Walker Is Out

I fell asleep and woke up in a beautiful world where Scott Walker dropped out of the race. I was really afraid of this one, people. His face of a stubborn, clueless fanatic kept reminding me of Dubya in a disturbing way. He’d get this inward – looking expression that you see in people who have lost contact with reality, and that freaked me our every single time.

This is real democracy, my friends. Everything is so beautifully unpredictable. Just a few months ago everybody ¬†(me included) were certain he was a major possibility, and now he’s out.

This is a great development.

The Overworked

The Sunday Review of the NYTIMES regaled me with a story that made me contort with laughter. The story is titled “A Toxic Work World” and is a great example of the recent efforts to convince the Unhireables that they are better off without evil, nasty work. In the process, the article allows everybody else to engage in sweet, delicious self-pity:

For many Americans, life has become all competition all the time. Workers across the socioeconomic spectrum have stories about toiling 12 to 16-hoyr days and experiencing anxiety attacks and exhaustion.

I’m sure it’s all true. People have stories of misery that would terrify the most cold-hearted and cynical. There can be no doubt that they perceive themselves as hugely overworked even when they don’t really work that hard.

I’m on sabbatical right now, which means that I don’t have to be in my office. Still, when a student asked me to meet to sign some papers, I agreed, warning the student that I don’t have anything else to do at the office and asking her to arrive at 12 pm sharp.

Obviously, the student didn’t show up at 12. Instead, she sauntered in 40 minutes later, offered no explanation or apology, and informed me that she hadn’t had time to fill out her papers, so could I sign the empty sheets instead.

When she fails to become as successful as she wants, she will savor the articles about the evil world of work that only rewards the lucky few and casts aside the hardworking victims like her.

The VW Debacle

Does anybody understand why VW gamed its emissions controls? What was it trying to gain?

Of course, the reason doesn’t change anything. The company richly deserves to pay its 18-billion fine, and then some. I’m just curious what could motivate them to do something this shitty. Do they profit somehow from sabotaging the emissions controls?

Exploiting the Cheap Outrage Machine

People are so easy to manipulate. Donald Trump bombed at the second debate. He looked tired, confused, and mumbly. As a result, his ratings began to drop.

So what did he do? He planted a fellow at one of his rallies to make some stupid comment about Muslims. And now everybody is so busy discussing the entirely idiotic question of whether a Muslim should be US President that nobody remembers the debate. Moreover, nobody even remembers that there are no Muslims running and that, instead, we have a whole bunch of very unqualified, ignorant, confused people trying to get elected president.

Once again, Trump manages to exploit the love of cheap outrage that his compatriots have and push them away from discussing issues that will directly impact their lives.

I wonder, is nobody ashamed of being so easily manipulated by a creature as primitive as Trump?

In Thrall to Barbarity

NYTimes reports that the US military personnel operates under harshly enforced orders to tolerate the Afghanis raping children, often right on the American military bases.

American soldiers are forced to listen to the screams of raped children on their bases and are severely punished when they can’t take it any longer and try to intervene.

The rapists of kids are given free reign to rape at American military bases (paid for by my and your money, by the way) because of “a reluctance to impose cultural values.”

Question: what’s so wrong with imposing cultural values that are obviously vastly superior?

American taxpayers end up paying for rape pads as a result of “the American policy of treating child sexual abuse as a cultural issue.”

Question:  why are we so in thrall to the largely meaningless word “culture” that we are ready to stand by and stare impotently as barbarity proliferates?

When the Unhireables Dream

So who are the people that insist (somewhat shrilly, I might add) that being an unqualified, ignorant outsider is the perfect qualification for a job?

These are the future unhireables, the folks who are vaguely aware that success on the job market is increasingly reserved for the highly qualified and the very educated. They find solace in a fantasy that one day somebody will appreciate them precisely because they have no knowledge, no sophistication, no connections, and no qualifications.

To a large extent, the pool of presidential candidates represents a fantasy that gives solace to those who are in danger of being left behind and slipping into the role of lumpenized unhireables.