation of rich white girls.

I don’t think I’m painting with an awfully broad brush. Precious little of the upset has been on behalf of the communities that are statistically most prone to sexual violence: white trailer parks, the ghetto, the barrio, the Rez. Rape a Stanford woman, though, and God save you from the lynch mob.

Again, I have a really eerie feeling about the abuse that’s been heaped on Brock Turner specifically. It’s much like what Bette Midler explicitly had to say about Geraldo Rivera: what he did was gross, but damned if he isn’t hot. The Turner case really doesn’t say much about current sexual assault jurisprudence, except for his placement on the sex offender registry for a first-time offense that did not result in serious bodily injury or death, but no one in the mob is looking at it from that angle because they’re all too busy with Two Minutes Hate. Turner’s crime was heinous by absolute standards, but relatively speaking, as sex crimes go, it was pretty minor, with a relatively low risk of lasting damage to his victim, the obvious exception being the transmission of venereal diseases. That’s the main thing I’d be worried about if I woke up to be told that a stranger had anally raped me while I was passed out drunk; otherwise, there’d just be a huge yuck factor.

Slightly off topic, yes, I support without reservation a rape exception to restrictions on abortion. We’ve got enough dysgenic horrors on the scene without forcing women to carry to term the products of rape, and we unfortunately do not remotely have the capacity to properly raise and care for unwanted children who likelier than not have been badly damaged by their own genetic backgrounds and circumstances of conception.

The basic problem with all of this shit is that an awful lot of people won’t level with themselves or with anyone else about what they really mean. Fundamentally, harassment or assault has to be unwanted. Dagmar Midcap pinching my nipples because she’s drunk off her rocker wouldn’t be nearly as bad as Lieutenant Tittytorque having an inexplicably homoerotic moment on me for a straight guy with a live-in girlfriend. As I discussed in an earlier screed, he had that bit of fun at my expense, and I’ve gotten over it. I’m not Bette Midler. Bette Midler, who is Bette Midler, is being given the latitude not to get over her ancient Gerry Grab, presumably because she’s Bette Midler and that can’t possibly be privilege enough.

Then we’ve got the weird funhouse experience of Matt Lauer’s quid pro quo mania being a summary firing offense and Garrison Keillor having once been an apologetically touchy-feely sperg is also a summary firing offense. How much of this, we might ask, is a function of preferring the idea of an extended Matt Moment to a brief Prairie Horn Companion? This stuff starts to seem awfully subjective, and awfully unfair. And that’s ignoring questions about why exactly all these scandals are emerging right now. Here comes that deep state feeling again. Maybe. It’s hard to say for sure whether this is actually a belated month of reckoning for powerful workplace perverts or a live-action Archer episode. Having heard what I’ve heard about the military-media-industrial complex, I wouldn’t bet on morality here.

Something disturbing to keep in mind is that our general conceptions of sexual harassment seem to involve rather little actual harassment and rather much of, gee, I can’t imagine why Danny Pino is staring at Mariska Hargitay’s ass so intently. This is a longstanding problem: the infamous VA sexual harassment training video from the early nineties (say, Bette Midler’s confessional moment with Baba Wawa!) certainly had preternaturally good-looking acting talent (okay, not so talented, exactly) for an in-house government PR department production. Judging from that masterpiece, complete with the black VA director in the narrator’s chair next to the fireplace, Alistair Cooke-style, sexual harassment means a handsome sleazeball leering at a hot secretary in a miniskirt while she retrieves some files for him. That is, our hard-earned tax dollars and shit went to the production of a federal pornographic film, or, to be magnanimous, a shitty soap opera that didn’t even attempt a plot.

The common Freudian slip about “sexual harassment training,” which I deliberately used above, is instructive, as was that crappy video. There’s no end to the vicious things that a supervisor can do to a direct report in an office, but for some reason no one in this country likes to look at the majority of these scenarios that aren’t sexually charged. That’s how irresistible it is to watch derivative softcore porn premised on the crucial files being in the lowest drawer in the cabinet. Hmm.

Let’s get our heads out of our asses, and the gutter: that’s an ergonomic problem much more than it is a hostile environment problem, but it’s easily enough solved by also having cabinet at, say, crotch height (hey!) and chest height (hey hey hey!), quite unlike situations in which all the strawberries are growing on the same mound and you’ll ruin your back picking them and then go home to the rundown shack where you’re hotbunking in Watsonville. Great: more First World Problems. Do pair this White Whine with a Manchego Fuck Yourself.

It’s worth asking why this beleaguered sweet thing couldn’t just tell the jerk to knock it off if she catches him sneaking that look. Italian women deal with subway gropers by yelling at them to keep their grubby hands to themselves and then activating the quorum for a purse smackdown until the next stop, which is suddenly the pervert’s destination. In this case, though, we’ve got a woman who has chosen to dress a bit revealingly for an office job, and we’re to feel outraged on her behalf whenever some minor sleaze finds a pretext to enjoy the view.

This feels awfully like a situation in which we want women to be strong enough to function somewhat normally in office settings but not strong enough to stand up for themselves and stop being submissively sexy. Cui bono here? The Hillary Clinton campaign, for one. The elements that benefit from having women feel beleaguered in normal professional situations are consistently rotten and self-serving. There’s a real air of learned helplessness, in fact, programmed helplessness, to this arrangement. It’s hard to see how all these PSA’s and training materials stop sexually aggressive men from being gross around the office, since these were never ones to be scrupulous before the rules in the first place, but it’s quite easy to see how all this concern is just another way to bathe an entire society in sexually provocative content.

It’s exhausting to even think about why this campaign has been undertaken. Is it to implicitly distinguish the alpha men from the beta bitch boys? Is it just to satisfy the lawyers? Is it to give underemployed writers, screen actors, and PR dipshits something to do for a living? Is it a deep-cover entertainment project masquerading as HR compliance? The whole project seems to have a very limited number of ways to go right and limitless ways to go wrong. #TheMoreYouKnow, asshole.

We do enjoy good-looking men and above-average children, but strong women not so much. Women who stand up for themselves just aren’t as much psychosexual fun, and they leave the otherwise useless parts of the administrative apparatus with nothing to do. This is one of the unfortunate situations in which my Boy Scout training comes in handsy–I mean, handy: Chesterfield my leg, so I slapped him! Yelling works, too.

Mind you, no one in charge of this joint is about to condition the help to be comprehensively assertive before management. That would really fuck up some rice bowls, and this crew knows that the white-n-fluffy comes first. Operant conditioning that trains those receiving it to refuse and resist operant conditioning is self-defeating, and in spite of all the harebrained, redundant, pointless, inherently contradictory campaigns of nonsense that HR and PR think up and deploy, they’ve got enough Bernaysian master manipulators on board not to corrupt the language of the core operating system.

Great. Another piece about sexy fun time ended up being about some kind of pie-in-the-sky Benedict Option Jeffersonian resistance campaign waged through samizdat and backchannel peer-to-peer networking and all that kind of shit. If you came by for Dubai Porta Potty, and most of you still do, you’re most welcome.

But this is where it must end. Go in piss. I have train and bus reservations yet to make, through Cleveland. No, I will not be traveling by steamer. I have no idea why one would think to do such a thing when there has been direct train service for well over a century and, pride of th’American side or otherwise, it’s a long trip past Sault Ste. Marie. Ring a church bell in Detroit if you get worried, since you might as well ring it for the fucking locals, too, the way they’ve been running that place.

All the same, I see no need to fly and look down on anyone. American and Boeing fucked up my ears and sinuses badly enough when I was finally starting to get some sleep last night that I don’t mind literally taking the low road. Yes, the Water Level Route. Yes, to Cleveland, with a connection to Fred’s Trolley Town. No, not on a steamer. I can’t help you. You’ll have to go steam your own.

Edmund Fitzgerald, pray for us all.

I, for one, would rather have Geraldo Rivera grab my ass than permanently wreck my own body cutting cauliflower for bourgeois ingrates

That’s a much more coherent and pertinent statement than it should be. I’m skeptical about the syntax, but like Geraldito before the Society ladies, it shall stand.

Since Wow Much travels None homeland Very disorient has me on the road to the LAX Flyaway garage for a bus to Las Vegas and a redeye to Chicago (OJ took his straight from LAX on a walkup ticket), we’ll have to make this one a quickie. Forget it, Fogerty, I can’t spend all night stuck in Lodi again.

NPR ran a piece this evening about how farm workers are getting all old and sickly and worn out from repetitive stress. This supposedly has something to do with Donald Trump having put a scare into the wetbacks, cutting off the supply of fresh blood in the fields. Funny thing, though, I recall exactly the same bellyaching about the allegedly intransigent and obstructive anti-immigration forces under Obama and Bush II, so it’s a bit hard to believe that the Donald is causing the planter class to have an unprecedented sad. It’s always the same old fucking song: we don’t have enough Mexican peasants to do the dirty grunt work that our ever-softening native stock refuses to perform, and the only way to resolve this tragedy is to import more Mexican peasants in some fashion or other, legal, illegal, or whatever. If we don’t expedite another incoming batch of Michoacanos, the crops will rot in the fields and we will cause the baby Jesus to cry at the sight.

Agency has an eerie way of coming and going without notice at NPR. In this case, extreme, debilitating repetitive stress is something that just kind of happens, like an early fall rain or some shit. It is assumed that farm work will inevitably ruin the bodies of those doing it, bodies that will no less inevitably be Mexican. I, Jonqui, have done commercial farm work in every one of the past five growing seasons, so I want to reach out and choke these motherfuckers in a proper Hot Ghomeshi, provided that it isn’t too rough on my wrists.

These blame idiots can’t imagine that there are bad public policies or managerial decisions that directly make farm work ruinous to the health and safety of those undertaking it. The growers for whom I’ve done most of my commercial work care deeply and sincerely about the occupational safety of their employees, but somehow NPR never manages to find anyone in the industry who steps up to the fucking plate and makes sure that the help get enough rest, rotation between tasks, and time off for medical appointments to keep themselves in decent health.

I’m sure there’s no shortage of millionaire growers with excuses involving competitive markets and low commodity prices for why their employees are in physical ruins by fifty, because the industry is definitely crawling with owners and upper managers who blame everything that goes wrong on their properties, from wage theft to sexual extortion to Joel Salazar-grade drinking water shortages to failures to provide adequate portapotties and the resulting combination of skipped lunches and turds in the weeds, on low-level managers and third-party contractors who, conveniently enough, are Mexicans or foreign-passible Chicanos. One of the most reliable things about the more troubled parts of the industry, along with the endless bitching about how Americans are too soft for the work and there aren’t enough Mexicans to take up the slack, is that whenever some scandal takes root–whenever some crew boss demands sexual favors from the women under his authority and beer offerings from the men, say, or disappears to Fresno with a week’s worth of pay for two dozen employees still payable and no one having the foggiest clue of where or how to track him down–there’s never a clear chain of command or working grievance process. There’s never anyone in a position of power who is identifiable, accountable, and available for service of legal process. The people who actually run the show are somehow never responsible when people working in supervisory positions under their authority and direction turn out to be rapists, extortionists, deadbeats, derelicts, or fly-by-night cheats. All they have to do to avoid liability for their failure to exercise due diligence is to insist that they were in no position to exercise due diligence.

It’s great work if you can get it.

From the perspective of the peasant reserve army that grows our food, not to mention that of Americans who have an unreasonable amount of trouble finding or landing farm jobs for which they’re perfectly qualified (hey there), sob stories about Bette Midler getting groped by Geraldo Rivera become tiresome. It gets hard to believe that it’s newsworthy when Jennifer Lawrence gets up on her high horse again about nosy perverts violating her sacrosanct Christian womanhood. Athletes who take a knee during the National Anthem are making a broader, more principled point than their own positions, sometimes (e.g., Colin Kaepernick) at significant professional and financial expense. The gripes coming out of the studios seem rather more selfish and narrow. We’re talking about people whose very existences smack of immense privilege admitting that they didn’t have the guts to tell off bigshots for being sex pests or blow the whistle at the time but, now that there’s a bandwagon to catch, oh, gosh, it was totally problematic all along.

It’s ridiculous and over-the-top to think that Bette Midler’s one-time entrapment in a Gerry Grab decades ago is a high priority for public discussion and redress. For the love of God, she’s Bette fucking Midler. A Guyland blowhard grabbed her ass: not commendable for the Guylander, but not a particularly noteworthy trauma, either. When I was in college (merely freshman; aaand I won’t be held responsibllllle), I ran with some senior drinking buddies that included the rudest, coarsest imaginable anthracite country motherfuckers. One of these guys sometimes got roaring drunk, yelled at me to take shots of Jim Beam, and pinched my nipples. I find it hard to believe that Geraldo at his worst doesn’t have more class than that vulgar bastard at his best, and I notice that I still haven’t gotten any lucrative screen roles as a result of putting up with Lieutenant Tittytorque.

Accuse me, if you will, of writing a Story Whore submission about my PTSD, of demanding that you let me TELL you about my trauma. I’m really just trying to keep this shit in some perspective. I don’t get the feeling that Bette Midler would think for a hot second about trading places with some lady who’s been cutting cauliflower sixty hours a week for two decades, can’t find a place at the ranch to refrigerate her insulin, and more often than not has stigmata in her wrists.

Maybe we can give platforms to people who have actually suffered physically doing crucial manual labor for a change? That NPR story should be the one that’s part of an intensive ongoing series. The heavy airtime shouldn’t be going to an A List actress who’s suddenly sore about how she once caught Geraldo’s hands on her rump that one time back in the nineties. Forgive me for thinking that this story makes Seinfeld look deep and is the Whitest White Whine since the dumbass who complained that a family vacation to Europe conflicted with some MyPanera points that were about to expire.

This is what a society gets when it takes every sign of its own class consciousness out into the back forty with a twelve gauge and a shovel. It ends up ignoring recurring Daniel Holtzclaw situations because none of the parties are sexy enough and progressively recalibrating its threshold of titillation from Fifty Shades of Gray to Brock Turner to two rueful seconds of Hands-On Geraldo. That is, from the degradation of easily bored bougie chicks to college girls in distress to starlets in what should frankly be mere annoyance. If Geraldo Rivera as the perp is a mitigating factor, Bette Midler as the victim certainly is. This, not homelessness or grinding full-time employment at poverty wages, is our idea of adversity: a famous movie star getting her ass squeezed without permission exactly once.

This is why I prefer to pigsploit that other Gerald and, as I like to say, rundel in the jungle. Jethro Tull may not be all right with that, but Colby Cosh will certainly agree that farming fish is a real trade in a world that could use more people working in real trades, and that I did not, I repeat, did not, just sing a crappy comedy-folk song about anybody. Be thankful as I hit the road and sleep in a rest area again tonight.