Hold your piece and be thot a fool, or open your mouth and remove all doubt

Donny Fingers returned to the White House from his wingnut powwow in Tulsa looking humiliated and whipped: to use his parlance, like a dog. For once, the hysterical liberal hive mind overestimated him, as he did himself. Trump bragged that he would have overflow crowds spilling out of the revival into the streets. When he got there, a handful of stragglers were milling about on the sidewalks in front of a 19,000-seat venue accommodating his total audience of 6,000.

Donald Trump’s thin skin and ill cheer make for a miserable, utterly unenviable way to live. It’s far from crazy to suspect ourselves supporting characters in his indefinite purgatorial journey; we’re here to suffer through that miserable son of a bitch’s life as spectators, too, if we’re so masochistic as to remain engaged.

The Donald is exceptionally prone to extreme narcissistic injuries. His Juneteenth Weekend in Tulsa was one for the record books. His advisors backed off their original plan to hold the rally on Juneteenth proper, celebrating Tulsa Massacre Month just down the street from Greenwood on the exact anniversary of the formal, explicit abolition of chattel slavery throughout the land. This was a humiliation of its own: they meant to own the libs, but instead, as is rarely but sometimes the case in Post-Soviet America, the libs owned THEM!

Then the crowd didn’t show. The Tik-Tok K-Pop Zoomer Crew’s buy-and-hold troll job on the ticketing was apparently superfluous. The campaign had liberally oversold the venue, on the plan to accommodate overflow out front, outside the big tent but still close enough to piss out, not in. They would have been fine with 15,000 no-shows or whatever, since they could have just seated the next 15,000 ticketholders. The problem, of course, that this assumed a large overflow crowd in excess of ticket sales. Instead, everyone got a seat.

Oops.

There are two credible explanations for Trump’s humiliation in Tulsa, and both of them make him look bad. The first is that he has lost political popularity with his base on account of the Rona, the economy, and whatever else intersects with these rather unpleasant national experiences. The second is that he was never in fact popular with his rally audiences as a political leader or elected official. Jacob Bacharach argues that hysterical liberals overestimate Trump’s political appeal to his base and underestimate his appeal as a pure entertainer. He suggests that his rally groupies are “more perspicacious” than the shitlib shriekers for approaching him as a figure of fun, not substance.

The latter explanation, that Trump’s base is heavy on live entertainment viewers enjoying a frivolous spectacle that happens to take place under the auspices of the presidency, tracks with the flop in Tulsa. Plenty of provincial and suburban elites have turned into death-drive assholes about masks. However many of these cases are driving infection rates through the roof for absolutely no redeeming reason, only about 6,000 of them showed for the Juneteenth Weekend festivities. The rally was held on a summer weekend in a regional travel market easily encompassing Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kansas City, Little Rock, and Dallas. These are places full of affluent travelers who think nothing of driving all day or all night each way on a quick trip out of town. The roadtrippers in these places are heavily in favor of Trump. RVers nationwide skew toward Trump. He has rally groupies who enthusiastically travel across the country to see him live, just like Phish.

The limiting factor in Tulsa wasn’t distance. It wasn’t expense; his followers have more money than they let on, because poor cracker cosplay is a great way to own the libs. It wasn’t crowding during a pandemic, either. The same demographic was itching to get back to crowded brick-and-mortar church services for months. It flooded Northern Wisconsin over Memorial Day, and it floods Applebee’s everyday. When they say that they want “America” to “get back to work,” they mean their own employees. They’ll gladly travel off the avails of vulnerable neighbors they’ve moved heaven and earth to banish from the unemployment rolls the moment their old gigs at $2.13 plus tips are listed as job vacancies again.

If they took Trump’s obnoxious rallies seriously, they’d have been there. Six thousand and change of them did, and were.

That’s our measure of how many Americans are genuinely gung ho about their Oaf of Office’s stadium revivals. It’s a weak showing. Of all the events they could, and often do, risk their own health and lives to attend, from Lakewood Church to the Fourth of July at the Sandbar to yelling at Red Robin waitresses and docking their tips, Trump’s rallies come in somewhere around dead last. They’ll risk their own health and lives, their loved ones’, and public health–you know, the rest of us–but not so much for this particular horseshit.

Certainly, not everybody who’s interested in attending a rally turns out. The thing is, attendance is down so hard this time that it would have to be multiplied by a factor of well over a hundred to rival the electorate of Oklahoma alone. This is extremely weak enthusiasm. Shit, Don, what do you suppose you’ll do when they all say goodbye? Maybe there’ll be some free bleacher space in the shed next time Pablo Cruise hits the Expo.

This dude’s an A-List headliner and he couldn’t fill a standard basketball arena. What is this? A home game at the Astrodome? This isn’t the stuff of a serious, powerful political movement. Nobody in his corner has enough dedication to show up, or even interest. Worse, for Trump, the other side has overflowing passion, as shown time and time again in the ongoing protests against police brutality. With the plague on, Trump’s people aren’t wasting any of their nine lives on him. They’re standing him up to go to pool parties at shitty resorts in the Ozarks.

I guess that stings. Thank God I’m too functional to know personally.

A Joe Biden rally would obviously be an even worse flop. It doesn’t matter. They’re keeping him mostly away from the cameras and tinkering with his sleep and drug regimen for his rare appearances. As they say about funny uncles, it’s all relatives. Uncle Joe’s the one who’s been oddly quiet lately. He needs rest. We need him to wield supreme launch authority over the world’s largest nuclear missile fleet and draw a clock.

This is who we’re turning to as our less sclerotic, less derelict, more competent choice to govern our empire: a guy who, on the rare occasions his handlers walk him out, has roughly even odds of being able to complete a sentence. If he were your father or grandfather he’d already be in a home. But all we’re talking about here is the election of our next head of state and government, not your niece’s fear that Gramps will take out a reverse mortgage on his house to pay the advance on his Nigerian inheritance, or pay double the MSRP for a power chair he saw on TV.

All Gropey Joe is doing is being coy about his own immorality and incapacitation. It looks like this may be enough come November, because truly this is an optimistic, forward-looking, vigorous, confident nation.

You ain’t black

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

I’ve edited for clarity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conversations with Tara Reade’s managers

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

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

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

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

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

Good stuff.

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

Good stuff.

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Atticus Pitch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The math is yours if you want it.

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


Atticus Pitch

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

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

Duh. Money.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ow, Tate, my balls.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prevailing community standards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Avuncular aspirations

Hysterical aesthetes who conceive of themselves as my manager get frantic, scandalized, and otherwise bent out of shape when I tell them that I will not be voting for Joe Biden. God, does that mean that I want Trump to win? Until recently I would have said yes; now that his kin and cronies are using armed federal agents to steal medical supplies from hospitals, I’ll say no.

It’s not that I consider this a germane point, mind you: there are more than two political parties, as I know as an ongoing consequence of voting for some of them, and Trump or no Trump, Biden is a piece of shit. I don’t feel a preference for either of those asshats at the moment. Either one will be a disaster, Congress as currently assembled looks unlikely to rein either of them in, there’s awfully little daylight between them anyway, and I no longer see a downside at all to voting third-party. Since I no longer prefer Trump to Biden or this cycle’s lucid but still execrable spring offerings, there’s no upside to punishing them by voting for the Donald. We’re past the lesser of two evils with that matchup, best I can reckon, and no amount of sound and fury from Pelosiland will change that, because it’s irrelevant, distracting nonsense. Your boy needs facts.

We’re also past the point at which Gropey Joe pisses me off anywhere near as much as his handlers. As I’ve stressed time and time again, that guy is manifestly fucking out to lunch. Astoundingly, he’s now even worse. You or I wouldn’t just be advocating to institutionalize him at this point if he were a loved one; we’d be itching for a fistfight with anyone objecting to his immediate placement in a closely monitored environment with round-the-clock care or to barring him from ever entering into another contract for the rest of his life. He’s a terminally senile man whose mail we would intercept. Snicker to taste, if you can muster some, about his gullibility before the Nigerian princes in his family; that man has no idea whatsoever how to file his tax returns or pay his bills. He’d put the mortgage bill in the trash can or the wood stove, just to cut down on the clutter. He can’t speak normally for ten seconds. He can’t even look the least bit normally at a nearby focal point, such as a television camera. P. J. O’Rourke’s other coequal branches are Money and Bullshit, so by golly we’re off to a great start.

We’re giving this dude the launch codes? Not with my vote we fucking are not. It doesn’t take a boarded neurologist to tell that he’s lost every one of his marbles and ain’t getting them back. I thought Trump was senile until his post-acquittal victory presser about the bullshit of dirty, dirty cops, and I can imagine that the weight lifting from his shoulders gave him a cognitive rebound that hasn’t yet ended. I increasingly take Trump for a better actor than most politicians, certainly including Biden, and it’s well within his capacity to gaslight his audience, although with his attention span it could just as easily be stream-of-consciousness bullshitting. 12-dimensional chess? Gimme a break, Stossel. Lyle and Erik aren’t wasting their stamps mailing moves to that fool.

The august opposition is now responding to an incumbent who doesn’t look as befuddled as he once did by running a severely brain-damaged septuagenarian who is visibly unable to manage his own activities of daily living. If he can dress himself I’m General Stroganoff, and yes, I’ve got beef. Son of a bitch cannot function without a nurse, and the things he can accomplish with one-on-one assistance are hardly worth trying.

If he wins there is no possible damned way that his duties will not be delegated in their absolute entirety to aides. (His doodies, too, in observance of Strom Thurmond Permanent Diaper Days lol.) We might as well have Edith Wilson prop up her stroked-out husband next to her on the stage like a scarecrow and call him Mr. President.

Who, then, are they proposing in the way of aides? Why, Larry Summers. Gag me Ghomeshi. I rarely say this, but for once I’d prefer to get Charlie off. #CHAHLEE! Of all the luminaries they could have floated, they found a shock doctrine thug who’s also an obnoxious blowhard about how women can’t do math.

These fuckheads keep insisting that there are reasons to vote for Joe Biden, nothing but reasons. Cool. What in the hell are they? He was an incorrigible reactionary, but that’s gone with the wind in the new presidential dispensation, the one incapacitating him from pulling up his own pants.

How do they even get him out of bed without a hospital lift team? No doubt about it, they’re mainlining him speedballs just to keep him awake, and it isn’t working. This shit is worse than my late grandmother’s verbal and spatial function when she was snowed all day on lorazepam. They can’t dose him on straight Addy because he’d veer into foulmouthed tirades and lunge and punch at anything within reach, including bystanders, so they’re modulating the uppers with some heavy-duty sleepytime goodness, but not so much that he’s fully asleep. He’s keeping Ambien hours. If they weren’t dragging him out and telling him where to stand in front of the camera and where to look, like that’s worth a damn, he’d probably be drawing water into a stopped basin to brush his teeth, laying down on the floor, and going to the ER if anyone happened to be within range to hear the water running and discover him passed out in his soaked pajamas.

The courts? Are you shitting me? He’s the guy who pushed Anita Hill out of the way for being a scurrilous slut to get Clarence Thomas onto the Supreme Court. How do we forget these things? Any amateur courtwatcher or general-interest Beltway wonk knows about that. Or maybe not. It’s fucking surreal. Hell, Merrick Garland isn’t what the doofuses who save a physical seat for him advertise, but we can’t expect Joe to even try to nominate judges who don’t piss off the base straighaway. On the 10% chance that he still knows what a federal judge is, we can’t expect him to nominate any who are worth Pot-o-Shit Friend’s housewarminng gift. Who will his aides pick for him, in that case? They’re all shitheads, too, so it doesn’t matter.

Do I wax cynical? Do I don the foil hat? Look, I wouldn’t be saying this if they were giving me reasons to think that he or the party were offering anything worth having. His handlers are treacheous shysters and he’s permanently out to lunch. They’ve got a thicket of prejudices to break through to reach me now, and it’s their own damn fault.

The court appointment problem goes much deeper and broader than Joe Biden, no matter how little he helps to rectify it. The deal with the Thomas nomination was that the Republican caucus and the talking points cronies at its affiliated policy shops were hella sore that Robert Bork had had to make a case for his confirmation instead of just reading some retarded platitudes off a stack of loose sheets. This was unseemly because it breached ancient and sacred norms, by which they meant that they really wanted that shitty reactionary scold on the high court. They wanted him seated straightaway to throw red meat into the veal pen for the godbotherer base and write mercenary opinions for their sponsors. The Congressional oversight mandated in the US Constitution was a bridge too far. They borked him! He was qualified!

So? How shortstaffed do we seem to be for lawyers? A law degree and a bar admission aren’t even constitutional qualifications for the Supreme Court. Any one of millions of intelligent, thoughtful, conscientious Americans could have appeared before the Judiciary Committee as the nominee and refrained from insisting that the Senate had a solemn duty to grant the Court carte blanche authority to eviscerate civil liberties and the commonweal just because the guy wandering the White House in a befuddled daze soiling his adult diaper had delegated judicial nominations to a committee of pushy ideological wackjobs.

Bork was the historical context. The Democrats listened to some of the worst, most mala fide right-wing ideologues pout like a bunch of whiny bitches about how they hadn’t been given their way by the coequal branch of government constitutionally responsible for approving or rejecting the guy they’d just tried to shove down its throat, and instead of using their backbone to stand up and tell the Republicans to get fucked again if they tried it again, lol jk what backbone, of course they fucking caved. What else would they do? The President can have a little confirmation, As A Treat.

That was it. They didn’t want HW and his attack dogs, scumbags like Lee Atwater, on their asses for applying the same standard to Thomas as they so recently had to Bork. Plus it dovetailed nicely with Joe Biden’s provable reactionary tendencies. Win win!

Ideology had been Bork’s undoing. There were no allegations impeaching his personal character as a private citizen, but he was an extremist kook hellbent on forcing his deranged personal sentiments on his nation. Thomas was pretty extreme, too, but his Achilles Heel lived in his pants. The standard for confirmation went from don’t be Business Plot John Calvin to gee she must be accusing the poor guy of being a sex pest because she’s a crazy lying slut.

At no point in the prevailing confirmation process was it asked whether the White House shortlist included prospects who did not walk around the office talking to discomfited subordinates about Long Dong Silver on company time. That story alone was blatant grounds to return the distinguished gentleman to sender. Like, here’s the breaks, Pops: this guy you sent us is a highstrung grandstanding kook who won’t keep it in his pants. Try again; he ain’t it, chief.

The Senate had the constitutional prerogative to do this as many times as it took to yield a nominee for the lifetime judicial appointment under consideration who wasn’t horseshit. You wanna fill it, Herbie? Okay, tough guy, send us someone, anyone, who doesn’t directly insult our ethical discernment. It’s a basic assertion of advice and consent: our advice is that this bastard fucking sucks, and we do not fucking consent. Next!

Never mind; that takes normal adult assertiveness. The Hill had been, from time to time, a bad place to swing by and piss on a member’s leg with a cheery comment about how the reservoirs were down and so I reckon we could use some rain. This was the threshold for minimally acceptable behavior that the Congress had set as recently as 1986, by shitcanning Bork’s application. When push comes to shove, the standard is, listen, boss, we don’t like him and we aren’t gonna take him. It’s the same standard as Reagan and Bush had used for their nominations, just in reverse: me likey, me sendy.

What? They no likey? There just might be a solution rattling around somewhere in here, like not repeatedly sending nominees up to the Hill when they’re dogshit. It’s an elementary proposition: consent can be granted, or consent can be denied. Boy Lordy are there some emeritus ranking members of the Judiciary Committee who could use a lesson like that. The point is, this ain’t a no-backs deal. The nomination is a yes-or-no question; because it is a yes-or-no question, the body answering it is allowed to say no. Good God y’all, even Ricky Ray Rector recognized the right to say no to dessert now in the joyful hope of dessert later.

None of this crap is how adults should do business with one another. It’s basically toddlers throwing tantrums over the most obnoxious, devious shit until their parents relent. In this case the parents relented without delay because they’d fielded a tantrum a couple of years before. At some point it’s time to Just Say No, Nancy. Which Nancy? There’s no need to go to Panera for a You Pick Two, cracka. Heh. Two cracka.

It’s so pathetically fucking basic. If a bunch of pushy shitheads keep asking the same obnoxious question, they need to be given the same firm answer denying them their unacceptable requests until they get the hint and cut that shit out. It took Slick Willie one iteration per request to get the message because he was a little weenie; see Guinier, Lani. The Republicans stood their ground and got their way, again, because the Democrats were trembling little weenies.

A self-respecting Congress would have put its foot down and told the president coughing up these shit-tier nominees that repeatedly asking the same question would repeatedly yield the same answer. That shit you pulled didn’t fly last time, and it doesn’t fly this time. It’s still a hard no, boss. Who wears his beanbag slippers to the hardball court? (Duh: a Democrat.) The result is that extremist freaks, busybodies, crooks, and fellow-traveling trash who have no business being in public office keep pushing the envelope with outrageous demands, like, you need to confirm this fine gentleman because me and my buddies will get upset if you don’t. A proper adult would ask, who the fuck is that? Some asshole doesn’t like being told now? That’s groovy, fuckwad, because I didn’t like being asked. Go ahead and prepare me my place in hell, bitch.

Some demands are so outrageous that the answer should never change. We don’t just shovel Pop Tarts into a trough to get our kids to shut up about how they’re hungry again. Or maybe we do. I am not my brother’s keeper at the Chinese buffet in Gallup; I would never have heard of it but for the misfortune of having been its customer. You live; you learn; you let it go to waist and wait for the Beetus Bird to bite. But at some point one just has to stop rolling over like a whipped little bitch every time some shitbird throws a fit.

We all have our little asks. Hey, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll lash this all-steel carving fork to your forearm with this roll of copper wire and stick the tines into that electrical outlet. Uh, excuse me, you will not. Are you out of your mind? Did Dr. Mengele send you? That, my good binch, is off the agenda.

That’s the Republican MO: demand outrageously evil concessions, then squeal like a herd of stuck pigs at the sound of every objection. Whadday mean, we’re killing people? We’re just keeping the government from interfering in other people’s healthcare by giving them healthcare as well. We’re just saving taxpayers who won’t notice the difference on their refunds from having to fork over an extra fractional-fractional cent per dollar so their neighbors eat for free instead of getting a job and still going hungry.

Just hurl a volley of chillingly heinous demands at the wall and see what sticks. With the Democrats in opposition, that’ll be most of them.

They wonder why we’re so cynical about politics. They wonder why we don’t trust and admire Nancy Pelosi as a liberal progressive leader of great moral character. It couldn’t possibly be that they’re all rich insider traders who have exempted themselves from ordinary life and seceded from it.

It will be swell to field the next round of seething broadsides about how I and the rest of the left are privileged for even thinking about not voting for Biden. We’ll be lectured to recognize and agree that the perfect, a compos mentis candidate of credibly good motives and free of accusations of sexual aggression, is the enemy of the good, a permanently and severely demented retired rapist with an exceptionally lengthy and recent history of groping women in full public view. It fucking rocks that the only reason Joe has retired from the game is his comprehensive failure of neuromotor function.

Yes, certainly, it is our duty to vote for this sack of seeping brain mush in a suit who in no way evokes the late-stage Soviet Politburo’s succession of a disheveled cripple, a guy who kicked the bucket in a matter of weeks, and a mute. For fuck’s sake these duds made the guy with the port wine stain sprawling across his bald spot look like a spring chicken.

Like hell is it privileged not to vote for a piece of shit who’s decomposing in real time. Are they kidding me? It isn’t even a privilege not to vote in general. The main reason I vote is that I’m residually middle-class. The poor don’t vote. The statistics prove it. The sociological anecdotes about why, however, are the humiliating part. Hint: if you’re scolding them about it, they don’t like you.

Only a moron would fail to recognize any of this. Only a moron would go into politics.

Airhead conditioning

Scott Simon aired a lengthy Steve Hartman-ass story not long ago about a twee, smug attorney lady who’s sewing masks and getting peers to sew masks. They put a fucking muzak track on as the background. This volunteer homework crew had completed, I believe it was, either 25,000 or 40,000 masks out of a goal of a million. That’s a piss-poor reason to be so loud and self-satisfied, to my way of doing math. I wouldn’t go on the radio and brag about that. Then again, I’m just the audience, not the story.

Do you still wonder how so many affluent American adults have come to cherish the Harry Potter series as nonfiction? NPR aired this happy horseshit as a heartwarming personal-interest story about ordinary Americans rising to the occasion. I can’t shake the feeling that Tocqueville put a curse upon us all by describing us. A sane society noticing that the high Tocquevillean ideal of community voluntarism had degenerated into the official excuse for a catastrophic failure of national industrial policy in the thick of a hundred-year public health emergency would immediately reclassify Tocqueville as John the Baptist to Faulkner’s Jesus.

Happy Easter, bitch. I had a good Friday. Did you? It’s centering to contemplate that we, as Catholics at least, are observing Good Friday as an extended, indefinite liturgical season this year, but it would be encouraging if there were any discernible prospect of national resurrection from whatever we wish to call this grotesque thing we’ve become. Like, we misplaced the industrial capacity to ramp up production of basic all-purpose protective face masks, and in fact we misplaced large parts of our industrial capacity in the infamous Chinese plague city no one in this country had heard of at Christmas, but instead of worrying about that, as mere citizens, warm your hearts with Saturday Morning Arts and Crafts Hour.

The complexity of N-95 masks is a secondary problem. They’re surprisingly simple in their design, and the straps and hooks tend to be flimsy. Besides, bandanas are closer to the protective effects of proper masks than they are to wearing nothing. The blindingly bright red flag is that we’re being told to take in sewing on a volunteer basis to compensate for the failure of theoretically masterful multinational manufacturing companies, including 3M, to adequately supply our hospitals with masks that are de rigueur on any responsibly overseen construction site. It’s like saying that the Quartermaster Corps is all out on R&R until no telling when–gettin’ real used to that beach life on Oahu, might even run into ScoMo–point being, we have to get grandma back into the kitchen and maybe even activate the Sister Wife Reserves. Any attentive person hearing this would think, good God, I thought that’s why those asshole hired cooks.

Normally I don’t much care if somebody’s taking in sewing. This situation is different. Sewing medical equipment at home without pay is a punk move. It’s scab labor, too, although nobody involved understands or cares, to judge from the aw-shucks sunnyside “inspirational” stories that always spring up as word gets out about these efforts, like so many mushrooms on a fresh horse pie. This dysfunctional free homework model comes into operation precisely because 3M is too cheap and venal to pay trained employees to manufacture masks on the industrial scale needed for a large industrialized society. That is, popular self-reliance and pluck among America’s amateur seamstresses frees 3M from the need to exercise the corporate self-reliance and pluck required to operate a proper factory. This Tocquevillean bitch work frees Our Job Creators from the need to create jobs, and in particular to humor uppity employees’ demands for decadent privileges such as pay sufficient to raise a family and a safe workplace.

NPR ran the story, so it’s no surprise that it served to make comfortably furloughed PMC desk jockeys feel helpful when in fact they’re do-gooder idiots. Manufacturing companies have production, warehousing, shipping, and sales departments for reasons, if you can fucking imagine it. Hospitals can’t afford to coordinate supply lines with tens of thousands of random dipshits who read on Facebook that it’s time to make masks and whose skill and quality control are utterly unvetted. As I said, it’s damning that it came to this in the first place. Floor staff want nothing to do with this ramshackle amateur horseshit. If it’s getting promoted under hospital auspices, that’s the administrators’ fault. Marketing ‘professionals” would rather talk about their employers’ branding than go to nursing school or head downstairs and wash the linens. In a number of hospitals the brand has included punishing floor staff for wearing masks. Oops; moron this as we proceed.

NPR pretends to cater to people who seek to understand the world. The last few words inevitably forced their way into my entire mind in Marco Werman’s voice. In practice, NPR is for overpaid Dunning-Kruger asshats who know jack shit about how the world works and therefore presume themselves exactly the geniuses who should run it. Smugly going on the record on a nationally syndicated program to brag about having filled less than 5% of one’s own production goal and either refusing to mention or (likelier) being unaware of the supply chain collapse making one’s amateur scab homework useful in the first place is a good example.

And, because why the fuck not, that bitch preened about her organization and herself like she was telling a story on the Moth Radio Hour. They’ve got these shows on NPR: Moth, Selected Shorts, Planet Money, How I Built This, The Ted Radio Hour, Freakonomics Radio. What’s unbelievable about them, leaving aside the navelgazing Brahmin existential abyss of the arts and culture offerings (bacteria, too, can be cultured) and the dead-eyed, dead-souled, Eichmannic rationality of the core curriculum in economics, is that every one of them dredges up pathetic social climbers who speak in the same fucking voice.

Many of them sound pharmaceutically sedated. It’s even worse than the Mary Mayhew Voice: she’s a scummy whip-wielding schoolmarm, but there’s a working soul rattling around back there. The energy on these shows is that of the belated, quietly frantic remoistening of New England’s upper crust, but it isn’t exactly a regional thing, either: Guy Raz and Stephanie Lazarus are both Jews from Los Angeles. Assimilate the Jews into the Wasp Nest, or assimilate the goys into the Tribe: take your pick, because there’s no redeeming any of them when it happens under the auspices of 21st-Century National Public Radio. Those assholes could drive out to Ronkonkoma and ruin the integration of the Jews and the Italians. They’ve already got David Brancaccio on air, so they’re off to an indecent start.

When Lena Dunham taking the Hampton Jitney out to the shore house to spend the weekend learning the words and the moves to the Fuck You Song is a psychological and existential improvement, we’ve got what they call issues. Entertain your concerns about the Brahmin funemployed all you like; just save a thot or two to ponder the possibility that all is not well with those they left behind, in the workforce (sic). An all too reasonable shorthand for their careers is that they dare not look too closely at what the hell they’re doing with their lives, because if they did they’d realize they’re in a cult. The few open fuckups I knew in prep school and college were WAY better adjusted than the hordes of neurotic social climbers who did the work and maintained the GPA but never looked like they were doing anything more than going through the motions and always appeared to be on the verge of a catastrophic, incapacitating emotional breakdown that they were barely holding at bay. They were much better adjusted than the rich dullards, some of the latter also being low-key sociopathic, who looked more or less emotionally capable of holding down a job but less or less intellectually capable. If I get daydrunk and fall asleep listening to LCD Soundsystem on repeat, and I should do that more often, I’m operating above the community baseline, not below.

I guess there are people with jobs who listen to NPR, too, like, people who do something describable for a living that others would generally agree isn’t a grift or a con. Chris Arnade says long-haul truckers all have opinions on NPR hosts, but trucking is just something for Kai Ryssdal to tacitly suggest bothering your underemployed brats for not taking up when capital is playing chicken with the driver pool again, not something to seriously pursue. This goes to show that everything isn’t always getting worse: Brancaccio once crowed, in the most revoltingly passive-aggressive voice, about how Amazon was hiring for the holidays. What’s wrong with working at a fulfillment center? Uh, everything? It ain’t your fulfillment they’re after, kid, and as Drew Carrey says, that’s why they call it a job, but everything about that job and that company is atrocious. It might take Ikea to design a concentration camp, but it would take Amazon managers to run it.

Things about NPR that don’t make sense as news are better appreciated as quack-quality family therapy with Dr. Karadzic. It’s therapy, so that means you pay for it, although Amazon pays for it, too. Love sponsors! David Brancaccio doing product-placement seasonal recruiting for a company that keeps ambulances on call outside its warehouses isn’t about recruiting temp workers so much as it is about shoring up Amazon’s customer base (we hear it’s the place to work!) and shoring up NPR’s base of pay pigs (you’re the neurotic losers who are still listening to us denigrate your children with your pledge money). Most of these neurotics and creeps don’t actually want their overeducated adult children taking one of those hellworld jobs, getting radicalized on the spot, and reporting back at Christmas dinner that the Brands are Not Good.

There’s a lot of sociology and group psychology going on here. It’s easy to discover some of the many Millennial Success Normies who are really weird around the failspawn, for those of us who didn’t get the memo from Mr. Ziglar about seeing him at the top. The normcore faith in the Economic Recovery from the Great Recession (*Thickest Possible Stage Voice* You want a recession? What rhymes with “recession?”) doesn’t work if the normies stop having jobs. That sweet gaslight, it don’t work on the down-and-out. It’s harder to get people who DON’T HAVE JOBS to believe in the “jobless recovery.” As Rob Ford himself lacked the chutzpah to assert, it was a SOBER evening of whiskey on the rock.

Five million Americans and then some dropped straight off the national payroll in a single calendar year in the heat of a residential foreclosure crisis, and two years later everything was back to normal. For a nation with so much unemployment we’re really fucking squeamish talking about it, just off-the-charts delusional. We had that problem in the First Great Depression, too, although it took more sophistry to deny because the government and the press got caught short by the crash and were forced to report the statistics they had, not the statistics they desired. The deranged psychosocial interplay between the unemployed and the employed is about what should be expected in a society run as a cult by functionally do-nothing elites who believe that work is for Mexicans. It speaks volumes that we still have the nerve to ask one another, and tolerate being asked, what we do for a living. There are appropriate responses to this intrusive question, including “Excuse me?” and “Less than the Mexicans, I guess.” We don’t dare go there because we’re a disgraceful lot of pearclutching chickens, especially for the citizens of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Years ago a well-meaning but abrasive old college buddy who was working as a junior staffer on Capitol Hill who had asked me what I was doing for a living blurted out, “I wish I was unemployed.” Of course he fucking didn’t. What he meant was that he wished he had more time off work. It sounded like maybe he wanted a different job, too. This guy’s shitty job was suddenly my problem because he’d nosed in and made my employment status his problem.

More recently I’ve had people tell me that I wasn’t homeless. What they meant was that I was able to travel, wasn’t destitute, was able to clothe, bathe, and feed myself, wasn’t presenting with acute major mental illness, and wasn’t living under a tarp stretched over some plywood surrounded by a pile of junk spilling out of my shopping cart. They were too ignorant to know this, and in one case entirely too arrogant to care (I should have asked the manager to eject that bitch from the Starbucks in Elko for harassing me), but none of that actually had a fucking thing to do with being homeless. I did not have a safe, stable place to live. I could always crash with my parents back east, but the warm homeless routinely stay with family or couchsurf. I have to say, too, that I goddamn well did not have the patience to explain that homelessness has to do with the lack or precarity of housing, not with being a filthy incoherent bum. Material constraints, cognitive loads, and the intoxication needed to cope with life on the streets turn some homeless people into filthy incoherent bums, but there are propertied people who live like that, too, just without the threat of strangers walking by and bashing their heads in in the dead of night.

That’s what a lot of street people like about Davis. It’s not a terrible place to have a head.

It’s bizarre, then, to watch America turn into a place where idleness is suddenly the in thing. Obviously our bougies are too self-dealing to seek out the stigma of unemployment, but let’s be real: if you can go home, goof off, and still get paid, do you have a job? We have white-collar workers (sic lol) dipping into savings and taking furloughs, but that mainly means that they were never paid to work. It means that they were paid 100-200% of minimum wage to work and the balance of their packages for being clubbable. We aren’t seeing a surge in staycationing among grocery workers. How the hell do you have savings, Anthony?

Idleness became hip when, and because, it became a socially acceptable cause to humblebrag and cudgel to use against enemies. The current PMC boasting about staying in has the same tone as the longstanding, habitual PMC boasting, still in vogue through the first half of March, about going out and working so hard. There are at least two common denominators at play here, both of them embarrassingly low. First, bragging about being a shut-in is the cool new way to be a supercilious virtue signaler. The professional/managerial class is nothing, if not holier than thou. Second, it’s a superficially refined but fundamentally coarse class signifier for a class that loves it some fucking signifiers.

That’s a charitable gloss. It’s far from charitable by any reasonable standard, given its stipulation that these condescending shitheads are looking down their noses at the roustabout servants who go out to fetch them their groceries and restaurant meals. The shelter-in-place orders have provoked a rash of “tipbaiting” incidents at Instacart, in which customers promise generous tips for the home delivery of grocery orders, then greatly reduce or eliminate the tip upon delivery. There’s a traditional word for this practice: fraud. This fraud is of course greatly aggravated by the circumstances of convincing precarious to downright indigent day laborers to risk their health and their lives venturing repeatedly and for long periods into crowded grocery stores. For that matter, this charitable gloss stipulates that these fuckers are cheap and sleazy enough to do business on the gig platforms in the first place, just so they can live large and keep up with their trendy (read: affluent) peers.

The uncharitable, cynical gloss is that, in addition to being predatory cheapskates exploiting an irregular working underclass they were glad to dispossess from reputable aboveboard employment, the PMC is horny for rules. The evidence is, as Lasch might say, revoltingly strong. Shady gig apps are kosher because the VC scumbags behind them bought off or outmaneuvered and outwitted the regulators, making them de facto legal, and of course the rules don’t apply to traditional and customary practices like hiring Latin American peasants under the table as discount domestics. When it comes to rules that allow them to grandstand about their own adherence, though, or to justify their own salaries as scholars and judges of the law, they’re hornt as fuck.

It’s the crassest, most self-serving attitude, and it’s so goddamn smug. It’s the most retarded hypocrisy. These assholes are on vacation from their lavishly compensated make-work jobs, with a surfeit of free time, or at least semistructured time, and instead of using any of it to do their own fucking grocery shopping, they’re preening about how they aren’t allowed to leave the house. It gets even stupider: being horny for rules doesn’t mean reading the rules, unless doing so seems advantageous. Somebody has to provide these useless eaters with their food, and the shelter-in-place orders contain explicit exemptions for grocery shopping. These are the same exemptions allowing Instacart shoppers to endanger themselves and their families and roommates for a pittance. For the love of God the orders in this country explicitly encourage solo outdoor exercise. We mercifully haven’t gone into the technocratic lockdowns proliferating across Europe or, God forbid, the arbitrary militarized chaos of Turkey and India.

The “lockdown,” which isn’t really one, is proving to be the latest bullshit excuse for some of the worst official and semiofficial misconduct. It’s an excuse for cops to go wilding in parks and on public transit over physical distancing violations. It’s an excuse for pampered assholes on partial or total leave from their cushy jobs to exploit and abuse vulnerable casual laborers. Pay attention to the language. These sleazy gig apps never would have flown so easily if their owners, marketers, and customers had insisted on describing them in generally understood terms commonly used to describe the developing world. We had to go All-American and euphemize that shit to death. We have our neighbors working 70+ hours a week driving their social superiors around in their own depreciating cars for poverty wages so low that their cars are the closest thing they have to a home. We have our neighbors scurrying around fetching groceries for the wealthy on a meager commissioned basis, walking up to the doors of mansions only to be told that their customers decided not to pay them after all.

This is the shit we might expect out of India or Brazil. We’re allowing it right here, right now. It’s the next thing to a caste system. In ways it’s uncannily like the Indian caste regime, a priestly, scholarly overclass lording it over various grades of untouchables.

Our caste system is less intricate, so far. In the nineties it was affluent property owners hiring Latin domestic servants of questionable admissibility and work authorization, but sometimes integrating them into their families. Affairs can do the job; just ask the Schwarzeneggers. There’s no need to be THAT bashful about one’s sister wife, here in Pan-American Fork. In the South, this what can brown do for you arrangement has incrementally replaced the classic tradition of the black domestic.

The developments since the crash of 2008 are the really disturbing ones. I thought the fin-de-siècle illegal immigrant nanny/gardener/lover arrangement was bad, and it was. This is worse. One of the most heinous trends is the ever more systematic exclusion of gig workers from restrooms. Restaurants have been barring delivery workers from using their restrooms when they come to pick up orders, on the spurious basis that they aren’t customers. The Sacramento Airport, very recently renovated and expanded at a cost of $2 billion, stages ride app drivers in an exposed remote lot serviced by portapotties. Two billion bucks and they drop a fucking honey bucket on the tarmac. The prohibitive cost of the terminal loop garages keeps gig drivers away from excellent semipublic restrooms that they would almost certainly be allowed to use without interference. It also adds needless driving.

But as Adam Serwer says, the cruelty is the point. The Dalit servant lady must sit on the floor of the empty Metro car to show deference and submission. Who is she to presume herself their civic equal? That fucking cunt? Devyani Khobragade, to my surprise a Dalit herself, repaid the ritual quite handsomely when she got the chance. She had to show who was boss for once.

That’s the godforsaken thing. We have to show who’s boss. The pecking order does not assert itself. We assert it, distinguishing the peckers from the pecked. We insist we must, although rarely in so many words. It’s the gospel we preach with words only when necessary. In a society only recently and haphazadly exorcised of its chattel slavery demons and structured as a nesting doll of bosses inside bosses inside bosses, it would not do to tell the boss off. Being allowed a decent, civilized place to shit for free would convey all the wrong ideas.

Management never cared for the insubordination of the lower orders that proliferated and flourished throught the Great Compression. It was unseemly. It was scandalous. It forced them to live more modestly and even do some work.

And so management pushed back: stack ranking, mass layoffs drug tests, casualization, social media checks, punitive leave, punctuality, and attendance policies, “open door” policies (talk to your boss one-on-one, not your colleagues or your shop steward), unionbusting, “gigs,” “contractors,” nondisclosure agreements, bans on employees disclosing their salaries to colleagues, ad nauseam.

Amazon’s “fulfillment centers” would be impossible in a warehousing job market worth a damn. Turnover would hit 75% per shift. The bosses would get punched out if they had the nerve to come down to the floor and offer a cookie as the prize for winning Power Hour. Managerial tyrants used to get thrown down mineshafts back in the rough old days, for reasons as rough as they were themselves. The only reason they didn’t force one worker to shit in another’s mouth was because they’d get beaten within an inch of their lives if they tried, if not a foot past.

The organizational model of our whole rotten society is to convince sellouts that they have a shot of working for massa in the big house. This is not an exaggeration. Half-assedly compensated line managers at restaurants are routinely given carte blanche authority to abuse their grunts, and they seize it. Franchisees are given equivalent or greater power over their entire workforces. Again, they seize it.

Then we’ve got the bigger cheeses: in rough terms, the Brahmins. The temptation dangled in their faces is the chance to live in the big house. They are offered rule over the realm.

At the top is a small group of true masters of the universe–Chakrabarti in the old country, or Chakrabortty or some other variant. The British actually granted useful local families the right to use this surname. Members of this overclass aren’t usually given keys to the whole world, but they’re given dominion over enough of it not to mind what they’ve been denied, unless they’re uncontrollably power-mad, and many of them are.

The lion’s share of the day-to-day trouble from the Brahmins, however, comes from the high subalterns of the true overclass. In vernacular terms, these are the assholes you knew in college. Curtis Yarvin’s Brahmins clash with his Optimates over the narcissism of small differences: who had atrocious reasons for voting for Clinton versus who had atrocious reasons for voting for Trump, that kind of shit. As a rule, the Optimates directly own manorial properties allowing them to directly oppress or just fleece the proles: dealerships, fast food franchises, independent job-creating small businesses run by America’s Job Creators, themselves. It sounds like the Godhead because it is meant to sound like the Godhead. The Brahmins assert a different but no less disgusting prerogative: the right to rule by virtue of education. They’re priests, you see, not lords.

It’s a grand bitchfest of the Estates. Mind you, the Optimates own much more in the way of estates than the Brahmins do, who resent them for it. Some dealership dad and his cokehead son are proof that the good educated liberals of this fine country are proof that the latter are of good character. We could be worse! Just look at those assholes!

The superfluous liberal (sic) elites (mostly sic), increasingly hanging on for dear life in overheated housing and education markets, in petrified fear of the bottoms below, hate their nominal class peers on the nominal right for living in more affordable regions and having shitty but lucrative family businesses available for the plausibly earned upkeep of their useless, degenerate spawn. I used to drink with a guy back east who the Insurance Schmuck told me grossed $110k working in the main office of his family’s tool business. He could barely stand up most nights of the week. By the time I got done knowing him he’d been talking about leaving the Manayunk crash pad and moving back in with his parents in the hope of getting a grip on his gambling problem, whcih had him playing six online poker games at once and losing up to $7k in a single week. His mother looked snowed to walking death on Xanax the time I met her, mostly by nodding and watching her gaze off into the undefinable distance. His father was another raging alcoholic.

Another thing that gets the Brahmins so sore over the Optimates is the latter’s insouciant assumption that the justifications for wealth and privilege are wealth and privilege. People who’ve devoted their lives to proving that they deserve what they have because they have academically and professionally earned it don’t take kindly to some openly vulgar prick sauntering in and getting all like, yo, bruh, we own this shit. This is a constant subtext to the Hillary deadenders’ shitfit about the Oaf of Office.

I generalize, and I haven’t given much thot to whether it humiliates the Brahmins more when their intraclass enemies outearn them, are worth more, or work less for more. It probably does; it could be another reason why they insist, against great evidence, that Magaland is uniformly poor and practically illiterate. It must rankle to spend decades pretending not to notice The Brands downsizing, putting one chunk of the workforce out on the curb with last week’s trash and dumping its former workload on the other, casualizing what were presumably proud professionals, and just generally screwing over loyal salarymen by reneging promises made during cult programming, to debase oneself so with a steadfast affectation of superior education and critical thinking, and then to watch an unabashedly might-makes-right scumbag with a family business shamelessly plug his shit-for-brains degenerate kid into a headquarters sinecure whose duties are whatever last night’s bender and today’s aggregate stimulant load permit.

Jacob Bacharach says Democrats throw the make-work bullshit jobs at their cronies because they hate their children. This tracks quite well with the Trump Family Organization–for God’s sake Eric looks like a fucking retard–and well enough with Joe Biden standing by while his crackhead son Beau–uh, Hunter–scored a collateral sinecure with Burisma.

One thing that’s clear about these arrangements is that the Democrats prove themselves much more squeamish before insinuations of corruption. It’s that good old happy horseshit about meritocracy again. We’re all educated here. The kid must have earned it somehow. Stop acting like he’s a crackhead; we all know Putin ate his homework. That’s what Putin does. He’s a homework eater. Ask Hillary.

Trump pisses them off by openly not giving a shit. It’s yet another norm he keeps trashing. There’s no moral center to the norms. They are in fact powerfully amoral. President Trump compelling the Secret Service to book rooms and golf carts at Trump Properties because he has cajoled foreign officials into meeting him there for offiical business is every bit as outrageous to these whiny nerds as press conferences about how General Raisin Cane called him “sir” or stream-of-consciousness rally speeches about how he respects the hard hats and likes tariffs.

Any movement predicated on an elaborate gatekeeping apparatus theoretically responding only to merit and whose participants are horny for rules will take umbrage at crude operators like Donald Trump and Rod Blagojevich. There is no fucking way anybody who admires Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, or either of the Clintons for their probity objects to Rod Blagojevich for being a crook. That’s a copout. They object to him for being a clumsily crass upstart from the wrong side of the tracks. I was going to add Barack Obama to that list, but I realized that he’s smooth enough, unexamined enough, and had enough sporadic, partial policy accomplishments for voters not to notice that he, too, is a bigtime crook.

The Brahmin-Optimate divide maps pretty neatly onto party lines, then, but not entirely. The Rod Now Spared is a proud and avowed Trumpocrat because he and his fellow celebrity yukked it up and flattered each other in openly crass terms for personal advantage. That shit has to make Obama blanch. Both of them say the quiet parts out loud. Trump in particular is so impolitic that the liberals (sic) who reviled him for being a mentally unfit blue blood prep, and rightly feared his administration at the time (many of them, at least) for what it was doing to civil liberties, now welcome him as a prominent member of the Resistance.

One of the quiet parts they do not with to hear pronouced has to do with the servants. One doesn’t mention them. Here again the Optimates and viable wannabes are more forward about the nature of our socioeconomic regime than the Brahmins dare be. It’s the affluent right wing that is out on the statehouse steps, packing heat and swinging Old Glory in nurses’ faces like a maxi pad hanging from a boner, clamoring for their hair salons to reopen. They need a haircut.

One guy got all kinds of flack for saying he missed sit-down drink refills, which I frankly find entirely relatable, We’re living through strange days, and it doesn’t seem too much to hope to again be able to sit down, have some drinks, and chat with other customers and the waitstaff. What gets me is the uproar of a political movement at once welcoming millionaire funeral directors who look like they cut their own hair and fussy rich bitches who just need somebody else to cut theirs right now and are demanding to speak to the economy’s manager. There’s a specific haircut for it, of course.

This is a bullshit grievance, especially coming from the women airing it. They look sociable enough to know hair dressers and probably be friendly with them. If I’m not totally misreading them, this means that they can make a fucking call and get a bitch to come over and cut hair for a bitch. They’re able to navigate the black market under such easy, nearly turnkey conditions; it’s just that they choose not to avail themselves of it (unless they’re just making it all up, which is a possibility) because they insist on the familiarity and convenience of that specific chair in that specific salon.

They aren’t horny for rules. They love the rules coercing their servants to go to work, such as state regulations barring unemployment benefits to employees who refuse to return to work because they feel unsafe, but the aim there is practical: to get a frickin’ haircut. The reason they want their salons officially allowed to reopen is so they don’t get caught patronizing or operating businesses that have been ordered to close, and also because they don’t mind owing the libs. They aren’t framing it all in terms of virtue; it’s all about flair.

This is a pretty rotten bunch, one that loves bossing servants around, no matter how pleasantly or graciously it does so, or imagines it does. There is, however, a crucial thing to say in Karen’s defense. At least these women admit that they avail themselves of their servants. The main thing they’re trying to do with their protests is to schedule shifts without having the government on their asses about public health. Some of the owners are looking to get back to bossing their employees around and would hate to have them all go indepedent, to become yeowomen (or men!), but they construe this as a private matter, something to let live free of employee recourse to labor law or die.

They’re just being pragmatic scumbags, I mean, goodness, small businesswomen. We’re professionals here. No, not that kind of professional. Ew. Besides, it’s not like these businesses have the cash flow* of a whorehouse, so they can semiprivately be open for business, as she said, but publicly closed due to the current indisposition*, as she said. They don’t even have the cash flow of a business providing what I guess we’re calling nonsensual massage. And, yeah, maybe we have some hangups about some dumb shit having to do with who’s recreationally rubbing whom how and why, but normies, yo.

*(/Sagest Dril voice/ but they care not, of the “Gash Flow”)

The Brahmin position, largely but not entirely overlapping with “liberalism,” is that there are no servants. The intellectual dishonesty alone is reason enough to hate the fuckers. Random strangers magically show up in our lives to help us with shopping and driving and stuff. How convenient! All we have to do is call the universe and it sends them. These yuppies never have a mature, intelligent moment of contemplation about why, exactly, the strangers who flit in and then back out of their lives drop by in the first place to ferry them around and bring them shit. Like, ooh, here I am at 79th and Lex, and this cute Dominican girl from Grand Concourse just brought me a big bag of yummy goodness from Whole Foods, so I tipped her a dollar and she smiled at me, like, totally sincere. Groovy! Karma is good! She told me to have a nice day! Beautiful energy!

Why would these soft cunts approach these matters with anything other than a Gwyneth Paltrow grade of thot? And of course there are other, more openly exploitative customers who dispense with all niceties to instead lounge around their co-ops and just demand stuff.

These gigs suck, and yet many of the customers won’t let themselves imagine that they aren’t all right. They look like a great way to earn some money on the side, especially for secure, affluent people who never do anything of the sort in the way of side jobs. Aside from the cardiac tetanus cokeheads who produce ad copy for Fiverr, the gig platforms are usually effusively sunny about the work-life balance that their drivers or shoppers or whatever can achieve by working part-time and keeping the rest of their time for family, church, and so forth. It’s a sleazy class tell, just like the characters in Harry Potter who are able to fly off on whimsical adventures without academic or professional consequences., suggesting that the author may have been living on a friend’s estate, not just claiming public benefits.

These stories are of course fucking baloney. In the places where these platforms are most used the people running them are almost always desperate, exhausted, barely afloat expendables living in their cars or hotbunking in a slumlord walk-up, doing everything they can to push through another day in hell under a standing cognitive load of 30 IQ points. Doctors in New York City find them presenting at the ER with SARS symptoms, then returning to their full-time restaurant kitchen jobs and the two-bedroom apartments that they share with nine roommates.

The customers don’t hear about this because the servants are trained not to mention it. The conditioning can be as implicit or explicit as it takes; the upshot is that the message fucking gets through. These are expensive cities: LA, SF, NYC, Seattle. Honesty costs tips. Take a stab at equality, and the only bitch that gets cut is your own ass, from the platform. Do punks be feeling lucky?

The blurred lines between master and servant have to be strategically crafted. People who do their own grocery shopping know that the people staffing the Pathmark are paid to be there. They assume the same about nail technicians, automotive mechanics (no worse on occupational pollution and the cars don’t talk back so much lol), and masseuses. Even if they habitually mistreat the employees serving them, they almost always fundamentally understand the nature of the relationship. Clients understand that sex workers fuck them for the money.

The gig platforms operate in an uncanny valley. They have 1099 contractors, not employees, which is bullshit but still de jure or de facto the law of the land most places. They’re work, but they aren’t exactly jobs. They don’t have set schedules. They brag, in fact, about the flexibility of their scheduling.

They’re exceptionally pernicious because they deliberately misrepresent themselves. Not consistently meeting the minimum wage in our most expensive cities makes them exploitative deep poverty jobs. They write computer algorithms to fire the help based on customer reviews. It’s like school grades, but for shitty, exhausting jobs. The corporate behemoths behind these platforms have the nerve to brag about the flexibility they offer when the workers presumably interested in the flexibility can barely get by hustling for their fucked-up business models fifty or sixty hours a week. What the hell is the alternative? Huddling under a cardboard box? Getting run out of Penn Station by transit cops on a nightly basis? Not even having a steady place to shit and shower, and at a time when the gyms have been closed as nonessential, at that?

It takes a peabrained hardline libertarian conception of socioeconomic relations to imagine that this regime fosters a great flourishing of free will for workers. The way it actually works, it does absolutely nothing whatsoever of the sort. Ffs a job doesn’t have to have Kunta Kinte in chains to be exploitative, inhumane, and coercive. The only reason this batshit crazy proposal has any traction is that every officially sanctioned economic philosophy in the United States assumes that our sacrosanct market incentives magically fail to include poverty as a motivation. All these fucking nudges, and none of them is the piercing fear and certain knowledge that not working will cause one to freeze and starve to death, although in fairness working might not be enough to prevent that, either. Any reasonable observer reading just about the dire poverty would guess that the country in question was somewhere like the Congo or Aghanistan, but as John McLaughlin said, *WRONG*. The correct answer is: you get food to eat.

This shit is worlds more delusional than pestering the state government to allow professional haircuts again. The #TCOT agitators behind that want the state to stop interfering in the private labor markets at businesses they patronize. They explicitly want the employer-employee relationship to be reprivatized and relieved of public health regulations that they find burdensome (i.e., inconvenient for their hairstyles). The shitlibs and fellow travelers blithely assume that there is no job market, just an amorphous cloud of angels following their own whims to work, or not, but with one or more of these angels always appearing to minister to their needs. It’s Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, but for servants, but we’ve already been over this, we don’t call them that.

This all happens out in the universe, where everything happens for a reason, but labor policy restricting the license for corporate crooks and their scumbag customers to exploit the reserve army of labor at will couldn’t possibly be one of the reasons for things happening. They just, you know, happen, like the weather or something. We want food, and they want work. It is what it is. It is a postscript chapter of Candide, about the best of all possible curiously convenient arrangements to have out-of-work itinerant peasants meekly fetch provisions and carry them to our castle door whenever we ring the bell.

This best of all possible prole summonings would turn into a real buzzkill if word got out that it’s just a big exploitation racket. ‘T would the mood. Taking desperately poor people who have been artificially coerced into taking hellish, terribly compensated jobs obsequiously serving others and systematically miscategorizing them as happy humble folk just following their natural bliss seems like an odd but oddly familiar tune, perhaps a little Song, Song of the South, Millington for Sheriff and I shut my mouth. Mercy, O’Hara, that always comes as a shock, but I wish I were just shitposting. Underworked, overpaid shitheads in the metropoles say the same things about their underpaid, overworked servants that whites in the Old South said about their black neighbors. They were happier as slaves, surely preferred this to Africa, just look at that precious pickaninny smile. It isn’t what we want; it’s what THEY want. Sure, we’ll maim or just about beat to death any of them who object, or at least banish them from the day labor market, but goodness, we never seem complain.

The through lines dive underground, but they do not go away. If nothing else, the Planter South stipulated the existence of slavery as an institution. In New York and Los Angeles and other dynamic, forward-looking cities with two thirds of the GDP today, what caste system? There are no castes. It’s the Devil who denies himself as a being. Then, taking recourse to Harry Potter, which we shouldn’t but we must, we discover wonderous questions from the deepest reaches of the intellect. For example, what if the muggles enjoy serving the wizards? Should we feel bad? Like, okay, servitude or whatever is a thing, innit, but what if they like it like that? Is it still wack?

Christ have mercy, that bitch-ass wizard shit is a roman a clef for the English class system and the American racial caste system. We’re reworking these oppressions and horrors into a batshit fantasy series about flying around under the Gothic spires of a public school on a fucking broom. We have all these dumb af character archetypes who are really nothing more than Prince Charles, Our Cockneys, and, like, dingbat Harriet Tubman. Grown adults admit to reading this shit in earnest, with no shame, no gnawing feeling that there has to be more to books than this. Real life is adult stuff, not fun stuff, but maybe this stuff is close enough.

Bitch it is not. Is it any surprise that this shit overlaps so with our current round of semiofficial bearbaiting? I’m extremely familiar with the United States and reasonably familiar with Russia for a foreigner who visited once and still dabbles in the language. The shit I hear said about our alleged geopolitical relations sounds nothing like either of the two. Rachel Maddow is nothing but a neighborhood happy hour drunk who somehow got a high-profile platform to comment on the “news.”

And is it any surprise that both of these shitty mats of cultural detritus, MSNBC and Harry Potter, intersect in such an impenetrable spaghetti bowl with The West Wing? That’s the #content our presumptuous erstwhile rulers crave: a real-time reimagining of the Clinton Administration under a boring chaste nerd, not a fun horny nerd. They refuse even to romance us on the way to the electric chair, Mr. Thurmond. That retardedly self-important outpouring of prestige television is as useful a vehicle as any for the delusion that Bill Clinton exorcised our nation’s racial demons, when in fact he liberally fed them. Food to eat: that’s liberalism, too, kid, in America.

Say, might be some left over on Ricky Ray’s tray. Bless, o Lord, these thy gifts.

Faulkner wasn’t kidding. The past is not dead, but this gallon jug of Bourbon is. It starts to feel impossible to get anything done through political channels when these navelgazing freaks keep blocking them. What else should I say if factions within the Republican Party now seem more amenable than the Democrats to reality-based living? Bernie Sanders is not realistic, but Josiah Bartlet is? Joe Biden comports himself like he’s always recovering from a trip to the East End of Cincinnati for neurosurgery from James “Mack the Pipe” Mack. I guess that’s what we’re calling compos mentis these days. Up in Over-the-Rhine there’s a $20 blow-and-go to be had if you don’t mind the brick house blowing it, but I’m sure that price, too, is just the price the universe floated to and settled on in its cosmic wisdom and not the highest starting bid our thick sister was willing to offer because she was poor and desperate for cash.

We’ve really gone off the Reality Reservation lately as a polis. Our main political parties, both aggressively aristocratic, are, respectively, a postmodern full-on reactionary death cult, currently demanding an officially sanctioned afternoon out for a long-acting Jim Jones Kool-Aid cocktail, and a modestly less death-cultic but equally postmodern collection of ostensibly “liberal” and “progressive” authoritarian chickenshits trying to swaddle themselves against perceived threats that may or (likelier) may not be present, all from the arrested developmental age of a slow sweet sixteen. This latter “left” party resents the hell out of Bernie because he’s a no-nonsense Jewish grandpa, not some out-of-touch putz showing off his top-of-the-line home refrigerator full of high-end ice cream. The former, paradoxically, includes officials who don’t mind the old socialist because they have weird patches of common ground with him, as well as voters who might defect either way across the divide, passing over the perpetually adolescent crybabies and drama queens none of them can stand.

The partisan standoff over the Dread Ailment is not simply one of science and reason versus superstition and the economy. The average shitlib Democrat believes in science the same way the average right-wing nutjob Republican believes in Christianity. Cue Gandhi musing about Western Civilization as such a fine idea. There are those in the mix who seek out the truth in a spirit of genuine intellectual and moral curiosity, but they murmur into a void awash in the stupidest, crudest, most ulterior screeching. Public health restrictions might seem less onerous if one’s favorite services are allowed to maintain full operations (GrubHub, UberEats, Netflix) than if they are not (hair salons, the dining room at Applebee’s). In this light it’s all a petty cultural dispute having nothing to do with public health.

Paranoia that secular elites are using the crisis as an excuse to crack down on religious gatherings may be warranted. I stress: may. There are Dawkinsbots squirming around in the woodwork with smug glee that Easter services got canceled because they were all bullshit anyway. On the other hand, it sure looks like that dumb fool in Virginia got himself killed by going to church. Personally, I’m pining more and more for Mass and confession, but it still looks like a pretty inopportune time to welcome the parish’s sick elders back into the sancutary, exchange the sign of peace, and all drink from the same cup.

Once again, it’s a cultural weed thicket we’ll exhaust ourselves trying to explore. Like any other crisis, this one is activating the bad actors to exploit it for all it’s worth. We’re extremely lucky in the United States, for the most part, that there has been so little government overreach in the response. We have overwhelmingly been left free to go about our daily lives. NPR segments have been allocated as veal pens for teachers’ pets and busybodies to grandstand as private citizens instead of warping official policy to their whims and using the full coercive power of the state to enforce it.

But this is just for the lucky among us. There are neighborhoods the police chronically terrorize, sometimes even with the complementary assistance of nonsworn street gangs. We have our prisons. We have our SRO’s, our workingman’s flophouses, our encampments, our residential parking strips down by the bay and the tracks on the poor side of town.

It’s plain as day that we are not actually taking this shit seriously. Inept, derelict shitheads like Carolyn Goodman are still being allowed basically full latitude to fuck around and fuck up without state or federal intervention. Nobody ever does a thing for the homeless. It’s taken a public health emergency in which they’re confirmed vectors of communicable diseases that rampantly transmissible among the housed, not just other homeless, to move the above statement from 99% true to 95% or maybe 90%. Any adequately engaged government with jurisdiction over Clark County would have immediately moved in and forced the city and county governments out of the way the day the goddamned social distancing squares were painted on that parking lot with a direct line of sight to and from hundreds of vacant hotel rooms. We, whoever the hell “we” are, are doing little about congregate living disasters in general, ones that should have been made superfluous decades ago. It’s taken weeks to months to start emptying prisons in earnest, and so far the effort has been disastrously hit-and-miss. For the love of God prisons, flophouses, squats, encampments, and other crowded, filthy congregate living arrangements with poor to nonexistent utilities have been known breeding grounds for communicable diseases for centuries.

It is not that we don’t know. It’s that we don’t care.

Then there’s the very suspect official about-face on masks. Nobody I’ve seen in a position of authority has given a credible explanation of what motivated the initial opposition to the widespread public use of masks or the recent and in many places abrupt reversal. That which was forbidden is now mandatory. All that is not mandatory is forbidden. Hospital and supermarket workers were begging for weeks to be allowed to wear masks and told to shut up and go back to work. It would scare patients. It would scare customers. Some defied these orders and were punished. Some were fired.

The original party line was that mass mask use would deprive doctors and nurses of N-95 masks. These are the same masks that DHS and other federal agencies have been seizing on arrival, almost certainly to resell on the black or gray market, along with other medical supplies. They’re scalping masks and ventilators. Charlie Baker had to get Robert Kraft to send the Patriots’ 767 to China to bring a shipment through Anchorange and into Massachusetts unmolested.

This shit rightly pissed ordinary Americans off. It was reckless and outrageous, all of it. Citizens very reasonably protested that officials were trying to get us all killed. After weeks of this furor, the authorities started to come around. Like, shit, that sounds like a good idea; we’d hate to get anyone killed. From that point public health officers moved quickly, to the extent that full mouth and nose coverings are now required to enter enclosed public spaces in much of the country.

If they wanted conspiracy theories about the pandemic, they did exactly the right things to culture them. Keep in mind that the current outbreak surged from a baseline level of public trust corroded by years of escalating celebrity woowoo about vaccines, autism, probiotics, pH balancing agents, and the dangers of allopathic medicine in general, itself facilitated by the blatant, widespread, officially unacknowledged failures of allopathic medicine. The pandemic has accreted to this already voluminous corpus of quackery, conjecture, rumor, and fraud prolifc Facebook conspiracy theories about, among other claims, the government having programmed the virus with a kill switch that it will flip once it’s killed its full quota of constituents. Mainstream Republicans have cast their lot with the Trump Organization’s fixation on hydroxychloroquine and similar compounds as cure-alls, a fixation driven by a barely scrutable combination of insider trading, extrapolation from preliminary clinical research, and Owning the Libs. Trust in mainstream medicine is now more than ever a hallmark of affluent Democratic orthodoxy. It’s a Brahmin Thing. That, and refusing to look at evidence that medical, quasimedical, and pseudomedical authority figures are ulterior, malevolent, or just fuckig inept.

It breaks down once again along lines of class, caste, and subculture. Dr. Oz is a touch on the low-class side for the proudest Brahmins, and Facebook samizdat is absolutely way too far over the line. Bill Gates, though? Dear God is he a creep, but he has his foundation. A reasonable, critical person, even one discerning nuances in his motives, as I do, has to look at the scope of the Foundation’s work and wonder whether maybe the foil hatters aren’t wrong about the guy.

;There are reasons why the streets don’t trust authority figures in these situations. Even if the proles are spelunking rabbit holes that yield no bunny, they’re touching on, if not directly raising, compelling questions about the trustworthiness of the governments that now claim to watch out for them with an eagle eye. Ask yourself: after Tuskegee, Pruitt-Igoe, the mass sterilizations, the eugenics craze that attenuated only slowly after the Gilded Age crashed along with the international economy, Flint, the postwar Nevada bomb tests, and the Anthrax scare of 2001, is there anything farfetched about gain-of-function experiments gone awry at Fort Detrick? The Chinese counterpart, sited impressively close to Wuhan, is also an acceptable answer. Correct? We just do not know.

What we do know is that the authorities aren’t telling us. At least they’re finally telling us to wear masks, although it would be nice if they didn’t encourage us to be showboating assholes about how we’re toiling away at home like so many Keebler Elf wives to manufacture them.

That cold detachment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You float?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you don’t mind death

That’s a fascinating viewpoint. What I want to know is this: what if you do?

Donald Trump said that in a moment in which he was possessed of Ricky Ray Rector’s understanding of death. I do not mean to shitpost here or make fun of him. This is precisely, descriptively, functionally, literally what Rector was thinking when he scored his A+ on the Marshmallow Test by saving his pie for afterwards. Scout’s Honor I am not trying to fun the Donald, not this time. Our metaphysically challenge executive friend here is the head of state and government in the sole extant global imperial power, if we still wish to exclude the infrastructure diplomacy of Red China. Ricky Ray got the launch codes this time. It’s obviously hilarious, too, a good cause for ridicule, but ooh boy.

South Park bizarroworld though that stream-of-consciousness (unconsciousness?) was, it’s basically the Beltway consensus of the two major parties, artlessly stripped of its traditional and customary paint job. The state and local parties push the same heinous shit, of course, with some merciful deviations but not many. It’s an awesomely bipartisan praxis. The two parties play bad cop-worse cop in this vicious game, Brentwood Mark Fuhrman as the foil for Homan Square Jon Burge.

Trump, at once to his credit and his discredit, was in no way mentally awake enough to be morally crooked, as we might tell Chester if he field our legs. There’s no way his saying that was immoral or even amoral, let alone heinous; it was too thoroughly fucking retarded. There was no moral, philosophical, metaphysical, or other form of thought of de minimis maturity. He blurted that out in the course of a quick dive into the infinite void of his own mind, like, if you don’t mind spending an extra buck on the Impossible Whopper, or being killed by this plague I’m not really bringing under control.

Since we’re on the topic, but barely, we might assume, under more normal political circumstances, that his throwaway comment about death would be impossible, but either way, it’s no whopper. To lie, gaslight, push the Overton Window, or even just deliberately bullshit, a person has to be at least vaguely aware of what’s under discussion at the moment. Trump was when he bragged about being able to walk outside and shoot somebody in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue. This was something else entirely. Fifth Avenue? That’s a nice candy bar, a phenomenal candy bar, if you don’t mind it, or maybe you like animal crackers. We love our animal crackers, don’t we. Pecan pie. We love our pecan pie, too, and as long as you don’t let the flies get to it, it keeps.

It was jarring and at the same time refreshing, even encouraging, to find a politician talking about death with absolutely no concept of death. Trump’s colleagues damn well understand death. They may not think about it deeply, or seriously, or reverently, but they understand it adequately to rest assured that Ricky won’t be coming back for dessert. These are heinous monsters who casually order the annihilation of people they dislike and then publicly revel in it. Trump does that, too, although less consistently. Does he do anything consistently? Fucker has the attention span of a squirrel on crank.

The reason he mentioned not minding death was that he’s been bombarded in recent weeks with reports and projections of death. Talk of death flooded his field of vision. It filled his ears and washed through his mind. Free-associatively regurgitating it on camera was the same monkey-hear monkey-do topical freestyling he always does about whatever combination of news. Fox News, back-of-the-house whispers from the clashing factions of court Rasputins, and other physically repeatable noise he’s been hearing on a regular basis over the past thirty seconds to twelve hours. He’s one of the crudest, most impulsive, most distractable public figures we’ve had the honor of being able to watch in recent years. If he liked the idea of mass constituent deaths, the Oaf of Office would have said something to that effect. He would have expressed noticeable hatred or contempt or condescension, or something. His comments in this case were casual because his thoughts were casual.

Geez, I think. Who knows? For all I know he was repeating heinous disregard or contempt for human life that he’d been hearing from aides or appointees. This is not a guy you turn to to keep a secret.

I don’t think. It sure sounded like the flippant, thoughtless meme of killing Kenny again. Obviously that isn’t death in any normal sense. It’s an absurdist gag, the kind of thing that’s impossible not to get for anyone who isn’t utterly deranged or mentally retarded enough for Bill Clinton to order exterminated from the face of the earth, to touch at last the face of God and see if there isn’t pie in that part of the sky.

*****

Dude’s Ash Wednesday sermons must be fucking LIT. Death. A lot of people are talking about it. They’re talking about smearing ash all over your forehead so you look like a loser, when you could be out eating KFC and Cinnabon. They say people die a lot. You hate to hear it.

They killed God. Can you believe it? They killed God. Grabbed the guy, beat the shit out of him, put him up on a cross. God. They killed God. You wouldn’t think they could do that, but they did it. They killed him.

You wouldn’t believe it, this general came up to me. Simon Peterson, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Salvation Army. And this general, General Peterson, he told me, sir, that’s unacceptable. We can’t let them just go and kill God, We gotta do something about it, sir. We had to do something about it.

And you know what? They did something about it. General Peterson? General Peterson told me, sir, that was bullshit, sir. That’s bullshit. We can’t let them do that, sir. We have to do something about it. And he was right. I told him, you’re right, Simon. That’s bullshit. Dirty, dirty cops. Pontius Pilate, the centurions, all dirty, dirty cops. They’re all dirty cops. Comey? He killed God. Tried to crucify #MeToo.

It’s phenomenal what Simon told me. He told me, sir, he broke out. He called Satan a loser and a hater and he broke right out of hell, sir. That son of a bitch, he was outta there. Killed him Friday and Sunday morning he was gone. Can you believe it? Three days of dirty cops and their bullshit, and that was all he could take.

And I told General Peterson, that’s only two days. Friday they kill him, Saturday he’s down there, and Sunday, he’s outta there, see ya. And Simon, Simon told me, yes, sir, you’re right sir, Jesus couldn’t stand John Dingell. So two days. Two days and he was gone. And Cardinal Dolan told me, you know what Cardinal Dolan told me? He told me, sir, we have a Saturday night service we call the Vigil Mass. The vigil. The vigil.

Day and a half tops. They kill God and he’s dead only a day and a half. Phenomenal. Stretched it out to three days for the ratings, but day and a half, folks. Day and a half. We love God. We love to hear that. We love God, folks. I love the Hindu!

*****

That was, of course, a culturally Protestant retelling. Cultural Protestantism is most of what we get in the way of presidents, although we did give Jimmy Carter a try that one time. No, I don’t feel like explaining it, and no, I don’t figure it’s something you can look up. Think about it.

Just think about it. Give it some thot, Jack. Up against the wall, signora, if you have five minutes. His Vigor, Chappaquiddick Cool Change, and Good God, y’all, Fancy Nancy: all confessed Catholics, although best I can tell not privately confessed lol. There’s been a great deal of chatter about Francis decreeing Protestantism by dispensing the Catholic faithful from the normal Lenten obligation of the Sacrament of Penance this year–feel free to call God anytime if that’s what it takes, like we’re all about to head up to Geneva to head-off Calvin’s kin for fornication, or to Wurzburg to fart back in Luther’s face–but that’s just what the Pope does when he does mind death. You might mind it, you might not mind it, you might not be able to explain what the hell it is, and if you have command over the world’s largest nuclear missile arsenal you might not be able to come close.

Hey, kids, launch officer is a great career, if you don’t mind living in a basement in North Dakota and shitting in plastic bags. Great bosses, too, if you don’t mind them.

Just remember: Pete Wilson and Bill Clinton are notable examples what we get when we elect leaders who mind death. There’s no relishing it without minding it. As Dan Quayle said at a United Negro College Fund banquet, perhaps apocryphally, it’s a terrible thing to lose your mind, or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.

Mind you, I’m not always subsumed in this quality of extreme retardation, just often, because this is America. Early in the American chapter of the pandemic, as shit was starting to get real enough for quarantine zones and shelter-in-place orders, I talked with my youth minister friend. He told me about something he’d heard from a colleague, in reference to the cancellation of public masses, likely well into Easter. She pointed out that the only day of the year when the faithful are not allowed to receive the Eucharist is Good Friday. The weekend is nigh upon us, and I encourage you all to have one. Her point, since she had one–look, I don’t ask you for money, and most of you don’t ask for anything more than Dubai Porta Potty–her point was that this Lent and Easter may be an extended Good Friday for the Christian faithful, and we ought to be receptive to the grace that may come from it.

Once again, what you think about it depends on how much–nay, if, you mind it. Fucken Camus-ass da-da shit, and the guy saying it has supreme command over one of the world’s largest, most meddlesome, most belligerent militaries. I just looked it up for a wee bit more context, and sure enough Trump was riffing on Boris Johnson’s dipshit plan for herd immunity, i.e., replacing a lot of public health work with what Trump called, verbatim, “a lot of death.” They’re both vicious, and it’s possible that they’re psychopaths, but more than anything they stand out for being stupid and cavalier. It was BoJo who walked around in the Shwedagon Pagoda gently singing that rude imperial ditty about kissing the local girl in Mandalay while a career UK diplomat pleaded with him to shut up and show some reverence for their hosts. #GoodStuff

The big difference is that BoJo has trains of thought. He knew what Mandalay was. If you’ve been watching and thinking critically about postmodern American politics, you may have noticed that this mental competency keeps getting us into very bad places. Trump is pretty awful himself, but on the other hand, he keeps letting important official secrets slip: the FBI is dirty; the other three-letter agencies are dirty; cooping Rod up in that cramped home on the range was bogus; his closest ally in Europe wanted to kill his constituents wholesale by exposing them to the deadliest pathogen currently in wide circulation.

The first three are true. Hell if I know what to make of the last. The Brits have had monarchs before who were hella stupid, but I’ve always been under the impression that Parliament screened its premiers for smarts, and that the Conservative Party lowered the bar for Boris. Good grief he’s no Maggie. He doesn’t even look like he’d wash up after sloppy seconds on Cameron’s pig. For that matter, comparing BoJo to his recent predecessors, as with the Donald to his, should be cause enough to take our evil leaders unfiltered when we can.