"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself..." -- Leo Tolstoy
"Since there was nothing at all I was certain of, since I needed to be provided at every instant with a new confirmation of my existence, since nothing was in my very own, undoubted, sole possession, determined unequivocally only by me -- in sober truth a disinherited son -- naturally I became unsure even of the thing nearest to me, my own body..." - Franz Kafka, Letter to His Father
I read this a few days ago, and wanted to vomit.
The nausea was provoked by the exquisite brand of Shit-for-Brains that actually led someone to write such a seemingly self-UNCONSCIOUS pile of shit, and the secondary thought that someone paid him for it.
I want to say here that I do not know Mr. Ahmadi. If I have ever read anything else he's ever written, then it left no impact upon me, nor was it memorable. I'm certain Mr. Ahmadi is a decent person, who loves his mother and children and who never ever dream of torturing the family cat with a hot curling iron, or kicking a leper in the street.
But he's managed to offend me.
I'll explain why, but I have to warn you, Minions, this is about to get very deep, and ridiculously long.
Get a cup of coffee.
As for the American Conservative, I often read it, but every so often you run across something like this (I guess this is difficult, if not impossible, to avoid) and you begin to think to yourself -- no, YOU KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE -- that a goodly portion of the people who like to think themselves, to call themselves "conservative", wouldn't know what "conservatism" was if you shoved up their ass and then pounded it deep into their bowels with a jackhammer.
There are three reasons why "conservatism" is a hard sell in this country, and only becomes a popular, bandwagon kind of thing when people find themselves up against it.
The first is that most people haven't got three braincells to rub together. Their "conservatism" is of a limited or shallow sort. When they fling about phrases such as "limited government" what they really mean is "get the IRS out of my pocket, but make sure my Social Security check arrives when I need it", or, they confuse a hodgepodge of unrelated thoughts into a exegesis that essentially jells into a horrid pudding of "God, Guns and Gays"...and nothing else.
That is to say, the majority (in my experience) of people calling themselves "conservatives" or expressing conservative beliefs, suffer from the same mental retardation and fixations common to the liberal: they simply want what they want and they want it enforced against the wills of millions by the government.
They are essentially advocating that what has been done to them be done to others, and in a fashion that is just as offensive and by methods just as draconian.
It's a revenge fantasy every bit as pernicious as that preached by the most-stalwart Commie.
The second is that the "conservative" mouthpieces in this country are remarkably similar in their hypocrisy, and repetitive in their endless, mind-numbing droning. American "conservatives" haven't had a good idea in 40 years, and much like the leftist is mired in the heady days of faux "revolution" of the 1930's or 1960's, the American conservative believes time stopped when Ronald Reagan was elected.
As the hyper-religious dolt awaits the return of Christ, the hyper-anachronistic conservative is continuously searching for "the next Reagan", announces the new Messiah's arrival every fifteen minutes, and then discovers the error of his ways, but never alters or analyzes the stubborn mindset that continuously leads him to disappointment.
You could have tuned in Hannity, Levin, Coulter, Bongino, Noonan, and all the rest at anytime over the last two decades, and been treated to a laundry list of would-be, "real" "conservatives" who were all set to vanquish the Dread Beast of Liberalism, only to fall short. Very short. Leaving the "conservative" to believe that the REAL reason they fail is because their champions "are not conservative enough", and not because a) the champions weren't all that great to begin with, and b) the nominal "conservative" is a self-deluded idiot.
Here's your short list of people every talking head GUARANTEED me was "the Next Reagan" or "savior of conservatism" over the last 20-plus years:
George W. Bush
And those are the ones I can remember off the top of my head...
In the end, none of them was successful. Several of them didn't even get a chance to throw American Conservatism a lifeline, since American "conservatives" found some fault with them (usually related to Jesus) and killed candidacies in the cradle. Some of them didn't even try...at all.
I would also assert that some of the also-rans (say, Newt Gingrich and Rudy) were a far sight MORE conservative than Reagan on a slew of issues, but no one really cared...after all, they were "adulterers" sayeth the phony pious who imbibe vast quantities of bourbon on Saturday night before going to church on Sunday, and often turn out to be closet pedophiles.
The "conservatives" are gullible. If they see it on TV (and Hannity gave it his stamp of approval!) then it MUST be conservative enough for them.
The final reason is people much like I imagine Mr. Ahmadi is (to judge from that column). "Conservatism" is just where he goes to work. It's what helps him camouflage the inherent contradictions in his inner life. It's a mask that gets put on when it's time to pick up the paycheck, and which gets taken off when the invitation to the Brie and Chablis shindig uptown with the other doofuses who pine for "the next Kennedy" arrives.
It's right there in his column: he lives, he says, not in a city of some 8 million souls, no. He lives in a rectangle. A small, sad cage of his own design and construction. If it doesn't happen inside his rectangle, then it doesn't really happen, anywhere. It's only when the outside world penetrates the invisible perimeter of his inner sanctum (Sutton Place, a very well-to-do area, to judge by his description), that, suddenly, we're in crisis mode.
High property values and the proper social attitude were supposed to keep this awful outside-world nonsense away from his little slice of East Side Heaven.
And true to form, the Managerialist -- a would-be-lawyer-turned-journalist -- has only the OTHER tentacles of the Managerialist Beast to blame for it -- politicians, bureaucrats, media -- and probably conveniently forgets they live in the condo next door to him.
He never takes a look in the mirror; one reason WHY my beloved Sodom-On-Hudson has gone to shit is very much people like Mr. Ahmadi, by his own description of the few intimate details of his life. His world revolves around his status and the appendages of appearance that go with it (Look! I have an East Side condo! My gym is sooooo expensive! As soon as he crosses the
This attitude, this mindset, is at the heart of how it was that "Gotham" went to hell in a handbasket in less than a decade. Allow me to elaborate.
The Overlord, as I've bragged repeatedly in this blog, is a Native New Yorker. i was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in Beth Israel Hospital on a date that will one day become a national holiday. My parents --a police officer and a secretary -- lived in the nearby Stuyvesant Houses, until the arrival of my sister necessitated a move out of a one-bedroom apartment for a two-bedroom apartment in Far Rockaway (Queens). A short time later, the unexpected arrival of my brother (the last one is always an accident) required the family move again, to a large house in East Rockaway (Nassau County).
Suburban bliss did not last long, as my parents separated and divorced, and I was, from the ages of 7 to 13, raised in my grandparents home in Brooklyn. My mother would remarry and this brought us to my present environs of Staten Island. I have been living on Staten Island since 1981, with but one, brief foray into the South that lasted less than a year.
I am a New Yorker.
Mr. Ahmadi merely has an address (for now) here.
New Yorkers get a bad rap -- and I will admit this is sometimes deserved by certain examples -- for being callous, uncaring, mean, rude, nasty, loud, obnoxious, brash, but we are misunderstood. That carapace of arrogance, that ability to often ignore what is happening five inches from your nose, is an acquired survival skill. It is a defense mechanism that it is necessary to have in order to live (as one of my Southern friends put it) in an anthill where the rule of the day, in all things, is "competition".
No one is more-competitive than a New Yorker, and this is a trait we have all acquired because of the circumstances under which we live. We have to fight for everything. Anything you want has a line of 50 people waiting to prevent you from getting it. It is, literally, dog-eat-dog, in most circumstances, and this environment breeds tough, determined, almost-maniacally-combative people. It is exacerbated by the fact of 8 million souls -- from differing ethnicities, races, religions, lifestyle choices, and social goals -- rub together constantly. I've seen people argue over a seat on the Subway; get into altercations over skipping the line at the newstand; fight over parking spaces.
Fuck, get killed for parking spaces.
If you cannot defend yourself, if you cannot stake claim to what you reasonably (and sometimes unreasonably) believe is yours, this city will eat you alive.
And so the clueless tourist who finds herself on the receiving end of a nasty dressing down because she stopped a busy New Yorker to ask for directions (hint: Avenues run North-South, Streets run East-West), doesn't understand that we're in a hurry for a reason: every second someone delays us is a second we're not earning a living; its time we must take away from that job interview, or that important presentation at the office, it's a second that is the difference between getting your bus and train for your two-hour commute home or missing it. Life here moves fast, and to paraphrase Ferris Buelller, you literally can miss it in the blink of an eye.
But...but...give New Yorkers a cause. Give them something that cries out for a sense of justice, compassion, togetherness, and the shields come down.
There is nary an elderly shut-in in this city that isn't looked after by her neighbors.
There is never a major snowstorm in which entire blocks don't band together to make sure the Old Man's sidewalks and walkway aren't left uncleared.
There is never a summer blackout where the entire street doesn't gather together to share their ice, or improvise outdoor communal barbeques so that perishable meat doesn't go to waste.
Give us a 9/11, and watch us go to work.
Or, at least it USED to be that way.
I have seen this city at it's best -- the Giuliani Years -- and I have seen it at it's absolute worst -- the mayoral failures that were Beame, Carey, Koch, Dinkins. I have witnessed or survived the Mob Wars, the Summer of Sam, The race riots and pogroms ginned up by phony "reverends". Garbage strikes that saw refuse attain Everest-like heights and Guatemala-like aromas. Murder sprees, crack epidemics, rape gangs, and, of course, Donald Trump's ghastly taste in architecture.
We used to face our common troubles squarely, with determination, vigor and sweat.
Now, the city that once could boast recovery from the equivalent of a tactical nuke exploding downtown can't manage to tackle problems for which past experience has provided the answers, and this is, solely, because the Native with pride of place -- Brooklyn Born! Bronx and Loving it! -- has been replaced by the Invader of Indeterminate Everything.
Mr. Ahmadi, if he is not strictly One of Them certainly sounds like one.
I've written about this pestilence before. If you don't want to wade through that past post, I'll summarize for you:
These are the rejects vomited forth by the waste places between the Appalachians and the Rockies. The suburban, mostly-middle-upper-class twats from the Upper plains (Minnesotans and Wisconsinites), the farm-bred, college-indoctrinated assholes from the Bread Basket (Iowa ands Kansas). The refugees from the hopelessness and sheer boredom -- not to mention opioids and crystal meth -- of the Deep Rust Belt (Indiana, Illinois). They seek escape from the stultifying inertia and lack of opportunity afforded by their homelands.
Most are simply excited by the prospect of moving to "The Big City"; others are the second-sons of the Gated Community set who will not inherit the family farm or hardware store. A good many are fleeing the well-intentioned-but-soul-crushing oppression they suffer for being "different" in a land where conformity to "simple values" is like being waterboarded in a Chinese prison. All have come seeking some form of opportunity that just isn't possible in Dogpatch or Mayberry.
They often come here because they believe -- because that's what they see on television -- that this is a tolerant society. No, it really isn't (that's why we have a reputation for being assholes). we aren't tolerant of your fuckwit, Jethro, we just don't give a fuck.
Because you're not important. Because we have better things to do. Because you're an annoyance.
Get back to us when you're bleeding. We'll help you then.
It doesn't take long for this bubble of unrealistic expectations to be burst. The young, earnestly-ignorant transplant that arrives here with all the energy and common sense of an Irish Setter puppy, quickly learns that Reality Is Not Like Television. This ain't Seinfeld, it ain't Sex in the City, and it sure as hell ain't Law and Order.
The disappointment causes these people to lose their fucking minds. Eventually, they gather together in little colonies of the entitled-but-discontented, form a Caveat Emptor support group, and then incessantly whine about everything, which machine politicians in New York (especially on the Left, but the Right has it's rascals, too) have learned over the 400 or so years this city has existed is a surefire way to gather votes, and a guaranteed money maker.
Mr. Ahmadi falls into this category.
As the years have passed, the quality of the intellect of this special brand of doofus has declined and the self-absorption has skyrocketed. The mental process -- if there ever was one -- has devolved to a point where they have adapted the worst traits of the city-dwelling New Yorker (sheer imitation, as none can back it up), without acquiring any of the positive nature that often comes from pride of place, attachment to the landscape, knowledge of the unwritten rules and traditions and culture.
I've seen far too many of this sort to even allow you to argue against it's existence.
These are the "technologically-inclined" generation who can't spell, do math or read a clock, and who seem oblivious to the fact that all of this wonderful technology comes with spell and grammar checkers, clocks of it's own, or calculators.
It is a generation of people obsessed, at all times, with status, and worse, with the outward appearances of status. It has become a place where people only wish to move into the "trendy" neighborhoods (i.e. newest gentrified ghetto).
It has become a place where a grown man with a purse, a neckbeard and a Samurai bun on his head, bedecked in neon Spandex, will run you down with his bike on the sidewalk (or in the street against the flow of traffic) and not bother to apologize or check to see if he's hurt you. He then spends his evenings in the local bar that opened 15 minutes ago and will close for good by the end of the week, regaling you with his "expertise" (acquired on the Internet) of craft beers and strong affinity for Brazilian gangsta rap....that he only heard for the first time three days ago.
He's a poser. A phony sophisticate aping what he believes are the cosmopolitan attitudes and manners of the true cosmopolitans....
...who laugh at him and secretly hope that he gets mugged and beaten on his way home.
It has become a place where a four-foot-eleven, corn-fed blonde will meander down the street, head buried in her phone, buds blocking out sound, a designer coffee in one hand and a designer barking rat on a leash in the other, and go all passive-aggressive on you when SHE bumps into YOU, and then she runs to her therapist to complain about how hard it is to be her.
And somehow, they all mostly live, much like Mr. Ahmadi, in expensive apartments in upscale neighborhoods where they don't even talk to the people next door (assuming they see any of them), and their "social life" consists mainly of Tinder dates, excessive alcoholism, and breathing in the phony worldliness that comes with attending "pop-up" galleries where the main medium used tends to be excreta and is intended to "address a deep social affliction" that can't be explained in English, and they only went there because a)it was something to do that didn't involve intoxication and lack of consent, and b) to "be seen", which means taking selfies to send to all their friends who pretend to be excited, but who really don't give a fuck.
Their world, much like Mr. Ahmadi's, is an imaginary New York, where one can have everything they want within a few square blocks -- a rectangle -- and never have to encounter the truth of reality outside their zip code. It's all about appearances. Even how they vote.
This assertion of mine is very easy to prove; consider the advertising methods used by the real estate agents who eagerly sell renovated asbestos and radium factory lofts to entitled dreamers with no common sense.
Lower Harlem is now known as "Morningside Heights".
Brooklyn Heights is now referred to as "Dumbo".
Hell's Kitchen is now referred to as "Hudson Yards".
Old neighborhoods like NoHo and SoHo (respectively, "North of Houston Street" and "South of Houston Street), or Tribeca ("Triangle Below Canal Street"), Alphabet City (a section of Greenwich Village where the Avenues are identified by letters instead of names or numbers), Spuyten Duyvil ("The Devil's Mouth", western Bronx), are suitably subdivided and renamed -- "Chelsea Piers", "Meatpacking District", "Marble Hill", "Hudson Heights", "NoMad", "Waterside Plaza" are the new, sunnier appellations.
The history and reputation -- often sordid and dangerous -- of the neighborhood is erased if you simply call it something else. It's not like the intended targets actually know anything, right?
Marketing gimmicks. A fantasy created by advertising. It is a world that has been stripped of everything that gave it "character"; the residue of the ethnicities that collected there has been scrubbed clean; the history has been re-written in flowery sales brochures; salesmen lie by omission and commission in order to sell a few hundred square feet of sanitized, formerly-squalid brick and mortar. It is a sterilized world created for mentally-sterilized people, all processed like cafeteria cheese on the assembly line of liberal arts colleges and the pretentiousness of the NY Times Sunday Section.
The Old and Vibrant has been swept away in favor of the New and Antiseptic.
The death knell of any neighborhood in New York is the arrival of the first Bourgeoise Boutique. The Starbucks, the "Craft Beer" bar, the little "Art Gallery" selling cheap reproductions of works originating in scatological themes, the McDonald's with no public seating, the Pier One, the Baby Gap, the Trader Joe's. These all mark the pending arrival of the Storm of Douchebag, preceding the malady like the rash does.
These people don't know where they are. In a sense, this makes them unaware of WHO they are. It certainly makes them oblivious to WHAT they are. And it certainly explains why they never seem to remember just WHERE they are. None of this would ever occur to them: there is no point of reference, as the past has been washed away and replaced with fake brickface, and the old simply went....who gives a fuck where they went?
They have no sense of place; they have no sense of pride of place, because their place -- their rectangle -- didn't exist five minutes ago. Therefore, they are unable to relate to one another and unite against common foes, or to solve common problems. These they leave to "the government", who cares who runs it? They have no sense of community.
Herein lays the "root cause", as people much like Mr. Ahmadi are fond of saying, of his current predicament.
All these social-climbing, status-conscious, totally brainless clods, having created their gilded cages -- their rectangles, if you will -- would never stoop to doing anything like, say, dealing with the realities of life. No, no, no. That's what the Proles they all claim to love so much are for.
The most-common sight, in daylight at least, in the neighborhoods much like Mr. Ahmadi's is the Woman o' Color pushing a carriage with 2.5 pink babies in it. It is the line of Hispanic maids at every bus stop traveling from house to house. It is the brown or yellow bike-riding delivery man from the local ethnic restaurant (this is why we have Diversity! The FOOD!) who ties up traffic and probably causes more road accidents than the never-filled potholes.
And most of them are here illegally.
The old methods of keeping the trouble caused by the Huddled Masses no longer works. You can no more today tell someone who obviously "doesn't belong here" that he's too poor or low on the social scale to be in this neighborhood nowadays than you can get a coherent sentence out of Joe Biden.
There was a time when you could just call the Police and have an unwanted vagrant in your doorway removed quicker than Kamala Harris could open every zipper in the California political structure. You could keep the disgusting parts of the city, the dreck of the Outer Boroughs at arm's length by feigning superiority over them, but no more. In large part, this is because the truly passive nature of this sort of person has aided the steady erosion of both civility and propriety that, at base, were always present in this city, but merely shadowed.
So, when caught between a rock and a hard place, for example, maintaining your high property values and treating heroin addicts, the route of least resistance was to not kick up a fuss when city hospitals hand out clean needles, or the Mayor decrees certain areas "safe zones" for tweakers and potheads to get their freak on.
After all, those things will be in someone else's neighborhood, not mine.
Or, when the local identity group du jour demands some special privilege for itself, it's going to cost someone else. Not the well-heeled-but-ill-informed.
Or, if the local Urban Aborigines are in an uproar over capitalism, some perceived injustice, the lack of "opportunity" for people who can't even spell the word, well, that's okay: they'll wreck Wall Street, or tie up traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, or maybe surround City Hall, but they won't come uptown and riot here.
And then they do.
Like Nature, Reality resists the pitchfork, too.
Because every retreat was easier than taking a stand. Something every "conservative" talks a good game about, but then fails to do.
The Ahmadis of this world -- left or right -- created this Hell, expected someone else to keep it away from them, and then they flee like thieves in the night, dodging their own responsibility.
The sanctity of the rectangle has been violated. The Outside World that had formerly been kept at bay by first pretending it didn't exist, then erasing it's memory, then by artificially constraining one's personal boundaries, and then giving in little by little when the Outside World returned with a vengeance, no longer works.
And you can't call a cop to remove the vagrant because when everyone shouted "Defund the Police!", you shouted right along with them for the sake of maintaining your social standing (he may be a conservative, but at heart he's in solidarity with us lefties!), your "conservative principles" apparently being tied to resale value and the good regards of the Communism-was-a-good-idea-poorly-executed crowd that dominates your industry.
Mr. Ahmadi may be leaving because his rectangle now has defecating bums and the Molotov-throwing Noble Savages running around in it, now, but it's much more likely that he's just observing the time-honored "conservative" impulse to go while the going is good....and while you can still sell at the top of the market.
Mr. Ahmadi, I suspect, isn't leaving because he finds life here intolerable.
He's leaving because he can afford to.
Because that's easier than exercising "principles"..
In a nutshell, this is the real problem with the NY GOP, specifically, and the "conservative" movement in general; these guys all talk a good game about being tough, principled, dedicated, willing to sacrifice, but they never follow through. It's always the path of least resistance because, in the end, they're just as morally, ethically, intellectually bankrupt and lazy as the leftists they blame for their problems.
A real man -- A real New Yorker and a real conservative -- would have stood up and fought for his neighborhood.
UPDATE: Fixed some grammar/spelling boo-boos. I guess I need to make better use of the spellchecker, too!