Postcard from the End of America: Marcus Hook

First settled by Europeans in 1640, Marcus Hook was once called Chammassungh, Finland then Marrites Hoeck, from which the present name derives. The Hook, however, does serendipitously evoke its pirate past, when Blackbeard plied the Delaware, and one of his mistresses, Margaret, lived here, in a plank house still preserved.

This town’s peak posterity came much later, however, in the legitimate business of oil refining, plus there was a steel mill just down the road. Though its population never surpassed 5,000, Marcus Hook had 36 taverns at one point, including three openly gay bars. This, in a heavily Catholic region with many Irish, Italians and Poles. Though Market Street is only a mile long, it had 12 bars.

The steel mill and an oil refinery have shut down, with the surviving one operating at much reduced capacity. Only 2,397 people live here now, and there are only six bars left, with only Keyote’s kind of gayish. The town is still clean and orderly, though, and on a recent visit, I saw that many residents had, as usual, arrayed Christmas decorations on their tiny lawns. Many of these wooden, plastic, nylon or cement figurines were rather beaten up, however, with one Santa Claus a deflated mess with his face smudgy and featureless, and his legs severed, as if blown away by an improvised explosive device. Next to him, two faded and chipped deer nestled in a dirt-filled bathtub. At 11th and Washington, though, I saw an extravaganza of inflated nylon and many-colored lights, with even a green and red “HOLLY COPTER” on the roof. (Just wondering, but shouldn’t it be “HOLY COPTER”?) Through a brilliantly lit door, I glimpsed an old woman carrying a casserole dish as she walked from kitchen to living room, but it’s probably time to scoot, I thought, for earlier I had seen this sign, on a different house, “THIS PROPERTY PROTECTED BY THE SECOND AMENDMENT.” Next morning, the headline in the Delco Times could read, “Prowling Victor Charlie Shot by Vigilant Mrs. Claus.”

Real military hardware can be found elsewhere in Marcus Hook. Just to the side of the elementary school, there are two pieces of artillery, and by the river, there is another big gun next to the Delaware County Vietnam Memorial. Beneath 183 names, there is a curious inscription, “THIS MEMORIAL IS ALSO DEDICATED TO THOSE VIETNAM VETERANS THAT WERE KILLED IN VIETNAM, BUT WHO DIED AT HOME.” I’m assuming that this is a reference to Agent Orange and suicides, but what else? There are so many ways to die years later from a war. As for Agent Orange, it was manufactured primarily by Monsanto and DuPont, with the latter headquartered in Wilmington, DE, a 10-minute drive from Marcus Hook. Your brother could work for DuPont, as DuPont killed you.

Altogether, there are nine war memorials in Marcus Hook, and this is hardly unusual in small town America. Across the river, the center of Gloucester, NJ, is dominated by a cluster of war memorials, with a large slab commemorating the death of just one soldier, Corporal Marc T. Ryan, who died in Iraq at the age of 25. On the polished granite are three images of him: as a football player, then soldier in full combat gear, plus a smiling head shot. Ryan’s father and grandfather were Marines, and Ryan was only killed on his second deployment to Iraq. He had also spent a year in Afghanistan. Before his last mission, Ryan had applied to be a state trooper, but was not hired.

For much of 2013, dozens of banners hung from utility poles on Gloucester’s Broadway Street. On each is an image of a native son lost in a war, going to back to World War I. The portraits are large and mostly in colors. William Bernard Hamacher was only 18 when he was killed in Quang Tri, South Vietnam. Daniel Gilbert Booth was buried at sea in World War II. On and on it went. Next to Gloucester, tiny Brooklawn, with less than 2,000 souls, has three pieces of artillery in its center. In many towns, you may even find a tank or two. Such a militarization of the landscape is so common in America, many may even assume that it is a universal tendency.

With our citizens being told endlessly that America is constantly threatened, our flag now appears everywhere as a kind of talisman against attack or national disintegration. In Gloucester, the Venezuelan-owned Citgo gas station flaunts three large stars and stripes, and across the street, the Coastal station has a small flag, plus a sign, “GOD BLESS AMERICA.” Flags drape in private yards and porches, and in the window of Twisted Delights, a pretzel bakery, there is an elaborate patriotic display with images of the Statue of Liberty, an eagle and the Lincoln Memorial, all over a flag background, with “GOD BLESS AMERICA” on top. Such an insistent, even strident, manifestation of patriotism betrays a siege mentality, but this is encouraged and orchestrated from the top down.

Troops are now routinely inserted into ball games, and news broadcasts often feature footage of a returning soldier surprising his or her family in a variety of settings. In Minnesota, a soldier came back to his wife and four kids as a scuba-diving Santa Claus at a shopping mall aquarium, and at a hockey game in Detroit, another greeted his parents and girlfriend on the Jumbotron, before suddenly appearing in person, behind them, and as the crowd wildly cheered, he got on one knee to propose to his sweetheart while Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” played over the sound system. On YouTube, most of the comments gush sentimentality and patriotism, as expected, but there was one user with an Arabic name who merely left, “This video failed,” to which another responded, “sorry it didn’t blow up, you muslim.” At a Devil Rays game, a soldier’s young daughter was invited to throw out the first pitch, except that she didn’t know the catcher was actually her dad, whom she thought was still in Afghanistan. With mask thrown off, they had a tearful reunion in front of cameras and crowd. With so many well-staged scenes as these, one has to assume there is a Pentagon unit dedicated to such theatrical propaganda. Notice that the troops featured in these touching reunions are never visibly damaged, as in missing one or several limbs, an eyeball or part of a brain, etc., for that would scare off future recruits. At the last Eagles game, the honored soldier was a sexy ex-cheerleader of the team itself. In photos released to the press, Rachel Washburn is positively glamorous even as she totes an M-4 carbine. Born into a military family, Washburn now has two Afghan tours behind her, yet she will re-enlist, then study to become a human rights lawyer, so all the bases are covered, for she’s attractive, smart, selfless, brave and, most importantly, conscientious. After honorably participating in Enduring Freedom, Washburn will nobly defend human rights, so America’s open-ended war must not, cannot, be immoral. Plus, if even a hot cheerleader is willing to charge into battle to engage terrorists over there, what does that make of all the lame-assed doofuses lounging about over here, with their XBox, fantasy football and porn addictions? So get off your fat asses already and enlist to kill, and be killed, for your elite’s access to oil, natural gas and opium!

Many Americans oppose not just any war, but even the concept of violent resistance against attack or oppression. In short, they don’t even believe in using force to survive. A much larger percentage, however, support just about any of their nation’s wars. Since one’s forefathers had their battle experiences, one must fight in the war(s) of one’s generation. In various disguises, organized violence is an American rite of passage, so any boy who shuns the football team, gang or Army is considered a hollowed out, pussified geek with a moist handshake who won’t even defend himself, much less his country.

The water tower in Gloucester has the familiar POW/MIA flag painted on it, and in Marcus Hook, this image flutters outside the post office, the idle Sunoco refinery and at some private homes, among other places. Inside a circle, a large Caucasian head is seen in profile, with a watchtower in the distance. To indicate captivity, there is a strand of barbwire, and beneath everything is this caption: “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.” To make sure his neighbors don’t forget about America’s many wars, Mark Lane has even set up a military museum inside his wife’s thrift store, Andrea’s Attic. I had called ahead to make sure it was open, and before I walked in, I noticed a sign in the window, “I SUPPORT HELPING THE NEEDY. I OPPOSE FUNDING THE LAZY,” then in the vestibule, I was greeted by the photocopied faces of about 40 local criminals, with transgressions ranging from child sexual molestation to burglary, to assault. As far as crimes go, Marcus Hook is a very tame place now, a Mr. Roger’s neighborhood or petting zoo, as compared to when it was dominated by the Pagans, a 1% motorcycle gang that cooked meth, warred with the Mafia and chased the Hell’s Angels out of Philly. They also provided other useful social services such as making sure pharmaceuticals were available to penned-in and pent-up Amish kids, and babysitting teenaged girls rounded up from the MacDade Mall in Ridley Township. After school activities included bareback buckling, mattress swimming and (sort of) synchronized gymnastic. In honor of Shakespeare, perhaps, there was also the two-backed beast relay “drill” team, which broke out at frequent intervals in between beer runs. Seeing a middle-aged woman at the cash register, I assumed that it was Andrea, but she introduced herself as Lesley, then warmly said that her husband, Mark, would show me the museum.

In a space no bigger than a reasonably large bathroom was crammed military uniforms, helmets, bayonets, swords, newspaper clippings and, most interestingly, panoramas featuring toy soldiers, with some housed in small aquariums. There were no tags, so the viewer had to decipher each scene by himself, although Mark was right there to answer questions. A depiction of the Cu Chi Tunnel showed a GI, tiger and snake above ground in a jungle setting, then below the earth’s surface, here made of cardboard, I saw a Viet Cong and an American “tunnel rat.” Suffering frightfully high casualties, tunnel rats were small, slim men who had volunteered to go underground to flush out the VC. Their motto was “Non Gratum Anus Rodentum,” “Not Worth a Rat’s Ass.”

“Were you in the service?” Mark asked me.

“No, no,” I smiled. “How about you?”

“Actually, no. I registered, but never enlisted, and then the draft was over.”

“There are lots of Vietnam vets in this town. Do they ever come in here?”


“How about kids? Do you have classes in here?”

“Well, sometimes a kid or two would come in, but this space is really too small for a class. I can’t keep an eye on them all, and these little kids might just break everything.”

“This museum is fascinating. This is, like, the highlight of Marcus Hook! Do you want more people to come in?”

“Well, I’m not sure, because I have to be here to show anyone around. I work a regular job, you know, in Chester.”

“What do you do over there?”

“I work for a paper company. We make cardboard stuff.”

Mark never rushed me as I looked around, and I took my time examining everything. Inside a bombed church, a wounded Nazi clutched a wine bottle. Above him, pigeons nestled in the destroyed ceiling. Wearing a keffiyeh, bandolier, rope belt and armed with made-in-China plastic M-16 and scimitar, an Arab soldier had been plopped in front of an American Hummer with a bullet hole in its windshield. Barely hidden lampshades kept parachutes abloom as paratroopers dangled. Sporting a mohawk, a member of the 101st Airborne spied on a Nazi and a Japanese soldier. When Mark asked if I was Japanese, I said, “No, Vietnamese,” so he brought out a Vietnam-era ammo belt, “I’ve been meaning to ask someone about this. Can you read this for me?”

“This is Chinese, Mark. It’s not Vietnamese.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, Vietnamese use the alphabet, with these accent marks on them. This is definitely Chinese.”

“This is from the Vietnam War, so I thought maybe it was used by the South Vietnamese.”

“The South Vietnamese would use American gear, and since this is Chinese-made, I’m pretty certain that it was used by the Viet Cong, so this is a Chinese belt used by either the Viet Cong or the North Vietnamese.”

Marcus Hook doesn’t even have a Chinese restaurant, much less a Vietnamese one, so there’s no Vietnamese writing on any local menu for Mark to detect should he want to try a bowl of rice vermicelli with grilled lemongrass beef, etc., and in many Hollywood Vietnam movies, Vietnamese writing has been erased from the landscape. I’ll get to that later, so hang tight! Meanwhile, Mark responded, “Hmmm, I think you’re right! Boy, am I glad you came in today. You taught me something, so thank you!”

“No, thank you for taking the time to show me your museum. This place is wonderful!”

And I really meant that. I’m a sucker for any eccentric project. After a while, Lesley came in to say hello, and she was just open as her husband. From Lesley, I found out that Andrea in the store’s name refers to her daughter from another marriage, “We are a non-profit organization. We give out free books, furniture and clothes. We also have a food bank. And I’m doing all this in honor of my daughter, who was killed.”

“Wow, this is amazing! And I thought it was just a regular thrift store. How did your daughter die?

“Her boyfriend killed her. Andrea was a senior at San Diego State. She was the director of the Women’s Resource Center. She also did ceramics and fashion design. She taught martial art and volunteered as a conditioning trainer for the football team. My daughter did so much in her 27 years, and this asshole just killed her! He stabbed her! And you know how I found out? Four days after he had killed her, he had the balls to call me collect, and I had no idea why he was calling me. He said, ‘Andrea and I got into a fight,’ so I said, ‘What do you want me to do about it? You want me to take your side?! You work it out with her.’”

“So what did he say?”

“He didn’t really say anything, then he said, ‘I didn’t really mean to hurt her,’ and that’s when I thought something serious may have happened. Before he hung up, he managed to say, ‘I think I may have broken Andrea’s neck,’ so I called Andrea to leave her a message, then I called her landlord, and that’s when I finally found out.”

“So the boyfriend lied about the broken neck, because he had actually stabbed her?”

“No, first he broke her neck by strangling her, then he stabbed her, then he tied a cord around her neck, then he put a plastic bag around her head. When they found my daughter, she was unrecognizable! And you know something else? He wasn’t even supposed to be there! After dating for 18 months, they had broken up for two weeks, but Andrea let him stay while he looked for another apartment, and during this time, he even ran up her credit card.”

“Wow, what a total asshole! So is this guy locked up for good?”

“No. We did get him convicted for murder one, but before the sentencing, he hanged himself in prison. That’s the best possible outcome, because now I don’t have to worry about going to California every few years for his parole hearing. Everything I do now, though, is in honor of my daughter. I want to continue Andrea’s legacy, because she was such a giving person. If a person can buy a pair of jeans for $2 at my store, instead of paying $25 somewhere else, then I’m doing it in the spirit of my daughter. As for the food bank, I don’t just give everyone the same box. I figure out what each person needs, so nothing is going to waste. You don’t want to give people something that they don’t even like, or don’t know how to prepare. Everyone is different. I also make sure I give it to people who really need it, because if you’re sitting in a bar all day, and can afford another tattoo on your damn neck, then you shouldn’t be coming to me.

The other day, this guy came in and said he had just had open heart surgery, so I asked him, ‘Which hospital was it at?’ and he was like, ‘Uh, uh, uh,’ so I just told him to get the hell out of here! I know him, too. He’s a child molester. I have his picture up there on the wall as you walk in.”

Before I left Andrea’s Attic, Lesley wanted to give me a loaf of bread to take home, but I had to decline, since I didn’t want to take from someone who really needed it. Moments later, I didn’t turn down several pints of beer sent my way by complete strangers at Connolly’s Pub, however, for that would be very bad manners. “Why is everyone so nice here?” I asked the bartender, Jenny.

“That’s just how we roll,” she cheerfully said.

Granted, it was Christmas Eve, but the friendliness here was exceptional, and I was included in it all even as an outsider. Presently, a man offered me a stick of beef jerky, and Santa Claus came barging through the door to hand me, and everyone else, a cane candy. This was only my second time here. Neither too dark nor too loud, this cheap bar is a very pleasant place to pass the hours. On my first visit a few days earlier, I had met Jim. After four years in the Army, spent in Texas, Virginia and North Carolina, he has worked 35 years for Fed Ex, and plans to retire in two years at age 50. He’ll move to the country to be left alone, he said, and to hunt and to fish. Divorced, he has three daughters aged 18, 19 and 20, with one in college and one in nursing school, “And just think, I never even finished high school!”

I exchanged a few words with a man named Cowboy, so called because he had owned a horse as a teen. Now an electrician, Cowboy made $12 an hour at his first job 40 years ago, when he was 17. “That would be a good wage for any age nowadays,” I said.

“I agree. It’s not as easy as it used to be. Now you can’t even bend the facts on your resume. They’ll find out on the computer!”

Wearing a camouflaged hat, a man showed off a wooden carving that had “LIVE FREE OR DIE. DON’T TREAD ON ME” over a gun that doubled as a pipe. Another man wore a hat that said, “Bite Me.”

The bartender had quite an emphatic figure so one of the guys asked her to turn to the side a bit, “Boy, you do have one heck of a profile!”

“It’s the padded bra,” she laughed.

“It pushes you up,” the man shouted to general merriment.

Some middle-aged cat named Gatto walked in to buy a tall can of Ice to go. “This keeps me young,” he grinned at the bartender, who didn’t laugh. I did, though, which cheered him up, and Gatto told me he had a date that night. Taking out his Samsung tab, he showed me a sitting woman in a dreamy pose, “That’s my lady. Ain’t she hot?”

“Yes, she is,” and she really was, at least from my angle and in that dim light.

Showing me another lady, Gatto continued, “I’m dating this one too, and I’m going to get her,” meaning the bartender who was only about half his age. Oh, the desperate optimism of so many middle-aged men! We’ll have our first stroke or even a triple bypass thinking we still have it, though many of us barely had any at any point in our lives. (Mind you, whenever I mention a medical term or procedure, it’s strictly from hearsays, as I’ve never had health insurance in my life, Obamacare be damned!)

I chatted longest with John, a 67-seven-year-old Vietnam vet, “I was there for 2 ½ years. My brother also served. He got hit by a mine. My youngest brother also wanted to go, but by then the war was over.”

“Your brother didn’t die?”

“No, he came back and worked in the post office for 35 years.”

“That’s miraculous! He didn’t lose anything?

“No, they patched him up good. He was fine.”

“Why did you sign up again? You were only supposed to be there for one year, right?”

“The money! They paid you good if you went over again, so I went back twice.”

“How much extra money did you make?”

“I sent some of it home for my mom to keep, but she gave it to my sister for her wedding, so I only ended up with $6,500 when I got out. Still, that was a lot of money then, enough for me to buy a Corvette. What I always wanted!”

Since John served on a swift boat, I mentioned Kerry, but he said, “What are you talking about?”

“John Kerry. Didn’t he serve on a swift boat also?”

“I don’t know, but I wouldn’t trust anything these politicians say!”

Changing the subject, John declared, “I may be retired, but I still work a little, just to do something. Every day, I spend two hours cleaning up this bar.”

“You do look in excellent shape!”

“That’s because I’m active. I don’t just sit around.”

“Why don’t you travel? Take a trip somewhere?”

“Nah, nah.”

“If I had the money, I would travel all the time.”

“It’s not that I can’t afford it, but I’m just not into that. Plus, they don’t like us Americans overseas.”


“In Europe. A couple of my friends came back and said they hated us over there.”

“Oh, c’mon!”

“They can’t stand us in France.”

“That’s not true! That’s way exaggerated! Ethnically, what are you, John?”

“I’m Irish.”

“Then why don’t you go to Ireland? Drink some good beer! I’ve been to England and Scotland but never Ireland. I’d love to go to Ireland.”

“You go. I stay here!”

During his Navy days, John visited Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok and Sidney, so it’s not like he hasn’t been anywhere. The ladies Down Under were the most expensive, but they were also the most disease-free, according to John, so it was worth it, “You get what you pay for.” Discharged, he spent a week in San Francisco before going home, where he’s been ever since.

“Did you like San Francisco?”

“Not at all!”

“You didn’t find it beautiful? I think San Francisco is very beautiful.”

“All I know is I went into a bar, and there were nothing but men there, and one said to me,” and here John switched to a swishy voice, complete with a queer hand motion, “‘How are you doing?’”

“Well, did you go to another bar?”

“I went to two more, and they were all the same!”

“So you were in a gay neighborhood, then.”

“The entire city was a gay neighborhood! I couldn’t wait to get out of there! Then at the airport, some Hare Krishna called me a baby killer!”

I don’t know if people with an unhappy upbringing wander more, but my dismal childhood has left me with no fond memory of home, negates its very concept, although, paradoxically, I try to make each alien pit stop my instant casa, if only in my mind. In Marcus Hook, a car slowed down to ask me for directions, which pleased me enormously, and I could barely refrain from giving the lady (wrong) directions. With deep regrets, remorse and infinite self-pity, I painfully informed her that I was not from there. Though permanently homeless in the figurative sense, perhaps I emit some at-home signals with my gait or posture, for I have been asked for directions even in foreign cities like Florence and Seoul.

Unlike in beer commercials, American bars tend to be almost exclusively black or white, but Connolly’s was well-integrated, with the regulars greeting their white and black friends equally warmly as they came in. At one point, though, all the black patrons sat at one end, and whites at the other, while I, yellow as ever, was the odd one there, not that it mattered. On television, however, there was a horde of yellow guys doing some frightful shit to their own kind, as in bayoneting children, crushing a boy’s head with a boot and mowing down hundreds of unarmed villagers with machine guns. As these Mongoloid monsters committed gleeful carnage, a Caucasian man could be seen trying to save two Asiatic tots. No movie buff, I had no idea what I was watching until I saw Sylvester Stallone, which cued me in that it was one of the Rambo flicks.

It’s only incidental that Burma is the context of Rambo IV, for what’s shown is a Barbaric Other that should be killed en masse as well as, paradoxically, saved from itself. For more than a decade now, this plot has been applied most feverishly to Muslims, but it can suddenly be shifted to any other group, or a subgroup with this country. The empire’s media mesmerize, stultify and brainwash through a fairly transparent magic, but if it works, why change? Take Apocalypse Now, considered by many to be not just a great Vietnam War film, but one of the greatest films ever. No one here cringed when Coppola pompously declared that his baby “is not about Vietnam—it is Vietnam.” Imagine a foreigner making a film about the US without speaking parts for Americans, and where written English is glimpsed but for a few seconds, yet declaring, “My film is not about the United States. It is the United States.” Reviewing the redux version in 2001, I wrote:

In Apocalypse Now, Vietnam is more or less one continuous jungle, with corpses casually dangling from trees, and arrows and spears flying out of the foliage. The arrow attack scene is lifted straight from Heart of Darkness, where a black river boat pilot is impaled by a spear. The phoniness of this is breathtaking. The NVA and Viet Cong did not win a modern war with arrows and spears. But a scene from a 1901 book has to be shoehorned into a 1979 movie because of Coppola’s fascination with savages. As Willard’s boat travels up the Nung River, the only signs of civilization are two US army bases and a French plantation. This has nothing to do with the Vietnam of reality. As anyone who has been there will tell you, Vietnam is (and was during the war) grossly overpopulated. Rivers and roads are lined with settlements. The US, by comparison, is more wild. Another thing a visitor to Vietnam can readily see is the ubiquity of the written language— that is, of civilization. Signs and banners are everywhere. None of this is apparent in any of the panoramic shots of Apocalypse Now. Coppola hasn’t just withheld speech from the Vietnamese, he has also banned them from writing.

Similarly, in The Deer Hunter, another Hollywood Vietnam War “classic,” the realism is strictly reserved for the white characters, especially on their home turf, in a Pennsylvania town not too unlike Marcus Hook. The Vietnamese, on the other hand, are deranged, cartoonish screamers who get a great thrill out of gambling with other people’s lives. Jungle-dwelling Commies or living in Saigon, they’re all the same. Though there is no record of Vietnamese playing Russian Roulette with anybody, much less Americans, it is this movie’s central metaphor. Factual error aside, Deer Hunter fits neatly within the racism and war-justifying mythology that’s pushed constantly by this empire’s media, that only Americans are real, fleshed-out people with a psychology and range of emotions, unlike these shadowy, hateful, subhuman and funny-looking foreigners who deserve to be shot, over and over.

Sorry about the little detour through Hollywood, perhaps my least favorite (crime) precinct on this earth, but it does help to explain, I think, how someone as good, generous and sober as Lesley Lane can be so indiscriminating when it comes to supporting our military, how she can not see that, conditioned to unleash great violence with sanctimony, these armed men and women have destroyed many families worldwide.

OK, so before we leave Marcus Hook, let’s just say hello to its just deposed mayor, James Schirilo. Jay, as he is commonly known, used to strut about town with a stogie jutting from his maw, for it’s good to be a puffed up fish in this wee puddle. Granted, the pay wasn’t all that, but life isn’t just about cash, but respect and stature. As mayor, Jay was looked at differently, and the shouted greetings became much heartier whenever he stepped into the Star Hotel, Lefty’s, or Connolly’s. Though Republican, Jay went to Obama’s second inauguration, and why not? It was a fine party. Jay’s stance for gun control was somewhat unpopular, but he didn’t want slugs to bounce around Marcus Hook, like they routinely did in adjacent Chester or Wilmington. All was well until February, when Jay could no longer suppress a certain sensation surging up from below. Divorced, Jay was free sexually, except that the object of his desire was male, and underage, too, though only by a year. OK, OK, I’ll cut to the chase. As his teenaged daughter slept upstairs, 38-year-old Jay Schiliro plied a 20-year-old man with wine, then asked his young buddy, between 20 and 30 times, if he would consent to be sucked. To show that his passion was true, Jay waved his gun around, then pointed it at his own head when he was firmly rebuffed, before discharging (the 9mm handgun) into the wall.

Now, you can’t live more than a few days without racking up a few ghastly sets of bones in your closet, so I’m not retelling Jay’s lapsed moment to shame but to applaud him, for here, finally, is a model politician. While others will suck you dry through unfunded wars, bad laws and Wall Street, Jay is actually willing to back up his (covert) actions with his (open) mouth. No hypocrite, Jay Schiliro should be the next President of the United States, for if we can’t have a leader who looks out for our interests, we should at least have a representative one. With, say, Monica Lewinsky as Veep, it should be an unbeatable ticket. For Schiliro’s campaign slogan, I suggest, simply, “JAY SUCKS!” Just like our government, though only one is even half amusing.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He's tracking our deteriorating social scape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America. Read other articles by Linh.