Archives for category: Cleveland Steamer

One GinaMarie Zimmerman, a woman of no particular consequence who is famed for her televised status-whoring, was recently fired from her non-broadcast job for referring to welfare as “nigger insurance.” Let me reiterate: the fact that this woman is a vulgar, tasteless racist is not something about which I give a rat’s ass; Jimmy crack corn, and no, massa, I doesn’t care. Racial equity will not be brought about by raising holy hell every time some two-bit asshat says something bigoted about black people. One does not simply end racism, unless one also ends policies that prey upon racial minorities, but good luck getting Whitey to give a shit about some poor kid from the ghetto getting locked up on a trifle for being involved with drugs that members of Whitey generally use and traffic with impunity.

As it happens, Ms. Zimmerman (any relation to George?) has support from one of Philadelphia’s premier Aspies:

Actually although she was wrong to say it publicly and therefore must face consequences, I see her point. Where or not more whites are on it blacks tend to abuse it more so than other races and that is why we still have debit particular in Philly where im from. Heck my city can’t pay its school system. Anyway I go to Philadelphia shoprite in Cheltenham see many black folk pay their junk food with food stamps not necessarily healthy food thus become obese for some and all while wearing fur coat and driving an escalade with spinner dubs on it. Welfare abuse has to stop and maybe that is what she meant by it…

Well then. Let’s double down on this shit. Combine a childhood spent not far over the city line from the mildly hoodish areas of Philadelphia’s far north side, undergraduate studies in the barely cocooned Ivory-Tower-in-the-Badlands precincts of Temple University, and a case of Asperger’s that makes Alien Uncle sound like Cardinal Dolan, and a public recounting of that bigoted tale is probably inevitable. We Philadelphians call it like we see it. (I’m only kind of a Philadelphian, and not much of one lately, but I’m Philadelphian enough for the current purposes.) It’s one of the reasons that many outsiders find us quite rude. In parts of the country where fake pleasantry, passive-aggressiveness and subterfuge are held ideal, we look awfully forward and brusque. So be it; the average inhabitant of these places is disturbed. (Here’s looking at you, Ashland.) The Temple Clinger, however, takes this forthrightness to the next level. It doesn’t help that he sops up depravity from weird corners of the internet for regurgitation at the next opportunity instead of hanging out with real people, getting an idea of who they are, and letting them temper with some measure of sober decency the rubbish he reads online. Nor does it matter that he’s an impulsive fat guy whose Facebook profile picture is a selfie showing him decked out in a red suit for some big pimpin’. This doesn’t make him introspective enough to stop complaining about irresponsible, obese negroes on the dole.

As I intone whenever it seems topical, there is a credible fix for this dude’s amazing dipshittery: prostitution. He needs to be civilized by whores. After reading nuttery like his comment above, however, I tend to think that the Temple Clinger more specifically needs him some chocolate lovin’. If he doesn’t have a case of the jungle fever, he should. Yes, I’m being flip and trollishly politically incorrect, but I mean it. He’ll return from these trysts with comments about black chicks that I truly cannot imagine (if nothing else, his syntax is beyond me), but he’ll also learn how to relate to black chicks one-to-one, not as hoodrat ciphers at the Shoprite. He may discover that some of his favorite whores are black people. Again, impishly though I present my case, a black hooker will kill (softly, I assume) two birds with one stone: the sexual frustration and the racial trope-mongering. All the Temple Clinger needs to do to make this happen is give one of these ladies a call, and then get his stones off with the bird.

Ladies: if this guy hires you, let me know whether you’ve ever been picked up by an even weirder honky.

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This post won’t be nearly as cute as the title suggests.

The subject matter is, however, oddly related (heh) to the title. Kentuckians are known not only for their tradition of incest but also for their tradition of stubborn self-reliance. Farmer Uncle and Stoner Aunt share the latter Cumberland cracker value in a bad way. It’s a bizarre value to hold when one has finagled a couple hundred grand in free money from relatives and friends to turn a farm into a shantytown and run it into the ground, but logical consistency is of little import when one can just make shit up all the time and never get called out for being a mendacious fuck because that would totally harsh our mellow, man. It’s said that a stopped clock is right twice a day, and it seems that Eastern Kentucky last wound the clock during the Buchanan Administration, but Farmer and Stoner don’t worry about schedules and shit. They’ll be right when they wanna be right, they’ll be wrong when they wanna be wrong, and it’ll be everyone else’s responsibility to get with the program right now or incur redneck assholiness and royal butthurt. Does anybody really know what time it is? (Time to make the payments on the secondary mortgage.) Does anybody really care? (The Rosshole cares.) By the way, to really tenderize this horse carcass, I just checked my watch, and it looks like it’s the Adults’ Hour.

Much like That Old Time Religion, not to mention That Old Time Knowledge of Blood Relations (it’s called “knowledge” because they like them some King James in them thar hills), the grand dipshittery surrounding the management of the farm has become, for pretty much everyone involved but me, just kind of the way things work around here. (You know you’re dealing with subnormal asshats if that’s the only justification they can offer for the rules they’d like to enforce.) Think of it as a cultural form of adverse possession: we squares are paying for it, or having it paid for in trust for us, but the dirty hippies have been squatting on the moral ground for so long that we’d probably have to go to court to evict them. My dad is planning to take a close look at the joint this summer and try to flesh out a plan for cleaning up the mess, but it looks like it’ll be tough going.

Here’s what I find alarming: even though they recognize serious problems with the manner in which Farmer and Stoner have been behaving, my parents have come to reflexively make excuses for them. As far as I know, they don’t do this for anyone else. They certainly don’t for me. They aren’t hardasses by any stretch of the imagination (for one thing, if they were, they wouldn’t have all that money tied up in the farm), but when they have the feeling that I’ve fucked up again they aren’t reticent about telling me that they think I’m on the wrong path. They don’t stumble all over themselves trying to make excuses for me.

Where Farmer and Stoner are concerned, they’ve plunged headlong into the quagmire of moral relativism. One of the bizarre things about this dynamic is that they’ve given Farmer and Stoner quite a bit of money, especially over the past few years, but they, not the beneficiaries of their largesse, are the ones being so brazenly manipulated. This is not, as far as I can tell, a manifestation of the psychology of prior investment; God knows they’ve given me a lot of money, too. I’m convinced that they’re operating on a much deeper, more refined emotional level. They aren’t ones to use money to manipulate other people, and even if they become alarmed that the alms they’ve given have fallen into a sinkhole, they don’t really take offense. (They’ve been good at avoiding this, up to a point, by not giving money to the Aliens.)

The prospect of fractious relationships, however, can put my parents into a state of frantic anguish. They are openly scared out of their minds at the prospect of my stirring up trouble with Farmer and Stoner and causing collateral damage to the family, even though what I’m trying to do is to respond to serious provocations on Farmer and Stoner’s part. Their attitude is that of the pacifist rending his garments at the thought of guns, guns! being used to retake Fort Sumter. I’m trying to proceed thoughtfully and cautiously here, but the circumstances are dire and a number of these disputes are manifestly not my fucking fault. I am not going to take the blame for any of it unless I’m conclusively shown that I fucked up in a way that a reasonable person responding to the same circumstances absolutely would not. The way Farmer has been acting for the past four years or so and the way Stoner has apparently been acting to some extent for her entire life are inherently provocative, and I am not about to let them martyr anyone else for making a good-faith effort to bring them to heel when they’re beyond the pale. We may be Christians, but there’s no reason for us to become Christ. Any passion needs to be on them.

That’s a nice ideal, in any event. My parents seem determined to first try martyring themselves in the hope of mollifying a couple who they agree can be provocative shits. They aren’t masochists. They’ve just been cornered by two people they love who have spent decades pretty much getting what they want through various forms of emotional aggression and lately have been turning up the heat. Like my parents, I’ve usually been conciliatory to the point of showing Farmer and Stoner inappropriate deference in the hope of keeping shit from hitting the fan. My parents appear to be hoping against hope that I’ll show yet more of this deference, since Stoner especially is disinclined to do her part to stop pissing people off when she can instead proclaim her most grievous butthurt.

Encouragingly, I infer that Farmer Uncle recently pulled his head out of his ass with a surprising, uncharacteristic decisiveness, upon being apprised by my dad of my objections to his recent behavior. I doubt that he would have realized that it’s the Adults’ Hour and, shall we say, governed himself accordingly had I taken my usual conciliatory approach to him and Stoner instead of laying it all out on the record in my pro se e-mail to Stoner and making it painfully clear to my parents that shit be wack on the old homestead. Farmer has apparently swallowed his bitter medicine and felt its salutary effects, at least for the time being, but this didn’t just happen on its own. It required a much more concerted effort than would be necessary to convince a reasonable person to stop being an ass clown. Give-and-take doesn’t work with him or with Stoner the way it does with Baywatch, because their impulse is to turn it into take-and-take. This is why even though Baywatch and I have a weird, confusing, sporadic relationship with a tendency to turn into a mutually amplifying hot mess, I still consider it viable because I’m willing to eat my humble pie and homegirl’s got class. She can burn at a hot temperature, but she has manners the way Grandma had manners.

This is where things get deep enough to blow minds not just in Ashland, but internationally. Indeed, I aver that the torch of gracious womanhood has been passed from Grandma to a self-described agnostic hippie, a sexual pluralist and possible libertine who has been known to curse like a sailor and use the term “flavor saver” (a synonym for “soul patch”; just like the proliferation of vague, redundant surfing terms, it’s an OC equivalent to the Eskimos having 71 words for snow, or 69 if you wish). Baywatch’s sexual practices may be looser and more forward than Grandma considered ladylike, but it doesn’t matter. I can’t speak to that because, unlike Lady Lejeune, Baywatch hasn’t semi-publicly spoken of her own bodily functions or sexual practices in front of me, and I get the feeling that she is generally disinclined to be so uncouth except among her closest friends. That’s why the torch hasn’t been passed from devout Christian breeder to devout Christian breeder, passing over a generation with the word “BOOM!”; they’re too busy teaching cuckoo-bananas at Steubenville to teach class. (I never went, but I can’t say I regret it. Shit clearly got florid.)

Many would like to carry the torch, but few are worthy of it, especially those who ask for the honor. Stoner Aunt, for example, thinks highly of herself and has that overly upright prim thing going on a lot of the time, so she’d be a great match on a totally superficial level until one realized that she’s a latter-day Victorian horror-cum-gutterslumming Aquarian. Ladies Kentfield and Kensington are far too forward and vulgar for the honor, but they never put themselves in the running, since they’re cognizant of their fault, their fault, their most grievous fault, even though only the latter is a Catholic. One’s tastes needn’t be as elevated as Vaclav Havel’s in order to live in truth. The strongest contender left among Catholics of my generation is Lady Ballimer, who is definitely too reserved and introspective to ask for the honor, or to forthrightly call Lady Lejeune gross when she gets gross. Neither is anyone else in the Church, except maybe Lady Kensington, which would leave us with a standoff between the uncouthness of a child of the cuntpunting Maryland exurbs in furtherance of social control mechanisms and the uncouthness of a more outwardly belligerent but subtly more pluralistic and humbler daughter of Fishtown in furtherance of screwing her boyfriend on a neighbor’s stoop at dawn and then telling us about it because she knows we’re the kind of earnestly vulgar audience that doesn’t apologize for enjoying such a story.

There are a lot more people in this world who are all different kinds of rude than there are true ladies and gentlemen, especially if one listens to those who are blowing their own horns and drowning out their more respectable but reticent fellows. That said, rudeness is a matter of degree. Bigtime. Lady Kensington isn’t the only local with a disregard for the cleanliness of the streets of Filthadelphia. As Captain Bones once put it, “It’s like these people think a fairy’s gonna come and clean up after them when they leave crap all over the street. Actually, they’re right. There is a fairy: it’s called me and Mrs. Bones walking around the block and filling up two trash bags.” Besides, when Lady Kensington gets raunchy on a neighbor’s stoop, it’s only because she’s being impulsive and doesn’t have a room or a trash can available at the moment. It ain’t exactly right, but there’s no antisocial intent. It’s just high-functioning white trashiness in a declining industrial neighborhood. It’s no Haddonfield Special, and even if she threatens to punch me in the face if I don’t buy her shots, she’s no Lt. Josey. A friend of hers from the neighborhood once pulled up her skirt and put out for a boyfriend while leaning against a railing on the Staten Island Ferry: again, dirty, but a far cry from stop-and-frisk or disappearing Adrian Schoolcraft into a mental hospital for snitching about trouble with CompStat.

And these women are most certainly not concerned with the private, consensual sexual behavior of others. Shit, they aren’t even that concerned with public sex. If a horny young couple have sex out on the ferry deck at night and the cops on board don’t cite them for public lewdness, was the deed actually done? You know what? The cops are probably too busy hanging out downstairs, maybe getting pleasantly chatted up by some goody-two-shoes civilians, and being thankful that they drew the best assignment in the 120th Precinct and aren’t stuck responding to shots fired in the Stapleton projects. Besides, Lady Kensington and her friend show more concern for the welfare and sensibilities of others when they have sex in public than Lady Lejeune shows when she asserts herself as an arbiter of official Catholic sexual morality for the public at large. Lady Lejeune doesn’t even attempt to tone down her behavior in consideration of prevailing community standards. And don’tcha know, neither does Stoner Aunt. The assholy butthurt doesn’t have to be about sex, but it doesn’t hurt. (Heh.)

The opposite of moral relativism is not Manicheanism. This truth is easily lost in the din, but there is a very real difference between moral absolutism and Manicheanism. The former allows for a degree of nuance, common sense, and maximization of the commonweal that the latter does not. It’s easy enough to see how this distinction got erased in the public discourse. The people who have the most to say about the dangers of moral relativism are consistently some of the most unhinged Manicheans: Reform theologians, monomaniacal anti-abortionists who can’t process any of the harm caused by unwanted children or recklessly profligate breeding, busybodies who demand the imprisonment of those whose sexuality they find insufficiently holy. The critiques of moral relativism have been left to an unseemly coalition of zealous yahoos, many of them from the intellectual and ethical dregs of society. The weird thing is that they’re of above-average intelligence, eloquence and logical reasoning abilities, but they take faulty or depraved premises and run with them to the ends of the earth.

Meanwhile, what their pluralistic opponents offer in response is mostly mushheaded bollocks. Many on the left are too solicitous of the feelings of every conceivable nutcase constituency to take a real stand on anything, so of course they end up with less credibility than authoritarians who yell about total depravity, being washed in the Blood of the Lamb, “conservatism,” “family values,” manipulatively narrow definitions of the “Heartland,” spats over forty-foot crosses in National Forests, reestablishing compulsory prayer in public schools, “judicial activism,” and the Meese Report. Their opponents may be crazy, but at least they stand for something. On the other hand, the mushheads propose a quiet, if uneasy, coexistence instead of perpetual war on dissidents and minorities. As we saw last year, much of the Republican Party is now in the hands of people depraved and Manichean enough to make Claire McCaskill look like a woman of great principle and courage. McCaskill is an exemplar of Blue Dog suckage, but she was able to win reelection by asserting that discussions of illegitimate ways to rape women so that they like it are not fit for polite society, or even for Congress.

One needn’t spend much time around monomaniacs to realize that that way lies madness. At the same time, it isn’t the moral invertebrates who stand up and tell people like Akin to go fuck themselves. It takes a degree of moral certitude, if only a small one, to recognize that that is simply not the way a decent person talks about rape. Revulsion at that sort of language is a value, and the belief that such language is uniformly beyond the pale is most certainly a value. Notice that no one opined that while it was inappropriate for Akin to speak of “legitimate rape” on behalf of the citizens of St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia, it would have been appropriate to speak thus on behalf of the citizens of Cape Girardeau in consideration of the prevailing local culture and Rush Limbaugh’s childhood. No. The message was simple: Akin’s language was unfit for all of Missouri, even the most backwards parts, and it served as a rare opportunity for Claire McCaskill, of all members of the August Body, to join Vertebrata.

To a large extent, it’s a matter of gut feeling. Trying to balance and accommodate every conflicting interest at once would be highly illogical. Gut feeling, not cold logic, is what allows Akin’s observers to stand up and say, “Dude, what the fuck?” It is Captain Kirk, not Spock, who exercises command authority here. They said so on Radio Lab a few weeks ago, and it made a lot more sense than any of that bullshit in Ashland, or my parents’ response to it.

Gut feeling does a lot to explain why I’ve made such an effort to stay in touch with Baywatch over the years. If Data were to add up the sum of our interactions, he would see no reason to make further investments in the relationship as a matter of cost-benefit analysis, but I’m not an Aspie quant. I can tell that that girl is special (a term that for once I don’t use cynically), so I don’t see any need to subtract her propensity for teh hawt mess from her graciousness and divide by the amount of time we’ve spent together in order to know that she’s worth making an effort to keep in my life. At the opposite extreme, I don’t need any quantitative metrics to know that Farmer and Stoner are hella fucked up, although personality disorder diagnostic criteria are helpful for understanding just what’s wrong with them and being able to present it coherently to, say, my parents when they’re in the mood to excuse objectively rude or even depraved behavior.

My parents have accused me of viewing Farmer and Stoner through a Manichean lens, but I do not. They aren’t reincarnations of Stalin. I’d be stunned if they turned out to be the proprietors of a Robert Pickton-style graveyard for prostitutes, in a way that I would not be stunned to hear that the Temple Clinger had gone full Sodini on a bunch of innocent coeds. I see nuances in their behavior. That said, psychopathy is not the appropriate threshold for a response to asshattery in the family. Mendacious, schadenfreude-tinged narcissism on a chronic basis should be more than enough. They’re acting that way as a defense mechanism because they’re ashamed to be insolvent and financially dependent on others? Blow me. They’re making me look bad through their insistence on fraudulently misrepresenting themselves as independent yeomen at a time when they, like me, are financially dependent on my parents. I should not be penalized for making an effort to live in truth, and I damn well should not be penalized for calling sleazy relatives out on a campaign of bullshit that has the effect of punishing me for trying to live honorably.

My parents’ stance, in effect, is that Farmer Uncle and Stoner Aunt should have license to act like children. Frankly, the amount of maturity that I expect them to show is quite modest. In no way do I expect them to become financially independent, and I don’t even expect them to be candid about their personal or business finances, except in serious financial discussions with their investors or prospective investors. I merely expect them to refrain from actively misrepresenting themselves, emotionally manipulating the rest of us, tarring me as a fuck-up in order to divert attention from their own shortcomings, telling other self-serving fantasy tales about me and my motivations, and engaging in tortious and criminal behavior out of sheer idiocy. My position is that immorality informed by a desire to gratuitously offend and provoke others and amorality informed by capricious narcissism are not worldviews fit for polite society.

Manichean this is not. In fact, it is much more restrained and magnanimous than can reasonably be expected of me. There is no ethical obligation for me not to tell them both to their faces that a friend of mine showed a world more maturity as a twenty-year-old undergraduate, even when I got weird and clingy with her, than either of them have shown in their mid-sixties. It would be a pertinent lecture. Baywatch’s subsequent willingness to move forward with near-total goodwill and magnanimity after a heartfelt total freakout over my clinginess is an example of class that damns both Farmer and Stoner as ill-mannered semigeriatric children.

Nor was it Manichean for me to keep hanging out not just with Farmer and Stoner but also with Junior Bear and his posh knuckleheads back east for years, and to magnanimously return to them after massive blowups that were entirely or overwhelmingly their fault. My parents are simply mistaken to think that I’m reflexively judgmental and petty towards these people. I’ve gotten angry with them, but I have certainly not been unduly vindictive.

It took a hell of a lot of bad behavior to get me so riled up against Farmer and Stoner. Again, this is not Manicheanism, but realism, a stern but proportional response to behavior running a gamut from the provocative to the objectively deranged. Yet I’ve ended up on the phone with my mom insisting that Farmer Uncle’s drinking behind the wheel with me as his passenger was not a tort. Of course it’s a fucking tort! His whole goddamn pattern of behavior surrounding this habit has been tortious. He deliberately committed a crime against me for shits and giggles and then declared his intention to persist in similar criminal activity in my absence for the purposes of aggrandizing himself as the alpha dog and vexing my parents. Saying that he can’t be sued for any of this is like saying that Child Protective Services can’t be contacted about Uncle Dwayne’s custom of screwing his teenage nieces in the tobacco barn. For crying out loud, I have the right to press criminal charges against him, and a good chance of establishing criminal intent; in a civil trial I could fucking cream him. It was his idiotic decisions, not mine or my parents, that got us into this mess. We have a similar dynamic with Stoner Aunt’s decision to smear me to my parents in retaliation for my e-mail asking her and Farmer to back the hell off because they had been disrupting my work life. Of course I can sue for an equitable relief injunction compelling her to shut up if I first warn her to stop denigrating me to my parents and then suffer additional annoyance because she won’t stop being such a hideous shrew. That would be a textbook case of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Contrary to my mom’s feverish assertions, that would be a circumstance in which it in fact would be lawful to “tell people what they can and cannot say to other people.” It doesn’t matter that she has always had a tendency to be a provocative, self-righteous horror. Decent people, and indecent people who don’t want to get their asses sued, back down when rightfully accused of anything resembling a tort.

But we’re family. Blood is thicker than water. Uncle Dwayne has always been having his way with his nieces in the tobacky pile.

Headdesk.

A month or two ago, I started following some pickup artist blogs, mainly Chateau Heartiste but also the Rational Male and Postmasculine, among others. I’m pretty far along on a longer essay about the PUA community and the real-world context in which it somewhat obliviously exists. That essay has been unusually draining to write. Although I haven’t invested an inordinate amount of time planning and writing it (probably eight hours, give or take), the subject matter has made up for the short duration of my writing sessions by being exceptionally distasteful and disturbing.

Maybe the most striking thing about the research and writing process for that essay (if it can even be written off as “research”) is how much it has altered the language that I use in my thought processes. When I climb out of the fray for a break, I feel as if I need to reacculturate myself to the vocabulary of mainstream English. It’s as if I’ve been hanging out with racists, which is exactly what I’ve been doing, since it seems impossible for the paranoia, chauvinism and misogyny (I use the last two terms intentionally, as, contrary to popular belief, they have different meanings) to coalesce without magnetically attracting racial and ethnic bigotry and paranoia as well. This is what one would expect of a leftist caricature of these groups, but it comes straight from the horse’s mouth in these cases, so really it’s a self-parody. These people use language that is completely foreign to people outside their subculture. I envision a virtual community of resentful, abrasive kooks and equally resentful, socially maladjusted dweebs hanging out in the basement and emerging periodically, unable to carry on a normal conversation with their relatives, so addled are they by the weirdness of the language that they use in their virtual lives. Since I’m exceptionally good with languages (speaking fairly proficient Russian and French, both learned as second languages in my teens) and exceptionally deliberate in my speech, although not as deliberate orally as in writing, extrapolating my own difficulty to people who are inarticulate and inattentive to their speech is a cringeworthy mental exercise.

I’ve had a similar experience reintegrating myself into mainstream, bricks-and-mortar life after reading sex workers’ blogs and some non-paranoid political blogs, but in those cases my only serious concern has been that I would say something politically incorrect because I was hanging out on a fringe where the Overton Window had been closed by the peddlers of America’s official social control mechanisms. This was basically a fear of uttering Bidenisms about a demimonde that I consider wrongfully smeared by polite society. My reaction to the PUA blogs, however, has been darker. They don’t seem merely louche or seedy, but evil in ways that I can’t exactly identify or articulate. I don’t consider it much of an exaggeration to say that there’s something Satanic about their worldview. The appearance that they actively foment war between the sexes certainly doesn’t help their case. Nor does their steeping socially marginal people in a shop talk that mainstream people would find confusing at best and evil and unhinged at worst.

These freaks exceed the military in their use of impenetrable acronyms, an important caveat being that the US military resembles a mainstream American society much more closely than the pickup artist community. More importantly, even in neighborhoods and social circles insulated from the military and its culture, military service is rarely regarded as a scarlet letter. I imagine that much of the flak that veterans catch from civilians and ascribe to civilian bigotry is in fact the result of their being stupid, vulgar and sadistic; I also imagine that the shit disproportionately hits the enlisted, for reasons that you’ll understand if you’ve spent much time on military bases, ones that our family friend Captain Bones finds compelling. There’s also the matter of military personnel, especially officers, being trained to be unfailingly polite in their dealings with superiors and civilians. The kind of language that predominates on PUA blogs wouldn’t fly at inspection. At least I hope it wouldn’t; I’m sure military personnel and veterans could provide plenty of counterexamples that they’ve witnessed, so feel free to have at it in the comment thread. That said, I’m pretty sure that the US Armed Forces do a better job than most American institutions do at socializing their personnel into something presentable, and that such a thing doesn’t happen on PUA blogs.

Hanging out with strangers in a sort of committee of correspondence and being trained by them in the use of vulgar, depraved language that is incomprehensible to normal people to the extent that it isn’t repellent doesn’t seem like a good idea for socially atomized, sexually frustrated men with deficient interpersonal skills. On the other hand, the bar scene where these beta-omega spectrum recluses are supposed to be applying their “game” tends to be disgraceful, too. That’s why I close by repeating an old encouragement to reasonable women of goodwill to consider improving the nightlife pool, but this time in somewhat more colorful language:

All the slutty ladies, all the slutty ladies/

If you like it then you shouldn’t let the skanks monopolize it, if you like it then you shouldn’t let the skanks monopolize it/

Oh, oh, oh, I’m not even gonna try to transliterate any more of that idiocy/

But get your not-exactly-chaste, not-exactly-sleazy asses out there on the dance floor/

And move it like Jagger, or something/

Cuz we may not put a ring on it if you do, but give us a chance and we’ll show our gratitude/

At least those of us who aren’t deranged enough to prefer a manipulable bimbo to a smart chick who rubs up on her friends sober/

So, in conclusion, move it like Jagger, or something/

Because even if that isn’t music, neither is that shit you’re listening to on the radio.

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I’m glad Akismet allows me to read and post these gems rather than preemptively flushing them down the electronic Thomas Crapper. And it’s a testament to Akismet’s programmers that their software can distinguish this garbage from legitimate comments. That takes some serious linguistic skill.

In closing, scrape me please the lovely blogging of your excellent work well done. Bitch.

At some point, I figure, I may get buttonholed by busybodies, maybe sex-negative religious ones or maybe allegedly sex-positive secular feminist ones, who are butthurt that their own mass-casualty butthurt over pluralistic tolerance for sexual self-determination is not more widely shared by the public at large, and asked why I read the blogs of whores and pornographers, and why I add my own contributions to this seedy genre.

Let’s start with two brief answers. 1) The First Amendment, biotch. 2) Potter Stewart isn’t alive to know it when he sees it.

Never mind concerns about the future; as I described in my screed about Jesus Kristof and the unctuous “female perspective” that he shares with his smitten readership, the feminists have already started doing their part. It seems I’m not reading enough angels-on-a-pinhead pseudoacademic literature about the evil juggernaut of the patriarchy, and I really should make more of an effort to leaven my conversation with overwrought, quasimetaphorical rape references. Any woman who has been legitimately raped will certainly forgive me once she raises her own consciousness to the point of understanding that the apparently freelance thug who raped her was actually a proxy working on behalf of the patriarchy.

By the way, the patriarchy is also why your boyfriend is too cretinous and disrespectful of your womanhood to respect your so far unraised, subconscious wish to refrain from premarital sex so that you can honor the marriage bed in true fullness by using natural family planning and only natural family planning. If you did a close reading of Humanae Vitae and Theology of the Body and attended more Newman Club meetings, you’d eventually realize that being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term is ever so much more respectful of you as a woman than separating the unitive and procreative functions of sex and not being open to life. You may think you have enough life on your plate as it is, but you really wouldn’t want to risk divorce by using a condom. It doesn’t matter if he wrapped it at your request; he’s dishonoring you and will inevitably treat you as a slatternly sex object. And that thing with an all-male College of Cardinals electing a male pope to oversee an all-male priesthood that issues overbearing, paternalistic sexual dicta to skeptical women who don’t want to get pregnant this month? That only looks like a patriarchy.

I wish I were exaggerating. My tone in that last paragraph was a bit more florid and less coy than you might hear from your parish NFP scolds, but the content was pretty standard.

You can’t understand just how fucking weird the stuff is until you’ve heard it. Quite a few of these people sincerely believed that a Methodist dry drunk father of two who got off on executing people was John Kerry’s true Catholic opponent. For any logicians who are unfamiliar with this meme, I’m not making it up. These people wouldn’t consider for a second that perhaps W was a chronic managerial fuckup with a coke habit befitting his posh background, and they apparently didn’t share my queasy gut feeling that the guy had a better than average likelihood of having performed freelance vivisections on cats. None of this was remotely material because W believed in traditional marriage and was agin killing babies.

To be clear, my RCIA class was run by adults and for adults. I wouldn’t have gone through with baptism and confirmation had our instructors and my classmates failed the gut check. Had I been seriously concerned that the Deepwater Horizon gushers spewing their goo all over the Newman Club meetings truly were the Catholic mainstream instead of a loudmouthed fringe yelling about how they were the one true mainstream in a river of denominational heresy, I doubt I would have gone through with it. If that hypocritical coarseness had been the prevailing tone at RCIA, the deal would have been scotched.

Part of the gut check was how often the RCIA class discussed menstruation and Disney princesses. To my relief, we didn’t. I can’t say that about the Newman Club icebreakers. Favorite saints and favorite popes made sense, and first period stories would have been fine had the subtext not been so blatantly wacko, but favorite Disney princesses did not inspire confidence in the Newman Club as a serious lay movement. This isn’t to say that such a movement couldn’t have a wide reach and do serious damage, but rather that there was obviously no reason to believe anything uttered by that crowd if it sounded nuts. As Jeff Foxworthy might say, you might be a cultist if you intone about ever-present threats to marriage and are also addled by Disney cartoon fairy tales. In retrospect, RCIA was at least as sober as it seemed at the time, but Alma Mater’s Newman Club chapter was a full-strength, Chuck-Diederich-get-your-balls-clipped cult.

If only it hadn’t been so vehemently opposed to literal ball clippage. But that’s the thing about cults. Regardless of what extreme they find best, they know it’s best and are itching for a war of attrition to prove it to the dissenters.

Even the internal dissent among the hard-core pro-lifers could be bizarre. Although it would have taken keen attention to notice at the time given the low signal-to-noise ratio and signal-jamming by the loudest members, our chapter was a powerful Pareto Rule practicum. Had the two or three shrillest absented themselves to, say, seek treatment for feigned anorgasmia from Tom Coburn in a jacuzzi in the Ozarks, the weirdness would have gone away, just like that, and resumed residence in its proper home. By far the most blatant batshit came from Lady Lejeune, a woman from exurban Maryland who was so sexually charged that she apparently had to discharge on the nearest surface several times a day. These days, she maintains, I shit ye not, a Catholic crunchy mama Army wife blog devoted to preachy stories about the godly army that she and Lord Lejeune are conceiving and raising for God and to lengthy, graphic but boring stories of her home births. The Ass Man’s graphic stories about Virginia State Police speed traps, the upcoming weekend’s celibacy, or the cramped dimensions of that bathroom in Ireland the time he got the Guinness shits on Saint Patrick’s Day had a concise eloquence that Lady Lejeune’s blog lacks. So, for that matter, did Lady Lejeune’s own graphic stories back before she maintained a blog so that she could inflict the unabridged versions on her family and friends.

The quintessential Lady Lejeune moment, then, involved menstruation. But of course. It also involved Lord Purcell, a man who kept his sexuality mostly to himself, like the understated Virginia gentleman that he was, although he was strident enough to wear a T-shirt with a picture of a punk rock fetus holding a guitar, with the words “Equal Rights for the Pre-Born”; and it involved, oh hell yes, some Opposing Viewpoints. Specifically, “Low blood iron: not a snowball’s chance in hell it isn’t the sole result of my period, which I have today” versus “Low blood iron: you might want to check that you’re eating enough iron.” Lord Purcell, a science polymath with a keen interest in nutrition, mentioned that college students commonly bring nutritional deficiencies upon themselves by skipping sleep and trying to subsist on ramen and coffee. Lady Lejeune’s retort was basically a two-fold reiteration of her original claim: the phlebotomist said it’s because of my period, and I’m on my period. And if anyone was on top of her own period, it was Lady Lejeune, who did month upon month of anal-retentive menstrual charting prior to her wedding and didn’t mind telling the rest of us about it. So of course, but of course, this what-are-you-eating vs. where-am-I-bleeding debate about Lady Lejeune’s low blood iron was held at full volume (particularly on her end) in front of everyone who happened to be in the room at the start of a Newman Club meeting.

I won’t include a link to Lady Lejeune’s blog. It’s her call as to whether to enter this fray for yet more Opposing Viewpoints. Aliens in the Family may not actively solicit Opposing Viewpoints from readers the way it solicits reader input on Richard Apicello, Martha Bennett and Paddington Bear, but really, the only thing that can dishonor that affair is its comingling with Michael Jackson anecdotes, and with standards like these, I’m asking for it.

The truth is that reader comments will have to get aggressively trollish before I delete them, and it’s a long road that lies before us. Perhaps I trollishly shorten it in this essay; if so, so be it. But I’ll say this: since Lady Lejeune did more than her share of schism trolling as an undergraduate (e.g., “John Kennedy was a terrible Catholic!”, but nary an ill word about George II), I can certainly imagine her trolling her midwives in the interest of fomenting a schism between NFP partisan crunchy mamas and every other constituency within the crunchy mama community.

When I think of that, I think of my friend Baywatch, a doula, student RN and aspiring nurse-midwife in Orange County. Baywatch is about the farthest thing from a troll on this planet, particularly now that Grandma’s work is done. I don’t think I can overstate what a decent and gracious woman she is. Nor is she one to offer public overshares about recent happenings with her own lady parts. Temperance, modesty, all-around class–what ever could be her Achilles Heel?

A couple of things. First, she can be salty of tongue, which could make a stray evangelical scold blanch. John Hagee, Joel Osteen, Pat Robertson, whatever manipulative, passive-aggressive, bigoted raging asshat you can pick up at random after a Murfreesboro altar call–all of these will agree with me about the importance of edifying conversation in one’s Walk as a Christian. That may sound like some kind of coy joke about the Confederacy for an audience of Yankee goobers, but it isn’t entirely. Ours is a pluralistic nation, and we have specialists on that question (now, that is an inside joke for Putineers of any age!), so in the ecumenical spirit we agree to disagree on what exactly is edifying or not. Personally, I don’t consider it edifying to thunder about the damned in front of a diagram showing, in Norman Rockwell detail, Satan parachuting into hell in a rainstorm of blood, or to present the weekly offering as a Tammany Hall kickback racket run by the Boss Tweed of Hosts, or to gloat about the righteous smiting of the wicked in deadly weather events, but that’s just me. Not being an ordained clergyman, I may not understand this whole thing, so maybe I should pray about this shit (excuse me, crap–no, poop) at the altar and see if I don’t come to discover the difference between truly edifying speech that helps me in my Walk, e.g., “God will protect us from earthquakes if we restore prayer in our schools and hang His enemies in the ACLU on our town squares,” and unedifying speech that hinders my Walk, e.g., “Fuck yeah, I’m stoked to get shitfaced in Vegas this weekend!”

Second, and back out of that labyrinthine Protestant weasel hole, Baywatch has already caused Lady Lejeune butthurt; it’s just that Lady Lejeune has yet to discover it. Baywatch often posts things on Facebook pertinent to maintaining women’s access to family planning services, the unnatural kind, and by Lady Lejeune’s reckoning, that’s trolling by a baby-hating liberal slut. As far as I know Lady Lejeune has never said exactly that about anyone, but damn straight she has insinuated it. She is also exactly the kind of person who is adept at pulling off rhetorical chess moves where the rectifier of names confronting the troll is made to look like the troll to those who aren’t paying close attention. Rectified or not, let us name some of the things that have been known to cause Lady Lejeune grievous butthurt: Alma Mater’s student health center providing students with oral contraceptives at their request; res life staff handing out condoms to students who want them; the Girl Scouts of America giving money to Planned Parenthood. A compelling circumstantial case can be made that she comes into a world of butthurt at the thought of condoms and oral contraceptives in general.

Aside from the residential life sex days, which she may have been pressured into joining as an RA (I couldn’t tell, but it sounded like it was other RA’s handing out the condoms), these sources of butthurt had an interesting thing in common: they involved third parties and had nothing to do with Lady Lejeune. Few, if any, of her adversaries in this fight were going around calling her a prudish bitch; I heard absolutely no one on the other side objecting to individuals opting out of these activities.

The tenuous connection between these two ladies is Southern California. Lord Lejeune’s military obligations have taken the Lejeune family out of the Southland for the time being, but according to Lady Lejeune’s blog they intend to return to Los Angeles in the future. So I’m not totally making up the prospect of a catfight between those two.

If it happens, it’ll be like Rush Limbaugh and Scott Simon arguing about whether broadcast personalities should encourage people to talk to their doctors about their health care needs or call them sluts on nationally syndicated radio programs. And I don’t believe Lady Lejeune is the only breeder itching for that fight. There’s a lot of overlap between NFP partisanship and crunchy maternity. These women have a lot of babies, and a lot of them favor home water births with midwives. They’re really into the old-school stuff: accepting heavy days as curse-gifts from God, bareback, getting knocked up whenever, breastfeeding. It’s a mixed bag at worst, but more than a few of them are really fucking strident about it all.

The nice thing about America is that even if you have to work for women whose boundary problems compel them to accuse you, their putative sister, of moral turpitude for being on the pill, the internet offers a chance to escape it all by reading my coy stories about Apicello, Bennett and Bear. Or, depending on what you can dredge up on Google, stories about Apicello’s real sexual proclivities, which include groping his assistant without her consent. So regardless of the dubiousness of my considering them a cute prospective couple, my scenarios are actually an improvement.

Ooh, I think I have a rom-com screenplay!

Then again, there’s no reason to waste your time on obscure memes that I circulate to an audience that may number in the low dozens when you could wallow in the Nick Gillespie Meme Generator. And there’s no reason to limit your indecency to my version of it, or to whack off to the endlessly derivative dirty stories in Cosmo, when you could get your freak on with these other authors whose publications have already passed the 2,000 all-time page view threshold.

The Honest Courtesan

If it’s in the news and it involves whores, Maggie McNeill will cover it. Her blog is also a useful clearinghouse for other “Whorish Media” and “Friends of Whores.” For a retired prostitute and madam, McNeill is surprisingly chaste in her writing style, so hers is the kind of harlot’s blog you can share with your grandmother, as long as your grandmother isn’t the kind of Tennessean who gets totally head up at the Baptist altar call.

Maybe. As I’ve mentioned before, a lot of people seem to hold the memoirs of prostitutes in the same esteem as those of serial murderers. They don’t get the whole consent thing, because as they know, any woman who becomes a whore is a whore, you whore (Christian conservative gloss), a dupe whose consciousness has yet to be raised (one lefty feminist gloss) or a traitor to her sisters (the other usual feminist trope). Oh, and the victim meme, too, a favorite on both sides. So you might want to nip any conversations with I’m-worth-waiting-for or fish-on-a-bicycle friends and relatives in the bud until they have clearly discerned a qualitative difference in agency between putting out for money and being butchered by Dennis Rader. Just sayin’.

Feminisn’t

This one you don’t want to share with your grandmother. Eh, if your grandmother is Betty White, maybe you do. Kinda raunchy stuff; Furry Girl is a pornographer who partakes liberally of the Carlinian Heavy Seven in her writing.

Aside from the obvious professional similarities, two points in common between Furry Girl and Maggie McNeill come to mind: a libertarian bent and a strong, informed layman’s interest in science. I have mixed feelings about the libertarian thing since libertarianism so often descends into Asperger’s Spectrum up-by-the-bootstraps Social Darwinianism and raging goldbuggery, but I’m unambivalent about the scientific sobriety. Me likey. We have more than a few blatant quacks and legions of cuckoo-bananas marks in Ashland, so it’s refreshing to see Furry Girl savage these classes of fraud and fool. Disrupting vaccination programs based on the nuttery spread by unqualified celebrity mothers and preying upon insecure perimenopausal women who are looking for easy fixes to become sexy again are not honorable pursuits; calling bullshit on these jackasses is.

Great place for stray free titty pics, too.

On the Continuing Thunderous Suckitude of Legal Marketing

This one isn’t whorish, not that kind of whorish, anyway, but there’s a connection.

Ken at Popehat writes an occasional series of posts on the legal marketing racket. The link above is just one in the series, but its title alone is worth publicizing, as is the series. It’s also worth noting that Ken, a partner in a criminal defense firm, somehow finds time to be a prolific and eloquent blogger, raise his kids and (so he claims) play video games. And, for what it’s worth, Popehat is one of Maggie McNeill’s Friends of Whores.

The gist of Ken’s legal marketing series is that lawyers and their firms are forced by idiotic professional custom to pay into a glorified protection racket run by the legal equivalents of Yellow Pages publishers. Placing these ads provides two benefits: respect from colleagues who respect the racket, and cold calls from batshit crazy people who want pro bono representation on meritless, often psychotic cases. Ken’s spammer series publishes spam that he gets from sleazy marketers who want to use Popehat to promote their own businesses, often law firms, but instead end up having their integrity publicly questioned in open letters replete with My Little Pony references.

Ken’s mantra is that quality clients and quality counsel alike come from personal referrals. That seems like the best way for sex workers to drum up business, too, which raises a question: what the hell is that garbage in the back of the Philadelphia CityPaper? There are ways to run a dignified brothel or outcall service, but one wouldn’t know it to look at the ads. “Look at me, I have DDD cups and a big ass, and I make a mean O face!” is a coarse way to drum up business, and I’d expect the business it drums up to be equally coarse. There’s no need to insult the client base’s intelligence by being so crude. Just because you’re selling pussy and they’re buying it doesn’t mean that they need to be beaten over the head with it. Appealing to the reptilian brain, I have to assume, brings some reptiles out of the woodwork.

This would be less of a problem if there weren’t such a taboo against putting the word out among one’s friends that one likes putting out for money. I may be in the minority on this, but I find it more sensible and reassuring to find a whore through friends than through the kind of underworld sleazeballs who infest front office operations in the sex trade. Doing business with friends seems prudent to me, too. (For the record, I don’t feel that way about legal counsel. Every analogy at some point becomes a disanalogy.)

But every consensus I’ve come across in my social life holds that putting in a good word for one’s friends in the trade would be unfathomably crude and off-putting. These things are sanctified, to the extent that they are, by publication in the gutter press. You wouldn’t want to vulgarize prostitution by turning it into something involving friends recommending their whore friends to their client friends. Friends don’t let friends turn tricks; no, friends duplicitously slutshame one another in furtherance of whatever communal drama just erupted.

Maybe I’m just hanging out with the wrong people. Actually, at times I’ve done exactly that.

Go Ask Ella

Notwithstanding the crunchy Opposing Viewpoints that Ella Lauser occasionally offers on gastrointestinal physiology, her sex advice posts are worth reading. For one thing, she’s a lot less sucky at celibacy than your parish loudmouths probably are; when she bottled it up for a month as part of a thirty-day total continence challenge, she did it in such a way that she didn’t unleash a firehose of repressed goo on the nearest third parties, and I respect that. Granted, I’m not really on board with the whole hippie artistic thing the way she is, but I don’t detect any cult vibes from her, so again: respect. I like my crunchiness, and my bus stop rap performances about Punjabi hotel owners by gay guys in sequined shirts, from people who aren’t ravenous vampire squid narcissists.

That’s the weird thing about SoCal narcissism. It’s apparently a boogieman, like the Comintern fifth column or childless liberals who hate children because they’re childless liberals and Rush Limbaugh says so. Sure, there are some gnarly examples in rarefied parts of Hollywood, like Charlie Sheen, but they’re anomalies. My SoCal friends and their friends (Ella is a friend of Baywatch’s through the crunchy mama community) are, as far as I can tell, pretty much sane, well-adjusted people who were raised right and have manners. Don’t ask why I consider this noteworthy; I’ll go down an endless rabbit hole if I address that now, and in any event that mug of bitter will be on tap again before long, so stay tuned. Sure, if you hang out in Irvine or on the Westside, before long you’ll collide with some Stuff White People Like and maybe hear a White Whine or two, but, at least in my experience, you’ll probably be safe from the kind of possessive freaks who want to mold you in their image, and I can think of a certain Elizabethan municipality in Southern Oregon that is also a stop on the PATCO Speed Line where that isn’t necessarily the case.

As Jesus didn’t say but might have, the slutty you will have with you always, so you might as well be ethical about it, and Ella has some good advice on ethical sluttery. If you’re worried about a relativistic moral vacuum on her blog, you might as well worry about the Khrushchev moles on the 1956 Abilene City Council, because it ain’t there, and they wasn’t either. (Am I defaming West Texas? Well, Honey Badger would like to see a statewide repudiation of Rick Perry before answering that charge.) As the “sister you probably never had,” Ella knows not to do whatcher big sister done (the watchwords at Starbucks haven’t necessarily gotten any whiter since then, but they’ve gotten whinier; have they ever). Relationships succeed, relationships fail, so it might be prudent to figure out how to cut a firebreak on that hot mess, learn how to be magnanimous and clearheaded rather than catty and hateful in romantic relationships, and get laid if you’re up for it.

“Yet another hooker who insists she isn’t; what a stupid society we live in!”

That was Maggie McNeill’s reaction to the link above about a woman in Rochester, NY, who charges $60 an hour for snuggling, but only snuggling.

The astute media observer, such as myself, if I do say so myself, may notice some hallmarks of the gutter press in that article, but really they aren’t hard to miss if you pay attention to other people’s syntax and logic: the overwrought sense of controversy, the multiple pictures of Jackie Samuel cuddling with various people of both genders who look suspiciously like models, the oh-my-God-the-next-hour-she’s-with-a-different-man angle. Let’s get this straight: she’s an escort. Her niche in the trade is an odd one, to be sure, but she’s a member of an ancient and frankly civilizing profession. Imagine, then, the Daily Mail saying the same thing about an NHS dentist in rural Wales: “But revisit the scene an hour later and Jackie Samuel will have her drill in the mouth of another man.” It’s absurd.

One might wonder whether the clients, models or whatever whose snuggling photos were published by the Daily Mail were compensated for the trouble. (One might really wonder whether the doofuses who agree to pose for photos in the Mail-Tribune are compensated. As far as I know they aren’t, but it isn’t news that dignity is not held in high esteem in “Our Valley.”) And who are her clients? Has Rochester been invaded by hipsters who appreciate the charms of whorish women ironically, like PBR?

Samuel’s claim that her service isn’t sexual in nature is rubbish. Maybe she’s telling the truth about her chaste boundaries, in which case she’s unfortunately asking for rape. I say this not as a moral aspersion but out of sober recognition that escorts’ clients are disproportionately sexually frustrated men. Connect the dots if you will, but forget any notion of misogynistic rape on behalf of the patriarchy; if it happens, it will most likely be an impulsive, opportunistic act. On the other hand, there’s no telling what she’s omitting in the interest of legal ass coverage. This could just be a case of not publishing the zone fares. Metro does that, too, which is why I never know what it’ll cost to take the 460 bus all the way to Disneyland, if you know what I mean. Actually, I’ve only gone as far as Buena Park, if you know what I mean, and I wish I meant that a bit dirtier than I do. Happily, the amateur equivalent of Jackie Samuel’s practices isn’t strange to me, so maybe I’ve taken the 460 to the part of Norwalk where that fat homeless guy lays out waiting for Good Samaritans to bring him donuts, if you know what I mean.

Damned if I know what Jackie Samuel means. She insists that her tits and ass are off limits, although apparently not in so many words, because that which is covered in unmentionables is untouchable. It’s like the airspace on either side of the north approach to National Airport, so she had better pray for a disciplined flight crew. But not to worry, she’s innocent and wholesome, as are her clients.

They’re just adults for whom the epitome of asexual fulfillment is chaste cuddling with a woman who doesn’t dress for work. Streetwalkers and escorts may have grownup streetclothes to doff when things get hot and heavy, but Samuel just hangs out in pyjamas all afternoon and caters to her clients’ sublimation fetish, and her own. I’d be amazed if teddy bears aren’t involved.

Am I wrong to notice a theme of arrested development? Jackie Samuel seems to be yet another grown woman who is afraid to have big girl sex because she hasn’t gotten permission. It was the same way with a number of people at the Newman Club. They were fast machines, but they didn’t keep their engines clean because the bishops had warned them against premarital engine maintenance, so instead they did things like carry on eye-batting sublimated crushes on the parish priests and indulge in cassock fetishes. And Disney princess love.

It’s one thing to just not be that ragingly sexual, to feel one’s sexuality awaken only in the presence of one’s boyfriend, and maybe to occasionally match the feverish intensity of his sexual attraction to Chase Utley. (That’s one guy who awakens by protective impulse, not as a bro thing but as a California boy at the center of a Philadelphia personality cult thing.) To beat a dead horse, though, the naturally chaste women were not at the helm of the Newman Club. There was more than a little red Corvette inside that little red Corvette. Even Prince lacks the vocabulary to quantify the braking power needed to keep those vehicles from missing a curve and broadsiding a madrone in the Applegate every half hour. That kind of American Power isn’t built in Detroit. “Sex drive” was an understatement. We’re talking somewhere between five o’clock Acela unrestricted Run 8 through Secaucus Junction and United 967 Heavy maximum flaps takeoff roll into 30-knot variable crosswinds and a Manassas thunderhead.

Speaking of things that land heavy and bruised on the Front Range, Ted Haggard has always appreciated the charms of Manassas. Different strokes for different folks, and different kinds of artesian goo. But in any event, shit be sticky, yo.

I’m thinking that what the sex trade needs is more engineers. Eh, shit, that golddigging freak who married the robber baron asshole in Florida and tried to build a copy of the Palace of Versailles was trained as an engineer, but they aren’t all like that. Whores or engineers, that is; and if that shallow oddity can be both, so can normal women. Few people go into the STEM fields so that they can bang on about nitpicking semantic differences by way of assuaging their butthurt at being called by a fraught name. That said, the first component of that acronym, Science, might include nurses, which potentially brings us back to the Ass Man/Lady Lejeune spectrum of talking too much about bodily functions, and what we’re looking for is whores who don’t talk a loud game. The trade really could use more women who approach it as a matter of logic: willing merchant, willing customer, low-chop flight conditions, agreed-upon fare and departure time.

Harlotry? Call it a Greek donkey tour if you like, or call it a wind tunnel test. If the drilling contract has been agreed to, and the borehole has been properly mudded, and the drill rig is in good working order, it’s no less sweet or lucrative by any other name. Damn the semantics; let’s go.

Chateau Heartiste

The scumminess.

This is what would happen if Mark Fuhrman were obsessed with sex instead of race. Shit, it may be even worse than Fuhrman. I’m not convinced that the academy valedictorian was in earnest when he carried on about how “the niggers have discovered Westwood,” or that Captain York had “sucked and fucked her way to the top.” His language was just too ostentatious, and the circumstantial evidence suggests that he was trolling his crunchy, liberal interviewer. He had the motive, he had the opportunity, and smart fellow that he was, he had the means. You don’t hear about it on TV, but it’s pretty clear that Fuhrman is whip-smart and OJ Simpson is a semiliterate idiot. The hidden history of Men Against Women suggests, oddly enough, that that occult LAPD extracurricular club included women as equals, and trite though they may be, Fuhrman’s supporters are probably right that, even more than OJ, some of the detective’s best friends were black people.

Racial and sexual paranoia are not mutually exclusive, of course. In that spirit, Chateau Heartiste leavens its Nixonian intelligence with Nixonian antisocial paranoia and bigotry. And sweet Jesus, is it vile. It’s NSFW, if it’s safe for anyone. But forewarned is forearmed, and that brand of antisocial, sexist wingnuttery is a lot more popular than media reports suggest.That kind of rot is forced into the Memory Hole on a daily basis, but like the South, it rises again. It cannot be repressed, only mitigated or ridden out.

That’s another reason that societies need whores and ethical sluts. A population that is able to find outlets for its sexual frustration is less prone to plunge into this kind of evil. People who have lasting, stable friendships with members of the opposite sex are also less vulnerable.
Defining marriage (or as the Heartistes call it, the “codified long-term relationship”) in a manner that transcends sex is another tremendously wise idea. People who enter into marriage with the sobriety and maturity to not totally freak out in the event of an affair are, I have to assume, much less credulous in the face of this Nixonian paranoia on steroids when the sexual aspect of marriage fails.

Remember the 1990’s white supremacist “Militias?” The McVeigh/Nichols “Bubba job” in Oklahoma City? That kind of thing doesn’t spontaneously implode when repudiated by polite society; it merely goes underground and attempts to regroup. There is some explosive psychosexual rage in this country, and the studied ignorance of the heavily coastal, well-educated Fourth Estate doesn’t make it go away. Reasonable whores of goodwill and reasonable sluts of goodwill are among our few hopes for lowering the flashpoint. And no, in this case I am not being cute. You didn’t hear this on TV, either, but there’s a fairly good chance that a loose woman at the right place and time could have defused George Sodini and saved several lives, not just his.

Hell, St. Augustine pretty much predicted that.

Bros Like This Site

Oh hell yes, time to put on that party dress, so that some antisocial cretin can splooge on it and then make fun of you for being slutty. If a bro happens by the Market Square when she’s standing in her underwear, he won’t discreetly appreciate her womanly charms like a gentleman; he’ll point and laugh like the troglodyte his asshat Lord of the Flies “brothers” raised him to be.

If Chateau Heartiste is the Pepperdine Law Review-cum-Glenn Beck nut screed of online misogyny, Bros Like This Site is closer to the Animal House-meets-Ann Coulter-meets-Treadway/Nifong-spectrum Kafkaesque nightmare version. Consider, for example, its take on Lady Lejeune’s favorite subject. These gents proudly outdo the Ass Man as troubadours of the deuce, but in the next breath they proclaim their ostentatious disgust with menstruation, which to my knowledge the Ass Man never did. The Ass Man was a pluralist about bodily functions, as he was about providing dimensional specifications to quantify how cramped that shitter in Norwich was, or stumbling off a cliff into a berry patch and splitting open the seat of one’s pants. These weren’t communitarian moral issues to him. To “Bros” menstruation is. Nor is their communitarian freakout over periods the result of an aversion to blood; given the places where they admit to introducing their penises, not to mention any places that they’re too reticent to mention, they do not have a heartfelt problem with getting some blood on the junk. This period phobia is nothing but a crude device to humiliate women for being women and to socially control any normative peers who have wandered into their company. Nor is their rhetoric a mere Fuhrmanian flourish to troll feminists. I’ve been in close enough proximity to this class of shithead to know that at least a few of them are sincere in their misogyny.

Other Bro pastimes, we’re told, include the men-only Haddonfield Special, i.e., not inviting any girls along when you shit in a neighbor’s yard as a fuck-you to the bourgeois value of not living over the open sewers of Lagos; aspiring to cirrhosis and Marcia Clark-grade dental hell; inseminating severely intoxicated strangers, then slutshaming them; and (I infer) generally attainting pastel clothing. Actually, attainting pastel clothing is a coeducational enterprise in large parts of the Northeast; your neighborhood sorority cat-fighters have done it, too. You’re best advised to come to Huntington Beach to find people of either gender who redeem the Miami Vice color schemes; I came across a Yelp thread that accused HB of having a Bro infestation, but in my experience all it takes is one chubby redheaded dude in a three-tone polo shirt-scarf-overcoat ensemble to walk down the pier with a girl on each arm to break that critical mass, and when the Indian guys in proto-Nehru suits show up on the same night there’s no point to even trying to hose the pier down with one’s Bro goo.

By the way, the Bro constituency is exactly the one that kept Christine O’Donnell from getting laid a few years ago. I knew it the moment I saw it. O’Donnell had gone out drinking in Old City Philadelphia, a place dear to my heart, with a group of man-children who were anything but dear. They got drunk and she hooked up with one of these dudes, but she scotched the deal when he discovered that she hadn’t adequately shaved her pubes, a situation that he subsequently described in coy but seedy fashion to the celebrity gutter press during O’Donnell’s Senate run.

Set aside the clear appearance that O’Donnell is too lazy and hedonistic to appropriately represent a Senate constituency. In every other regard, she is august enough for that body (we’re talking about prevailing local standards, after all), and it would take an idiot not to recognize that she’s a hell of a catch for any young man out on the town for the evening. Drop-dead gorgeous, intelligent, well-spoken, extremely friendly and outgoing–how the hell did she end up with some kiss-and-tell bastard with a proud pubic hair phobia? Of all the men who were out in Old City that night looking for pussy, she ended up with him?

By the funhouse standards of the celebrity press, an accusation that O’Donnell didn’t shave her lady parts to the satisfaction of some guy who was eagerly pawing her all night is a scandal, but the fact that that creep inflicted himself on the hookup pool and then shared private details about his encounter with O’Donnell the moment there was a market for that rubbish is, well, just the disinfecting sunlight of a vigorous free press.

Like hell it is. If no one else will ride into this Deadwood-on-the-Delaware and proclaim himself sheriff, I will. Men who act like that should be blacklisted by every loose woman in town until they demonstrate that they’ve grown the fuck up. I get the distinct feeling that Christine O’Donnell is respectful and affectionate with the men she beds (a feeling that I don’t get about, to name one freak, Michele Bachmann). When she goes on the manhunt, she should be able to pick up a man who unabashedly enjoys the company of decent women and treats them with respect and admiration because he isn’t trying to impress his perverted cultist buddies back at SAE. That will probably involve really liking pussy and being less abashed about it than O’Donnell is about liking cock, but a guy with reasonably normal social skills can express that in a coherent, honest, respectful way that is amenable to reaching a consensus about how far we’re going on the 460 bus tonight, if you know what I mean.

There are two obstacles to achieving this ideal. We’ve already discussed the fact that the asshats are out in force, which is somewhat consistent with my experiences in Old City and very consistent with my experiences in Manayunk. Holy misogynistic cockhounds. The other, more subtle problem, however, is that so few of the kind of sexually frustrated guys who strive to relate to women as friends and equals are not out on the town. This isn’t entirely because they’re shy, either; most of the ones who wouldn’t want to go out solo would be glad to go out with their buddies, of both genders, from Intervarsity. But, as Pee-Wee Herman said in the theater, there’s the rub. These guys are disproportionately spending their free time in groups like Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. I’m an alumnus, so I know whereof I speak, and I speak of the sexually repressed badgering the sexually repressed into small groups and accountability partnerships. This isn’t the realm of Newman Club gushers, but on close examination, or in retrospect for those of us who aren’t glad to have fallen through the cracks in the bottom of the dating pool, it’s bad enough. These guys are too busy going to fellowship meetings to watch wiggety-wack videos about Holy Spirit awakenings bringing peace, sobriety and a Christian police force to Hemet, and peace, sobriety, wildly successful church plantings and huge-ass Ephesians 3:20 cabbage crops to Honduran highlanders, to go out to a pub, nurse a pint, and get chatted up by some hedonistic chicks. And if they show an inclination to spend Friday night doing the latter rather than the former, there’s a good chance that their accountability partners or various members of the peanut gallery at their small groups will advise them to spend more time in the Word. The long-term social ramifications of this approach for the bachelor type are not considered; in fact, they’re considered unworthy of consideration because the only edifying sexuality is the God-honoring marital kind, and if you spend enough time in the Word, enough Quiet Time, you’ll be convicted of this.

Ooh yeah, I know the lingo. I’ve been around that block a time or two. I can’t say I recommend it unless you’ve got a serious girlfriend who isn’t bashful about PDA, preferably one who doesn’t take the meddlesome boors at Creation too seriously. Even if she does get convicted by that pedantic, Manichean purity crusade, there’s a good chance that she’ll end up working as, say, a bartender in a venerable old Virginian municipality of NoVa (that shit along Chain Bridge Road and the Jefferson Davis Highway is NOT Virginia, I’m sorry to say), making her own independent sexual decisions with a series of boyfriends, and not being totally neurotic about it, unlike her neighbors in Arlington and Adams-Morgan, who are just plain neurotic about everything and need a Xanax stat. They don’t tell you this at Creation, but some of you young people may discover in due time that, married or not, you’re ready for big girl sex. Or big boy sex. Or, depending on your inclinations, sex with Los Angeles radio personality Big Boy. But that’s between you and him. Or between you and her. A good rule of thumb is that it’s between you and whoever is nailing or prospectively nailing you to the mattress, and the only way some pearl-clutching twit in a turtleneck on the main stage at the Giant Center has a compelling say in that is if he goes from third party to direct party and, say, takes you backstage to show you what happens when he gets edified and, upright in the sight of the Lord, produces his own creation.

Hey, it could be worse. You could be letting Ted Haggard pay for your meth habit.

These are the kind of people who should be out at the bars looking for hookups, not the ones who are actually putting themselves out there and making an antisocial nuisance of themselves. Evangelicals are always talking about ways to witness to the world, and this is one way they could become natural witnesses–not for the binary sexuality that their youth group leaders so cherish, but for civilization, broadly and meaningfully defined, for asshat abatement by sheer force of numbers. Manayunk may be hardened, flood-prone ground unreceptive to their message, but they should at least be able to reap a harvest in Old City, and maybe hogtie some Bros and put them on the next northbound R6. Christine O’Donnell shouldn’t be cruising the town for those jerks; she should be organizing meet-ups for Theology, and Some Things We Needn’t Name, on Tap. We’ve already seen the most likely alternative, after all.

With respect to another pragmatic asshat abatement program: If any of you ladies find yourselves with one of these Bro Culture cretins during the witchy moon time and he makes a scene about it, the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes don’t permit you to wait until he’s passed out and then tampon-Superman that ho, but the Common Law principle of equity does. I reckon there’s also some favorable Texas case law on the subject.

Honey Boo Boo Nation

In the tradition of P. J. O’Rourke reading The Wealth of Nations “so you don’t have to,” Rod Dreher watched an episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and reported back to the peanut gallery, so that we need not debase ourselves in that fashion. I have to respect anyone who is able to write a coherent, grammatically correct sentence and still willingly endures an episode of that rubbish in the public interest.

His summary assessment: “It was awful, but I enjoyed it in an Ignatius-at-the-Pyrtania way.” I didn’t entirely get that reference, so Dreher must be a smart chap, an assessment easily confirmed by reading the rest of his essay. It’s a lot easier to play stupid; just look at Oprah and everyone in her orbit, except for Susan Casey. And just as histrionic stupidity attracts and begets histrionic stupidity (albeit with an occasional woman of poise, decorum and thoughtfulness thrown in because, hey, someone has to edit the magazine, so she might as well be literate), intelligent writing attracts and begets intelligent writing. The intelligence in the comment thread on the Honey Boo Boo Nation article is through the roof. Where pedantic, harebrained “progressives” talk about diversity, the American Conservative attracts it like mayflies to a lantern, and it’s the real deal, not the mushy kind they carried on about in college. Not only is the discourse vigorous and varied, it’s also eminently civil, a sad rarity on teh Interwebs. Rod Dreher and his peanut gallery have given legislatures from Capitol Hill to Sacramento the solution to partisan acrimony. Alas, those who need instruction have hardened their hearts. Also, the reading level may go over their heads a bit, and you can’t expect our legislators to have the attention span needed to read through a long-form essay and comment thread if they won’t read legislation before voting on it. Maybe the only real solution is for someone to release a new version of Angry Birds, this one called Nice Birds. If we can’t reach Congress and the California General Assembly at our own level of discourse, perhaps we can reach them at theirs.

As Dreher mentioned, that Honey Boo Boo stuff is gross. The combination of sneering, self-satisfied morbidly obese adults and preschool-age children competing in beauty pageants is exactly the kind of thing to confirm a narrowminded Yankee’s prejudices about the South and to make a decent Virginian wonder whether Georgia oughtn’t start its own war of secession. What decent Southerners apparently don’t wonder about is whether “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” is fit to play on their living room televisions, and I certainly don’t blame them. If it isn’t redneck minstrelsy, as Dreher argues, it’s pretty close. I’d say it’s more accurately described as white trash minstrelsy; Fred Reed agrees with me that there’s a very real difference between rednecks and white trash. There’s some overlap, to be sure, but not a whole lot.

Notwithstanding any taxonomical spats, however, it’s garbage by any name. I had sincerely hoped that the Jon-Benet Ramsey spectacle would kill the child pageant subculture outright, but apparently not. Say what you will about my off-color references to child molesters, randy city attorneys, and cannibals, but there are some things that a decent person simply does not do to a child. An Adults’ Hour for the childish, such as this blog or South Park, is qualitatively very different from dragging one’s young daughter into the child pageant circuit. Children deserve nurturing, protection and positive modeling from the adults in their lives; when “toddlers and tiaras” is the watchword, the kiddos are being failed by everyone around them. That’s all there is to it. It’s a shitty way to raise a child, and a shitty model of sexuality for the young and impressionable.

Then again, Mama June and the clan are being paid for their troubles, and Americans are all about making a living. Ongoing Jackass stunts as a lifestyle are, apparently, a family value, and to take a really cynical view, it’s probably better to raise one’s children in an environment of vice and spite for money than to do so out of love of the game. As Fred Reed says, the better is preferable to the worse.

The “Honey Boo Boo Nation” comment thread contains a lot of cautionary language about the consequences of sexual dissolution, but unlike what one hears from the likes of Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, the caution seems to be overwhelmingly motivated by a genuine interest in children’s welfare. That is to say, it can properly be called conservatism, in contrast to the authoritarian asshattery that passes for conservatism in the Republican Party these days. As an occasional reader of Lawyers, Guns and Money, I find it discordant to see references to “illicit sexytime” that do not also refer to David Brooks, so perhaps Dreher’s peanut gallery should be more observant of Internet Traditions, but at least their discussion of illicit sexytime is decent and civil for a change. The Republican Party should take notice.

Nah, that would be bad for business, just like not whoring one’s family life out to the highest bidder.

Fucking for an increase in holy celibacy

That isn’t how the author would phrase it, but I don’t mind putting a cynical gloss on these things. The strident extremists may disagree, but I’d like to think that there’s a difference between faith and checking one’s brain at the door. That difference, it seems, is also more or less the difference between a functional, moral, reasonably well run church and a callous, mismanaged authoritarian cult.

Authoritarian types in the Church sometimes remind their pluralistic adversaries that the Roman Catholic Church is not a democracy. Nor, I might add, is it a republic, a distinction that I, for one, care about even if a majority of my countrymen aren’t aware that there is a distinction. I would also add that the Church’s self-perpetuating hierarchy is a compelling reason in favor of its being allowed to rule only the Vatican City; the very fact that it is a church is another good reason, a lesson lost on millions of historically illiterate cryptotheocrats and outright theocrats whose conception of civics would make the Founding Fathers turn in their graves. But to return to the Roman part: yes, the Church inherited control of what was by that point a decidedly nondemocratic Roman civil bureaucracy because no one else had the wherewithal to run the joint. Actually, it wasn’t the last time that kind of thing happened in Italian politics; Mussolini made good use of it, too. As with the American federal bureaucracy, not everything about the Roman imperial bureaucracy made any discernible sense, and as the sands of time blew where they would (or whatever the fuck it is that sands of time do, blowing probably not being it in an hourglass), additional layers of ecclesiastical protocol and regulation adhered to the contraption.

The great part was that since it happened in an apostolic church that employed some of Europe’s sharpest minds, regardless of whether the accretions were brilliant or headslappingly nonsensical they were consistently presented as having been added in the name of God and his church in the interest of holiness. Far be it from the one holy catholic and apostolic church to make any of these odd decisions for crass or even pragmatic reasons; its motives were obviously as pure as the driven snow.

Of course, the laity occasionally had popular what-the-fuck moments. In the good old days of pious and holy Christians like Torquemada, the Church dealt with lay insolence harshly and decisively, as the proto-Soviet government that it was. Then, when it found itself replaced as Western Europe’s umbrella government not by some totalitarian Warsaw Pact monstrosity but by the dour pluralists of Brussels, and when it was also forced to contend with the Satanic force of the First Amendment, it incrementally toned down the inquisitorial thuggery. This moral reform had its highminded motives, to be sure, but it was also a matter of survival; as it is, the Italian government, so called, occasionally gets petulant enough to shut off electricity to the Vatican’s shortwave radio towers, which are located on Italian soil. It stands to reason, then, that if the EU is solicitous of the easily hurt fee-fees of the Belgians, who have five regional and/or linguistic faction parliaments to govern a population of eleven million and a national capital comprised of nineteen separate municipalities, it will also be solicitous of the feelings of Europe’s please-don’t-torture-me-on-the-rack constituency. Hence, these days the Church’s recourse against subversion and what it perceives as unholiness is limited to pearl-clutching admonitions, proclamations of grievous butthurt by its lay proxies, and implicit threats to force the complainers into another schism, threats that few laypeople believe because, unlike the Brethren churches, the Catholic Church is self-evidently averse to schisms.

This notion of self-government raises an interesting question for those of us who are prone to Jesuitical flights of logical fancy and are considering law school as a way of eventually getting paid for it: If self-government requires an engaged, responsible citizenry, should not government by an episcopal junta then require a disengaged, irresponsible citizenry? Well? Thaddeus Russell himself said so in his history of whores, lazy factory workers, and pirates who hung their junk out their britches, so is it the case or not? May the Catholic laity not appropriately adopt a colonial Philadelphia Honey Badger-grade hedonistic disengagement from church politics commensurate to the say that they do not have in the affairs of their denomination?

Oh, hell no, we are not dealing with Jesuits this time, at least not the kind of Jesuits that give their order such a good name in secular and ecumenical circles. The counterpoint to my logical objection is quite simple: “Catholic guilt: try it some time.” NFP partisans have a lot more Catholic guilt than they have good things to say about the Jesuits, if they have anything to say about the Jesuits at all. They might put in a good word from time to time about the kind of Jesuit who fancies himself the Don Quixote of his order, the one true Scotsman in a rabble of British appeasement traitors, St. Thomas More to the little Henry VIII heretical devils who run their colleges, but the NFP partisans are as likely to refer to the Jesuit tradition as they are to one-up me by announcing that their sexual repression is the definitive answer to the 777’s balanced field problem. Fuck, I didn’t know what the hell a balanced field was until earlier this year, but I did know that a number of my friends in the Newman Club weren’t exactly playing on one.

So, to get back on topic from our disordered aviation metaphors about even more disordered behavior, the shortage of young people who want to devote their lives to a priesthood whose mandatory celibacy was instituted as a very worldly response to the Medieval wills-and-trusts problem of priests including church property in their estates is very much the proper concern of every Catholic parent. The fact that the Church comes up with this stuff on its own and apparently has some hella weird shit going on in its priesthood and holy orders is no excuse for not having at least a 14% rate of vocations among your own children, a rate that you’ll surely boost by doing it bareback with your honey and not using any of the dark chemical arts to avoid getting knocked up.

Where, you ask, was the Jesuitical logic behind that statement? There wasn’t any, silly! Look, if you want an idea of how hackneyed the argumentation is in the Catholic NFP Mom blog, consider this statement: “And these children as adults exprienced (sic) an influx of divorce and contraception in their own marriages as the message to raise holy families was stifled by both the silence of the church and the clamor of the culture. Satan succeeded to hold back the beauty of the Church in the minds of those young people who were sent out into a new selfish world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.”

Not the greatest syntax, but let’s leave that aside. An “influx of divorce and contraception” is akin to an “onslaught of spousal battery and junk food consumption.” Not to put too fine a point on it, divorce and contraception are in no way equivalent in their effects on children. Controlling when one conceives is not on the same moral plane as cleaving one’s family in an outburst of acrimony while the lawyers run off with a substantial portion of what they were allegedly trying to seize from their adversaries on behalf of their bickering clients. This isn’t to say that divorces always turn out like that. Some couples handle divorce amicably and with class, but there’s no comparing the likelihood of trouble in a divorce with the all but made-up problems caused by contraception in marriage. Every one of the latter alleged destructive effects–divorce, husbands’ disrespect for their wives, boring sex, etc–is at most tangential to contraceptive use and is consequently buttressed with an overbearing, intellectually vacuous insistence that correlation implies causation, an assertion that is much easier to make when one makes absolutely no effort to control for variables other than contraceptive use. Do NFP couples get divorced less often because they are more highly educated and better paid than contraceptive users, or because the sort of assholes who will inevitably treat their spouses like shit take themselves out of the NFP pool once they hear about the severe limits on sexual spontaneity? The answers to these questions are not ones that you’ll hear from NFP partisans, any more than you’ll hear a remotely balanced pharmacological assessment of the benefits and adverse side effects of oral contraceptives. All you need to know about the latter is that they’re yucky-yucky manmade chemicals that will flatline your sex drive, and you’re probably a filthy hedonistic slut if you’re looking for medicines to mitigate your menstrual problems.

Then we read about the unholy trinity of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” The only thing I like about that phrase is that it used proper punctuation and didn’t use that stupid ‘n’ contrivance as a spelling convention, because in every other respect it was a hallmark of a small mind. Let’s be clear about this and cause what butthurt we may to America’s aging boomers: for those of us who aren’t stupidly obsessed with the fact that a stupid subculture made a big deal out of how it spent the summer of 1969 in a mudpit, dropping acid, and fucking fellow dirtballs at the drop of a hat, the Woodstock phenomenon is of no particular consequence, except that screechers on both sides of the culture war won’t shut the fuck up about it. Normally, if I heard about such a thing, all I’d say is that I find it depressing to talk about alcoholic Queenslanders, and leave it at that. Enough ink has been spilled about Woodstock and its spinoffs already, and good God, y’all, what is it good for? Alas, in this case the bullshit is so overrated that the only way to debunk its central importance to all people everywhere is to bang on about it a bit more, but this time about what a stupid red herring it is, either as a lodestone of virtue or as a lodestone of vice, to any serious discussion of the sixties.

Like the McCarthyite discourse about communism, the discourse about 1960s culture is just fucking bizarre in its fixation on minor, if not imaginary, problems instead of very real, very serious ones. Frankly, if you’re pissy about the drug-fueled fuckery of Woodstock but not about the rash of assassinations of police officers in the early 1970s, you’re either an ignoramus or a repressed, resentful busybody. If the times you’re critiquing featured epic bigotry; fractiousness that threatened to cleave your country along racial, political and class lines; recurrent civil unrest; assassination as a routine political tool; and mass butchery of your country’s youth in a foreign war on behalf of a series of incompetent, corrupt, effete regimes that your country’s foreign intelligence services deposed whenever the spirit moved them, further strengthening popular support for the very austere, very principled anticolonial guerrilla insurgency that your own country’s armed forces were fighting; then the most serious problems in your country in those times were not cultural pluralism, drug use or sexual license. They just weren’t.

If teh Woodstock stoopid really is the extent of your understanding of the 1960s, you’re an idiot. Of course, the dipshits on both sides love to carry on about that shit, the liberals about how it freed everyone from oppression by the Man, the conservatives about how it sent society to hell in a hand basket and, for those of a Catholic bent, unleashed the forces of Satan and kept the Holy Spirit from getting thee to the nunnery. So of course both sides, but particularly the right,  ignore the historical truth that the first three postwar decades were a time of unparalleled economic opportunity and equality in the United States. (The left ignores it mainly because it’s still too fixated on the titties of acid-dropping concertgoers.) There’s obviously no way that the relative abundance of vocations in the 1930s had anything to do with an economic collapse that unleashed a wave of predation on the land; no, it was a work of the Holy Spirit performed upon a nation of holy Catholics whose increase in holiness was aided by the wholesome, uplifting radio programming of Father Charles Coughlin. Because, you know, they had broadcast decency standards back then.

There’s no need to worry about the end of history when you’re dealing with the NFP crowd. They don’t care that Francis Fukuyama called time on that game; they weren’t playing it in the first place. The really prolific breeders whose children filled the celibate orders, the ones with eight, ten or twelve children, who were far from uncommon back then, weren’t practicing any sort of family planning at all; they were just having shitloads of babies. Some of the couples with smaller families were doing likewise, but were affected by some combination of stillbirths, neonatal and childhood deaths, and low fertility. The very phrase “natural family planning” is a neologism whose first known use Merriam-Webster dates to 1975. Frankly, the motivations for popularizing that terminology were (and remain) Orwellian: its proponents wanted to discredit much more reliable artificial family planning methods that allowed for more sexual spontaneity, like condoms and oral contraceptives, and they wanted to bamboozle the public into thinking that their natural, less reliable method had nothing in common with the rhythm method, which was widely ridiculed as superstitious sectarian bunkum.

This isn’t the only example of NFP screechers living in an ahistorical bubble. The same “vocations crisis” post refers to College Station, TX, as “Steubenville South.” You’ll hear a lot about Steubenville in NFP circles, often orgasmic logorrhea from someone who just came back from a retreat at Franciscan University of Steubenville and won’t shut up about how amazingly holy everyone was. The funny thing, though, is that you won’t hear a word about Steubenville as a city. For that, you’ll have to track down a Rat Pack aficionado, and that’s when things really get interesting. It turns out that Dean Martin grew up there, and by the way, it’s an irredeemably corrupt, mob-infested Rust Belt riverfront shithole with a notoriously lawless police department.

Oh. It must be nice to be hermetically sealed off from all that in the ivory tower. You need to realize, though, that Franciscan is a real Catholic university, not one of those pseudocatholic joints like Villanova or Georgetown or the constellation of schools named after Ignatius Loyola, so you, too, should seek holiness by spending your vacation on the outskirts of a police mob den about whose governance you care not a whit.

Catholic NFP Mom touches on a couple of other kinds of crazy that are worth mentioning. First, her seven-year-old daughter is torn between a perceived vocation to the religious life and an intense desire to be a wife and mother. Cue our fellow motor vehicle enthusiast, Prince: “Baby, you’ve got to slow down!”

More to the point, that way lies madness. When I think of cradle Catholics who can’t balance their dueling calls to marriage and to the celibate orders, I immediately think of John the Bathtub Baptist, the man who precipitated my matriculation into RCIA by imploring me to let him summarily baptize me in his family bathtub at a cocktail party. It was no secret to me that a Catholic priest might get defrocked, or at least taken out to the woodshed by his bishop, for pulling shit like that, and I very much liked the idea of handling that kind of thing in a process-oriented church that also happened not to bang on about Calvinist predestination and the righteousness of damnation for the unbeliever. The downside of that process-oriented approach to ministry, of course, is that guys like John the Bathtub Baptist can’t get married and then become Catholic priests unless they drop out and go Anglican in the meantime, a Canon Law headslapper whose navigation is known in Episcopal circles as “swimming the Tiber” or “swimming the Thames.” What happened to John the Bathtub Baptist instead was that he wandered out of the Catholic Church (it probably had something to do with the allegedly crappy preaching that Catholics complain about when they’ve spent too much time watching Joel Osteen), got evangelized by nondenom surfer evangelists in Hawaii, and decided to get out of the shallow end of the theological pool by joining the Oxbridge Reform theology community, which practices and preaches a right honorable, right reverent form of snooty batshit.

Second, Catholic NFP Mom puts in a good word for Opus Dei. Heeby-jeeby-jeeby. That’s one lay movement that gave me the creeps from the moment I first heard of it. It’s a twisted organization for twisted minds. Really, all you need to know about Opus Dei is that Robert Philip Hanssen was a member. Yes, it’s a fine outfit for upstanding religious chaps who secretly record themselves having sex with their wives and join the FBI so that they can fulfill their lifelong ambition of being Kim Philby. Robert Philip Hanssen is exactly the kind of sicko who would join such an organization.

Good luck finding anything at Villanova that’s as sick as that.

Vulpecular Visions of a Melodious Mind

Pretentious title? Sure. Also, the writing can be disorganized. That said, Audiofox’s essays are in a completely different world of honesty and sobriety from the self-referential thundering of the freaks I just got done skewering. It stands to reason that the antidote to American theocratic nuttery would come from Canada, just like the solution to our suck-ass pharmaceutical retail industry does. Just don’t extrapolate this statement to their politicians; their Liberals have gone off the deep end into the politically correct abyss, and even if Stockwell Day is a relative improvement over the authoritarian asshats who have hijacked the GOP, keep in mind that he managed to scare up some young-earth creationists in Red Deer and then pander to them like any good Republican would do stateside.

The right-wing hive mind would probably dismiss Audiofox as another Canadian moral relativist. Like a lot of things that American “conservatives” say about Canada, that would be bullshit, a descriptor that is perfectly reputable in its honest usage but has been misappropriated as a stupid tribal slur. To judge from the journaling in her blog, she is a textbook example of the ethical slut, the kind of woman who gives Lady Lejeune another case of the vapors but whose efforts to be responsible about her promiscuity are exactly what a decent person would hope for in a pluralistic society. Pluralism is, of course, a subject of hotly contested Opposing Viewpoints in American religious circles, although the reactionaries usually try to use subtler language than, “shut your legs, you slut.” Audiofox does a good job of calling out catfighting bitches and cockblocking busybodies, a custom strange to religious communities where the official consensus is that it would be horribly rude to challenge one’s coreligionist for being a meddlesome bitch about a third party’s private sexual behavior.

Like Vaclav Havel and me, Audiofox is all about living in truth. That’s a rather forward statement, but for bold appropriation of Vaclav Havel’s name it has nothing on the shit libertarians say in his defense when some obscure, tweedy English Marxist calls their man bourgeois, thinking that that will discredit the Velvet Revolution. For the cockhound, an important component of living in truth is admitting that, hell yes, one likes the cock. We’ve seen where being ashamed of this proclivity can lead, and as I’ve suggested, it isn’t the honest who I’m worried will nonconsensually cover me in a shmear of their artesian goo.

Just because I’m only passing through Cleveland in the course of a four-hour bus transfer is no reason for me not to dog on the city for being douchetastic.

Nay, let me start by dogging on Megabus for its freshly reaffirmed ball suckage. It wasn’t a particularly advisable thing for me to cobble together a 35-hour bus and train trip from Madison to the District of Columbia, but on the other hand, at a hair under a hundred dollars, the price was right, and as it happened, the trip went rather swimmingly for the first fourteen hours. Then I started getting awoken every half hour or so: a rest stop in Bumfuckville, IN (I think), toll plazas, a stop on the sorry-ass south side of Toledo, and round after round of crosswinds, which usually made it feel like the bus was about to tip over.

Megabus’ ball suckage as an intercity passenger motor carrier thus established, we can move on. (If you have a problem with Megabus’ Chicago boarding area, I do, too, but you’ll have to do any substantive complaining.) One thing Megabus does well in a number of cities other than Toledo is to place its stops in very convenient downtown locations. The Cleveland stop is located catty-corner from the Renaissance Hotel side of Terminal Tower. This is to say that notwithstanding the provable suckitude of the stop itself, it’s in a bloody well convenient location. Barring a downpour or a shitload of unsalted snow, a physically fit person has more than enough time to get himself and his shiznit across the street, under cover and, after another short walk, onto the Regional Transit Authority rail system. This is the heart of Cleveland, one of the jewels that the city strives to show to its tourists.

It makes for a disturbing first impression. Maybe the municipal powers-that-be figure that the visitors, not to mention local commuters, are too narcotized to notice that they’re passing through an overt police state.

The first real trouble sign I noticed was transit cops everywhere. I’m not against transit cops, but I am against six transit cops and a German Shepherd loitering at the entrance to a city’s main subway station. In a way, it’s worse than six hoodlums and a Pit Bull. It’s a lot more effective to call the cops on a group of hoodlums than on a group of cops. Large numbers of cops at loose ends are, with unfortunately rare exceptions, bad news. They’re pernicious in much the same fashion as standing armies. In fact, it’s reasonable to argue that the Founding Fathers would have considered modern American police forces standing armies.

In retrospect, I think I happened upon the cop mob just after roll call; a few minutes later, I returned from the restroom to find only two in front at the entrance to the station. Still, the police presence dissuaded me from taking the joyride that I had considered taking on the RTA, which, from everything I’ve heard, is a bitchin’ system. I’m tired, unshowered, somewhat unfamiliar with Cleveland, and carrying a shitload of luggage. I don’t want the cops getting up in my face and making me either brook an infringement of my Constitutional rights or initiate an internal affairs investigation or litigation from out of state. Basically, it’s a matter of street smarts.

The irony here is that RTA employees scared off a potential paying passenger, since I am not the kind of douchebag who purposely jumps fare. To say the least, this is shitty customer service. Then again, the RTA police are probably less interested in customer service than in justifying their own existence. Pretending that there’s a street crime or, better yet, terrorism threat on the rapid transit system is a great way to do that.

In the spirit of shit hitting the fan on the subway, let’s do a threat assessment. Street crime is a credible threat. For one thing, the system is currently infested by a cliquish armed gang of dubious intent with a possibly dangerous dog under their command. I refer, of course, to the cops. Having one’s passage through the subway system without cause by common hoodlums constitutes street crime, and so does having one’s passage unlawfully obstructed by sworn hoodlums. For the sake of argument, let’s say that the RTA Police looked worse to my fatigued eyes than they actually were. I like to err on the side of caution in these situations, so it’s a possibility. Maybe they’re like Amtrak conductors: a bunch of friendly, decent, lazy guys (and occasional girls) who like to ride around on trains. It could be; I’ve certainly met SEPTA cops who were, including an Officer Montgomery who chatted me up about how much he hated the summer heat in Philadelphia and was looking forward to retiring to the Maine coast. A bit of laziness isn’t a bad thing at all in a cop if his agency is overstaffed, and the RTA Police are damn straight overstaffed. If the RTA cops are actually chill, which is to say, adequately disciplined, familiar with the Constitution and respectful of it, the remaining criminal element on the RTA is probably an occasional ghetto hoodlum who fancies himself an extra in a Jim Croce underworld ballad. (He may not have heard of Jim Croce, but that isn’t necessarily relevant.) The upshot is that if crime is really an issue on the rapid transit system, the solution, Barney, is to get thee to the ghetto.

Now, for our next threat assessment, concerning terrorism. It’s a possibility. Also a possibility is Terminal Tower being swallowed up by a giant sinkhole at the moment that the New Madrid fault slips and a Category Five hurricane hits town.

Has anyone paid any fucking attention to actual, proven threats to our mass transit systems instead of lurid fantasies of Muslims blowing up more of our shit? Every few weeks or months, the FBI claims to have intercepted some terror cell whose plot, so called, was usually proposed entirely by an FBI asset or undercover agent. The story arc is one for a childish, paranoid people. “Hey, Mahmoud, wanna do jihad?” “Uh, yeah, I guess we could do some jihad. Or maybe we could go play pinball and then go see Batman.” “Mahmoud, my man, we should blow up Terminal Tower. You down?” “Uh, maybe. Dude, Ahmed, Pizza Hut is offering a ten-dollar special with dessert bread sticks this week, and they’re running a South Park marathon.” “Yo, Mahmoud, how about we use C4?” “C4? What’s that? Yeah, whatever. We can use some C4.” The NYPD, for its part, just makes up outlandish stories without even pressing charges.

Meanwhile, most of the carnage on our railroad system occurs at grade crossings. Grade crossing accidents with on-board fatalities are a routine occurrence. Six people were killed when a trucker slammed into the California Zephyr in rural Nevada, thirteen when a suicidal man parked his truck on the Metrolink tracks in Glendale, then got cold feet. On many heavy rail lines, every engineer has been at the controls during a suicide by train. The suicides should sadden us, and the other deaths should outrage us and make us demand infrastructure improvements. Apparently they don’t register.

The police state at Terminal Tower isn’t just the work of the police per se. It’s actually a public-private partnership, which I understand is quite the in thing in policy circles these days. The private part of the partnership comes from the Tower City mall management. As public spaces go, Tower City is an odd one, a privately managed shopping mall that is also a public access to the main transfer point of a county rail transit system. As a private entity, Tower City has more latitude to get away with infringements of its customers’ rights than the RTA has as a public entity. The public display and enforcement (I assume) of asshat lawhead regulations isn’t unusual for a mall, but the enforcement of these regulations by private police on a public right-of-way serving a public transit station is unusual, and dubious.
It is not the hallmark of a free people.

Some of the regulations make a bit of sense, e.g., the “no shirt, no shoes” rule. It isn’t customary to be allowed onto a train shoeless and shirtless, either, so fair enough.

The regulations governing minors are anything but fair. Minors under the age of 18 are barred from shopping at the mall after 2:30 pm unless they’re in the company of a parent or legal guardian of at least 21. Somewhat absurdly, the rationale for this rule is that management wants to create a “family-friendly atmosphere.” Let me rephrase that in English: teenagers, who are as a group partially grown up, and some of them very much so as individuals, are to be barred from the premises to make room for uncontrollable noisy children. I’m not kidding. Teenagers, especially older ones, can generally be reasoned with. They are simply not as feral as they’re made out to be. It’s a bit harder to control younger teens and preteens. Toddlers can hardly be controlled by their own parents; the only thing that reliably works is brute force.

I’m not arguing that young children should be barred from shopping centers. To the contrary, I consider that inequitable and bad policy. I consider it entirely appropriate for parents to socialize their young children by taking them out in public. That said, it’s specious to argue that sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds will inevitably ruin public manners in a venue full of little brats. That’s like saying that a mild-mannered British pubgoer nursing his pint of bitter in the corner was what caused a Lindsay Lohan party to go to hell.

Truly unruly individuals and groups of teens warrant some counseling by management, but reasonable people can deal with such people on a case-by-case basis. The kicker, of course, is that mall security is about the last cohort that can be expected to have a lick of common sense. They’re mouthbreathing bottomfeeders who enjoy dressing up like cops. They mightily deserve a righteous bitchslapping at the hands of the real constabulary. If any mall cops are reading this, fuck you, Paul Blart. This failed San Diego Police applicant doesn’t aggrandize himself by walking around dressed up like a Pennsylvania State Trooper and sanctimoniously giving teenagers the bum’s rush.

Honestly, the quibbles that mall management usually has with teenagers have little to do with fundamental standards of civilized behavior. The real issue is that a cohort of overly sensitive asses in the older, wealthier parts of the customer base is mildly uncomfortable around young people who choose to dress in styles that they find objectionable and behave slightly more boisterously than they consider appropriate, and that these older customers are not hesitant to express their righteous butthurt about kids these days. They probably feel more than a bit of resentment over their own lost youth, too. At the other extreme are helicopter parents who are concerned that exposure to teenagers will turn their precious snowflakes into teenagers. (Spoiler alert: it’ll happen no matter what you do.) Much of this handwringing is over nothing more serious than teens being a bit loud, dropping an occasional F-bomb in public, and sporting too much Hollister.

Good news: the last problem can be remedied by calling Chris Hansen. He might enjoy a tryst. Just try not to be too articulate for  a young lady of your age; that would, like, totally spoil the mood.

A sub-clause of the teenager abatement regulation at Tower City stated that mall management expects children to be in school or in transit to or from school during school hours. Oh, dear, Aunt Gertrude, have you got a grip on your pearls? Mercy me! Oh, what am I saying? I must be coming down with a case of hysteria. Of course it is the proper role of merchants to ensure that hapless youth are subjected to the pedagogy of the Cleveland School District! How else would they become literate, numerate and well-read? Yes, the Cleveland School District, bulwark of Western Civilization, defender of all that is worthy and edifying in Christendom. But of course!

Here’s a revolutionary proposal: might it be possible to deal with truancy on a case-by-case basis? Might it be possible to determine what the student finds objectionable about school and find a way to either remedy it or help him adapt? Might there be ways to improve the schools so that they aren’t administered by petty tyrannical asshats who leave instruction in the hands of the incompetent, the burnt out, and the condescending? Might there be ways to keep the basest of the students from dragging their promising peers down like crabs in a barrel? You know, actual adult supervision, as opposed to de facto guards and wardens who haven’t a lick of the street smarts and social skills that they would need to hack it in a real prison? Not to put too fine a point on it, there’s ample evidence that the Cleveland School District sucks balls, like most urban districts, but most of rural and suburban districts in the US are champions at ball suckage in their own right. These are not healthy places. Our young adults end up sane and well-adjusted in spite of them, not because of them.

If you’re a Cleveland public school student who wants to play hooky, say, by hanging out at Starbucks and reading literate and intelligent blogs (such as this one) instead of pretending to read along while some flustered, embarrassed illiterate classmate tries to sightread the insipid prose in your biology textbook, I ain’t exactly aginnit. Just try to get your truancy counselor to fast-track you into community college. You’ll probably do a lot better in the midst of adults who actually want to be in school than you’re doing in the midst of  unrepentant children who don’t.

If you’re a public school teacher who is concerned that I’m abetting truancy, let me say that there are worse things than being AWOL from unreformable shitholes. If you’re an administrator who is outraged that I’m abetting truancy, fuck you. Seriously, up your ass, motherfucker. If we ever exchange words in person, I’ll probably be able to leave you in tears using language that would pass muster in a court of law. School administrators are an ilk that greatly deserves to enjoy a round or two of non-consensual buttfuckery; I know whereof I speak. Dante would have designated a circle of hell for y’all had they existed back in the day; not all y’all, but enough. So, to conclude this writing assignment, fuck you.

Eh, that bit about being done with the post was bullshit. Kind of. There’s one more Tower City regulation that a free people won’t brook, namely, the one forbidding photography and videorecording without prior consent. Remember, Tower City is an access easement for a subway station that is patrolled by transit police. It appears that as public servants, the RTA Police are subject to Chapter 2921.45 of the Ohio Revised Code. I know, I totally just did a quickie Google search for this shiznit, but it looks reputable:

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2921

Which says:

2921.45 Interfering with civil rights.

(A) No public servant, under color of his office, employment, or authority, shall knowingly deprive, or conspire or attempt to deprive any person of a constitutional or statutory right.

(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of interfering with civil rights, a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Effective Date: 01-01-1974

Ka-BAM!

For any badgelicking cretins or total idiots reading this, I note that video or photographs taken within the privately owned part of Terminal Tower could well be of evidentiary value in establishing a 2921.45 violation on the part of the RTA Police. Consequently, the videography and photography policy is set up to unlawfully deprive citizens of recourse against criminal violations of their civil rights by police officers. In the event of a credible violation of civil rights, it constitutes prior restraint for the purpose of obstructing justice on behalf of police officers who are unfit for duty. Prosecutors in Ohio can be expected to weasel out of their duties and retaliate against victims in such a case by asserting two party consent, but that’s a very dodgy position constitutionally.

No, I’m not an attorney. If any attorneys want to challenge me on points of law, be my guest. If any attorneys want to challenge me on the basis that I’m an uppity layman, they can go to hell.

Probably the same circle of hell as school administrators.

Since I’ve been spilling ink everywhere about transit cops, I can’t close without mentioning a sign that I saw in a BART elevator a few months ago. The BART Police had put up a sign warning the homeless that they would be arrested or summonsed to court if they were caught urinating or defecating in the elevator. This was at the Embarcadero Station, where the homeless are legion but the public restrooms not so much. It’s also probably easier to clean up and less likely to result in chronic skin diseases if the homeless shit and piss in the elevator rather than their pants, and believe me, I know from experience at the LA Metro Center station that it doesn’t necessarily smell any worse, either.

This sign in the BART elevator was defaced with one of the most apt graffiti I’ve ever seen. Right above the warning that the BART Police would make arrests or issue citations, someone had scrawled, “And Then Pee on U!”

Amen, brother!