Date Night

During our date, N and I didn’t manage to order any food for almost an hour because we were so deep in conversation we were forgetting to read the menu.

At the very end of the 4-hour date, I discovered that N has no idea what a MAGA hat is. He never heard the expression and had no idea such things existed. I had to explain the difference between a MAGA hat and a Cardinals cap that also happens to be red.

Whose Dream?

An NYTimes headline:

And Now, the Dream of a Harris-Buttigieg Ticket

Of course, it’s Trump’s dream scenario but hardly anybody else’s. Other than an impressive list of identity categories the two cover, they have nothing to recommend themselves. Both are clueless rich cheerleaders for neoliberal globalization. The difference between them and Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney is the list of identity categories they cover. Otherwise, they are identical.

I hated Romney and the Bushes, and I hate Harris and Buttigieg for all the same reasons. The idea that one should support people on the basis of their tribal identification and not based on what they actually do or believe sounds very insane to me. Unfortunately, that’s how most people think.

Image

I left a tub of dried seaweed – one of Klara’s favorite snacks – open on one of the tables at church. A group of church ladies gathered around it.

“Is this caviar?” they asked me.

This is the way church ladies see me: as a crazy Russian person who drags around tubs of caviar in 100°F heat because that’s what her toddler snacks on.

Over the Head

What I would like to do is hit every Dem candidate over the head with Arnade’s book until they wake up and notice their country.

Take trans issues, for instance. Arnade interviews a homeless, religious trans woman who prostitutes herself to feed her drug addiction. But the Democrats have no interest in any trans people who aren’t wicked rich. This is why they make completely vapid gestures of “inclusion” talking about “abortions for trans women.” This flatters a couple of folks who already have everything but sounds like a cruel joke to the trans people who live like Arnade’s character.

And it’s like this in everything. They want to help public school students in a way that will destroy their schools. Because all they know is Harvard and they can’t imagine anything different.

Gone Reading

Sorry, folks, I’m reading Chris Arnade’s Dignity, and I’m MIA from the blog.

It’s a great book. Really powerful stuff. If you want to read about the costs of the neoliberal revolution and look into the faces of its victims, get this book.

For those who don’t know, Arnade was a Wall Street banker when he came across the reality of those who have been discarded by the system that works so great for him. He was so stunned that he became an addict.

Finally, he quit his Wall Street job, got sober, and started driving across the country, meeting people in dying little towns or neighborhoods, opioid country, places like Gary, Indiana, Cairo, Illinois, Youngstown, Ohio, etc. And… he discovered that they are not dumb losers but good people who don’t deserve what was done to them.

I first discovered the reality that Arnade writes about back in early 2000s, and I still can’t get over it. When I first saw Gary, Indiana, I had the same reaction as Arnade but I’m a woman and not a big burly man like him, so I didn’t stay to explore. I’m glad he explored it for me.

I only managed to get 2/3 through the book today, so I’ll still need time to finish. This is just me coming up for air for 5 minutes.

Losers and Winners

I’m running around like a headless chicken, simultaneously unpacking purchases from the farmer market, pickling cucumbers, making a salad, and helping Klara with her art project. I’m dropping things and running in five directions at one.

“Gosh, I’m losing it,” I say when I discover that I stuck my wallet in the freezer.

“And I’m winning it,” Klara says calmly and quietly.

Book Notes: The Neoliberal Paradox

The negatives of Ray Kiely’s The Neoliberal Paradox (2018) are:

– endless signposting. There is a ton of buildup where the author promises to announce something earth-shattering at some future point (but not before he reiterates everything he already said five times). But the big revelation always turns out to be something quite trivial.

– too much quoting. It’s great that Kiely collected absolutely anything anybody ever said about neoliberalism. But there is almost none of author’s own text in the book. It’s just quotes connected by signposting.

– a ridiculous amount of repetition.

– Kiely knows he needs to talk about the Third World if he wants to discuss neoliberalism. He knows it and he says so. But he finds anything but the UK and the US deathly boring, so he always ends up saying “to understand how this works in underdeveloped countries, it’s important first to discuss the UK.” After 120 pages of the minutest detail on the UK, though, everything else is forgotten.

– the author tries to make an argument that British Brexiteers are more neoliberal than the Remainers. And that Bernie Sanders is less neoliberal than any other politician because “he’s unlikely” to use market principles in governance. Which is a childish argument.

And now for the big reveal. What is the neoliberal paradox that Kiely promises to unveil to the world at the end of 300+ very repetitive pages?

Ready for it?

Really ready for it?

OK, here goes.

The paradox is that neoliberals decry government yet they also need it to advance their preferred policies.

Yeah. Not exactly earth-shatteringly new information but yes, whatever. This point has only been made a million times before, so why not make it again.

Neoliberal Progressivism

A few hours after Sen. Kamala Harris of California challenged former Vice President Joe Biden on his civil rights record, her presidential campaign seized the moment to sell “That Girl Was Me” T-shirts.

God, how pathetic. Not only is her “I’m a victim of racism” spiel a total lie but she’d trying to profit off it. This was all planned in advance to make money.

I dread the moment when some extremely white person (because who else?) at work will show up in this shirt and I’ll have to keep a straight face.

Staring at the Sky

Today I spent an hour staring at the sky. It was intense. I highly recommend.

The way it came about is that among the many things I get sent for review was one of those huge inflatable swimming pools that are big enough for a whole family. Yesterday I tried it out with Klara but today I took an hour just for myself. OK, it was more like an hour forty minutes.

Try it (the sky-gazing, not the pool), even if it’s just for 15 minutes. It’s really cool.