TIAA-GRIFT

Some people just need to be humiliated and torn down. Even if they’re surrounded by phalanxes of sycophants and hooked up to permanent funding streams, we can at least nip at their heels and impose some social costs on them in exchange for their undue economic and professional success.

This is about our shitty friend Heywood Jablomie again, not surprisingly. I’ve spent several hours last night and today dragging his reputation through the mud on Facebook. It’s been tiring more than cathartic, but the disrepute is his, brought upon himself by his own shamelessly bad character; I occasionally stop by just to help him publicly bathe in it. The thing for counsel to realize in case he feels like suing me is that he has more attachable assets than I have and much more of a career to protect.

I feel scummy for having gone after him the way I did on Facebook, not to mention worn out, but there should be social consequences for the way he acted around me. This guy polluted the social scene at Homecoming at our alma mater, and aggressively so, for his own amusement and aggrandizement. He waged an utterly gratuitous campaign of verbal abuse on me, a campaign to which I responded with nearly complete magnanimity and counterarguments far more substantive and reasonable than anything he had been saying to or about me on the same subjects. He got off pretty close to Scot free for his vile behavior at the time. If he’s squirming now, it’s in the public interest.

The American academy brings itself into disrepute by employing this dipshit and paying him a salary. He’s bounced around between several schools across Pennsylvania, but now Villanova is paying him something like $78k a year to be a lead advisor on pre-law and “experiential learning.” Maybe he’ll learn from the experience of being insulted at length on Facebook for being an asshole in public, but I wouldn’t count on it. One of my hopes is that he and his cronies will remember the pain I brought upon them for their involvement in noxious antisocial behavior and notice that I don’t react similarly to anyone who adequately holds down an honest job. Touch the hot stove and it feels hot, that kind of thing. Who the fuck knows, though.

These guys are fascists who get upset if I don’t submit to them like a slave. This isn’t my first ride in this shitty rodeo. Some of them are worth having around in spite of their worst behavior. Heywood Jablomie increasingly is not. If anyone else encouraged him to shut up during these outbursts I’d be more or less okay with his behavior, since he’d just be that one asshole. The problem is that Dickinson College somehow trains its students and alumni not to police anyone who is uncouth or abusive from a position of socioeconomic superiority. It trains them to punch down. I have the nerve to complain about the school for disserving me, so I’m in the downline. As I’ve said before, it’s a cult. It wouldn’t be one if it regarded dissent as even a possible source of constructive criticism, but these are some of the most thin-skinned, hostile people I’ve ever gotten to know.

It took me months to consciously realize that HJ didn’t show any interest in ways that he could improve academia as an administrator. This should have been a red flag, but he’s such a bastard that I’m relieved if he isn’t verbally abusing me at the moment. He’s the one who asked me, twice, to rehash my grievances with Dickinson and my thoughts on what other schools were doing better. If there were anything meritocratic about his field, or if he gave a shit about the scope and purpose of his own job, he’d have been interested in what I had to say about what the University of Nebraska and the California State University systems were doing right. Instead, he was a horse’s ass who kept accusing ME of being the horse’s ass. I had no problem talking at length about exactly what I thought these schools were doing right; he baited me into talking about this stuff and then tried to change the subject the moment I started explaining myself.

No one who’s mentally and morally fit for his job acts like that, anywhere, period. This was explicitly a discussion about higher education, his professional field, not mine, and I was the one being professional about it. Even the alumni council twerp, the one with the chip on his shoulder about being “a hick from Missouri,” listened to me and had some pertinent, sensible things to say about UNL in response to what I said. The only one present with a university job was also the only incorrigibly flippant one. There’s no fucking way he’s the best person Villanova could have found for his job. He was an open intellectual sadomasochist in a formal professional setting where he was deliberately networking with people he regarded as important peers.

Villanova could bring in anyone from its own faculty who isn’t notorious for alienating students to do his job better. Instead it has this fey, contemptuous putz. I didn’t catch him on a bad day. He was deliberately lashing out at me for maximum humiliation. I can’t see how this attitude doesn’t degrade his mindset when he’s on duty advising students. It’s a deep, severe rot of the mind and the soul. It’s painfully clear that he has his job because he’s a well-bred man from a “good” (read: rich) family who goes along with whatever horseshit program the other social climbers around him are orchestrating. He isn’t stupid, but he sure acts it.

It’s bad enough that he acts like this, but someone interviewed him and thought he was fit to advise students on their academic progression and take part in curriculum development. I see no reason not to conclude that Villanova is run by a bunch of stone idiots. It’s got a metropolitan area of several million residents, many of them highly educated, to use as a local recruitment base, and it picked this dipshit. Fort Hays State could do better hiring laymen right off the street in an open call.

This dude’s qualifications are that he has a dual master’s degree and used to coach cheerleading. That’s it. HJ has never taught an academic course, and it doesn’t look like he ever will. What he will do is stay lodged in academia until he dislodges due to old age. The only way he’ll throw out his meal ticket is if he plays fast and loose with the coeds in pursuit of a harem, and I don’t take him for one to shit where he eats. (Where I eat, or recreate, is another matter.) He’ll remain attached to academia’s underbelly for another 25 or 30 years, like every other bloated leech draining and weighing down the entire enterprise through the administrative apparatus.

He won’t go down with that ship; that ship will go down with him. Like hell I’m about to stand by in silence while he acts like he’s got something to offer American higher education. With some basic ethics to complement his top-decile public speaking skills he’d make a great instructor, but he’d rather lodge his feeder teeth into a more abundant tit. Far be it from a man like him to suckle on the dry downstream parts of the milk line.

Cousin Gigolo is a crude materialist, too, but he does his thing privately. All I hope is that he squeezes his landlady for Dunkin’ money; he deserves the triple order of hash browns for his services, not just free rent. Before you go around accusing me of being willing to whore myself out for hash browns, be advised that I’d also insist on a refill of my coffee thermos and an everything bagel with full-strength cream cheese. Not that that would be my first underpaid job, of course. Do I sound like I’m in agriculture for the money? LOL.

Heywood Jablomie deserves whatever he can earn by flying a sign on Lancaster Avenue and scavenging deposit bottles. He could be his neighborhood’s Dunkin’ Doorman. That isn’t a particularly honest job, either, but at least the payers know where the money’s going. I don’t need to be the only one ridiculed as a ne’er-do-well around here.

“College boy” really needs to become an insult again.

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The Picture of Dorian Bald

One of the most stunning things I’ve seen recently is a side-by-side set of pictures of Jeff Bezos, one taken in 1998 and the other in 2017. It took me several looks to convince myself that it was the same guy. In the latter picture, the one of showing Bezos strutting like a Blade Runner extra in an open vest, he looks like a real prick. In the former, he looks modest, down-to-earth, even apprehensive. This isn’t just a case of a bald guy getting older and losing more of his hair; I’ve watched far too many of Dick Wolf’s Cragen chronicles, and my reaction to seeing the throwback episodes is nothing crazier than, wow, he looks youthful and blessed with a fine-ass fringe. In these pictures, Bezos looks like a different person. That’s how dramatically his facial expressions changed over the years.

Some of it is for show; even today, Bezos often appears less devious, or at least less insufferable, than many of his billionaire peers. But it’s scary to think of the possibility that a man’s grasping pursuit of wealth and the power attending his success can be etched not only psychologically but physically into his character. It’s some Twilight Zone shit. This is the same guy who was photographed eating iguana meat straight off the roasted carcass like Dr. Evil. I’d have more self-respect than to do that, let alone agree to be photographed in such a creepy state, and I assume most more or less normal people would. Bezos is not normal. He’s abnormal. He runs in circles that consider supping by hand straight from the lizard at society events badass.

Power and wealth really do warp the soul. Muammar Qaddafi went through an eerily similar transition. Early in his political career, he carried himself like a normal person. For the last decade or two of his life and rule, he started donning more ridiculous outfits for whatever caricaturish political effect he fancied at the moment (military strongman, Pan-Arabist tribesman, Pan-African tribesman) and took on that classic Qaddafi expression, the cryptic, literally supercilious stare into the middle distance, with or without sunglasses for reasons not readily explained by the weather. Akinokure has a fun piece tangentially about Liberty Resistance, etc. here, also discussing some Imperial Roman degenerates and Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s scrappy rebel leader turned blinged-out aristocratic tiger fancier.

There’s no absolute guarantee that wealth or its pursuit will turn a person into a ghoul. Around the time of Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential inauguration, I listened to a BBC biographical special that discussed the excoriation he provoked from South Africans for spending a fortune on a prize bull and an additional fortune breeding heirloom cattle, I understood the outrage but was touched by his devotion to cattle, probably because it reminded me of my own arguably excessive interest in plants. It seemed deeply and sincerely human.

It also stood out as a rarity among the rich. Much more often I hear about the rich and famous acting like intractably vulgar philistines. Even when the celebrity media paint these dipshits as glamorous for showing off their wealth they sound fucking pathetic. Everything they do is limbic and coarse. Donald Trump’s involvement in property development and commercial passenger aviation, theoretically interesting fields, amounted to him plastering his name on a bunch of shit, braying about his own excellence, getting sycophants to fawn over him in the press, and then going bankrupt on short order. Paris Hilton and the Kardashians have never been publicly involved with anything as interesting as an airline. It’s nothing but self-promoting puffery and overwrought drama with these assholes. If these vicious, disruptive, parasitic habits were scaled up wholesale, society would collapse in a matter of weeks or months. It’s frightening to consider how many people seem to regard this masturbatory and frankly deleterious horseshit as admirable. If the public boors acting in this fashion aren’t skilled actors with the ability to get out of character as needed, they have none of the useful skills or temperaments needed to keep a society running in any fashion. Given how many people today, in the audience and in the production process alike, can’t reliably distinguish between reality, fiction, and fantasy, this shit isn’t entertainment; it’s harrowing decadence.

These aren’t the only prominent rich people who frighten me or try my patience, either. I’m more and more fed up with Warren Buffett and every thoughtless, craven mercenary promoting him as some kind of business genius and reservoir of provincial wisdom. He’s an insufferable phony, and it’s disgusting that an avowedly independent and free press fails to do any independent thinking or research and call him out as one. One of his latest obnoxious, tone-deaf stunts was to intone that doubling your net worth won’t make you happy. He’s talking to you, too, I assume, and to me, because he’s that much of an out-of-touch droning putz. This is like coming out of a Chinese buffet and telling a starving guy on the sidewalk that he won’t feel any better if he gets something to eat. It’s like spending the afternoon in a three-way with thicky tricks every afternoon and telling a lonely incel that sex is overrated.

It’s okay if one of them is skinny.

Does this asshat have any blessed clue of how out of touch he is and what a terrible person he is to spread this twee, daft message? For someone who doesn’t cherish the everloving shit out of all the money he can hoard, he sure spends a lot of time and energy chasing more money. Spare us the fucking sob story about how it isn’t everything. For some people, it is, and Warren Buffett, of all people, is in no fucking position to say that it is not. Presumably he’s targeting upper-middle-class investors, not indigent street people, but let’s not pretend that that doesn’t take some fucking chutzpah just because lecturing some bum who’s fishing deposit bottles out of a dumpster would take an even bigger pair of shit-covered balls. It’s goddamn unbelievable that an endlessly ambitious billionaire investor has the nerve to publicly opine about the meaninglessness and futility of wealth.

Buffett is definitely disingenuous here, but I’m not convinced that he realizes it. I can’t tell if he’s a calculating scumbag or a sheltered dork who believes his own bullshit and can’t see why anyone else wouldn’t. He’s surrounded by servants and sycophants, and that can’t help. Get uppity with that Tom Brokaw-ass fuckhead about how you have your own valid thoughts contradicting his when you’re waiting tables at the country club and you’ll be getting shifts at Denny’s soon enough; America’s Diner Is Always Open.

This is one of the things that is infuriating about the uncritical coverage that this twerp keeps getting and the praise he keeps earning, if we’re debased enough to call it that, for being an Omaha homeboy. Plenty of shitty little towns on the prairie have their own cohesive upper crusts, so of course Omaha, the center of a sizable metropolitan area and the largest city in Nebraska, has one of its own. How fucking stupid do we have to be to assume that everyone there considers Sizzler fancy? A bunch of incorrigible dipshits from the coasts who got reporting jobs for reasons of indisputable merit and nothing possibly involving any sort of pay-to-play corruption such as unpaid internships are all like, OMG, Omaha must be authentic because it’s, like, really far away and I’ve never been there. Well, if it sounds that interesting, why don’t you fucking go? It has an airport, and it also has daily passenger rail service on the California Zephyr, which leaves Chicago at 2:00 pm sharp. That’s the way to really enjoy the journey (TM). True story, Eastern Nebraska is pretty and Iowa and Western Illinois are really pretty. Instead of any of these trite shitheads getting their asses into Union Station by a quarter to two for a trip through God’s country on America’s bitchinest ride, though, we have to listen to their ridiculous stories about how Warren Buffett has such a unique Nebraska perspective that he might as well be an emissary from the Yanomamo.

Our journalistic class is insane. There’s no other way to explain this shit. Omaha is obscure and foreign only because these assholes haven’t chosen to visit it or learn anything about it from credible sources. Buffett isn’t special because he lives in an old house there, drives a beater, and takes his grandkids out to Dairy Queen. Have any of these idiots ever heard of Omaha Steaks? #TeshTips: not sold at Dairy Queen. They’re getting catfished by a geezer who makes a show of not eating well, and they take him seriously because he lives in a backwater city in a state of deplorables that they wouldn’t deign to visit unless maybe Berkshire Hathaway were putting them up.

I might as well brush up on my aging middlebrow Midwestern diction and call into CNBC with a story about how I live in Council Bluffs and have a million-two in CD’s in the savings and loan and I live with a dozen cats, more when God blesses us with fertility and good health, in an old craftsman that admittedly could use some TLC and is piled to the rafters with old magazines and church bulletins and expired supermarket coupons and I dunno where the title to this house is but it must be in here somewhere and the toilet stopped working a few months ago but I make do and I really don’t know why the code enforcement and social services people keep asking after me and insisting on coming into my house. Would Iowa residency magically make this story not insane? Buffett owns entire railroads and claims to take his own kin out for fast food meals that might cost forty or fifty dollars for the entire party. Why doesn’t anyone have the courage or the sheer good sense to say, hey, this guy sounds kind of fucked up?

It’s either that or he’s a cosplaying liar. Michael Moore sometimes gets exposed in embarrassingly opulent situations involving Torch Lake, the Concorde, extensive stock ownership, or a nice hotel in London other than the one where he tells reporters he’s staying. Are we really to think that Warren Buffett doesn’t have access to private jets and out-of-town estates? How fucking credulous and gullible are we? Do we think he’s socializing with railroad engineers or farmers or factory hands? Like hell he is. As I said, Omaha is a sizable city with a sizable elite. If I wanted to socialize exclusively with rich people, I’d be able to find more charity ball stuffies than I’d be able to keep up with just at fundraisers at the prep school I left as part of a graduating class of 32, and if, as Coach said, everyone’s a wiener at the Day School, we know they’re all big swinging pricks at the Big Dick. Go Hard, and GO DIPLOMATS! I don’t know if you’re getting a clue, too, but I’m getting a clue (ew!) that Omaha is quite a bit larger than necessary for the maintenance of a sheltered upper crust that circles the wagons and does its members special favors.

You do realize what the idiots who cover Buffett believe, though, right? They’re too stupid to imagine that Omaha has a local elite. A famous investment dork whose daddy was in Congress acts like a retired high school teacher on a fixed income and these people assume on his account alone that everyone in his entire city is a down-to-earth Mayberry throwback. This is less Hardly Boys than #TIMMEH.

It’s unspeakably disgraceful that this shithead keeps getting platformed. He’s already rich, so what’s wrong with him that he needs all the attention, too? And what’s wrong with us that we give it to him? I personally know wealthy people, including ones I infer to be worth low eight figures, who have always treated me graciously and warmly and have never given any indication that they don’t consider me their full civic equal. There are plenty of rich people who are total shitheads, too, of course, but it isn’t all of them, so I don’t care to see a disingenuous Scrooge McDuck homilist chide people who will never be worth a hundredth what he’s worth for being overly materialistic while his near peers are quietly reputable and tactful about their own wealth. If Buffett cared about a thing other than making more money, I figure he’d be out doing something, anything, else: skiing, traveling, hiking, gardening, painting, boating. You name it, he’s got the money to fund it. Nobody has the common sense to ask why, since he’s got enough money to survive some free time, he doesn’t fucking take some. That’s as disordered as anything about him. Unless, of course, he’s bullshitting us about the virtues of his Dutch cheapness and Protestant work ethic a few hours a week and secretly luxuriating the rest of the week.

If this holier-than-thou phony doesn’t appreciate his money, I will. I don’t see why I wouldn’t be happier with and more grateful for any amount of money Buffett has than he claims to be, and up to at least a million dollars, maybe more, I don’t see how I wouldn’t steward it better. Tariff enthusiast Wilbur Ross is the only billionaire I can recall hearing say anything sensible (Donald Trump isn’t a billionaire), so I figure Buffett can stuff it. Oh, a rhyme. How bow dah. But God help us, he’ll continue to speak to us from the grave, like Steve Jobs.

This is why we need our memes to make it through the day. Sexy male nurse Lynn Majors was a Midwesterner, and sexy male code enforcement officer Lynn Rader unfortunately still is a Midwesterner, although as a Californian I got to help pay for Charles Manson instead. When I turn to these helpful heartlanders for inspiration, I try to sing a true song about them, not a bullshit tune. Maybe that’s why I don’t get paid.

Say, does anyone know where they put that rag that the bailiffs shoved in Charles Cullen’s loud mouth? Nah, I don’t need it. I’m asking for some friends in Nebraska.

Promised Land

A quarter mile away, the High Sierra juts out on the far end of a breathtaking foothill promontory, California’s radiant crown. Here, on the perimeter of this strip mall parking lot, a television plays in a diner, noon drawing near. Two vile women argue about Nick, one of them swearing that she will destroy the other but not him. Two even viler gentlemen standing in a living room glare menacingly at one another over the same lady, also present and hardly any more gracious herself. One of them excuses himself to go upstairs and change his clothes. The other tells him, “It better be quick.” This is a threat, somehow. No one explains why any of these wretched wastrels desires the company of any of the others for longer than it takes to get some quick action and leave immediately upon climax.

The “messages” mercifully interrupt our storyline. This bottle of dish detergent is powerful enough to clean all the dishes used at a block party by a thousand of the most goddamned fake and annoying background actors one could ever hope not to meet. Ask your doctor about Taltz. Ask your doctor about Cymbalta. Ask your doctor about Humira. Be thankful if you can’t correctly guess the spelling of methotrexate. It means that you don’t have cancer, and that’s just as well, because the telescreen is adamant that the stuff is useless anyway. If it did “work well,” we might not be hearing about this shit every fifteen minutes. Ask your doctor about all of these during the same appointment, and about any adverse interactions that they may have with Cialis; copays ain’t cheap, doggy. Ask your dealer about carfentanyl. The nice thing about it is that you won’t need another dose.

Here, at the corner of happy and healthy, the storyline resumes. A white lady and a black lady are glaring and hissing at one another. Lord help us all; they must fancy the same fellow, too. The colored folk are equals in this world so long as they maintain neutral accents, middle-class mannerisms to distract from the belligerently low-class prevailing community standards, and hair as natural and authentic as the social relations they’re enjoying. There’s more dignity in being the Sam Dotson-ass token white dork on a blaxploitation sitcom.

We’re exhorted to seek equality, but not told equality in what. Oxygen runs Chicago PD reruns all night. The remote in the motel room is janky enough that it’s pointless to even try to change the channel, and besides, USA is airing the Olympics, an orgy of twee earnestness and try-harding (Kerrigan, your thoughts?) that doesn’t resonate with those of us who turn to the telescreen to keep us company while we do laundry in the sink. Our Lord’s Joseph’s Servant Gerald, Kenneth “Blood Will Tell” Fitzhugh, and J. Denny Dundiddly were all coaches. Put me in! Lawrence of the Labia “worked” with competitive gymnasts. Meanwhile the mainstream public discourse assumes that Bobby Knight and the Karolyis aren’t fit to be defenestrated into the Gowanus Canal. No need to do it from a high window, but it really is too bad that it’s always a different Robert who gets into trouble with–how is this even possible?–a different commanding Montgomery for throwing furniture. These thugs are okay because they instill character.

Hence another night of Second City/first responder stories, a night shift that would make even the Commodores blanch. It’s garbage, but at least it doesn’t try to be inspirational garbage. We can’t all be winners, and we get entire societies into trouble when we try too hard. Since it’s airing on the women’s channel, it’s sponsored by a line of vaginal suppositories for the emergency postmenstrual readjustment of one’s intimate flora, in pursuit of a flavor worth savoring. In case there’s any confusion, these are “probiotics for your vagina, not your digestive tract.” Glad we cleared that up. I was just about to eat a condom and slather Activia on my balls, for my health. Don’t hate, now. It’s called self-care. I understand Justin Bieber has a song about it.

Perspective is a funny thing. There’s a world of wonder just outside our front door, and we’re watching execrable crap about adults whose sexual maturity grossly outstrips their sexual ethics. They aren’t acting like whores. If they were, they’d know how to harmoniously share a man and be shared. While other couples make those around them believe ever more fervently in the institution of divorce, one can discreetly and graciously fuck one’s landlady in lieu of rent. This doesn’t do anything about one’s residency in a dilapidated third-floor walkup in Port Henry, but we weren’t planning to do a blessed thing about that anyway; this is America. Ain’t that, Cougar.

Just around the corner there’s a gorgeous expanse of oak savannah and bay laurel forest culminating in an unobstructed view of the snowcaps. How bow dah. Meanwhile we’re inside, watching rich fucks behave atrociously for the lulz, because it just wouldn’t be as much fun if they treated each other decently and maturely instead of devoting their waking hours to the pursuit of insipid romantic feuds. People immigrate here from impoverished war zones and hole up in their diners, barely out of sight of the Pacific Crest, to watch this absolute shit all day every time they can take a break. What’s going on, Randall? Is it impossible to get a good roll in the sack with anyone who isn’t an absolute asshole with significant mental and behavioral problems and no boundaries whatsoever? Are we all fated to date Taylor Swift? On the positive side, Colby Cosh is probably right: any, shall we again say, breathtaking song that Sweet Baby J might sing about us afterwards would be even worse.

Big Ears Teddy shouldn’t have to see this trouble, trouble, trouble. Neither should the decent among the rest of us. Some of us are actually sexually well-adjusted, in spite of the internet. Some of us just want the occasional round of mutually respectful and affectionate rumpy-pumpy with a thicky trick. Is this too much to ask? On television, yes. One has to be up by barely a quarter past ten on Sunday morning for the week’s three minutes of wholesome broadcast recreation in nature. We Catholics have some solid evening mass schedules, so good fucking luck with that. The rest of the week, Mr. Osgood will see you on the radio. Snork snork. Until then, enjoy Nick’s Bitches and the rest of CBS’s edifying daytime lineup. As that other Nick, white savior Jesus Kristof, helpfully points out, it means “fuck you” in Arabic. #TeshTips, white boy.

What’s even the point of Ousside if one can’t be cashed there? Children play in the park. What they don’t know, of course, is that I’m alone in the dark. Say, Walt, I know you’d rather spend another five minutes showboating on that flute, but do you suppose this chamber is loaded? Tell me, Joseph Lyle, how IS the view from Ione?

That’s right, Rollins: I’ve been spending time Outside, too. I get holing up and watching romantic garbage on daytime television as a coping mechanism for a life of unemployment in Chehalis or Wichita. That makes sense. I can see why, say, Sexy Male Code Enforcement Officer Lynn Rader might be interested. Watching that shit barely a five-minute walk from a fifty-mile mountain view is something else entirely. That’s fucking sad.

Then again, the local rednecks are thoughtless enough to throw their used beer cans onto the surprisingly ample highway margins to help an Eagle Scout defray hiking costs. Chaka Can, baby. Chaka Can. It could be worse. On NPR, which ran a review today of a movie about the most unbelievably navelgazing Brooklyners having a combined sadmad about work (sic) and the Aussie chick that the one he-hipster actually wasn’t fucking, it is.

The good old Gowanus ain’t full yet; get thee the fuck into it. The Terry Kath meme above was bad, but it wasn’t Gross. I get out more than you might think, so I can say that if you can’t imagine fresh air that is literally so and not available as a podcast, there is something wrong with you. The least awful thing about Radio Lab today was that the episode was devoted to grotesque stories of senescence and death, but why wouldn’t that be the case? It’s fucking–give me a second while I splice in two-second clips from ten other shut-in spergs in the audience who are tickled pink that senpai finally noticed them through the credits they recorded–it’s fucking Radio Lab. I’m not usually on the prowl for stories of an ancient, bedsore-ridden old man bleeding from his anus on his deathbed, but it’s more painful to listen to the damn hosts. Since you ask, no, I don’t care to look at this photograph of the old guy, but once again, Kroeger isn’t the worst thing going around here. Hell, Nickelback frankly discusses human mortality in its discography, and it doesn’t pipe up two or three times a year whining for listener alms. At long last, an example of capitalism definitively beating socialism.

Edmund Fitzgerald, pray for us here on the American side, who assert such superiority with so little cause for pride. Sure, it’s Lent, but that’s awfully wet to be dust.

Dr. Kaczynski at his most Florentine never had such an obnoxious Ted Hour

Closed-circuit video kills the radio star all day every day on Bombers’ Row, harder than the BOP ever killed Lauryn Hill, the nonwhite who was the new black, and certainly harder than he did with his song. Paul Tanaka and Michael Slager are compulsory Coloradans now, too, so there’s no reason not to bring them into Michael Rudkin’s sallyport for a mass Colorado Rocky Mountain Hahaha, I’m allowed to leave whenever I want, bitch. I feel bad about associating Slager with these shitheads, but not too bad; he and the Rod Unspared are neighbors (beautiful day, Rogers!), and they’re both accomplishing more with their silver hair than I am with my brown hair. Never let anyone tell you that the systemwide ban on hair dye means that FCI Englewood isn’t just for men.

That was terrible. So are those three words (TM), which say too much (TM): Robert Philip Hanssen. *Defiant Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab voice* I don’t know what’s wrong with any of you infidel assholes, but I’m only here because I tried to blow up my shorts.

At least Mr. Explodeypants isn’t getting all up in your face to chronicle NPR. I am, though. You should have known by now that this thing wasn’t about to get any less fucked up. I don’t know whether Guy Raz has a great face for radio, and I don’t care to check, but he sure has an awful voice. Even as House Voice goes he’s a stinker. Maybe that’s why he now hosts a weekly show of neoliberal enrichment seminar excerpts. It’s a great way to get lectured by some bumptious dipshit who at least nominally has expertise in whatever field they’re examining and then get T-boned every ten minutes by the discovery that that useless simpering son of a bitch has his own urgent thoughts on the same subjects.

Today’s sic theme was “adaptation.” First they had some dude on to talk about lost Indians in deepest Mexico who were hella good ultramarathoners into their eighties because they never had running shoes, the point being that you, Bruce, Wendy, and I were all born to run. Baby. Then they brought in a blind guy with a story about how his parents let him learn to echolocate like a bat and find his own independent way in the world instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for himself. It sounded like wise parenting, but I got the feeling that the St. Elmo’s Fire shit was really aimed at people whose challenges were a lot more artificial and deliberate than being blind. It did not, for example, explain why Joe Dirtbag never pays anyone for heavy farm labor, which doesn’t exactly consist of lollygagging all day and having a sad. The episode ended with some artsy-fartsy bullshit about how metal can be hung from the ceiling in a sheet instead of like, sitting on the ground in a big solid block. That segment was so obviously fucking retarded that I needed only ten or fifteen seconds to turn the radio off and revert to my usual habitat, On Line.

The most ridiculous and offensive segment was about Rich Benjamin and Whitopia, his book about the American Whitey Rez. The problem wasn’t that they aired his talk; ever since I heard of Whitopia it’s been on my long-term reading list, and the material I’ve come across about it has always been interesting. What I did not care to hear was their sanctimonious, passive-aggressive framing of white people, many of them also White People, being unable and unwilling to adapt to life as minorities in an inexorably darkening land. Great job making me have common cause with every paranoid authoritarian asshole who cashed out the better part of a million dollars in Prop 13 home equity to buy an unduly large woodlot and a toy barn 45 minutes from Sandpoint.

It’s fucking majestic: here’s another starve-the-beast CalPERS shithead with an ax to grind about the Negroes while he watches Fox News all day in his compound, and I have to take his side 100% in this dispute because this time the liberals really are out to get him, not to mention rubbing me the wrong damn way. I’m a shitposter who drives a used Focus. I’m writing this from Sacramento, one of the most racially integrated cities in the United States. I know full well that the California diaspora loudmouths in rural Idaho are as viciously aggrieved as they are privileged. I’m not down here wistfully seeking an unattainable full communion with Whitey. A lack of white folk isn’t the problem on and around Joe Dirtbag’s farm. That property and that part of the country are plenty honkiful. It doesn’t matter, though, because as much as I enjoy the work I can’t stand the grab bag of dipshits who may or may not be risking their lives by living without heat on property that I’m funding, depending on the time of year and their personal interests. My interests don’t include Into the Wild stunts, but who am I to say that total strangers who don’t have any particular interest in or aptitude for farm work shouldn’t wander onto land that I’m funding, perhaps to live another day, perhaps to die?

There’s no shortage of grandstanding back-to-the-land assholes in the Pacific Northwest who are cordially invited to lose me with their insane bullshit. NPR has made me side with a prominent group of them in a stupid culture war because NPR has once again pulled defeat from the jaws of victory and made itself look absolutely disreputable and pathetic in its over-the-top opposition to a community that is pretty much morally bankrupt itself. When I was in Boise and Idaho City for the eclipse and saw “toy barn” crop up repeatedly in the real estate listings, I lost whatever vague, inchoate opposition I had possibly had to taxing the shit out of those motherfuckers. I’m already in California often enough to be paying significant amounts of sales tax towards their pensions, so I don’t fucking mind the idea that they might be hosed for their fair share of the upkeep for marginal, quasihoused people such as myself, take or take. Cry me the Payette over this tragedy. Hey, I just said “Pay!” That’s freshwater right there, but don’t let it stop a cracker from getting salty.

NPR never thinks in such terms. Doing so would mean questioning affluence and the behavior of the affluent, and we all know that NPR does nothing of the sort. It’s there to challenge explicit bigotry, as opposed to its politically correct implicit forms, and if possible to accuse bigots of being poor. It would be ridiculous to accuse golf-fancying property owners living in gated communities where they resettled for lifestyle reasons of being poor, and even NPR’s capacity for self-ownership has its limits, but it’s technically accurate to accuse them of moving to hella white counties where there aren’t any black and brown folk and waaah, that’s, like, all problematic-like. They’ve got sheer geography on their side: Washington County, Utah and Kootenai County, Idaho are–Wow Very Explain–counties. Adams-Morgan is a neighborhood. Does House Voice live in PG? Hell no. That would be too much Community in the community. This crew lives in Arlington and Wicked Northwest, but not being all pick a bale by sundown and mercy I do declare where’s the General Lee with the heavily black and brown help that runs the physical plant inside the Beltway allows them to play woke. That’s enough for them to pretend to socialize with the local color without giving the average casual listener a tangible reason to call bullshit. Realistically, these sermonizing assholes spend as much time on social calls in Anacostia as retirees in St. George spend at cookouts with Polynesian airport rampers in Salt Lake City, but from thirty thousand feet one sees a lower albedo, so they must be super evolved. #KeepClimbing.

This is how we find ourselves with the most annoying possible Angeleno, who moved to Washington as an adult for his own professional advancement in the imperial center, accusing everyone who moved from Simi Valley to Coeur d’Alene of being maladaptive. By the way, I just accidentally beheld that bastard’s cursed image. The morals of this story are to stay off the internet and, yes, that fucker is about as ugly a dork as you’d expect. Mark Fuhrman hasn’t aged too well himself, but he looked way better than Guy Raz ever has and ever will back in the glory days of the McGrilled Chicken Sandwich Deal. *Monty Robinson transmission incoming, on the radio* Sometimes on a Friday I’ll stop by and have a few drinks, then hit Tsawwassen in my Jeep.

Uh huh. This is a shitty Southland food fight that for some reason needs national airtime, a Jew indulging in a beef with a rough squad of retired Shabbos Goyim for not saying enough nice things about the duskies among whom none of them choose to live. Upon information and belief, Stephanie Lazarus is a Jewess, and a credit to Los Angeles Jewry. We know that Monica Lewinsky makes the tribe look solid in the same way that the Kardashians excuse the Armenians for being the Jews of Fresno. *Warren Zevon, coming back in on all three chords* Lawyers, guns, and my God, this fucker hasn’t even heard of me. Sometimes NPR tries to be subtle. This shit about demographic change and adaptation has all the tact of Detective Suchenfuch talking about the black invasion of Westwood with that amateur she-videographer dipshit. They say that everyone in LA wants to be famous. Furhman was a rare one who pulled it off, like, I totally don’t trust that cunt Captain York, but this broad who showed up in town to be a movie star seems all right.

Send me picture postcards, tough guy. Look, parts of my family are, (((YOU KNOW))), so I’m well within my rights to wonder what the hell anyone at NPR was thinking to have a passive-aggressive Jew go on the record to bitch about how career LAPD cops are maladaptive losers for retiring to Northern Idaho. For crying out loud, Furhman was raised in Washington State, and Raz is a shanda in the best of times. Someone thought it was a good idea not just to give that dorky Hebrew two successive national anchor positions and then use one of them to diss the gentiles at length for having the wrong reaction to their discomfort with nonwhites. Do they even teach logic at NPR? Lol no. It’s adaptive for a simpering dweeb to move across the country for career advancement but not for people who are sick of LA to move inland for lifestyle reasons intersecting with their openly retrograde thoughts on race.

This is the exact level of intellectual maturity and honesty that has our elected blowhards calling every inconvenient mass shooter and jihadist suicide bomber a coward. Anything that we disapprove of is weakness, while everything that we approve of is strength. We might as well give Pot-o-Shit Friend national Saturday evening airtime to denounce Kevin Vickers as a filthy weakling, because, yes, you fucking betcha I just said “turd.” I’m honestly baffled that Guy Raz was able to hack it as a war correspondent. In a way, it’s even worse that he’s merely playing an insufferable wuss, that it’s just an act. It’s like they’re calibrating the whole shtick for maximum alienation of the provincial gentiles. What better than to put a grating Semitic pussy on the air to narrate a story about how a community of street-hardened Heinz 57 honkies are a cultural and demographic cul-de-sac for being such losers that they moved somewhere else because they didn’t like the scene where they had been living?

It isn’t my fault that I’m siding with Daryl Gates and Chateau Heartiste here. NPR forced my hand. I can’t find a citation, but I recall hearing that whitopias are always near polo clubs. On the Millington-Robinson spectrum of horsemanship, polo is definitely closer to Sauce Boss falling head over heels into the creek, which is also the drink. If they aren’t careful, they’ll have me defending fancy shitheads who drink mint juleps at Churchill Downs. Northside Juice never did anything so stupid with a horse, and that storytelling buddy made it through Depot, so we know he wasn’t on track to do anything sensible with one. It isn’t my fault that I’m defending the very worst crackers that I haven’t seen with their pants on the ground on the light rail through Rancho Cordova. It’s the fault of NPR, an organization of blindingly White white people who are even worse.

Good grief, Ghomeshi, there’s no reason to choke only Canadians.

Will I see you tonight?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A fellow might do better to study an actual broad

One of the neat things about NPR is that it is radio of, by, and for those who know quite well what’s wrong with this American life and seek to learn ever more about our wretched national condition but reliably will not do a fucking thing to remedy the horror show that they so obsessively observe and catalog. Speaking of the devil, Ira and, shall we say, the posse are all woke with the social consciousness about how some schools in the Bronx are worse than others.

Before we proceed, we must have, I believe this is called a prologue, about how I came to hear this episode. In general terms, it was a function of my warm homelessness, not that having a stable place of my own will necessarily stop me from continuing to pull over at Donner Pass on Friday night in preparation for a morning of Chicago Senpai and alpine hiking. That’s not what I was doing for Episode 550. I don’t know who the fuck Enoch Christofferson was, but I was at his rest area, where the local NPR affiliate had the nerve to terminate the Weekend Edition Saturday broadcast at 9:00 to clear the air for Rick Steeves. I’d have set my alarm for 7:00 and dealt with the fatigue later in the day if I’d known that these shitheads had the nerve to commit such a vicious crime against #SPORTS.

What did that fucking American Tourister dork have to say that was more important than Scott Simon? I slept through most of it, in an act of self-mercy, but the opening teaser included a clip from a lady who was all impressed in retrospect with how much she had retroactively learned by reluctantly going on a family vacation to (where else?) Europe in her teens, the point being that expensive international vacationing is never wasted on the callow young.

Staying behind to spend the MyPanera points before they expire sounds wiser all the time. If a teenager is going to be a blame fool regardless, the blame foolish shit will be less costly and disorienting if it goes down right here at home. The only downside I can see is that it might deprive one the opportunity to hear, “Maybe I should take a picture of this plane. Actually, on second thought, I’m not gonna do that. I don’t wanna take a picture of this British Airways fag airline thing that screwed us so royally!” I had to fly to Paris to hear that, from a fellow member of the Lancaster County mental and behavioral health community who had even less business than I had spending spring break in France. The royal screw job in question had amounted to our group’s lead chaperone having to yell at the Irish/Canadian/whatever gate agent at Heathrow when she absentmindedly tried to split the group onto two connecting flights until, five or ten minutes later, she got the lot of us reticketed on an Air Liberté Mad Dog to Orly, i.e., HM Fag Airline Thing. #TheMoreYouKnow #AllonsEnfants!

This was the same kid who got spazzed out by some low-grade bullies and threw a textbook into the guidance counselor’s office window. The window was reinforced with a hexagonal grid of wire mesh, so it was sturdier than Homeskillet, but I wasn’t the steady as she goes on my own overseas trips during high school. I can count no fewer than four trips to Europe when I had acute bipolar episodes, as well as a destabilizing effort to set up a dumbass Stacey’s Mom situation with an American MILF in China and, in college, a dumb haole flash-in-the-pan quasi-romance with a classmate in Hilo. What I got out of these trips was in spite of all the personal and interpersonal bullshit, and against the odds. I was a fucking idiot, but instead of being a fucking idiot in Brussels or Bergen or at 41,000 feet chasing the March sun around the goddamn top of the world, I could have stayed home and been no less ridiculous in Lancaster, a cultural and geographic environment that I basically understood.

The dork who was obsessed with me in college, the one who needed help following me into the student union and staring at me for five minutes straight, had the right idea: she did that shit in Carlisle, which is a super fucked up town, but she only had to drive, like, 90 miles back home to Allentown to spend the following summer bitterly complaining on her DeviantArt page about how much she hated all men. (I assume this excluded the he-dork in the safari hat who helped her follow me into the student union, but who the hell knows.)

The longwinded point here is that our boy from Barstow (the ones who get out are even worse) is either full of shit or out of his mind with his notion that, why, of course the young’uns will be duly enriched by their family vacations in Europe. How that twee, earnest motherfucker is from the same town where I watched a homeless guy haul a trash bag full of deposit bottles from truck stop to truck stop at 3:30 am is beyond me, but being based in the North Sound allowed him to be the respondent in the greatest Dolezal-free internecine fight in Washington State’s White Community when Timothy Egan’s pre-teen son, according to Timothy Egan, blurted out, “Rick Steeves has to be stopped!” *Fluently Florentine Amanda Knox Voice* You said Italy would be a nice place to get to know more deeply, you lying, smirking sack of shit.

Personally, I prefer to cross Florence at Normandie. Never mind, I did the opposite in my parents’ rental car last month. Granted, Perugia isn’t exactly Florence, but neither was Foxy Knoxy exactly the killer, and that didn’t stop the trial court or the British gutter press. The same affiliate that exhorts us not to consider whether maybe international travel is a foolish idea right now for one’s adolescent brat wants us, immediately in the next hour, to try to see things from the perspective of kids from the South Bronx who can hardly function in Riverdale. This is exceptionally incoherent. It isn’t exactly gaslighting, but it sure feels like it. This was why they had to deny my tired vagrant white ass a rebroadcast of #SPORTS: like, European vacation is cool, and here are some poor brown kids who resent the rich white kids for vacationing in Europe, and you, too, can be both a high-volume traveler to Europe and woke as fuck about life in Mott Haven. Let’s get rich and buy our parents houses in the South of France and/or buy our poories full scholarships to Wheaton, receivable upon completion of the fourth round of competitive cuts.

There are two Wheaton Colleges, so of course the one in question here is the secular Masshole version. As they say in the other Wheaton, we’re just simple Christian folk who don’t know John Dennis Diddly about that New English hauteur. A relevant SVU concordance here is the episode about Manor Hill, which sounds a lot like Horace Mann, the one in which the ginger failson living in the guesthouse had gone all Kato Kaelin on his Dick Cheney-looking old man because of his exposure to one of the numerous faculty pervs at *THEIR OLD SCHOOL*, rather than for more general reasons of intersectional wealth, mental illness, and ennui. I guess I’d be a whore-ass man myself if that had happened to me, whatever that may mean. Really, I’m just trying to put off the inevitable renewed confrontation with what utter shits America’s in-your-face preps are. The calmer, cooler, more modest ones can be chill as all hell, but they aren’t the ones who are needed to prop up alumni donations and cocaine sales. Some guy who’s mostly wearing a pink sweater around his shoulders on his grandfather’s spare yacht probably isn’t doing fuck-all for society in any tangible positive sense, but at least he isn’t running FIRE sectors scams on the rest of us like his supposedly productive classmates. I’ve personally met close variants of these characters, and believe me, the Xanax Lacoste crowd is all right. The trouble starts when the Vineyard Vines set comes across its ambitions and its uppers. That’s when I start wondering why Teddy didn’t have room for them, too, on the Ducks ride to Chappaquiddick.

Oh, Matha, what a fine vineyahd! What sawt of grapes do you grow heah? Think about the project that Posse undertakes, sending earnest kids from public schools in the ghetto to fancy-pants residential colleges in New England. How could this possibly go wrong? I went to college about an hour from home after four years at an explicit college prep school, and by sometime in my sophomore or junior year I became overwhelmed by how fucking insufferable the dominant preps, including public high school alumni, were towards anyone who didn’t admire them for their bullshit. I knew a number of Posse students at Dickinson. They were cliquish and reserved, but they were also too decent and focused on their schoolwork to start shit with anyone. If only the preppy asshats had kept to their goddamn selves to the same extent, they’d have spared those of us with interests other than being belligerently haughty pieces of shit, but far be it from Bill Durden and his admirers to spend their free time quietly drinking soda in the Quarry with two or three close friends.

I wasn’t particularly surprised, then, to hear from a Posse alumnus at Wheaton about his academic difficulties, social isolation, and eventual expulsion on account of bad grades. The kid’s heart was in the right place, but he was in over his head. His story about being unable to afford the required textbooks made me wonder mainly about why students with full scholarships are nickel-and-dimed for textbooks. He obviously had exceptional difficulty finding his way around academic settings, including a profound unfamiliarity with libraries, but how did anyone organizing a scholarship program for students from indigent family backgrounds assume that they’d be able to afford the highway robbery prices for shitty instructional materials that lawyers’ children are expected to pay on top of full tuition? Posse is missing some nuts and bolts. Somehow it puts its beneficiaries through multiple rounds of competitive interviews and cuts, akin to reality television, and yet fails to orient them in the campus library. What the fuck?

Of course, the Insurance Schmuck never thought of the library in terms of books, either. Dickinson has a full-service coffeeshop in the library lobby now. I had to drive to Messiah to pick up A World Lit Only By Fire, but at least no one still has to walk around a couple of corners and across a courtyard for immediate bougie snacks any longer.

What I can’t help but wonder is whether some of these kids wouldn’t have done better in the CUNY system or, say, at Stony Brook than going out of state for a proper New English college experience in the Village of Whitey Green. I don’t mean to be a concern troll here, although I can’t object to the accusations. I often think that I’d have done better at Chico State, Humboldt State, or Rutgers than I did at Dickinson, a position that supposedly scandalized that dipshit who was all sore on account of his own hick-ass upbringing in Missouri. For the hell of it, just in case he lived on the same block as Sam Dotson or something, I performed Zuckerbergian Google-fu on his ass, and sure enough, he’s from fucking St. Louis County. More of a Wilsonian background, then, as in Spradling. Bully for him. What an insecure dipshit, though. That explains the Main Line-passable accent: he isn’t actually from some clearing thirty miles out past Branson. This calls to mind Day Quayle’s comments about his own childhood: “I love California. I was practically raised in Phoenix.” This doofus must have figured that I assumed St. Louis County to be one big hickfest. Meanwhile, I spent the summer of 2014 feverishly trying to figure out what was wrong with the police in the county where he was raised, which I took to be an urban policing problem, just as everyone else did. I wouldn’t expect anyone from a hundred miles away to have heard of my grandmother’s hometown of eight hundred in rural Kansas, but metropolitan St. Louis? Maybe our next project can be a debate between Jack Cashill and Emma Sullivan: Kansas City: A city in Missouri, or a city in Kansas?

Honestly, I’m floored that this fuckjob passed himself off as a hick when he went to high school, like, ten miles from the St. Louis Zoo. Good grief. I can’t imagine I didn’t spend my teens around more hicks than he did. He has a Facebook cover photo of a boathouse in the Hamptons, where he claims to summer, and I guess he considers that a step up from St. Louis. I’d hate to have been raised nowhere near a famous TWA hub with nonstop service to multiple airports on the East Coast. What a childhood of deprivation and want.

This is the sort of shit I face from other White People from affluent backgrounds. It’s impossible that most of them aren’t worse to black and brown kids from poor families. Dickinson College won’t stop currying favor with belligerently highbrow shitheads who have a chip on the shoulder because their yachting buddies seem to think that everyone in St. Louis County lives in a tarpaper shack with an outhouse in the backyard. Maybe, just maybe, enrolling first-generation college students from the poorest parts of the Bronx in exclusive private colleges where the socially dominant constituencies consider the entire state of Missouri to be an underserved rural community will have an unintended, and pernicious, disorienting effect on them at a time when they’re already overwhelmed by a process that upsets even students from wealthy, highly educated families.

As peevish as I got about the steevish, my last trip through the San Joaquin Valley exposed me to a certain F&M Bank, its corporate colors a tasteful blue and white, and I’m feeling the space in my wallet for another debit card. This is starting to sound like the worst possible Cee Lo Green number, but it’s true. Say it loud, say it proud, and God willing piss some crackers off:

GO DIPLOMATS!

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.