One Unabomber Moment Away from Sanity in a Part-time Snippet World

It’s been a bit of a gap week or two, since pining in with this sort of catharsis,  but some of us schmucks have to make some really lousy money and attend to some really rotten job hunting in a time of pure delusion, all the while that white noise buzzing, the white static noise of the mush of NPR and mainstream mindlessness and the BS of labor stats and economists who deserve what the SEALs and Obama said what happened to Osama (right, US punk prez, directs US amped-up murder incorporated to shoot to kill, ask no questions later, I don’t need no stinking badge, and then burial at sea, head chopped off like the head of Zapata — this is the toast of the town, and then the curls make movies about the lies, until the big lie of exceptionalism and murder seeds each new generation, until all we talk about is legalized pot and same-sex marriage, forget about the constitution being used as toilet paper and millions murdered by military and financial felons!). This madness of sports, sales, spurious politics, sputtering economy, sailing poverty eating at our cortexes like a mad night in the jungle with Joe Frazier bopping away at us and all we care about is the next touch screen i-Drone, personal, our very own,  in the driveway all shiny and potent!

It’s easier keeping tabs on my sanity and my writing by just blogging daily, so, I have been remiss, for sure, and while I do get quite a few emails from people I never knew and will never know thanking me for these stream of consciousness polemics, there is something to this form of writing that give me leave of my other senses in this screwed up, upside down world of gutter thinking, gutter logic, gutter laws, and gutter culture. Some call me the BS meter king, and others just find what I have to say entertaining . . . but with a seriously eviscerating edge.

Some really interesting things have occurred in la-la land during my own DV lull – the land of make believe, you know, tenured faculty, white guys and gals who seem to make Strom Thurmond look like a kind fellow . . . and then these other folk, looking to try and understand why students are in debt on average $30 K, with a degree that is worthless as the World According to Gates-Bezos-Intel-Nike-Dell-iSmellPad-USA has made it worthless.

Why are we becoming dumber (consumerism, anyone, screen time, anybody, iPad, any person?), and why do we just stay lock jawed away from any sense that the bad guys need taken out?

Really, why have education costs gone up illegally, and the degree gone to the dogs? Really, that is the question, is it not? Hmm, the divide, between those who have and those who don’t and then those of us who might be close to that death dive, that spiral down-down-down toward zero safety nets, nothing, really.

Many of America’s young are bred to eat their own grandparents . . . or uncles . . . anything for a job . . . anything . . . left pinky, unlimited boss control, anything to keep that damn job. But it’s not their fault, of course. What do they have as role models, as the constant hypodermic throbbing with mind stripping juice called Media drips-drips-drips into the main vein in their necks?  

Now, hmm, you think you have ever looked at a school’s components, and wondered why the adjuncts and non-vetted folk, for whom represent 75 percent of all faculty, average, get this, $1900 a class here and maybe $3500 a class there . . . . And so if you have two master’s degrees like I do and a truck load of teaching way beyond anything the full-timers who judge me can ever dream of having . . . or a PhD in many cases . . . well, if you teach right and live in a place like most of America, where rents are usury, public transportation impossible and cost of living sick, well, if you teach “them” right, that is, expect the writing class to be the class of 1975, you know, reading, re-reading, writing and rewriting, and talking and debating, well, we are getting close to minimum wage with all the grading, reading and prepping – 1970s level.

Look at the Fall of the Faculty and the Rise of the Administrators, Vice Presidents, HR folk, and all those other remoras that latch onto schools to run locker rooms, run dorms, run facilities, ram buildings and bs crap onto us, all those report writers, data collectors, fund raisers and job after job title that is created in order to buy-buy-buy digital devils and software to hell in order to charge students more, give them less and pay faculty pennies on the dollar. They do not have a thing to do with TEACHING, or doing. The more money these admin folk get, the more worthless work they put us through.

So, this union meeting I went to recently, as an adjunct, and the faculty there, oh my, oh my. Something out of 1950’s Little Rock, the white side of the railroad tracks sort of perspective. Here we are, in a country that has exploited every race possible, even the white poor ass race; used genocide to seed the blankets of hell with smallpox and debt;  used 300 years a slave to build a nation, and a country that works its Christian and Jewish magic on the school to prison pipelines, endless yammering Woody Allens and Clarence Thomases as legal scum buckets, with their endless military-energy-Big ag-Pharma-Financial-software Industrial complex, a la Stanford U and Amazon dot Monopoly – and in the year 2014 I have to hear white males and white females talk about and complain continuously about being forced to learn what diversity is, or in some places, they call it Power-Privilege-Inequity. “Isn’t enough that they got Obama, Oprah, Whoopie, Clarence and Tiger?”

In the year 2014, tenured faculty saying, “They are militant, these PPI folk . . . so sensitive to the kind of language we use . . . . I guess I am going to have to change my skin color . . . .”

Oh white racists, why not self-castration and group-spaying of thy selves, please? The entire project of America now is more racist than ever, as you understand the differences between the shock of coloreds only-white rule, selling people, beatings, lynchings . . . .  versus now, and this continual genocide of African American males, this endless theft of wealth, stealing of opportunities, this four South African  races with a few more mixed in the Indian and colored category? Again, what was that piece of human depravity South Africa all about, and why wasn’t there a ruthless reconciliation, like the Jews have done in their Nazi hunting? No Afrikaans brought up on charges of murder, terrorism, mass killing? What did those whack jobs say, black, white, coloured, and Indian, plus their 10 tribes, their reservations? Are we that far from that, in our little band of football weekend brothers, a la seven layer bean dip?

Layers, brothers and sisters, layers, not fondue pot?

What was Israel doing during Afrikaans’ rule? Oh yeah, making sure the South African racists had a chance at the Star of David’s nuclear weapons to pacify the country.

So how is it that in 2014 we have racist humanities teachers with tenure, racist city council members and Rotarians and Chamber of Commerce folk and economic development experts making sure “coloureds” have not a snowballs chance in the Arctic to succeed, a place like of all places Portland, Oregon?

Amazing how slippery the brains of so-called liberals are, in their NPR-style confidence, their snowboarding Subaru-loving free trade latte lapping kind of demeanors . . . . How is it that these folk even move two inches a year in their deadened lives?

I heard an NPR report, squeaky voice but NPR style, really, all the scrubbed language, the intonations, the perspectives blenderized, thinking she was right there in the homeless center, hanging out with One of Them, following One of Them, and seeing what kinda work One of Them might get. Just the way the story was framed, and blocked out, and, well, there is something missing in America, i.e. history, a sense of urgency, a sense that one’s little hipster or “in” life is meaningless and really muddied, nothing spectacular, even though, compared to One of US/THEM/THE OTHER, well, those whale watching kayaking liberals are really what so many hard edged sorts like Bukowski or Bill Hicks might just end up dervish-ing around.

‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” 

Ya think anyone of them, these faux writers, too-hip-to-really-care/think journalists/commentators/ prognosticators/bloggers/broadcasters would really know what it is to be homeless and how to really get under the skin? Follow the homeless guy? Let the bloody homeless guys and gals do their own stories. Give them the tools, the hardware, cameras and mics, and let them have at it. See what cops-business owners-average Joe-Jane Blow have to say about homeless brigades in Portland doing their own stories. Now that is journalism, but instead, skinny reporter giving us skinny news, snip-snip-snip.

And here I was going to just limit the harangue, but, heck, it’s the One Percent Hollywood days, all the buzz about all the rotten movies that have been nominated by the deviant Academy. So, why not, those pigs of prostitution, any actor who ever looked a gift corporation in the mouth? Can’t name him-her-it!  They sell themselves to the highest bidder. Not one of them has any ethics, any guts to just try and chuck it all-to-gether!

The stories, the directors, the actors, the producers, the bank-rollers, the media on the media of movies.

The Wolf of Wall Street. You have to see this, really, words that fit ALL things coming outta Hollywood. And, shoot, I am enjoying the Story of Film, that Mark Cousins’ masterpiece, as I write this, all 15 episodes,  so, no, I know film, I recognize the power of it, appreciate the art of some of it, and, well, what we have is a failure to communicate in this day and age of mindless movies. . . .

But read this, from the LA Weekly. A victim of the real wolf on Wall Street, daughter, that is. Amazing how her words are universal to the entire Academy lie: 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, dear Kings of Hollywood, but you have been conned.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Christina McDowell, formerly Christina Prousalis. I am the daughter of Tom Prousalis, a man the Washington Post described as “just some guy on trial for penny-stock fraud.” (I had to change my name after my father stole my identity and then threatened to steal it again, but I’ll get to that part later.) I was eighteen and a freshman in college when my father and his attorneys forced me to attend his trial at New York City’s federal courthouse so that he “looked good” for the jury — the consummate family man.

And you, Jordan Belfort, Wall Street’s self-described Wolf: You remember my father, right? You were chosen to be the government’s star witness in testifying against him. You had pleaded guilty to money laundering and securities fraud (it was the least you could do) and become a government witness in two dozen cases involving your former business associate, but my father’s attorneys blocked your testimony because had you testified it would have revealed more than a half-dozen other corrupt stock offerings too. And, well, that would have been a disaster. It would have just been too many liars, and too many schemes for the jurors, attorneys or the judge to follow.

But the records shows you and my father were in cahoots together with MVSI Inc. of Vienna, e-Net Inc. of Germantown, Md., Octagon Corp. of Arlington, Va., and Czech Industries Inc. of Washington, D.C., and so on — a list of seemingly innocuous, legitimate companies that stretches on. I’ll spare you. Nobody cares. None of these companies actually existed, yet all of them were taken public by the one and only Wolf of Wall Street and his firm Stratton Oakmont Inc in order to defraud unwitting investors and enrich yourselves.

As an eighteen-year-old, I had no idea what was going on. But then again, did anyone? Certainly your investors didn’t — and they were left holding the bag when you cashed out your holdings and got rich off their money.

So here’s the deal. You people are dangerous. Your film is a reckless attempt at continuing to pretend that these sorts of schemes are entertaining, even as the country is reeling from yet another round of Wall Street scandals. We want to get lost in what? These phony financiers’ fun sexcapades and coke binges? Come on, we know the truth. This kind of behavior brought America to its knees.

And yet you’re glorifying it — you who call yourselves liberals. You were honored for career excellence and for your cultural influence by The Kennedy Center, Marty. You drive a Honda hybrid, Leo. Did you think about the cultural message you’d be sending when you decided to make this film? You have successfully aligned yourself with an accomplished criminal, a guy who still hasn’t made full restitution to his victims, exacerbating our national obsession with wealth and status and glorifying greed and psychopathic behavior. And don’t even get me started on the incomprehensible way in which your film degrades women, the misogynistic, ass-backwards message you endorse to younger generations of men.

But hey, listen boys, I get it. I was conned too. By. My. Own. Dad! I drove a white Range Rover in high school, snorted half of Colombia, and got any guy I ever wanted because my father would take them flying in his King Air.

Quick update on Dad: He is now doing business with the Albanian government and, rumor has it, married to a 30-year-old Albanian translator — they always, always land on their feet.”

That’s it, now, really, these huffers, these Hollywood creeps. Throw the money at them, uh Americans, worldwide audiences?

While the saints go marching into hell. What is this wage inequity thing, this insipid BS of asking for minimum wage hikes by the pennies?  What is it that the unions lost with the Boeing deal? Now say what, bad water in West Virginia? Fines, heads to roll, jail time, death? Fukushima? Okinawa and US Rapist Incorporated? Say what about those radionuclides and the Alaskan herring fishery collapsing? Say what about Japan wanting to be military like Israel like USA like, well, you heard it here, boys and girls?

My brethren in the adjunct faculty world are either speechless out of fear beyond all fears, or they are a few lucky ones who get off on a few more little voyeuristic stories in the news about how fucked up our plight is. Oh, man, these people get all teary eyed or “we have power in numbers” union like when they see a little news story (the same one recycled a thousand times) about adjuncts, but really, in the trenches, the unions are a total waste of breath.

You see, even after several years of media pushing stories with leads like, “adjunct faculty freeway flying, PhD’s on food stamps, part-time teachers living in their cars “, well, I was on a phone call conference last week. The SEIU, you know, service employees international union, the largest private sector one, supposedly, and one I worked with until they said I was no use no more, man, well, you see, SEIU with their insipid little info manager mentality, their secret deals with rotten politicians, these folk who get paid decently but who do absolutely NOTHING for that pay, well, you see, this great big bad union had a call about some new (yet another one) Adjunct Action (sic) Network (sic) . Goofy twenty-something (I am guessing) facilitator who knew-knows absolutely nothing about adjuncts, and some IT schmooze  who was worthless like most IT folk are, well, you see, with all the rallying and stories and even some actions around 1.5 million part-time and non-tenure track faculty, over the past three years intensely, well, these winners at SEIU had SEVEN people on the call. They had gotten, oh RSVPs from 15, but, still, can you believe it? This is organizing?

All the work I have done for 30 years, all the collective work we have done and all the battles lost, the lives lost, the hundreds of millions of dollars we have been bilked out of by administrators, boards, politicians, the lot of you, and, SEIU, this high octane union with a bottle neck at the top, the leadership all smarmy and highly paid, they got SEVEN on an international phone call about something they want to start up called Adjunct Action?

Oh, if only I was in DC where the facilitator was. This is 2014, all the work I did for SEIU, for the cause, and these people coming from another planet, Uranus , someone’s anus, with this absurdity? Absolutely telling . . . chilling . . . the apotheosis of where we are now.

Three of the callers had to get to their cars to fly away and teach at two other institutions. Two were worried about the kind of protection these highly paid SEIU organizers (sic) and the SEIU legal eagle (sic) team might give adjuncts ready to, well, do whatever these goofy people at SEIU want us to do? Of course, there is no legal protection from unions for those of us not in one.

We are being splayed by software queens . . . deep-sixed by full-time vetted faculty who fear speaking out . . . slain by the bloody highly paid VPs and Institutional Development Types and Deans and this endless top heavy thing called ADMIN-Class, golden parachutes for all of them. Literally, we are being destroyed as humans, and as professionals. The academic freedoms of mythological old are gone, and, well, we are not teaching anymore, but managing data, and trying out new software and away-from-the-classroom delivery systems. Dice is rolled, profits tucked away, and adjuncts want to pay dues to a union that is asleep at all the controls of the ship of fools hitting that death man’s-woman’s-child’s reef?

Alas, students at this point in time might as well be in that same camp of folk who have pictures of Adam strapping a saddle on an Ankylosaurus while Eve is saluting the Sun revolving around the earth.

Now what are the unions going to do with that $50 or $100 a month in dues from us, we who get paid pennies on the dollar? What, when fill-time faculty treat us like absolute scum, really, their minions, their go-for’s and servants and underlings? The unions are going to do what for adjunct, or organize us to do what for ourselves?

The software wars were launched years ago, and now, more and more classes (sic) are being delivered (sic) by drones. The unions, caught with their pants down, once again.

Kinda rough, I know, this scribbling, but, alas, all these DV columns and reprinted pieces with all the footnotes and distinctly captivating and organized stylistics and forms, well, maybe this roughhewn thing called a blog from living hell – that is, work hell, politics hell, culture hell – well, it might mean something to someone. You see, even in this hell, I have space for breaths, both intellectual and familial: good wife, good dog, good daughter, good friends, good sibling, good peeps.

Can you imagine my Ted Kaczynski existence if I didn’t have salmon and supporting spouse and incredible fern-lined trails to endless cascades in the middle of cedar forest? Think hard, though, folks, when considering the consequences of 4 or 5 decades of planned, perceived, propelled obsolescence and selected intellectual breeding and the death of agency and disharmony with nature and, well, after all of that consumer binging, we have let the masters of death – money and madness – take control of the world, and we just sit with our fingers up our, well, poked onto the touch-screen virtual dead zones of our lives.

Paul Kirk has been a journalist since 1977. He's covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/community journalism situations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's been a part-time faculty since 1983, and as such has worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, as a private contractor-writing instructor for US military in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington Read other articles by Paul.