The short, lame arm of the law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cecil and Jericho, pray for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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Adventures in bourgeois feminism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of Spartans and Trojans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deplorable Third World shithole discourse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kasich, you uppity bitch

Pittsburgh has a fancy-ass airport express bus, the 28X, to get the fancy highlanders downtown and back in a hurry. The 28X sticks to the busway and the freeway and the mall perimeter and shit (okay, a bit of West Carson, too), in the interest of expediting the good bougie voters with their jobs and all between the islands of good stuff at an adequate altitude above the hardcore flyover country.

Muh fuckin Port Authority 24 Local, tho. What can I say? It came first this afternoon. Hey, that could be a working sociosexual allegory about the riders, too. The poors are certainly said to be less sexually dysfunctional. Giggity. But no kidding, Rogers, there’s some gritty, gritty shit awt there past Mawnt Warshington and the Inclines, dawn in the old mill tawns, and it seems our Buckeye boy Johnny K. didn’t stick arawnd to fix any of it.

When I got into teh dawntawn myself, I double-checked with Google-Fu, and sure enough, that fucker is from McKees Rocks. It’s inconceivable. I’ve seen much, much worse American neighborhoods; McKees Rocks looks poor and seedy but pretty socially functional, maybe even more than average. The bizarre part is that its most famous native son (I have no fucking idea who, if anyone, it’s contributed to our varieties of sportsball) is the Republican presidential candidate who carried Manhattan and only Manhattan. That’s like Sargent Shriver and William F. Buckley running for the presidency and winning only the bad parts of Cincinnati, pretty much just Scott Parlier, Mack the Pipe, and the $20 carside blow-and-go crowd.

I know, I know, that silver-spoon second-generation developer oaf from Queens with the flagship properties in Midtown Manhattan who won all the backwards constituencies in the general election because that crazy bitch smeared the lot of them as comprehensively immoral and implied that they’re all hot-bunking in the same basket.

John Boehner was brought up in even poorer circumstances in an equivalent inner suburb of Cincinnati. The GOP has a real thing about elevating guys who grew up closer to the railroad tracks than they’d have liked and now deplore and look down on their own hometowns. They must bring some bogus air of authenticity to the party’s ongoing campaign to loot the commonweal until it’s flat out of lootables. I’m all too familiar with the self-loathing Staten Islander thing, and I’ve now met that alumni council dipshit with the Hickenlooper-on-steroids Main Liner act and the chip on his shoulder for being from hick-ass Missouri (I’ll shit bricks if it turns out that he’s from Columbia or fucking St. Charles). I’ve basically learned how to deal with the occasional feeling of embarrassment before the normies on account of an early childhood in Palo Alto, and my very aggravating collegiate background has exposed me to plenty of insufferable assholes who use their own proud privilege to shit on anyone and everyone who doesn’t comply with their gross efforts at social control, so I don’t know what the fuck degree of extra latitude I’m expected to accord some toolbox who’s been salty for a decade or five about the petty slights that came from earning consistent six-figure incomes for years on end after an upbringing in a solidly middle-class part of New York City or Joplin, or alternately as Mr. McFeely’s son.

To my knowledge I’m the only party to this bullshit who regularly sleeps in his car. Then again, Palo Alto has to be a much better and likelier place to feel like shit for sleeping in a car as a fully employed and taxpaying member of society than Donner Pass is for doing so as a once again unemployed guy who’s planning to go for a hike after Weekend Edition Saturday. There’s a real failure of perspective here, and it starts to look willful. These shady mofos love them some class restratification and bigotry, with the proviso, of course, that only a bleeding-heart tax-and-spend commie leftist would ever wage class warfare. They don’t want to be on the hook for government services for the losers they or their recent ancestors left behind back home, losers who aren’t necessarily so utterly impoverished or unskilled or dysfunctional and who would tend to converge back on broad middle-class norms with assistance more modest than what the wealthy exurbs routinely demand of their public officials.

An upper middle class and national elite dominated by fifth-generation lawyers who are much because they are Dutch would expose the economic hard right wing to some glaring credibility problems. The hard right will look bad and lose a critical mass of voters if there were obviously no social mobility, and a generationally entrenched, ethnically denominated upper crust would drive home the obvious. (Don’t tell anyone that our current Second Great Depression is making the same point even more grotesquely and horrifically.)

That’s why the GOP enjoys regularly pipelining fresh ethnic talent up from the ranks of Expanding Whitey. What, do you still think we’re all swooping in here from the WASP nest? Why, here’s a wetback’s kid who worked at the family taco stand into his twenties, and here are some other NPR-ready members of Pueblo’s Hispanic Latino community who don’t look too closely at how they closed the mill down and also the bus system is fucking useless, and here’s a shanty kraut with a baker’s dozen of brothers and sisters, and from another few hundred miles up the river, czech it out, here’s a guy who climbed his way out of Hunky Hollow, the point being that every one of these enterprising ethnics believes in our private-sector job creators, and there’s no way that any of them enjoyed a stable home and neighborhood life growing up because dad was a union postal worker.

The great uncrackable nut in this bowl, of course, is America’s established local color, the ones insufficiently blessed by the rains back home. Or, as the drill instructors ask of the new arrivals at the Atlanta Police Academy, do they listen in the Motherland? The Republican Party keeps thinking up and then abandoning schemes to win over African-Americans, but with rare exceptions, the Community doesn’t bite. That’s what happens when partisan hacks use patently insincere and cheap talking points about self-reliance on the one constituency that has most reliably gotten a rough ride in their rodeo; it’s also the last constituency to turn down stable public-sector union jobs, because it knows from painful experience that the alternatives are straight out of hell.

All God’s other colorful people, not to mention everyone who automatically gets the Whitey Sign these days, are useful fodder the GOP’s classic #TCOT argument by anecdote. This includes African immigrants, who presumably become African-Americans while our ethnic rhetoric definitely slouches toward gibberish. No, I don’t mind accusations that I’m more bork than bite. Congress has never refused me the opportunity to rule. Ooh, we’d better airlift the judge to Lehigh Valley, because he just got BURNED.

I can’t blame John Kasich for wanting to move somewhere more prosperous than McKees Rocks or get away from neighbors who live vicariously through the Steelers instead of trying to actualize their own lives. It’s easy to see how an environment like that could get depressing, stifling, and limiting. This is a free country. There’s nothing inherently objectionable about moving somewhere else domestically, or expatriating, for those who feel driven to leave it because they love it. (Muh HRSDC shiznit, eh. *Headdesk* *St. Jean de Brebeuf voice* Oh, you think YOUR eyes hurt after reading all that? Ha!) The dispiriting fourth-turning truth of the matter is that the broad prosperity of postwar Pittsburgh, won at such cost by the unions, was what allowed so many people in the postwar generations to move out into the suburbs and turn into reactionary starve-the-beast nutjobs.

But what’s the problem with reminding Kasich of his own roots? He’d certainly remind me that I was a bougie Palo Alto boy if he caught me saying nice things about socialism and shit. Free market extremism wasn’t what gave Pittsburgh a middle class. Anyone who acts like that was the case is either a lying sack of shit or flaming nuts. Andrew Carnegie was a hideous thug who belatedly made concessions to the employees he deliberately kept in poverty only after they took on his subaltern Frick and their Pinkerton goon squads. A dear friend from Allison Park gave me a blunt assessment of Carnegie’s charitable motivations: late in his life he realized that he was going to hell and wanted to belatedly atone for his depredations in an effort to secure his own salvation. Getting his name plastered on a whole bunch of shit probably didn’t hurt; there are apparently those who get their jollies from such enterprises–say, the current Oaf of Office.

A sensible person has to wonder about someone who was raised on the Allegheny County waterfront in a household headed by a mailman and came away thinking that government and labor unions were the problem. Kasich’s complaints aren’t, like, geez, the city never filled the potholes on our street and that son of a bitch Hoffa was such a racketeering disgrace to the rank and file that I hope they buried him somewhere deep and far away. Having been raised in the stable prosperity nurtured under robust government and high union membership, he’s here to burn some shit down. It’s almost less disturbing if he’s just a garden-variety crook; imagine how sad it would be for a man raised in such an environment to actually believe that smallminded, ungrateful nonsense in the depths of his heart.

True story: I’ve seen Randian RWNJ Republicans brag about their “Pittsburgh Values.” This raises questions, including where in all hell they came up with such an idea. Pittsburgh and quite a few of the nearby older towns are solidly Democratic, anywhere from about 60-75%. There’s an outback of hardcore Republican strongholds surrounding the urban riverfront core and the other Democratic-leaning suburbs (including Castle Shannon, I recall); this outback extends hundreds of miles into the wooded void, practically to the edge of the Main Line and the outskirts of Scranton. But none of this exurban and rural swath is fucking Pittsburgh. “Hey, I’m in Chicago. Okay, I’m actually in Gary. But didn’t that sound nice?”

This is where we get into the realm of Republicans flat-out making shit up. John Boehner is proof of the great opportunity that is America. Look at him, raised by humble kraut barkeepers in a beyond-full house, and he made Speaker. That proves that anyone, with enough hard work and determination, can become the Speaker of the House.

Uh, no it fucking doesn’t. How many speakers does the House have at a time? Hint: the office is called “The Speaker of the House.” (I know, the whole lot of them can’t be induced to stop speaking.) What the hell does Boehner’s success mean even for his own siblings? That’s one position at the top of a national legislative body of only 435, plus some hanger-on delegates from the colonial territories. Not a whole lot of room for contenders there, Brando. Every individual Congressman represents a district of something like 680,000 (look it up for your fucking selves if the precision is that important to you; that’s why we have the internet until next Thursday). That still isn’t awfully many slots for America’s enterprising.

Pathetically, the same people who act like Boehner is a success story for having been so successful in politics, and Kasich too, I guess, if he’s extreme enough for their taste, also get up on their high horses about how the only appropriate venue for job creation is the private sector. They fucking venerate the “job creators” in so many words. What I have to wonder is, if the private sector is so majestic, why don’t they go look for some damn work in it? None of these assholes waxing obnoxious about job creator bullshit in Congress has worked exclusively in the private sector. I have, though. Their fellow travelers in the Randian think tanks and on the opinion pages aren’t a hell of a lot more free-marketed. What in the bloody hell would Megan McArdle have to offer in a competitive free market? Wingnut welfare has many such cases. What self-respecting person who has ever held down a proper summer job would take these useless, bumptious assholes seriously?

If these toolboxes think government is so awful, why do they keep competing for additional terms of paid government employment every two to six years? I’m not over here demanding the abolition of the private sector, and frankly neither is anyone else who isn’t absolutely ridiculous. The fucking Norks barely managed to destroy private enterprise for a few decades, and once the disappearance of their Soviet subsidies along with the dissolution of the USSR blew the shit into their fan, they mostly stopped trying. That’s what the world’s most belligerent and deranged extant totalitarian regime has achieved against the private sector. The infamous Slow Ghomeshi on the American private sector is fictional. To the very small extent that it exists in some greatly attenuated form, much of it is actually the doing of landlord rent extraction. What we hear about, though, is the chronic saltiness of pissant entrepreneurs who think they shouldn’t have to do basic bookkeeping and compliance work instead of getting however shady they damn well fancy come payday and tax time.

Could government be less burdensome and more helpful to small businesses and sole propietorships? Sure. The flip side is that assholes like Joe Dirtbag could start paying their damn sales taxes and stop making up crappy post hoc stories about why they didn’t pay up and shouldn’t have to do their part because reasons. That creep alone blew a good chunk of my goodwill towards the noisy beleaguered entrepreneur with his series of little tax-dodging stunts. I don’t try to buy shit off the books to dodge sales tax, so I don’t appreciate a deadbeat who also doesn’t pay me or anyone else who helps him run the farm cheating the city because reasons.

Let’s not stay so parochial, though. Here’s the Galaxy Brain take: robust government services like the Port Authority and a paid professional fire department can facilitate more private enterprise, not less, by maintaining a functional, reliable public infrastructure that anyone can use without a second thought. That seems to work for the Pittsburgh urban core. The Pittsburgh firefighters’ pension may still be underfunded, but at least the PFD doesn’t have its head up its ass about bringing new hires on board to cut back on the overtime, unlike, say, BART. Then again, BART vs. the Port Authority may well be a case of getting back what we pay in, for what it’s worth. Trolley time isn’t quite make-believe around here, but it’s pretty fucking unintuitive, and its delivery none too speedy.

I’m sure I could find plenty of #TCOT dipshits out in the North Hills and Butler County and shit who assume that the City of Pittsburgh has a private sector every bit as vigorous as Moscow had in the forties, but that’s because our national politics are insane. Our recent habits of stratification and sorting don’t fucking help. Hell, just look at our known Yinzer boy John moving up to Columbus and digging in. He’s got a case of the accent, but it’s too bad he doesn’t have a case of something other than the projectile ignorance of his own hometown’s history to go with it.

At least he won New York, New York. Not Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx, and God no, not Staten Island, but our boy from McKees Rocks cracked the cultural barrier of Radio Deluxe Country. That earnest socially climbing dork couldn’t even get a plurality in Allegheny County, and now that I’ve taken the bus through his old neighborhood with a dozen or so neighbors (Hello!), I can’t begin to convey what a glorious thing it is that he carried Manhattan and choked everywhere else. John Kasich is special just the way he is, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful fucking day.

 

What is sexual harassment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edmund Fitzgerald, pray for us all.