You Couldn’t Pay Me

Watching the debate?  Paying any attention whatsoever to the shitshow that is US politics, outside of the bare-ass minimum it takes to vote?  You couldn’t pay me to do it.  Not a fucking chance.  Not happening.  It’s all too upsetting and vile and fucked up.  But you know, maybe that’s an exaggeration.  Maybe somebody could pay me to do it.  Let me figure out how much…

I would have to quit work in order to make mental bandwidth for it, so you have to pay enough to cover my expenses for two years in case it takes a while to get rehired.  I make about $30,000 per year, so $60,000 is the price floor.  But exposing myself to this would make me less emotionally available to my family, so you gotta pick up the therapy bills for them.  Assuming two hours a night at $90 an hour from now through mid November (assuming this isn’t gonna go smooth), another $8,100.  And that’s just getting by, if I want compensation to make it feel like I came out ahead in the deal, how much will I charge to feel like it was worth it?

$100,000.  Anybody want me to cover the election, or even look upon the faces of our rock ’em sock ’em wannabe lich kings?  Full payment in advance, or you get nothing.  Thank you for your understanding.

Edit to Add:  I forgot about the cost of healthcare in the US – going out of pocket for health insurance.  $400 a month for that Obamacare, $9600 more.  Assuming some medical expenses actually will come up, even with insurance I’m currently paying a few thousand a year for dental and such.  Let’s bump this up to $125,000, just for incidentals I haven’t planned for.

Useful but Depressing Video

The flat earth premise is the set-up for a Dan Olson thesis about some dangerous political crank beliefs we’re all having to deal with at this horrid moment in history.  Watch it if you can handle it.  I personally have been avoiding the specifics of what fascist facebook dads believe as much as possible, so it was a useful look at the other side.

The thesis here is to not expect empathy or reason to reach fascists, or at least not easily.  Others have noted the antisemite-flat earth connection and extended some sympathy – the world is unjust and most of us are oppressed by the systems of power around us, you’re right to feel aggrieved, maybe think twice about what the source of that pain is.  Same reality check different approach: “It ain’t the jews or the libs you fucking nazi trash” (commit assault).  Mr. Olson here isn’t on either of those tracks.  He’s just trying to let people know what they’re really up against in this discourse.

So I needed this video as a check-in on what the jerks are up to these days, but it was also useful to compile a list of hashtags to block/blacklist on social media.  This list has redundant entries for platforms that allow spaces and those that do not, edit as required:

BLOCKING QANON:

#adrenochrome #deepstate #deep state #epstein #epsteinisland #epstein island #inittogether #in it together #pedoisland #pedo island #pedovore #pedovores #pedowood #pizzagate #qanon #savethechildren #save the children #spygate #stormer #thestorm #the storm #thestormishere #the storm is here #thesepeoplearesick #these people are sick #trusttheplan #trust the plan #wwg1 wga #wwg1wga

Blocking is a good idea because these asswipes will say agreeable things to stealth you into spreading their ideology, like the situation of the house of rumored child traffickers that got mobbed in Wisconsin.  Were the people in the house up to no good?  I don’t know, but the missing girls turned up somewhere else completely, the supposed photo evidence was being tweeted by somebody that included a nod to motherfucking pizzagate.

Staying woke ain’t as easy as it used to be.  Some BLM activists are sometimes – knowingly or not – reblogging literal nazi content from people who literally want them dead.  Look at the hashtags.  Eyes open.

Prestigious List of Fragile Assholes

Some celebs from different avenues of the arts and the intelligentsia just signed on a letter in Harper’s whining about cancel culture. Many people on the list you’ll be familiar with, as famous racists, transphobes, and general shitbirds. (List the crimes of the ones you know about in the comments!) Some will have you scratching your temples. Like where and why did they dig up Wynton Marsalis for this?

Among them I notice Salman Rushdie, had the threat of violence and state censorship involved in his rise to fame. I don’t know why he thought people saying we should stop promoting some poorly written overrated kids books because the author is a transphobe would be remotely equivalent, but sure, dude. And we already knew he had shit taste in friends.

I also love the whine about cancel culture costing people their livelihoods. I’m sorry, every last one of these fuckers should lose their prestige lifestyle for at least a year, so they can have half a clue of what it’s like for the rest of us. Even if that did happen, the fact it would be over in a year would offer them hope that I WILL NEVER FUCKING EXPERIENCE. Motherfuck the rich, from here to eternity.

Anyway, every last one of these people is, to some extent, a thoughtless hyper-privileged asshat. Yeah, you too, Noam Chomsky:

Elliot Ackerman
Saladin Ambar, Rutgers University
Martin Amis
Anne Applebaum
Marie Arana, author
Margaret Atwood
John Banville
Mia Bay, historian
Louis Begley, writer
Roger Berkowitz, Bard College
Paul Berman, writer
Sheri Berman, Barnard College
Reginald Dwayne Betts, poet
Neil Blair, agent
David W. Blight, Yale University
Jennifer Finney Boylan, author
David Bromwich
David Brooks, columnist
Ian Buruma, Bard College
Lea Carpenter
Noam Chomsky, MIT (emeritus)
Nicholas A. Christakis, Yale University
Roger Cohen, writer
Ambassador Frances D. Cook, ret.
Drucilla Cornell, Founder, uBuntu Project
Kamel Daoud
Meghan Daum, writer
Gerald Early, Washington University-St. Louis
Jeffrey Eugenides, writer
Dexter Filkins
Federico Finchelstein, The New School
Caitlin Flanagan
Richard T. Ford, Stanford Law School
Kmele Foster
David Frum, journalist
Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University
Atul Gawande, Harvard University
Todd Gitlin, Columbia University
Kim Ghattas
Malcolm Gladwell
Michelle Goldberg, columnist
Rebecca Goldstein, writer
Anthony Grafton, Princeton University
David Greenberg, Rutgers University
Linda Greenhouse
Rinne B. Groff, playwright
Sarah Haider, activist
Jonathan Haidt, NYU-Stern
Roya Hakakian, writer
Shadi Hamid, Brookings Institution
Jeet Heer, The Nation
Katie Herzog, podcast host
Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College
Adam Hochschild, author
Arlie Russell Hochschild, author
Eva Hoffman, writer
Coleman Hughes, writer/Manhattan Institute
Hussein Ibish, Arab Gulf States Institute
Michael Ignatieff
Zaid Jilani, journalist
Bill T. Jones, New York Live Arts
Wendy Kaminer, writer
Matthew Karp, Princeton University
Garry Kasparov, Renew Democracy Initiative
Daniel Kehlmann, writer
Randall Kennedy
Khaled Khalifa, writer
Parag Khanna, author
Laura Kipnis, Northwestern University
Frances Kissling, Center for Health, Ethics, Social Policy
Enrique Krauze, historian
Anthony Kronman, Yale University
Joy Ladin, Yeshiva University
Nicholas Lemann, Columbia University
Mark Lilla, Columbia University
Susie Linfield, New York University
Damon Linker, writer
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate
Steven Lukes, New York University
John R. MacArthur, publisher, writer
Susan Madrak, writer
Phoebe Maltz Bovy, writer
Greil Marcus
Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center
Kati Marton, author
Debra Maschek, scholar
Deirdre McCloskey, University of Illinois at Chicago
John McWhorter, Columbia University
Uday Mehta, City University of New York
Andrew Moravcsik, Princeton University
Yascha Mounk, Persuasion
Samuel Moyn, Yale University
Meera Nanda, writer and teacher
Cary Nelson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Olivia Nuzzi, New York Magazine
Mark Oppenheimer, Yale University
Dael Orlandersmith, writer/performer
George Packer
Nell Irvin Painter, Princeton University (emerita)
Greg Pardlo, Rutgers University – Camden
Orlando Patterson, Harvard University
Steven Pinker, Harvard University
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Katha Pollitt, writer
Claire Bond Potter, The New School
Taufiq Rahim, New America Foundation
Zia Haider Rahman, writer
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, University of Wisconsin
Jonathan Rauch, Brookings Institution/The Atlantic
Neil Roberts, political theorist
Melvin Rogers, Brown University
Kat Rosenfield, writer
Loretta J. Ross, Smith College
J.K. Rowling
Salman Rushdie, New York University
Karim Sadjadpour, Carnegie Endowment
Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University
Diana Senechal, teacher and writer
Jennifer Senior, columnist
Judith Shulevitz, writer
Jesse Singal, journalist
Anne-Marie Slaughter
Andrew Solomon, writer
Deborah Solomon, critic and biographer
Allison Stanger, Middlebury College
Paul Starr, American Prospect/Princeton University
Wendell Steavenson, writer
Gloria Steinem, writer and activist
Nadine Strossen, New York Law School
Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Harvard Law School
Kian Tajbakhsh, Columbia University
Zephyr Teachout, Fordham University
Cynthia Tucker, University of South Alabama
Adaner Usmani, Harvard University
Chloe Valdary
Lucía Martínez Valdivia, Reed College
Helen Vendler, Harvard University
Judy B. Walzer
Michael Walzer
Eric K. Washington, historian
Caroline Weber, historian
Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers
Bari Weiss
Sean Wilentz, Princeton University
Garry Wills
Thomas Chatterton Williams, writer
Robert F. Worth, journalist and author
Molly Worthen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Matthew Yglesias
Emily Yoffe, journalist
Cathy Young, journalist
Fareed Zakaria

“Wie ein Hund” – Murder Imitates Art

Spoiler Warning: I reveal the end of a Franz Kafka story
Content Warning: Murder

In Franz Kafka’s The Trial, as Josef K is being murdered by a couple of state goons just doing their jobs, he says “Wie ein Hund” before his throat is cut. “Like a dog,” that’s how he’s dying. Not allowed human dignity. There’s a transcript of George Floyd’s last words over at Mano’s, I can’t testify to the veracity of it because I’m not going to watch somebody get murdered and scrutinize the poor audio. But it’s believable. No human dignity allowed, no mercy from the thugs in blue, the state goons just doing their job.

I’m really glad that a big swath of people around the world aren’t buying the simplistic narrative of “riots bad.” Thank you for giving me a glimmer of hope. To all the “tough on crime” politicians and pundits pushing curfews and lockdowns and state violence, eat shit.

If I was a mayor, I would make a deal with my people. I order every cop in the city to go eat donuts in a suburb for a day, in exchange for a request that the protest be as minimally destructive as possible. Then I’d pick up the tab for whatever happened after that. Something tells me when you don’t bring militarized bullies in blue to a protest, they might not end in as much property damage.

–Again, I don’t feel up to moderating comments on this topic, so they’re closed–

This Ain’t Your Race War, Jackoffs

For people new to the subject of White Supremacist Bullshit, there’s this concept that’s been around for a while: The Coming Race War, when all races must fight to the death for who has the right to rule. White elves vs. other shades of orcs and goblins for control of Middle Earff. Sometimes you’ll see it rendered as RaHoWa, for Racial Holy War. Anyhow, whenever racist oppression sparks a riot, the nazis and klan and sympathetic republicans mount up their trusty steeds to do battle. Like this asshole over here.

You know who burned that police station? Mostly white people. I’m sure you’ve seen the photographs. Who went around in masks and walkie-talkies causing surreptitious property damage? Your white pals in the five o, trying to manufacture excuses to kill innocent people. Let’s say that with the help of the nazi in chief, you manage to make this into a full blown war. It won’t be you brave kkknights against the sub-people. It’ll mostly be white people that are going to kill you.

It isn’t a race war, just because it started with racism. It’s four years of nazi rule and empowerment pushing good people to form a resistance. When the cops are involved, that resistance can’t stay passive because the cops won’t let it. You push, you get pushback. Nobody is going to like how this goes, as much as you racist death fetishists might get a few kicks along the way. It’s going to be bad for everybody. It already is.

I’m gonna do my best to stay out of it. Hopefully this will be my last post on the subject. It’s too depressing. And hopefully it blows over with a minimal amount of death. I don’t have a lot of hope left at this point.

—I’m not moderating comments on this so I’m not allowing comments.—

Is Coughing on People Assault?

Content Warning: post and comments have a lot of violence in ’em.

Says Johnson Catman over in Mano’s comments:

I would think that, at this time, if someone purposefully coughs or spits on you, that should be considered assault. Also, the one coughed or spat upon should be able to respond in self-defense.

I don’t have a strong opinion on that right now, even though I can easily imagine myself responding to these intentional coughing or spitting incidents by committing unequivocal assault. I have enough restraint that I never have assaulted a person, but I’ve felt the urge so strongly it burned. (I’ve wanted to pick up an old man and embed him in a plate glass display, back in my Walmart days.) I have heard in the past that spitting on somebody is already legally considered to be assault – coughing would surely not be covered by those laws, even if that’s true.

Any legal experts know the haps on this? I think our nation’s retail workers deserve to know. And deserve to wear brass knuckles, depending on the answer.

British Hypocrisy on Trump

A British writer has fired off a pleasingly constructed anti-trump diatribe to help british liberal types congratulate themselves on their taste and discernment.  Enjoy it here, if you’re interested and can stomach the ableism and fatphobia.  The main thrust of the article: British people vaunt the virtues of politesse, wit, and sense, which he is an active affront to on every level.  I think this brit forgot who the fuck the British are.

At one point in my construction of this article, I was going to say the British invented reality TV, but that isn’t true.  A little research turned up that MTV’s Real World preceded Big Brother, which was a Dutch creation in the first place.  But British people do gobble it up, same as the public at large in vast tracts of the world, colonized and otherwise.  Why do British people like watching humans at their most acrimonious, witless, undignified, and venal?  Same reason as the rest of us.  You’ve got this cultural illusion of dignified stiff upper lip starched collar bowler hat whatever, but the reality is you’re as much of a shit-headed mob as any culture in the world.

The phenomenon that really puts the lie to this idea is British tabloid journalism.  Tabloid journalism here in amurrica is a pale imitation of the works of the masters.  It’s one of the most hateful, crass, bullying cultural institutions in the world.  It sells, and it sells specifically to British people.

You like the spectacle of people behaving badly, which makes Trump like candy to you.  Fess up.  Your article itself was an act of delectation, letting him dissolve on your tongue like a sugar cube.  You don’t see me talking about his vile ass on here very often, because the harm he does isn’t a joke.  His ascendance disturbs me to the core.  Having a go at him means tasting poison, and I’ll only do that as a last resort.

I Know What You’re Thinking, Biden Dems

Obams=good. Obams like Joe. Joe=good. Bring back time when president nice.

Alternately – and more venal –

Obams=economy good. Economy=my personal comfort. Joe=successor to Obams. Make economy good.

This is the thinking of people who wish they could vote for Bill Clinton again. At least he made the economy good. Therefore your retirement fund is less scary. It’s the safe choice.

Except it isn’t. Conservative dems are going to be like that Trudeau up in Canada. Make nice words while they line their pockets with money from petroleum, prison labor, and the war machine.  Burn down the world to make a little gold.

Don’t you give even a tenth of a shit about your children? Choke on your binkies you adult babies.

Ghost Pangolin Breath

I’m sure there’s a billion people in china that don’t go in for medical woo that involves slurping down nature’s rare wonders. I just wanted to say to the other ones, this is not the recommended use for chopsticks motherfuckers.

To be honest I find the idea covid entered humans via pangolin consumption a little suspect, if only because it seems tailor-made to appeal to aggrieved environmentalists like myself. It is an evocative idea, isn’t it?

When Fascism Continues to Reign

Content Warning: Political Despair

Michael Moore recently had some dire predictions for us:

“I think if the election were held tonight, Trump would win. Not in the popular vote. Oh, no. Hillary won by 3 million votes? Whoever the Democratic nominee is, is going to win by 4 or 5 million votes. The gap will be even larger. The popular vote is going to be huge. But Trump has not lost his base. They’ve gotten bigger, and angrier, and whiter, and madder.”

I know this. I’m not sure if most people are noticing the extent of the problem here. The narrative has turned against progress. Public discourse in America and places like it around the world has been soaked in fascist propaganda for long enough that even some of the best of us regurgitate “common sense” we got third hand from neo nazis via our friends, family, lovers, the comedians and cultural figures we grew up with. Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, harmless innocent funny people are telling us social justice has gone too far, people are too entitled, etc etc.

Kind and reasonable (but naive) people have been drinking from this cyanide well for so long there are young voters who have grown up knowing nothing else. Progressive movements like BLM get exploited by corporations to sell shit like Netflix TV shows that admit, yeah, maybe there’s some problems and you should stand up in some ambiguous way, but at the end of the day your political opponents are good people who can be reasoned with. You don’t need to do anything truly radical. You don’t need to care or to fight *that* much.

So the middle is kept too passive to vote, while conservatives are feeling more empowered and engaged than ever. Literal nazi propaganda has normalized so much that Fox news might as well fly the swastika. White people are gagging for it like sweet ambrosia. They believe it, they buy it, they sell it, they wallow in it. The belief that all of the woes of the world are the fault of outsiders, interlopers, anyone but themselves and the institutions they’ve been trained to revere.

Together with the fruit of decades of racist vote suppression, gerrymandering, and prison industry, that can sew it up for Trump – or his successor, whoever that great white fuck happens to be.

I’ve said it before and Mr. Moore reminded me today to say it again: Be ready to lose. To live under full bore fascism. To struggle to do right with no reward in sight, no light at the end of the tunnel. I wonder what it will look like from the inside, rather than from stories about other countries and other times in history. Some of it is already here, but when the scale tips – when we don’t even get the half-assed power to wag our fingers publicly at the tyrants, like at the impeachment – what will that feel like for us? I hope we don’t get to find out.