Bootstrap Nooses and the True Meaning of the Personal is Political

I have no idea how some could have an idea that the system is rigged and one’s own effort will not matter for whether one will succeed in a world where Bobo Brooks makes more than nearly every school teacher and nearly every starving artist or writer.

Bobo Brooks*, The NY Cum Stain on the Mattress:
The Character Factory

Oh Bobo. Laughable. Pathetic. Ultimate poster child for the underperforming, incompetent, and lazy child of privilege who lives in daily fear of the day actual meritocracy breaks loose and he has to actually work for his daily bread instead of waxing on about the Applebee’s fictional salad bars and gynocratic teacher overlords to assuage the consciences of fellow rich assholes who want to feel like their carefree piss parties splashing onto the poor are welcomed as liquid gold falling from the sky.

A sad caricature who wants to be seen as a modern Plato while possessing the intellect and reasoning ability of a particularly unthreatening puppy. A modern tragedy of the myths rich assholes tell to themselves, of how more meaningful one is when shepherded and protected by wingnut welfare producing comforting lies to afflicted the afflicted and comfort the comfortable, yet lacking anything of merit to show for it other than a forgettable stamp on the carousel of courtiers and jesters.

And Bob damn is he an irredeemable fuck.

Shorter (or the last port before Jungle):

  • Really? REALLY? I mean, for fuck’s sake, man, it’s a Bobo Brooks column titled “The Character Factory”. What the fuck do you think it’s about… No, it’s not about a literal factory that creates cartoons, that’s just… It’s about young, poor people being lazy and morally corrupt bastards for not magicking jobs out of the goddamn aether. Like pretty much every other Bobo post since his paymasters shitcanned this economy.

You know, I never actually get tired of having my generation blamed for the economy that has victimized and pulverized us. It’s the most awesome, wonderful thing to be rendered completely shit-scared and hopeless, gathering more and more education to be regarded as trash no matter how many skills we obtain or whatever demeaning job we’re willing to work, and still being unable to reliably afford rent. To have people who staggered into their line of work stoned off their ass and straight out of high school criticize you for being a complete failure of a person because you somehow can’t just conjure a full-time middle-class job out of thin air. To be assumed to be lazy and wasting one’s life because you’re working 8 jobs and keep reliably losing the interview game to the unemployed members of the last generation who were lucky enough to get nice middle class jobs in the years when there was a functional economy.

It’s fucking amazing.**

Nearly every parent on earth operates on the assumption that character matters a lot to the life outcomes of their children. Nearly every government antipoverty program operates on the assumption that it doesn’t.

Okay, let’s just leave the blaring air raid siren pretending to be a dog whistle screaming about how poor hint hint black people are so utterly characterless and our anemic and underfed antipoverty programs don’t kick their ass enough right there on the window sill where we found it and trundle obliviously past it to a little game I call: “Even if you were right, you’d be wrong”.

Let’s play. Okay, let’s just ignore the elephant in the room and take this bullshit on its face as if it was a neutral statement.

No fucking shit. No fucking shit parents would care about character for their children but government programs wouldn’t. Parents are raising future adults. Full people who need to participate in society and handle its inequities and bullshit as best they can. Good parents want their children to have the strength to stand up for what is right even when it is hard and comes with sacrifices. Bad parents want their children to accept their rightful ownership of them and their genitals for all time.

That is a completely different purpose than a governmental program. See a governmental program is to provide a safety net or a service, indiscriminate and unobtrusive to people’s lives outside what is absolutely required. A government service doesn’t refuse to send your letter through the mail because you insulted a homeless person the other day. Or refuse to give you your driver’s license because you fuck puppies on the weekends. It doesn’t care if you are a monster or a saint, because at the end of the day, every living human being deserves basic services and equal protection under the law.

A government program isn’t there to “give you character”*** because it isn’t one’s fucking parents and isn’t raising you to handle a future system filled with moral challenges and provide your basic instruction on what it means to be a decent human being. They are fundamentally different entities aiming at completely different purposes.

And this is especially true for government programs that are anti-poverty programs for adults because adults aren’t fucking children and treating them as such and especially treating them as such when they are scared and hurting and wondering how they’re going to continue to live is just the ultimate fuck you a society could ever give.

Most Democratic antipoverty programs consist of transferring money,

YOUNG BUCKS EATING T-BONE STEAKS ARE STEALING YOUR MONEY! I’m sorry was the dog whistle too quiet? I’ll turn it up another 40,000 decibels.

providing jobs

Oh noes, how dare anti-poverty programs try and get poor people jobs? Don’t those poor people know their role is merely to be a background tableau of suffering for real people to feel better than?

or otherwise addressing the material deprivation of the poor.

Those bastards how dare, their filthy liberal anti-poverty programs… target poverty. Don’t they know you don’t need to eat or shower or have a roof if you have (rainbow sound effect) character. I mean, character totally replaces one’s fucking stomach and digestive tract and no longer makes one subjected to the physical, biological, psychological, and social debilitations of abject poverty.

Most Republican antipoverty programs likewise consist of

Setting poor people on fire as part of a betting pool on how long it takes a person to use their bootstraps to get a high-hanging bucket of water.

What? It’s more honest than the self-serving bullshit that was about to come out of your mouth.

adjusting the economic incentives or regulatory barriers faced by the disadvantaged.

Uh huh, sure. Poor people just needed to know that their first million dollars won’t at all be touched by estate taxes if they pass it on to their starved and dying offspring and that their multi-billion dollar corporation will be less regulated by the government. Then they’ll get off their ass and waste twelve billion dollars of their daddy’s money in ill-thought out short-term boondoggles like a Real American.

Fucking hell, you could at least hide it a little bit that the Cannibal Anarchist Party doesn’t and couldn’t give a fuck about addressing poverty outside of using the fear of it to keep the few people still employed from rebelling against their corporate masters and rightfully slaughtering them for the last 35 years of bullshit.

As Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution pointed out recently in National Affairs,

As my fellow bought-and-sold think tank hack said in an infamous right-wing think tank designed to manufacture arguments in defense of the powerful, why don’t we focus less on why there’s less employment than ever when corporations have had more than they’ve ever had before in lax regulations and relative power and more on why poor people aren’t creating jobs like the job creators they… heeeeey, why don’t we all stop sharpening those guillotines and start hating poor and young people for being brown and young?

both orthodox progressive and conservative approaches treat individuals as if they were abstractions — as if they were part of a species of “hollow man” whose destiny is shaped by economic structures alone, and not by character and behavior.

Both sides do it, so let’s just reword the worst side as the centrist moderate option and our stock options, I mean everyone will be happy.

It’s easy to understand why policy makers would skirt the issue of character.

Since fucking when?

I mean, for fuck’s sake, ever since the beginning of Great Depression II: Electric Boogaloo, we’ve been treated to every variation of the “poor people are lazy and lacking in character” argument under the sun. Fuck, since the 80s. Hell, since the 20s. Hell, since forever. The rich and powerful, profiting from the stolen labor of the poor have always blames poverty on “loose morals and worshipping dens of iniquity”. Whether it be rants about “young bucks” and pretending that jobs are some infinite resource and poor people sending out job apps just aren’t “trying” hard enough, or rants about how the filthy poor of industrialization are too much drunkards and crude filthy rot to raise themselves out of the muck, or noblemen blaming the peasants for their foul and lazy ways harming the harvest numbers they stole out of their hungry mouths, or ancient rants about how the filthiness of the slave castes, won in battle, lack the work ethics of their owners.

Because it’s a comforting lie, the oldest IT’S ALWAYS PROJECTION, protecting them from the self-knowledge that their higher station owes more to accidents of birth and luck than some inherent superiority. That maybe they aren’t God’s chosen shit, but rather just another meaningless mortal speck on a floating rock, no better than the billions others trapped here.

Nobody wants to be seen blaming the victim —

Again. Since. Fucking. When?!?

Fuck, blaming the victim is pretty much the coward’s first resort. Every single victim in this great big world knows damn well that the blame comes early and often by those who want to believe that they are different; they are safe; they will be unaffected or are unresponsible for the horrors that have occurred to you.

Whether it be being a survivor of rape, a survivor of discrimination, a survivor of assault or oppression or hate crimes or any form of suffering. And especially when one is a victim of this broken economy, unable to participate fully and only able to scrounge what one can on the margins while discarding every dream we might have once had and losing any self-esteem we could lay pretense to. No matter what, we know. We know that the first things those outside bring you is added shame and hate. Blame for walking down the wrong street, flirting with the wrong guy, not working “hard enough”, because that’s easier than actually having to absorb just how bad things can get in this country and who might be responsible for that state of affairs, even albeit tangentially.

Nearly everyone loves to blame the victim. Hence why feminists have had to work so hard to convince everyone it is not noble and wise, but a weapon of a coward. And why, after many years of hard fought battles are only now starting to get people to realize that… appearing to be blaming the victim is bad, so one should blame the victim for trying to make them feel guilty as well.

spreading the calumny that the poor are that way because they don’t love their children enough, or don’t have good values.

And yet here we are always. Because noting that there aren’t enough fucking jobs paying real living wages to handle the ever-growing throng of indebted and desperate poor because the rich have been hoarding all the wealth in their little dick-waving contests of who has the biggest stacks of numbers that have long ago ceased to actually matter or be spent in a dozen lifetimes is just too hard and scary and threatening to said wealth-addicts.

So we blame the poor for being poor because they don’t care about their children or have the morals that God gave rich white people and we can hope and pretend that our corporate masters won’t turn and do the same to us.

It’s the reason that people like my middle class family react so violently to my impoverishment and have sought every reason to tie everything they don’t like about how I’m not fulfilling the heteronormative into it. Because the notion that they are just as subject to the impoverishment and the lowering into the muck as anyone else. That they are not better than the brown-skinned poor by virtue of their station and that they’re station is fragile and easily broken in this casino of an economy. Is terrifying. To their very core. So I and the other refuge on the bottom must have done something. Been too queer, too disconnected from effort, too lazy, to succeed and make the skin color proud.

Because otherwise, supporting that system at the detriment of their blood and kin was a mistake and they were wrong to cheer the death of the unions and the death-spiral growth of casino capitalism and the slamming of the gates behind them for temporary job security.

Furthermore, most sensible people wonder if government can do anything to alter character anyway.

Soooooo… by your own logic… wouldn’t that make youuuu… not sensible?

I’m sorry, I’m just trying to follow your crazy train of “logic” back to a station, man.

The problem is that policies that ignore character and behavior have produced disappointing results.

Yes, the Danish system sure is disappointing in its response to poverty. And our post-”welfare reform” character-focused system has been sooooo successful in eliminating poverty and “motivating” those miserable proles to get off their ass and invent jobs out of nothing… hey, no, bad poor person, no illegal stuff, that’s not what we meant by inventing jobs. You’re just supposed to silently and patiently wait and beg for the job creators to piss in your mouth and maybe you can delay dehydration another week. But only if you’re extra nice and lick the shit off his boots first.

Social research over the last decade or so has reinforced the point that would have been self-evident in any other era — that if you can’t help people become more resilient, conscientious or prudent, then all the cash transfers in the world will not produce permanent benefits.

Okay, you know, I know, and Bobo knows that this is bullshit. But I wonder how this is supposed to work (dramatic voice) IN A WORLD (/dramatic voice) where this crap was uttered in good faith?

I mean, the fuck. How does making one more “resilient, conscientious, and prudent” do anything to actually address the material disadvantages of poverty? Oh yeah, I can withstand more pain, burying it within myself to the point where I can no longer actually process the horrible things that happen to me every year, hurray, now I’ve conquered the need to eat or sleep somewhere safe! Ooh, I’m more kind to those even more impoverished than I and more thoughtful of my place in the world and what little I have to be grateful for. Clearly that removes my need for medicine or to pay my bills. Gosh, I’m so prudent, thinking about the future I’ll never be allowed to have, gosh now I really don’t want to kill myself before my landlord throws me out for being behind on rent.

All the moral values in the world don’t matter if you’re too desperate to focus on them. I know this as well as any other person who’s stared into the abyss with no rope, that it’s hard to be as moral as you want to be, as you know you can be, when you’re scared and feeling helpless. When you’re depressed and convinced of your own worthlessness and the impossibility of crawling out of the hole.

I’m far more capable of being an optimistic friend, a noble volunteer, a proud spokeswoman for my communities, and a loving girlfriend when every neuron I have isn’t filled with blind panic of short-term survival. As is most.

But then, it’s not really about the reality of the situation for the poor.

It’s about the rich. And their inability to ever look beyond themselves. Of course “character” seems more important than “infinite cash transfers”. They have trust funds and a limitless credit card from daddy. They have more money than they could ever waste in a lifetime no matter how much cocaine they snort up their nose or how many classic cars they smash up or how many police members need to be bribed to make the bodies go away. More money is meaningless to them, so they cannot possibly understand why it would matter to anyone else. More money doesn’t make them happier or more able to live their lives, because they are so used to drowning in privilege that the only thing they need is some direction and some morals so they stop thinking that beating up a new homeless person every night is a fine and productive way to live one’s life.

To them, the children of privilege, what they need most is character and genuine empathy… but since they lack it, it becomes an IT’S ALWAYS PROJECTION. What I need most is character and what I need least is more money, so poor people clearly need chiding over their character and less money while we give the powerful and spoiled infinite wealth… because fuck you, you’re all figments of real people’s imagination, anyways.

A fictional other to serve as scare story to the “help” and nothing more. Certainly no one alive and real. No one who might feel ill done by being feed “character” speeches by people with none instead of yanno food.

Walter Mischel’s famous marshmallow experiment demonstrated that delayed gratification skills learned by age 4 produce important benefits into adulthood.

(Grin)

Oh happy day, I do so love when wingnuts turn to their poisoned fake science to try and prove their “points” about the inherent superiority of the rich and white.

Oh man, where to start on the infamous marshmallow experiment… Okay, so what it was was a study that purported to study whether or not a child was willing to forego eating a marshmallow immediately with the promise that the researcher would give a better reward when they returned and then returned and kinda sorta not really did a follow-up study where they did some famously biased studies that only measure whether one came from families of wealth (SAT scores, IQ scores), even though the follow-up group used was terribly tiny for a sample size, didn’t actually show the effect they claimed in score numbers, and may not have even taken the initial test to begin with.

And there’s the fact that what it actually tests is whether or not a person grew up in a stable environment and had a reason to believe that old white men would keep their promises to them.

In fact, a lack of trust in adults had the strongest correlation of any effect with the test and by pairing the test with another test wherein a scientist either kept or broke a promise, you could see a direct connection with whether or not someone was willing to hold out for the promise of pie in the sky tomorrow as it were.

Oh yeah, and there’s the way rich parents promised their children better treats if they played along and the fact that there has only been one attempt to reproduce the effect with the sample population and it actually proved not only that the results were worthless, but didn’t even correctly predict self-control to begin with.

Like many terrible and class-based tests claiming to be a proof of grand-sweeping success and moral superiority, it has been madly embraced despite its absolute uselessness by wealth-fellating whores like Bobo and his fellow think-tank posse and has been adopted as a “weeder” for those “charter” schools that are so very much about merit and not at all about creating a permanent serf class and locked and barred class divisions.

Because it’s about “future potential”, not whether one is from a stable upper class family and reinforcing Bell Curve style fictions about how white straight rich men are just morally and socially superior to everyone else and just work so much harder than us poor bastards on the margins pulling down 8 jobs and looking for more.

Carol Dweck’s work has shown that people who have a growth mind-set — who believe their basic qualities can be developed through hard work — do better than people who believe their basic talents are fixed and innate.

Oh man, Dweck. Ahh, where to begin with Dweck.

Dweck is super popular with business gurus, pop psychology afficianados, and yes, the think-tank crowd. Why? Well, it’s because she deflects all that malarky about generational oppression, bigoted education standards and so on and places the blame where it belongs. On those dastardly people for not having what she terms a “growth mentality”. See in Dweck’s estimation everyone is either 100% a “fixed mentality” meaning they assume that their talents are innate and no amount of effort will change it or they are 100% a “growth mentality” which means they believe that hard work and repetition will build skills over time.

Which, therein lies the hook. Obviously, as pedagogical studies have long maintained, effort and time and willing to try again is how skills are built. One does not burst forth, five years old and the greatest writer on Earth. One has to read and write and edit and read and write some more until every iteration is better and more polished than what has come before. That is how skills are built.

But by breaking everyone into this one category or the other, inherently, it takes an equalizing message about the importance of effort and makes it into an innate quality. Either one is someone who is willing to try again or one is a person who gets frustrated and stymied and never the twain should meet and it just so happens that the most successful people on Earth are the people who are inherently those who always try again. Please buy my book that is nothing more than a 1 page article summary, some random anecdotes about celebrities trying to force them in one category or the other, and of course, advertisements of her expensive “educational product” now available if you want to know more!

Yeahhhh… it’s some grave bullshit, long before we note that her study is part of a field I call “we dunno, so throw some weak ass shit up and call it neuroscience”. Usually it features a bunch of piss ignorant people staring magic-eye like at brain electricity pattern scans because “ooh, look pretty pictures that would look good in any journal” that feature a big helping hand of unsupported interpretations and just-so social assumptions. But a lesser form is the likes of Carol Dweck’s work, creating two “binary categories” that are neither binary, nor distinct, nor isolated categories, having a researcher decided “system” for determining which is which that is formulated after one has designed a test that looks good in theory but does nothing to control for outside variables and seen the results.

It’s the type of “science” that’s beloved by newspapers because it’s full of flashing lights and advertisements and big comforting hugs to the comfortable and lacking in any real yanno science that might inconveniently require a journalist to fucking know something.

So yeah. Dweck’s “experiment” is especially egregious because it doesn’t even test what it claims to test. Dweck’s test was to have two experimenters work with kids. One had tests that could be solved. The other had tests that could not. Then, late in the day, the impossible guy switched to possible tests. The kids who could then solve his tests then were clearly the personality type she said was innately better because “science”.

Yeah, it’s some glorious bullshit. Especially since the test less tests persistence and ability to learn as it does inability to recognize rigged systems (likely because of unfamiliarity with any system that isn’t rigged in their favor) or reaction to intentional gaslighting.

Surprisingly, groups that are historically told they are absolute failures reacted more strongly in self-blame when faced with the impossible tests as actual scientists have already demonstrated in the way that historical narratives of innate inability seem proven by personal inability.

In the same way that someone repeatedly told they are a failure who will never succeed will stop believing that they are capable of even basic tasks (see the way most poor people are trained to believe they are worthless and incapable because of inability to succeed in the only way people count). Or the same way that someone used to systems rigged against them will be quicker to recognize a system that is impossible and be less likely to assume the game will suddenly get unrigged in their favor or they will be allowed to compete fairly.

But hey, let’s ignore the real discoveries or points or historical information in your supposed area of study to just sell some “trying hard is an innate skill” hogwash to the children of the rich and powerful. Because fuck actually doing any hard work in this steal or be stolen from economy.

Yeah, not a particularly big fan.

Angela Duckworth has shown how important grit and perseverance are to lifetime outcomes.

… Do I even need to bother with the deconstruction? I mean for fuck’s sake, her supposed discrete study parameter unaffected by social forces is fucking grit and self-control and her lab website, i.e. the site that is supposed to synthesize and explain the main focus of work for curious grad students is a complete joke that devotes almost as much word space into emphasizing how the enormous for-profit empire of the fake theory totally has nothing to do with the lab. Oh yeah, and the synthesis on the theory admits that there’s a weak correlation at best and more likely has absolutely no correlation even though it claims that these are totally correlated and BUY MY FOR-PROFIT WORKS!

Yeah.

It couldn’t be more of a sign of a scam and a lack of genuine scientific research if it had a blinking red price tag and a tagline praising the Discovery Institute.

College students who report that they finish whatever they begin have higher grades than their peers, even ones with higher SATs.

It always comes down to SATs and IQ scores for these “indicators of future success” scam papers, doesn’t it? It makes sense. SATs are an important gate-keeper for college, which has become a requirement for even minimum wage jobs, so of course, nervous middle-class and upper-class parents will latch onto any fad if it can claim that it improves the metrics. And IQ tests flatter the ignorant by pretending to actually be worthwhile and about intelligence. It’s a great way to fool the scientifically illiterate and make it look like your secret method is the fast-track and it only becomes easier to sell if you make it about how your white upper class artifact child is inherently better and more capable than those lesser mongrels. Science says so.

Fuck, it’s at the point, where if it’s claiming to be a measure of success and it presents something mostly correlated with class like IQ or SAT score, I just start thumbing through until I inevitably get to the part where they pretend an extremely weak correlation uncorrected for other social factors is floated as some grand impressive proof.

Spelling bee contestants who scored significantly higher on grit scores were 41 percent more likely to advance to later rounds than less resilient competitors.

Again, a measure mostly of class. Ability to afford intensive study lessons on format and structure. Also, really? Uh huh, sure. Yeah, people who study spelling specifically are totally producing this really strong obvious effect with this “totally intuitive test” that definitely isn’t a just-so rationalization of existing effects in a way that isn’t based on comparing whether people who study and care a lot do better in a competition’s early rounds than someone dragged there by their parents and couldn’t give less of a shit.

Yup. Definitely. BUY THE BOOK! I HAD A TED TALK!

Summarizing the research in this area,

You have jack and shit except that people trying to profit over the desperation of rich parents are more likely to spin whatever fake pop-psych, pop-education bullshit best sells the notion that children of rich parents are just so naturally better at having the pluck and hard-work necessary to succeed and if you just buy this program, your artifact child will be even more ahead in the Battle Royale we’ve morphed our education system into.

Yeah.

Oh hey, did I forget to mention that Dweck has an extra-special fuck you in her pop-psych scam wherein she slaps on this completely unsupported and unsubstantiated salve to old people’s ideas about education these days by stating that her “fixed-state” category has nothing to do with Calvinist systems that purport that some people are just inherently better at some things and are more destined to have success than everyone else or strong cultural messages that some people are inherent failures or lack of social support or even people telling children they are inherently better than anyone else because they are rich and white and their daddy will buy them a company at graduation.

Nope, it’s all down to the coddling “praise culture” that mealy-mouthed liberal feminazis have been using to feminize all them kiddies and make them believe that everyone is a winner instead of some being the chosen ones and others are their rightful prey, to be slaughtered like sheep on their climb to the top.

Now, if you’re thinking A) Wait, that whole “everyone is a winner” bullshit doesn’t actually exist in schools as right-wingers claim and it’s not like kids are earning unearned praise all over the place as anyone who has any understanding of actual educational practices should know, B) Wait, wouldn’t convincing kids that they have it in themselves to complete a task if they put their mind to it and that some kids aren’t just better but that its a product of hard work produce more of the supposed category she says is best rather than less. And wouldn’t claiming win or lose and putting down kids that don’t get it immediately communicate exactly the opposite message than the one she is claiming will lead to success, or C) Wait, does this person even understand the nature of praise, inherent ability, or the pedagogical methods of learning? Also wouldn’t this be an argument for better funding schools and giving kids more time to try and try again instead of saying X is better, Y is worse, give up on Y?

Then you’re a fucking traitor who doesn’t understand character and you should kill yourself immediately to save your betters the indignity of having to use their inherent God-given hard work abilities to wipe your ass off the map.

Also, you clearly you would have failed the all-important grit manly test.****

Reeves estimates that measures of drive and self-control influence academic achievement roughly as much as cognitive skills.

And continuing to hammer on these pieces of shit, but it’s really impressive how fucking tied they are to class and of course, how willing one is to trust the system will play fair to whether it will fuck you. And for those of us fucked over and over again, it gets harder and harder to believe that this time the game won’t be rigged and the blocks we can’t see or the marshmallow promised in the future if we’re just oh so good will eventually pay out and allow us access. The more promises are broken and systems fail to aid and societies seem to communicate with all their hate one’s utter inability to deserve even the decencies of basic survival, the harder it becomes to believe that one can succeed if one keeps trying.

It is the “no longer seeking employment” rub. Counting as no longer employed those who’ve been beaten and broken and no longer believe the system will ever turn up for them or that luck will pay out.

And it’s praising those who have been used to always having the support and the rigged game in their favor. Who believe they will succeed because they’ve always succeeded and their daddy has greased the palms to ensure they succeed. Who don’t need marshmallows right now, because they have halloween baskets filled with sweets and don’t see candy only when they scrape it off the street at the site where an unarmed black teenager was gunned down. The kids who are used to luxury and having adults keep their promises and a system that treats them fair.

And this, in essence, what pisses me off most as a teacher. Not as a person or a poor person or a person hard done by the system in recent years. No, as a teacher. That we continue to circle around the real answer. That if we do right by students, treat them as people, give them a genuine chance, and genuinely care about them, you can do a lot to reverse learned helplessness and that sense of having given up at 12. When you stand by students no matter what and let them know that this time, the adult understands how the game is rigged and will try and do right by you as best they can, that is when you can work miracles.

Not when you divine new and exciting ways to call students uneducable or find excuses to do the same old shit where only the rich and white who can afford that “extra care” and “leg up” deserve effort and belief.

And those kids who’ve been kicked and beaten and called worthless by society don’t need a new crop of rich white assholes hoping to trade their Ivy-League Think-Tank names to other rich white assholes for profit coming round and inventing new ways to call them worthless and justify making the game even more rigged against them.

It’s a gross act of malfeasance and to call that the “science of education” is a vile betrayal and violation of every word under those quotations marks including “of”.

I mean, fuck bro, “of” was an innocent, just a tiny little kid. Leave it the fuck alone. Not cool, bro. Not cool.

Recent research has also shown that there are very different levels of self-control up and down the income scale. Poorer children grow up with more stress and more disruption, and these disadvantages produce effects on the brain. Researchers often use dull tests to see who can focus attention and stay on task. Children raised in the top income quintile were two-and-a-half times more likely to score well on these tests than students raised in the bottom quintile.

Oh wait, what? Real science? In a Bobo article? I think I need to pinch myself. And not only that, but it’s an actual admission that test scores are more strongly correlated with income level and the reduction of stress and disruption that comes with that than any of the nonsense about “grit” and “moxie” in the previous several paragraphs.

And it’s even a full end to a paragraph. Not a savior period or a savior comma where it’s just a dull respite before jumping off the cliff into the rapids filled with spikes. I don’t know what to do with myself, it’s so refreshing and unprecedented and-

But these effects are reversible with the proper experiences.

… Oh I’m sorry, apparently, I need to adapt the “savior” family to include a savior paragraph break. Strongest of the family, but no less capable of blocking the inherent flow towards stupidity and victim-blaming from being derailed by actual reality and its blunt forceful point.

What is that? The stresses of economic desperation extend down to the very performance of the children, robbing them of a sense of stability that is most strongly correlated to performance and any bastardization of that mugged and drugged by the Sisters of Scamalot? Thus proving that genuine safety nets and an absolute guarantee of a minimum threshold of instability to ensue a true meritocracy is the most powerful thing one could do for both child development and economic aid. And is aptly corroborated not only by real, non-for-profit science and the way that Denmark keeps kicking our ass in every known metric known to man including school performance and entrepreneurship, despite focusing more on a guaranteed safety net than “austerity measures” about how poor people just need to strangle themselves to death with their bootstraps.

Eh. Whatever, I’m sure those lazy bastards could fix that if they just tried hard enough.

Not only does it completely and intentionally miss the point in order to continue believing in the easy and comforting lie that supports his self-delusions in his own maverick-style importance despite not even having the will of effort to learn that Applebees doesn’t fucking have a salad bar or feminazis aren’t actually lurking in his closet to cut off his penis and sell it to black people, but it comes with one beautiful weasel-rationalization.

Eh, I’m sure poor people could have outcomes like rich people despite the clear additional stress and chaos that comes with poverty… they just need to have the right “experiences”. I mean, if they had rich person experiences where there was no constant fear and stress and they were allowed to slow down, focus, regroup, and approach problems at their own speed without every action being made fraught with dire importance and potentially fatal consequences, they would surely have the same success as rich people.

Thus, we should spare them that dignity and instead tell them to get to work, you lazy bastards, no more tattered and broken remnants of a safety net for you! Because… I guess we’re just hoping for Soylent Green before the poor start breaking out the guillotines.

People who have studied character development through the ages

Man, is this empty and worthless. Studied “character development”? What is the definition of “character” and “development” being used? What standard are we using? It’s throughout the ages, so we can’t use the moral system of any defined society, nor the shifting standards of what makes one worthy of consideration or not as those are mercurial and ill-defined. So what is constant enough to be studied and progressive enough to evolve over time, but universal enough to not be offset by cultural mores? Well, at this point you’re talking about the science of the development of morality and empathy and how mutualism is positively selected in most species because parasitism can only thrive and exist in a system where it is small enough that people are still willing to play the game and continue supporting it rather than being put at risk by it. And at that point why call it “character development” as if it was a constant unless you wanted to ignore all that because it leads to uncomfortable questions about the relationship of management to labor in modern capitalism and instead just shift the conversation back to opining about how those young whipper-snappers complaining about being locked outside the economy are just lazy shifty no-goodniks too praised by feminine girl teachers to man up and get the moxie to succeed like all those sexy rich white guys around.

But that certainly wouldn’t be your style.

have generally found hectoring lectures don’t help.

Huh buh what?

Again, an acknowledgment that random ranting lectures at the disempowered and dispossessed don’t actually make people invent jobs out of nothing and become titans of industry? Is Bobo starting to break down and acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, the reason he’s succeeded and so many have failed has little to do with his personal moxie, but rather societal systems designed to make it so much more difficult for some rather than others based mostly on societal factors, timing, and luck?

The superficial “character education” programs implanted into some schools of late haven’t done much either.

And even an acknowledgement that his chosen bugaboo has already been tried and failed?

Wow, this could be the turn of a new leaf and-

Instead, sages over years have generally found at least four effective avenues to make it easier to climb. Government-supported programs can contribute in all realms.

Bob fucking damnitt, savior periods, AGAIN? Gahhhhhhh! Fuck, why do I keep falling for the soft fakeout before the hard-sell on bullshit he discredits in his own fucking posts. Oh right, pretending to believe anything these shitmongers sell is a great way to feign drama and betrayal for comedy… and there’s the illusion shattered into a million pieces for y’all.

First, habits. If you can change behavior you eventually change disposition. People who practice small acts of self-control find it easier to perform big acts in times of crisis. Quality preschools, K.I.P.P. schools and parenting coaches have produced lasting effects by encouraging young parents and students to observe basic etiquette and practice small but regular acts of self-restraint.

Hey, is waiting till tomorrow possibly the thing that will lead to you dying or going homeless today? Are you scrambling to accept whatever you can or having to drop out of school because if you don’t work you and your mom and your brothers will go homeless? Are you having to give up your dreams of moving to a different city or going to college, because there’s no way you or your family could afford that?

Well, then you really should have thought better and have more “self-control”. I mean, wahhhh, I have bad habits and I’m thinking about my ability to survive in the here and now. Dreamless gobshite is what I hear. A true captain of industry would have rich parents willing to usher them from preschool to college in private courses and schools designed to ensure that they can always wait until tomorrow to let their dreams come true or not, because if they waste a couple million dollars and bum around for a year trying something out that failed it’s no skin off the family’s nose.

Really, I don’t understand why those greedy poor bastards just can’t practice some restraint and patience like that instead of always jumping at the here and now.

Second, opportunity. Maybe you can practice self-discipline through iron willpower. But most of us can only deny short-term pleasures because we see a realistic path between self-denial now and something better down the road. Young women who see affordable college prospects ahead are much less likely to become teen moms.

… Okay, breaking the snarky character here, because he so, seems to miss the point of the category he has created.

Sure, he interprets it in the standard Ha, ha, fuck you way, arguing that being forced into teen pregnancy is a factor of lacking “goals” instead of lacking comprehensive sex education, contraceptive access, and safe abortion services in case of “accidents” and trying to make this round peg fit in the square hole of “you lazy poor people suck, because you have no goals*****.

Third, exemplars. Character is not developed individually. It is instilled by communities and transmitted by elders.

Ah, the “role model” thing. Sure, sane people would take that to mean people who can model success within the community. Trans* people who have succeeded coming back and helping others get their starts and chances and demonstrating that there are ways to succeed. That people like Obama existing help show young black men that despite all the white people saying differently, there might be a chance to succeed and escape abject poverty and ghetto traps through education as much as music or sports success. Or better yet, people willing to pour their money back to their community, as the old rappers used to boast about doing before rich white people co-opted the art form, helping to alleviate the systematic oppression and dispossession of the community.

… Bobo doesn’t mean this.

The centrist Democratic group Third Way suggests the government create a BoomerCorps. Every day 10,000 baby boomers turn 65, some of them could be recruited into an AmeriCorps-type program to help low-income families move up the mobility ladder.

Yeah… yeah… you heard that correct.

Bobo’s idea of what “role models” for success should look like is to have a bunch of people who waltzed easily into middle class jobs back when the economy was still doing okay and before Reaganomics made underemployment the default state of affairs prance around the poor communities that have been bombshelled and obliterated even further by an unacknowledged Depression. An unacknowledged Depression, specifically by old rich white types like him who want to pretend that the all-sainted Job Creators are creating millions of awesome jobs, but the poor lazy slobs just aren’t working hard enough for them.

And these out-of-touch old fucks who still think that success is as simple as blowing the weed residue off the hand-written cover letter before sending it in and the job market works like it’s 1962 and they’re a rich white kid fresh out of college, are going to lecture at the filthy poor people about how they can totally climb up the class rungs if they just do that thing that totally worked 50 years ago, but thanks to decades of union busting and layoffs and so on, might as well be advice from a Martian on how to work your vibrator.

That sounds like a great idea. And that’s not at all because I’m currently having vivid memories of my uncle “giving me advice” or my girlfriend’s disability “coach” who was a rich white woman who only got a disability when she was practically retired giving advice to brave and hard-done people overcoming really tough disabilities that are pretty much “oh hey, did you try not having a disability until you were actually employed, that works gangbusters”. Or hell, any article written about young people or poverty that I eviscerate for this site.

Holy fucking shit, and I thought the “make schools more like boot camps” idea was the peak of Bobo stupidity.

Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t it seem like his solution for “poor people and young people are underemployed” is “hey, let’s take a bunch of well-to-do and comfortable people about my age and give them an extra big bag of money instead of actually investing it in the people who need it”. I mean for fuck’s sake, let’s use that money to helping out older people who are having their Social Security gutted or creating more jobs for people who actually fucking need it rather than rewarding the Bobos of the world with even more unearned wealth they don’t know what to do with.

Fourth, standards.

Standards!

People can only practice restraint after they have a certain definition of the sort of person they want to be. Research from Martin West of Harvard and others suggests that students at certain charter schools raise their own expectations for themselves, and judge themselves by more demanding criteria.

Round and round and round we go for nearly 10,000 words and we end up pretty much where we thought we would. It’s your fault that the system is rigged against you. Go be a bunch of random cliches and have that morality you poor people all lack and if you fail it’s clearly because you were always the lazy layabout we thought you were. I mean, look at rich kids with safety, support, endless space to fuck up, and all the advantages you are denied. They’re succeeding. So clearly your failures are your fault.

Character development is an idiosyncratic, mysterious process. But if families, communities and the government can envelop lives with attachments and institutions, then that might reduce the alienation and distrust that retards mobility and ruins dreams.

I could continue the rant. Hammer home the bankruptcy of thoughts and morals and the nasty pit of embracing bad science made by scam artists clung to to avoid facing the reality of what works and the meritocracy that could eventually produce and how much that scares the literal shit out of weaselly little incompetent shits like Bobo Brooks.

But I’d rather dismantle this little bit and look at something very closely.

“But if families, communities, and government can envelop lives with attachments and instituions”.

This is not the statement that Brooks is trying to twist and shove it into. It’s something else. Something almost honest.

If people can have genuine support from families, either families of blood who value genuine connection and helping their brood no matter what or families of choice, banding together in the dark, protecting each other, the other discarded and abandoned scraps ill-done by the false ties of blood. If actual connection can overcome obligation. If people can be supported by something akin to a real family, whatever that shape and if conservative serpents can avoid shitting on every “family” structure that isn’t a Stepford re-enactment, then people could have love.

If communities can form and support each other and those of us with something, even if it’s just an afternoon here or there or a comforting voice when they’re going through something or someone willing to help run the cashier for the local blah de blah. If we can somehow support our own, give each other genuine aid into success and if those of us with hearts of stone and gold can continue throwing our broken and mangled bodies at societal hatred and suspicion and make things better for the next generation. If we can take even a small moment from the necessity of survival, if we are allowed that, to build something for ourselves. Our communities can be great and can serve as home for those alienated and alone.

If government can shake off this disease of conservatives and conservatives who want to pretend to be “reasonable moderates” with “common-sense ideas” and actually serve the function it was meant to do. Provide the safety net no one else will. Ensure that there is a bottom that no person, no matter what they have done or who they are or what they look like can fall beyond. That one must not be vouched for by Church or Corporation or a system of nepotism by the rich and powerful in order to participate. To ensure that no one need again panic and fear that trying to go back to school and learn a new trade is going to be the straw that ensures your baby will die of starvation. That minorities are protected from the predatory dominant groups who seek to eliminate and terrorize them. That we can all, no matter our income level, relax, slow down, get our head straight and give a long-shot a chance, just to see if that crazy weird idea actually would work. If we could have a real functional government that didn’t treat its citizens like an unfortunate cancer, maybe our country could survive this parasitical strain of capitalism with dignity and honor and maybe we could be spared so many needless deaths paid only to the bigotries and intransigence of those who could not accept anything less than complete domination.

And if everyone could count on having at least one person who loved them. Even just as a friend. As a person who’s got their back no matter what and who can emotionally pick up the pieces if they’re ripped apart and left to rot in the alley ways. An attachment that mattered. And if there were genuine institutions, not to enrich the rich or chide the poor on not having magical sorcery powers to make job creators into the thing they want to claim to be, but real safety nets and regulatory agencies and programs to put people back to work and pump money into rebuilding our broken infrastructure and becoming an actual first world nation, we could be great instead of something that will be better but will take a long time to equal the level of Scandanavia.

And the first step along that road is to throw Bobo Brooks and the other courtiers yapping loudly about cake on the Palace walls off a fucking cliff and actually do something to fix this broken mess we all want to pretend isn’t the death throe of an empire betrayed by the same rich authoritarian scum that betray all great nations.

But that is sadly a fantasy. Something someone with grit would be able to do. And as we all know, we meager poor, cowering in our hovels, lack such merit and character to even dream of such lofty and noble goals as that.


‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. One of the longest posts I’ve created for this site… it’s almost like this is partially an apology for having buggered off for two weeks into a minor breakdown brought on by illness and shitty life stuff. We are aware of all Internet traditions.™

* Obligatory.

** It’s extra amazing when you’re also getting it from your family who decide that your breakup with your long-time partner is a great time to double down on how much of a fucking failure you are and how everything you try will fail because you didn’t decide to become magically untrans* and poof your way into those entry-level 50 grand a year jobs that are apparently everywhere if you could just stop being queer long enough to notice… Oi, yeah, my family has continued their sterling record of support by undermining what little confidence I had left and making sure I understand that I’m extra disowned so don’t go turning to them if things are rough in recovering from a breakup and trying to make sure I can financially survive okay without a partner to share expenses with.

Family of the year, they are. I especially appreciate the way they managed to successfully convince me that I was a miserable failure who would never succeed and that all my efforts were vain thrashing in an uncaring ocean. Yeah, my self-esteem needed a good strong kick in the teeth to keep me limping forward. At least I had the loving support of those closest to me… Eh, I’m doing better now.

*** Well, minus things like school systems because that’s sort of a unique entity, but even then, right wing parents tend to get all forms of pissy when schools try and teach basic humanity and morality as part of the education program.

**** Oi, yeah, that’s the other thing with all of these. It’s just an extension of David Brooks last foray into school systems that assumes that students these days are hard-done by a system of feminization and loss of manly traits like “grit” and “hard work” that don’t actually translate into the supposedly masculine “blue-collar values” but the same old victim-blaming horseshit. Almost as if it’s tied to our patriarchal system by which things coded as feminine or non-white are viewed as worthless and lacking in character and things coded as masculine are viewed as truly important and the only thing worth investing in.

Also, we have no reason to invest in our school systems and actually update them to the 21st century, prioritizing education and fixing our broken safety net. Just blame all the “failures” of the game for lacking manly grit and hard-work so the cubicle cowboys can feel better about their soft, pampered, easy-street existences carefully protected from anything approaching a real meritocracy.

***** Hey, funny story. When my uncle called to rant about how I was a failure who was utterly worthless in every way that mattered as his response to having a breakup with my long-time partner of over 8 years, this was one of his sticking points. That I was a queer trans* fuckup whose 8 jobs and various skillsets and minor successes didn’t count because I didn’t have any “goals” and “moxie”. In his estimation, trying to do the best with what is available and try and plan methods of opening up options towards other forms of success and the very real things I was building at the time didn’t count as goals and moxie because it wasn’t the thing I had been trying for many years without success which was the way he got his first full-time job straight out of college back when unions were king and the economy was strong.

I point this out, because I’ve most appreciated the irony in the aftermath. As his words have dug around in my brain, I’ve doubted and minimized a lot of my plans and efforts and out of economic desperation, return in many ways to the shell I have been in the past, scrambling and focusing only on the short term and letting some of my long-term plans fall apart simply because the abuse from the family exemplified in that hour and a half long rant****** made me realize that I have absolutely no margin for short-term failure and have no safe harbor in a crisis of any form to crash into.

All that long-term planning and some building of self-esteem and pride in accomplishments, shattered like glass with the terror of uncertainty and the lack of a safety net.

But it’s our fault, those of us, on the raggedy edge, if we find it hard to focus on long-term, long-shot potential escape routes from our prisons because the issue of survival right here, right now has become fraught and absent any possibility of even the slightest possibility of failure.

The long-term, the long-shot cannot be entertained if one needs a guaranteed minimum place to fall to because there is nowhere else. And that’s the dirtiest secret about this garbage that the rich want to casually gloss over. The way the poor are forced to abandon dreams and genuine risk because they simply cannot afford the price of possible failure.

****** For those piecing things together in this addendum and getting rather worried about me. Don’t worry. Yeah, it’s been rough and yeah, my brain’s been doing exciting and interesting things to me and my ability to appreciate what scraps I still have and what I can continue building towards if I can get my feet dug in, my immediate survival taken care of, and my head straight.

But I’ve been crafting what is mine. Indeed, why things are extra fraught is that this latest round of abuse and weird games about trying to get me into a position where I’ll accept corrective therapy as the “price” for “having failed my life” and untrustworthy levels of emotional and physical support has left me with a situation where I need to ensure that my short-term is well-taken care of enough that I never have to need them for anything and can allow them to disown me and abandon me until such time that they stop being toxic every time my life has a rough patch and they start freaking out over my disgusting trans*ness.

In short, I can’t keep suffering through their freakouts and babying them through maybe almost accepting me some day if I’m really good and jump through the right hoops. And yeah, that might put some plans and ideas on hold for another year, just as the loss of my partner and the changes that will bring may do the same. And it may mean some rocky patches as I try and futureproof my life and give myself all the safety nets that society and circumstances insure I won’t have. But with uncharacteristic luck and some careful planning, maybe it will at least be healthier than what I’ve dealt with in the last year. Especially since there is a line in my self-respect and my ability to compromise and I simply can’t deny who I am, what I am, and my desire to do right by the communities I have been elected by biology to participate in. And that means being unable to accept the path of giving into self-hate and allowing myself to become the playthings of delusional abusers just to survive materially.

Who knows? Maybe it will all fall apart and there’s no escaping some really bad situations. Or maybe I can make something that could lead to an eventual happy ending of minimum financial security and an ability to focus on building things for my communities that matter. Either way, I need to do what I can right here, right now in real permanent ways to ensure I have a future to look forward to. And despite the fear and doubt and disbelief in my own abilities and worth, it’s a bit exciting too.

And hopefully, above all, a way to actually live my life. Honest, open, free, and hopefully, with luck I’ve never had, successful. By my definitions and society’s.

And besides you all were a way more kickass family than those assholes ever were anyways. (/sentimental Cerberus)

 

Comments: 218

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Man. Will probably end up posting more later, but can I just say that as a fellow millennial who’s now 26 and still facing the rat race that is our job market, the casino that is our educational system, and the Charles Dickens fan fiction that is our health care system without any stable employment, threads like these are the ones that really keep me coming back here.

And knowing how much worse it is for people who don’t have my gender, my skin color, my family support or wev makes it worse, not better.

 
 

It’s tough out there. No doubt.

The grumpy old white guys I work with have no concept of just how insulated we are from what the average person has to deal with today.

My sister was just fired after many years of managing a Binny’s (a large chain of wine/liquor stores in Chicago).

The reason they gave her was “We’re going in a different direction”. Apparently the direction they were going was hiring a kid right out of college to do the job for a lot less money.

 
 

Shorter(tm) BoBo: “We broke your legs with this baseball bat, sure, but you’ll find a way to walk if you really want to!”

Hey, Bobes, Go fuck yourself.

I mean really.

I mean it.

You know nothing.

Do they not teach “research” anymore?

Oh, that’s right, you’re a columnist, you don’t need “research”.

Twerp.

And that’s all without even fucking trying.

 
 

Oh, more of this, huh?

“Well, what I did, see, was I worked hard and got a job, see? Why can’t you little bastards do that too?”

 
Big Bad Bald Bastard
 

The biggest problem with the “government is evil: privatize everything” approach is that people were conditioned to think of themselves not as citizens, but as consumers. Now, with government protections further weakened, they are now consumed.

I’m listening to an NPR piece on the prevalence of low-wage employers having their employees use food stamps at their places of employment. Walmart is now fighting the release of statistics, claiming that it would hurt their competitiveness.

 
 

Hey, WP, thanks for eating my fucking comment I spent all that time on with the links and all.

Ptui.

 
 

Let’s try this again:

Shorter(tm) BoBo: “We broke your legs with this baseball bat, sure, but you’ll find a way to walk if you really want to!”

Hey, Bobes, Go fuck yourself.

I mean really.

I mean it.

You know nothing.

Do they not teach “research” anymore?

Oh, that’s right, you’re a columnist, you don’t need “research”.

Twerp.

And that’s all without even fucking trying.

 
 

people were conditioned to think of themselves not as citizens, but as consumers

THIS.

I’d tie this into the decades-long Cold War fight; the “great thing” about the U.S. was all the stuff you could buy, and damn the idea that there were those who couldn’t afford it. When those people who came up in the Fifties with this stuff absorbed took power circa late 1980s-1990s, that’s when it all went to shit and you were no longer owed anything by being a taxpaying citizen.

 
 

Poor Bobo is still looking for the salad bar at Applebees.

 
 

Brooks would have a good point if he had a point. CHECKMATE BOOGERHEAD

 
 

Our society is set up to make things hard on the poorest. The poorest of us don’t have connections that can get them a job as a janitor much less a column in the New York Times. If babblin’ Brooks wanted to have nightmares, he could imagine life in a meritocracy, where his every word would be subject to critical scrutiny, and where he’d have to compete with moral scolds from Bangalore who’d be twice as sanctimonious for a tenth or less of what Brooks pulls down. Seriously, how does one look at poverty and the level of income inequality in the US, and the level of underemployment and unemployment and decide the problem is character? The only group of Americans who are more prosperous than they were before the 2008 meltdown are the people who were already rich.

You know how you can tell the rest of us have character? Wall street isn’t a smoking ruin. Mega-mansions aren’t decorated with the skulls of the kleptocrat class. People still listen to the same dumb asses who started the last wars agitate for new ones without throwing rotten fruit or rocks.

 
 

No fire in the belly? Morally lost? Lack of character? Poor work ethic resulting from permissive parenting and lack of GAWD?

These are all shiny new arguments.

Fucking old cranks these days. Not an original thought among them. Bobo is especially bad because I don’t see a single reference to walking 31 miles to school every day in 4 feet of snow with cardboard shoes and extra gravity.

 
 

Oh, the problem is character all right— the character of the upper class.

Once “Noblesse Oblige”, they were proud to employ workers at an income level that would support a family.

Then somehow they got a new religion whose Ten Commandments include union-busting, hiring illegal immigrants, shipping millions of jobs overseas, evading taxes, bilking the unwary out of their pensions, fouling the environment, etc etc

 
 

Cerb, yet another fucking home run. This flensing of Brooks is a masterwork…I cant do it. Between you Pierce and Drifglass nothing remains but powder….

Also, that smug assed, treakle spewing asshat drive thoughts of homocide, too, Doucheburger…A Clueiveille Slugger would be too kind by far.

I think my problem with those two is one of posture. The asshats at NRO are in the main unrepentant assholes, which I can almost respect, at least they are honest frauds.

 
 

It’s the fact that they don’t spew venom when the advocate starving the poor that earns people like Brooks the big bucks. They starve the poor out of love, don’t you see. It hurts them more to withhold help than it hurts the poor to be hungry or sick. After all, if the government helped them how would they ever learn to never fuck up unless they have family or rich friends to bail them out? How would they learn to be born to privilege unless the we demand that the government deliberately penalize those without inherited wealth?

 
 

adjusting the economic incentives or regulatory barriers faced by the disadvantaged.

Somewhere, Zombie Reagan is laughing at the sheer number of poor dummies who bought this line of demon-roasted snake shit.

 
 

regulatory barriers faced by the disadvantaged

“Being as I am bereft of food and money at the moment, I could certainly eat this moldy shit sandwich if the goddamn FDA would lift their out-dated regulations on the human consumption of biowaste.”

Why is the government not paying for my moldy shit sandwiches? I’m one of the 47%, dammit, I want my free moldy shit sandwich.

 
 

Progress, my friends. I’ve said before that the trans community is where the gays were maybe 20 years ago. Here’s hoping they catch up sooner rather than later.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/frank-maloney-sex-change-boxing-4030910

 
 

Seriously, how does one look at poverty and the level of income inequality in the US, and the level of underemployment and unemployment and decide the problem is character?

The question should be, how does someone do that and GET FUCKING PAID TO DO IT instead of, as in a proper universe, writing a letter to the editor about it in the purple crayon they allow him on the unit.

 
 

BTW, be very glad you weren’t watching CNN earlier today. They decided to have Max Boot on to talk about the situation in Iraq.

Couldn’t hear what was said but I resisted throwing things at the TV on general principles anyway, as the folks in the doctor’s office might have gotten perturbed if I did.

 
 

Re buttchugging: UR DOIN IT RONG

 
 

It’s my birthday today. Well-wishes are not usually transitive, but if Cerb can glean anything from the ones sent my way, she can have them.

 
 

Progress, my friends. I’ve said before that the trans community is where the gays were maybe 20 years ago. Here’s hoping they catch up sooner rather than later.

Moloney won’t have to live a lie anymore, but it just goes to show you how much easier life is for wealthy individuals than it is for the poor.

On the booze front, I am happy to say that my “jenever” experiment- vodka infused with juniper berries, coriander, and cardamom, with traces of other spices (caraway, cinnamon, clove, ajwain) and lemon and orange zest- has been a success. I’m drinking a nice fat glass of it with tonic water. I haven’t made any tonic water from scratch (yet), but I have located a good source for cinchona bark.

 
 

BREAKING:
Robin Williams dead, possible suicide.

 
 

Oh, just fucking eat me, WordPress.

 
 

Oh, now it fucking shows up. Starting to wonder why I ever bother.

 
 

FYWP!

 
 

Williams “has been battling severe depression of late,” his publicist Mara Buxbaum said.

How fucking great it is that mental health is such a concern to us in this country and how we are so determined to see people get help who need it.

Fuckers.

Maybe Bobo can tell us how he just needed more grit and determination.

 
 

FYWP, if I’ve “already said that” why the fuck isn’t it showing up?

 
 

Pere: I think the new moderation/WP style is putting in more of a delay. I didn’t see my birthday post up ’til just now and I think I submitted it about 30 min. ago.

Re Robin Williams: the first headline I read had no details and swelpme, I thought he had had another heart attack (he’d had a pretty bad one in the past, and his cocaine years probably did his cardiovascular system no favors). Sad.

 
 

We believe—wait, I thought, fast food joints? Eh, don’t you guys think that … they’re like of the devil, or something? That’s what … liberals … you wanna send those evil employees who dare work at a fast food joint that you just don’t believe in, thought you wanted to, I don’t know, send them to purgatory, or something … so they all go vegan … and uh … wages and picket lines, I don’t know, they’re not often discussed in purgatory, are they?
I don’t know, why’re you even worried about … fast food wages, because …

Well, we believe … an America where minimum wage jobs, they’re not lifetime gigs! They’re stepping stones!

 
 

be very glad you weren’t watching CNN earlier today. They decided to have Max Boot on to talk about the situation in Iraq.
CNN hell, he was on MSNBC too. One would think someone would have tarred & feathered his ass & run him out of town on a rail by now, but I guess not.

No idea what he said on MSNBC either. I heard “Max Boot” & the finger was on the mute.

 
 

Oh, and I saw McCain on teh CNN as well.

Isn’t this fun, we get the whole crew trotted out yet again to tell us what we need to do.

And Lindsey Grahamcracker as well! Fucking Old Home Week.

 
 

Then somehow they got a new religion whose Ten Commandments include union-busting, hiring illegal immigrants, shipping millions of jobs overseas, evading taxes, bilking the unwary out of their pensions, fouling the environment, etc etc

Now you see why quiet lightpole lynchings HAVE to make a comeback, no?
.

 
 

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you’re going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution

 
 

Sad to hear the news about Robin Williams. He was a great, ill-disciplined, manic talent. So many great comedians though suffer from Ye Olde Depression.
Like Milligan, Hancock and now Williams. I have the illness, not gift. Pondering on the connection. Hmmm.
RIP, Robin Williams and thanks for all the laughs.

 
 

The centrist Democratic group Third Way suggests the government create a BoomerCorps. Every day 10,000 baby boomers turn 65, some of them could be recruited into an AmeriCorps-type program to help low-income families move up the mobility ladder.

Or, you know, they could just have a New Deal style jobs program for EVERYONE who needs a job… regardless of things like their age, their “moral standing,” their credit rating, or whatnot. Boomers get jobs; we get jobs; everybody gets jobs! They could stop doling out economic relief (correction: talking about doling out economic relief) bit by bit and dividing the population into smaller and smaller segments of Deserving and Undeserving, and just assume that the words about being created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights (one of which was “life,” I do believe) are supposed to actually mean something.

Round and round and round we go for nearly 10,000 words and we end up pretty much where we thought we would. It’s your fault that the system is rigged against you. Go be a bunch of random cliches and have that morality you poor people all lack and if you fail it’s clearly because you were always the lazy layabout we thought you were. I mean, look at rich kids with safety, support, endless space to fuck up, and all the advantages you are denied. They’re succeeding. So clearly your failures are your fault.

The thing that always gets me about this (well, one thing – there are many) is when you juxtapose it with all their statements about Obama having destroyed the economy and being the cause of all this misery.

Which one is it? Either the poor and unemployed are responsible for their own conditions by being lazy and bereft of Proper Values – in which case all this poverty and unemployment isn’t Obama’s fault, just the Market-God punishing the unrighteous, and you should probably stop blaming him for things that are, after all, the fault of the poor (and really not such a bad thing after all: they’re getting what’s coming to them, aren’t they?) Or Obama is the one who’s destroyed the economy with his socialist socialism – in which case the poor and unemployed clearly aren’t lazy and unproductive, but rather victims of Obammunist tyranny, and you should probably stop blaming them for the conditions the Socialist Muslim Tyrant saddled them with. Who knows, they might even see things your way and vote for you, if you ever had anything to say to them other than “you are lazy and worthless, and I’ll never get you to take responsibility for your lives.”

If people can have genuine support from families, either families of blood who value genuine connection and helping their brood no matter what or families of choice, banding together in the dark, protecting each other, the other discarded and abandoned scraps ill-done by the false ties of blood. If actual connection can overcome obligation. If people can be supported by something akin to a real family, whatever that shape and if conservative serpents can avoid shitting on every “family” structure that isn’t a Stepford re-enactment, then people could have love.

If communities can form and support each other and those of us with something, even if it’s just an afternoon here or there or a comforting voice when they’re going through something or someone willing to help run the cashier for the local blah de blah. If we can somehow support our own, give each other genuine aid into success and if those of us with hearts of stone and gold can continue throwing our broken and mangled bodies at societal hatred and suspicion and make things better for the next generation. If we can take even a small moment from the necessity of survival, if we are allowed that, to build something for ourselves. Our communities can be great and can serve as home for those alienated and alone.

As for this and, really, Cerb’s entire story… it just reconfirms for me the notion that relying on the “voluntary” charity of the family and community around you and not the grey, dour government bureaucrat is utter bullshit. Some of us are lucky enough that that’s all we’d ever need. Others aren’t, and these others need food, shelter, clothing, health, education and jobs just like everybody else.

 
 

Once “Noblesse Oblige”, they were proud to employ workers at an income level that would support a family.

I don’t think it was that big a deal. “Noblesse oblige” just means not all rich people were assholes back then – just like not all of them are that way now. We remember the better ones (if only because the Mr. Potters were too greedy to leave any legacy behind to remember them by) – but I suspect they collected just as much abuse from their fellow 1%ers as, say, Warren Buffet does today when he says his taxes are too low.

 
 

Ugh, Robin Williams. I still love “Good Will Hunting,” and of course, who can forget “Aladdin.” Haven’t seen “Hook” in too long, but I recall liking it too. “Dead Poets Society,” we started watching in my high school English class, but never finished.

RIP, dude. Things like this are what make me hope there really is an afterlife.

 
 

students at certain charter schools
Sorry, can’t be arsed reading any more.

 
 

students at certain charter schools

Yep. When I see this I just assume something really stupid is going to follow it.

 
 

Or, you know, they could just have a New Deal style jobs program for EVERYONE who needs a job… regardless of things like their age, their “moral standing,” their credit rating, or whatnot. Boomers get jobs; we get jobs; everybody gets jobs!

Here’s the short list of potential jobs for a new WPA I came up with three years ago (to the day!):

Hiring heath care workers from doctors to nurses to pharmacists to home health aides to med techs, hiring people to work on infrastructure repair and maintenance, having people set up public wi-fi systems, expanding the library system even further, working on ensuring affordable housing, helping with recycling of everything from paper to plastics to electronics, doing actual research journalism, supporting small publishers, independent filmmakers, and independent music labels, working as outreach to the elderly (who after all will be increasing in number as the Boomers continue to gray), working to reclaim areas scarred by mountaintop-removal mining, working on small-tech projects like A Liter Of Light, organizing public archives for libraries and museums, working with seeing-eye dogs and other assistance animals, helping to rescue dogs and cats and spay/neuter them and find ‘em homes, repairing flood/hurricane/tornado damage, building levees that don’t leak, helping to ensure coastal communities can deal with erosion and rising water levels, acting as tutors/home school teachers/counselors, helping to put public records and old books/newspapers/magazines into accessible digital form, proofreading manuscripts and OCR scans, working with cities to promote and create green spaces and public parks…

What a waste of tax money that would all be. *snerk*

And asshole technocrats like Paulie “Fishnuts” Ryan would have to give up their plans of re-moulding the poor into an eternal caste of free or near-free labor, in the name of “job preparation”.

 
 

As far as a jobs program goes, relocation of population centers at risk of flooding due to sea level rise would probably create two jobs for every unemployed worker in the US. But that won’t happen. Instead we are going to ignore the problem until we have to spend trillions protecting a few big cities like New York, DC, Boston and Miami, and every other coastal city is going to have to sink on it’s own. Now that I think about it, civil engineering will eventually be a growth field, especiallyin the area of flood control.

 
 

Helmut – that presupposes that God will let global warming happen, if it was real and not a liberal socialist plot *snerk*

 
 

Instead we are going to ignore the problem until we have to spend trillions protecting a few big cities like New York, DC, Boston and Miami, and every other coastal city is going to have to sink on it’s own

…killing a whole bunch of not-rich people, of course, because FUCK THEM LOL!

 
 

here’s a comment about character in a column about character:

How predictable that Dr. Brooks’ critics and detractors almost unanimously bring up a red herring.

Do all rich people have more character than the poor?

It’s totally beside the point. The point is that taking money from the rich and spreading it among the poor is a waste of not only the said money but of time and opportunity.

Not all rich people have a strong character and ambition, but behind EVERY big fortune there’s a history of either great character or big brain, or good luck, or a daring crime.

If you really want to help the poor, you should accept the reality that you only want to help the most gifted and ambitious among them, while living the rest to struggle. This way you’ll create a competition for opportunity among the poor, which might lead to a cultural shift toward a greater value given to perseverance, risk-taking, and ambition, and toward devaluation of immediate gratification.

Once you create social programs based on tough competition, then you may want to start spending on the poor.

A kid I knew used to go to a food pantry with his grandma, of which he was ashamed. In a short while, he started selling the food from the pantry to other kids, who didn’t want to go to the pantry, ‘cuz it’s like totally uncool. Pretty soon the kid had enough money to buy food for himself and his grandma.

What you want to do is design a program to help that kid, while leaving his friends struggle in poverty.

 
 

This way you’ll create a competition for opportunity among the poor, which might lead to a cultural shift toward a greater value given to perseverance, risk-taking, and ambition, and toward devaluation of immediate gratification.

Yeah, Darwinian competition for scarce resources ALWAYS leads to cultivation of virtue, donchaknow.

FUCK THESE PEOPLE. Let THEM scramble for scraps for once. I’m tired of this shit.

 
 

A kid I knew used to go to a food pantry with his grandma, of which he was ashamed. In a short while, he started selling the food from the pantry to other kids, who didn’t want to go to the pantry, ‘cuz it’s like totally uncool. Pretty soon the kid had enough money to buy food for himself and his grandma.

Selling the food that was given for free at a profit to people who could just as easily get free food of their own. That’s not character, that’s ambition, and avarice, and cynical willingness to exploit the pride of people just as poor as himself. Do I blame the kid? not very much, he’s a kid and the adults in his life ought to point out the error of his ways. But it’s not the kind of behavior anyone ought to encourage, and it’s not surprising that some jackass deliberately misses the point again. It’s not about a culture of dependency, or encouraging character, or any tedious Sunday school moralism. The point is to feed the hungry. The point is to make sure no Americans need to steal to put food on the table. Once people have food on the table, and a warm bed to sleep in, they can figure out character on their freaking own without the dubious help of their self appointed moral superiors.

 
 

Ugh, Robin Williams. I still love “Good Will Hunting,” and of course, who can forget “Aladdin.” Haven’t seen “Hook” in too long, but I recall liking it too. “Dead Poets Society,” we started watching in my high school English class, but never finished.

RIP, dude. Things like this are what make me hope there really is an afterlife.

bangarang…this has made me incredibly sad…i remember watching ‘live at the met’, nearly peeing ourselves with laugther over and over…no doubt ‘mrs. doubtfire’ is one of his best, but i have a soft spot for ‘toys’ as well…

the thing that really hits me though, is that he was, his family was, his friends were all aware of his depression, bi-polar diagnosis and his addictions…and yet, he succumbed to it…it’s sad…

 
 

Yeah, Darwinian competition for scarce resources ALWAYS leads to cultivation of virtue, donchaknow.

i have a feeling this particular commentor thinks ‘the hunger games’ is pretty good wanking material…

 
Big Bad Bald Bastard
 

i have a feeling this particular commentor thinks ‘the hunger games’ is pretty good wanking material…

And that Jennifer Lawrence only distracts him from the real turn-on.

 
 

The Fischer King was my favorite Williams role. Brilliant.

 
 

So, I was waiting for my 8am train and SadlyNo reading on my phone when a young Canadian woman joined the line behind me. She’s from a superior culture so, obviously, she reeked of some heavy duty, let’s avoid any problems at customs by using it all up, wake ‘n’ bake. Which leads me to this useful pro tip aimed at those who still insist on reading Brooks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjYcP0Gji20

 
 

she reeked of some heavy duty, let’s avoid any problems at customs by using it all up, wake ‘n’ bake

To which the only possible response is the one your 5th grade teacher said: “DID YOU BRING ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE, MISSY?”

 
 

I once shared a doobie with the late Mr. Berton.

I’d like to tell you the whole story, but then I’d have to kill you…

 
 

” . . . ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE?” Well, you know, customers officers, Homeland Security, and all . . . I didn’t want to get her in trouble and, well, yes, she’d already had enough for everyone, all by herself.

She did stop and chat in the cafe car and seemed to have had a nice nap. It’s almost 5pm, I should probably send a beer her way. O, Canada!

Which, of course, is just my way of distracting all of us from the new Brooks column wherein he gets all, um, muscular: ” . . . the Clinton approach strikes me as more sound, for the same reason that early intervention against cancer is safer than late-term surgery. In the Middle East, malevolent groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria grow unless checked. Even in situations where our “friends” are dysfunctional, the world has to somehow check them, using a multitude of levers . . . “

 
 

Even in situations where our “friends” are dysfunctional, the world has to somehow check them, using a multitude of levers

Worked so goddamn well in the case of the mujahideen, after all. Now we have the CIA arming rebels again, but don’t worry – THIS time it’s going to work!

She did stop and chat in the cafe car and seemed to have had a nice nap

I’m SURE she did.

I still remember (well, not really) the time a few years back when I had a substantial load on and fell asleep in the local campus science fiction library… at the same time as one of the students brought down a copy of “The Serpent And The Rainbow” to watch for her Anthro class. I worry about what kind of engrams I got from that.

 
 

Can we please leave carbon energy behind forever? If the oil in the ground wasn’t worth trillions of dollars, we could stop sending billions to violent malcontents so they could defeat the last violent malcontents we gave billions of dollars to.

 
Pupienus Maximus
 

But Mr. Monotreme, then the MIC wouldn’t be raking in billions of taxpayer money and the shareholders of the buggy whip industry oil cartels (yeah, you thought the oil companies aren’t a cartel, dincha you silly boys and girls) wouldn’t be making bank.

Cf.

 
 

Wow, haven’t finished the whole post yet, but wanted to comment on this:

“…Third Way suggests the government create a BoomerCorps. Every day 10,000 baby boomers turn 65, some of them could be recruited into an AmeriCorps-type program to help low-income families move up the mobility ladder.”

This is already, as Cerb might say, a thing. Sadly, Americorps and it’s various programs are about the only way some of us have ANY hope whatsoever of “advancing” our lot in life, thanks to the economic apocalypse throughly discussed in the above post. I’m seriously considering a stint even though I’m over 24, and very far from 18.

“Senior Corps

Senior Corps connects today’s 55+ with the people and organizations that need them most. We help them become mentors, coaches or companions to people in need, or contribute their job skills and expertise to community projects and organizations. Volunteers receive guidance and training so they can make a contribution that suits their talents, interests, and availability.

Conceived during John F. Kennedy’s presidency, Senior Corps currently links more than 360,000 Americans to service opportunities. Their contributions of skills, knowledge, and experience make a real difference to individuals, nonprofits, and faith-based and other community organizations throughout the United States.”

http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps

 
 

Fundamentally, so-called “liberals” think that poor people are poor because they have no money, and they try to fix this by giving the poor money; while “conservatives” think that poor people have no money because they are poor, and they try to fix this by taking money away from the poor so that they’ll have an incentive to stop being poor.

 
 

“conservatives” think that poor people have no money because they are poor, and they try to fix this by taking money away from the poor so that they’ll have an incentive to stop being poor.

Fuck knows we need more incentive to stop not having money, what with the bills and all. Cripes.

Anyway, you forget all the social engineering bullshit on the GOP side – “life coaches” and grit and determination and bullshit “training programs” and “how to be a pleasant prole while serving your masters” classes.

If “liberals” really want to connect to the working class, they’re going to need to press the idea of BOTH a secure safety net AND jobs with dignity, instead of going down Bobo’s “grit” route. I ain’t holding my breath to see that, though.

 
 

It’s true. I should have mentioned some of the other incentives, such as the constant degradation, infantilisation, and being lectured at. When they don’t want your labour, they’ll still insist on taking your dignity.

 
 

Anyway, you forget all the social engineering bullshit on the GOP side – “life coaches” and grit and determination and bullshit “training programs” and “how to be a pleasant prole while serving your masters” classes.

This is why I’ve come to kind of cringe whenever I watch a “how do I reach these kids?” movie about a teacher or coach in the inner city who only has to figure out how to convince these kids to unlock the best in them so they’ll be successful in life.

I don’t think most of those movies mean to be nasty, and I really can’t think of any one movie I mind individually… In the aggregate, though, you have one great big vibe of sweeping under the carpet all the ways the system keeps people down, in favor of the generic message of “those poor kids are so screwed up, but if we could only convince them to not be screwed up anymore, they’d be set for life!”

Which you see played out in real life with the number of oblivious nimrods trying to figure out how poor people could stop being poor, and considering every possible scenario other than “maybe poor people aren’t the problem.”

 
 

Not all rich people have a strong character and ambition, but behind EVERY big fortune there’s a history of either great character or big brain, or good luck, or a daring crime.

Funny how he proceeds to completely gloss over the last two possibilities.

Once again… one of my all-time favorite quotes from one of my favorite actors:

“You cannot get where I got without luck. Bags of it. Fucking bags of it. You can be as good as I am or better. You can be incredibly more attractive and charming and capable and still be shit out of luck.”
- Harrison Ford

Breath of fresh air compared with all the pricks at his income level mewling that we don’t appreciate just how special they are and how lucky we are to have them.

 
 

A kid I knew used to go to a food pantry with his grandma, of which he was ashamed. In a short while, he started selling the food from the pantry to other kids, who didn’t want to go to the pantry, ‘cuz it’s like totally uncool. Pretty soon the kid had enough money to buy food for himself and his grandma.

And thirty years from now, that kid’s going to be the mob kingpin running the neighborhood. Unless your faith in him is justified enough that he’ll rise through the ranks and put himself through business school. Then he’ll be the next ponzi schemer or corporate raider we hear about, runining more lives in a day than the mob does in a year.

Yes, I know he’s just a kid, and we can’t judge his future based on that. But that is in fact the kind of behavior and the kind of person that the commenter is telling us we should admire. The fact that you were smart enough to get richer is a reward in itself: how you did and who you stepped on on your way up is irrelevant. (And all the way at the top of the food chain, that gives you HSBC laundering money for terrorists and Chiquita financing them).

Incidentally: why do I need to “design a program to help that kid,” when by your own admission he’s the only one who’s doing all right?

 
 

perseverance, risk-taking, and ambition, and toward devaluation of immediate gratification.
As Pere Ubu hinted upthread, these are mutually contradictory goals.

 
 

Practicing delayed gratification is a bit difficult when you’re fretting about where your next meal’s coming from.

 
 

Bless you, Cerb, for that Fry & Laurie viddy. Man, that’s a mine I could spent the rest of my life slaving away in. Never a dull moment, I suspect.
.

 
 

“You cannot get where I got without luck. Bags of it. Fucking bags of it. ”

This times 1000.

I was supremely qualified for this job, but so were 5000 other people.

Their resumes are still sitting in the pile because they didn’t know the people I knew at the company.

 
 

Which you see played out in real life with the number of oblivious nimrods trying to figure out how poor people could stop being poor, and considering every possible scenario other than “maybe poor people aren’t the problem.”

If we want people to be successful, we have to set them up for success. One shouldn’t have to be a superhuman paragon of ambition, diligence, good health, and luck to be successful, but that’s what it takes to get out of poverty in America today. Being poor means having to choose between paying rent and buying food, and it means constant calls from bill collectors and never having enough of anything. It means many of the people they know are also poor, so they don’t have parents or grandparents who can spot them a month’s rent, or a semester’s tuition, or pay for a car repair bill. It means every unexpected expense is a potential disaster.

There aren’t enough good paying jobs going unfilled to end poverty in America. There is in fact a shortage of those jobs after 3 decades of relentless underspending on education, on infrastructure, on basic science research. Three decades of relentless cost cutting and downsizing and outsourcing has left American industries a shadow of their former selves. After three decades of looting the treasury to fund every idiotic imperialist adventure around the world that satisfies some politician’s bloodlust, somehow there seems to be a shortage of money whenever anyone wants to help the poor. So the idea that poor people should put aside every other issue in their lives to publicly embody some rich guy’s idea of character is beyond insulting.

If we want to end poverty in America, we have to build a society that has good jobs for all people – even those people that Brooks thinks lack ambition or intelligence. People need to see that they don’t have to be the smartest, fastest, hardest working person they know in order to improve their situation. Because that’s what it takes now. If we want to encourage a work ethic, that work has to profit the workers.

If David Brooks wants an American workforce that works for the joy of a job well done, he can start by setting an example. He can write that column in the New York Times for tips. He can set the price of his next 300 page doorstop to a pat on the back and a hearty handshake. He can refuse to be reimbursed for every TV appearance. He can welcome open and honest criticism from everyone that points out the flaws in his work and promise to improve. At some point he might notice that the praise of moral scolds doesn’t pay the mortgage or buy dinner, maybe he’ll make the connection, and shut the fuck up when he gets a notion to write about character.

 
 

If David Brooks wants an American workforce that works for the joy of a job well done, he can start by setting an example.

Anyone who babbles like him should take an immediate pay cut to the federal minimum wage.

“but but but they might have to sell off all their stuff to pay for their apartment and meals!”

EXACTLY. Like so many other people are trying to do lately.

 
 

THAT IS… unless it’s all dog-whistle whining about THOSE PEOPLE YOU KNOW WHO who just can’t seem to get themselves out of poverty no matter how many rich straight white folks sniff at them and glare over their bifocals.

That couldn’t be it. Nope.

 
 

What people do you mean?

The ones that make us need to buy guns?

The ones that make us need to Stand Our Ground?

The ones which were totally irrelevant to the War of Northern Aggression, which was fought because of States Rights?

The Blah people?

The largest percentage of the 47%?

The ones we need special voter ID laws because of?

The ones we need charter schools because of?

The ones who are totally not discriminated against by our totally non-racist society?

What if Bobo actually addressed the elephant under the carpet?

 
 

I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse. The other elephant in the room that nobody’s talking about is automation.

I’m trying to think of how many occupations have almost completely disappeared in just the 52 years I’ve been around:

Gas station attendant
Supermarket checkout
Bank Teller
Navigator
Flight Engineer
Toll booth operator
Film developer
Video tape rental
Record store

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s going to get much worse in the next couple decades.

 
 

Automation would be a non issue if we could globally discard the idea of a 40 (or sometimes much more) hour work week. If a ‘full time job’ was 20 or 30 hours a week, there would be more jobs to fill, and we wouldn’t have to fear losing our easily automated job to robots. But since the pendulum of workers rights is picking up speed in the other direction, we’ll just have to muddle along in a society that only has full time work for 40% of us and the rest will have to scrape by on what combination of shit jobs we can find.

 
 

Automation would be a non issue if we could globally discard the idea of a 40 (or sometimes much more) hour work week. If a ‘full time job’ was 20 or 30 hours a week,

and, omg…just think of how awesome it would be if mom or dad or both weren’t working outside the home for most of the day or week…you know, since family values and family are like, totally number one on the wingnut priority list…well, directly under jesus, but still…you’d think they’d be behind an idea such as…

 
Big Bad Bald Bastard
 

It’s sad- with all of the modern “workplace efficiency”, the 20 hour full week should be the standard. With all of the time freed up, people could write sonnets (or goof off watching porn).

Instead, people with full-time jobs are working sixty hours a week, people working twenty hours can’t pay the bills. There could be a happy medium, but the owner class wants the general public to be scared and on-edge. Monsters!

 
 

but the owner class wants the general public to be scared and on-edge.

i am convinced that this is fox news’ sole purpose…

 
 

The fact is, whats going on in Missouri is because those people always riot and cause trouble.

 
 

whats going on in Missouri is because those people always riot and cause trouble

Yeah, why can’t they just calm down and accept that they’re going to get shot for doing nothing by vigilante assholes every now and then?

 
 

The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the ‘60s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.

bastards…

 
 

When I got up this morning I checked the intertubes to see what kind of trouble our American version of ISIS disguised as police in St Louis got up to overnight. I checked a couple local news sites as well as CNN and MSNBC. They all had the story of the police thuggery right at the top of the page. Then, just out of curiosity, I checked in on Fox News. Their big story this morning was about the evils of Obamacare.

 
 

It’s always those blue-clad people that riot and cause trouble.

 
 

The police are not there to create disorder, they’re there to preserve disorder.

 
 

My 17 year old daughter on Facebook:

Please do not say ferguson is not an issue of race. It is all about race. What’s happening is unjust and disgusting. If we keep defending these officers and those like them in similar cases we send a message that this sort of violence and racism is okay (when obviously it is not). Of the 53 ferguson police officers only three are black. Although 1/3 of the population is black, Ferguson is the ninth most segregated city in the United States. This is an issue of race.

Proud dad is proud.

 
 

Proud dad is proud.

proud dad should be proud…smart girl who has a strong moral compass and obviously looks into stuff before she posts…tell her to keep rockin’ the world!

 
 

BTW, has the right wing found THE PROOF yet on Mike Brown? You know, the shoplifting record from when he was eight, the graffiti tagging, the suspension from school for playing hooky, the kind of thing that would legitimize killing him because “HE WAS NOT AN INNOCENT YOUNG MAN, AFTER ALL!”.

If not, I’m not surprised FAUX went with Obamacare this morning.

 
 

I think any of the protesters who have been arrested for failure to obey a police order or for resisting arrest will have a watertight defense. Just tell the judge you were unaware the police were even there. I mean, they are so heavily camouflaged you should just say hey, I never even saw them.

 
 

Shouldn’t their camouflage look like bricks or something?

St. Louis isn’t exactly tropical jungle.

 
 

If they did a brick camouflage, they’d be at risk from some of the citizens trying to make a few bucks. It’s the oddest black market I’ve ever heard of, and it was going on when I went to school there in the late 70s.

 
 

If the police equipment being used in Ferguson has a distinctly military quality about it, well, there’s a reason:

The Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments have both received equipment from the U.S. military through what’s known as the 1033 program, a federal program that the American Civil Liberties Union says has been a key catalyst to the broader escalation of law enforcement force in the United States.

 
 

What? Militarization of the police in the LAND OF FREEDUMBS?!?!? Quite unthinkable!

 
 

The Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments have both received equipment from the U.S. military through what’s known as the 1033 program, a federal program that the American Civil Liberties Union says has been a key catalyst to the broader escalation of law enforcement force in the United States.

this is driving me crazay…i heard a story on mpr a couple of weeks ago (maybe?) and it was a police chief talking about crowd/riot/protest control and how vastly different the outcomes were depending on the policing. in one instance, they did not don the riot gear, were simply a presence and things went relatively well…but the next time (or possibly a different city) he was instructed to don the riot gear…things were considerably more violent…

i’ve spent some time gazoogling for it, but alas! i may need some to google that for me…

 
 

I remember reading a while back about a small rural town being given (forced to take) a large armored vehicle. It did not matter that the PD had no funds in the budget for maintaining the behemoth that they had no use for. The article ended with the police chief speculating that the best thing to do with it would be to park it in the town square across from the civil war era cannons and let it rust away there.

 
 

Waaal, I didn’t manage to find bbkf’s reference, but I did find this chunk of rotten mango from NPR circa the Occupy protests, with Neal Conan talking to police about “how much better” their equipment is lately (yeah, it’s all fucking Pentagon issue), not bothering to talk to any of the protesters or their representatives about their side of the issue (big surprise there, I know) and finishing up with this steaming chunk of asshattery from the 1999 Seattle police chief:

STAMPER: I hope it does. I hope that there is a conscious policy decision made that chemical agents will not be used – whether it’s tear gas or pepper spray – against nonviolent, nonthreatening demonstrators. That is precisely what we did in Seattle, and it was a huge mistake.

Let me know how that worked out, eh, guys?

 
 

Okay, WP, if that was a fucking duplicate comment, once again, where the hell is it?

 
 

The fact is, you are all lined up to defend thugs who destroy property and threaten lives. The military and police protect our freedom. If people, especially the kind of people in this town who are largely lazy and shiftless and have poor impulse control had just done as told there would be no trouble.

 
 

Hey, unfunny “Ruppert” knockoff:

Fuck you and your Slice, dude.

 
 

BTW, fucknozzle, Michael Brown “did as he was told”.

Didn’t keep some fucking cracker cop from shooting him in the back.

 
 

A couple of things, being in 3 bands takes up a bit of time, but I love playing so thats all good.

I am sure that some of you will recall a bit of frustration with a fellow employee who has subjected me to two hours of weird Al, anyhoo I was talking about Robin Williams with another co-worker when dude who could be described as looking like a penis with glasses says “I hope he died of auto erotic asphyxiation so I can make jokes about it.”

Personally I will never understand people who go out of their way to fine a justification to avoid empathy. In fact the only time I have seen anything resembling empathy from this guy was a couple of weeks ago when he offered something resembling sincerity in condolance when he heard that I had to put my cat down…

Lastly Just found out about 2 and a half hours ago that my old friend (I usually refer to him as “My Drummer” lost his mother last night (cancer, year long battle).
So I asked what I might do and have kind of become the Wake planner, knowing that anything to offload the burden, will be helpful. I have secured a location and some food (having friends in places low and high has advantages.) Anyhow I have not done one of these before so I ask of the sadlynauts who may have been through this to offer any advice. I know I have the basics covered but would be open to any ideas This guy is basically a brother, and his wife a sister to me and I want to put on the best wake that I can.

Thanks in advance.

 
 

Prov – Some of us just respond to tragedy with snark because we have a hard time expressing sympathy. I was one of the ones who got yelled at back in 1986 for making black humor jokes about the Columbia explosion.

It’s just one of those coping mechanisms I guess, is what I’m saying.

 
 

It’s just one of those coping mechanisms I guess, is what I’m saying.

i would argue there’s a big difference between that and actively saying, ‘i can’t wait to make jokes about this!’

also, too…i just collected my mail and i apparently now have a subscription to “freedom” magazine which is published by the church of scientology…wtf?!

 
 

also, i’ve also never planned a wake, but i would reckon as long as you have a place, food, booze and d.d.s, you’re good to go…oh…and music…

 
 

True, I don’t think any of us would have said “I hope the damn shuttle explodes so we can make tasteless jokes about it!”.

It’s all Unfunny Gary’s fault.

 
 

It’s all Unfunny Gary’s fault.

unfunny gary’s just not on his game lately, is he…

 
 

I believe that there’s often a very fine line between genius and insanity.

I suspect that Robin Williams was one of those people.

 
 

I suspect that Robin Williams was one of those people.

Andy Kaufmann too. In fact he exemplified walking that line and leaving us all wondering which side he was really on.

 
 

Anyhow I have not done one of these before so I ask of the sadlynauts who may have been through this to offer any advice. I know I have the basics covered but would be open to any ideas This guy is basically a brother, and his wife a sister to me and I want to put on the best wake that I can.

Just try to think of what the person would want. Play music that reminds you of her, let the people drink and eat…that’s about all there is to it.

The only advice I would give is to NEVER ask for advice or help from people attending the wake. I can tell you from personal experience that those situations can cause a lot of scraped up feelings. Just trust your instincts and go with it. You’re perceptive and intelligent, you know what to do.

 
 

Tsam, et alia, thanks. I was just thinking about music. I should have pictures covered. Music is covered…done and done.

Today, i ran into all of the right people at the right time, given the circumstances, could not ask for a better result.

Then i got to rock. Happy that we still get to play saturday in indy. Pretty sure it will be cathartic for my buddy.

Again, thank you all. I have secret crushes on most of you.

 
 

Holy Hannah, the comments thread is borked on my laptop- about 3/4ths way down, everything is bunched together.

 
 

Condolences on your friend’s loss. As far as the wake goes, just make sure there’s plenty of food, booze, and sympathy.

Flowers and a photo montage of the departed are good to have, but the booze is essential. Yeah, it’s a cultural thing, why do you ask?

 
 

In my life I probably have only attended 3-4 wakes. Maybe it’s just midwestern prudery, but there has never been booze at any of them. Is booze only an ‘Irish wake’ requirement, or have I just had the misfortune to attend very puritanical wakes?

 
 

In my life I probably have only attended 3-4 wakes. Maybe it’s just midwestern prudery, but there has never been booze at any of them. Is booze only an ‘Irish wake’ requirement, or have I just had the misfortune to attend very puritanical wakes?

i have never been to a formal wake…around here, we just have ‘visitation’ which is usually at the funeral home or the church, so i couldn’t tell ya…i have however attended what turns into an impromptu informal wake, as in friends and family of the deceased going to one of the supper clubs or bars to hang out and talk and drink…

 
 

also, too…my mom’s in the hospital with some heart issues :( turned out not to be a heart attack, but still waiting on some other test results…she’s had some episodes lately which are similar to a stroke, but not a stroke. she’s always been a hypochondriac, but i think she’s getting to the age where there is actually some stuff going on…

 
 

Hey, amazing. The folks in Ferguson get a police chief who looks like them, who expresses concern for their concerns, who doesn’t immediately treat the situation as a confrontation and is willing to listen, and mirable dictu the “violent thugs” turn into overwhelmingly peaceful citizens.

Odd, isn’t it.

 
 

Just to lighten things up a little:

Our 3:40 AM departure was delayed by a full hour this morning.

The load crew stopped loading because they found a large puddle of brownish gunk back in the cargo compartment. Potentially serious because of the amount of hazardous materials we transport.

All loading activity was stopped. A cleanup team was called out. A bunch of serious looking management types came out to supervise.

As far as anyone could tell it was – salad dressing.

In my 9 years of doing this I’ve been delayed for many reasons but that’s a first. If only we’d had some lettuce.

 
 

As far as anyone could tell it was – salad dressing.

At last the secret is out and we finally learn what those mysterious contrails are made of.

 
 

Salad dressing for the dirty liberal arugula we eat!

(True story: the wingnut pharmacist I used to work for was a big fan of the arugula he grew. I wisely held my tongue and never said anything. ;) (He was a good guy, regardless of his shitty politics.))

 
 

the arugula he grew

is that some sort of code for ‘it’s always projection’?

 
 

Projection?

Oh, probably. He was good at that.

 
 

Did he call it “rocket”? (Some plants in that family have that name, though I can’t seem to find the etymology for it.)

 
 

I never heard him call it that; first time he mentioned his garden he was talking enthusiastically to one of his Limbaugh-listening buddies (a doctor, god help us) and mentioned it by name and my ears perked up but, as I said, I kept quiet.

Never found out if he drinks white wine, though.

 
 

Wow! Just . . . wow!

I just looove that “resilient, conscientious or prudent” line so. A couple weeks back I saw Bobo and faux “liberal” Ruth Marcus on Beat the Mea– Press, I mean. Both were tut-tutting about how it wouldn’t be “prudent” to end our little War on Drugs experiment because the jury’s still out, it COULD miraculously succeed, someday, we never know . . . oh, and possible lost IQ points and “brain damage” to kids who smoke before age 19 & blah, blah. David talked about the “subtle persuasion” of the state in a previous post. . . yes, it’s always subtle when the cops break down your door, beat you silly and haul you away for years (well, if you’re one of those pesky non-white peoples, or your family’s not well off . . . )

And it suddenly occurred to me– these privileged ass-wipes believe the sole and only function and purpose of the state is to enforce . . . their particular social prejudices and fears. Well, that explains a lot. But it doesn’t seem particularly “conscientious, resilient or prudent” unless you live in a fantasy world of privilege, just ’round the corner from Apelbee’s and the salad bar.

 
 

How would you like to be mentioned in my upcoming novel’s
acknowledgements page and trailer? How about a free, signed copy and a personalized dedication? Or how about having a character named after you? All this and more can be yours if you participate in my homemade Kickstarter drive.

 
jim the heretical anti-cliff lemming
 

Rick Perry just got indicted for abuses of power.

/schadenfreudegasm

 
 

Just visited New Vansterdam and bought weed legally. Well, as far as Washington is concerned it’s legal. Interesting experience. Expensive I think but I don’t want to have to work with some skeevy dealer, I do ithe deal at MY convenience, I know exactly what I’m getting – graded organic weed, et fucking cetera and so on and such as also too. Worth it to me.

 
 

Just visited New Vansterdam

Pup, will that internets be carry-out or delivery? And would you like an extra for Teh Ho-Turned-Hubby?

 
 

Hello to my friends in Ville du Sadlie! This has been a splendid thread to read. I have particularly enjoyed commentary from Chris, Pere Ubu, and Helmut.

Tsam: Williams in Fisher King = brilliant. His best work, imo. I am deeply saddened by Robin Williams’ death. It feels like the death of another of the humane comic geniuses of my age: Winters, Carlin, Hartman.

,,,slipping back into the shadows of lurkerdom; have fun, everyone. Wonderful thread you have going here.

 
 

… graded organic weed, et fucking cetera and so on and such as also too. Worth it to me.

Again, fuck me and my company-truck-driving random drug-screened ass!
.

 
Pupienus Maximus
 

I wish I could take credit but the store in Vancouver (WA, “The Couve”) is named New Vansterdam.

In a similar vein, i WISH I could take credit for Rick Perry’s indictment but that’s only Bryan Fischer’s daily delusion.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2014/08/bryan-fischer-gays-responsible-for-rick-perrys-indictment/

 
Pupienus Maximus
 

FYWP. FY FY FY FY

Also FY

 
 

I say we dig up that traitor Richard Nixon’s corpse and give it a good hanging… who’s with me?

http://crooksandliars.com/2014/08/yes-richard-nixon-was-traitor

 
Pupienus Maximus
 

If I said it then WHERE THE FUCK IS IT? HUH WP?

Try again

I wish I could take credit but the store in Vancouver (WA, “The Couve”) is named [link to New Vansterdam dot com was here]

In a similar vein, i WISH I could take credit for Rick Perry’s indictment but that’s only Bryan Fischer’s daily delusion.

Link to

patheos dot com /blogs /wwjtd/2014/08/bryan-fischer-gays-responsible-for-rick-perrys-indictment/

Caught in spam filter?

 
 

Afore I went straight-edge a couple yrs. ago my (illegal but in no way skeevy or sketchy) connection had dropped the price for a quarter oz. from US$150.00 to $125, saying his prices had gone down. Dunno if the price drop had anything to do w/ medical legalization, but per Weedmaps, the dispensary around the corner from my bunker wants anywhere from $95.00 to $45.00 a quarter.

At around $30.00 for a temple recommend from some hack doctor the first legal purchase would be the same essential price as illegal, & it’d be savings every purchase after.

And of course you have a vast choice of silly-named reefer. At the dealer’s it was “Here’s the weed I got now.” Never got any crummy stuff from him, but I s’pose choice is good.

The pusher man (even older than I) had noted his customer base was getting smaller as folks knocked it off after many yrs., or up & died.

So prices should come down. Just hope Oregon doesn’t put up a fruit & agriculture checkpoint on the bridge.

 
 

I’d do it but I don’t think the FAA would care whether I got it legally or not.

We do get randomly screened.

 
 

Course the whole testing thing is horsecrap anyway; actual poisons like cocaine, heroin & alcohol are metabolized as quickly as your body can, while reefer stays in the system for wks.

 
 

reefer stays in the system for wks.

The metabolites of reef stay in the system for weeks, stored in fat cells, and slowly excreted into the waste stream, unlike the other drugz mentioned, where the metabolites are either indistinguishable from those resulting from other, legal products, or are excreted much more quickly.

I am all for IMPAIRMENT testing. Some video game company could clean the fuck up selling that gear to every military police organization in the OohEss of Ay.
.

 
 

The wake preperation has concluded, with the preliminaries established, the ladies have taken care of the finishing touches.

Last nights gig in Indy went well considering. 5 minutes before we were set to start I pinched about a quarter inch round and nearly eigth inch deep chunk of skin off of my fret hand pinky while setting up the guitar stand.

Took one look, thought “this is gonna start bleeding real soon.” I get to one bartender get some napkins and ask the other for a couple of bandaids. Quicky determine that 4 are indicated. At the same time realizing that our opening number is one that makes extensive use of that finger and how that is gonna suck…I apologize to the bartender while she was cleaning some drops of my blood off of the bar.

There is no place to hide in a trio. Even fewer places to hide in a punk trio. Lets just say that it was an interesting exercise in resourse management and on the fly arrangment adjustments.

After abouy 4 or 5 tunes, I could feel the arrangement beginning to start the slide up the finger. At a point between song a young lady aproaches and asks if i need any more bandages.
“Yes, two and thank you.”

After the next tune finished I found them in front of my monitor, where she said they would be. The fifth one was the charm.

I am wondering about my karma’s interaction with this venue. First time played break a string on the first time ever, second time , lose a pretty important chunk of skin.

We killed (my best atribute may be the ability to make my mistakes sound good.) But for me the first ten minutes were fraught with blood and terror.

 
 

A bassist who can’t give his pinky the night off deserves no respect! ;)
.

 
 

NONE of you Sadlies have commented at the new CATOPIA, TN! SHAME!
.

 
 

Shouldn’t say “Frist” where kitty-cats are concerned.

 
 

Jeffra….you dont wanna see pictures. I still got to work with this thing…

 
 

And just because as a semi-historian, it’s always fun to rebut a recently typed, um, essay-like product with something that celebrated its bicentennial when Reagan was in office, I bring you M. Pierre Beaumarchais, whose works will be remembered long after Bobo Brooks has ceased to line parakeet cages and start fires in oil drums.

“Just because you are a great nobleman, you think you are a great genius—Nobility, fortune, rank, position! How proud they make a man feel! What have you done to deserve such advantages? Put yourself to the trouble of being born—nothing more. For the rest—a very ordinary man! Whereas I, lost among the obscure crowd, have had to deploy more knowledge, more calculation and skill merely to survive than has sufficed to rule all the provinces of Spain for a century!”

 
Pupienus Maximus
 

Bbkf – yes, you heard it on an NPR program. I don’t recall either what show it was but you got the idea right. When the popo are threatening the crowd reacts accordingly. When they aren’t a threatening presence all is cool and copacetic and shit. It was a police chief who said it.

 
 

long after Bobo Brooks has ceased to line parakeet cages and start fires in oil drums

Personally?

Because, damn, I didn’t think he was even THAT useful.

 
 

Bbkf – yes, you heard it on an NPR program

oh good…i’m not just hearing things then…

on a food note, i tried poutine this weekend…just a teensy bit, though i could have eaten the entire plateful…i must say, it IS delightful, although in the stifling heat and humidity of an outdoor celebration in the park, not really a good food choice…

 
 

Always go for the Laotian eggrolls and the Filipino lumpia. That’s my culinary recommendation for food festivals where you have different ethic groups represented.

 
 

Jeffra….you dont wanna see pictures. I still got to work with this thing…

Medical textbook pictures? :) WTF? Did I insert my foot?
.

 
 

Btw, Frist Sadlynaut was Pere Ubu! Neener, neener, neener!
.

 
 

Provider_UNE, I hope Liquid Bandage/supahglue and DUCT TAPE resolved the issue.
.

 
 

Five bandages took care of bidness…While I don’t expect a recurrence, I will be assembling a basic first aid kit as part of gig prep.

Thing is healing nicely, but more like 8 millimeters long 6 wide and three deep.

Also, wake was enjoyed by all. Thanks for the input.
Xoxox.

 
 

i tried poutine this weekend

Poutine is tasty enough, but the gravy makes the fries soggy and I’m not big on soggy fries.

 
 

Poutine is tasty enough, but the gravy makes the fries soggy and I’m not big on soggy fries.

me either, but i am super big on gravy…

 
 

Just saying . . . this might be worth attending . . . maybe we can all pitch in and then draw straws to send one Sadlynaut to learn about “The American Dream” and Young Brooks’s time at Camp Incarnation?

https://www.incarnationcamp.org/other/conversation-david-brooks-2014/

“The most successful institution I’ve ever been involved with . . . I went to and worked at the camp for 15 years, which was not an uncommon tenure. Such was our fierce love of the place that we just kept coming back.”

—David Brooks, NYT columnist reflecting on his time as a camper and a counselor
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/21/opinion/a-camp-on-the-rebound.html

http://www.incarnationcamp.org/about-us/

Or, perhaps David Brooks would like to share his thoughts with everyone?
http://www.incarnationcamp.org/alumni/share-your-story/

 
 

Possibly relevant to this blog. http://i.imgur.com/xwp8SbW.jpg

 
 

Completely not relevant to this blog.

Hogzilla II: Dinosaurs are the new Dodos
http://www.al.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2014/08/new_state_record_potential_wor.html

 
 

I swear this is a yearly post:
https://www.incarnationcamp.org/other/conversation-david-brooks-2014/

“The most successful institution I’ve ever been involved with . . . I went to and worked at the camp for 15 years . . . “

 
 

This is the fourth time that Mr. Brooks has graciously offered to speak at an event benefiting Incarnation Camp. We are delighted to hear him reflect on the ever timely subject: “The American Dream.”

gracious indeed!

 
 

yow…i had acupuncture for the first time today…i feel all floaty…wheeeeeeeee…

 
 

David Brooks [...] has a gift for bringing audiences face-to-face with the spirit of our times

He does have a way of evoking shallow business-friendly idiot centrism verging on apologia for neo-fascist fedualism, doesn’t he?

 
 

On fone so I can’t be arsed to provide link. Michael Mann is suing Mark ShitSteyn for defamation again. The usual suspects are in full HUR DUR telling readers of their Kochsucking publications that saying he fraudulently manipulated data and such isn’t _really_ defamation because reasons.

 
 

saying he fraudulently manipulated data and such isn’t _really_ defamation because reasons

“Why, the poor man’s being sued for stating an opinion! What tragedy! What perversion of justice!”

Laws are for little people – you know, blacks and liberals and the rest of us untermenschen.

 
 

Gonna go down and audition for “A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to the Forum.” in less than an hour from now. Let’s see what’s gonna happen.

 
 

“And you, Lycus, are a gentleman and procurer!”

 
 

Well, I’m in it. I don’t know who I’m playing yet, but I’ll at least study all the choruses and go through the thing until I’m updated on who I’ll be playing.

The copyright notice is pretty explicit from the usual boilerplate you find in playbooks.

Federal Copyright Law specifically prohibits the public performance of the enclosed material without a performance license. (Blab, blah, blah.) For example it does not matter whether your audience paid for their tickets or not, it does not matter if your group is a school or not. The law requires you to obtain a license prior to performing the enclosed material.

 
 

David Brooks [...] has a gift for bringing audiences face-to-face with the spirit of our times

The spirit of our time? If he could bring his pet audiences with the real spirit of our times they’d go mad or catatonic. Which spirit of our times does he show them? Blithely ignoring existential threats to the future of humanity while the rich fight over the decaying remains of the American empire? Pretending the collapse of every historical empire won’t happen to the USA because reasons? Pretending that the exponential growth of population, GDP and technology can go on forever? Pretending our foreign policy will never come home to the USA with tragic consequences? The gleeful embrace of America First attitudes toward immigration, Snake handler pop theology, voodoo economics and the rejection of expertise?

David Brooks is a successful pundit because he is so good at looking right at the spirit of the times and not seeing a goddamn thing. He wouldn’t know the spirit of the times if it swarmed his bedsheets at night and left him covered with oozing zeitgeist welts.

 
 

Gonna go down and audition for “A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to the Forum.” in less than an hour from now. Let’s see what’s gonna happen.

you might want to get the name right, though…

 
 

Helmut – So Bobo is a Lovecraftian horror?

I knew it!

 
 

From The Social Animal by David Brooks . . . from a chapter titled Camp . . . note that, doh, “Harold” is DB:

“In early August, the director asked if he could spare five days to help lead a canoe trip down the Connecticut River. There were fifteen teenagers; two counselors, who were college kids; and Harold. He was three decades older than anybody else on the trip, but he fit right in.

As they were paddling down the river, he’d organize trivia contests. He taught them songs, and learned about Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. At nights, they came to call him Daddyo, and in the earnest, heavy-but-open manner of teenagers, they told him about their problems– about their love lives, their parents’ divorces, their confusion about what was expected from them. Harold was so touched that they trusted him. He listened with rapt attention. The kids seemed desperate for authority figures. He supposed the teachers and other professionals knew what to say when the kids told them about their problems and fears. He sure didn’t.

The last full day of the canoe trip was arduous. They paddled all day, against a strong wind. Harold told the kids that, when they made it to their destination, they could take all the remaining supplies and have a food fight. When they made it to the final campground, the kids seized the supplies, and within minutes they began splattering them on one another. Great blobs of peanut butter were flying through the air. Everybody had jelly smeared across their shirts. Cake mix was gooped up into thick batter and rolled into sloppy warm snowballs. The kids, the counselors, and Harold hid behind trees, organized meatloaf ambushes, and warded off snow showers of powdered orange juice.

When the battle was over, they were all a mess, coated from head to shoes with gunk. They held hands and ran in a big line into the river to wash off. Then they came out, changed, and had their final campfire. Harold had brought no booze on the trip, and retired late that night to his tent sober and happy. He lay in his sleeping bag, feeling exhausted and lucky. It’s interesting how fast a mood can change. In an instant something turned in him. Suddenly, he felt like weeping.

He had never cried in his entire adult life, except occasionally in the dark at the end of a sad movie. And he didn’t actually cry this time. He felt tremors in his gut. He felt a pressure at the back of his eyes. But nothing actually came out. Instead, he had this weird sensation of imagining himself crying. He was floating above and got a glimpse of himself in a crouch heaving with sobs in his sleeping bag.
And then it passed. He thought about the life he had constructed and the life he would have constructed, if he had been a little more open and possessed a little more emotional courage. Eventually, he fell asleep.”

 
 

From The Social Animal by David Brooks . . . from a chapter titled Camp . . . note that, doh, “Harold” is DB:

i…what the? i don’t have any words…what the hell?! gah!

 
 

So Bobo is a Lovecraftian horror?

It all makes sense now!

 
 

oozing zeitgeist welts

Loved their sophomore album but the others are crap.

 
 

He had never cried in his entire adult life, except occasionally in the dark at the end of a sad movie. And he didn’t actually cry this time. He felt tremors in his gut. He felt a pressure at the back of his eyes. But nothing actually came out…

Harold, that is just your body’s natural instinct to cringe when thinking of all the cringe-worthy shit you’ve written over the years.

Especially thinking back to the March 2003 era, when you were a big cheerleader for Junior’s Awesome Iraq Adventure…

 
 

Rick Perry’s (s)mugshot.

WTF are the height markers, and the booking board?
.

 
 

Howdy everybody. It has finally begun to rain. Not that it’s international news or anything, but we’ve been in a bit of a drought. La Primera, the first planting of the year, was lost in all departments except Nueva Segovia, way up north with Honduras. So frijoles are going for thirty three to thirty four cordobas a pound, nearly triple the price I have seen in the markets for the past six years. The Salvadorenos are paying top dollar for harvests that aren’t even in yet! The govt has brought in Ethiopan beans to replace the lost crop, but they’re not cheap either. Also nobody likes them. Nicas are particular about their beans. They must be red, first of all. Black beans just won’t do. The national dish, gallo pinto, depends on red beans. The Nicaraguan red bean gets its rich, nutty flavor from the volcanic soil. The whole western side of the country, where most of the people live, is really just a string of volcanos in all conditions, active, dormant, and, because of the seismic activity earlier this year, (scientists have decided) somewhere in between. These are good days then. The drought has ended, the tropical green lush has returned, and the pestering earth quakes have stopped. I hope everyone here is doing as well.

 
 

The fact is, Rick Perry will be cleared of all these liberal acusitions and there will be payback for those who dared to attack him, hear in the heartland we look after patriots and freedom. Also, why dont the thugs in Ferguson just go home if they did we wouldnt have to shoot them but we must elimineate the vermin infesting the Heartland

 
 

Not funny fake Gary. Not funny at all.

 
 

we must elimineate the vermin infesting the Heartland

It sounds better in the original German.

 
 

Btw, I quit my awesome, low-paying job Monday morning. I do have a plan, but I really appreciate all the hits y’all are giving the CatopiaTN.com new catblog/soon-to-have-live-stream-vid of the boys. I’ll also still be testing backflows, as soon as my test gauge arrives. And smoking dope soon, since Wanda requires no cup-peeing. :)

Cheers, maytes!
.

 
 

I’ll also still be testing backflows

Veiled buttchugging reference?

 
 

Any interest in pitching in for a Brooks ticket and then drawing straws to see who goes and reports back? (Yeah, it’s expensive but, hey, all the money goes to Incarnation Camp to create future Brooks for our amusement.) I’d pitch in, oh, $10. Perhaps a modest Kickstarter is in order?

Hmmm, wait. There’s no way a human can survive hearing Brooks talk about Incarnation Camp and the American Dream for an hour without hard drugs and/or a bottle or two. Maybe we double the ante and provide the winner with a ticket and $125 for self-medication? So, okay, I’d pitch in $20 for a chance to draw the short straw.

It seems likely there will be some sort of Q&A and/or a chance to get a copy of The Social Animal signed by Brooks. Perhaps each entry for the drawing gets to suggest a question. I’d like to claim “Daddyo, you’ve been face-to-face with the spirit of our times. If the spirit of our times was on a Applebee’s menu, would it be more like SIZZLING DOUBLE BARREL WHISKY SIRLOINS or the 4-CHEESE MAC & CHEESE WITH HONEY PEPPER CHICKEN TENDERS?”

 
Big Bad Bald Bastard
 

Too bad “Harold” wasn’t devoured by snapping turtles attracted to his food-caked body when he took a dip in the river.

 
 

Too bad “Harold” wasn’t devoured by snapping turtles attracted to his food-caked body

That was the movie of the week on SyFy channel. Except they were mutant sharkturtles.

 
 

Suzeboo, what’s all this then about South Africans using fresh fruit in a deadly way:

http://www.salon.com/2014/08/21/south_africa_man_dead_after_orange_pelting/

 
 

Sgt.: Pointed stick? Oh, oh, oh. We want to learn how to defend ourselves against pointed sticks, do we? Getting all high and mighty, eh? Fresh fruit not good enough for you eh? Well I’ll tell you something my lad. When you’re walking home tonight and some homicidal maniac comes after you with a bunch of loganberries, don’t come crying to me! Now, the passion fruit. When your assailant lunges at you with a passion fruit…

 
 

We want to learn how to defend ourselves against pointed sticks, do we?

I prefer a halberd. It’s got that old school charm. They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

 
 

Too bad “Harold” wasn’t devoured by snapping turtles attracted to his food-caked body when he took a dip in the river.

i’m pretty sure what bobo didn’t include in his homage to harold is that shortly after the food fight, the kids realized that daddy-o had incited them to throw all their remaining food at each other and they were going to be left with nothing to eat that night and they descended upon harold giving him a beatdown he hadn’t seen the likes of since junior high…

 
 

I just made the mistake of going to Salon and reading the article on the orange (not mango?) attack, then clicking through to an article on Wal-Mart and a woman’s complaints about her job there.

Mistake was reading the comments, as usual.

What the fuck ever happened to sympathy in this country? Typical “you don’t look poor” “you could use to miss a few meals” “suck it up it’s retail” “I pulled myself up by my bootstraps you lazy shit” litany of GOP-esque yammering. There was one decent comment about the damage that buisness-felchers and conservatives have done to our economy in their race to the bottom, but it’s effectively lost in the rotten mango pit of “you should just save more”.

Yeah, just save more. You can tell THAT person has never lived paycheck-to-paycheck; there’s ALWAYS something you need to spend that $25 you could supposedly sock away for the future on.

 
 

Mistake was reading the comments, as usual.

Never read the comments. That way lies madness.

 
 

I blame it on the browser manufacturers.

You’re just scrolling down, scrolling down, and suddenly you’re hip-deep in batshit.

 
 

Mistake was reading the comments, as usual.

Never read the comments. That way lies madness.

ooof…any time i do, i have the urge to mix up a drain-o cocktail…yet, i’m still drawn to them…must be i’m a masochist…

 
 

You won’t believe that I have managed to sneak up on, and capture the image of a sleeping Kevin.
.

 
 

It recently occurred to me that if the police in years past had been more diligent in gunning down young men who engage in petty theft and take drugs then we would never have had to live through the George W Bush administration.

 
 

The police have never been diligent about gunning down young men who engage in petty theft and take drugs. They have been diligent about gunning down black men specifically who look like they may have met a guy -even if only once, who engaged in petty theft and took drugs.

 
 

My offering was an unintended shorter of Helmut, whose comment I had yet to see.

 
 

Hey, I’m SO GLAD *snerk* one of the cops who shot the kid with the air rifle at Wal-Mart the other day is back at work.

True story: I was at our local Wal-Thing yesterday (yes, I know) and walked past the sporting goods section where, wonder of wonders, a couple young goons had taken an air rifle out of the case and were shooting it off (empty, thank ghod) in the store. Strangely enough police were not called and nobody got killed. FANCY THAT.

Oh, did I mention they were pasty-white?

 
 

“a couple young goons had taken an air rifle out of the case and were shooting it off”

You’ll put your eye out kid!

 
 

You know they have that tomato-throwing festival in, is it Spain ?, where the people go bananas throwing tomatoes at each other ? I’m sure that could get ugly too.
You go to battle with the farm crop you have, not the fruit you wish you had. Or something.

 
 

Waste of good tomatoes if you ask me.

 
 

Waste of good tomatoes if you ask me.

seems to me like they are then one step closer to the only way i will eat a tomato which is in sauce form…

 
 

You don’t like tomatoes?

Granted the supermarket ones are crap, but right now the good ones are in season at the farmer’s market.

 
 

Granted the supermarket ones are crap, but right now the good ones are in season at the farmer’s marketmy backyard.

 
 

where the people go bananas throwing tomatoes at each other

Bananas?

I thought they were throwing tomatoes.

Mangoes bananas, throwing tomatoes. Orange you glad you’re not him?

 
 

It was a viciously sharp slice of mango, wasn’t it, sir…

 
 

Belated.

One shouldn’t have to be a superhuman paragon of ambition, diligence, good health, and luck to be successful, but that’s what it takes to get out of poverty in America today.
[...]
If we want to end poverty in America, we have to build a society that has good jobs for all people – even those people that Brooks thinks lack ambition or intelligence. People need to see that they don’t have to be the smartest, fastest, hardest working person they know in order to improve their situation. Because that’s what it takes now. If we want to encourage a work ethic, that work has to profit the workers.

In a word, this.

The reward for being extraordinarily talented, hardworking, smart, educated, or wev is supposed to be, in a nutshell, “you get rich.”

It is not supposed to be “you get to break even for the first time in your life and not have to worry about crushing debt, lack of insurance, or whether you’ll have enough to eat next month.” Which is increasingly what it means, even for those outside of the poor and working classes.

 
 
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