Thursday, November 9, 2017

When Reality Isn't Really Real....

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter” – Winston Churchill

Another election day has come and gone in New Yorkistan, capital city of the Permanently Aggrieved and Professionally Poor, and soon to be home of a new and more-virulently retarded strain of Radical Shit-for-Brains, the likes of which the world has never seen.

I write this in something of a fog. The source of the confusion is not the actual result of the election for Mayor of Sodom-on-the-Hudson (the result was almost a foregone conclusion, considering the realities of our Modern Gotham, increasingly populated by the rejects of every shithole in America and beyond, and less-and-less the preserve of the Native New Yorker -- a breed as rare as the Unicorn), as much as it is the mental state of the people who produced it.

I must admit to having done nothing in the way of empirical research before tapping this stuff out on my keyboard. I have conducted no polls; I have not focus-grouped my assumptions and conclusions; I have not conducted man-in-the-street interviews to verify the assertions I’m about to make. I’m about to do something that is a gigantic no-no in the Arena of Argument, and make a sweeping generalization from a single, anecdotal example, and apply it to a vast swath of the population.

“Timmy” (not his real name, but even when using his real name he prefers the diminutive form which makes it sound like you’re talking to a six-year-old) is not a bad young man. He’s someone I often work with and like (a rarity, since I find most human beings to be something to be regarded with disgust). He’s another of those Transplants who seem to be cropping up every day in New York with increasing frequency – in his case, being raised in the wilds of rural Pennsylvania. He is polite, seems reasonably bright, and giving him his full due, is capable of carrying on a conversation without 15 “likes” a minute, or resort to frequent “Yeah, but..” rebuttals.

Timmy is 26 years old and has a degree in Art History, which is why he’s selling life insurance (not his real profession, but it might as well be). I don’t know for certain his sexual orientation (it’s not something that comes up in conversation), but I would characterize him as “ambiguous”, or to be more-precise, probably closer to “bisexual", to judge from the oblique references. I don’t know if this is true or not; it’s just a general impression based upon years of experience with some of the gayest people in history and 25 years of proximity to legions of homosexuals on Wall Street. The signs are all there.

(Author’s Note: for the 42,567,803rd time in print: The Overlord does not care if anyone is gay. He has his own problems, thank you very much).

He’s quite well-read (in terms of the amount of reading he does; it’s quality is debatable, though), culturally plugged-in (he knows where all the trendy restaurants are, where the best galleries are, what wine to pair with either a fillet or a vegan burrito), and dresses tastefully in the best traditions of the Modern Hipster, which is to say like a fucking female with a beard, but it looks good on HIM. Whoever raised Timmy can be proud; he’s a good guy. He’s a bit of a SJW (Social Justice Warrior), but one of the least-offensive it has been my (usually) sad displeasure to meet.

When Timmy speaks of his life in the provincial marches, where civilization barely holds sway, the impetus for his defection to the Greener Pastures of Brooklyn become clear: although he doesn’t always come out and say so, it is apparent that Timmy found life in a small town where incest and wife-beating are the primary occupations to be stifling and restricting. He does not wax nostalgic for the Norman Rockwell romance of Smallville, USA (in fact, I once heard Timmy refer to Rockwell as “Bourgeois Trash”), and his unpleasant recitations of its shortcomings – rust, power tools, corner bars, abandoned buildings, Saturday night football games, minor-league hockey – leave one with the impression that he believes he was raised in the 9th Circle of Dante’s Hell, only with a Dairy Queen.

He speaks of unsophisticated hicks wandering around aimlessly scratching their behinds, or alternately picking their noses, living an existence marinated in diesel fuel, dark, Satanic mills, dilapidated body shops, seedy tattoo parlors, Pawn Shops, and aimless, hopeless, teenagers smoking catnip because they can’t afford real pot, where certain sexual preferences were probably greeted with hostility and ostracism.

He makes Western Penn sound like it is Mogadishu, on fire, in the midst of simultaneous cholera and diarrhea epidemics, while a meteor is hurtling towards Earth. But mostly he speaks of it in personal terms, and what life there didn’t offer him. Primarily, these revolve around the one truly offensive quality Timmy has, which is his belief that the Universe Revolves Around Him, and that those rubes back in Podunk just never realized how “special” he was. “Special” is defined in terms of possession of a greater empathy, sympathy, and it gets vaguer from there, with “greater awareness” being one of his favorite, well-tooled filler phrases of choice.

“Awareness” of what is never specifically mentioned, but Timmy has it in spades, he assures you, and it would appear as if the assertion of this “greater awareness” is supposed to indicate that Timmy possesses a greater virtue than you do.

Timmy left Inbred Mudhole, Pennsylvania because Timmy could not be Timmy there, and was often persecuted (he says) for being Timmy without getting too specific about what he believes makes Timmy Timmy.

And like many a sensitive soul trapped in the Gehenna-like conditions of a social and cultural backwater, Timmy set out upon the road – one has the mental image of a poor waif, a loaf of bread under one arm, a bundle of cloth attached to a long pole slung over one shoulder, trudging through a snowstorm; the reality was that Mom and Dad paid for his move and his first year's rental – to go to The Big City to seek his fortune.

Of course, what Timmy neglects to tell you is in the picture he’s painting of his rough-and-tumble, pre-New York City existence is that he would be what is considered “Upper Middle Class” in most places in America, and decidedly “Middle Middle Class” by comparison in a place like New York. While he can spit leveled invective at the place of his birth, as if it was Auschwitz, every so often the truth leaks out – summers on the Great Lakes at the family retreat with a boat, the above-average university, his first car (Dad’s hand-me-down Volvo), the Family Business (four generations!), the frequent overseas trips to Europe (“Budapest is lovely this time of year”).

Which is why Timmy voted for the Socialist in this past Mayoral election.

Because Timmy is a fucking poser.

Incidentally, for the last three weeks, Timmy has being going on about how “Dad has business in Prague over the Holidays”, and that he’s excited to be going on the trip. So much so, that he has been driving his co-workers crazy soliciting opinions in his quest to find the “right” pattern for the new luggage he’s buying for the trip.

In the REAL New York of 20 years ago, someone would have punched Timmy in his fucking mouth for being a clueless dipshit; in the Modern New York, Timmy is the ideal we’re all supposed to aspire to.

Now, Timmy, as I’ve said is not a terrible person. Far from it. He’s reasonable, generous, gregarious, and a great conversationalist. He just doesn’t inhabit the same reality the rest of us do. Mostly because he’s encased himself in a bubble that prevents that reality from seeping in, and which prevents him from being exposed to anything as mundane as…oh…I don’t know…self-awareness.

So when the subject of “who did you vote for?” came up. Timmy announced that he’d voted for the guy who doesn’t even use his own real name (Bill DeBlasio, aka Warren Wilhelm, Jr) because “he cares” about the plight of “working families” (a euphemism for “minimum wage skills supplemented by food stamps and housing assistance”), and has his finger on the pulse of the issues that really matter.

Like whether the homeless should be allowed to defecate in the streets (Bill says “yes”).

Or whether the police should be “racially profiling” (incidentally, in any other sphere, “profiling” would be considered “the police doing their jobs”, since every cop will tell you that certain activities are clear indications of criminal behavior). Bill says “No” to that.

Bill even went as far as to excuse a Muslim shouting “Allahu Akbar!" as he ran down 8 people with a rented pickup a few days before the election as “nothing to do with Islam”. Because to draw any inferences would be "racist"..

Even though “Islam” is not a race.

Timmy also likes the “commitment to affordable housing” despite the fact that he lives in a gentrified former slum, that in the Old New York was known as “Brooklyn Heights” or “Gairville”, or even “Fulton’s Landing” 
but for some reason having to do with marketing is now called “DUMBO” (Downtown Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).

(One of the hallmarks of an invasion of politically-correct, "woke" foreigners from the fevered swamps of Middle America is the tendency to change the names of neighborhoods to reflect their own tastes and to eliminate the former, often-onerous connotations associated with the old names, which is why southern Harlem, for example, was renamed “Morningside Heights”, so as to avoid association with, you know, HARLEM, where the black people live).

Timmy, and his “roommate”, apparently live in a luxury co-op that was built 15 minutes ago on what was once a neighborhood of walkup flats, bodegas, and those “working families” (but not like those “working families" back in Dogpatch, NO SIR! Those blue-collar losers back home are white and have something called “Privilege”. Here, the "working families" are members of The Diversity) all now priced out of the local rental market.

I guess it’s a matter of guilt to be able to say that one stands in solidarity with the huddled masses when one has never had to huddle or be a part of the mass, but it’s more, I think, a matter of conflicting realities and the inability of one person to perceive the reality of another, if one is truly committed to not doing so.

People like Timmy, who would otherwise never in a million years set out to deliberately harm anyone, instead cause harm through the careless exercise of their attitudes and beliefs (which we should all share, on pain of death, because “Diversity”), and by their abandonment of personal responsibility for the problems this reckless caring-detached-from-common-sense leaves in their wake.

The SJW who “cares” about affordable housing turns the already-affordable housing into up-scale, luxury condominiums, forcing the people who already live there to leave. Where they're supposed to go is anyone's guess, but it somehow falls on the taxpayer to provide them with low rents in modern buildings with all the modern conveniences, on the cheap. Because Heaven Forbid someone should rent an apartment for profit, or that landlords should sell to developers for same, or that developers who profit from turning slums into luxury flats should also profit, since it gives people like Timmy a place to live without the niggers they secretly fear (because there are none in Horsefucker, Indiana) and profess to "care" about (mostly out of fear).

Yeah, I've used the N-word. Unbunch your panties. It's secretly how these assholes think.

Profit, apparently, is only evil when people you don't like get it, and when it doesn't benefit you.

The person who says he believes in socialism because “it’s the fairest economic system” ties himself up in pretzel knots deciding which expensive designer luggage to purchase for a trip he’s not even paying for. I'm guessing first-class, round-trip tickets grow on trees, too.

The otherwise-reasonable guy who told me that “it shouldn’t matter if so-and-so is labelled a Socialist; what matters is what they intend to do FOR the people” doesn’t know what Socialism has done TO The People.

The guy who insists that North Korea should be “engaged” wasn’t even alive when the Cold War ended, and laughs at you (as if the whole thing were silly) when you regale him with childhood tales of “Duck and Cover” drills, doesn’t know anything about any “Cuban Missile Crisis”, quips that Ronald Reagan wasn’t in the Star Wars movies so what does Reagan have to do with Star Wars? (who wasn’t even born when Star Wars was released!), and even asks me (yes, he did!) what the old-fashioned “Fallout Shelter” sign still attached to his renovated co-op meant, then shrugs as if none of it has any meaning at all.

And the truly aggravating part of it all is not so much why Timmy voted the way he did, or voted for who he did (both are his right) it’s that he has no sense of context.

Socialism is fair; the evidence to the contrary, although easily available to him, doesn’t matter. He’s been told it’s fairer than capitalism, and that’s what settles the matter.

“The Poor” need “help", but to point out the modern “poor” have access (often for free!) to luxuries that would have made any 19th Century Robber Baron green with envy makes no impression. It’s as if hospitals, cell phones, public transportation, college loans and scholarships, indoor plumbing, running water, sewage systems, the internet, have always existed, but were reserved for their own use by mean capitalists until the 21st Century when Obama got elected.

Point out that Timmy is the product of capitalism – the family business that allows European junkets, the boat, the summer house on Lake Erie, the upscale university that allows him to study Art History, the smartphone now clogged with thumbnails of thousands of choices in personal baggage, the Urban Renewal that turned his former slum into a 3-bedroom palace with a concierge, cable, gym, and personal laundry hookups – and he reacts as if you’re somehow misguided.

See, that’s not HIS reality. His reality is whatever he wants it to be: a childhood being oppressed with a boat and a summer house in the American equivalent of “Slumdog Millionaire”; a system of capitalism that won’t let Timmy be Timmy (presumably, with a cushy, well-paid job in a Museum where he can Art History to his heart’s content); a real estate machine in which “affordable housing” mysteriously materializes out of thin air when the up-scale come to make the previously-affordable unaffordable, just not in his neighborhood; a world in which it is an almost Sisyphean task to decide between the leather or the more-environmentally-friendly-cloth overpriced luggage with someone else’s name stenciled on it, all made in China by sweating coolies making 14-cents-a-month.

But it’s okay…I’m not a hypocrite because I voted for a Socialist. And I’m smug about it, too. I’m more virtuous than you.

Eventually, Timmy’s reality (small ’r’ intentional) meets the hard Reality (large ‘R” intentional) of REAL LIFE.

And I wonder what he will have to say when REAL LIFE makes itself felt in the need to collect higher real estate taxes in order to build all that “affordable housing”, or when Timmy wakes up to a half dozen bums sleeping in his doorway and defecating everywhere, or the local cops have to let a criminal walk because to get out of their squad car to check something out may result in a “profiling” incident and Civil Rights lawsuit, and his “roommate” gets murdered because of it.

I wonder, when the Realness of Really-Real Reality sledgehammers its way through the bubble of Timmy’s alternate un-real reality, if he’ll be shopping for new luggage for the paid-for-by-the-parents exodus to his next destination, where Timmy can be Timmy and ruin another city with platitudinous carelessness, only this time with fewer feces?
Still, I hold out hope for Timmy, if only because the Iron Law of Unintended Consequences will always conspire to catch up with the likes of him. It always does. And the young man who believes Socialism is "fair" will eventually come to have another opinion when he's forced to live under the dictates of the system he advocates for, but obviously knows so little about.

So long as Timmy does not bear the burden, even a burden borne in designer luggage, it's all good to him.


Anonymous said...

Quite a turn of phrase: "9th circle of hell, only with a Dairy
Queen." Awesome that.

Matthew Noto said...

Thanks much! I DO try.